THE BEST SEASON IN BOSTON'S BASEBALL HISTORY

WARREN SPAHN

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

The Braves win the game on a wild pitch

August 12, 1948 ... A great battle of strategy was wrecked by a wild pitch, as the Boston Braves won their opener from the Brooklyn Dodgers at Braves Field with a 2 to 1 score. The Braves were able to pick up a full game on the Dodgers and the Cardinals, who lost the Pittsburgh.

With the score tied 1 to 1 in the ninth-inning, rival managers Billy Southworth and Bert Shotton kept switching pitchers and hitters. The Braves were coming up for the final at bat and Tommy Holmes started with a line drive past Billy Cox at third into left field. From that point on both managers were playing the percentages. Southworth inserted Sibbi Sisti to run for Holmes and then ordered Alvin Dark to bunt. Dark tried twice and failed, lining a single in the right-field on the third pitch, that put Sisti on third-base.

The Dodgers had a huddle on the mound around Joe Hatten with Earl Torgeson due to bat. But the Braves firstbaseman did not look good in previous at-bats against the side-armed pitching of Hatten. When the conference was broken up and everyone returned to their positions, Southworth sent up Frank McCormick to pinch-hit.

As soon as McCormick was announced, Shotton switched pitchers and brought in Ralph Branca from the bullpen. Once Branca was declared as the new Dodgers pitcher, Southworth decided to put in Jeff Heath instead of McCormick. All the strategy was wasted because the Dodgers decided to give Heath an intentional pass.

Bob Elliott came to the plate and Branca's first pitch was a curveball in the dirt, that bounced between Roy Campanella's legs all the way to the backstop and Sisti charged in from third, sliding underneath Branca for the winning walkoff run. So the biggest strategy battle in local Braves history went for nothing.

Warren Spahn got the win for the Braves and spun a brilliant five hitter, and with any kind of luck, would've had a 1 to 0 shutout. The Boston southpaw had five strikeouts and the Dodgers compiled three hits on strange plays.

The Braves were first to score in the third inning when Mike McCormick led off with a single to left, taking second on Bob Sturgeon's single. Warren Spahn's sacrifice bunt was inaccurate, going back to Hatten who was able to wipe out McCormick to third. But Hatten sealed his own fate when he walked Holmes to fill the bases, because Dark followed with a wicked line drive to dead centerfield. Carl Furillo almost misjudged the ball but was able to grab it over his head, as Sturgeon trotted home after the catch.

The Dodgers were able to counter in the sixth inning when Hatten started out by beating out his own bunt down the third-base line. Cox followed with a roller that bounced off Warren Spahn's glove and caromed just out of the reach of secondbaseman Sturgeon. Hatten moved down to second and Jackie Robinson laid down a perfect bunt to advance the runners. Spahn then walked Furillo on a three and two pitch to load the bases and Bruce Edwards poked the ball to right-field that brought Hatten home, after the catch, to tie up the game.

The victory dropped the Dodgers four games behind the Braves and it was his sixth win for the Braves in nine contests with Brooklyn. In almost 30 innings against the Dodgers this year, Spahn has allowed five runs and struck out 15.

 

 
  B R A V E S   F I E L D 

 

 

 

 
 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

 

R H E  
 

BROOKLYN DODGERS

 

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

 

 

1

5

0

 
 

BOSTON BRAVES

 

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

 

 

2

5

0

 

 

 

W

WARREN SPAHN (9-7)

 

2B

 

EDWARDS (BKN), COX (2)(BKN)

 

L

JOE HATTEN (8-7)

 

 

S

   

3B

   
 

 

 

 

   

ATTENDANCE: 27,766

 

HR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Tommy Holmes rf 3 0 1 .316  

 

Sibby Sisti pr 0 1 0 .198  

 

Alvin Dark ss 4 0 1 .337  

 

Earl Torgeson 1b 3 0 0 .261  

 

Frank McCormick ph 0 0 0 .198  

 

Jeff Heath ph 0 0 0 .302  

 

Bob Elliott 3b 3 0 0 .290  

 

Clint Conaster cf 2 0 0 .272  

 

Phil Masi c 3 0 0 .243  

 

Mike McCormick lf 3 1 2 .303  

 

Bobby Sturgeon 2b 3 0 1 .246  

 

Warren Spahn p 3 0 0 .193  
               
    IP H ER BB SO  
  Warren Spahn 9 5 1 1 5  

 

 

         

 

 

 

1948 NATIONAL LEAGUE STANDINGS

 

 

BOSTON BRAVES

61 44 -

 

 

St. Louis Cardinals 56 47 4

 

 

Brooklyn Dodgers 55 46 4

 

 

New York Giants 53 49 6 1/2

 

 

Pittsburgh Pirates 51 47 6 1/2

 

 

Philadelphia Phillies 49 55 11 1/2

 

 

Cincinnati Reds 45 60 16

 

 

Chicago Cubs 41 63 19 1/2