UMPIRE BILL STEWART
SPAHN & SAIN and PRAY FOR RAIN ...
The Braves have their chances but come up empty
August 27, 1948 ... Umpire
Bill Stewart today made an incorrect call that cost the Braves a 1 to
0 defeat at the hands of the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The bad call cost
Johnny Sain, a win in his finest pitched game all year.
In the last half of the ninth-inning, after Johnny had pitched eight innings
of three-hit ball, without a allowing a man to reach second base, Johnny Schmitz
opened with a double to left-center. Umpire Stewart, who was stationed at first
base moved over to second as Emil Verban came up to bat. The Braves expected a
bunt and Frank McCormick moved in on the grass by first base. But Verban,
instead of bunting, tried to chop the ball past McCormick. He grabbed the ball
on the second hop and Sibbi Sisti raced over to first to cover the base. Sisti
took the lob from McCormick with Verban about 15 feet short of the bag. Sisti
turned toward second to watch Schmitz after the play. Stewart made the safe sign
and Sisti, as well as a half-dozen players, raced out toward him along with
manager Billy Southworth and coach Freddie Fitzsimmons.
Stewart ruled from his second base position, that Sisti had not touched the
bag. He refused to listen to the protests and the game went on. Sain struck out
Hal Jeffcoat and Phil Cavarretta singled to left, sending Schmitz to third. Andy
Pafko next hit what should've been the third out, a ground ball easily taken by
Bob Elliott at third. For a second in looked like Elliott might go home and cut
off the winning run, but instead he elected to throw toward second and start an
easy doubleplay to end the inning. Sisti took the throw as Cavarretta slid for
the base. In his haste to complete the play, Sisti's throw to McCormick drew him
off the base and Schmidt scored the winning run.
The Braves dropped a half game off their lead because of the loss. They did
have several chances, but left men on third base four times, twice with only one
out. Dark tripled to center in the first inning with one out. But when Mike
McCormick tried to hold back his swing, Schmitz's pitch struck his bat, with the
ball lining back to the mound and Schmitz doubling Dark at third.
Elliott walked to start the second and Frank McCormick hit into a doubleplay.
Then Clint Conaster walked and went to third when Phil Masi's grounder hopped
over Cavarretta's head. But Sisti then grounded into a force out at second base.
In the sixth, Mike McCormick tripled to right-center with one out, only to
see Elliott and Frank McCormick ground out. Conaster walked in the seventh and
was sacrificed along by Masi. He went to third on Sisti's out and Sain hit a
hard smash down to Roy Smalley, who threw him out. So the Braves had their
chances, couldn't capitalize and can't complain that the umpire cost them the