October 8, 1903: Boston’s Bill Dinneen wins Game 6 to even World Series at three apiece
Both teams managed 10 base hits, but the Bostons scored twice as many runs. Neither team scored for the first two innings. Boston sent only six batters to the plate in those innings. Pirates Fred Clarke and Jimmy Sebring singled in the first and second innings, respectively.
The pitchers presented a rematch of Game Two – Sam Leever for Pittsburgh and Bill Dinneen for Boston. That game ended a 3-0 shutout for Dinneen.
Leever was pitching despite a subpar right arm, or what the Boston Post dubbed “an alleged sore arm.” The Post suggested that it might have been deception on Pittsburgh’s part and noted that Leever had personally wagered $200 that he would win.1 A fully healthy Leever could prove formidable; he had, after all, led the National League in both earned-run average and shutouts.
Leever had been reported suffering “an attack of rheumatism in his pitching arm.” The Pittsburg Gazette’s post-mortem said, “Sammy’s arm may have been rid of the rheumatism, but the lay off he had had seemed to have told on his cunning as a pitcher.”2
Leever retired the first two Boston batters in the top of the third, but the number-nine batter in the lineup – Dinneen – singled, the ball glancing off Leever to Honus Wagner, who couldn’t get a grip on it. “It was a cheap hit, but was so recorded on account of Dineen’s [sic] speed to first.”3 Patsy Dougherty walked. Jimmy Collins swung at the first pitch and singled to center field, scoring Dinneen and moving Dougherty to second base.
Chick Stahl also swung at the first pitch and singled to center, driving in Dougherty with Collins reaching third base. With Buck Freeman at the plate, Stahl stole second. Freeman hit a grounder to third base, which Tommy Leach perhaps charged too quickly and fumbled the ball. Collins scored on the play and the Americans took a 3-0 lead.
Again, a Pirate singled – Ginger Beaumont in the third. Again, the lone Pirate baserunner did not score even after Beaumont stole second base.
Boston collected three singles in the top of the fourth inning, but no run scored. Kitty Bransfield singled and Claude Ritchey walked in the bottom of the fourth, but the other three Pirates grounded out. The score remained 3-0.
In the fifth inning, Boston got to Leever for two more runs. Chick Stahl led off with a ground-rule triple into the crowd in left field. The Boston Herald said it “would have been good for a home run on the ground but not for the throng.”4 Buck Freeman, the only Boston batter without a base hit in the game, hit a high fly ball to center field and Stahl tagged and came home.
Freddy Parent was hit on the wrist by a pitch. Candy LaChance flied out to center for the second out. Hobe Ferris singled to center field and – it being a hit and run play – Parent scored all the way from first base, as Wagner’s relay home was off the mark. Catcher Lou Criger grounded out to shortstop, with Wagner fielding and throwing to Bransfield at first base.
For the fifth inning in a row, a Pirate singled – this time, Ginger Beaumont – but no other hits were made and no one scored.
Dougherty walked in the top of the sixth, but he was the only baserunner for Boston.
Dinneen was particularly effective against the Pirates in the bottom of the inning, fielding a grounder hit to LaChance at first and then getting both Bransfield and Claude Ritchey to foul out to catcher Criger.
The seventh inning saw the final scoring in the game. After Freeman struck out, Parent hit a triple to left field. LaChance followed with a double down the left-field line to drive in Parent. The next two batters flied out to end the inning, but it was 6-0, Boston.
Pittsburgh cut that margin in half, scoring three times in the bottom of the seventh. A flurry of base hits did the trick. Jimmy Sebring led off and singled to right. Catcher Ed Phelps singled to center, advancing Sebring to second. Leever grounded out, second to first, with both baserunners moving up 90 feet. Beaumont singled to center, scoring Sebring for Pittsburgh’s first run.
Fred Clarke doubled to left field, scoring both Phelps and Beaumont. Leach flied out to right field. Honus Wagner drew a base on balls, with Clarke stealing third base during the at-bat. Bransfield walked. The bases were loaded and the tying run was on first, but Dinneen induced Ritchey to ground into a force play at second base to end the inning. The score was 6-3.
Manager Collins had apparently contemplated bringing in a reliever, Norwood Gibson, but Dinneen convinced him he could finish.5 Cy Young was warming up at one point during the seventh inning.
No batter reached base for either team in the eighth, nor did the Americans in the top of the ninth. Beaumont led off the bottom of the ninth with a single for his fourth hit of the game, but Boston’s defense rose to the occasion with a big play. Parent snagged Clarke’s line drive an inch or two before it struck the ground. He threw to LaChance at first and doubled off Beaumont – though, just to be sure, LaChance fired the ball to Ferris at second base in time to tag Beaumont. Leach fouled out to Criger, who caught the ball close to the grandstand to end the game.
Boston had bunched its hits; the Pirates had spaced theirs out throughout the game. Boston fielders executed a number of plays that were praised by the papers.
The Boston Journal’s W.S. Barnes said Leever’s pitching “did not indicate any serious lameness.” He believed both pitchers had performed about the same, but that Boston’s defense was better, particularly crediting Criger.6 Tim Murnane quoted Pat Egan of the Pittsburg Times: “Boston’s infield worked like a clock yesterday, and everybody on it took part in one or more hair-raising stops or plays. Collins demonstrated that he is as fast as ever. … No infield ever worked better, and several of the chances were extremely difficult to handle.”7
After six games, the World Series had been evened up. Each team had won three games.
Jimmy Collins told the Boston Post, “Pittsburg had all the luck at the start, and our boys failed to hit. They are hitting now, and Phillippi or any other player cannot stop us.”8
Pittsburgh partisans “looked scared, but only for a moment. They have not lost confidence in the team and firmly believe the Pirates will land the series. They remember that Clarke’s men have all season been in a crippled condition and yet landed the pennant. In fact in only 17 games has the whole team been in harness.”9
Boston’s win ensured that the best-of-nine Series would return to the Huntington Avenue Grounds after one final game in Pittsburgh. Whichever team won two of the final three planned games would become world champion.
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:
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).
Masur, Louis P. Autumn Glory (New York: Hill and Wang, 2003).
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 “Clubs Tied and Coming Monday,” Boston Post, October 9, 1903: 1, 5.
2 “Dineen Showed His Finest Form,” Pittsburg Gazette, October 9, 1903: 9. In 1903, most newspapers misspelled Dinneen’s surname.
3 W.S. Barnes Jr., “Boston Wins by Score of 6 to 3 Tying the Series and Making It Certain Teams Will Return Here,” Boston Journal, October 9, 1903: 1.
4 “The Pirates Are Captured,” Boston Herald, October 9, 1903: 1.
5 “Clubs Tied and Coming Monday.”
6 W.S. Barnes Jr.
7 T.H. Murnane, “Another Glorious Victory for Boston,” Boston Globe, October 9, 1903: 1.
8 “Clubs Tied and Coming Monday.”
9 “Another Defeat for Champions,” Pittsburg Post, October 9, 1903: 8.
Boston Americans 6
Pittsburgh Pirates 3
Game 6, WS
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