THE BEST SEASON IN BOSTON'S BASEBALL HISTORY

BIRDIE TEBBETTS

BOSTON RED SOX ...
THE CURSE OF THE BAMBINO, PART 3
A
SUBWAY SERIES DISAPPEARS ...
A fight and a loss for the Red Sox

May 6, 1948 ... The Red Sox varied their Fenway Park double feature for the 16,000 chilled fans, by offering a ballgame that ended in a run-a-way, and a fight that ended in the runway. Incidental to the unscheduled fisticuffs between the Red Sox catcher Birdie Tebbetts and the Tigers rookie firstbaseman George Vico, was the Tigers 6 to 3 victory, but it was quickly overlooked by the most spectacular flare-up seen in a major league ballpark in years.

The aftermath of the Tebbetts and Vico melee, which found chief umpire Tommy Connolly and the four arbiters, who worked the game, noncommittal on all accounts, may result in suspensions and fines for the fighting in the field and in the runway beneath the stands that leads to the Tigers' locker room.

The Tigers, down 3 to 1, with starter Hal Newhowser in the showers, a victim of a three run Red Sox first inning uprising, were slowly fighting their way back into the ballgame in their half of the fourth inning when it happened. With one down, Jimmy Outlaw singled to right and George Vico lined a base hit to left, with Outlaw holding at second. Catcher Bob Swift then connected for his second hit of the game, a double off the left centerfield wall that scored Outlaw with Vico pulling up at third-base. A squeeze play was put on by the Tigers and their pitcher Hal White missed one of Sox pitcher Jack Kramer serves, with Vico charging down the third-base line and trapped dead. Tebbetts grabbed the ball and sped down the line as Vico started to backtrack. The Sox catcher reached him and with his momentum, partially fell over the Tiger runner, making the tag as he did so. Tebbetts' shin guard apparently cracked against Vico's head and the Tiger rookie arose with the pair apparently facing each other down with heated words. Suddenly Vico, after a moments deliberation, let go with a wild right hand at Tebbetts, who still had his mask on. Tebbetts flipped off the mask and charged at Vico, as the entire personnel of each club came out of the dugout, either wanting to break it up, or get in on it.

Umpire Red Jones did a good job of holding back Vico, while the other three umpires and players grabbed onto Tebbetts. Both players were ejected from the game and the episode seem to end. Vico suffered a cut right thumb when he hit the catcher's mask. However, Tebbetts waited for Vico in the runway leading to the Tigers locker room. Umpire Jones escorted Vico off the field after Tebbetts, but three of the Tigers players also disappeared down the runway just in case. A moment later Jones poked his head above the dugout and called for the police.

The Tigers players declared that Tebbetts waited for Vico in the runway and challenged him to continue. The rookie took him up on it and the fight continued. Vico emerged with a cut left eye after the police and the umpires again parted the contestants, who retired to their respective clubhouses. Tebbetts reportedly only suffered a cut nose, administered by pitcher Al Benton of the Tigers, in protecting Vico.

Paul Campbell took over for Vico and Matt Batts took over for Tebbetts as umpire Jones restarted the game. Pitcher Hal White was still up after missing the squeeze play and doubled to left, scoring Swift who had previously doubled. Johnny Lipon lifted a fly ball out to Sam Mele, but the game was tied at 3 to 3.

The Red Sox had scored their three runs off Hal Newhowser in the first inning. The Tigers had scored a run to start the game on a walk to Lipon, a fielder's choice by Eddie Mayo, and singles by George Kell and Pat Mullin. Johnny Pesky had drilled a single to right as did Ted Williams, with Dom DiMaggio scoring on the Williams hit, that allowed Pesky to also reach third. Vern Stephens then hit one safely through the hole at short to score Pesky. Jake Jones doubled to left for another run and that was it for Newhowser. White came in the game and proceeded to keep the Sox down for the rest of the way.

White walked DiMaggio, Pesky and Williams in order, in the second inning, but recovered to get Stephens and Bobby Doerr on infield pop-ups and strikeout Jake Jones.

The Tigers then got busy on Jack Kramer, practically winning the game in the fifth inning. Singles by Kell and Evers preceded Outlaw's double and gave the Tigers a 5 to 3 lead, which would be all they would need. Kramer departed the premises as Sox pitcher Al Dorish came in to retire Paul Campbell.

Detroit then put the game out of reach in the sixth inning on a single by Swift, a walk to White, a single by Mayo, a booted ground ball by Stephens on Kell's grounder, with Mullin hitting a sacrifice fly and a single by Evers, for three more Tigers runs, and an 8 to 3 final score.

After the game Tigers manager Steve O'Neill stated that Vico said that he thought Tebbetts and hit him with the ball when tagging him not realizing he had bumped against the shin guard.

 

F   E   N   W   A   Y     P   A   R   K

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

 

R

H

E

 
 

DETROIT TIGERS

1

0

0

2

2

3

0

0

0

 

 

8

15

0

 
 

BOSTON RED SOX

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

 

 

3

9

1

 

 

W-Hal White (1-0)
L-Jack Kramer (1-1)
Attendance - 15,960

 2B-Swift (Det), White (Det), Outlaw (Det), Jones (Bost)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Dom DiMaggio cf 4 1 1 .175  

 

Johnny Pesky 3b 3 1 1 .267  

 

Ted Williams lf 4 1 1 .385  

 

Vern Stephens ss 5 0 2 .267  

 

Bobby Doerr 2b 4 0 0 .214  

 

Jake Jones 1b 4 0 1 .214  

 

Sam Mele rf 4 0 2 .220  

 

Birdie Tebbetts c 1 0 0 .238  

 

Matt Batts c 1 0 0 .167  

 

Jack Kramer p 2 0 0 .167  

 

Harry Dorish p 1 0 0 .333  

 

Billy Goodman ph 1 0 1 .500  

 

Chuck Stobbs p 0 0 0 .000  
               
    IP H ER BB SO  
  Jack Kramer 4.2 10 5 1 2  
  Harry Dorish 3.1 5 1 1 2  
  Chuck Stobbs 1 0 0 1 1  

 

 

         

 

 

 

1948 AMERICAN LEAGUE STANDINGS

 

 

Philadelphia Athletics 9 5 -

 

 

New York Yankees 8 5 1/2

 

 

Cleveland Indians 6 4 1

 

 

BOSTON RED SOX 7 7 2

 

 

Washington Senators 7 7 2

 

 

St. Louis Browns 5 6 2 1/2

 

 

Detroit Tigers 7 9 3

 

 

Chicago White Sox 3 9 5