THE BEST SEASON IN BOSTON'S BASEBALL HISTORY

BOB ELLIOTT

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

The Braves win the National League Pennant

September 26, 1948 ... Bob Elliott belted a three run home run off Larry Jansen, in the first inning, to defeat the New York Giants, 3 to 2 at Braves Field and and a 34 year famine, that gave Boston their first National League pennant since 1914. Six scoreless innings were pitched by Vern Bickford and the superb relief pitching of Nelson Potter was also a contributing factor.

The Braves captured the title by beating their nemesis, 18 game winner Larry Jansen, who owned a seven and two record against the Braves going into the game. But for the second time this year, and Elliott home run brought defeat for Jansen. Back on August 11th, he slammed one out of the park to give the Braves a 4 to 3 win against him.

Tommy Holmes started it off by cracking a one and one serve for single over second. Al Dark went to two and two before pushing a single to right as Holmes stopped at second. Earl Torgeson took Jansen's first pitch and sent a harmless pop up to Don Mueller, in left, for the first out. Up strode Elliott who was leading the team in RBIs. He took a pair of pitches and then fouled one into the stands behind the Giants dugout. So with the count two and one, he teed off on the next pitch to clear the fence in right-center, adjacent to the Jury Box, with plenty to spare, for his 22nd home run of the year.

Jansen allowed but two hits and one pass in the remaining seven innings. Meanwhile, the Giants were rendered harmless by Bickford, until they finally broke out in the eighth-inning, to give the Southworth clan a scare. Bickford had been touched for one hit off the glove of Elliott in the fourth inning. He road into the eighth, holding a 3 to 0 lead and carrying a one-hitter.

Don Mueller singled to Elliott's left to start the eighth inning. Rookie catcher Sal Yvars singled over second with Mueller stopping their. With Potter and Warren Spahn both warming up, Jack McCarthy was sent up to pinch-hit for Buddy Kerr. He took a one ball count and poked the next serve for a lazy single into right-center that scored Mueller and moved Yvars over to third. Lonnie Frye, the ex-Yankee, was sent up to bat for Jansen and Southworth brought in Potter.

VERN BICKFORD, BOB ELLIOT
& NELSON POTTER

Nels threw a called strike to Frey and then Lonnie sent a dribbler off the end of his bat to left to the mound. Dark had only one play possible and that was a force at second base. In the meantime, Yvars crossed the plate with the second Giants run, making it 3 to 2. Jack Lohrke next strode to the plate and hit one down to Elliott, who forced Ryan at second, but Lohrke beat Sisti's return throw to first. Potter quickly tried to pick him off before he threw his first pitch, and threw it wildly past Torgeson, allowing Lohrke to slide into third safely. With Whitey Lockman at the plate, Potter pitched carefully and walked him on four pitches.

Sid Gordon, with his 30 home runs, came to bat and immediately Lockman stole second base to put runners in scoring position, at second and third. Gordon took a called strike and then two balls, before he hit a ground ball down to Elliott who made the long and sure throw over to Torgy for the out.

In spite of the Braves six-game lead, every fan in the park felt the tension as Potter took the mound for the Giants' ninth after the Braves gone down in their half of the eighth. Johnny Mize, Willard Marshall and Mueller were all due to bat. Mize hit Potter's first pitch on the ground to Sisti for the first out and Marshall set a week infield pop that Sisti also grabbed. Mueller came up for the final chance and hit a screwball back to Potter on two hops. Nels tossed the ball over to Torgy, who jumped up in the air and the celebration commenced, as the Braves were now the winners of the National League pennant.

It took 34 years, a dozen managers and "Three Steam Shovels" to bring Boston the first National League pennant since the legendary miracle men of George Stallings. The only member of the current team who was born at the time, was Frank McCormick, only 15 months old. As the 31,172 Braves fanatics whooped it up after last out, to the band playing "Tessie", a lone figure was seen moving slowly off the playing field. He had on a New York Giants uniform but was weeping tears of joy. His name was Hank Gowdy and he was a hero of the 1914 World Series victory over the Athletics. He was not a part of the victory celebration, but he could not keep back the floodgates of the memory.

 

 
  B R A V E S   F I E L D 

 

 

 

 
 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

 

R H E  
 

NEW YORK GIANTS

 

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

 

 

2

5

1

 
 

BOSTON BRAVES

 

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

x

 

 

3

6

1

 

 

 

W

VERN BICKFORD (10-5)

 

2B

 

M.McCORMICK (BOST)

 

L

LARRY JANSEN (18-12)

 

 

S

NELS POTTER (3)  

3B

   
 

 

 

 

   

ATTENDANCE: 31,172

 

HR

 

ELLIOTT (BOST)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Tommy Holmes rf 4 1 1 .321  

 

Alvin Dark ss 4 1 1 .324  

 

Earl Torgeson 1b 4 0 0 .251  

 

Bob Elliott 3b 4 1 1 .285  

 

Jeff Heath lf 4 0 0 .317  

 

Bill Salkeld c 3 0 0 .247  

 

Phil Masi c 0 0 0 .255  

 

Mike McCormick cf 3 0 1 .301  

 

Sibby Sisti 2b 1 0 1 .244  

 

Vern Bickford p 3 0 1 .217  

 

Nels Potter p 0 0 0 .412  
               
    IP H ER BB SO  

 

Vern Bickford 7 5 2 1 2  
  Nels Potter 2 0 0 1 0  

 

 

         

 

 

 

1948 NATIONAL LEAGUE STANDINGS

 

 

(*) BOSTON BRAVES

87 60 -

 

 

Brooklyn Dodgers 82 67 6

 

 

St. Louis Cardinals 81 67 6 1/2

 

 

Pittsburgh Pirates 81 68 7

 

 

New York Giants 76 73 12

 

 

Philadelphia Phillies 64 86 24 1/2

 

 

Cincinnati Reds 62 86 25 1/2

 

 

Chicago Cubs 61 87 26 1/2

 

 

(*) Clinched National League Pennant