BREAKS HIS ANKLE
SPAHN & SAIN and PRAY FOR RAIN ...
The Braves win but lose Jeff Heath
September 29, 1948 ... Jeff
Heath, the Braves top slugger, fractured his leg on the slide into
home and was carried off the field on a stretcher. The accident
occurred in the sixth inning of the game in Brooklyn that the Braves
won 4 to 3.
Heath had tried to score from second base on a single by Bill Salkeld. The
Braves were leading 3 to 0 at the time, there were two outs and coach Johnny
Cooney was in the third-base coach's box. Heath seemed to be making up his mind
whether to slide or not, and at the last moment, made a halfhearted slide toward
the infield portion of the plate, as Ray Campanella was reaching for the ball.
The throw from Gene Hermanski arrived well ahead of Heath, but the spikes on
Jeff's left shoe appeared to catch in the hard clay and twisted his ankle back.
Heath rolled around on his back in pain, holding his left leg, as umpires,
players and ushers rushed to his aid. Duffy Lewis, the Braves road secretary,
was one of the first on the scene, hopping over the box seat wall near the
Braves dugout. Dr. Dominic Rossi assisted in carrying Jeff to the Dodgers'
locker room. Dr Herbert Fette, a bone specialist, was called at Swedish
Hospital, in Brooklyn, to handle the situation.
Obviously Heath is done with baseball for the year and will remain in Swedish
Hospital for two or three days. He has batted .320, hit 20 home runs with a 77
RBIs. It is believed that Marv Rickert will be called up from the Milwaukee farm
club to take his place. The parallel between the 1914 and 1948 Braves continued
as it was remembered that Red Smith broke his ankle on a slide into third base,
in Brooklyn, just before the start of the 1914 World Series.
The Braves won the game and the injury to Heath completely overshadowed a
great exhibition by Johnny Sain, who ran into trouble late in the game, but
managed to chalk up his 23rd victory and 28th complete game of the season. The
Braves knocked out the fast balling Rex Barney for the fourth time this year. He
proved no problem at all to Tommy Holmes, who went three for four. The game was
won by Sibbi Sisti, who took over again for Eddie Stanky, at second, in the
Dodgers seventh inning.
Sibbi came to bat in the ninth-inning, with the game tied 3 to 3, against
Harry Taylor and had Phil Masi, who was pinch running for Salkeld, on second
base. He was down two strikes and one ball, when he belted a hard single over
second base to score the go-ahead winning run.
The injury to Heath opened a display of resentment by Red Sox players, who
made a joke about his injury. It seems the Braves had expressed a desire to play
the Cleveland Indians in the World Series rather than the Red Sox. Therefore Sox
players had no sympathy and told newspaper reporters as such. It started last
Sunday when the Braves clinched the pennant and in their clubhouse celebration
they all said they were hoping to play Cleveland. It wasn't because they dislike
the Red Sox, but playing Cleveland would mean at least $2000 for each player
because of the bigger ballpark and the larger attendance.