THE BEST SEASON IN BOSTON'S BASEBALL HISTORY

BILLY SOUTHWORTH
& WARREN SPAHN

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

The Braves battle the Dodgers for first place

August 21, 1948 ... The Braves got knocked out of first place when the Dodgers took the opening game of the doubleheader by an 8 to 7 score. But in slightly more than two hours, Warren Spahn had slipped his teammates back into their thin one-game lead with a four hitter and a 2 to 1 victory at Ebbets Field.

But Johnny Sain was driven from the box in the very first inning, while the rampaging Dodgers scored four runs off him and another one off Red Barrett.

Sain just didn't have any semblance of control and had to throw pitches down the middle. He may have been more confident except for the fact that the Braves had wasted a big chance in the first inning, when they left the bases loaded. It didn't take the Dodgers long to take advantage in their half of the first. Two walks and two singles accounted for two runs. Then Gil Hodges doubled a vicious line drive to left and that was it for Sain. Red Barrett came in and Joe Hatton dumped a single to left for another run. Jackie Robinson, who was only 1 for 37 against Barrett, gave Brooklyn a 6 to 0 lead in the second inning with a home run into the left-field stands.

The Dodgers let the Braves back in the game in the fourth, when Elliott walked and scored on Frank McCormick's double to left. After Conaster was thrown out and Masi walked, Sisti hit what should've been a doubleplay down a Hodges, but Gil threw the ball into left-field. McCormick waltzed home on the play, and Tommy Holmes, who hadn't knocked in a run in 23 games, snapped out of it with a single through the box for two more runs, making the score 6 to 4.

Al Lyons held the Dodgers to two hits in four innings and the Braves got another run for him in the fifth when Jeff Heath, batted for Frank McCormick and drove a long home run over the right-field wall. The Dodgers matched that, however, in their half of the inning, to make the score 7 to 5.

Lyons walked Marv Rackley to open the sixth and it would have been harmless only but for a passed ball by Masi. Robinson moved him along with an infield out and Gene Hermanski scored him, when his hard ground ball hit the first-base bag. Torgeson's only play at that point was just to step on the base.

The Braves didn't give up, and with Brooklyn up 8 to 5, Masi doubled home Conaster who had walked in the seventh. Holmes tripled, with one out in the eighth to put the Braves within one, but Al Dark hit a ground ball down to Pee Wee Reese, who held Holmes at third. Then Torgeson stranded him with a fly ball out to Rackley.

Down 8-7, the Braves kept plugging away and had a couple of runners on base in the last inning, when Billy Southworth had to call on Bobby Sturgeon, a weak hitter at best, who could only manage a foul pop up to Hodges and end the game.

Preacher Roe started the second game for the Dodgers and had been coasting along nicely until the fifth inning when Frank McCormick suddenly started his downfall with a double off the wall in left field. Clint Conaster matched that with a drive by Billy Cox a third. After Phil Masi popped out, Sibbi Sisti hit what proved to be the game-winner with a single down the left-field line, putting the Braves ahead by two.

Spahn however, pitched one of his best games of the season. He had a shutout until the ninth-inning and allowed only but one man to reach second base, leading 2 to 0. But then, with a tremendous swing, Bruce Edwards rapped one of Spahn's pitches into the centerfield seats. Carl Furillo slammed one down the third that Bobby Elliott had a make a fine stop of and throw him out. Tommy Holmes ended the game by making a fine catch on a fly ball hit by Gil Hodges.

Atop Ebbets Field are the banners arranged in the standings of the National League. It was a wild scene when the Braves banner was switched around for the one of the Dodgers after the first game. The Braves had been wearing the crown since June 13th, 69 days altogether.

 

at Ebbets Field (Brooklyn) ...

R

H

E

BOSTON BRAVES

0

0

0

4

1

0

1

0

1

 

7

11

1

BROOKLYN DODGERS

5

1

0

1

0

1

0

0

x

 

8

7

1

W-Hank Behrman (4-3)
S-Paul Minner (1)
L-Johnny Sain (15-12)
Attendance 34,456


2B-F.McCormick (Bost), Masi (Bost), Heath (Bost), Hodges (Bkn)
3B-Holmes (Bost), Snider (Bkn)
HR-Heath (Bost), Robinson (Bkn)
 

 

Game #2 ...

R

H

E

BOSTON BRAVES

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

 

2

6

0

BROOKLYN DODGERS

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

 

1

4

1

W-Warren Spahn (10-8)
L-Preacher Roe (6-7)

2B-F.McCormick (Bost), Conaster (Bost), Sisti (Bost)
HR-Edwards (Bkn)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GAME #1

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Tommy Holmes rf 4 0 3 .319  

 

Alvin Dark ss 5 0 2 .332  

 

Mike McCormick lf 2 0 0 .314  

 

Earl Torgeson ph/1b 3 0 0 .254  

 

Bob Elliott 3b 3 1 0 .288  

 

Frank McCormick 1b 2 1 1 .202  

 

Jeff Heath ph/lf 3 2 2 .303  

 

Clint Conaster cf 3 1 0 .276  

 

Phil Masi c 4 1 3 .244  

 

Sibby Sisti 2b 4 1 0 .214  

 

Bill Salkeld ph 0 0 0 .262  

 

Johnny Sain p 0 0 0 .183  

 

Red Barrett p 1 0 0 .179  

 

Al Lyons ph/p 2 0 0 .000  

 

Connie Ryan ph 1 0 0 .207  

 

Ernie White p 0 0 0 .000  

 

Bobby Sturgeon ph 1 0 0 .222  
               
    IP H ER BB SO  

 

Johnny Sain 0.1 3 5 2 0  

 

Red Barrett 2.2 3 1 1 0  
  Al Lyons 4 1 1 2 2  

 

Ernie White 1 0 0 2 1  

 

 

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GAME #2

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Tommy Holmes rf 4 0 1 .318  

 

Alvin Dark ss 4 0 1 .331  

 

Mike McCormick lf 3 0 0 .310  

 

Bob Elliott 3b 3 0 0 .286  

 

Frank McCormick 1b 2 1 1 .208  

 

Earl Torgeson ph/1b 2 0 0 .252  

 

Clint Conaster cf 4 1 1 .275  

 

Phil Masi c 3 0 0 .241  

 

Sibby Sisti 2b 3 0 2 .226  

 

Warren Spahn p 3 0 0 .177  
               
    IP H ER BB SO  
  Warren Spahn 9 4 1 3 8  

 

 

         

 

 

 

1948 NATIONAL LEAGUE STANDINGS

 

 

BOSTON BRAVES

64 49 -

 

 

St. Louis Cardinals 63 50 1

 

 

Brooklyn Dodgers 61 48 1

 

 

Pittsburgh Pirates 56 52 5 1/2

 

 

New York Giants 56 53 6

 

 

Philadelphia Phillies 52 59 11

 

 

Cincinnati Reds 48 66 16 1/2

 

 

Chicago Cubs 45 68 19