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OOTP 20 - Historical Simulations Discuss historical simulations and their results in this forum.

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Old 04-27-2019, 08:04 PM   #1
WahooSam309
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Bill Veeck and the 1943 Phillies

In his autobiography, Veeck as in Wreck, Bill Veeck says that he wanted to buy the Philadelphia Phillies in 1943 and replace most of the roster of the team (which had finished 62½ games out of first in 1942) with stars from the Negro Leagues, thus integrating baseball four years earlier than the Dodgers actually did it. In Veeck's telling, opposition from Commissioner Landis (who died in 1944) scuttled the deal and the team was sold for less to someone else.

Veeck's claim was challenged in a 1998 article by three historians: David Jordan, Larry Gerlach, and John Rossi. The authors claim that no evidence of this alleged plan has been found until decades later, when Veeck—in their telling—made it up, another of his famously colorful stories. That contention was itself challenged in a 2006 article by Jules Tygiel, in which the author found mention of the idea much closer to the actual event. The truth of Veeck's words will probably never be known.

But as a Phillies fan myself, the idea obsessed me and seemed to me the perfect format for an OOTP historical simulation. I also discovered a book written by Alwyn Featherston that explores that exact scenario, an alternate history of the 1943 season. (It's pretty well written and cheap on Kindle, if you're interested.) So I drew up the scenario based on the rosters imagined in Featherston's book and put it to the test. What follows here will be a narrative of that season. Enjoy!
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Old 04-28-2019, 08:41 AM   #2
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Veeck’s Gambit:

In 1942, the Philadelphia Phillies were at the very bottom of baseball. Many teams were missing players because of the World War raging in in Europe and the Pacific, but for the Phillies the military draft only made worse an already miserable situation. They were bad, and had been bad for more than a decade.

They were also broke. After their owner went bust, the young former owner of the minor league Milwaukee Brewers stepped up with an offer to buy the team. Bill Veeck knew that he needed to increase attendance by fielding a winning team, but the talent pool in baseball was being drained by the war. So Veeck did what many had considered but none had the guts to try: he signed players from the Negro Leagues to play Major League baseball.

Veeck began with the three black players whose fame extended even to white fans: Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, and Buck Leonard. From there, he worked with Abe Saperstein, the owner of the Birmingham Black Barons, to sign the best players in Negro League baseball and make the Phillies a powerful, if controversial contender. Besides Paige, Gibson, and Leonard, the team that met for spring training in Gettysburg in 1943 included: Ray Dandridge, Willie Wells, Gene Benson, Willard “Home Run” Brown, Roy Campanella, Hilton Smith, Dave Barnhill, Sam Jethroe, Verdell Mathis, and Mahlon Duckett.

There were white players, too, the best of the 1942 Phillies who had managed not to be drafted into the Army and had not been traded away for cash to purchase other contracts: Ron Northey, Danny Murtaugh, Pinky May, Mickey Livingston, Si Johnson, Walter “Boom-Boom” Beck, Johnny Podgajny, and Johnny Allen. To lead the diverse crew, Veeck hired a rookie manager who also happened to be the greatest player ever to step on a baseball diamond: Babe Ruth. Along with coaches Lloyd Waner, Chuck Klein, and Biz Mackey, Ruth work to fuse these disparate men into a winning team.

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Old 04-29-2019, 09:29 AM   #3
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The City Series

As they did every year, the Phillies and the Athletics ended Spring Training with an exhibition series against each other. This year, the rivalry was particularly intense as Veeck’s bold experiment meant that the City Series would feature the first integrated game in organized baseball since Moses Fleetwood Walker’s brief career ended in 1889.

Paige was in control on the mound as usual, and the Phillies hitters gave him more than enough with the five runs they scored, including Ron Northey’s three run home run into the bleachers at Shibe Park. More importantly for management, not only did the game go down without any ugly incidents, it also saw a considerable uptick in ticket sales. The game the next day was even more thrilling, as the Phillies won it in the tenth on Buck Leonard’s home run. The final game of the exhibition series also fell to the Phillies, giving them a sweep for the first time in years with a 10-6 win. The Phillies had held their own in a series, now they would wait to see how they did in the games that count.

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Old 04-29-2019, 11:20 AM   #4
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Very interesting premise. I'll be following along.
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Old 04-30-2019, 09:52 AM   #5
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At Brooklyn (April 24 and 25)

The season’s first contest that would be played for keeps was in Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field. The Dodgers had nearly taken the pennant the year before and were favored to do well again. Satchel Paige (pictured below) started for the Phillies and Bobo Newsom for Brooklyn. The Alabama-born hurler was the most successful athlete in black baseball, and signing him had been a signal that Veeck intended not only to hire Negro League athletes, but to pay them what they deserved.

The Dodgers scored first on Dolph Camilli’s solo home run in the fourth. They nearly had another in the seventh, but Gene Benson’s frozen rope to the plate nailed Hal Peck by fifteen feet. Roy Campanella pinch hit for Phillies third baseman Pinky May in the eight and stroked a single, coming around to score on Buck Leonard’s base hit to right. That opened the floodgates. Paige finished the game as the Phillies won it, 4-1.

Si Johnson, the only starter in the rotation who had played for the 1942 Phillies, took the mound the next day against Brooklyn’s Kirby Higbe. The Phillies loaded the bases in the top of the first and Ray Dandridge’s single up the middle plated one. Another run scored on a ground out and the Phillies were off to a solid start. Johnson struggled early, too; Billy Herman scored on a balk in Brooklyn’s half of the first, but that was all. The Dodgers scored two more in the second to take the lead. In the top of the fourth, “Home Run” Brown lived up to his name by depositing one into the left field seats to tie the game. Brown scored again in the sixth on Danny Murtaugh’s RBI single to give the visitors the lead. “Boom-Boom” Beck finished the game when Johnson was lifted for a pinch hitter, and the Phillies held on to win 4-3. With their first series in the books, the grand experiment looked to have gotten off to a fine start.
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Old 05-01-2019, 11:25 AM   #6
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Brooklyn (April 27, 28, and 29)

After an off day, the Phillies and Dodgers met again, this time at Shibe Park in Philadelphia. The Phillies starter, Dave Barnhill, had gone 18-7 with the Negro League’s New York Cubans the year before and was anxious to test his stuff in the majors. He gave up two in the third while Brooklyn’s Whit Wyatt held the Phillies in check through eight and two-third, when Campanella hit a double off the wall to score Rob Northey. They scored once more in the ninth, but it was not enough to overcome Brooklyn's seven runs, and the Phillies were handed their first loss of the year.

Paige started again on the 28th. He surrendered a run in the first on a wild pitch, but Buck Leonard (pictured below) got one back in the bottom of the inning with a home run to deep right field off of Brooklyn starter Rip Sewell. Brooklyn got one more in the top of the fourth, but the Phillies answered back once more, scoring two on Ed Levy’s double down the right field line to take a 3-2 lead. Leonard tripled in the fifth and scored on Gibson’s double to make it 4-2. Paige completed the game, and the 36-year-old seemed to get stronger as he went along. 4-2 was the final score.

For the final game of the series, the Phillies met Bobo Newsom again. This time he was faced by the Phillies’ 22-year-old starter from nearby Chester, Pennsylvania, Johnny Podgajny. Podgajny gave up one in the first, another in the second, and one more in the fourth while Newsom held the Phils in check. Leonard’s triple in the sixth was the first hard-hit ball for the Phillies, and he scored soon after on a wild pitch to make it 4-1. Brooklyn piled on three more in the ninth against Hilton Smith in relief, and won it 7-2.
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Old 05-01-2019, 02:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WahooSam309 View Post
In his autobiography, Veeck as in Wreck, Bill Veeck says that he wanted to buy the Philadelphia Phillies in 1943 and replace most of the roster of the team (which had finished 62½ games out of first in 1942) with stars from the Negro Leagues, thus integrating baseball four years earlier than the Dodgers actually did it. In Veeck's telling, opposition from Commissioner Landis (who died in 1944) scuttled the deal and the team was sold for less to someone else.

Veeck's claim was challenged in a 1998 article by three historians: David Jordan, Larry Gerlach, and John Rossi. The authors claim that no evidence of this alleged plan has been found until decades later, when Veeck—in their telling—made it up, another of his famously colorful stories. That contention was itself challenged in a 2006 article by Jules Tygiel, in which the author found mention of the idea much closer to the actual event. The truth of Veeck's words will probably never be known.

But as a Phillies fan myself, the idea obsessed me and seemed to me the perfect format for an OOTP historical simulation. I also discovered a book written by Alwyn Featherston that explores that exact scenario, an alternate history of the 1943 season. (It's pretty well written and cheap on Kindle, if you're interested.) So I drew up the scenario based on the rosters imagined in Featherston's book and put it to the test. What follows here will be a narrative of that season. Enjoy!
Thanks for this note. I bought the book. Will start reading it tonight. Great idea for a team in OOTP.
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Old 05-01-2019, 04:47 PM   #8
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I personally appreciate that you got a mention in there of the too often over-looked and forgotten Moses Fleetwood Walker.
Fleet is a fascinating character in our history, not just for his on-field exploits. From the tragic (fatally stabbed a man who was a member of a racially motivated attack on him, was later convicted of mail fraud and spent a year in prison) to the triumphant (he was a journalist and author who published both a newspaper and a book, he managed an opera house, and produced a number of patented inventions), his life was anything but ordinary.
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Old 05-01-2019, 05:29 PM   #9
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I personally appreciate that you got a mention in there of the too often over-looked and forgotten Moses Fleetwood Walker.
Fleet is a fascinating character in our history, not just for his on-field exploits. From the tragic (fatally stabbed a man who was a member of a racially motivated attack on him, was later convicted of mail fraud and spent a year in prison) to the triumphant (he was a journalist and author who published both a newspaper and a book, he managed an opera house, and produced a number of patented inventions), his life was anything but ordinary.
Thanks. His story is really fascinating, but I think he gets overshadowed by Jackie Robinson because no one wants to take away anything from Robinson's historic achievement.
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Old 05-01-2019, 07:25 PM   #10
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Thanks. His story is really fascinating, but I think he gets overshadowed by Jackie Robinson because no one wants to take away anything from Robinson's historic achievement.
Right, and totally understandable.
And I am a huge Jackie fan. One of my primary projects (never finished) when I used to play tabletop (Replay) baseball was to try to play out Jackie's entire MLB career.
Jack Roosevelt Robinson also anything but ordinary.
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Old 05-02-2019, 10:19 AM   #11
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Boston (May 2)

Coming into a doubleheader against the Boston Braves, Veeck realized the team needed more even more help on the bench and in the bullpen. At Saperstein’s suggestion, he looked to players who were possibly past their prime, and signed Cool Papa Bell, Martin Dihigo, and Luis Tiant (pictured below.) Rumors also reached the owner that other teams might soon dare to follow the course he had set.

In the first game at Shibe, Si Johnson took the mound against Boston’s Jim Tobin. The Phillies loaded the bases in the second, but came up with nothing. The game remained scoreless until the eight, when Boston scored five, including a grand slam by Phil Masi. That was the whole ballgame, as the Braves won 5-0.

Paige started game two that day, with Gibson moving to left to give Campanella a start behind the plate. Mahlon Duckett also started at shortstop for the first time. The Braves hit nothing hard in the first, but played station-to-station ball to roll up a three-run lead. It was Paige’s first bad game with the Phillies after two great ones, and after four, the Braves led 5-3. Tiant came entered in relief in the fifth and was effective, but the offense struggled. Smith gave up one in the eighth, but it did not matter: Boston won 6-3, and the Phillies dropped to 3-4.
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Old 05-03-2019, 01:07 PM   #12
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At Brooklyn (May 3, 4, 5, and 6)

As soon as the double header was over, the Phillies went to North Philadelphia station and headed north to Brooklyn once again. Along the way, Ruth conferred with his coaches and reshuffled the lineup, knowing that he had a talented group before him, if only he could tap into their skills.

Johnny Allen started the first game for the Phillies against Rip Sewell. Allen was a 38-year-old who would probably not have been in the majors if not for the war, and it showed. He walked the first batter and then gave up a long opposite-field home run to Jack Graham. The Phillies scored three in the fourth, two of them on Willard "Home Run" Brown’s triple to deep right center, but Brooklyn evened the score at the bottom of the inning. Josh Gibson (pictured below) came through with an RBI triple to tie it in the eighth that was inches short of a home run, and Brown brought him home with a sacrifice fly. That was enough for a 5-4 victory. Dave Barnhill got the win in relief and Boom-Boom Beck finished the game.

Johnny Podgajny was on the mound the next day against Brooklyn’s Kirby Higbe. Dolph Camilli got the Dodgers started right away with a two-run bomb over the right field fence. Buck Leonard put one in nearly the same spot when leading off the second to make it 2-1. Hits by Brown and Ron Northey tied it at 2. The next inning, Gibson scored on Northey’s sac fly to take a 3-2 lead. They scored another run in the fourth on Murtaugh's sac fly and one more on Dixie Walker’s error in right to go up 5-2. Ducky Medwick’s 400-foot homer brought the Dodgers within one in the bottom of the sixth, but Leonard launched his second four-bagger of the day the next inning to give Podgajny some breathing room. Northey’s RBI double drove in Brown to make it 7-4. The Dodgers took advantage of Philadelphia’s bullpen to score one in the eighth and two in the ninth to tie it, but they left the bases loaded and went to extra innings. Phil Weintraub’s two-run blast in the 10th off of Verdell Mathis sealed the game for Brooklyn, making a tough road loss for the Phillies.

On May 5, the Phillies faced Bobo Newsom for the third time already in the new season. Extra base hits by Gibson and Leonard in the fourth put the Phillies on the board first for a 2-0 lead. Leonard tripled again in the sixth with two on to put the Phillies up 4-0, then scored on a wild pitch to add one more. No Phillies hitter in the team’s sixty-year history had ever tripled twice in a game, putting Buck in the franchise’s record books. Leonard tried for a third triple in the ninth, but was thrown out at third base and had to settle for an RBI double. Si Johnson gave up a run in the seventh but was otherwise tough to hit in the complete game win.

The next day, Paige closed out the series at Ebbets Field with Willie Wells getting his first start at shortstop. Former Phillie Rube Melton took the mound for Brooklyn. Arky Vaughan led off with a homer into the right field corner to give Brooklyn a 1-0 lead, but Paige knocked in one himself in the second to even the score. Gibson, still searching for his first home run, bounced one off the top of the wall with the bases-loaded, but had to settle for a triple. Wells’s error in the fifth cost the Phillies a run, and the score tightened to 5-4. Steve Mesner’s RBI groundout in the sixth tied it 5-5. Gibson finally got his home run in the ninth to put the Phils up 7-5. They improved to 6-5 on the year, a good showing for a road series.
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Old 05-04-2019, 09:05 AM   #13
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New York (May 7, 8, and 9)

Taking three of four in Brooklyn brought the Phillies into third place at 6-5 as they prepared to meet the second place team, the New York Giants, for a four-game set at Shibe. (The Cardinals, at 12-1, were running away with the division in the early going.)

Dave Barnhill (pictured below) took the mound for the Phillies, as Ruth reshuffled the rotation once again. The diminutive right-hander from North Carolina traded zeros with New York’s Harry Feldman in the first, but Gene Benson scored for the Phillies in the second. An error on Johnny Rucker in center field gave the Phillies one more that inning to make it 2-0. Feldman walked the first five batters in the third to give the Phillies two more runs. Barnwell, a good-hitting pitcher, singled in one more to make it 5-0. Murtaugh’s throwing error let the Giants get on the scoreboard with five runs in the fifth—all unearned. The game went to extras. Brown muffed a ball in right in the eleventh that led to a New York run and cost the Phillies the game.

Si Johnson was on the hill the next day against the Giants’ Bill Sayles. Three straight singles in the second by Gene Benson, Cool Papa Bell, and Willie Wells gave the Phillies the game’s first run. Leonard doubled off the wall in the fifth to push home another run and hits by Gibson and Brown brought home three more. That was enough for Johnson, who shut out the Giants on five hits in the complete game win.

Sunday was a doubleheader day, with Johnny Podgajny on the mound in game one. Mel Ott got hold of one in the first, as he was bound to do eventually, and put the Giants up 2-0. Ray Dandridge doubled in two off Van Mungo in the third to tie it up at two. Mungo doubled and scored in the fifth to put the Giants up one, but Brown got that back plus one more with a deep home run to the left field bleachers in the bottom of the inning. Brown notched another RBI in the seventh when he knocked in Dandridge—who had finally broken out of his slump with a 4-for-4 day—to make the score 5-3. Gibson’s RBI single added one more that inning. Podgajny set them down one-two-three in the ninth to clinch the complete game win for his team.

Paige started the nightcap, and Benson started the team off right with a home run in the first inning. Paige led off the third with a single and came around to score on Leonard’s sac fly to make it 2-0, but his error allowed two Giants to score and they went up 3-2. New York piled on in the seventh and soon the score was 8-2. Gibson launched a pinch-hit home run into the second deck to make it 8-3, but Johnny Allen gave up two more in the top of the inning. Things had turned ugly, and the Phillies ended up losing the game 13-3, and splitting the home series with the Giants 2-2.
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Old 05-05-2019, 07:16 AM   #14
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Cincinnati (May 13)

With a tenth of the season in the books, the Phillies, sitting in third place, were much improved already. Attendance was up and people were excited, but Veeck wanted to win, not merely to contend. So he dealt middling left fielder Ed Levy to the Braves for pitching prospect Johnny Sain. Sain was currently serving in the United States Navy, and would not join the team until next season at least, but the move cleared the way to promote the team’s number one prospect from the farm team in Utica: Del Ennis.

With three days off due to rain, the whole team was fresh for the doubleheader against the fourth-place Reds on May 13. Johnson started the first game against the Reds’ ace, Johnny Vander Meer. Ennis got into the action right away when he threw out Gee Walker at the plate in the third to preserve a scoreless tie. The Reds scored one in the fifth on an error and a sacrifice fly to take the lead. Dandridge evened the score by knocking in Gibson in the bottom of the inning, and Benson scored on a throwing error to give the Phillies a 2-1 lead. They loaded the bases again in the third, but came up empty and clung to a one-run advantage. That would prove costly as the Reds tied it up in the top of the seventh. Beck came in in the ninth and promptly gave up a run, and Murtaugh’s error gave the Reds one more. Vander Meer shut the Phillies down easily in the bottom of the ninth to nail down the win.

Game two was no better. Barnhill was ineffective, surrendering a run in the second, two more in the third, and two more in the fourth. The Phillies picked up one in the sixth on Brown’s RBI single and two more in the eighth, but they could not catch the Reds, who swept the doubleheader at Shibe Park, winning 7-4.

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Old 05-06-2019, 10:23 AM   #15
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St Louis (May 16 and 17)

The two-game sweep by Cincinnati was tough, but now the Phillies faced a harder challenge as the league-leading, reigning world champion St. Louis Cardinals arrived in town. Phillies ace Satchel Paige started the first game against the Cards’ lefty Harry Breechen. Gibson got the scoring going with a smash into the left field seats in the second, driving in two. Del Ennis (pictured below) doubled and scored on Paige’s single into left-center to make it 3-0. Benson’s RBI single in the sixth added one more and a sac fly by Ennis made it 5-0. Brown’s triple off the wall in Shibe Park’s deep center field scored two more in the seventh.

Paige allowed his first baserunner—a hit batsman—in the third, but the Redbirds failed to score. After none of the Cardinals got a base hit through seven, the excitement began to build in the stands. Former Phillie Danny Litwhiler reached on an error in the ninth and Paige walked the dangerous Stan Musial intentionally. With two on and two out, Paige threw strike three to pinch hitter John Cappa to complete a no-hitter against the best team in baseball. Phillies fans went wild, but even beyond that Paige had proved that a black man could stand against the best players in baseball and not only compete, but dominate.

Barnhill started the first game of a doubleheader then next day and the Cardinals finally got a base hit in the third inning. The game remained scoreless until the fifth, when Barnhill walked in a run and gave up one more on Buster Adams’s single to center. The Phils got one back in the bottom of the inning when Dandridge scored on a wild pitch from starter Harry Gumbert but remained behind, 2-1. Litwhiler drove in two more in the sixth after Barnhill’s error kept the inning alive. Verdell Mathis pitched the eighth and ninth without giving up a run, and the Phillies scored two in the ninth to make it 4-3, but they could not push the final run across and went down to a narrow defeat.

Half an hour later, Podgajny started game two. Catcher Ken O’Dea gave the Cardinals the lead with a two-run homer in the second and Ray Saunders hit a solo shot in the third, part of a three-run inning that made it 5-0. Dandridge got the Phillies on the board with an RBI triple in the fourth. Hilton Smith gave up two more runs in relief in the sixth, and the game began to look like a blowout. The Phillies scored two in the seventh, but a wild pitch from Tiant in the eighth made it 8-3 Cardinals. The home team inched closer when Campanella knocked in two on a double to deep center in the eighth and Northey doubled home two more with a clutch pinch hit. That chased Howie Krist from the game and made it 8-7 going into the final frame. Si Johnson pitched a scoreless top of the inning, but the Phillies could not score and dropped another one-run contest.

The no-hitter had been an historic and thrilling event, but the series was otherwise disappointing for the Phillies as they dropped two of three.
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Old 05-07-2019, 10:31 AM   #16
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Chicago (May 17, 18, and 20)

Pitching was clearly the Phillies’ problem, and there was not much of it available. So when Schoolboy Rowe, at age 33, became available, the Phillies rushed to sign him. Rowe was generally seen as past his prime, but so was half of baseball in 1943. Ruth was happy to add him to the team.

Fresh off his no-hitter, Paige started the first game against the Cubs, who sat in seventh place despite a six-game winning streak. The game remained scoreless through nine as Paige and Cubs starter Claude Passeau both mowed down hitter after hitter. The Cubs’ Stan Hack knocked in one in the tenth and Ruth finally lifted Paige for Rowe, who surrendered three more. Passeau sat down the Phillies in the tenth, and the visitors won, 4-0.

Si Johnson was next up in the rotation. The Cubs scored one in the first on Phil Cavarretta’s sacrifice fly and another when Si walked in a run, but Gibson got one back off of aging star Paul Derringer with an RBI double later that inning. After a Willie Wells single in the fifth, the Phillies played small ball to score him, then got two more on Willard Brown’s double to deep center. Ennis drove him in with a single to make it 5-2. But the Cubs scored five in the sixth when Johnson could not find the strike zone and went back up, 7-5. The game quickly got out of hand and the Phillies lost 14-5.

As the game the next day was being rained out, Veeck and the front office made some moves. Verdell Mathis was sent down to Utica to refine his mechanics while the Phillies claimed a former player of theirs, Cy Blanton, off the waiver wire from the Washington Senators.

Barnhill took the mound for game one of the doubleheader the next day. The Cubs got two in the third on hits by Bill Norman and Eddie Stanky, but the Phillies came right back in the bottom of the inning with three runs on Benson’s home run. Barnhill struggled with control and gave up the lead in the fourth with two more runs. The Phillies loaded the bases in the fifth and Josh Gibson unloaded them with a blast to left-center that the team later estimated went 460 feet. Bad defense—the Phillies had five errors—kept the Cubs in the game, but Blanton pitched the two final innings flawlessly to lock down a much-needed win for the Phillies.

In the second game, Si Johnson hoped to make up for his sad showing a few days earlier. He was sharper, but the Cubs took a one-run lead on Peanuts Lowrey’s RBI single in the third and gained another on pitcher Al Prim’s double in the fifth. The Phillies finally broke through on Ennis’s RBI triple off the center field fence later that inning. Cavarretta singled home one more for the Cubs in the eighth and Johnson was lifted for a pinch hitter. Brown (pictured below) yanked a two-run shot down the line that inning to tie the game.

Neither team could score in the ninth, and the game went into extra innings. Bill Nicholson homered for the Cubs off of Luis Tiant in the eleventh, but Willie Wells launched on of his own in the bottom of the inning to tie it up again. Brown sent one to the warning track in the twelfth, but just missed, sending it to the thirteenth inning. Boom-Boom Beck let the Cubs load the bases in the top of the inning and Podgajny came in to relieve him. Stan Hack scored on a sac fly, and the Phillies were once more down to their final three outs. They got two on, but Campanella fouled out to end it, making another devastating loss for the Phillies.
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Old 05-08-2019, 10:17 AM   #17
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Pittsburgh (May 22 and 23)

In what felt like a never-ending homestand, the Phillies nonetheless struggled on the field. Their record was 10-14 when the seventh-place Pirates arrived in Philadelphia for three games near the end of May. Manager and players alike hoped the series would give them a boost before the long road swing that would follow.

Paige, now 4-3, took the mound on Saturday night to face the 8-14 Pittsburgh team, with rookie Xavier Rescigno on the mound for the Pirates. After a scoreless half-inning, Dandridge reached on an error and Brown drove him in with a line drive into the center field corner to put the Phillies ahead. An error on the Pirates second baseman, Pete Coscarart, led to a second Phillies run in the sixth, but the Pirates tied it up on a two-run two-out single by Johnny Wyrostek in the seventh. The Pirates scored one in the ninth on another Wyrostek RBI to take the lead and the Phillies dropped another close one.

The next day was a doubleheader. Rowe made his first start in the early game and the Phillies erupted for six runs in the second inning to take a four-run lead. That was the high point of the action. The game soon went off the rails, with Rowe, Tiant, Blanton, and Podgajny all giving up multiple runs in a 19-11 shellacking.

Barnhill was better in the nightcap, but the Phillies’ own offense faltered. The Pirates scored two on Vince DiMaggio’s double in the seventh to take a 3-0 lead. That was the final as the Phillies found themselves swept at home, a disappointing result to say the least.
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Old 05-09-2019, 11:54 AM   #18
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At Cincinnati (May 26, 27, and 28)

After the terrible homestand, Ruth called a closed-doors team meeting and read the men the riot act. Defensive lapses and lackluster play had to stop, and soon, if they ever hope to stay out of the second division, much less catch the league-leading Cardinals. The next day, they boarded the train to Cincinnati. Joining them was Mathis, recalled after proving himself too good to linger in the Eastern League.

Elmer Riddle was pitching for the second-place Reds, and he set the Phillies down easily in the first. Paige had a more difficult inning, giving up a leadoff homer to Lonny Frey. He settled down after that, and a sacrifice fly by Willie Wells (pictured below) in the fifth scored Ennis to tie the game. Five straight singles put the Reds ahead 4-1 in the sixth, and another run scored on Gibson’s throwing error. Hilton Smith gave up another in the eighth and a Phillies rally in the ninth came to nothing: they lost it, 6-1.

The Phillies hoped to snap their five-game skid the following afternoon at Crosley Field. Si Johnson and Luke Hamlin pitched dueling shutouts through eight, until the Reds scored one on a sacrifice fly. Down once more in the ninth, Josh Gibson shocked the Reds faithful by slamming a two-run homer to dead center to put the Phillies ahead. Johnson retired the Reds in the bottom of the inning and the Phillies stopped the slide and won it 2-1, thanks to Gibson’s clutch hitting.

Barnhill faced Johnny Vander Meer the next day in the rubber match. Ernie Lombardi’s RBI single in the first gave the Reds the early lead and Eddie Miller added one more. The Reds added three more in the fourth and began to run away with the game. Hilton Smith’s three innings of scoreless were a bright spot in what was an otherwise dismal game for the Phillies. They lost 5-0 and were happy to board the train to Pittsburgh that night.
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Old 05-11-2019, 10:58 AM   #19
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At Pittsburgh (May 29 and 30)

Verdell Mathis took the mound for the Phillies at Forbes Field that afternoon, and came in with a lead thanks to Brown’s RBI triple in the top of the inning. Mathis’s sojourn at Utica seemed only to have made him hungrier for success, but he still struggled with control—one of the four runs he gave up in the third came on a bases-loaded walk. The Phillies caught a break in the fourth when two Pirate errors helped narrow the score to 4-3. Brown tripled to the cavernous left field to drive in two more in the next inning and give the Phillies the lead. They sent ten men to the plate that inning to take an 8-4 lead and kept on scoring. Gibson launched a three-run homer over the wall in left—more than 400 feet—to give the team a 12-4 lead in the eighth. Ruth gave Dihigo and Duckett some playing time now as the result seemed assured. 12-4 was the final and there were a few smiles around the Phillies’ locker room for the first time in a while.

The next day was a doubleheader, with Paige on the mound for the Phillies. The Phils got on the board first again when Ray Dandridge (pictured below) scored on Leonard’s sacrifice fly to left in the first inning. An error, a walk, and an infield single led to a Pittsburgh run in the third to tie the game. The visitors got right back on top in the fourth when Dandridge—who had finally gotten hot since leaving Shibe Park—singled in Wells to make it 2-1. Al Lopez’s RBI single for the Pirates in the bottom of the inning tied it right back up again. Leonard un-tied it with a two run blast over the right field wall, and seven more men came to the plate to make the score 6-2. The Pirates tried to stay in it, but their four errors helped the Phillies even more. The Phillies ran away with it, 12-5.

Johnson started the late game and this time Pittsburgh scored first, with Pete Coscarart knocked in a run in the second. In the fourth, Buck Leonard put a ball where few other men could—over the right-center field fence at Forbes Field. The blast went about 425 feet, according to the Phillies press office, though a lively dispute arose in the clubhouse about whether it was hit farther than one of Gibson’s bombs earlier in the season. Meanwhile, the 1-1 tie held through nine. The Phillies loaded the bases in the tenth and scored on relief pitcher John Whitehead’s balk, of all things. Mickey Livingston hit into a double play to end the inning, but Schoolboy Rowe pitched a scoreless tenth to win it and sweep the road series. For the first time since the season began, the Phillies began to feel like a winning ballclub.
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Old 05-12-2019, 08:41 AM   #20
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At Chicago (May 31, June 1 and 2)

One doubleheader followed another as the Phillies got off the train in Chicago and hurried to Wrigley Field to play two, hoping to stay hot. Willie Wells got them started by putting a ball onto Waveland Avenue with a two-run homer in the first. Benson knocked in Gibson later that inning to make it 3-0 even before Barnwell threw his first pitch. The Phillies chased Cubs starter Ray Prim from the game by scoring three more in the second and Barnhill held the lead through eight innings. Hilton Smith pitched the ninth and the Phillies good streak continued with a 7-3 win.

They quickly took the field for the day’s second game, their fourth in two days. Brown started the scoring in the first with a home run into the center field bleachers, giving Mathis a little breathing room on the mound. Bill Nicholson used it all up, though, in the bottom of the first with an RBI triple to tie the game at one. The Cubs went ahead on a passed ball in the third, but Wells knocked in Dandridge in the sixth to make it 2-2. Leonard broke the tie with a triple to right that scored Dandridge once more, but Bill Norman knotted it up again for Chicago with a home run and the game went to extra innings. In the twelfth, Chicago finally prevailed when Beck walked in a run to lose it 4-3.

Paige was on the mound again the next day against Chicago’s Paul Derringer. Chicago tagged Satchel for a run in the first, but the Phillies scored two in the second to take the lead. A bigger problem came next inning when Paige hurt his shoulder throwing a pitch and had to leave the game. Blanton came in to take his place. Willard Brown’s two-run homer in the next inning made it 4-1 and they kept piling on. Tiant finished the game, which the Phillies won 9-2. Everyone was glad to keep winning, but all were concerned with the health of their ace.

The win took the Phillies into fourth place, but the whole league was looking up at the Cardinals at 28-8. Meanwhile, Si Johnson (pictured below) squared off against Lon Warneke in the final game of the four-game series at Wrigley. The lineup stayed hot, putting up three runs in the first. Sloppy fielding gave the Cubs two back in the second, but Gibson’s league-leading seventh home run in the third made it 4-2 Phillies. Leonard’s opposite-field homer in the fifth sent Warneke to the showers and made it 6-3. In the next inning the big first baseman hit another one out, this time to right field, to make it 9-3. Not to be outdone, Gibson hit his second of the game to go back-to-back. Johnson went the distance and the Phillies won 12-4 to win the series. The road trip had been an amazing success so far, but now would come a true test of their mettle: three games in St. Louis.
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