1914: Winning in Boston, part 2

1914 World Series program from Boston

1914 World Series program from Boston

With the Braves up three games to none, Philadelphia did something that still surprises me, it went with its fourth pitcher for the fourth game (a lot of fours and fourths there, right?). I’m a bit surprised that Connie Mack didn’t go back to Chief Bender to right the ship rather than put the pressure on 23-year-old Bob Shawkey. I realize that Bender hadn’t done particularly well in game one, but, unlike Shawkey, he had World Series experience. By contrast, Braves manager George Stallings (pictured above) went back to game one starter Dick Rudolph.

Game 4

For three innings, picking Shawkey worked. He gave up one walk and nothing else. Rudolph wasn’t quite as good, giving up three hits, but neither team scored. In the bottom of the fourth Johnny Evers walked and went to third on a Possum Whitted single. He scored on a Butch Schmidt ground out to short. The A’s even the score in the top of the fifth on a Jack Barry single and a double by Shawkey.

The decisive inning was the bottom of the fifth. With two outs, Rudolph singled. Herbie Moran followed with a double sending Rudolph to third. With runners on second and third and two outs Hall of Fame second baseman Johnny Evers singled to bring home both runs and put the Braves up 3-1. Rudolph set Philadelphia down in order in the sixth. He was in trouble in the seventh when he walked Jimmy Walsh, then wild pitched him to second. Then Barry struck out and Boston catcher Hank Gowdy threw down to second baseman Evers to pick off Walsh for the second out. Wally Schang struck out to end the inning. It was the last crisis. The Athletics went down in order in the eighth then a strikeout and consecutive ground outs in the top of the ninth finished the game and the Series.

Boston’s victory was, and still is, one of the greatest World Series upsets ever. There are two obvious questions to answer. What did Boston do right? What went wrong for the A’s?

First, Boston’s pitching was excellent. Both Rudolph and Bill James were 2-0. James’ ERA was 0.00 and Rudolph had all of 0.50 for his ERA (team ERA of 1.15). As a team they gave up only 22 hits and 13 walks in 39 innings (WHIP of 0.897), while striking out 28. Additionally James had one complete game shutout (the other win came in relief).

Second, the Braves hit well up and down their lineup. Their team batting average was .244. Every player appearing in three or more games (nine) had at least one hit. Every one of them scored at least one run, and seven of them had at least one RBI. Johnny Evers led the team with seven hits and Hank Gowdy had six. Gowdy and Rabbit Maranville each had three RBIs to lead the team. Gowdy hit .545 with the series only home run. He also had one of two series triples (Whitted had the other). That, along with five walks, gave him on OBP of .688, a slugging percentage of 1.273, and an OPS of 1.960. There was no series MVP in 1914. Had there been one, Gowdy most likely would have won it.

By contrast, the Athletics pitching staff was awful. Their collective ERA was 3.41 with Chief Bender clocking in at 10.13. Eddie Plank gave up one run in a complete game, but lost it to James’ shutout. As a team, they gave up 33 hits and 15 walks (WHIP of 1.297) over 37 innings. And they struck out only 18 (all of three more than they had walks).

Other than Home Run Baker, who only hit .250, the A’s hit poorly. Baker had two RBIs and four hits to lead the team and tied for the team lead with two doubles (of nine). Stuffy McInnis and Eddie Murphy were the only players to score more than a single run (each had two). The team average was .172 with an OBP of .248 and a slugging percentage of .242 for an OPS of .490 (six Braves players had OPS numbers greater than Philadelphia’s combined OPS). The team had no triples or home runs and stole only two bases (versus nine for Boston).

It was a complete victory for Boston. And, as with many World Series it marked the end for both teams. The Braves slipped back into second next year and went south from there. For the A’s it was the end of a five-year run. By 1916 they had the worst record in baseball (a lot of the stars were gone). For Boston it would be their last pennant until 1948 and their last championship ever. The next time the Braves won was 1957 and by then they were in Milwaukee.

As an interesting bit of trivia, in 1914 the teams apparently didn’t yet get rings. It seems someone made up one for Johnny Evers (maybe Evers himself). Here’s a picture of it.

Johnny Evers 1914 ring

Johnny Evers 1914 ring

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6 Responses to “1914: Winning in Boston, part 2”

  1. steve Says:

    I was looking at the attendance figures for the last 2 games in Boston and neither one was apparently a sell out. Braves Field was the first stadium to seat 40,000 people, yet Game 3 was 35,520 and game 4 dropped to 34,365.

    Doesn’t seem like much by today’s standards, but still surprising that there wouldn’t be standing room only or long lines waiting to get in there. It was the World Series after all. Fenway Park was amazingly close to Braves Field too so I woulda figured some hardcore Red Sox fans mighta splurged for some tickets at the last minute. There musta been some form of scalping back then.

    Anyway, didn’t appear to be a seat last night in KC and according to Erin Andrews tickets were going for a year’s salary….poverty line, but still a salary. Anyway, I enjoyed this look at the 1914 series..a very important one for Boston.

    Just wanted to add that the Jimmy Fund made so popular by Ted Williams and the Red Sox began in Boston, but with the Braves when a child with cancer was visited by some Boston Braves players.

  2. glenrussellslater Says:

    …And don’t forget about the 1973 season with the A’s attendance

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=YZwgAAAAIBAJ&sjid=x2cFAAAAIBAJ&pg=2346%2C2189036

  3. glenrussellslater Says:

    I’ve enjoyed reading this series on the 1914 World Series, too, V.

    Long before “The Miracle Mets”, there were “The Miracle Braves”.

    Glen

  4. sportsphd Says:

    Let me give you some numbers. In the Series, Braves pitchers walked 3 per 9 innings, gave up 5.08 hits per 9, and struck out 6.46 batters per 9. As you noted, that’s a 0.897 WHIP and 1.15 ERA.

    In 1914 Walter Johnson walked 1.8 per 9, gave up 6.9 hits per 9, and struck out 5.4. He had a .971 WHIP and 1.72 ERA, winning 28 games and worth 11.9 WAR. He was better the year before, with 14.6 WAR, 36 wins, 1.39 ERA and 0.780 WHIP. The poor A’s basically faced peak Walter Johnson-level pitching for 4 straight games. No wonder they lost.

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