THE BEST SEASON IN BOSTON'S BASEBALL HISTORY

JOHNNY SAIN &
WARREN SPAHN

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

The Braves bury the Dodgers at Braves Field

September 6, 1948 ... The Braves took two giant steps toward winning the National League pennant. Playing before 39,670 fans, the second-largest Braves Field gathering of the season, they whipped the Brooklyn Dodgers, 2 to 1 in 14 innings and 4 to 0, thereby boosting their lead over them, to four games.

The crowd died a thousand deaths, as the Tribe blew chance after chance in the marathon first game. The Braves left 16 men on base before Earl Torgeson doubled in the 14th inning, scoring Clint Conaster, who had walked, with the run that broke the tie, won the game and possibly broke the Dodgers' backs for the season.

Torgeson's hit, against left-handed Joe Hatten, wrote a glorious and much-deserved finished to the greatest gain pitch by Warren Spahn in his four year major league career. Spahn spread out only five hits, walked just four and faced only 48 batters in the full 14 innings. It was his fourth win over the Dodgers this year and his seventh in ten outings over a two-year period.

Spahn might have had a shutout had not Bob Elliott been a second slow in getting to grounder hit by him by catcher Roy Campanella, for the visitors only run in the second inning. It scored Carl Furillo who had doubled previously.

The Braves jumped out in front in the first inning. Tommy Holmes singled past Jackie Robinson and reached third on Mike McCormick's double to left-center. He scored on Elliott's long fly ball out to Gene Hermanski. That was all the scoring until the 14th inning, although the Braves wasted opportunities galore.

The manner in which the Braves were dissipating their scoring chances, was enough to discourage the most heartened fan. Al Dark tripled to right in the fifth with one out, but was stranded on base as Ralph Branca got Mike McCormick on a grounder to Pee Wee Reese, walked Bob Elliott and forced Heath on a fly ball to Furillo. But that was nothing compared to what happened in the 10th, the 12th and the 13th.

Holmes and Dark doubled in succession to open the 10th and Mike McCormick walked to load the bases. Branca was removed in favor of Rex Barney, who got a strike on Elliott and then forced him to hit a pop foul to Billy Cox. With Jeff Heath up, Bert Shotton called in left-hander, Hatten. Southworth replace Heath with right-hander Conaster. Conaster hit a harmless fly to right and Southworth heard boos from the fans of Heath.

In the 12th inning, the Braves blew another chance. Spahn reached base when Bruce Edwards dropped his fly in short left after a long run. Holmes sacrificed Spahn to second and Dark was intentionally walked. Mike McCormick then dropped a single into short left and Southworth took a chance by sending Spahn home, where he was gunned down on a strike by Edwards to the plate. After Elliott was intentionally walked to reload the bases, Hatten got Conaster on a pop up to Hodges at first to end that threat.

Then in the 13th Torgeson started with a single to right. Everybody was safe when Gil Hodges tried to catch Torgy at second on Phil Masi's sacrifice attempt. At the time it was a great break for the Braves as Sibbi Sisti neatly pushed a ground ball toward the opening at the second base hole, to fill the bases. Then in a play that apparently fooled Torgeson, more than he did the Dodgers, Spahn bunted the first pitch he saw in an attempt at a suicide squeeze. Campanella pounced on the ball directly in front of home to force Torgy, who would hardly moved off third. Then he fired to first for the double-play. Holmes followed and drew a walk, and Dark flied out to right thus ending another Braves chance.

Finally in the 14th, Hatten walked Conaster with two outs. Torgy ran the count to three and two and smashed Hatten's final serve on a dead line off the left-field wall, scoring Conaster for the walk-off win.

Jackie Robinson was picked off first base twice by Spahn. Dark doubled him up after catching a fly ball in the first inning and Spahn did it twice in extra innings. In the 11th, Robinson singled with two out and him stealing was a foregone conclusion. Spahn threw over three times to first. On the fourth time Robinson was a dead duck. He was halfway to second and Torgy threw to Sibbi Sisti, who relayed back to Torgy, who tagged Robinson for the out.

Then in the 14th inning Robinson reached after a bunt. It was the same play all over again. Spahn made a few tosses the first and then Robby broke for second. This time Torgeson threw down to Sisti who tagged him out.

In the second game, Brooklyn offered very little resistance to the speed and curves of Johnny Sain. Starting with only two days rest for the third time this year, Sain won his 18th game and pitched his 23rd complete game. Hardly a fan had left the ballpark, as Sain toyed with a depressed Dodgers, allowing five hits in seven innings. Umpire Artie Gore called the game at 7 PM after the end of Brooklyn's half of the seventh-inning.

Meanwhile the Braves went directly to work on right-hander Harry Taylor, winning the game in the first inning. Successive singles by Holmes and Dark placed men on first and second. They scored on Jeff Heath's tremendous triple against the centerfield wall. Seconds later Heath scored when Bill Salkeld lined a single into right field.

Taylor left for a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning, after the Braves had picked up their fourth run in the fourth. Salkeld doubled and Sibbi Sisti scored him with a base hit.

Sain was only in danger during the sixth inning, when with one away, Hermanski tripled. However, he was left on third as Sain struck out George Shuba and got Bobby Cox to fly out to Holmes.

Pete Reiser opened the seventh inning with a double, in a pinch-hitting role for Bruce Edwards. Sain then disposed of Gil Hodges on a pop foul and forced Reese to hit a fly ball out to Mike McCormick. Dark finally took care of Arky Vaughn, who was pinch hitting for the pitcher.

The Braves cause was further helped when the Pittsburgh Pirates pinned two defeats on the St. Louis Cardinals in Pittsburgh, putting the Braves 4 1/2 games in front of both those teams. The Bucs took the opener by a 2 to 1 score and the nightcap by a 4 to 1 score. They equaled a National League record by making six doubleplays in the first game and made two more in the second one. Rookie Bob Chesnes, held the Cardinals scoreless until the ninth inning of the opener, allowing only three hits in the first eight innings. Ralph Kiner settled the contest when he hit his 38th home run with one aboard. Vic Lombardi allowed the Cardinals only five hits in the second game. The Pirates scored on three singles in the fifth inning that put over two runs.

 

 
  B R A V E S   F I E L D 

 

 


GAME #1
 

 
 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

 

R H E  
 

BROOKLYN

 

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

 

1

5

1

 
 

BRAVES

 

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

 

2

13

0

 

 

 

W

WARREN SPAHN (12-10)

 

2B

 

FURILLO (BKN), M.McCORMICK (BOST),
HEATH (BOST), TORGESON (BOST)

 

L

JOE HATTEN (11-8)

 

 

S

   

3B

  DARK (BOST)
 

 

 

 

   

ATTENDANCE: 39,670

 

HR

 

 

 

 

 
  B R A V E S   F I E L D 

 

 


GAME #2
 

 
 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

 

R H E  
 

BROOKLYN DODGERS

 

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

     

 

0

5

1

 
 

BOSTON BRAVES

 

3

0

1

0

0

0

x

     

 

4

11

0

 

 

 

W

JOHNNY SAIN (18-14)

 

2B

 

REISER (BKN), SALKELD (BOST)

 

L

HARRY TAYLOR (1-5)

 

 

S

   

3B

  HERMANSKI (BKN), HEATH (BOST)
 

 

 

 

   

 

 

HR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GAME #1

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Tommy Holmes rf 5 1 2 .323  

 

Alvin Dark ss 6 0 3 .327  

 

Mike McCormick cf/lf 6 0 2 .300  

 

Bob Elliott 3b 4 0 0 .287  

 

Jeff Heath lf 3 0 1 .304  

 

Clint Conaster ph/cf 2 1 0 .273  

 

Frank McCormick 1b 4 0 1 .243  

 

Earl Torgeson pr/1b 3 0 2 .250  

 

Phil Masi c 5 0 1 .245  

 

Sibby Sisti 2b 6 0 1 .234  

 

Warren Spahn p 6 0 0 .145  
               
    IP H ER BB SO  

 

Warren Spahn 14 5 1 4 8  

 

 

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GAME #2

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Tommy Holmes rf 2 1 2 .325  

 

Alvin Dark ss 3 1 3 .331  

 

Earl Torgeson 1b 4 0 0 .247  

 

Bob Elliott 3b 4 0 1 .287  

 

Jeff Heath lf 2 1 1 .305  

 

Clint Conaster ph/cf 1 0 1 .277  

 

Mike McCormick cf/lf 2 0 0 .298  

 

Bill Salkeld c 3 1 2 .265  

 

Sibby Sisti 2b 3 0 1 .235  

 

Johnny Sain p 3 0 0 .182  

 

             
    IP H ER BB SO  

 

Johnny Sain 7 5 0 1 1  

 

 

         

 

 

 

1948 NATIONAL LEAGUE STANDINGS

 

 

BOSTON BRAVES

76 57 -

 

 

Brooklyn Dodgers 70 59 4

 

 

Pittsburgh Pirates 68 58 4 1/2

 

 

St. Louis Cardinals 70 60 4 1/2

 

 

New York Giants 67 61 6 1/2

 

 

Philadelphia Phillies 56 74 18 1/2

 

 

Chicago Cubs 56 75 19

 

 

Cincinnati Reds 55 74 19