1903 World Series

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1903 World Series
Boston Pilgrims logo
1903 World Series logo
Pittsburgh Pirates logo
Boston Pilgrims
91 - 47 in the AL
5 - 3
Series Summary
Pittsburgh Pirates
91 - 49 in the NL

The 1903 World Series was the first modern World Series played, between the league champions of the American League and the National League. The Boston Americans defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 5 games to 3. The Series was the result of the peace pact signed in January 1903 in Cincinnati, OH between the presidents of the two leagues - Ban Johnson for the American League and Harry Pulliam for the National League - that ended two years of bickering, contract jumping and name-calling that was hurting both leagues' attendance. As a result, the National League, established in 1876, recognized the newly-formed American League, which had played its first season in 1901, as an equal. There was still a lot of bitterness left among the owners, however, but one the National League's owners had a different point of view. As the 1903 season drew to a close and with his team in first place, Barney Dreyfuss, the owner of Pittsburgh's franchise, saw the potential of re-kindling fans' interest by arranging a series of games with the rival league's champions, Boston.

Cover of a 1903 World Series Scorecard for Game 8

Barney Dreyfuss wrote to Boston owner Henry Killilea in August 1903 stating: "The time has come for the National League and American League to organize a World Series. It is my belief that if our clubs played a series on a best-of-nine basis, we would create great interest in baseball, in our leagues, and in our players. I also believe it would be a financial success." The two met in Pittsburgh in early September 1903 to draw up plans for the first World Series. It was agreed that the series would be a best of nine games affair, that the gate receipts would be split among the two teams, and that no player hired after August 31 could be used. As the players' contracts in the American League ended on September 30, the two agreed that 70% of the receipts would go towards bonuses for the players, while Killilea would pay his charges for two extra weeks of work in order to entice them to keep on playing beyond the normal end of their contracts. With these ground rules set, the stage was ready for what would become baseball's annual defining moment, the first World Series.

The Teams[edit]

The Pittsburgh Pirates[edit]

1903 Pittsburgh Pirates (in the back row)

The Pittsburgh Pirates had been created by what was in effect the merger after the 1899 season of two of the National League's middling franchises, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Louisville Colonels. From the combined rosters of the two teams, one powerhouse franchise was created. In fact, most of the team's biggest stars came from the defunct Colonels: manager and outfielder Fred Clarke, third baseman Tommy Leach, second baseman Claude Ritchey, pitcher Deacon Phillippe and especially shortstop Honus Wagner, the greatest player of his generation. In contrast, the Pirates had only contributed center fielder Ginger Beaumont and pitcher Sam Leever, but the surplus of talent had meant that the team could lose a couple of future Hall of Famers, pitchers Jack Chesbro and Rube Waddell, to the American League without feeling the pinch.

The newly-strengthened Pirates had finished second in the National league in 1900 and lost in the Chronicle-Telegraph Cup to the Brooklyn club. They then won the pennant going away in both 1901 and 1902 when their rivals were weakened by losing some of their biggest stars to the new rival league, while the Pirates had escaped relatively unscathed from the turmoil. In fact, the 1902 pennant race was a laugher, with Pittsburgh finishing a whopping 27.5 games ahead of second-place Brooklyn. The 1903 race was a bit closer, with John McGraw's New York Giants finishing 6.5 games behind the Pirates, but it was nothing to shake the team's reputation as the class of baseball. In fact, owner Barney Dreyfuss was looking for a new challenge for his team, and new ways to solicit the fans' interest, given that they had little left to prove in the National League.

The heart of the Pittsburgh Pirates was its pitching staff, led by three workhorses, Deacon Phillippe (25-9, 2.43), Sam Leever (25-7, 2.06) and Ed Doheny (16-8, 3.19). 34 year-old veteran Brickyard Kennedy, a star with the Brooklyn Superbas in the 1890's, was the team's fourth starter, having been rejuvenated for one last season in which he went 9-6 with a 3.45 ERA. Beyond those four, the pitching staff included a group of seldom-used rookies who only made a few spot starts during the season.

The Pirates' hitting was not shabby either. SS Honus Wagner and LF Fred Clarke had finished first and second in the race for the NL batting title, hitting .355 and .351 respectively, while Clarke had beaten out his teammate by a few points for the slugging percentage title. CF Ginger Beaumont hit .341 and led the league with 209 hits and 137 runs scored as the team's lead-off hitter, while 3B Tommy Leach barely missed the .300 mark with a .298 average and 87 RBI (second on the team to Wagner's 101). The line-up was rounded up by three other productive hitters who were also solid defenders, 2B Claude Ritchey (.287, 59 RBI), 1B Kitty Bransfield (.265) and RF Jimmy Sebring (.277, 64 RBI). The only weak spot was catcher, where rookie Ed Phelps had emerged as a solid contributor to claim the starting spot, hitting .282 in 81 games, while the previous year's starter, Harry Smith, had hit his way out of a job with a .175 average that negated a reputation as an outstanding defender. The team had no bench to speak of, but this was not really an issue, as Smith would be the only position player beyond the eight starters to see playing time in the World Series.

On paper, the Pirates appeared to be a formidable team, and in fact were largely favored by prognosticators going into the series. Unfortunately, they were also snake-bit. As the season wound down, a series of unfortunate events was throwing spanners in what had been a well-oiled machine. On July 30, pitcher Ed Doheny left the team suffering from bouts of paranoia; he would rejoin his teammates in the middle of August, only to see his condition return and worsen, forcing his return home under escort in late September. He was committed to an insane asylum a few weeks later, never to pitch in the majors again. Then, a few days before the World Series started, pitcher Sam Leever injured in a shoulder while taking part in a trap-shooting contest in Charleroi, PA. On top of that, Wagner was not 100%, having suffered a leg injury that left him limping, while back-up infielder Otto Krueger was in hospital, recovering from a late season bean ball.

The Boston Americans[edit]

1903 Boston Americans

If the Pittsburgh Pirates had managed to escape the player raids of 1901-1902, the Boston Americans had been formed thanks to these same raids. The team was one of the new franchises that had been added when Western League President Ban Johnson decided to turn his circuit into a major league following the 1900 season. The American League team was so new that it had not established a nickname yet - the name Red Sox would not be used until the 1907 season. They were largely referred to as the the Americans by contemporary neWorld Seriespapers, in addition to various other names such as the Pilgrims, the Somersets, or other monikers often made up for the sake of a neWorld Seriespaper headline. These names were created to distinguish the club from the city's other team, the prestigious Boston franchise that had been part of the National League since its founding in 1876 and had been a powerhouse in the 1890's.

The Americans' owners knew a good thing when they saw it, and plundered their city rivals by plucking their best player, third baseman Jimmy Collins and installing him as the franchise's manager. Outfielders Buck Freeman and Chick Stahl and pitcher Bill Dineen had also been signed away from the Beaneaters, but the franchise's other prize catch, pitcher Cy Young, had come from the St. Louis Cardinals as had his battery-mate, catcher Lou Criger.

As a result of these inspired signings, the Boston team had immediately established itself as one of the new league's top franchises, finishing in second place behind the Chicago White Sox in 1901 and third in 1902. Everything came together in 1903, though, and the team ran away with the American League pennant, finishing 14.5 games ahead of the second place Philadelphia Athletics. As was the case for its National League rivals, the team's strength lay in its outstanding pitching staff, led by the 35 year-old Cy Young, who was already a living legend. Young had dominated the AL's pitching statistics its first three seasons, leading the circuit in victories all three years, and finishing 1903 with a 28-9 record and a 2.08 ERA. He was backed by two 20-game winners, Bill Dineen (21-12, 2.26) and Long Tom Hughes (20-7, 2.57). Even the back end of the staff was strong, with rookie Norwood Gibson posting a 13-9 mark with a 3.19 ERA, and George Winter contributing a 9-8 mark with a solid 3.08 ERA as the team's fifth starter; neither of them would see any action in the World Series though.

The Americans' offense was not as dominating, but it was well-balanced, boasting production from seven of its eight spots. LF and lead-off hitter Patsy Dougherty had led the team with a .331 batting average, thanks to a league-leading 195 hits, while RF Buck Freeman had led the league with 13 home runs and 104 RBI, to go along with a .287 average. 3B Jimmy Collins hat hit .296 with 72 RBI, while CF Chick Stahl put up a .274 average while losing a large chunk of the season to a leg injury. This core of players was complemented by veteran 1B Candy LaChance, and two home-grown youngsters, 2B Hobe Ferris and SS Freddy Parent. None of them was particularly celebrated, even if Parent had hit a solid .304 with 80 RBI, but they would turn out to be very productive hitters in the World Series, giving the Pirates' pitchers no respite in the bottom of the order. The only weak link was C Lou Criger, an outstanding glove man who only hit .192. The bench included OF Jack O'Brien who hat hit .210 while subbing for an injured Stahl in center field, and 37 year-old catcher Duke Farrell, who had hit .404 in limited playing time and who, in contrast with most catchers of his era, was known more for his bat than for his glove.


Hank O'Day (NL) and Tom Connolly (AL)

Series Summary[edit]

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record


1 October 1 Pittsburgh Pirates 7 Boston Americans 3 0-1 16,242
2 October 2 Pittsburgh Pirates 0 Boston Americans 3 1-1 9,415
3 October 3 Pittsburgh Pirates 4 Boston Americans 2 1-2 18,801
4 October 6 Boston Americans 4 Pittsburgh Pirates 5 1-3 7,600
5 October 7 Boston Americans 11 Pittsburgh Pirates 2 2-3 12,322
6 October 8 Boston Americans 6 Pittsburgh Pirates 3 3-3 11,556
7 October 10 Boston Americans 7 Pittsburgh Pirates 3 4-3 17,038
8 October 13 Pittsburgh Pirates 0 Boston Americans 3 5-3 7,455

The Games[edit]

Game One[edit]

October 1, 1903 at Huntington Avenue Grounds in Boston, MA (Attendance: 16,242) Boxscore
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Pittsburgh Pirates 4 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 7 12 2
Boston Americans 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 3 6 4
Win: Deacon Phillippe (1-0) Loss: Cy Young (0-1)
Home Runs: Jimmy Sebring, PIT

The first World Series game was played on October 1, 1903 at Boston's Huntington Avenue Grounds before a packed crowd of over 16,000, an enormous number for the time, which indicated immediately that the Series had caught fans' imaginations. Boston sent its ace to the mound, the already legendary Cy Young, who had won 28 games during the regular season. For Pittsburgh, player-manager Fred Clarke was limited in his options, since neither Ed Doheny nor Sam Leever were available; Deacon Phillippe was no slouch, however, having won 25 games himself during the regular season.

The Pirates jumped all over Young in the first inning. After their first two hitters, Ginger Beaumont and Clarke, made easy outs, Tommy Leach tripled and the great Honus Wagner singled him in for the first run in World Series history. An error by Boston second baseman Hobe Ferris on Kitty Bransfield's ground ball prolonged the inning, and then all hell broke loose. Catcher Lou Criger would commit two more errors, the Pirates would steal three bases and by the time pitcher Phillippe struck out to end the inning, Boston was in a deep 4-0 hole. Phillippe cruised through six scoreless innings while the Pirates kept padding their score, adding a run in the third on a triple by Bransfield followed by a single by Ed Phelps, and another unearned run in the fourth thanks to Ferris' second error of the game on a ground ball by Beaumont.

In the 7th inning, Pittsburgh brought the score to 7-0 when Jimmy Sebring hit the first home run in Series history, an inside the park shot that incidentally gave him his fourth RBI of the game. The Americans finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom half of the inning, when Buck Freeman and Freddy Parent opened the frame with back-to-back triples, while Candy LaChance followed with a sacrifice fly. They mounted one last gasp threat in the 9th, when lead-off hitter Freeman reached on an error by Wagner; Parent followed with a single, advancing his teammate to third base. LaChance then hit his second sacrifice fly of the game and Ferris singled to place two men on with one out. Boston player-manager Jimmy Collins then made the first substitution of the World Series, calling on Jack O'Brien to pinch hit for Criger; Phillippe struck him out, however, and Collins' next pinch hitter, Duke Farrell, did not fare any better, grounding out to Phillippe while batting for Young. This ended the game with a 7-3 Pittsburgh victory, which must have convinced quite a few observers that the National League was simply too strong for its young rival.

Game Two[edit]

October 2, 1903 at Huntington Avenue Grounds in Boston, MA (Attendance: 9,415) Boxscore
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Pittsburgh Pirates 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 2
Boston Americans 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 x 3 8 0
Win: Bill Dineen (1-0) Loss: Sam Leever (0-1)
Home Runs: Patsy Dougherty BOS (2)

Any hope which the Pittsburgh Pirates may have harboured that the World Series would be a cakewalk evaporated within one inning of Game Two. Fred Clarke decided to send Sam Leever, a 25-game winner who had led the National League in ERA during the season, to the mound even though he had injured his pitching shoulder a few days earlier while taking part in a trap-shooting contest. It was made clear early on that Leever was not at full strength: after Boston's Bill Dineen had set down the Pirates in order in the first, picking off player-manager Clarke at first base in the process, the Americans' lead-off hitter, Patsy Dougherty, set the tone for the game by belting an inside-the-park home run. After one out, Chick Stahl doubled and Buck Freeman singled to center for a second run. Leever got out of the inning after issuing a walk to Candy LaChance, but Clarke had seen enough and lifted him in favour of rookie right-hander Bucky Veil to begin the second inning. Veil was in and out of trouble over the next few innings, walking five men and hitting one, and even getting out of a bases loaded, none out, jam in the fifth, but the only run he gave up was Dougherty's second home run of the game, a solo shot in the sixth that brought the score to 3-0.

In the meantime, Dineen was extremely stingy, lining up a string of zeros before giving up a walk to Ginger Beaumont to lead off the fourth inning, followed by a single by Clarke - Pittsburgh's first hit of the game. After Tommy Leach grounded out to Dineen, Pittsburgh had runners on second and third with only one out, but Honus Wagner lined a shot to Hobe Ferris at second base, who made up for the previous day's poor fielding by turning an inning-ending unassisted double play. That was Pittsburgh's best chance of the game; they would only hit two more singles the rest of the way, and foolishly threw away the second of these when lead-off hitter Claude Ritchey was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double in the eighth inning. After another perfect inning in the 9th, Dineen had completed a three-hit shutout of the mighty Pirates and had evened the Series at one game apiece. The fans had come in much lesser numbers to the Huntington Avenue Grounds after the home team's drubbing in Game One, but it was now clear that the two teams were much more evenly matched than most people had thought.

Game Three[edit]

October 3, 1903 at Huntington Avenue Grounds in Boston, MA (Attendance: 18,801) Boxscore
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Pittsburgh Pirates 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 4 7 1
Boston Americans 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 2 4 2
Win: Deacon Phillippe (2-0) Loss: Tom Hughes (0-1)
A crowd overflows the playing field prior to Game 3 of the 1903 World Series
The Pittsburgh Pirates in the visitors dugout in Game 3 of the 1903 World Series

After Boston's outstanding performance in Game Two, throngs of fans were back at the Huntington Avenue Grounds for Game Three on October 3, an incredible total of over 18,000 persons. In fact, so many fans turned up that they overflowed onto the playing field, and force had to be used to push them back in order to allow players to begin the game. In the end, police moved the crowd to 50 feet behind the diamond, and within 15 feet of the left and right foul lines. A circle of about thirty feet was cleared behind the catcher, and the players were closed off from their bench. It was decided that balls hit nto the outfield crowd would be counted as doubles.

The huge crowd was witness to another fine pitching effort by Pittsburgh's Deacon Phillippe, pitching with only one day's rest because of injuries to the Pirates' other reliable starters. For the Americans, "Long" Tom Hughes, another 20-game winner, was making his first appearance on the mound. Being well-rested did not seem to be such a great advantage, since Hughes could not contain the Pirates' offense after setting down the first five batters he faced. With two outs in the second inning, Claude Ritchey hit a short double into the crowd in center field that would have been caught under normal circumstances; it was followed by a walk to Jimmy Sebring. This brought up catcher Ed Phelps, who again doubled into the crowd, this time in left field, to open the score. In the third, Hughes got in trouble again when he walked lead-off hitter Ginger Beaumont and then allowed a double to Fred Clarke, who also took advantage of the special ground rule. After Tommy Leach followed with a run-scoring single, Boston player-manager Jimmy Collins yanked Hughes in favour of his ace Cy Young, who had also pitched a complete game in Game One. While the Deadball Era is remembered as a period when pitchers were expected to complete the games they started, it was also a time when the quick hook was quite common, and Hughes had only needed to allow six of seven consecutive batters to reach base to be shown the way out, with none out in the top of the third. Collins began to argue with umpire Tom Connolly to gain time, allowing Young to warm up and come in the game in a tough jam. It is said that Young was still in street clothes when Hughes started to unravel, sitting in the club office and helping to count the day's take. Cy immediately proceeded tothrow a wild pitch and then hit the first batter he faced, Honus Wagner, to load the bases. He almost managed to get out of the inning unscathed after Kitty Bransfield popped up to Candy LaChance at first and Claude Ritchey hit a grounder to Collins at third, who forced out the lead runner Clarke at home. Jimmy Sebring then hit a ball that shortstop Freddy Parent misplayed, allowing Leach to score the third run. Parent did cut off Wagner at home plate as he was trying to add a fourth run on the play, ending the inning.

Boston was now down in a 3-0 hole. They got one run back in the fourth inning when Collins scored on a sacrifice fly by Parent, but neither team managed a base hit from the fifth to the seventh inning. In the top of the eighth, Wagner doubled and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt before Ritchey singled him in to increase Pittsburgh's lead to 4-1. The Americans responded in their half of the inning when Collins doubled with two outs and was pushed home by Chick Stahl's single. However, that was the last run of the game as Phillippe set down Boston in order in the ninth to earn his second complete game victory of the Series, and send the teams to Pittsburgh with the Pirates ahead two games to one.

Game Four[edit]

October 6, 1903 at Exposition Park in Pittsburgh, PA (Attendance: 7,600) Boxscore
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Boston Americans 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 3 4 9 1
Pittsburgh Pirates 1 0 0 0 1 0 3 0 x 5 12 1
Win: Deacon Phillippe (3-0) Loss: Bill Dineen (1-1)

The World Series moved to Pittsburgh for Game Four, which was played on October 6 at Exposition Park after one day off for travel and a second day off caused by a rainout. This respite allowed Pirates' manager Fred Clarke to once again call upon Deacon Phillippe to come to the mound for a third start in four games. His opponent, Bill Dineen, had not pitched since shutting out Pittsburgh on October 2. However, Phillippe was up to the task again, blanking the Americans on one hit through the first four innings. For their part, the Pirates got on the scoreboard in their first turn at bat when Honus Wagner and Kitty Bransfield hit consecutive singles with two outs to drive in Clarke with the game's first run. Boston tied it up in the top of the fifth inning when Candy LaChance singled, moved to second on a ground out, and beat right fielder Jimmy Sebring's throw home on Lou Criger's single. However, Criger, who had moved to second on the play at the plate, was caught at third base on pitcher Dineen's tapper to third baseman Tommy Leach, ending the threat. Worse for Boston, Pittsburgh immediately retook the lead in their half of the inning when Ginger Beaumont tripled and Leach drove him home with a single to make the score 2-1.

The Pirates appeared to break the game open in the seventh inning. Pitcher Phillippe, the lead-off hitter, singled and moved to second when left fielder Patsy Dougherty misplayed the ball. Beaumont then laid down a bunt, which third baseman Jimmy Collins fielded with difficulty; without a play at first, he threw home, to prevent Phillippe from scoring, which he did at the cost of seeing Beaumont move to second base. After one out, Leach drove in two runs with a triple and then scored on Wagner's single to make it 5-1 in favor of Pittsburgh. After going down in order in the eighth, the Americans mounted a valiant comeback effort in the ninth. Collins and Chick Stahl led off with singles, and Buck Freeman followed with another single to drive in a run. Freddy Parent hit into a force out, but that allowed Stahl to score, to make it 5-3. LaChance and Hobe Ferris then hit consecutive singles to load the bases, bringing up pinch hitter Duke Farrell in Criger's spot. Farrell hit a fly ball to left fielder Clarke, allowing Parent to score. With the score 5-4, two on and two outs and the pitcher's spot due up, Collins inserted pinch hitter Jack O'Brien to hit for Dineen, but he popped up to second baseman Claude Ritchey to end what had been an exciting closely-fought game. Pittsburgh now had a 3 game to 1 lead, however, with the next three games to be played at home. Suddenly, things were looking very bleak for Boston.

Game Five[edit]

October 7, 1903 at Exposition Park in Pittsburgh, PA (Attendance: 12,322) Boxscore
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Boston Americans 0 0 0 0 0 6 4 1 0 11 13 2
Pittsburgh Pirates 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 6 4
Win: Cy Young (1-1) Loss: Brickyard Kennedy (0-1)

Game Five was played in Pittsburgh on October 7, with Pittsburgh holding an apparent stranglehold on the World Series. However, manager Fred Clarke faced a problem in that his ace pitcher, Deacon Phillippe, having pitched his third complete game of the Series a day earlier, was not available. He chose veteran Bill "Brickyard" Kennedy, who had been Brooklyn's ace pitcher in the 1890's but was celebrating his 35th birthday that day, as his starting pitcher. For Jimmy Collins, the choice was easier, since Cy Young - who was no spring chicken either, having been born six months before Kennedy, but was still at the top of his game - had not pitched since coming out of the bullpen in Game Three four days earlier. In any case, the two veterans were locked in a scoreless pitchers' duel through five innings. The Americans broke the game open in the top of the sixth inning: Chick Stahl led off by reaching base when left-fielder Clarke misplayed his fly ball for an error. Buck Freeman then singled, and Freddy Parent laid down a sacrifice bunt, which was fielded by third baseman Tommy Leach. Leach threw to Honus Wagner, who was covering third base, to attempt to cut off lead runner Stahl; Wagner dropped the throw, however, and all baserunners were safe, loading the bases with nobody out. Kennedy walked Candy LaChance, forcing in the game's first run, then his defense let him down for a third time that fateful inning when Wagner failed to field Hobe Ferris's ground ball. Two more runs scored, then, after a sacrifice bunt, Young helped his own cause by slugging a two-run triple to left field. Patsy Dougherty followed with another triple, and Boston was up 6-0, even if none of the runs had been earned.

After another scoreless frame for Pittsburgh in the bottom of the sixth, Boston came back in force in the seventh, scoring four more runs on four hits, with Dougherty driving in two more with his second triple of the game, to bring the score to 10-0. Gus Thompson, whose major league pitching experience was all of five games, took over for a battered Kennedy at the top of the eighth, but he was greeted by Chick Stahl's lead-off triple. Stahl came to score on Freeman's ground out that made the score 11-0. That was all the scoring for Boston, and Pittsburgh avoided a shutout by scoring two unearned runs with two outs in the eighth, but the verdict was harsh: Boston 11, Pittsburgh 2. And the question now needed to be asked: did the Pirates have anyone who could pitch besides Deacon Phillippe?

Game Six[edit]

October 8, 1903 at Exposition Park in Pittsburgh, PA (Attendance: 11,556)


Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Boston Americans 0 0 3 0 2 0 1 0 0 6 10 1
Pittsburgh Pirates 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 3 10 1
Win: Bill Dineen (2-1) Loss: Sam Leever (0-2)

In spite of his team holding a 3 game to 2 lead in the World Series, Pittsburgh's manager Fred Clarke had a difficult decision to make on the eve of Game Six, and once again it involved starting pitching. Only Deacon Phillippe had been dependable among his pitchers, winning all three of his starts so far with complete games, but he had shown signs of being tired at the end of Game Four, two days earlier, when Boston had almost come back from a four-run deficit in the ninth inning. He needed to win two more games, and using his ace with short rest once again would mean he'd have a tired Phillippe today, and would likely be unable to use him further on. On the other hand, Sam Leever had shown nothing in his start in Game Two and was likely still feeling the effects of his shoulder injury. The rest of his pitching staff was composed of veteran Brickyard Kennedy, who had been soundly beaten the previous day, and four raw rookies, Bucky Veil, Gus Thompson, Kaiser Wilhelm and Jack Pfiester, none of whom gave his manager much confidence. Clarke decided to give Leever another chance.

For Boston, Bill Dineen was pitching with a day's rest after having lost Game Four. As it turned out, Leever made it through two innings before showing signs of trouble. After two outs in the third, Dineen singled, then Patsy Dougherty drew a walk. Jimmy Collins singled to center, scoring Dineen, followed by Chick Stahl who rapped the inning's third single, scoring Dougherty and moving Collins to third. With Leever rattled, Stahl stole second, and Buck Freeman hit a ground ball to third base which Tommy Leach booted, giving Boston a third run. Boston stranded two runners in the fourth, and then in the fifth inning, they tagged Leever again, with Stahl hitting a lead-off triple and scoring on Freeman's sacrifice fly. Leever hit Freddy Parent with a pitch, but on Hobe Ferris' two-out single to center field, Honus Wagner - who was having a terrible series on defense - dropped the relay throw, allowing Parent to score the Americans' fifth run. In the mean-time, Dineen was cruising along, having allowed no runs on four hits through six innings. Boston padded its lead with a sixth run in the top of the seventh inning, when Parent tripled and was driven in by Candy LaChance's double. All of these triples were the result of a special ground rule put in on account of the overflow crowds in both ballparks: a ball hit into the crowd lined up at the back of the outfield was an automatic triple, which explains why both teams hit an incredible 25 triples in the Series' eight games, including an amazing 16 by Boston.

Pittsburgh finally got to Bill Dineen in its half of the seventh inning, although by that time, the Pirates were trailing 6-0. Jimmy Sebring and Ed Phelps opened the inning with singles, and they advanced one base each on Leever's ground out. Ginger Beaumont then singled in a first run, followed by Clarke's two-run double, halving Boston's lead to 6-3. After Leach flied out, Clarke stole third base, and both Wagner and Kitty Bransfield walked to load the bases. Dineen snuffed the rally by forcing Claude Ritchey to hit a ground ball to shortstop and then cruised through the final two innings to earn his second victory and even the Series at three games apiece.

Game Seven[edit]

October 10, 1903 at Exposition Park in Pittsburgh, PA (Attendance: 17,038) Boxscore
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Boston Americans 2 0 0 2 0 2 0 1 0 7 11 4
Pittsburgh Pirates 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 3 10 3
Win: Cy Young (2-1) Loss: Deacon Phillippe (3-1)

Interest in the World Series was growing by leaps and bounds as the Boston Americans were proving much more serious adversaries for the Pittsburgh Pirates than anyone had anticipated. Game Seven was the last one scheduled to be played at Pittsburgh's Exposition Park, and it must have seemed that everyone in the city wanted a ticket to attend. In the end, over 17,000 people packed the stadium, including an overflow crowd cordoned off from the playing field in the back of the outfield. The two Game One pitchers were facing each other again, Cy Young for Boston, coming back from an impressive victory in Game Five, and Deacon Phillippe for Pittsburgh, who had already won three games, and had had three days to rest thanks to a rainout the previous day.

The Americans jumped on Phillippe early, scoring two runs in the opening frame on consecutive triples by Jimmy Collins and Chick Stahl followed by a groundout by Buck Freeman. They added two more runs in the fourth, thanks again to those ground rule triples, with Freeman and Hobe Ferris getting three-baggers, and Lou Criger driving in the latter with a single. With a four-run lead, Cy Young could coast the rest of the way, and while he gave the Pirates three single runs, in the fourth, sixth and ninth, he always had the situation under control, especially as his teammates spotted him two more runs in the sixth and a seventh one in the eighth. The upstart American Leaguers were now one game away from taking the Series, having won three consecutive games on their opponents' grounds.

Game Eight[edit]

October 13, 1903 at Huntington Avenue Grounds in Boston, MA (Attendance: 7,455) Boxscore
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Pittsburgh Pirates 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 3
Boston Americans 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 x 3 8 0
Win: Bill Dineen (3-1) Loss: Deacon Phillippe (3-2)
A Boston crowd at the 1903 World Series

The World Series returned to Boston's Huntington Avenue Grounds for its conclusion, but the flow of things was interrupted by another rainout following the travel day. Pirates manager Fred Clarke was not one to complain, since it gave him the opportunity of using Deacon Phillippe on the mound once again, giving him his best chance at victory. For Boston's Jimmy Collins, there was no such anguish: Bill Dineen was well rested, and indeed would prove to be in top form once again. For his part, Phillippe put up a brave effort in trying for his fourth win, but the Americans must have known his pitching repertoire inside out by now, having seen him on the mound for four complete games in the space of ten days.

Nonetheless, the game was scoreless for the first three innings. In the top of the fourth, the Pirates placed Tommy Leach at third and Honus Wagner at first after two outs. The two attempted a delayed double steal, but if Wagner made it to second safely, catcher Lou Criger caught Leach off third base, and he was tagged out at home plate on the relay back from third baseman Collins. In their half of the inning, the Americans' Buck Freeman led off with a triple. Freddy Parent hit a ball shortly in front of the plate which catcher Ed Phelps couldn't field properly, allowing Parent to reach first. Candy LaChance bunted Parent to second while Freeman held on to third base. Hobe Ferris's single to center drove both runners in, giving Boston a two-nothing lead. Dineen shut down the Pirates over the next two innings, and in the bottom of the sixth, Boston struck again after two outs when LaChance hit a triple followed by Ferris's single. That gave the unheralded second baseman all three RBI for the game, and a team-leading seven for the Series. Dineen was on a serious roll by then, and allowed only one base runner over the final three innings to complete his four-hit shutout, his second of the Series, and his third victory. The Boston Americans had won the last four games to earn a five game to three series win.


A plaque commemorating Boston's 1903 World Series win stands outside Fenway Park

Pittsburgh owner Barney Dreyfuss could feel vindicated: his vision of a World Series between the champions of the American League and those of the National League had been a resounding success, both on the field and at the gate. And if his team had not won, the Boston Americans' surprising performance in defeating the mighty Pirates only added to the interest of the whole affair. The games had been hard fought, with the players on both teams giving it their all, and the teams had proven very well matched. The public had come out in great numbers to watch the games, a total of over 100,000 paying spectators in what were essentially makeshift stadiums, while the national press had lapped it up. For the players too, it had been great: the extra press exposure was nice, but not as much as the bonus cheques paid from the enormous gate receipts - $ 1,182 for each Boston player, and $ 1,316 for each Pirate (the difference is explained by the fact that Dreyfuss renounced his share of the profits, and threw it in his players' pot instead).

The only wrong note in the whole affair came out of New York. Giants' owner John Brush had been opposed to the peace settlement with the rival league and had in fact tried to sue in order to prevent the Series from taking place (America's love-affair with the courts is no recent thing, it seems). His manager, John McGraw, who had been hired while he was suspended from the American League, was no peace-lover either. He harboured a large grudge against AL President Ban Johnson and considered that the Pirates were cheapening the value of their NL Pennant by submitting it to a challenge from a bunch of upstarts. This could have all been considered sour grapes, except that the Giants would win the NL's 1904 pennant. The attitude of the team's two principals had not changed, and as a result, they refused to take part in a Series against the Americans, who repeated as AL Champions. What they had not expected was the wholly negative reaction of the fans and the press, who felt deprived of a series of exciting contests, and especially of the players, who resented that the owner's fit of pique was depriving them of a potential bonus cheque equal to a third or more of their season's salary. The backlash was such that Brush and McGraw had to relent, and in the following off-season they agreed to a formalized agreement between the two leagues that made the World Series an annual obligation for their respective champions. Baseball fans everywhere have been the winners of this rare instance of saner heads prevailing.

Series statistics[edit]

Boston Americans[edit]


Note: G = Games played; AB = At Bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting Average; HR = Home Runs; RBI = Runs Batted In

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Jimmy Collins 8 36 9 .250 0 1
Lou Criger 8 26 6 .231 0 4
Bill Dinneen 4 11 2 .182 0 0
Patsy Dougherty 8 34 8 .235 2 5
Duke Farrell 2 1 0 .000 0 0
Hobe Ferris 8 31 9 .290 0 5
Buck Freeman 8 31 9 .290 0 4
Tom Hughes 1 0 0 .000 0 0
Candy LaChance 8 25 6 .240 0 4
Jack O'Brien 2 2 0 .000 0 0
Freddy Parent 8 31 9 .290 0 4
Chick Stahl 8 33 10 .303 0 3
Cy Young 4 15 1 .067 0 3


Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Bill Dinneen 4 35 3 1 2.06 28
Cy Young 4 34 2 1 1.85 17
Tom Hughes 1 2 0 1 9.00 0

Pittsburgh Pirates[edit]


Note: G = Games played; AB = At Bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting Average; HR = Home Runs; RBI = Runs Batted In

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Ginger Beaumont 8 34 9 .265 0 1
Kitty Bransfield 8 29 6 .207 0 1
Fred Clarke 8 34 9 .265 0 2
Brickyard Kennedy 1 2 1 .500 0 0
Tommy Leach 8 33 9 .273 0 7
Sam Leever 2 4 0 .000 0 0
Ed Phelps 8 26 6 .231 0 1
Deacon Phillippe 5 18 4 .222 0 1
Claude Ritchey 8 27 4 .148 0 2
Jimmy Sebring 8 30 10 .333 1 4
Harry Smith 1 3 0 .000 0 0
Gus Thompson 1 1 0 .000 0 0
Bucky Veil 1 2 0 .000 0 0
Honus Wagner 8 27 6 .222 0 3


Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Deacon Phillippe 5 44 3 2 3.07 22
Sam Leever 2 10 0 2 5.40 2
Brickyard Kennedy 1 7 0 1 5.14 3
Bucky Veil 1 7 0 0 1.29 1
Gus Thompson 1 2 0 0 4.50 1

Further Reading[edit]

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1903 World Series

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Pilgrims over Pirates (5-3)

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