TED HITS A WALK-OFF
THE CURSE OF
THE BAMBINO, PART 4
FALLING SHORT AT THE END AGAIN
Ted Williams gets the
in a nail biter
August 15, 1949 ... Ted
Williams slammed out a game-winning single in the last 11th inning to
give the Red Sox their seventh straight win with a 3 to 2 score, in
one of the top thrillers of this baseball season. The Washington
Senators gave a good effort to try and break the Red Sox streak when
they tied up the game at 1 to 1 in the ninth-inning, but lost the
game two innings later.
Sid Hudson pitched brilliantly and
effectively for the Nats for 10 innings, and Joe Dobson equaled Hudson's effort.
The first hit off Dobson was a double by Roberto Ortiz to open the second inning
and the next hit was a double by Hudson, with one out in the eighth. He retired
the Senators on six pitches in both the third and fourth innings.
Hudson should have had a nine inning shutout because the first run of the
night was given to the Red Sox by Sam Dente. It was the fourth inning and with
two outs, Al Zarilla was on second base with a double that he had sliced down
the left-field line. He had done the same in the first inning but got thrown out
by Ortiz, the left fielder. Once again Zarilla streaked toward second but this
time was able to beat the throw.
Then after Ted Williams flew out, Vern Stephens hit a slow roller toward
short. Dente came in fast for the ball and didn't have a chance to get Stephens
but tried anyways. The throw went in the dirt and bounced by Sam Mele at first
base, rolling into the Red Sox dugout and allowing Zarilla to walk home.
Up 1 to 0, for eight innings Dobson had a two-hit shutout. But he ran into
some tough luck in the ninth-inning. Ortiz slammed one down the third-base line
and the ball struck the bag, preventing Merle Coombs, who was filling in for
Johnny Pesky, to make a play on it. Buddy Lewis next slammed a doubled just
inside the third-base line into left field, that sent Ortiz over to third-base.
Dobson struck out Yost and handed Dente an intentional pass to fill the bases
with the slow footed Jake Early up next. But Jake lifted a fly ball out to
Williams against the left-field fence and Ortiz was able to score easily after
the catch to tie the game.
With the score tied, in the top of the 11th inning, Clyde Vollmer sliced a
drive to left-field. Williams started late for the ball and overran the ball as
it curved to his right. Ted had to stick his hand across his body and was unable
to hold onto the ball. The misplay started the Senators off with the tie
breaking run. Dobson then walked Buddy Lewis. But he got help when Birdie
Tebbetts picked Lewis off first base on the next pitch. Dobson got Eddie Yost
out on a pop fly, but then Sam Dente lined a single to right that scored John
Simmons, who ran for Vollmer, with the tiebreaking run, 2 to 1.
Then came the bottom of the 11th and Billy Goodman, who was back in the
lineup, stroked a pinch-hit double to start off the inning. Tommy O'Brien was
sent in to pinch-hit for Dobson and tried to bunt Goodman over to third. But all
he managed was a foul pop up which the catcher, Early, corralled for the first
out. It brought up Dom DiMaggio and he clipped a fastball on the button, rapping
it high off the left-field fence, bringing Goodman home with the tying run. Al
Zarilla followed and rolled out to second base while Dom moved over to third.
Up came Williams with two outs and two bases empty. Everyone in the park
thought the play would be to intentionally walk Ted and the red hot, Vern
Stephens, also to set up the force. But manager Joe Kuhel decided to pitch to
Ted. Hudson got the count to one and one, before he gave a pitch that Ted met
solidly and lined it to right-center, bringing Dom home with the walkoff winning
This important 19th win gave the Red Sox successful 23 wins in the homestand,
and enabled them to move to 2 1/2 games ahead of the league-leading Yankees who
lost to the Philadelphia Athletics. When the Sox started the homestand they were
7 1/2 games out.