1954 September

1st   Ted Kluszewski has 4 hits and 3 RBIs to pace the Redlegs to a 9-7 win over the Giants. Alvin Dark makes it closer with a 2-run homer in the 9th. In a pre-game stunt, Reds catcher Hobie Landrith catches a ball dropped out of a helicopter hovering some 500-600 feet over the field.

Del Ennis crashes a 1st-inning grand slam off Brooks Lawrence and Murry Dickson makes it hold up for a 5-2 Phils win over the Cardinals.

2nd  Dodger Russ Meyer beats the Cubs, 10–2, for his 16th consecutive win over Chicago, dating back to 1950.

Mickey Vernon of the Senators gets his 2,000th hit. He also hits his 19th HR (he will add one more before the end of the season) for a team record for left-handers. Teammate Roy Sievers also sets a team record by hitting his 23rd HR. He will hit one more before the end of the season.

Before 39,494 at New York, the Yankees snap Bob Lemon’s 11-game win streak to beat the Indians 3–2 in the rubber game of the series and move to 31⁄2 games from first place. Mantle’s gigantic blast into the RF upper deck in the 1st starts the Yankee scoring. Whitey Ford picks up his 16th win.

3rd At Philadelphia, Ted Williams of the Red Sox hits his 362nd HR to put him in 5th place on the all-time list. His drive comes in the 3rd off Arnie Portocarrero and breaks a 1–1 tie. The Sox beat the A’s, 11–1.

4th The first place Giants top the 2nd place Dodgers, 13-4, as Ray Katt and Hank Thompson each homer and drive in 4 runs. Thompson’s all come on a grand slam. The Giants lead by 5 games.

5th With Dittmer and Mathews clouting 2 homers apiece, the Braves outslug the Reds in both games to win 11–8 and 9–7. Hank Aaron goes 5-for-5 for the day but breaks his ankle in the 2nd game while sliding into 3B on a triple. He is lost for the remainder of the season. Spahn starts the first game and goes 5.1 innings and then relieves in game 2. He gives up a 3-run HR to Kluszewski in game 2, which puts the Reds ahead 7–1, but the Braves roar back to give Spahnie his 18th win.

Joe Bauman of the Roswell Rockets (Class C Longhorn League) clouts his 70th, 71st, and 72nd homers, an organized ball record. He ends the season with a .400 batting average, .916 slugging average and 224 RBIs.

6th  After losing 10 straight, the Pirates sweep the Dodgers in Ebbets Field on “Back the Dodgers Day,” winning 9–6 in 12 innings and 9–7. It is their first doubleheader sweep of the Dodgers since 1950 and drops Brooklyn to 3rd. Bob Skinner has a grand slam in game 1 and Dick Hall, has 3 hits. The Bucs jump on Don Newcombe in game 2, scoring 5 runs and making one out in the 1st before Newk is lifted. The Dodgers respond with three homers but fall short as Frank Thomas answers with a 2-run homer off Tommy Lasorda.

Eddie Mathews leads the Braves in 2 wins, 13–2 and 6–1, over the Cubs. Mathews has 8 straight hits before lining out in his last at bat (he had a hit in his last AB yesterday for 9). He reaches base 9 straight times and steals a base. He and Crandall homer in the lidlifter, while Bruton hits an inside-the-park HR in the nightcap. The attendance of 43,207 pushes the Braves over 2 million, the first club in NL history to top 2 mil. The double win moves the Braves into 2nd place ahead of Brooklyn and just 4 behind the Giants.

Cuban OF Carlos Paula, the first black to play for the Senators, debuts with a 2-for-4 day as the Nats win 8–1 in the first of 2 against the A’s. He’s hitless in game 2, a 3–2 win by the A’s. Spook Jacobs has 3 hits and 3 steals in the nightcap.

The Yanks only split a pair with the Red Sox, but it is not for lack of trying on Stengel’s part. Casey uses a (since tied) record ten pinch hitters in the two games, including pitcher Tommy Byrne for Phil Rizzuto. The Sox use 4 sub hitters for an AL record 14. Pinch hitter Joe Collins wins the opener for Jim Konstanty, 6–5, with a homer—one of five hits in the game. The Yanks blow a 6–0 lead in the nightcap to lose, 8–7.

7th  The Senators and Athletics draw just 460 paid to a game, the smallest crowd in Griffith Stadium history. The Senators win, 5–4.

8th With the count 3-2, Richie Ashburn fouls off 14 straight pitches from Cincinnati’s Corky Valentine before walking. The Reds top the Phils, 9–3.

The Giants purchase catcher Joe Garagiola from the Cardinals. He’ll hit .273 in 5 games, then retire to pursue a broadcasting career.

9th  The Yanks Enos Slaughter spoils a no-hitter for the 3rd time by getting a single off Orioles P Joe Coleman, who finishes with a one-hitter and a 1–0 shutout.

Hank Thompson’s surprise squeeze bunt in the 9th with the bases loaded and 2 outs, allows the Giants to slip past the Cubs, 7–6 in the opener against the Cubs. Bob Rush and 2 relievers then combine on a 3–0 win in the nightcap to keep the Giants 4 games ahead of the Braves. Giants rookie Bob Lennon, who hit 64 HRs at Nashville, is 0-for-1 make his ML debut as a pinch hitter in game 2.

10th Braves 1B Joe Adcock’s tenth HR against the Dodgers in Ebbets Field breaks the NL mark of 9 HRs hit on the road against one club. Adcock’s HR is the Braves only hit, as Billy Loes one-hits the Braves 2–1 in a 41⁄2 inning game halted by rain. NL prexy Warren Giles rules from his home after 2 am. that it is an official game, after ump Goetz declined to rule whether the game was official or suspended. The loss ends the Braves 10-game win streak, their third 10-game win skein of the year.

Attempting to handle Hoyt Wilhelm’s knuckleball against the Redlegs, C Ray Katt of the Giants sets an ML record with 4 passed balls in the 8th inning. Wilhelm faces just 5 batters in the frame, yielding a single and two walks, as passed balls allow two runners to score. When Wilhelm winds up with 2 out and Bobby Adams on 3B, Adams races home, expecting Katt to make his 5th passed ball. Roy McMillan swings and misses, and Katt holds on and tags out the red-faced Adams. Cincinnati wins 8–1.

11th  Whitey Lockman of the Giants gets a pinch-hit grand slam to beat the Redlegs 7–5. Don Mueller hits in his 21st straight game, duplicating Mays’s streak, which ended August 20th. He’ll go hitless tomorrow.

The Yanks lose to the White Sox 6–5, dropping New York 61⁄2 out of first, the largest deficit in Casey Stengel’s years.

Again, the Dodgers go after Joe Adcock as Don Newcombe plunks the Dodgers nemesis on the right hand. The broken hand ends Adcock’s season. The Dodgers then win their first game in 6 tries against Gene Conley, winning 5–3 to regain 2nd place ahead of the Braves.

12th A major-league record crowd of 86,587 jams Cleveland’s Memorial Stadium to see the Indians sweep a doubleheader from the Yanks, 4–1 and 3–2, behind Bob Lemon and Early Wynn. Al Rosen’s two-run double is the key blow in the opener. In the nightcap, Wally Westlake’s double in the 5th is the big hit. This is the first three-game losing streak of the season for New York. It is the latest in a season the Bombers will ever have their first 3-game lose streak. They now trail Cleveland (104-40) by 8 1/2 games.

In a double header at Pittsburgh, Ted Kluszewski drives in 9 runs to lead the Reds to a sweep. In the 11-5 opening win, Klu drives in 6 runs with a pair of homers. He knocks in 3 more in the 13–2 nightcap win.

The White Sox get their 89th and 90th victories, the first time this has happened since 1920. They will win 94 for the season. They sweep the Red Sox 5–3 and 7–5, stealing 7 bases in the opener to overcome a Williams homer. Minoso starts the scoring in game 2 with a 3-run homer in the 1st.

The Hollywood Stars (PCL) Roger Bowman fires a 7-inning perfect game to beat Portland, 10–0, and force a one game playoff with San Diego for the PCL pennant. But San Diego will win their 102nd game and the championship.

13th  Redlegs slugger Ted Kluszewski scores a run in a 6–5 loss to the Pirates. Big Klu has scored in 17 consecutive games, coring 24 runs, tying the ML record of 17 straight games set by Rogers Hornsby in 1921. (This earlier mark was discovered in 2003 by researcher Trent McCotter) Tomorrow Brooklyn’s Johnny Podres will shut the Reds out, 4–0.

14th  Willie Mays hits a 1st inning double and scores the only run in a 1–0 win over the Cards. It is Johnny Antonelli’s 21st win of the year. Mays’s hit is his 82nd extra-base hit, breaking Mel Ott’s team record.

Chicago White Sox manager Paul Richards makes the stunning announcement that he is leaving immediately to accept the dual role of manager and GM of the Baltimore Orioles. Coach Marty Marion will manage the team for the remaining games.

At Cleveland Stadium, Mike Garcia wins his 18th as the Indians beat the Senators, 4-2. Cleveland has now won all 11 home games against the Senators this year; they earlier posted the same home record against the Orioles and the same road record against Boston.

16th  Phillie Robin Roberts beats the Giants 5–4 in 10 innings and becomes the first NL pitcher since Carl Hubbell to win 20 games 5 years in a row. Hubbell did it in 1933-37.

In a 9–3 Reds win at Ebbets Field, watched by a chilly rain-soaked 522 paying fans, Ted Kluszewski belts his 49th homer of the year. Joe Nuxhall wins his 2nd this year at Ebbets Field, the only lefty opponent to do so.

17th Bob Lemon wins his 23rd game, beating the Tigers 6–3 and ensuring the Indians at least a tie for the pennant. Bobby Avila breaks a 2–2 tie with a 7th inning grand slam.

18th  The Giants Don Mueller collects his 200th hit an inside-the-park HR, making him the first Giant to get 200 hits since Joe Moore in 1936. Willie Mays also has an inside-the park-HR, as the Giants beat the Phils 8–1.

In rainy Detroit, the Indians clinch their 3rd pennant in history and the first since 1948 with a 3–2 win over the Tigers. Early Wynn is the winner, while Jim Hegan and pinch-hitter Dale Mitchell belt homers.

Marty Marion wins his first game as White Sox manager as Chicago tops Baltimore, 6–3, behind Billy Pierce (8-10). Don Larsen loses his 20th and will finish at a 3–21 season.

19th Detroit’s Harvey Kuenn, en route to his 2nd year of 200 hits, goes 5-for-5 in a game which the Tigers lose 4–2 to the Indians.

Before a sparse crowd of 1,715, the A’s play their final game at Shibe Park, losing to the Yankees, 4–2. For the Yankees, it is their 100th win of the season and for Stengel it his first 100-win season in 6 years with NY. For the A’s, it is off to Kansas City for the 1955 season.

20th The Giants clinch the pennant as Sal Maglie beats the Dodgers 7–1 in the opener of a series with the Dodgers at Ebbets Field. Mays has three hits to take over the NL lead with a .344 average. The Giants now get ready for the Indians, a team they beat 13 out of 21 times in spring training.

Behind Bob Feller (13-3) the Indians beat the White Sox, 7-4, to complete their second 11-game win streak of the year. No team will match that the rest of the century. Each first baseman, Wertz and Cavarretta, has 4 hits.

At Milwaukee, Warren Spahn of the Braves beats the Reds, 6–2, to notch his 20th win. Spahn has now won 20 games 6 times.

21st In front of just 1,912 fans, a Yankee Stadium low, Yankees rookie Bob Grim wins his 20th, a four-hit, 3–1 win over Washington. Freshman Dean Stone takes the loss. The victory gives the Yanks 101 wins, and makes Grim only the 2nd Yankee rookie in history to win 20. His 20 wins in less than 200 innings (199) makes him the most efficient 20-game winner ever. He is the first pitcher to win 20 games in fewer than 30 starts. The Yankees will finish with 103 victories, just one under the ML record for 2nd place, held by the 1909 Cubs and 1942 Dodgers.

The White Sox come back from a 7–4 deficit to win, 9–7, ending the Indians’ 11-game win streak. The Tribe makes five costly errors, and the Sox score three runs on a wild pick-off throw, wild pitch and passed ball. Chicago now holds an 11–10 edge in the season series and have twice snapped a Cleveland 11-game win skein.

Before an Ebbets Field crowd of 4,467 the New York Giants top the Dodgers, 5–2, behind a combined five-hitter by Ruben Gomez and Jim Hearn. Bobby Hofman, playing 3B for the injured Thomson, hits a first-inning grand slam. In the batting race, Mays and Mueller are both 2-for-3, while Snider is 1-for-4.

At Boston, the Red Sox win a pair from the A’s by 4–3 scores. Jackie Jensen’s 10th inning single wins the opener and his three-run homer in the nightcap clinches it. Billy Goodman adds seven hits in the two games. Jensen’s full day includes grounding into his 32nd DP in the opener, breaking the major league record set by Bobby Doerr in 1949: Jensen will lead the majors again in 1956-57. The mark will finally be topped by another Sox player, Jim Rice, with 36 in 1984. In a ceremony preceding the game, Jensen receives a new car from station WBZ, for winning the station’s contest to decide the team’s MVP.

22nd  Recently called up from Fort Worth, Karl Spooner of the Dodgers pitches a 3–0 shutout, fanning 15 Giants in his first ML start. Six of the strikeouts are consecutive, in the 6th and 7th innings. The 15 is a new ML rookie record breaking the mark set by Cliff Melton on April 25, 1937. Roy Campanella calls Spooner “the greatest young pitcher I’ve ever seen. His fastball is the damnest thing. It even amazes the umpire.” Gil Hodges drives in a run with a sac fly, his 19th of the year, to set the ML mark. Andre Dawson will have 18 in 1983.

In the top of the 9th, the Redlegs have runners on 1B (Wally Post) and 2B (Gus Bell) when Bob Borkowski strikes out on a WP. Braves C Del Crandall retrieves the ball and throws to 3B in a futile try to catch Bell. Borkowski takes off for 1B illegally, since 1B is already occupied and there are less than 2 outs. He draws a throw from 3B Ed Mathews, which hits him in the back and rolls into RF, and both Bell and Post score. The umpires decide that Borkowski and Post are both out, the former for drawing an illegal throw. Milwaukee wins 3–1 and the Reds protest. Because the standings of 5 teams are affected by the outcome, Warren Giles will uphold the protest, even though he believes the umpires made the correct decision. The protested game, started from the point where Temple is batting with 2 outs in the 9th, will be played in 2 days and the Braves will win 4–3.

The Indians beat the White Sox, 3–1, for their 110th win of the season. Don Mossi takes the victory with a 5-hitter.

Aided by a triple play in the 6th (Skowron to Coleman), the Yankees Tommy Byrne hurls a 3–0 win over the Senators.

24th  The Tigers stall the Indians pennant clinch, topping the Tribe, 6–4. Ted Gray is the winner over Bob Lemon. Jim Delsing and Ray Boone homer for Detroit, while Cleveland’s George Strickland hits his first homer since early in the season.

Arnie Portocarrero stops the A’s 15-game losing streak to the Yankees by winning, 5–1, at Yankee Stadium. Arnie fans 11, including 3 straight pinch hitter—Berberet, Triandos, and Leja—in the 9th. Littrell hits a 3-run homer for his first ML HR.

Phillie Murry Dickson loses his 20th game of the season 1–0 to New York’s lefty Don Liddle. It marks the 3rd consecutive season he leads the NL in losses. The Phils then take the nightcap, 4–2, routing Windy McCall.

In an odd doubleheader with three teams playing, the Milwaukee Braves finish a protested game against the Cincinnati Reds by replaying the game from the protested point in the 9th inning. With runners on 2B and 3B, Temple singles against Jolley, who is in for Spahn, and when Bruton misplays the ball, both runners score to tie the game at 3 all. The Braves then score in the 9th, winning, 4-3. Milwaukee takes the regularly scheduled game against the Cardinals, winning 4-2. Spahn, who finished the protested game 2 days ago, wins the second game, his 21st win of the year.

The Senators sweep the Red Sox, winning the opener 1–0 in 11 innings. Chuck Stobbs allows 7 hits in winning. The Nats complete the sweep with a 6–4 victory in the nightcap.

The Orioles spoil Virgil Trucks bid for his 20th win, stopping the White Sox, 2–1. The win goes to bonus baby Digger O’Dell, who notches his first ML win.

25th  Duke Snider joins teammate Gil Hodges in the 40-HR club, giving the Dodgers two 40-HR sluggers in 2 straight seasons. The Dodgers win 10–5 over Pittsburgh, as Carl Furillo with 2 homers and Sandy Amoros with one drive in three runs apiece. Hodges drives in a run with his 19th sacrifice fly, setting a ML record. Carl Erskine wins his 18th.

Early Wynn takes a no hitter into the 9th before allowing two hits in beating the Tigers’ George Zuverink, 11–1. It is his league-leading 23rd win as the Indians notch their 111th victory, a new AL record eclipsing the 110 wins of the 1927 Yankees.

Making his first ML pitching appearance, Al Lary, along with reliever Jim Davis, hold the Reds to 3 hits as the Cubs win, 4–2. Hank Sauer belts a 2-run HR. For Lary, it is his cup of coffee (he pinch ran on the 6th), and he won’t be back in the majors till 1962. His younger brother Frank debuted on September 14 in a 1-inning mop-up in Detroit’s 11–0 loss to the Yankees.

Although they lose 100 games, the same as in the previous season when the club was in St. Louis, the Orioles draw over a million fans. Billy Pierce pins the 100th loss on the O’s, allowing 5 hits in the White Sox 11–0 trouncing.

26th  In his 2nd start, rookie Brooklyn lefty Karl Spooner shuts out Pittsburgh 1–0 on a Gil Hodges HR in the 8th. He fans 12 for a total of 27 strikeouts in his first 2 ML games, establishing a new record. One of his strikeouts in the 9th is against Dusty Rhodes: “Before I went up to hit against him, I told the boys I’d kiss every one of them if he struck me out. Just call me Liberace.” Gil Hodges’ 8th-inning HR, his 25th at Ebbets Field (a new club record), gives him 42 for the season, tying him with Duke Snider for the most by a Dodger. Hodges also finishes the year with 18 sacrifice flies, a ML record that won’t be topped the rest of the century.

At Milwaukee, Cards rookie Wally Moon hits an 11th-inning 2-run homer to break a scoreless tie. For Moon it is his last at bat for the year; he started the year with a HR in his first at bat.

Going into the last day of the NL season, Don Mueller leads in hitting with .3426; Duke Snider is 2nd at .3425, followed by Willie Mays at .3422. The Giants win, 3–2, in 11 innings over the Phillies Robin Roberts, as Mays garners a single, double, and triple in 4 ABs. He finishes at .345 while Mueller, going 2-for-6, slips to .341, the same as the hitless Snider. Richie Ashburn plays in his 730rd straight game, stretching back to June 7, 1950.

The Yankees try to set a record for most wins by a runner-up. In Casey Stengel’s “power line-up,” Yogi Berra plays his only game at 3B in his career; Mickey Mantle plays SS again; Moose Skowron is at 2B, with Eddie Robinson at 1B. But Art Ditmar of the Athletics defeats the Yanks 8–6 in the last game the franchise will play as the Philadelphia A’s before moving to Kansas City. First baseman Vic Power helps by starting 3 DPs, a record for a first baseman.

The Indians lose their last game, 8–7, in 13 innings to Detroit. Bobby Avila is 1-for-2 with a HR before being lifted and wins the batting title with a .341 average. Ted Williams, batting 2nd in today’s 11-2 win over Washington, is 1-for-4 to finish at .344. Teddy Ballgame is 14 at bats short of qualifying for the title (adding the 14 in gives him a .333) but drew 136 walks in 117 games.

28th  Two days after firing Bucky Harris, the Senators sign Chuck Dressen to a 2-year deal to manage in 1955.

29th  In Game 1 of the WS, Willie Mays of the Giants makes one of the greatest catches in history when he races back to deep CF in the Polo Grounds to make an over-the-head catch of Indian Vic Wertz’s 462-foot drive in the 8th with the score tied at 2–2. Wertz drove in the 2 runs in the first with a triple, the first of his 4 hits. But in the 10th, Dusty Rhodes hits a pinch-hit, 3-run, 260-foot HR off Bob Lemon to give the Giants a 5–2 victory. With Mays in the Giants lineup, and Avila in Cleveland’s, it marks just the 3rd time that the league batting champs have faced each other in the WS.

30th  With lefty Johnny Antonelli going the distance, the Giants defeat Early Wynn and the Indians, 3–1, in game 2. Dusty Rhodes drives in two of the Giants runs with a pinch-hit single and a solo HR, and Antonelli drives in the other. It is the last post-season RBI by a Giant pitcher until 2010. The Indians’ only score is a first-pitch HR by leadoff hitter Al Smith.

The Cubs sell 3B Bill Serena to the White Sox. Tomorrow the Cubs send pitchers Johnny Klippstein and Jim Willis to the Reds for P Harry Perkowski, and outfielders Jim Bolger and Ted Tappe.