October 6, 1903: Deacon Phillippe wins third World Series game for Pirates … and it’s only Game 4
The Pirates, back home at Exposition Park, took a three-games-to-one lead in the World Series with a 5-4 win over the Boston Americans. Sunday had been a travel day, and on Monday it rained. Deacon Phillippe had an extra day of rest, and was ready to go yet again – his third start in four games. “Overworked as he has been, he pleaded to be allowed to pitch,” declared Washington’s Evening Star.1
And he boosted his record to 3-0. As he held Boston to one run over the first eight innings, it was only in the final frame that the American Leaguers seemed to break through – but came up short by a run.
Bill Dinneen started for Boston. He allowed only two runs through the first six innings.
The crowd was the smallest of the games to date, but still a healthy 7,600. The weather had left the left-field bleachers devoid of fans.2 The field itself was somewhat sodden and muddy.3 Had the weather not been a factor, the Pittsburg Post thought, the game might have attracted twice as many.4
The Pirates scored in the first inning. Phillippe had taken care of Boston, securing a groundout and two infield popups. A single off Dinneen, a couple of outs, and another single put Pirates on first and second. Kitty Bransfield then singled past second baseman Hobe Ferris into center field, scoring lead runner Fred Clarke, but Chick Stahl’s throw in from center field pretty easily cut down Honus Wagner, who too aggressively tried to reach third base.
It was 1-0, Pittsburgh, and so it stayed until the fifth. The Pirates had runners on second and third with two outs in the bottom of the fourth, but this time Dinneen struck out Bransfield.
In the top of the fifth, first baseman Candy LaChance hit a one-out single off Phillippe. He took second when Ferris grounded out to third base. Catcher Lou Criger singled to right field and “big LaChance humped home.”5 The game was tied.
Dinneen struck out Phillippe in the bottom of the fifth, but then Ginger Beaumont tripled over Stahl’s head in right-center field, with Stahl misjudging the drive and letting it get by him. Clarke fouled out to Criger, but Tommy Leach singled to LaChance at first base, driving in Beaumont as LaChance slid in the mud and couldn’t recover quite quickly enough. The Pirates reclaimed the lead, albeit again just by one run.
Neither team scored in the sixth, nor did the Bostons in the top of the seventh, but the Pirates took a commanding 5-1 lead in the bottom of the inning. Phillippe singled down the left-field line, reaching second base as Patsy Dougherty juggled the ball for an error. Beaumont bunted Phillippe to third and reached base safely with a single when Dinneen failed to cover first base.
After Clarke flied out to short left field, Leach tripled past the drawn-in LaChance at first base and into right field, scoring both baserunners. Honus Wagner dropped a single into right-center, allowing Leach to trot home. The Pittsburg Press said that “had the field been dry and the diamond fast Leach and Beaumont would both probably have stretched their triples into home runs.”6
Boston couldn’t get the ball out of the infield in the eighth, but they scored three runs in the top of the ninth. Through the first eight, Phillippe had allowed only four base hits, but Boston batters collected five off him in their ninth-inning rally.
Jimmy Collins led off by singling to center. Chick Stahl singled to left. Buck Freeman then singled to right field, scoring Collins. Freddy Parent grounded into a force play at second base, but Stahl scored as Freeman was retired. LaChance singled off Phillippe’s glove, reaching first before the pitcher could locate where the ball had landed. Ferris singled to right field. The bases were loaded and the tying run was in scoring position, with still just one out.
Duke Farrell, the team’s backup catcher, pinch-hit for Lou Criger and hit a fly ball to Clarke in left field, deep enough for Parent to score.7 Boston’s deficit was down to one run.
Jack O’Brien then pinch-hit for Dinneen.8 On an 0-and-2 count, he popped up to Claude Ritchey at second base. The game was over, a 5-4 win for Pittsburgh.9
The Globe account faulted Boston for holding Parent at third base on Ferris’s hit, asserting that “the chances were ten to one that he could have scored from second.” The throw to the plate would have allowed Ferris to take third base, from where he could have scored the tying run on Farrell’s fly ball.10
As recounted in The Boston Red Sox World Series Encyclopedia, “Game Four was notable for one other thing: the three-run rally in the top of the ninth that fell just one run short of tying the game was accompanied by raucous rooting for the Bostons by the coterie of Royal Rooters who had traveled to Pittsburgh to cheer their team. After the loss in Game Three, Tom Burton of the Rooters found some sheet music at a Pittsburgh music store and the Rooters wrote parodied lyrics to the popular Broadway song of the day, ‘Tessie.’ They hired a band and felt the music had spurred on their players. Starting the following day, they had the band play ‘Tessie’ over and over, and over again, with particular power in the ninth.”11 “They played it so often and delivered it with such vigor – incessantly, relentlessly, ad nauseam – that it began to take its toll on the opposition. Even decades later, Pittsburgh’s third baseman Tommy Leach said, ‘I think those Boston fans won the Series. … We beat them three out of four games, and then they started singing that damn Tessie song. … Sort of got on your nerves after a while. And before we knew what happened, we’d lost the Series.’”12
“The Pittsburgh papers were impressed by the fervor of the fans from Boston. Roger Abrams quotes the Dispatch as reporting the Rooters as ‘howling maniacs, overjoyed to a delirious stage’ as the rally progressed, writing, ‘The Boston rooters had simply lost control of themselves, war dances, cheers, yells and songs resounding clear across the Allegheny River.’”13
Dinneen (now 1-1 in the Series) had struck out seven, walking just one. Phillippe hadn’t walked a man, striking out two.
The game took an hour and a half to play, start to finish.
Their team had lost Game Four, but the rally had lifted the players’ spirits. They knew Phillippe could be gotten to. Jimmy Collins said, “We will win two games, if it takes an arm. Philippi [sic] can’t do all the pitching. Things broke well for the Pirates again? Will it ever stop?”14
In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author consulted Baseball-Reference.com, Retrosheet.org, and a number of other sources, including the following:
Dabilis, Andy, and Nick Tsiotos. The 1903 World Series (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 2004).
Ryan, Bob. When Boston Won the World Series (Philadelphia: Running Press, 2003).
1 “Pirates’ Third Victory,” Evening Star (Washington), October 7, 1903: 10.
2 W.S. Barnes Jr., “Phillippe Proves Too Much for the Boston Champions,” Boston Herald, October 7, 1903: 3.
3 The Boston Globe said the field was muddy, slippery and covered with sawdust, but all the newspaper coverage agreed that the game was well-played. “The Pirates Win Another, 5-4,” Boston Globe, October 7, 1903: 1.
4 “Phillippe Again Defeats Boston,” Pittsburg Post, October 7, 1903: 8. Game Five did draw more than 12,000.
5 “Champs Defeat Boston,” Pittsburgh Press, October 7, 1903: 14.
6 “Champs Defeat Boston.”
7 Farrell was in his 16th year of major-league baseball, having broken in back in 1888. He was injured for a god portion of 1903, but did see some duty in 17 games, and compiled an impressive .404 batting average in 52 at-bats.
8 O’Brien appeared in 96 games, playing outfield in 71 of them, but also seeing action in some 16 games at various infield positions. He had hit for a .210 batting average in the 1903 season.
9 Some questioned whether it should have been Jake Stahl hitting, rather than O’Brien. See, for instance, Barnes, who wrote that “probably nine out of every ten in the Boston delegation” would have him hit in lieu of O’Brien. He never played in any of the 1903 World Series games, and had to bide his time until Boston got back to the World Series in 1912.
10 “The Pirates Win Another, 5-4,” Boston Globe, October 7, 1903: 1. Both the Globe and the Herald faulted Boston infielders for being too aggressive in their fielding, given the conditions, letting balls get away from them that they otherwise might have handled successfully. In general, the Boston papers seemed to feel that the luck was going Pittsburgh’s way, but that Boston was also being too cautious at times.
11 Bill Nowlin and Jim Prime, The Red Sox World Series Encyclopedia (Burlington, Massachusetts: Rounder Books, 2008).
12 Lawrence Ritter, The Glory of Their Times (New York: Harper, 1992), 27. For an extended study of “Tessie” and other Red Sox songs, see Chuck Burgess and Bill Nowlin, Love That Dirty Water (Burlington, Massachusetts: Rounder Books, 2007). For more on the Royal Rooters, see Peter J. Nash, Boston’s Royal Rooters (Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia, 2005).
13 Nowlin and Prime, 11, 12. See also Roger L. Abrams, The First World Series and the Baseball Fanatics of 1903 (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 2003), 116. The “howling maniacs, overjoyed to a delirious stage” phrase appeared in the Boston Post article.
 “Hair-Raising Finish but Bostons Lost,” Boston Post, October 7, 1903: 1.
Pittsburgh Pirates 5
Boston Americans 4
Game 4, WS
Exposition Park III
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