1903 World Series: Game Eight

Wagner struggled in the field and at the plate in the series

Game eight of the 1903 World Series saw the return of the teams to Boston with the Americans up 4 games to 3 in the best of nine series. A win today for the Pirates and the series continues, a loss and they return to Pittsburgh for the long off-season. The game was originally scheduled for Monday October 12th but rain forced the third postponement of the series so the two teams played the following day. The Pirates went with Deacon Phillippe for a fifth time in the series, he had already won three times but at this point he was pitching more on heart and less on the arm that won him 28 games already that year. The Americans went with Bill Dinneen, winner of two games so far but Phillippe had defeated him in game four.

On October 13, 1903 the stage was set for game eight of the series. Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds in Boston hosted 7.455 fans that day hoping to see their hometown Americans finish off the series, while Honus Wagner and the Pittsburgh Pirates hope to win the fight to be able to play one more day that season. The Americans used the same lineups one through eight every game in the series with the only difference being the starting pitcher’s spot. The Pirates made just one change the entire series, Harry Smith caught game two, otherwise everything was the same one through eight in their lineup as well.

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

Bill Dinneen started off the game with a strikeout of Ginger Beaumont and worked through the inning quickly retiring the side in order. Phillippe had a decent first inning as well getting three fly outs although he allowed a one out single to Jimmy Collins. The second inning the Pirates went down in order again, starting with a Wagner fly out and ending with a Claude Ritchey strikeout. In the bottom of the inning Phillippe retired the first two batters on groundballs but Kitty Bransfield made an error on a Hobe Ferris grounder. Lou Criger followed with a single but Deacon was able to strikeout his mound counterpart to end the inning with no damage other than the lineup turning over.

In the third inning Dinneen stayed perfect with three groundouts against the bottom of the order but Phillippe was equal to the task against the top of the Boston order. In the fourth inning with a little help from Dinneen the Pirates finally got a runner, a two out walk to Tommy Leach which in turn allowed Wagner to bat and he collected the team’s first hit of the day, a single to LF that moved Leach to third base. With Bransfield up and two outs, the Pirates tried to steal their first run of the game. Wagner took off for 2B but the Boston catcher, Lou Criger, instead threw to 3B which got Leach in a rundown and he was retired at the plate to end the inning and leave the game scoreless.

In the bottom of the inning Buck Freeman led off with a triple and Boston put a runner on 1B thanks to a fielding error by Ed Phelps on a grounder in front of home plate by Freddy Parent. Freeman stayed at 3B due to where the ball was hit. Candy LaChance moved Parent up to 2B with a sacrifice bunt and Hobe Ferris followed him with a single to CF to make it 2-0 Boston. After a ground out moved Ferris to 2B, Bill Dinneen came up and drove a single to right fielder Jimmy Sebring who threw a strike to Phelps to cut down Ferris at the plate to end the inning and keep the score the same.

In the fifth inning Sebring tried to help out on offense for the struggling Pirates, contributing a two out triple but Dinneen struck out Phelps to end the inning. Just like he did in the third inning, Phillippe retired the top of the Boston lineup in order in the fifth. Dinneen wasn’t as sharp in the bottom of the inning but he got a little help. Phillippe led off the inning with a single but the next batter, Ginger Beaumont struck out and to make things worse for the Pirates, Criger picked Phillippe off first base for a double play. Fred Clarke then got the Pirates fourth hit of the game but Leach left him stranded.

The Boston sixth inning saw Deacon retire the first two batters but Candy LaChance hit a two out triple to set up the Americans third run of the game. It would be Hobe Ferris who was the hero so far this game for the Americans as his single to CF scored LaChance and gave Ferris three RBI’s in the game. Lou Criger singled following him but Dinneen grounded out to end the inning with Boston up 3-0 and time running out for the Pirates.

Dinneen retired Wagner to start the seventh inning and after a two out walk to Claude Ritchey, he got a ground out back to the mound by Sebring to end the inning. In the bottom of the inning, Phillippe retired the first two batters but a Chick Stahl grounder to SS resulted in the sixth error of the series by Wagner. Deacon got out of the inning on the next batter so no harm was done by the error but Wagner’s poor series wasn’t done quite yet.

The eighth inning was very quiet on both sides, each starting pitcher retired the side in order but without three runs or more, Phillippe and the Pirates were done for the series.

Clarke led off the ninth inning with a flyball to LF for the first out. Leach, who started the series well, was nearly non-existent the last two games going a combined 0-8 after hitting .360 the first six games of the series. As for the Pirates last hope, Honus Wagner was considered by many as the best player in baseball but this series he failed to prove his supporters right. With two outs and the Pirates season on the line, Wagner struck out to end the game giving the Boston Americans the 1903 World Series title. Honus hit just .222 in the series with just one extra base hit, a double and of course, he also made those six errors in the field as well as some early series base running mistakes.

Phillippe ended up pitching 44 innings that series, 18 more than the rest of his teammates combined. He won three games, was noticeably tired but gave it everything he had in trying to help the Pirates to the title but it was not to be for Pittsburgh this year. The Pirates were strong with pitching during the season getting a combined 66 wins from Phillippe, Sam Leever and Ed Doheny but it was the lack of pitching in the series that hurt them although the effort put forth by Phillippe in game eight was outstanding considering the circumstances.

For a review of the entire series I included links here for the preview of the series and well as the first seven games


game one

game two

game three

game four

game five

game six

game seven

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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.

1903 World Series: Game Seven

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Finding Pitching in 1904

  • Anonymous

    You should write for cooperstown

  • Anonymous

    Thanks but I like it here at Pirates Prospects. Don’t think too many people in the town of Cooperstown care that much about the Pirates minor league system and that is the real meat and potatoes of this site. The history stuff is just so people know where the Pirates franchise comes from and where they have been. Also helps to kill time during the off-season, especially the next month or so and in January when there isn’t much actual news to report.

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