SPAHN & SAIN and PRAY FOR RAIN ...
the Cubs sweep
a doubleheader from the Braves
August 26, 1948 ... Amid
a scene of wild disorder, the Cubs twice smashed the Braves by scores
of 5 to 1 and 5 to 2, cutting their lead in the National League race
down to three games. An umpire's decision provoked a demonstration
and almost cost the Cubs the second game by a forfeit, after a crowd
of 27,316 fans rioted and threw hats, bottles and thousands of paper
containers out onto the field.
It was quite an afternoon, as the
Cubs won the first game easily, but when they came to bat in the third inning of
the second game, trailing 1 to 0, a rally was started after two were out and
ended with the umpires dodging everything being thrown in their direction.
Emil Verban singled and then stole second base. Hal Jeffcoat walked and Phil
Cavarretta hit a line drive into left field. The ball sailed over Jeff Heath's
head and bounced into the ivy on the left-field wall. Heath looked for the ball
but couldn't find it, and started rubbing his hands against the vines in an
effort to locate it. Suddenly, the ball was seen rolling away from him, but
apparently he didn't see it. Verban and Jeffcoat scored as Cavarretta was
rounding second. He finally saw the ball and threw it to Alvin Dark, who relayed
to the plate, but Cavarretta slid in safely.
Umpire Bill Stewart, who was stationed at third-base, ordered Cavarretta back
to second base and Jeffcoat the third, ruling that it was a ground rule double
because the ball was lost in the vines. Immediately manager Charlie Grimm,
Cavarretta and several others charged after Stewart. Grimm was furious and a few
containers were thrown at the umpire. When he refused to change his decision,
hats and more containers were thrown on the field. Stewart was about to lose his
composure, with Grimm still ranting, when catcher Bob Scheffing came running out
from the Cubs bullpen. Scheffing calmed things down and Grimm headed back over
to the third-base coaching box. It was later learned that the Cubs manager
believe that the ball was never caught up in the vines, but was at Heath's feet
all the time. Scheffing, who was much closer to the play, told his manager that
the ball was indeed lost and only came out when he's shook them.
Order was somewhat restored when it was announced that the game would be
forfeited unless it went on. But Stewart continued to be bothered by more abuse
from the Cubs dugout. He gestured toward some players and started over there.
Umpire Jocko Conlan followed him and was promptly hit in the stomach by an
object. He ordered the public address announcer to make another announcement.
Stewart and a police officer, who was guarding the Cubs dugout, exchanged a few
hot words also and Conlan then mixed it up verbally with a fan in the box seats.
By this time, practically all the field between the foul lines was covered
with debris. Play went on however, and Vern Bickford pitched to Andy Pafko as
Cavarretta and Jeffcoat went back to their bases. Pafko was intentionally walked
to load them up. Peanuts Lowrey was the next batter and refused to step into the
box. Conlan charged toward him and ordered him to take his place at bat. Lowrey
took the first pitch and slammed a tremendous triple to centerfield against the
ivy, with the ball rolling toward right-center.
It was then Billy Southworth turn to make his voice heard when the inning
ended. He demanded that the field be cleared before his team would continue
playing. Finally some of the workers carrying boxes, headed for the outfield
with another group of 50 or more youngsters cleared the infield of debris.
The Cubs had scored four runs and were leading 4 to 1 when everything was
cleaned up. After that third inning, the Cubs scored in the sixth inning off
relief pitcher Bobby Hogue. Pafko knocked out his 20th home run of the year into
the centerfield seats.
The Braves had jumped out to a 1 to 0 lead in the second inning on singles to
Frank McCormick and Phil Masi, along with a walk to Sibbi Sisti that loaded the
bases. Bickford got an infield hit that scored McCormick. They got their second
run in the eighth-inning, when Mike McCormick and Bob Elliott singled, both
advancing on a groundout and Mike scoring on a sacrifice fly by Frank.
Bill Voiselle lost the first game to the Cubs, 5 to 1. It was his first loss
against them in five starts. After they drove him from the box in the fifth
inning, leading 3 to 0, Al Lyons came in and allowed single runs in the sixth
and seventh. The Braves scored in the seventh inning as Dark walked, Elliott
singled and Tommy Holmes lined a base hit to centerfield for the Braves only
Back home, with the temperature and 118° at Braves Field, as Eddie Stanky
went about an hour and a half with a work out. He used to group of boys as
fielders and played pepper with them.