TED WILLIAMS CROSSES THE PLATE
SPAHN & SAIN and PRAY FOR RAIN ...
The Sox pummel the Braves
as tempers flare
April 16, 1948 ... The
Red Sox knocked off the Braves and former army private Earl Torgeson
bunched former army major Billy Hitchcock on the point of the chin
with a left jab. Torgeson didn't flatten Hitchcock, but his teammates
broke Boston's baseball season wide open with a 24 hit barrage, as
the Red Sox pummeled the Braves 19 to 6, in the third game of the
"City Series" before 12,630 spectators at Braves field.
Williams operated on the Braves himself, as he smacked his first home run of the
season, and one of the best of his career, over the dead centerfield fence,
knocked in four runs and scored two others in this one-sided affair. Anything
that didn't occur in this game probably will occur in the next one, when the
fourth city game takes place at Fenway Park. Nothing, however, could surpass
this fiasco, when the teams assured themselves of a packed house and tempers
flared with Torgeson, the Braves firstbaseman, trading punches the Sox newcomer,
Hitchcock in the fourth inning.
Hitchcock, making his first Red Sox appearance, was pinch hitting for Joe
Dobson. Sam Mele had doubled and was on second base when Hitchcock grounded one
back to pitcher Ed Wright. Wright had Mele caught between second and third when
Alvin Dark tagged him out. When Hitchcock rounded first, a quick throw was made
by Torgeson. The ball hit Hitchcock as he slid back to first and bounded away
some 15 feet beyond the bag near the box seats. Torgeson started to retrieve it
and hold Hitchcock on first. But Hitchcock wasn't going anywhere as he soon
proved. He grabbed Torgeson's legs as the firstbaseman started chasing the ball.
Torgeson stumbled and started again and Hitchcock yanked at his leg one more
time. Torgeson at that point dropped his glove and started for Hitchcock. As
Hitchcock got up Torgeson let fly a left-handed punch that caught him on the
Ted Williams and the rest of the team charged from the Sox dugout and Eddie
Stanky led the charge from the dugout of the Braves. Williams main objective was
to separate the players and Stanky had the same idea. So after both teams held
what, looked like a town meeting at first base, both Torgeson and Hitchcock were
ejected from the game.
As odd as it may seem, some baseball was played, but most of it was on the
part of the Red Sox. The Braves did score 6 runs on 11 hits as Stanky and Phil
Masi were the only Braves to get more than one. The Sox powdered Johnny Sain,
Clyde Shoun, Ed Wright and Red Barrett in rapid succession. Before the first
three innings were completed, the Braves had rushed three pitchers to the mound.
JOE McCARTHY & BILLY SOUTHWORTH
Williams started with a single to center off Sain against the "Williams
Shift". He homered with two men on against Shoun in the second inning. The homer
was a thing of beauty, according to the Red Sox players. On a 3-0 pitch, the
ball was sent flying high and far over the centerfield barrier. The mark at that
point is 390 feet and there's no telling how far it would've gone up in the
centerfield bleachers at Fenway Park. Ted singled to left in the fifth inning,
reached on an error in the eighth, and scored both times. He didn't hit one to
right-field all afternoon against the shift. Williams' performance alone was
almost sufficient to beat the Braves, but he had plenty of help as the Sox piled
up 24 base hits of all types.
Dominic DiMaggio had four hits, Johnny Pesky had three, Billy Goodman had
four and Sam Mele had four. Vern Stephens hit the left-field fence while some of
the other blows were close to it. Billy Goodman, who was buried in the minor
leagues last season, had himself a field day, filling in for Bobby Doerr.
Besides scoring four of the runs, Goodman had three singles and a long double
that brought in two runs. He also participated in two doubleplays.
For the second straight outing Johnny Sain was hit hard. The Red Sox beat him
off the mound with four runs and five hits and one in the third innings. Pesky
had a triple against him. Clyde Shoun was up next on the chopping block. He gave
six runs and five hits, including Ted's home run, and 1 1/3 innings. Ed Wright
was hit for four runs in five hits in 2 2/3 innings and Red Barrett allow the
last five runs.
Joe Dobson gave up one run and two hits in three innings and Denny Galehouse
followed, giving up three more. Harry George completed the game as the Braves
fashion their last two final runs.