1903 World Series: Game Four

After the Pirates won game three by a 4-2 score the best of nine 1903 World Series shifted to Pittsburgh for as many as four games. This was the first postseason appearance for a Pittsburgh team so this was the first postseason game in the city’s history. As mentioned in an earlier article, there were previous postseasons in MLB history but the 1903 series is considered the first one in modern history. Game three was played on a Saturday which gave the two teams a day off for travel before the series was to pick back up on Monday afternoon. That day was very rainy in Pittsburgh and both managers agreed that the park, especially the outfield which flooded easy being so close to the Allegheny River, was unfit for baseball so game four was pushed back to October 6th.

The delay gave Deacon Phillippe an extra day rest. Despite the fact he had already pitched two games and was exhausted following game three, the Pirates had to go to him for game four. Sam Leever was still unable to pitch and with Ed Doheny gone, their only other options were seldom used reserve pitchers such as Gus Thompson and Bucky Veil or going to Brickyard Kennedy, who was a very good pitcher at one time (he won 187 games in his career) but at age 35 and three years removed from his last good season, the Pirates were reluctant to use him.

Game four was now set to go on Tuesday October 6, 1903, Phillippe would face off against game two starter, Bill Dinneen, who threw a three hit shutout with 11 strikeouts. On that day, mostly due to the weather, just 7600 fans showed up to Exposition Park in Pittsburgh, many of them Boston fans known as the Royal Rooters, that made the trip to cheer on their team. The lineups were exactly the same as game three except for Dinneen batting in the pitcher’s spot.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Ginger Beaumont CF
Fred Clarke LF
Tommy Leach 3B
Honus Wagner SS
Kitty Bransfield 1B
Claude Ritchey 2B
Jimmy Sebring RF
Ed Phelps C
Deacon Phillippe P

Boston Americans
Patsy Dougherty LF
Jimmy Collins 3B
Chick Stahl CF
Buck Freeman RF
Freddy Parent SS
Candy LaChance 1B
Hobe Ferris 2B
Lou Criger C
Bill Dinneen P

Phillippe opened the game up strong retiring the side quickly in the first with a groundout and two infield pop ups. The Pirates came up in the first having collected just three hits off Dinneen in his shutout start but the first batter of the game, Ginger Beaumont, led off with a single. After a groundout that forced out Beaumont at 2B and flyout, Honus Wagner laced a two out single to the gap which moved Fred Clarke up to 2B. Kitty Bransfield followed him with a single to CF that scored Clarke but Wagner was thrown out at 3B. It was the second time in two games that his aggressive baserunning ended an inning and a potential rally.

In the second inning, Deacon allowed his first base hit of the game to Freddie Parent but the Americans went down with a run. The Pirates also didn’t score in the second inning but an Eddie Phelps bunt single already gave them more hits than they had in game two off Dinneen.

Phillippe was the Pirates only reliable healthy starter for game four

In the third inning Phillippe retired the side in order and recorded his first strikeout. Through three he had faced just one over the minimum. The Pirates continued to make Dinneen work hard but were unable to score again in the third. Fred Clarke had a one out single and moved to 3B on a two out single by Honus Wagner, who then stole 2B. They were left stranded when Dinneen struck out Bransfield to end the inning.

Deacon had a fast fourth inning although he nearly gave up a run on a long drive to CF from Buck Freeman that Beaumont was able to run down for the final out of the inning. The Pirates went down even easier in the bottom of the inning as Dinneen had no trouble with the bottom of the order this time through.

The Pirates ran into a little trouble in the 5th, the first sign that the workload was getting to Phillippe. He allowed a one out single to Candy LaChance, who was then moved to 2B on a groundout. Lou Criger came up with two outs. He had batted just .192 during the season and was hitless so far in the series so it was a bit of a surprise when he dropped in a single to RF which scored LaChance. The throw home allowed Criger to advance to 2B. Deacon was able to get his pitching counterpart to groundout to 3B to end the top of inning.

With the score tied now in the bottom of the inning Dinneen returned the favor, retiring Phillippe on a strikeout to start the inning. Beaumont followed him with a long drive to CF that fell in behind Chick Stahl and allowed the speedy Beaumont to get to 3B for a triple. Up stepped Fred Clarke with a chance to put the Pirates ahead but he fouled out to the catcher. Tommy Leach was able to pick up the manager by getting a two out single to score Beaumont to make it 2-1. Wagner already had two hits but couldn’t make it three as Dinneen struck him out to end the inning.

Each team had one base runner in the sixth inning but failed to score. Chick Stahl had a two out single while Claude Ritchey drew a one out walk but both runners were stranded at first base. In the 7th the Americans led off with a runner as Bransfield dropped a throw from Leach to allow Freddie Parent to reach base but the next batter lined out to Ritchey at 2B and Parent was doubled off. Phillippe induced a groundout to end the inning giving him 7 innings pitched with four hits and one run allowed up to that point.

In the bottom of the inning Dinneen started to show signs of fatigue and the Pirates pounced on him. Phillippe led off with a single to LF and moved to 2B on an error by Dougherty out in left. Beaumont then tried to bunt the runner over but was able to reach on what turned out to be a single. Phillippe faked towards home and drew a throw which allowed Beaumont to move up. Clarke again came up in a big spot but flew out to shallow LF, not deep enough to score a run, especially with the pitcher running. Once again Leach was able to pick up Clarke as he hit a triple to RF that scored 2 runs and put the Pirates up 4-1. Wagner followed with a single, his third hit of the game, to make it 5-1 where it stayed after 7 innings.

Both teams went down in order in the 8th which led to Phillippe trying to throw his third complete game over a six day span. He had looked great through eight innings but the fatigue really showed in the 9th and no one was warming up for the Pirates so it was his game to finish. Jimmy Collins led off the inning with a single, just the 5th hit by Boston. He was moved to 3B on a single by Stahl. The AL RBI champ, Buck Freeman stepped out with runners on the corner and no outs and made it a three run game with a single that scored Collins and moved Stahl to 3B.

Freddie Parent followed with a groundout to SS but the Pirates only got the out at 2B, Stahl scored and it was now 5-3 with one out and a man on 1B. Phillippe was running on fumes at this point but it was still his game to win or lose even after Boston loaded the bases with two more singles. Boston now went to the bench, despite his run scoring single earlier in the game, Lou Criger was pinch hit for by Duke Farrell who also batted in the 9th inning of game one. Farrell lifted a flyball to Clarke out in LF deep enough to bring home the runner to make in 5-4 with two outs.

Boston again went to the bench, this time to bat for Dinneen, calling on Jack O’Brien who also batted in the 9th inning of game one. With two outs, two runners on and an exhausted Phillippe on the mound, the Deacon was able to get O’Brien to pop up to Ritchey at 2B and secure a Pirates win. Phillippe was now 3-0 in the series and with three games left at home the Pirates were just two wins away from winning the first World Series.

Next week we will see how the Pirates had to make do with one reliable pitcher and the all-time winningest pitcher ever in Cy Young, on the mound facing them trying to get Boston back in the series. The Pirates were forced to go to Brickyard Kennedy for the game but they were up 3-1 in the series so it made the decision to use him a bit easier. He had made just one start since August 9th and had not won a game in over two months. The 35 year old pitcher was 9-6 3.45 in the regular season but was very rusty at that point so this would be a big test for both him and the Pirates.

Author: John Dreker

John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.

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