THE BEST SEASON IN BOSTON'S BASEBALL HISTORY

VERN BICKFORD

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

Sain and Bickford put the Tribe at the door step

September 21, 1948 ... Following the Braves double victory over the Cardinals at Braves Field, one half of the Boston subway series came close to it being a reality, as the Braves now lead the 2nd place Dodgers by 7 1/2 games. Should the Braves win tomorrow and the Dodgers lose, or if the Braves win two games, the National League pennant will fly over Braves Field.

Of course Johnny Sain played an integral part once more today, in winning his 22nd game of the season. The big right-hander pitched his sixth complete game and got his sixth win in 21 days in the 11 to 3 opener. Vern Bickford blinded the Cardinals in the nightcap pitching a 4 to 0 shutout.

The beauty of Bickford's pitching was his complete mastery of the league's greatest slugger, Stan Musial. Four times Musial went to the plate and only once did he get it out of the infield, going hitless. Musial tried to hit Bickford's change of pace pitches futilely.

The Cardinals bothered Bickford in the first inning when they loaded the bases with two outs. But Vern got out of the jam by striking out Don Lang. Again in the second inning, the Cardinals again load the bases with one out. Bickford struck out Marty Marion and forced Musial to hit an easy pop up to Clint Conaster in short center field. After that, until the ninth-inning, he allowed only one man to reach first base on a walk in the third inning.

The Braves had sent Bickford to the mound with a 3 to 0 lead in the first inning, driving Howie Pollet from the box. Tommy Holmes reached on an error by shortstop Marty Marion. Alvin Dark doubled to right and sent him to third-base, then Mike McCormick singled to right to knock in two runs. Bob Elliott came up and walked and Frank McCormick advanced them with a bunt. The strategy was necessary because Pollet then walked Phil Masi, forcing in another run. Murry Dickson was rushed in and struck out Sibbi Sisti and got Bickford on a ground ball out.

Dickson then matched Bickford until the eighth-inning. Then Jeff Heath walked and rolled over to third-base on Masi' hit-and-run single to right . Ray Sanders came up to bat for Sisti and flied out to Musial deep enough to score Heath with the fourth Braves run.

In the opener, Sain had the first inning jitters, as the Cardinals reached him for three singles, a double and two runs. The Braves got one of the runs back in their half of the inning with consecutive singles by Dark, Torgeson and Elliott. But they teed off on George Munger and then Ted Wilks for five hits and four runs, to put the Braves up 5 to 2.

Sain held the lead until the sixth inning when Ron Northey blasted his tenth home run of the year into the Cardinals bullpen. But ten Braves batters went to bat in the bottom half of the inning and scored five runs on two hits. Masi started off with a walk and Sisti sacrificed him along. Sain got his second single of the day and scored Masi. Dark then doubled to score Sain. Frank McCormick came up and batted for Torgy against the left-hander Ken Johnson and flied deep enough to left field to score another run. Then Elliott was passed intentionally and Conaster batted for Heath, drawing a walk. Dark and Elliott scored when Mike McCormick rolled a grounder through Lang at third-base, putting them up 10 to 3. One more run was added in the eighth-inning on a single by Elliott, a sacrifice by Conaster, an infield out and a wild pitch.

Sain's win was his twenty-seventh complete game of the season and his eleventh in the past twelve games. The last team to drive him from the box was the Dodgers on August 21st in Brooklyn.

Musial got two hits off Sain, one a line drive double to right-center in the first inning and a single that got by Frank McCormick. His double was the 97th extra base hit of the year and he needs ten more to shatter the mark set by Chuck Klein of the1930 Phillies. Musial has reached base 401 times, 49 behind the mark set by Rogers Hornsby in 1922.

 

 
  B R A V E S   F I E L D 

 

 


GAME #1
 

 
 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

 

R H E  
 

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

 

2

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

 

 

3

9

1

 
 

BOSTON BRAVES

 

1

4

0

0

0

5

0

1

x

 

 

11

15

0

 

 

 

W

JOHNNY SAIN (22-14)

 

2B

 

MUSIAL (StL), MASI (BOST), DARK (BOST)

 

L

RED MUNGER (9-11)

 

 

S

   

3B

   
 

 

 

 

   

ATTENDANCE: 24,321

 

HR

 

NORTHEY (StL)

 

 

 
  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  
 

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

 

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

 

 

0

4

1

 
 

BOSTON BRAVES

 

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

x

 

 

4

8

1

 

 

 

W

VERN BICKFORD (9-5)

 

2B

 

DARK (BOST), ELLIOTT (BOST)

 

L

HOWIE POLLET (13-7)

 

 

S

   

3B

   
 

 

 

 

   

 

 

HR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GAME #1

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Tommy Holmes rf 4 2 1 .324  

 

Alvin Dark ss 5 2 2 .328  

 

Earl Torgeson 1b 3 0 3 .257  

 

Frank McCormick ph/1b 2 0 0 .255  

 

Bob Elliott 3b 3 1 1 .287  

 

Connie Ryan 3b 1 1 1 .222  

 

Jeff Heath lf 3 0 0 .320  

 

Clint Conaster ph/cf 0 0 0 .267  

 

Mike McCormick cf/lf 5 1 2 .293  

 

Phil Masi c 4 2 1 .249  

 

Sibby Sisti 2b 3 0 2 .249  

 

Johnny Sain p 2 2 2 .200  
               
    IP H ER BB SO  

 

Johnny Sain 9 9 3 1 3  

 

 

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GAME #2

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Tommy Holmes rf 4 1 0 .322  

 

Alvin Dark ss 4 1 1 .327  

 

Mike McCormick lf/cf 4 1 2 .296  

 

Bob Elliott 3b 3 0 1 .287  

 

Frank McCormick 1b 2 0 1 .257  

 

Earl Torgeson 1b 1 0 0 .256  

 

Clint Conaster cf 0 0 0 .267  

 

Jeff Heath lf 2 1 0 .318  

 

Phil Masi c 3 0 2 .252  

 

Sibby Sisti 2b 3 0 0 .244  

 

Ray Sanders ph 1 0 0 .000  

 

Connie Ryan 2b 0 0 0 .222  

 

Vern Bickford p 4 0 1 .209  

 

             
    IP H ER BB SO  

 

Vern Bickford 9 4 0 3 5  

 

 

         

 

 

 

1948 NATIONAL LEAGUE STANDINGS

 

 

BOSTON BRAVES

86 58 -

 

 

Brooklyn Dodgers 79 66 7 1/2

 

 

St. Louis Cardinals 78 66 8

 

 

Pittsburgh Pirates 77 67 9

 

 

New York Giants 75 69 11

 

 

Philadelphia Phillies 64 82 23

 

 

Cincinnati Reds 59 83 26

 

 

Chicago Cubs 58 85 27 1/2

 

 

Number to clinch - 2