1944 September

1st The Giants lose to Brooklyn 8–1, as Giant Joe Medwick is hit on the elbow and leaves the game for treatment. With both teams out of the race, Dodgers manager Leo Durocher agrees to allow Medwick to reenter the game if Durocher can pick the courtesy pinch runner for him. He selects slow-footed Gus Mancuso, who is promptly erased on a DP ground ball.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. The Senators start semipro pitcher Jug Thesenga, who holds the Yankees scoreless for 5 innings before the roof caves in. But the Senators rally to win, 10–7, behind reliever Roger Wolff, who snaps his personal 11-game losing streak. Yankee pinch hitter Paul Waner has a single, the last hit of his career. He has 3,152 hits.

2nd The Pirates nip the Cardinals’ Ted Wilks 5–4, to give him his first loss after 11 straight victories. He is now 14–2. Bob Elliot has 4 hits, including a homer, as the Birds lead in the NL shrinks to 18 games.

Behind Dixie Walker’s 4-for-4 cycle and Bordagaray’s 4 hits, the Dodgers beat the Giants, 8–4, and move out of last place. Curt Davis is the winner over Bill Voiselle. Walker is now hitting .362.

Butch Nieman accounts for both the Braves runs with solo homers as Boston outlasts the Phillies, 2-1. A tired Bill Lee goes the distance in the loss.

Against Chicago, Mickey Rocco accounts for all the scoring for the Indians as he hits a 2-run homer in the top of the 8th to tie the game and a 3-run homer in the 12th, off Gordon Maltzberger (10-4), to win it. Joe Heving (8-2) pitches 5 shutout innings to give himself a win on his 44th birthday.

3rd  The Pirates take a pair from the Cardinals, 6–5 and 8–2, to sweep the 4-game series from St. Louis. For the Cardinals, the 4 losses ends their phenomenal ML record of 132 consecutive series without a sweep: the 1903-05 New York Giants are next with 97 straight series without a sweep, marks that will not be matched this century. Luke Sewell and Jumbo Strincevich are the complete game winners today, handing the Cards their first doubleheader loss this season. Forbes Field hosts the largest Buc crowd this year—34,927.

After losing 13 of 17 games and dropping from first place, the Browns turn back their principal rival, the Tigers, 4–1, behind Jack Kramer. The Browns thwart Dizzy Trout try for his 24th win and now lead the rampaging Yankees—winners of a pair from Washington—by just a half game.

The Red Sox outlook got darker today as Bobby Doerr leaves the team for the Army following a 5–1 loss to the A’s. The loss of Doerr, hitting a league-high .325, combined with the departure last month of Tex Hughson (18–5) and catcher Hal Wagner (.332) is critical. The Sox are in 4th place, but just 1 ½ games in back of the Browns, and are drawing nearly twice the crowds as the Boston Braves.

4th The Yankees move past St. Louis and Detroit by bombing the A’s 10–0 and 14–0. Two rookies are winners, Monk Dubiel in the opener and Mel Queen in the nitecap. Queen had a double and 2 singles in the opener and George Stirnweiss has a steal in each game to run his total to 49. Hersh Martin has a pair of homers in game 2. Bobo Newsom takes the loss in the opener while Luke Hamlin gives up 19 hits in a complete game loss in game 2. It’s the first time since May 31st that the Yanks have been in 1st place, but this year and 1906 will be the only two seasons this century that New York is in first place after Labor Day but doesn’t win the pennant. The Red Sox are in 4thplace, 3 games behind.

5th Mort Cooper and Bucky Walters each reach the 20-victory mark as each pitch duplicate 6-hit 4–0 shutouts. The Cards win the opener and the Reds take the nitecap.

6th In a rare night game, allowed by AL prexy Harridge after wet grounds delayed the afternoon game, the Tigers edge the host White Sox, 3–2, to stay close to the Browns and Yankees. Only 1,216 fans are on hand.

7th At Comiskey, the Browns score 3 in the 9th to beat the White Sox, 5–4. The win puts St. Louis in a tie for first with the idle Yanks.

9th The wobbling Browns lose to the White Sox, 2–1, in 14 innings and are now in 3rd place, a half game in back of Detroit. Jack Kramer pitches 12 innings for the Browns and accounts for the only St. Louis run with an 8th inning homer. Ed Lopat goes all the way for the win.

The 4th place Red Sox put themselves 3 games from the top with a 7–1 win over the visiting Yankees. Rookie Rex Cecil allows just 5 hits. Catfish Metkovich has a HR and single to run his consecutive-game hitting streak to 23 games, tying the Red Sox record held by Del Pratt, George Burns, and Ted Williams.

The Cubs score 6 runs in the last 2 frames to beat the Cardinals, 6–1. It is Chicago’s first win of the year over the league leaders. Cubs SS Len Merullo handles 17 of 18 chances and has 12 assists, 2 short of the NL mark.

10th The Red Sox and Yankees split a pair at Fenway, the Sox taking the opener, 3–2, and the Yankees the nitecap, 4–3. Metkovich has hits in both games to run his consecutive-game hitting streak to 25 games, a new Red Sox record. Metkovich hit .407 during his streak, but will end the year at .277. Dom DiMaggio will top Catfish’s mark.

In Chicago the Browns split a pair with the White Sox, winning 6-2 before losing 3-2 in 11 innings. A quirk in the schedule leaves all AL teams off till September 15. The Yankees are in first place by a half game over the Tigers, with the Browns one game back and the Red Sox three games back. The Browns return to St. Louis for a 17-game home stand.

In the first of two at Detroit, Hal Newhouser shuts out the Indians, 5-0. The Tigers stay a half game behind the AL-leading Yankees as they fail to win game 2. Cleveland jumps on 23-game winner Dizy Trout, scoring 5 runs in 4 innings and holds on for a 7-4 win behind Steve Gromek.

The Cubs and Cards split a pair, with Erickson shutting out the Redbirds, 9–0, in the opener. St. Louis takes the nitecap, 4–2, behind Cooper, but Redbird fans get a score when Garms and Musial collide in the outfield. Musial leaves on a stretcher and will miss 11 days.

14th Reds catcher Ray Mueller catches his 135th straight game of the season—his 197th over two years—to erase an ironman record set by George Gibson in 1909. Fifteen major leaguers have played in every one of their team’s games this season. Mueller also belts a homer in the opener as the Reds win, 3–2 in 13 innings over the Cubs. Ed Heusser goes the rout, and scores the winning run after a leadoff double. The Cubs take the nitecap 4–2, behind Paul Derringer as Roy Hughes hits a 2-run inside-the -park homer off loser Jim Konstanty.

At New York, #96 Bill Voiselle, (from Ninety Six, SC) wins his 20th as the Giants belt the Phillies, 12–1. Ron Northey’s homer is the only score for Philley, while Putsy Caballero, 18-year-old third sacker for the Phils, is 1-for-1 in his debut. Ernie Lombardi has a grand slam for the Giants. Rain washes out the second game.

After no scheduled AL games on the 11th and 12th, two days of rain wash out the rest. New York (76-61) leads Detroit (75-61) by a half-game and the Browns by a full game: Boston is in 4th place, three games back.

At Memphis, Pete Gray has a triple, double, and three singles to lead Memphis to a 7–6, 12-inning win over Nashville in the Southern Association playoffs. The one-armed Gray is named the Southern Associations’ MVP winner.

15th Radio announcer Bill Stern reports on a scandal involving the Browns. A Chicago newspaper attributes the Browns’ recent slump to the fact that the team wants a larger park for the WS. Four days later, Stern repudiates the story.

The AL returns to action after an odd five-day layoff. The Yankees are still off, but in Cleveland the Tigers split a pair with the Tribe, losing 4-3 in 11 innings before unleashing a 19-hit attack to win, 9-1. The Senators down the visiting Red Sox, 5-2, to drop Boston 3.5 games back, while the Browns subdue the White Sox, 5-1, to move into 2nd place.

16th Reds pitcher Tommy de la Cruz fires a one-hitter in Pittsburgh, winning 2–1. Frank Colman’s triple in the 1st inning is the only hit for the Bucs.

Jack Kramer pitches a brilliant one-hitter to give the Browns a 9–0 win over the White Sox and give St. Louis a half game lead in front of the Yankees, losers to the A’s. Ray Schalk’s single in the 4th results in the only baserunner.

17th After homers by Vern Stephens and Don Gutteridge back Nels Potter in St. Louis’ 5–1 win in the curtain raiser, the Browns drop the nightcap 8–2 to Chicago. Chicago works successive double steals in the 7th and 8th inning, with winner Joe Haynes swiping home in the 8th. Haynes is the first AL pitcher in 21 years to steal home. Taking advantage of the split, the Tigers move into 1st place.

19th Chicago pitchers Thornton Lee and Eddie Lopat win 9–3 and 2–0 over Washington in Chicago. The Senators lose all 11 games they played at Comiskey this year.

21st The Cardinals finally clinch the NL flag with a 5–4 win over Boston as Harry Brecheen wins in relief. The Cat comes back for his second win of the day with two innings of relief as the Cards win in 10 innings, 6–5. Musial makes his first appearance in 11 days and collects 2 hits. Twenty games ahead on September 1, the Cards then blew 15 of the next 20 games. They will finish with 105 victories and their 3rd title under Billy Southworth, whose clubs won 316 games in 3 years. Pittsburgh finishes 14 ½ games behind.

Reds OF Dain Clay has no chances in a 21-innings of a doubleheader with the Phils. The Reds win the opener, 5–3 in 12 innings, and hammer out an 8-4 nitecap win.

22nd At Detroit, the Tigers ride a Dick Wakefield grand slam to a 7-4 win over the Red Sox in game 1. Boston outhits Detroit, 13-7 in game 2 but the Bengals prevail, 8-6. The sweep gives the Tigers a one-game lead over the Browns.

24th The first-place Cardinals edge the Phillies twice at Shibe Park, winning 4-3 in 16 innings and 1-0 in regulation. Whitey Korowski hits a homer in the 16th, off starter Ken Raffensberger, and Mort Cooper holds on for the complete game win. Cooper allows no runs in the last 13 frames. Ken O’Dea hits an RBI single in the 9th of game 2 to help give Ted Wilks (17-4) the shutout win.

25th Going into the final Monday of the season, the Tigers hold a one-game lead over the Browns with the Yankees now out of the running. Nelson Potter stops the Red Sox, 3–0, on 2 hits and Russ Christopher of the A’s beats the Tigers 2–1 to produce a tie for the lead.

At Comiskey, the Yankees sweep two from the White Sox, winning 3-1 in 12 innings and 5-4 in regulation. Mel Queen (6-2) toils 11 innings in the opener for the victory, and Hersh Martin clubs 2 homers and drives in all the runs in game 2. Martin sets the Yankee record for homers by a swtich hitter with 9, a mark that Mantle will obliterate.

In front of 982 paying customers at the Polo Grounds, the Giants win 3-2 over the Reds when Buddy Kerr hits a solo homer in the 9thinning. The game clocks in at 1 hour 21 minutes.

The Cubs sweep a pair in Philadelphia, winning, 7-6, in 10 innings and 4-1 in regulation. Only 1600 fans watch as the Phils lose their 8thstraight. The first game starters, Charlie Gassaway for Chicago and Charlie Ripple for the Phils make their ML debuts. That won’t happen again for a Phillie starter until Enyel De Los Santos in July 2018.

26th Sig Jakucki pitches the Browns to a 1–0 win over the Red Sox to keep St. Louis in 1st place.

In the first of two games at Shibe Park, the 4th-place Cubs maul the Phils 15–0 behind Hank Wyse’s 4-hitter. Dewey Williams and Phil Cavarretta each drive in 4 runs. Lou Novikoff hits his final homer as a Cub. The Phils rebound in the nitecap to win, 10–1.

27th The Browns give the lead back by insisting on playing the Red Sox in the rain under the arcs and then losing, 4–1, to Pinky Wood. The Red Sox had just lost 10 straight.

At League Park, Cleveland rookie Earl Henry makes his pitching debut and goes the distance to beat the Senators, 6-4. “Hook” scatters 11 hits. He will lose his next start and three more next year before the Indians send him back to Wilkes-Barre. Wally Holborow, lately of the Buskwicks in Brooklyn, makes his debut in relef for the Senators and tosses three scoreless innings.

Light-hitting Steve Messner hits his first ML homer, a first-inning grand slam off the Giants 21-game winner Bill Voiselle. Messner drives in 6 runs as the Reds crush New York, 8-1.

28th In a rare occurrence, bad weather cancels all games, a full schedule of 8, in the majors.

29th The final series of the year begins. Trailing Detroit by one game, the Browns have 4 games with the Yankees, who are three games out of first place. With rainouts the night before, all contenders play doubleheaders.

The Browns are last in the AL in attendance, and only 6,172 fans watch St. Louis sweep the critical Friday night doubleheader. With the help of Jack McQuillan’s two run homer, Jack Kramer takes the opener 4–1. In the nitecap, Nels Potter wins a 1–0 shutout over the Yankees Hank Borowy, even though St. Louis batters get but 2 hits.

In Detroit, the Tigers split with 2 of the Washington knuckleballers, beating Johnny Niggeling in the opener, 5–2, behind Rufe Gentry, but losing to Mickey Haefner, 9–2, in the nightcap. Stan Spence’s three-run homer in the 3rd off Dizzy Trout is the Nats big blow.

30th Pitching on two days rest, Hal Newhouser wins his 29th as Detroit whips Washington, 7–3.

The Browns remain tied with Detroit as Dennis Galehouse goes all the way, winning 2–0 over New York for his 9th victory of the year. Gene Moore hits his 6th homer of the year, four of them coming against Yankee pitching. Paid attendance is 12,982. The loss eliminates the Yankees and leaves the Tigers and Browns tied with one game left.

Before 666 fans at Boston, Jim Tobin (18-19) pitches the Braves to a 5-2 win over the Cubs. It is the sixth game in September where the attendance has been below 700—all of them victories.

In the battle of the Soxes, Boston beats host Chicago, 11-2, as Catfish Metkovich scores 5 runs.