1951 September

1st  OF Don Mueller hits 3 HRs in an 8–1 Giants’ win over the Dodgers. His first homer comes against Ralph Branca, coming off two consecutive shutouts, and Mueller hits his 3rd HR, a two-run shot off Phil Haugstad. Sal Maglie is the winner, giving up 7 singles and hits Robinson on the wrist in the 3rd to force home the only Dodger run. Whitey Lockman gets plunked twice for New York. Al Dark and Eddie Stanky combine in the 5th on a triple play off a liner by Reese. The Dodgers’ lead over the Giants is now down to 6 games.

2nd  Don Mueller hits 2 more HRs, giving him 5 in 2 days, to tie an ML mark. His 2nd homer, again off Phil Haugstad, comes a minute after he learns he is a new father. Bobby Thomson adds his 25th homer and Jim Hearn beats the Dodgers 11–2. After Mueller’s 2nd homer, Haugstad decks Thomson and hits Mays with a pitch, evoking a warning from Al Barlick. Barlick had earlier thumbed Branca and Dick Williams in the 5th inning, Newcombe in the 6th when he objected to a call, and Jackie Robinson and rookie Clem Labine. Dressen then clears his bench to avoid any more thumbings. The Giants move to 5 games behind Brooklyn. The Dodgers are suspicious of the losses at the Polo Grounds, and later there are revelations about signs being flashed to Giant batters from the CF scoreboard. Did it happen? Sal Yvars later said, “yes,” while Mueller remarked, “as for my home runs and the sign stealing, this has been much talked about and I would prefer not to comment.” On the Dodgers side, Buzzie Bavasi denied it occurred, but Clyde Walker concluded, “it did happen.”

The Cleveland Indians Harry Simpson, Al Rosen and Luke Easter hit consecutive HRs in the first inning, as Cleveland beats the Browns 5–1.

Ken Raffensberger fires a one-hitter at the Cubs to win 7–0 and gain a split for the Reds. The only hit is a 3rd-inning scratch single by Eddie Miksis that arguably would have rolled foul. Bob Rush shuts out the Reds in the nightcap to top Howie Fox, 3–0.

Tony Ponce of the Phoenix Senators (Southwest International League) hurls his 38th consecutive complete game in beating Yuma 4–2 for his 25th win of the season.

3rd  In a Labor Day doubleheader at the Polo Grounds, the Phils Robin Roberts stops New York, 6–3, in the opener. The Giants blow a 3–0 1st inning lead when homers by Ashburn and Swish Nicholson bring the Phils back. Dave Koslo salvages a 2nd game, winning 3–1 over Niles Jordan. Willie Mays makes another rookie error in the 2nd. After an apparent inside-the-park HR, Phils 3B Tommy Brown appeals, and Mays is called out for failing to touch 3B. He is credited with a double.

At Ebbets Field, the Dodgers sweep the Braves, winning both games 7–2, behind Carl Erskine and Clem Labine. Roy Campanella collects 6 straight hits, including his 30th and 31st homers, one a grand slam, before being stopped. The Dodgers (84–47) lead is six games over the Giants (79–54).

Newly acquired pitcher Johnny Sain tosses a 5-hitter to beat the A’s, 3–1. The A’s top the Yankees in the nightcap, 3–2.

5th  After a day off, the Giants sweep two games in Boston, winning 3–2 and 9–1. In the opener, Sheldon Jones scatters six hits to beat Warren Spahn. Spahn allows just 5 hits in his attempt to become the NL’s first 19-game winner. The Giants tally 13 hits in the second game to help Sal Maglie win his first-ever victory against Boston.

Ralph Branca, despite twinges in his arm, pitches the Dodgers to a 5–2 win over the Phillies. Gil Hodges drives home 4 runs on a grand slam off Ken Johnson. It is Gil’s 37th homer of year, setting a new Dodger record.

The A’s Ferris Fain goes 5-for-5 in the 2nd game of a doubleheader with Washington, as the A’s sweep a pair, 4–1 and 9–7. Fain is 6-for-9 and is hitting .341.

7th  In an 18-inning game with the Cubs, the Reds Lloyd Merriman records 12 putouts in CF, tying the NL mark. The Reds prevail, 7–6. The game is tied at 3–3 after regulation, but both teams score 3 runs in the 15th inning. Dixie Howell’s sac fly with the sacks full drives in the winner.

Bobby Thomson goes 5-for-5 against the host Braves, as the Giants win 7–3. Larry Jansen is the winner, scattering 10 hits, over Max Surkont. Monte Irvin drives in the first three runs, hitting a homer estimated at 500 feet. He now has 101 RBIs.

Preacher Roe walks six Phils, but pushes his record to 19–2, as the Dodgers win 11–6 over Robin Roberts. Carl Furillo hits two homers, Andy Pafko adds #22, and Billy Cox drives in 4 runs with a bases-loaded triple and two doubles.

The A’s split a pair with the Red Sox, losing 8–5 to Bill Wight, before winning, 11–4. Bosox reliever Ellis Kinder makes his 54th appearance in the opener, breaking Wilcy Moore’s club record set in 1931. Billy Hitchcock has 2 triples and double in game 2 good for 5 RBIs as Boston slips in the AL race to 4 games back.

Warren Hacker, pitching for LA (PCL), pitches a no-hitter against Seattle, winning, 4–0.

8th  The pennant race heats up, as Dodger ace Don Newcombe 2-hits the Giants, 9–0, beating Jim Hearn. Jackie Robinson has 3 hits and 3 runs, scoring one run from 3B when he provokes Jim Hearn into wild pitching. Giants pitchers contribute 10 walks.

At an Old-timer’s Day at Yankee Stadium, former manager Joe McCarthy is honored. With the game scoreless in the 7th inning, Mantle belts a Bob Porterfield pitch into the last row of the RF bleachers, some 460 feet away to break the scoreless tie. Ed Lopat shuts out the Senators for 4–0 Yankee win.

9th Sal Maglie wins his 20th game to give the Giants a 2–1 win over the Dodgers’ Ralph Branca. Monte Irvin’s two-run homer in the 4th gives New York all its scoring, The Dodgers score in the 8th on a double by Snider and a triple by Jackie Robinson. But 3B Bobby Thomson snags a ground, tags Robby, and throws to first for a DP that prompted Durocher to say, “That’s the greatest play I’ve ever seen a third baseman make.” The Dodgers still lead the Giants by 5 1/2 games.

The Yanks hit 5 homers—4 off the Nats’ Dick Starr—to win, 7–5. Mantle’s leadoff homer on the first pitch, which starts the scoring, slams against the bottom of the flag holder on the top of the right field stands. Vic Raschi then wins the nightcap, 2–0, in a game called after the 6th inning because of “darkness.” Though Yankee Stadium has lights, unlike the NL, these cannot be used on Sunday. The Yanks manage just 4 hits, hitting for the cycle (single, double, triple, HR) to win. The Yankees (88-49) remain virtually tied with the Indians (88-51).

The Indians use three 9th-inning bunts to edge the Browns, 4–3. Hegan leads off with a bunt that rolls foul, but then drives a single past the pulled-in 3B Jack Maguire. Two more bunts and a sac fly give Mike Garcia his 19th win. Reliever Satchel Paige takes the loss.

11th Clem Labine blanks the Reds on 2 hits as the visiting Dodgers win, 7–0. Pafko drives in three runs on three singles.

In St. Louis, New York’s Dave Koslo wins the opener of a twinbill, 10–5, ending the Cards’ 7-game win streak. Bobby Thomson has three hits and Monte Irvin has a double and his 5th steal of home this year. He has 13 steals overall. Leading 6–4 in the 9th, Wes Westrum breaks an 0-for-20 skein and delivers a grand slam. The Cards win the nightcap, 4–3, behind Cliff Chambers to leave the Giants 6 games in back of the Dodgers.

12th  The last Giant game of the season in St. Louis is rained out, and the NL reschedules it for tomorrow afternoon as part of a doubleheader with two teams.

In Cincinnati, Lloyd Merriman hits a bases-loaded triple in the 7th, off Carl Erskine, to give the Reds a 6–3 win. Dodger starter Don Newcombe leaves in the 1st inning with a pulled muscle in his pitching arm and Erskine takes the loss. The Dodgers are now 5 1/2 ahead of the idle Giants.

13th  The Cards play a rare mixed doubleheader—the only one in the 20th century—with 2 different teams, defeating the Giants 6–4 in the first game in the afternoon when they score six runs against Sal Maglie in the 2nd inning. The Giants contest is a makeup game. In the nightcap, against the Braves, the Cards manage just one hit—by pitcher Al Brazle—in losing to Warren Spahn, 2–0. The Cards total attendance is 8,865—4,160 for the Giants and 4,705 for the Braves.

Yankees leadoff hitter Mickey Mantle drives a Virgil Truck’s pitch deep into the RF upper deck to start the Yankee scoring. Witnesses say that if Mantle had hit it more to CF, the ball would’ve traveled 600 feet. Mantle then K’s 3 times, as Virgil Trucks drives over New York for a 9–2 Detroit win. Trucks adds a pair of RBIs.

14th  Browns rookie Bob Nieman hits 2 HRs in his first 2 ML at bats, a record unequaled. They come against Mickey McDermott of the Red Sox, but Boston still wins 9–6. Boston has homers by Dom DiMaggio, Ted Williams, and Walt Dropo.

Aided by 5 Cubs errors, Giant P Jim Hearn picks up his 15th win, 7–2. Bob Rush is the loser. Al Barlick tosses Wes Westrum for arguing a safe call at the plate. He’ll get a fine and 3-day suspension. For the 4thtime this season, Eddie Stanky has 4 walks.

Preacher Roe wins his 20th game against just 2 losses, as the Dodgers edge the Pirates, 3–1. Andy Pafko hits his 14th homer for Brooklyn, still 6 games ahead of the Giants.

At the Stadium, the Yanks move a half game behind the idle Indians with a 5–2 win over the Tigers. Yogi Berra has a first inning grand slam for the Yanks.

15th  The 7th-place Pirates rise up and collect 15 hits to whip the first-place Dodgers, 11–2. Rookie Jack Merson drives home 6 runs on a triple, double, and 2 singles.

The Giants trim the Dodger lead to 5 games when they cash in homers by Thomson, Mays, and Mueller for a 5–2 win over Chicago. Sheldon Jones tops Paul Minner.

The Cardinals take 11 walks, a record-tying 5 by Solly Hemus, and beat the Braves 10–1. Boston’s starter Dave Cole walks the first 3 batters he faces, then hits Enos Slaughter to force in Hemus.

The first game of the first Dominican WS (Los Grandes Finales) is played between Licey and Escogido in Santiago. Behind the hitting of Alonzo Perry (.400 series average) and the pitching of Marion “Sugar” Caine, Licey wins the opener 8–0 and goes on to take the series 4-1 to become the first champion of Dominican Professional Baseball.

16th In Chicago, the Dodgers beat up on the Cubs, winning, 6–1, behind rookie Clem Labine. Rookie Bob Kelly takes the loss, allowing 6 hits, including Gil Hodges #38.

The visiting—and rampaging—Giants sweep the Pirates, 7–1 and 6–4. Larry Jansen wins his 19th and Sal Maglie collects his 23rd. It is Maglie’s 11th straight win over the Bucs. The Giants collect 29 hits in the two games, including 6 by Al Dark, in handing losses to Howie Pollet and reliever Murry Dickson. The Dodger lead of 4 1/2 is their slimmest since July 4th.

At the Stadium, Joe DiMaggio’s long triple off Bob Feller scores two runs in the 5th and Allie Reynolds holds on for a 5–1 New York win. The Yanks take over first place for good by a margin of .003 points over Cleveland.

17th In Chicago, ex-Dodger Gene Hermanski clouts a pinch homer off Clyde King as the Cubs rally for a 5–3 win over Brooklyn. The Dodgers also lose Campanella, who leaves the field on a stretcher after being struck in the head by a pitch from Turk Lown. Campy will remain in a Chicago hospital when the Dodgers leave for St. Louis. He will rejoin the team in Brooklyn Friday night.

At St. Louis, Brown cracks a homer in the 10th, off starter Al Brazle, as the Phils win, 2–1. Robin Roberts goes all the way for his 20th win.

The Yanks break a 1–1 tie in the bottom of the 9th when, with the bases loaded, Rizzuto squeezes home DiMaggio with the winning run. Rizzuto’s obituary in the New York Times describes the play as follows: “DiMaggio was on third base. Rizzuto took Lemon’s first pitch, a called strike, and argued the call with the umpire. That gave him time to grab his bat from both ends, the sign to DiMaggio that a squeeze play was on for the next pitch. But DiMaggio broke early, surprising Rizzuto. Lemon, seeing what was happening, threw high, to avoid a bunt, aiming behind Rizzuto. But with Joltin’ Joe bearing down on him, Rizzuto got his bat up in time to lay down a bunt. ‘If I didn’t bunt, the pitch would’ve hit me right in the head,’ Rizzuto said. ‘I bunted it with both feet off the ground, but I got it off toward first base.’ DiMaggio scored the winning run. Stengel called it ‘the greatest play I ever saw.’ As the winning run scored, Lemon angrily threw both the ball and his pitching glove into the stands.” The score, off Lemon, gives Eddie Lopat his 20th win of the year. The Yanks now lead Cleveland by a game and Boston by 2 1/2 games.

18th  In St. Louis, the Cardinals cuff Ralph Branca for a 7–1 win over the Dodgers. It is Brooklyn’s 4th loss in 7 road games. Adding insult to injury, Musial and Slaughter pull off a double steal with Stan scoring.

After a day off, the Giants edge the Reds, 6–5, in Cincy, though Dave Koslo is touched for 13 hits. Mays has 2 of the 3 Giants errors, but George Spencer saves the game in his 55th appearance.

In the first of two games today, Browns pitcher Tommy Byrne hits a grand slam off the Senators Sid Hudson in the 9th inning to ice the game, 8-0. It’s the first grand slam for the Browns this year. In the nightcap, Byrne cracks a 10th-inning pinch single to give the Browns a 3–2 victory,

Cleveland beats Boston, 6–4, as Mike Garcia wins his 20th. With the Yanks losing to Billy Pierce and Chicago, 7–1, the Indians and Yankees are tied for first place. This is the 10th time the 2 teams have been in a tie for first place, surpassing the ML record of 9 set in the NL race of 1889 and the Fed League race of 1914.

19th  Larry Doby of the Indians walks 5 times in a 15-2 cakewalk over the Red Sox in Boston. Early Wynn picks up his 20th win. Cleveland now returns home for with 5 of 6 games against Detroit; their record is 16–1 against the Tigers.

The Yankees are victorious when Mickey Mantle hits a 3-run homer off Chicago’s Lou Kretlow to win, 5–3. A small crowd of 12,127 watch the game at the Stadium. The 2 teams have been tied now for 11 days. The Yanks now have 9 games left, 8 against Boston.

In St. Louis, Preacher Roe is given a Cadillac by his neighbors from the Ozarks, then pitches a 3–0 five hitter over the Cards. Roe is now 21–2. Filling in for the ailing Campanella, backup catcher Mickey Livingston has 2 RBI.

At Wrigley Field, the Phils Bubba Church (15-10) defeats the Cubs, 5–1, for his 9th win over the Cubs in his 2 years with Philadelphia. Bob Rush takes the loss.

20th  Following a day off in Cincinnati, Ken Raffensberger beats the Giants, 3–1, with reliever Blackwell striking out Westrum and Hank Thompson in the 9th with 2 runners on base. Jim Hearn is the loser.

Carl Erskine pitches the Dodgers to a 4–3 win over the Cardinals. Brooklyn’s magic number is reduced to 5.

The owners elect NL President Ford Frick as the 3rd commissioner of baseball for a 7-year term at $65,000 per annum. Warren Giles withdraws on a vote deadlock to open the way for Frick, who has been NL prexy since 1934.

21st  Rookie P Jackie Collum of the Cardinals hurls a 6–0 two-hitter against the Cubs in his first start.

In Brooklyn, the Dodgers keep a woozy Campanella on the bench, preferring to rest him for the WS. Rookie Clem Labine ignores Dressen’s orders to take a full windup, preferring to pitch out of the stretch with the bases jammed in the 1st. Phils 3B Willie Jones then hits a grand slam and Labine ends up in Dressen’s doghouse. The Phils win, 9–6, behind Robin Roberts.

22nd  Larry Jansen stops the Braves on 4 hits, and wins his 20th game, 4–1. The Giants score 3 in the 8th off Warren Spahn to win it.

It is “Charlie Dressen Night” in Brooklyn and the manager is given an oil portrait identifying him as the manager of the “National League Champions 1951.” The Phils have other ideas as they pound Don Newcombe for 10 hits in 6 innings to beat the Dodgers, 7–3, who now lead the Giants by just 3 games. Karl Drews his only victory of the year and also singles, breaking a string of 77 hitless at bats stretching back to May, 1947 (as noted by writer Kerry Keene).

OF Irv Noren of the Senators records 11 putouts in CF in a 9-inning, 9–1 win over the A’s, tying the AL record.

23rd In New York, it is Sal Maglie Day and Maglie responds by winning his 22nd game in beating the Braves 4–1, despite allowing 13 hits. It is the most victories by a Giant since Hubbell in 1937.

Roy Campanella has 4 hits, including a homer off 15-game winner Bubba Church, and the Dodgers top the Phillies 6–3. Preacher Roe is the winner, his record going to an amazing 22–2. For Roe, this is his 10th win in a row, the second streak of that length this season. Only Boo Ferriss (1946) and Walter Johnson (1913) have posted two win streaks of 10 or more in a season (as noted by Ron Liebman).

     Pittsburgh’s Murry Dickson wins his 20th game, a 3–0 whitewash of the Reds. Dickson’s 20 wins will account for nearly a third of the Pirates’ 64 victories, and helps the Bucs finish a game ahead of the last place Cubs.

24th The Giants score with 2 outs in the 9th inning to edge the Braves Chet Nichols, 4–3. Eddy Stanky drives home the winner with a single off 3B Sibby Sisti’s glove Dave Koslo wins in relief.

25th The Dodgers continue to slide. After the Dodgers lose 2 out of 3 in Philadelphia, Boston sweeps 2 from Brooklyn. Warren Spahn wins the opener 6–3 over Branca, his 4th straight loss, and Jim Wilson coasts to a 14–2 three-hit win in the 2nd game. Earl Torgeson drives in 6 runs in the nightcap. Meanwhile, the Giants win 5–1 over Robin Roberts and the Phils to move a single game in back of the Dodgers.

Crosley Field, Reds catcher Johnny Pramesa clouts a grand slam in the 14th inning to defeat the Cardinals, 7–3.

26th The Giants stay one game behind the Dodgers as Jim Hearn tops the Phillies 10–1 and the Dodgers crush the Braves 15–5. Campanella drives home 3 runs in the first inning and Newcombe coasts to his 19th win. With a 13–3 lead in the 8th inning, Robinson steals home against rookie P Lew Burdette, infuriating the Braves.

27th  Monte Irvin clouts a 3-run homer in the 1st inning off Phils righty Andy Hansen and Larry Jansen picks up his 21st win, 10–1.

Trying for his 23rd win, Preacher Roe loses just his 3rd game, 4–3, to Chet Nichols and the Braves. The Dodgers now lead New York by 1/2 game. Future Hall of Fame NBA basketball player Bill Sharman becomes the only man in history to be thrown out of a ML baseball game without ever having played in one. With the score tied at 3-3 in the 8th inning, umpire Frank Dascoli clears the entire Brooklyn bench after a home plate call by him results in a violent protest. Sharman, up from St. Paul (AA) at the end of the season, is one of the players thrown out. Dascoli’s safe call at home on Bob Addie’s score results in the winning run.

Gabe Paul replaces the newly elected NL President Warren Giles as GM of the Cincinnati Reds.

28th  Allie Reynolds pitches his 2nd no-hitter of the season, defeating the Red Sox in Yankee Stadium 8–0. It is his 7th shutout of the year. With 2 outs in the 9th, Ted Williams hits a foul pop that catcher Yogi Berra drops. Williams then hits another foul fly that Berra grabs for the last out. The Chief is the first AL hurler with two no-hitters in a season; Vander Meer’s pair in 1938 is the only other time a pitcher has thrown two in a season. In the 2nd game, the Yankees clinch their 3rd straight pennant under Casey Stengel as Vic Raschi wins 11–3 for his 21st victory. Mantle drives home three runs with a pair of doubles and Joe DiMaggio belts the final homer of his career—a three run shot. The Yankees are 3 1⁄2 games ahead of slumping Cleveland with 2 to play. For the remarkably consistent Raschi, this is his third straight year winning 21 games, and his fourth straight year of winning 19 or more. No Yankee pitcher the rest of the century will win 19 or more in three straight years.

In Philadelphia, Campanella belts his 33rd homer but Brooklyn blows a 3–0 lead to lose 4–3 as the Phils score the winner in the 9th inning. The Phils tie the game in the 8th on Andy Seminick’s 2-run homer, his 1st in 7 weeks. The race is now tied (94-58) between the Giants and the Dodgers.

29th The Giants and Dodgers both win on shutouts to stay tied. New York tops the Warren Spahn and the Braves 3–0 on Maglie’s 23rd win and Don Newcombe shuts out the Phillies, 5–0, for his 20th victory. Campy and Pafko homer as Robin Roberts takes the Phils loss.

At Cleveland, Luke Easter hits a 6th inning grand slam and the Indians eke out a 7-6, 11-inning win over Detroit. Despite the victory, the Tribe drops to 4 games in back of the Yankees, winners of two today with Boston. The Yankees finish the year with 5 straight wins over the Red Sox.

30th  Larry Jansen (22-11) of the Giants holds on to defeat the Braves 3–2 in Boston as Bobby Thomson hits his 30th HR of the year, and Don Mueller and Monte Irvin each drive home a run. Willard Marshall completes the season without an error to break Wildfire Schulte’s 1908 NL fielding record of ,994, set in 102 games in 1908.

Jackie Robinson hits an upper deck HR in the 14th inning off Robin Roberts, who came on in the 8th, to give the Dodgers a critical 9–8 win over the Phils. Robbie saves the game in the 13th by making a great catch of an Eddie Waitkus line drive and throwing to 2B for a DP. In the process, he injures his elbow. Reliever Bud Podbielan is the winner, the victory keeping Brooklyn in a first place tie with the Giants. Catcher Andy Seminick of the Phils walks 5 times, the first Phillie to do so in a game. The Dodgers overcome a 6–1 deficit to win and set the stage for a playoff with the Giants.

Preceding the Browns’ season closer, the Harlem Globetrotters defeat a team led by baseball clown Max Patkin. The basketball game is played on a wooden court set up behind 3B. Then St. Louis ace Ned Garver (20-12) cops his 20th game of the season, defeating the White Sox, 9–5. He breaks a 4-4 tie with a home run. Garver becomes the only player to win 20 for a last-place team that loses 100 games, as the Browns win just 32 other times. The last 20-game winner for a last place team was Hollis Thurston in 1924, with the White Sox (66-87).

The Tigers drive over the slumping Tribe, 2–1, behind Virgil Trucks 13th win of the year. Cleveland rookie Sam Jones makes his first start and suffers the loss after an intentional walk loads the bases in the 7th, and Trucks laces a 2-run single.

At Pittsburgh, Ralph Kiner hits a 425-foot grand slam in the 11th inning to give the Pirates an 8-4 win over the Reds. It is Kiner’s league-leading 42nd homer. He also walks once to increase his NL lead in that department to 137. His 137 is a club record. His OBP of .452 is the NL high as well.

In Chicago, the Cubs and Cardinals split a pair. In the opener, the Cubs come back from a 6-1 deficit and score 5 runs in the 8th to win, 7-6. Hank Sauer’s 30th home run with 2 on is the big blow in the 8th. Gerry Staley tosses a 4-hitter in game 2 to beat the Cubs, 3–0. Musial sits out last game at the suggestion of Marty Marion ending a streak of 121 straight games played. Starting next season he’ll play 744 in a row. Had he played game 2 he would notch a streak of 865, better than Gus Suhr’s NL 822 consecutive games played.

The triumphant Yankees beat the Red Sox, 3–0, behind Frank Shea’s 9-hitter. It is the 3rd shutout in a row for the Yankees staff as they sweep the visiting Red Sox in 5 games, outscoring them 29–4.