Following the Pirates 7-3 victory in game one of the 1903 World Series, they looked to 25 game winner, Sam Leever, to put them up by two games in the series on the road. The Boston Americans countered with Bill Dinneen, who went 21-13 2.26 in the regular season. His win total was good enough for 3rd place in the AL and his ERA ranked him 7th. The only change in either lineup besides the pitchers, was backup catcher Harry Smith of the Pirates took over for Ed Phelps and batted in the 8th spot. A crowd of 9,415 people showed up that Friday October 2, 1903 at Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds in Boston, hoping their hometown Americans could even up the series. The lineups for that day were as follows:
Ginger Beaumont CF
Fred Clarke LF
Tommy Leach 3B
Honus Wagner SS
Kitty Bransfield 1B
Claude Ritchey 2B
Jimmy Sebring RF
Harry Smith C
Sam Leever 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
Bill Dinneen P
Dinneen started the game off with a strikeout to Ginger Beaumont followed by a walk to Fred Clarke. The Pirates broke open game one in the first inning but they would not have the same luck game two. Clarke was picked off 1B and Dinneen followed with another strikeout, this time to Tommy Leach to end the inning.
In the bottom of the inning, the Americans Patsy Dougherty led off with an inside-the-park home run to deep CF. Three batters later, Buck Freeman, the American League RBI leader, singled home Chick Stahl with the second run of the inning. Leever would face seven batters that inning, giving up three hits and a walk and that would be the end of his day. Prior to the series he had been suffering from tired arm and he had nothing this day leaving the Pirates to go to seldom used reserve pitcher Buck Veil, who had pitched just 12 games all season.
The Pirates went 1-2-3 in the second and third innings with Dinneen facing the minimum through three with five strikeouts to his credit. Veil was a little shaky his first two innings allowing three baserunners but no runs.
In the 4th inning the Pirates looked to have something going with Beaumont drawing a leadoff walk and manager Fred Clarke getting their first hit, a hard single to CF. After Tomy Leach moved both runners up with a groundout, Honus Wagner stepped to the plate with a chance to tie the score. He scorched a line drive off Dinneen but Hobe Ferris caught it and with his momentum carrying him towards second base, he easily doubled off Fred Clarke for an unassisted double play. A few feet towards straight away CF and the Pirates would’ve tied it up but fate was not on their side that play.
Bucky Veil would pitch a great game under the circumstances but he was in trouble almost the entire game. In the 4th inning he allowed another two base runners and a stolen base but again the Americans couldn’t bring home the runners. In the 5th inning he pulled another great escape to keep the Pirates in the game. He allowed a single to Buck Freeman followed by a walk to Freddy Parent. Candy LaChance tried to give him an out with a sacrifice bunt but Veil botched the play leaving the bases loaded with no outs. Hobe Ferris came to the plate and hit a grounder to Leach at 3B who threw home for the first out. Next up was slow-footed catcher Lou Criger and Veil got him to ground out to Claude Ritchey for the 4-6-3 DP. Bucky had allowed eight base runners his first four innings but kept the score at 2-0.
The Pirates went quietly in the 6th inning with Dinneen adding two more strikeouts to run his total for the game up to nine. With one out in the bottom of the inning the Boston bats, well one in particular finally caught up to Veil. Patsy Dougherty, who already hit an inside the park home run, added another homer that left the park over the LF wall, putting the Americans up by three.
Veil had his first clean inning in the 7th but the Pirates went down in order as well. In the eighth inning, Claude Ritchey committed a cardinal sin in baseball. He led off the inning with a single to LF with his team down by three but got thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. Dinneen then retired the next five Pirates batters for the shutout victory. He had 11 strikeouts on the day and allowed just three hits, all of them singles, while keeping Honus Wagner off the bases the entire game.
Veil ended up going 7 innings and despite allowing five hits and five walks, he only allowed one run on the solo homer to Dougherty. That would end up being the only appearance for Veil in the series and he pitched just one more major league game in his career, an early season start in 1904 for the Pirates.
The game was a big blow to the Pirates, losing a road game to tie up the series wasn’t a big deal but the ineffectiveness of Leever and the departure of Ed Doheny left them with just one reliable pitcher the rest of the series, Deacon Phillippe and they would go to him often. Game three was set for the next day with Phillippe going on just one day rest after throwing a complete game. He would face off against 24 year old righty Tom Hughes who had a major turnaround in his career in 1903. In 1901 he posted a 10-23 record as a rookie but just two years later he had 20-7 2.57 record for the Americans with five shutouts to his credit.
With one more game left in Boston before returning home, the Pirates looked to take game three of the series and swing the momentum decidedly in their favor, although they would still need to find a healthy reliable pitcher in their ranks to help Phillippe with the workload.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.