St. Louis Browns right-hander Dixie Davis pitched two complete games in a doubleheader against the Red Sox this Saturday afternoon in Boston, just barely losing the first game when the Red Sox scored once in the ninth to beat the Browns, 2-1. Then he came back and shut out the Red Sox in the second game, winning with ease, 11-0. That was the most lopsided loss of the 1921 season for the Red Sox. Davis struck out only two Red Sox all day, both in the second game, but he could hardly have hoped for a better ending after the frustrating one-run loss in the day’s first game.
That Davis even pitched the first game—let alone both—is remarkable.1 Not that many weeks earlier (on August 9), Davis had pitched a 19-inning complete game against the Washington Senators and won. He had pitched just two days earlier—on Thursday, September 22—at Philadelphia’s Shibe Park and shut out the Athletics, 5-0. On one day’s rest—September 23—he had come back for more.
The Browns were in third place, but 16 games behind second-place Cleveland, and 17 behind the New York Yankees. They were just a game and a half ahead of the Washington Senators, though, and wanted to hold onto third. The Red Sox were in fifth place, but only two games behind Washington, and held some hope of making it into the first division.
The Browns had scored first, in the first game, with one run in the top of the first. They got to left-hander (and future Hall of Famer) Herb Pennock, leadoff batter and right fielder Jack Tobin tripling to left-center field and scoring on a long sacrifice fly to center by third baseman Frank Ellerbe.2 In the bottom of the sixth inning, Pennock doubled and Red Sox third baseman Eddie Foster doubled him in. The game was tied 1-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth. Boston first baseman Stuffy McInnis led off with a single and was sacrificed to second by left fielder Sammy Vick. Shano Collins, the team’s right fielder, singled and McInnis moved to third. Shortstop Everett Scott won the game for Boston, “popping a lazy bingle into centre.”3
Davis had allowed nine hits and walked two in 8⅓ innings. He had not struck out a batter. Pennock struck out four and walked no one; he gave up five hits.
Between games, Browns manager Lee Fohl had a left-hander warming up in the bullpen, but it was Davis who came back to pitch in the bottom of the first. By then the Browns had a 3-0 lead, as Red Sox pitcher Sad Sam Jones had given up three runs on four hits. Third baseman Foster’s error on a ball he fielded near the mound and threw into right field helped opened the floodgates.4
In the bottom of the first, Davis allowed a single but no more.
Elmer Myers came out to replace Jones, starting off the second inning pitching for the Red Sox. Myers didn’t allow a hit, but walked two and saw another reach on an error and was fortunate to secure the third out, leaving the bases loaded without a run coming in. No explanation for Jones being replaced is found in the following day’s newspapers, but the Boston Post account suggests it was simply that Red Sox manager Hugh Duffy had turned to Myers after Jones had been hit so freely.
Frank Gaffney wrote that Myers “likewise, had little on the ball and as a consequence was treated roughly for the seven chapters he staggered on the hilltop.” He added that it was little wonder Myers had staggered, as he was “ditzy with hits streaking over, under and to both sides of him.”5
Myers actually pitched four scoreless innings until Ellerbe hit a one-out solo home run over the left-field fence in the top of the sixth, making the score 4-0 in favor of St. Louis. Ellerbe had run hard, not realizing the ball had left the park until after he rounded second base.6
The Browns scored three runs in the seventh and three more in the eighth, with “doubles and triples spattered here, there and everywhere about the ball yard.”7 They added an 11th run in the top of the ninth off the third Red Sox pitcher, Sam Dodge, on a double, walk, sacrifice bunt, and a sacrifice fly to center by Baby Doll Jacobson. Pinky Pittenger had pinch-hit for Elmer Myers in the bottom of the eighth; he lined out to Marty McManus at second base.
Davis allowed six hits in the game, never more than one per inning. He walked no one. Davis nearly saw the shutout slip away from him in the bottom of the ninth, though. Eddie Foster singled to right. Del Pratt grounded to second baseman McManus, who threw the ball errantly and the Red Sox had runners at second and third with nobody out. Davis retired the rest of the Red Sox he faced, getting McInnis to fly out to shallow center, striking out Sammy Vick, and then inducing Shano Collins to ground out to third base.
Dodge’s appearance was the major-league debut of the 21-year-old right-hander. It was his only appearance in 1921, though in 1922 he worked in three April road games for a total of six innings. The Sox lost every one of the four major-league games in which Dodge pitched, though none of the losses were due to Dodge.
Sam Jones was tagged with the loss, giving him a record of 22-16. Davis, throwing a six-hit shutout and not walking a batter, earned the win. He improved his record to 15-16.
Every one of the extra-base hits was by a Browns player save for Boston center fielder Nemo Leibold’s third-inning double. In addition to Ellerbe’s home run, there were three doubles by McManus, two by Ellerbe, and one each by Browns catcher Hank Severeid, first baseman George Sisler, and by Davis himself. Both Davis and shortstop Dud Lee tripled. In all, the Browns collected 19 base hits, 11 of them for extra bases.
The time of the two September 24 games together was a little over three hours—the first game was 1:23 and the second game, given all the scoring by St. Louis, ran a little longer at 1:45. The time of the two games together was 3 hours and 8 minutes.
The Boston Globe reported, “Dixie Davis proved to be a real iron man. He looked to be as good after pitching 18 innings as he did when he started.”8
Before his shutout on September 22, Davis had lost his previous game, on the 14th, 1-0, in Washington. In four starts over 11 days, then, he had given up a total of three runs.
David pitched one more game in 1921 and he won that October 2 game in Detroit, 12-3, evening his record for the season at 16-16.
After the September 24 games, the Browns played three more games and the Red Sox played eight. At season’s end, the third-place Browns and fifth-place Red Sox each held onto their respective position in the standings.
In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author relied on Baseball-Reference.com and Retrosheet.org
1 Remarkable but not unprecedented. Pitching both games of a doubleheader was not unheard of at the time. Just three years earlier, in 1918, Carl Mays had thrown both games on August 30, in the final days of that year’s pennant-winning Red Sox team, beating the Philadelphia Athletics 12-0 and 4-1.
2 Some papers said the sacrifice fly was to right field. Pennock was 62-59 in his years with the Red Sox, but later 162-90 with the New York Yankees, and 5-0 in World Series play for New York.
3 Frank Gaffney, “Red Sox and the Browns Play 50-50,” Boston Sunday Post, September 25, 1921: 17.
4 Foster’s defense was apparently fairly spectacular in the first game, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch referring to a “flock of startling stops.” See “Davis Wins and Loses in Doubleheader in Boston,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 25, 1921: 7.
6 James C. O’Leary, “Red Sox Victors 2-1; Browns Connect 11-0,” Boston Globe, September 25, 1921: 19.
8 Because the Red Sox scored the first game’s winning run with one out, of course, Davis had “only” pitched 17⅓ innings.