1903 World Series: Game Seven
Game seven of the 1903 World Series was originally scheduled for Friday October 9th. That day in Pittsburgh was brutally cold so the game was postponed until Saturday. The off-day gave Pirates ace, Deacon Phillippe, an added day of much needed rest for his arm. He had pitched games one, three and four already winning all three games. The Pirates had lost games five and six without him on the mound and the best of nine series was now tied at three games apiece. This meant that no matter what happened in game seven, the series would be shifting back to Boston putting the series in favor of the Americans now. This was a crucial game for Pittsburgh because Phillippe at this point was their only healthy reliable pitcher and even he was running on fumes at the end of his last two starts so the Pirates really had their backs against the wall.
On Saturday October 10, 1903 at Exposition Park in Pittsburgh the Pirates and Boston Americans squared off in front of 17,038 fans. The Americans had Cy Young on the mound that day and he had pitched brilliantly in game five shutting down the Pirates offense. The teams ran out the same position players and lineups(besides the pitcher’s spot) they had used for all but game two of the series. It was in fact the same exact lineup one through nine as game one of the series.
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
Patsy Dougherty LF
Jimmy Collins 3B
Chick Stahl CF
Buck Freeman RF
Freddy Parent SS
Candy LaChance 1B
Hobe Ferris 2B
Lou Criger C
Cy Young P
In the first inning the Americans came out strong. After a leadoff out, Jimmy Collins and Chick Stahl hit back to back triples putting Boston on the scoreboard early. Buck Freeman then grounded out to 2B and Claude Ritchey decided to try to cut down the run at home but Eddie Phelps dropped the ball allowing the run to score and just four batters into the game the Pirates were already in a 2-0 hole with just one out. Pittsburgh got a little help as an aggressive but slow Freeman tried to steal 2B and was cut down. Freddie Parent would then groundout to end the inning.
The Pirates managed just two runs and six hits off Young in his complete game victory in game five and they did that with help from Boston’s defense. In this game they led off with a single from Ginger Beaumont and followed that with Fred Clarke reaching on a Boston error but the Pirates could not cash in as Tommy Leach grounded into a double play and the struggling Honus Wagner struck out to end the inning.
In the 2nd inning each team managed a single but failed to score. In the Pirates case, it was a hit by Jimmy Sebring who was thrown out trying to steal 2B to end the inning. Phillippe retired Boston in order in the third inning while the Pirates had what looked like a rally of their own going. Phillippe had a one out single and with two outs Fred Clarke and the Pirates had more help from the poor Boston defense as a groundout to 3B that would’ve ended the inning turned into a 1st and 3rd situation for the Pirates. Tommy Leach was playing well in the series up until this game but he struck out to end the inning, the second time he failed to come through with two men on. The Pirates now had five runners through three innings and nothing to show for it.
While the Pirates were throwing away scoring chances the Americans began to hit Phillippe hard. In the fourth inning Freeman and Hobe Ferris each tripled. Freeman scored the third run for Boston on a groundout by Parent while Ferris came home with the fourth run following a single by Lou Criger. The Pirates were now in big trouble, down four runs and facing Cy Young was a huge hole to dig themselves. They tried to chip away in the bottom of the inning, After a leadoff groundout by Wagner, Kitty Bransfield hit the game’s fifth triple and then scored on a groundout by Ritchey to make it 4-1 after four innings.
I should mention again that there seems to be an amazing amount of triples but the old stadiums only held so many fans and when more people wanted to get in they made room for them on the field by putting up ropes. Any ball hit into the crowd in the outfield but not over the wall was a ground rule triple and with a huge crowd for game seven the outfield got that much smaller. Most of these triples would’ve likely been doubles under normal circumstances.
The fifth inning produced no runs, only a bunt base hit by Patsy Dougherty and an error by Jimmy Collins that allowed Phelps to reach. Ginger Beaumont reached on a fielders choice with Phelps retired at 2B but Beaumont was thrown out trying to steal to end the inning.
In the sixth the Americans scored their fifthand sixth runs with some small ball. Parent had an infield single and Candy LaChance tried to sacrifice him to 2B but he reached on a fielding error by Phillippe. After Ferris got both runners over with a bunt, Criger drove in his 2nd and 3rd runs of the game with a single to RF scoring Parent and LaChance. The Pirates came back with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning with a leadoff triple by Fred Clarke followed by a one out squeeze bunt by Wagner. Considering they were down by five runs with Young on the mound and it was getting late in the game it seemed like an odd move by the league’s best hitter to play for one run.
The seventh inning was much like the fifth inning. Boston had a single by Stahl but he was thrown out trying to steal and all the Pirates could muster was a one out walk to Phelps who never got past first base. In the 8th inning Parent became the fifth Boston hitter to record a triple in the game. He made the score 7-2 when he scored on a wild pitch to the next batter. In the bottom of the inning Clarke reached on an error but Leach and Wagner continued their poor day as they both recorded outs without advancing the runner. Bransfield followed them with a single but Young retired Ritchey on a hard lineout to LF to end the inning.
Down five runs in the 9th and with the bottom of the order coming up the Pirates were now doomed to go back to Boston needing to win both games to win the series. Phillippe was ineffective this game but he was their go to guy for game eight. The Pirates did make a last ditch effort to come back in this game starting the 9th with three straight singles, the last one by Phillippe who was left in to bat despite the five run deficit at the time. He made the score 7-3 but the top of the order couldn’t even bring home one more run and the game ended by the same score.
The two teams would now travel to Boston for game eight, Pirates now trailing the series 4-3 after three straight home losses. The teams were scheduled to play Monday after an off-day for travel. Phillippe would be on the mound facing Bill Dinneen, the winner of games two and six. The Pirates would need help from their star player, Honus Wagner, who was now hitting just .217 in the series with five fielding errors, if they were to have any chance to win this series. Tomorrow we will see how the exhausted Phillippe and struggling Wagner could do with the series on the line in Boston.