1924 World Series
NY Giants at Washington, Game 7
Senators 4 Giants 3 (12)
Senators win World Series 4-3
1924 World Series Champions!
October 10, 1924. The day the Washington Senators won the World Series for the only time in their 71 year existence. The pitching matchup for this 7th game is Virgil Barnes for the National League champions and, curiously, sore armed Curly Ogden for Washington. Is Bucky Harris crazy? John McGraw, expecting Harris to name a lefthander, now can start Bill Terry against the righthander Ogden. The lefty hitting Terry is 6-for12 in this series, with most of his damage inflicted on Washington’s righthanders. But, McGraw only starts the rookie against righthanders.
Ogden strikes out Fred Lindstrom to start the game. Frank Frisch follows with a walk. At this point, Harris pulls the righthanded Ogden in favor of southpaw George Mogridge. It appears the “Boy Wonder” has outfoxed the legendary McGraw. Now, Terry would have to hit a lefthander. Mogridge retires the final two batters of the 1st, George Kelly and Ross Youngs. Terry grounds out in the 2nd and Harris’ strategy pays off when McGraw removes Terry from the contest in the 6th inning.
Meanwhile, Barnes mows down the first 10 Nats batsmen he faces. With one out in the 4th, Harris collects the first Washington hit that sends the crowd into a frenzy. The manager/2B belts his 2nd home run of the series off the screwballing Barnes to put the Nats in front, 1-0.
Trouble erupts in the top of the 6th. Mogridge walks the leadoff man, Youngs. When Kelly ropes a single to left, Youngs races to third. Irish Meusel, pinch hitting for Terry, lifts a sacrifice fly off Mogridge’s replacement, Firpo Marberry, to knot the score. After a Hack Wilson single places runners at the corners with one away, the Senators self destruct. 1B Joe Judge, in a hurry to get Kelly out at the plate, bobbles a Travis Jackson grounder for an error and a Giants, 2-1 lead. It becomes 3-1 as SS Ossie Bluege commits the second Senators error of the inning, letting a Hank Gowdy ground ball to slip right through his legs. You could have probably heard a pin drop in Griffith Stadium with the Giants up by 2.
The screwball of Barnes continues to befuddle the Senators, who go down 1-2-3 in the 6th and 7th. Going into the 8th, Barnes has retired 19 straight hitters since the Harris home run. It soon becomes number 20 when Bluege fouls out to start the 8th. Next up is Nemo Leibold, pinch hitting for 3B Tommy Taylor. Leibold doubles to left and Muddy Ruel, author of an 0-for-18 series, picks a good time to get his first hit. Ruel hits a liner that tips 1B Kelly’s glove to move Leibold to third. Benny Tate, hitting for Marberry, works out a walk to load the bases. The Washington crowd sags as Earl McNeely hits a shallow fly that is not deep enough to score Leibold for the second out. Bucky Harris, in the biggest at bat of his career, comes through with a clutch double over 3B that scores Leibold and Ruel to tie the game at 3-3. Barnes is sent to the showers in favor of Art Nehf. Nehf induces Sam Rice to ground to second for the third out.
Lets see, who shall replace Marberry on the mound? For Bucky Harris, and baseball fans for that matter, the choice is Walter Johnson. It is only fitting that the Big Train should be the one to win or lose this franchise’s biggest game in their history. Besides being the best pitcher in history, Johnson is synonymous with Washington baseball. Ask a baseball fan to name a player who played on the Washington Senators and Walter Johnson is usually named.
Lindstrom, 4-for-5 off Johnson in game 5, pops out to 3rd to start the 9th. But, Frank Frisch comes up and smokes a triple to center to silence the Sens fans. Youngs is intentionally walked to force a possible inning ending double play. Facing a situation with Frisch 90 feet away from scoring the go-ahead run, Johnson overpowers George Kelly for a strikeout for the second out. Johnson gets Meusel on a grounder to end the tense half inning.
In the last of the 9th, Judge singles with one out. Bluege hits what appears to be a double play ball to SS Jackson, but Jackson errors, allowing the World Series winning run to make it to second. With a chance to be a hero, Ralph Miller grounds to Jackson to start a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat.
The Giants get runners on base in the 10th and 11th frames, but Johnson escapes and bears down to get Gowdy on a double play in to end 10th and strikes out Kelly again to close the 11th. The Nats, now facing game 5 winner, Jack Bentley, almost pull it out in their half of the 11th. Goose Goslin doubles with two outs, but Bluege taps into a fielders choice to force Judge, who had been intentionally walked, at second.
Little did anybody know as the bottom of the 12th began what a memorable and strange half inning it would be. Ralph Miller, in his last ML at bat, grounds out for the first out. Bentley believes the second out is bagged when Ruel hits a pop foul to Giants catcher Gowdy. As Gowdy gets under the ball, his foot gets caught in his own mask. Attempting to shake the mask off, the ball drops harmlessly foul. With a second chance, Ruel doubles down the left field line. Johnson, hitting for himself, smacks a grounder to Jackson, who promptly muffs it for his second error of the afternoon. Late season spark plug Earl McNeely next steps to the dish. McNeely solidly makes contact on Bentley’s pitch and hits a sharp grounder down the third base line. With Lindstrom guarding the line, however, he is in position to field the ball and, at least, step on third for a force out. But, McNeely’s batted ball strikes a pebble in front of Lindstrom, caroming the ball into left field. With Ruel chugging to home, LF Meusel was playing on his heels and was surprised when he spotted the ball coming toward him. So surprised, in fact, Meusel doesn’t even bother throwing home, where he could have had a play. Ruel scores the winning run to send Griffith Stadium into bedlam. The Washington Senators are the world champions!
1925 World Series
Pittsburgh at Washington, Game 3
Senators 4 Pirates 3
Senators lead series 2-1
The World Series resumes following yesterday’s rainout. On a clear, but cold afternoon, mid-season acquisition Alex Ferguson gets the starting nod for the Nats opposed by Pittsburgh’s sophomore 17 game winner, Ray Kremer.
Bill McKechnie’s crew takes a 2nd inning lead when Glenn Wright brings in Pie Traynor on a sacrifice fly. Joe Judge’s 3rd inning RBI single ties it at 1.
Pittsburgh reclaims the advantage in the 4th. Kiki Cuyler scoots home on a Clyde Barnhardt’s run scoring single. The Bucs squander an opportunity to seize control during the same inning with George Gratham popping out with men on second and third and one out. Ferguson issues an intentional pass to Earl Smith and Kremer strikes out to leave the bases loaded. In the top of the 6th, SS Roger Peckinpaugh commits another error, his 4th of the series, on a Wright ground ball. Kremer singles one out later to extend the Pirates margin to 3-1.
Goose Goslin gets one run back in the bottom half of the 6th with a solo home run. The Senators tally two runs in the 7th. Judge’s bases loaded sacrifice fly knots the game at 3. Moon Harris sends Bucky Harris motoring home on a RBI single to give Washington a 4-3 lead and the eventual win.
The highlight of this contest is Sam Rice’s controversial catch while falling into the right center field stands. In the 8th, Earl Smith gets a hold of a Firpo Marberry offering, launching a deep fly to right center. Rice sped to the spot and stretched his glove as far as he could and appeared to snag the ball. Rice’s momentum sent him tumbling into the stands behind the fence. Rice appeared again about 15 seconds later with the ball. Whether Rice lost the ball in those ensuing 15 seconds is still a cause for debate today. Without evidence that Rice lost the ball, the umpire ruled Smith out for the last out of the inning. When McKechnie’s protestations fell on deaf ears with the umpiring crew, McKechnie walked over to Commissioner Landis’ box and asked the judge if he could appeal the play. Landis barked no and the case was closed.
Ferguson pitches 7 innings of 6 hit ball, striking out 5 and walking 4 for the win. Marberry gets his 2nd save of the series, despite getting into a bases loaded jam in the 9th, in which he came out unscathed to wrap up the Nats win.
Also on this day:
1933 As a reward for leading the Nats back into the World Series, Clark Griffith generously signs Joe Cronin to a raise and 3 year contract as the Senators player/manager.
Floyd Wilson Baker B Oct. 10, 1916 D Nov. 17, 2004
Infielder Floyd Baker was signed by the St. Louis Browns in 1938, finally making it to the majors in early May of 1943. Sparingly used by the Browns, Baker would only make it into 22 games in his rookie season, hitting just .174. In 1944, the number of games Baker appeared in would double to 44, however his BA would increase by just 1 point to .175.
(Baker did make it into 2 games of the 1944 World Series with the Browns, going 0-2 at bat.)
Purchased by the Chicago White Sox after the 1944 season, the change of scenery seemed to have done Baker some good-he’d appear in over 100 games in the 1947, ’48 and ’49 seasons, and his BA would increase significantly. Although his playing time would decrease in 1950 to 83 games, he’d have his best career year at the plate, hitting .317.
After 7 years of toiling for the White Sox, Baker would be traded after the 1951 season to the Washington Senators for Willy Miranda.
Baker would play in 79 games for the 1952 Senators, hitting .262.
After just 9 games in a Washington uniform in 1953, Baker would be purchased by the Boston Red Sox, where he’d appear in 81 games, hitting .273.
After a slow start in 1954, Baker would be waived and picked up by the Philadelphia Phillies.
He’d play in 23 games for the 1954 Phillies and 5 in 1955 before being released in mid-May, his major league career coming to an end.
William Orange Forman B Oct. 10, 1886 D Oct. 2, 1958
Senators Short Timer Bill Forman pitched in 2 games for the 1909 Washington team, posting an 0-2 record with a 4.91 ERA.
In 1910, he’d appear in 1 last game, pitching in just 2/3 rds of an inninng, giving up 1 hit and 1 run. He’d be released by the Senators in mid-July.
John Thomas Stone B Oct. 10, 1905 D Nov. 30, 1955
John Stone would first make it to the majors with the Detroit Tigers in late August of 1928. An outfielder, Stone would bat .354 with 10 doubles, 3 triples, 2 home runs and 21 RBI in 26 games. Stone would remain a mainstay in the Tigers outfield from 1930 through 1933, hitting .311 in 1930 and .327 in 1931.
Traded to the Washington Senators after the 1933 season for Goose Goslin, Stone would have 4 excellent seasons in Washington from 1934 through 1937, hitting over .300 each year, the highest .341 in 1936 with 22 doubles, 11 triples, 15 homers and 90 RBI.
In 1938, Stone’s BA would drop markedly and he’d play in his last game in mid-June. Stone had contracted tuberuculosis and would never be able to return to the major leagues.
He did remain active in baseball, serving as a Detroit Tigers scout in his native Tennessee until his early death at age 50 in 1955.