Ferriss in the 6th, Hughson in the 7th! Or the Other Way Around! But Not Harris in the 6th!

Bernie Carbohydrate

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Consider the Sox starting rotation in the 1946 Series:

Game 1, October 6, in St. Louis: Red Sox's Tex Hughson vs. Cardinals’ Howie Pollet. Hughson went 8 innings, gave up 2 runs, and relief pitcher Earl Johnson got the win got the win when the Sox scored in the 10th.

Game 2, October 7, in St. Louis: The Red Sox start Mickey Harris, who goes 7 innings, gives up three runs (one earned). Harry Brecheen of the Cards is even better, throwing a complete game shutout. Cards win, series tied 1-1.

October 8 is a travel day

Game 3, October 9 at Fenway: Sox start Boo Ferriss, who throws a complete game shutout, besting Knuckleballer Murry Dickson, who gives up three runs in seven innings. Sox up 2-1.

Game 4, October 10, at Fenway: Sox go back to Hughson and he gets chased in the second inning, Cards romp 12-3, with Red Munger getting the complete game win for the Redbirds. Series tied 2-2.

Pause here: Sox manager Joe Cronin, using the travel day, had shortened his rotation (Hughson, Harris and Ferriss, then back to Hughson). Cards Manger Eddie Dyer had run out four starters – Pollet, Brecheen, Dickson and Munger. Munger wasn’t even their 4th starter during the season, he’d been a bullpen arm and gave the 1946 Cards only seven starts. In essence, both managers had two superb starters (Cronin had Hughson and Ferriss, Dyer had Pollet and Brecheen) and then there was significant drop off in starters 3-5 on both teams.

Note this was a 2-3-2 format, so games 3, 4, and 5 were all in Boston.

Game 5, October 11, at Fenway: Red Sox start Joe Dobson (their normal #4 starter) and the Cards go with Pollet. So now the rotations are off-kilter. Cronin has gone 1-2-3-1-4, Dyer has gone 1-2-3-X-1. In a reverse of Game 4, in Game 5 it is a St Louis starter who gets chased, and the Sox go on to win 6-3. Sox up 3-2 in the series.

October 12 was a travel day

Game 6, October 13, in St. Louis. Here’s the controversy. If the Sox win, the close out the series in 6. Ferriss is rested, having last pitched on October 9. Harris is also rested, having last pitched on October 8. Even Hughson is quasi-available, since he’d only faced 12 batters in his loss on October 10. Cronin starts Harris, and here’s how Arthur Daley of the New York Times characterized the decision at the time:

“There is an old baseball axiom that you should meet strength with strength, conceding nothing. But Cronin virtually conceded the sixth game to the Cardinals by refusing to risk using his best pitcher, Dave Ferriss, against Harry (The Cat) Brecheen. He’s saved him for the seventh fray when he might have eliminated the need for a seventh by employing the big Mississippi pitcher in the sixth” (NYT 10/15/1946).

Harris lost game 6, giving up three runs in 2 and 2/3 innings before Cronin used a quick hook to bring in Hughson, who stabilized the game with 4 shutout innings in relief. But it didn’t matter—Brecheen cruised with another complete game, giving up only one run. Cards won 4-1, and the Series was tied 3-3.

October 14 there was no game. This is important, because it meant that had Cronin not used Hughson in relief on Oct 13 the Sox ace would have been able to start or relieve on October 15.

Game 7, October 15, at St. Louis. Cronin starts Ferriss, Dyer responds with Dickson, so this is a rematch of Game Three. Boo scuffles, giving up three runs in 4 1/3, whereas Dickson lasts seven innings, also giving up three runs. The difference is that the tireless Brecheen comes in out of the bullpen again, and the Card win 4-1. This is the famous Enos Slaughter game.

The odd thing is that there was a full week between the end of the season and the start of the World Series, so Cronin could have set up his rotation any way he wanted to. I think a modern manager would have gone Ferriss, Hughson, Harris, and gotten Ferris starting in Games 1, 4, and 7 on full rest and Hughson starting games 2 and 5 (four days rest) or 2 and 6 (five days rest).

Maybe it didn’t matter, with Brecheen being unhittable, and Ferriss didn’t have it in Game 7 anyway, but if Ferriss coughed it up in game 6, a fresh Hughson could have started game 7. Did Cronin mismanage his rotation?
 
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DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Why no game on the 14th? If rain, then I don't think I can question anything that Cronin did here except with perfect hindsight.
 

Humphrey

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Actually, the WS started on Sunday, 10/6 and ended on Tuesday, 10/15.

There was a playoff in the National League on October 1 and October 3, in between a train ride between St. Louis and Brooklyn (St L won 2-0). Not sure why they gave the Cards two days off after winning it. Maybe because they had to take a train back after winning....plus the Red Sox had to get there too.
 
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Bernie Carbohydrate

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I searched high and low and I could find no evidence that that there was a rainout on October 14, 1946. It is strange though, because they played games 1-2 back to back, then had one day for travel , then played games 3-4-5 on consecutive days.

But that 14th day off means that Harris didn't need to start on the 13th. Cronin could have gone Boo Ferris, then off day, then closed out with Hughson.

Harris had made the All-Star game in 1946, on his way to a 3.64 ERA over 222 innings, so it wasn't like starting Al Nipper. More like starting Oil Can even though Hurst was rested and ready to go.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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I have trouble criticizing Cronin on this. In the end, it's up to the players and Harris was in position to be a hero but shit the bed. Harris had like 14 complete games that year and also frequently got into the 8th inning.

He also had a couple of bad starts, but who doesn't? If Ferris had gagged in game 6, maybe they need Houghton anyway.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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I searched high and low and I could find no evidence that that there was a rainout on October 14, 1946. It is strange though, because they played games 1-2 back to back, then had one day for travel , then played games 3-4-5 on consecutive days.

But that 14th day off means that Harris didn't need to start on the 13th. Cronin could have gone Boo Ferris, then off day, then closed out with Hughson.

Harris had made the All-Star game in 1946, on his way to a 3.64 ERA over 222 innings, so it wasn't like starting Al Nipper. More like starting Oil Can even though Hurst was rested and ready to go.
BRef says that there was a rainout on the 14th: https://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/1946_World_Series.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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I looked all over but not in the obvious place! Thanks Boggsy.
Actually being bored and procrastinating, I looked further into it and BRef is incorrect. I checked the weather for St. Louis and there was no precipitation.

I finally found the correct explanation in a story on game 6 from the Indianapolis Times. The story reports that tickets for the 1946 WS were sold in blocks of 3, which meant that for G7, they needed to sell a new set of tickets and they needed a day to do it. The article I found mentioned that scalpers were getting "$40 each for the $6.25 reserved seats".

I think the link is here (story is on page 10): https://newspapers.library.in.gov/?a=d&d=IPT19461014.1.10&e=-------en-20--1--txt-txIN-------.
 

Bernie Carbohydrate

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Actually being bored and procrastinating, I looked further into it and BRef is incorrect. I checked the weather for St. Louis and there was no precipitation.

I finally found the correct explanation in a story on game 6 from the Indianapolis Times. The story reports that tickets for the 1946 WS were sold in blocks of 3, which meant that for G7, they needed to sell a new set of tickets and they needed a day to do it. The article I found mentioned that scalpers were getting "$40 each for the $6.25 reserved seats".

I think the link is here (story is on page 10): https://newspapers.library.in.gov/?a=d&d=IPT19461014.1.10&e=-------en-20--1--txt-txIN-------.
I love it. World Series schedule changed on the whim of the ticket office.

The Sox were prohibitive favorites going into the series.

Ted won the MVP, Doerr was third in the MVP voting, with Pesky 4th, Ferriss 6th, and Dom at 9th. That's five Red Sox in the top ten MVP voting, and Hughson showed up at #13..

Even Hal Wagner, the .230-hitting catcher for the Sox, got an MVP vote.

Maybe nobody in St. Louis expected it would go seven games?
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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I love it. World Series schedule changed on the whim of the ticket office.

The Sox were prohibitive favorites going into the series.

Ted won the MVP, Doerr was third in the MVP voting, with Pesky 4th, Ferriss 6th, and Dom at 9th. That's five Red Sox in the top ten MVP voting, and Hughson showed up at #13..

Even Hal Wagner, the .230-hitting catcher for the Sox, got an MVP vote.

Maybe nobody in St. Louis expected it would go seven games?
According to this NYT article, Game 7 was scheduled after an off-day, giving the Series 3 off-days. I can't confirm this but my guess is that St. Louis sold tickets for 1, 2, and 6 in one block of 3 and the Red Sox sold tickets for 3, 4, and 5 in another block of 3, and then Game 7 needed the extra day to sell tickets. I can imagine that it would take all day to sell that many tickets.

One tidbit. Before the 9th inning of the G6, the St. Louis put the G7 tickets up for sale and the PA announcer made that announcement. Some of the more superstitious players thought that was a really bad idea. (See here). However, after SL on, the article I linked said that people stayed "for hours" after the game to try to buy tickets and another 25,000 were sold the next day.

One other tidbit on G7. Apparently there was a meat shortage going on in the country so the SL owner had people scour the area to buy meat and alcohol at any price to serve to the press so the press had a field day a the game. I guess that's one way of getting good press. https://goldenrankings.com/ultimategame9.htm
 

Humphrey

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According to this NYT article, Game 7 was scheduled after an off-day, giving the Series 3 off-days. I can't confirm this but my guess is that St. Louis sold tickets for 1, 2, and 6 in one block of 3 and the Red Sox sold tickets for 3, 4, and 5 in another block of 3, and then Game 7 needed the extra day to sell tickets. I can imagine that it would take all day to sell that many tickets.

One tidbit. Before the 9th inning of the G6, the St. Louis put the G7 tickets up for sale and the PA announcer made that announcement. Some of the more superstitious players thought that was a really bad idea. (See here). However, after SL on, the article I linked said that people stayed "for hours" after the game to try to buy tickets and another 25,000 were sold the next day.

One other tidbit on G7. Apparently there was a meat shortage going on in the country so the SL owner had people scour the area to buy meat and alcohol at any price to serve to the press so the press had a field day a the game. I guess that's one way of getting good press. https://goldenrankings.com/ultimategame9.htm
Similar situation happened in 1978. Sox forced a playoff by winning on Sunday afternoon and the Yanks losing (Thank You, Rick Waits!). As the game ended, they announced tickets for the Monday playoff game were going on sale immediately. All you had to do was walk out of Fenway and get in line.
They insisted the ALCS start the day after the playoff, in KC; which is why the game was in the afternoon. Sucked for anyone who was at that Sunday game and couldn't go Monday because of work.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Sox just couldn't touch a Cat named Brecheen. 3-0 with a 0.45 ERA. Maybe if Ted hadn't damaged his elbow in that worthless exhibition game.
With regards, one the articles I posted had this to say about SL's strategy (I have no idea how accurate this is):
  • Another inhibiting factor for Ted was Dyer's decision to use the "Boudreau Shift" against the dead pull hitter (although before the Series, [Dyer] had indicated he wouldn't use the shift). Cleveland SS-manager Lou Boudreau moved his 2B and SS far to the right of their straightaway positions. That left only the third baseman between 2B and 3B.
  • Other teams in the AL copied what the Indians did with variations. But, as Williams' numbers for 1946 illustrate, the ploy couldn't be classified as a success. Boudreau later admitted that the shift was more about psyching out Williams that getting him to poke the ball to LF.
  • Dyer modified the shift to fit his personnel. At the suggestion of 3B Whitey Kurowski, he left his 6'2" wide-ranging SS Marion in his usual position but moved Kurowski from 3B to deep second. 1B Musial hugged the foul line with 2B Red Schoendienst between him and Kurowski.
  • But the Cardinals knew that just a shift wasn't enough. Two Cardinal scouts, Tony Kaufmann and Ken Penner, had tracked the Red Sox most of September. Based on their reports, the St. Louis brain trust crafted a plan to foil Williams. Ted's biographer Michael Seidel put it this way: Don't try to throw the right pitch, try to throw the unusual pitch. Take chances, pitch to his power; throw breaking stuff whatever the count. Williams was very much a guess hitter and the Card pitchers were told not to set or fall into patterns that he could guess consistently.

Williams Shift in 1946 World Series

The Cardinals' version of the "Williams Shift" - SS Marty Marion is alone on the left side of 2B.
 

mwonow

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Similar situation happened in 1978. Sox forced a playoff by winning on Sunday afternoon and the Yanks losing (Thank You, Rick Waits!). As the game ended, they announced tickets for the Monday playoff game were going on sale immediately. All you had to do was walk out of Fenway and get in line.
They insisted the ALCS start the day after the playoff, in KC; which is why the game was in the afternoon. Sucked for anyone who was at that Sunday game and couldn't go Monday because of work.
I was one of those who left the game early to buy playoff tickets. I've stopped hoping that Yaz catches up with Gossage in the 9th, but still scowl at Mike Torres's name.
 

Humphrey

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I was one of those who left the game early to buy playoff tickets. I've stopped hoping that Yaz catches up with Gossage in the 9th, but still scowl at Mike Torres's name.
Is my memory faulty or did Bob Bailey stand frozen for THREE Gossage pitches in a row? I'm 100% sure he struck out looking, but I want to say Strike 1 and Strike 2 were not offered at, either.