THE BEST SEASON IN BOSTON'S BASEBALL HISTORY

BOSTON BRAVES ...
SPAHN & SAIN and PRAY FOR RAIN ...

Bob Elliott's HR keeps the Braves in line

July 25, 1948 ... Bob Elliott rescued the Boston Braves from a desperate position, that the National League pacemakers had not found themselves in all season. After, they had been whipped, 6 to 5, by a ninth inning Cardinal rally in the first game of the doubleheader, they had chased Harry Brecheen in the eighth-inning of the second game, only to have the Cardinals storm back and grab a 6 to 4 lead as the ninth-inning began. They saw their grip on first place slipping ever so slightly.

But the Braves fought back like a championship team and took the second battle, 8 to 6, on Bob Elliott's 13th home run, with two aboard in the ninth, to keep their hot breathing opponents five games away. One would hardly have given the Braves a chance, as they failed to hold a three run lead in the opener, and lost it on four straight Cardinal hits in the last of the ninth.

The Cardinals knocked out Vern Bickford and Ernie White in the first inning of the second game, and had a 3 to 1 lead in the seventh with Brecheen pitching brilliantly. In desperation, Billy Southworth brought in Johnny Sain to relieve White in the first inning. He kept the Braves in the game by pitching shutout ball, on two hits, for seven innings. Although he weakened some in the eighth, he pitched a perfect ninth and got credit for his 13th decision of the year.

The second game was a must win for the Braves. Only a week ago, they had an eight game advantage in the National League pennant chase. When Nippy Jones homered for the Cardinals in the eighth-inning, it seemed that the Braves would be headed home with only a three-game lead.

After getting nowhere with Brecheen's serves for seven innings, the Braves finally staged a three run uprising that sent "The Cat" into the doghouse. He yielded two singles and a walk before being taken out. One of the singles was by Elliott, as he drove in the first run in the eighth, set up the second, and scored the third.

Sain retired the first Cardinal in the eighth, when he seemed to lose his stuff. Down 4 to 3, Enos Slaughter doubled off the right-field screen and Don Lang poked a single to center to bring in the tying run. Then Jones homered on the first pitch to put the Cardinals out in front 6 to 4.

Opening the ninth-inning, Tommy Holmes got a base hit off relief pitcher Red Munger, the fourth of five Cardinal pitchers. Al Dark drew a walk and that brought in Murry Dickson. Mike McCormick laid down a neat bunt, and Dickson raced in to force Holmes at third. Bob Elliott then came to the plate and drove a Dickson fastball into the centerfield bleachers, putting the Braves back out in front 7 to 6. Jeff Heath followed that up with his 12th home run into the right-field pavilion to clinch it.

Although the Braves fought a good battle in the opening game, they threw away a three run lead. A double by Dark, Elliott's walk, and a two bagger by Heath, gave them a two run advantage to start the game. Bill Salkeld knocked out his seventh home run of the year in the second inning, to put the Braves up 3 to 0.

Warren Spahn was the starter for the Braves and was chased in the third inning when the Cardinals went ahead with four runs. A couple of bloop base hits proved to be Spahn's undoing. Marty Marion doubled and scored on Stan Musial single. Tommy Holmes fumbled the ball, allowing Musial to take second, and he scored when Lang dropped a two bagger into right field. Then Spahn walked Slaughter and Terry Moore singled Lang home. At that point Southworth brought in Bobby Hogue. Jones laid down a bunt that Earl Torgeson fumbled to load the bases with nobody out. Hogue struck out pinch-hitter Ron Northey and then the Braves failed to make a doubleplay on a slow ball hit by Al Brazle. Slaughter scored to put the Cardinals up 4 to 3.

The Braves tied the game back up in the fifth on a Connie Ryan's single, a sacrifice by Hogue and a double by Dark. And so it went until the ninth, when Phil Masi started the inning with a single. He was sacrificed to second by Connie Ryan and came home on Tommy Holmes base hit to put the Braves up 5 to 4.

Hogue, who had pitched three-hit shutout ball for six innings, faded fast after getting one out in the ninth. Marion and Musial singled in succession, and then Lang got a base hit to score Marion, tying up the game. With Musial on third, Ernie White came in to relieve Hogue. Slaughter bounced one of his pitches over the mound, that Connie Ryan made a nice stop of and threw home, but Musial slid in under the throw to win the game, 6 to 5.

The Braves managed to get an even split on their road trip, going six and six. Bob Elliott knocked in the first Braves' run in the second game with a double and drove in five RBI all told, set up the sixth and scored the seventh. Because the Dodgers split with the Pirates, the Braves maintain their five-game lead over Brooklyn and St. Louis.

 

at Sportsman's Park (St. Louis) ...

R

H

E

BOSTON BRAVES

2

1

0

0

1

0

0

0

1

 

5

10

2

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

0

0

4

0

0

0

0

0

2

 

6

12

1

W-Jim Hearn (5-4)
L-Bobby Hogue (5-2)
Attendance 31,150


2B-Dark (Bost), Heath (Bost), Marion (StL),
Lang (StL), Brazle (StL)
3B-Musial (StL)
HR-Salkeld (Bost)
 

 

Game #2 ...

R

H

E

BOSTON BRAVES

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

3

4

 

8

10

0

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

3

0

 

6

7

0

W-Johnny Sain (13-8)
L-Murry Dickson (7-9)

2B-Holmes (Bost), LaPointe (StL), Slaughter (StL)
HR-Elliott (Bost), Heath (Bost), Jones (StL)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GAME #1

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Tommy Holmes rf 5 0 1 .321  

 

Alvin Dark ss 5 1 3 .333  

 

Earl Torgeson 1b 2 0 0 .256  

 

Frank McCormick ph/1b 3 0 0 .215  

 

Bob Elliott 3b 2 1 0 .274  

 

Jeff Heath lf 1 0 1 .314  

 

Mike McCormick lf 3 0 0 .282  

 

Clint Conaster lf 4 0 1 .222  

 

Bill Salkeld c 2 1 1 .277  

 

Phil Masi ph/c 2 1 1 .240  

 

Connie Ryan 2b 3 1 2 .217  

 

Warren Spahn p 1 0 0 .200  

 

Bobby Hogue p 1 0 0 .071  

 

Ernie White p 0 0 0 .000  
               
    IP H ER BB SO  

 

Warren Spahn 2 5 3 4 1  

 

Bobby Hogue 6.1 6 2 0 1  
  Ernie White - 1 0 0 0  

 

 

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GAME #2

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Tommy Holmes rf 5 1 2 .322  

 

Alvin Dark ss 4 2 1 .332  

 

Mike McCormick lf/cf 4 2 0 .274  

 

Bob Elliott 3b 5 2 3 .279  

 

Frank McCormick 1b 2 0 0 .210  

 

Earl Torgeson 1b 1 0 0 .255  

 

Clint Conaster cf 3 0 0 .213  

 

Jeff Heath lf 2 1 1 .316  

 

Phil Masi c 4 0 1 .241  

 

Connie Ryan 2b 3 0 2 .232  

 

Vern Bickford p 0 0 0 .160  

 

Ernie White p 0 0 0 .000  

 

Johnny Sain p 4 0 0 .214  
               
    IP H ER BB SO  

 

Vern Bickford - 1 3 2 0  

 

Ernie White 0.1 1 0 1 0  
  Johnny Sain 8.2 5 3 3 5  

 

 

         

 

 

 

1948 NATIONAL LEAGUE STANDINGS

 

 

BOSTON BRAVES

52 37 -

 

 

St. Louis Cardinals 46 41 5

 

 

Brooklyn Dodgers 45 40 5

 

 

Pittsburgh Pirates 44 42 6 1/2

 

 

New York Giants 43 43 7 1/2

 

 

Philadelphia Phillies 43 48 10

 

 

Cincinnati Reds 41 49 11 1/2

 

 

Chicago Cubs 38 52 14 1/2