Boston right-hander Bill Dinneen shut out the Pirates, 3-0, allowing just three hits, in the second game of the World Series. Dinneen had been 21-13 with a 2.26 ERA during the regular season. He’d thrown complete-game three-hit shutouts twice before in 1903, on July 4 and August 5. They were two of his six shutouts this year. On September 8, he’d thrown a two-hitter against New York – but lost that game, 1-0.
Pitted against Dinneen was Pittsburgh’s Sam Leever, another righty, whose 25-7 record (.781) constituted the best winning percentage in both leagues. He’d thrown seven shutouts, likewise leading both leagues, and his 2.06 ERA was the best in the National League. But the first batter he faced in this Game Two won the game for Boston.
The weather had been damp and drizzly, but rain stopped an hour or so before the game got underway and was not a factor. The lineups were the same as in Game One save that Pittsburgh had Harry Smith do the catching in place of Ed Phelps, who had caught Deacon Phillippe in the first game. The two had shared regular-season duties, with Phelps – the more productive hitter – handling about 60 percent of the games.
The first batter Leever faced was Boston left fielder Patsy Dougherty. On Leever’s very first pitch, Dougherty hit an inside-the-park home run to deep right-center field in the capacious Huntington Avenue Grounds. With Game One’s overflow crowd occupying parts of the outfield grass, the ball would have rolled into the spectators and been ruled a triple, but while the game drew a large crowd of 9,415, it was far from the 16,242 who had crammed in to see the opener. And straightaway center field at the grounds was 530 feet from the plate.1 Dougherty was in his sophomore year, leading the American League with 195 hits in 1903. He was fleet afoot, his 35 stolen bases leading the 1903 team. He legged it out, and slid across the plate, headfirst, beating the relay home. Boston manager-third baseman and future Hall of Famer Jimmy Collins called Dougherty’s drive “the greatest hit I ever saw by a left-handed batter.”2
Leever was replaced by Bucky Veil to start the second inning. None of the papers suggested any reason other than that Leever had been hit quite hard. The Pittsburg Post simply said, “He had nothing, as the players put it, neither speed, curves or control. It was an off day for Sam.”3 Veil was a 21-year-old rookie who had been 5-3 in the regular season, in 12 scattered appearances. Veil’s midseason malaria and the durability of the Pirates staff, which threw 117 complete games in 1903, in an age when pitchers were expected to go all nine innings, had prevented him from getting more work. But Veil pitched exceptionally well under the circumstances. It was, looking at his record, the game of his life.
He worked seven innings and gave up just one run. He faced a challenge or two – for instance, in the Boston fifth, when Freeman singled and shortstop Freddy Parent drew a walk. Candy LaChance bunted to sacrifice them forward, but reached on Veil’s fumble of the ball, loading the bases with nobody out. Hobe Ferris grounded to Leach at third, who threw home to erase Freeman at the plate, and Veil then got Lou Criger (on a 3-and-0 count) to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Boston maintained the 2-0 lead until the bottom of the sixth inning. The Americans scored only one more run, and that came off Veil – another solo home run by Dougherty, this one hit on an 0-and-2 count to left field and over the fence. Veil gave up only five hits, though he did walk five. Dougherty’s second home run of the game “went like a shot close to the foul line, tipped the top of the fence and went over onto Huntington Av.”4 The newspapers agreed that it was just the second ball to be hit fair and over the fence, the first being one hit by Charlie Hickman on May 2, 1902.5
Dinneen had given up singles in the fourth, fifth, and eighth innings – one each by Fred Clarke, Jimmy Sebring, and Claude Ritchey. Only one other ball – Tommy Leach’s fly ball to center field in the top of the seventh – made it out of the infield. Dinneen struck out 11 and walked only two. Boston committed no errors in the game; as Tim Murnane put it, “Boston never slipped a cog, but was as steady as an ox team in the field.”6 He credited Dougherty with the best play of the game when, in the top of the eighth, he fielded Ritchey’s ball hit to left field and fired to Ferris at second base “with the speed and precision of a rifle shot” to nip Ritchey “just two feet from second base” and prevent him from stretching his hit to a double.7
Suggesting that a case of the jitters may have been responsible for Boston’s less-than-stellar showing in Game One, the Washington Times averred, “Collins’ men showed no symptoms of the stage fright of the day before.” The paper called Dinneen’s work “the finest exhibition of pitching seen in this city for many years.”8 There was indeed gambling as usual. Barney Dreyfuss himself was said to have wagered $500: “Many thousands changed hands and there does not seem any limit to the courage shown.”9
The closest the Pirates came to scoring was in the fourth inning. After Beaumont drew a leadoff walk, Clarke singled to center field. Beaumont held at second. Leach grounded back to Dinneen, who threw to LaChance at first base for the first out. Then Honus Wagner lined the ball hard, and both baserunners were off at the crack of the bat, but the “red-hot liner” was hit right at 5-foot-8 second baseman Ferris, who leapt in the air and speared it, then ran over to the bag and deftly executed an unassisted double play.10
Just as in Game One, the runs scored in the first inning were the runs that determined the winner.
The Series was evened up at one win each, but Pirates fans were not dismayed. As author Louis Masur put it, “The way Pirates supporters saw it, all Boston could muster offensively was two runs off an injured pitcher and one off a substitute.”11 Had Ferris not squelched their fourth-inning rally with his spectacular catch, Pittsburgh would have likely evened up the score at that point in the game.
Dinneen, who had moved to the AL from Boston’s National League team after the 1901 season, later worked 4,218 games over the course of 30 seasons as an American League umpire, officiating in 45 World Series games.
In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author also consulted Baseball-Reference.com, Retrosheet.org, and a number of other sources, including the following:
Abrams, Roger L. The First World Series and the Baseball Fanatics of 1903 (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 2003).
Dabilis, Andy, and Nick Tsiotos. The 1903 World Series (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 2004).
Nowlin, Bill, and Jim Prime. The Red Sox World Series Encyclopedia (Burlington, Massachusetts: Rounder Books, 2008).
Ryan, Bob. When Boston Won the World Series (Philadelphia: Running Press, 2003).
1 Philip J. Lowry, ed., Green Cathedrals, fifth edition (Phoenix: Society for American Baseball Research, 2019), 45.
2 “10,000 People See Boston Defeat Pittsburg 3 to 0 in 2d Championship Game,” Boston Post, October 3, 1903: 6.
3 John H. Gruber, “Dineen Too Much for the Pirates,” Pittsburg Post, October 3, 1903: 12. Many newspapers of the day spelled the surname as Dineen, but documents he signed clarify the spelling as Dinneen.
4 T.H. Murnane, “Boston Shuts Out the Pittsburgers,” Boston Globe, October 3, 1903: 8. Green Cathedrals indicates a 1905 measurement of 350 feet to the left edge of the bleachers in left field.
5 The Boston Post said Hickman’s home run was hit to pretty much the same place.
7 “10,000 People See Boston Defeat Pittsburg 3 to 0 in 2d Championship Game.”
8 “Dineen’s Curve Baffle Pirates,” Washington Times, October 3, 1903: 8.
9 “Dineen’s Curve Baffle Pirates.”
10 “10,000 People See Boston Defeat Pittsburg 3 to 0 in 2d Championship Game.”
11 Louis P. Masur, Autumn Glory (New York: Hill and Wang, 2003), 57.