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1914 Miracle Braves Photo Thread

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  • 1914 Miracle Braves Photo Thread

    One of only two original National League franchises from 1876 to survive into the 20th Century (Chicago was the other), the Boston team had fallen on hard times after winning five league championships in the 1890’s. After a third place finish in 1902, the Bostons finished sixth in 1903 and 1908, and seventh or eighth out of eight teams in every other season from 1904 through 1912. The team was informally known as the Beaneaters at the turn of the century, a nickname that was sometimes also applied to the Boston team in the new American League. When John and George Dovey bought the franchise prior to the 1907 season, and the team adopted all-white uniforms, the press named them the Doves. Then William Russell bought the team from the surviving Dovey brother in 1911, and the press renamed them the Rustlers. Russell died after that first season, and his estate sold the team to James Gaffney, a member of the Tammany Society (“Tammany Hall”), a New York City political organization that controlled state politics for many decades. The society was named after a Lenape chief and used an Indian image as its symbol. Gaffney decided to apply the symbol to his new team, and alliteratively christened them the Boston Braves. The press quickly adopted this new name, and except for a few years as the Bees in the 1930’s, the franchise has continued as the Braves through two relocations into the 21st Century.

    George Stallings was hired to manage the team for the 1913 season, and led them to a fifth-place finish. Rookie Rabbit Maranville’s play at shortstop offered encouragement for the future, but 40-year-old Cy Seymour’s major league comeback was a bust. The pitching staff was led by Dick Rudolph, Lefty Tyler, and Hub Perdue, and was bolstered late in the season by Jack Quinn, who was signed from the minor leagues. Before the 1914 season, however, several Braves chose to sign with the outlaw Federal League, including Quinn, catcher Bill Rariden, first baseman Hap Myers, and third baseman Fred Smith. An unexpected boost was provided by the acquisition of second baseman Johnny Evers, who had essentially become a free agent after he was fired without notice as manager of the Cubs (he had succeeded Frank Chance in 1913). As compensation for the signing of Evers, the Braves had to send infielder Bill Sweeney to Chicago, but the consensus was that Boston had come out ahead in the trade.

    1914 NL Boston in jackets.jpg

    The Braves, though, lost 18 of their first 23 games (with one tie) in 1914, and were in last place from May 9th through July 18th (except for one day in 7th place). A double-header loss on the Fourth of July left them 15 games behind the first-place Giants. Hub Perdue pitched poorly, and the other pitchers struggled with a lack of run support. A number of trades, including one that jettisoned Perdue, bolstered the lineup, and Stallings began using a platoon system in his outfield. At the midway point of the season Boston had won only 33 games, but in the second half the Braves won 61 of 77 to finish in first place by 10½ games. Second-year pitcher Bill James won 19 of his last 20 decisions, and he and Rudolph both finished with 26 wins. [Pitcher Russ Ford, a former Yankee who pitched in the Federal League in 1914, later speculated that the secret of his emery ball pitch had been discovered during the 1914 season by Stallings (his former manager), who then taught it to the Braves’ starting pitchers.] Attendance during the hot streak was so high that the team arranged to play home games during August, September, and October in Fenway Park, the home of the Red Sox, which had a much larger seating capacity (35,000) than the old South End Grounds (11,000). Fenway continued as the home field for the Braves in the World Series, when they met the Philadelphia Athletics, champions of the American League for the fourth time in five years.

    The Braves won the first game of the World Series in Philadelphia by a convincing score of 7-1 behind the pitching of Dick Rudolph. With James on the mound, the second game in Philadelphia was scoreless until the top of the ninth, when Boston’s Les Mann drove in Charlie Deal with a single after Deal’s fly ball had been lost in the sun; James completed the shutout in the bottom of the inning. Lefty Tyler started the third game at Fenway Park, which went into extra innings tied at 2. In the top of the tenth, the Athletics scored two runs, but Hank Gowdy hit a home run to lead off the bottom of the tenth, and a tying run was scored on a sacrifice fly by Joe Connolly. Tyler was relieved by James, who pitched two innings and got the victory in the twelfth when Gowdy doubled and substitute-runner Les Mann scored when a throw by the pitcher to third base on a bunt went past the fielder. In the fourth game, Evers broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning with a two-run single, and the 3-1 victory with Rudolph on the mound gave Boston the first World Series sweep in modern baseball history.

    After the season, third baseman Charlie Deal and outfielder Les Mann bolted for the Federal League, but Red Smith was a more-than-adequate replacement at third and hard-hitting Sherry Magee was obtained from the Phillies for the outfield. The team was hobbled, though, by a serious arm injury suffered by Bill James and a combination of injuries and illness suffered by Johnny Evers. Also, the emery ball was outlawed prior to the 1915 season, so if the Boston pitchers had been using it, they had lost a valuable weapon. The Braves continued as tenants in Fenway Park until the mid-season opening of Braves Field, with a capacity of 45,000. There would be no need to host post-season games in Fenway Park, and Braves Field hosted World Series games in both 1915 and 1916. Ironically, though, the home team was the Red Sox, as they won the American League pennant in both of those years and chose to take advantage of the greater seating capacity in the new ballpark. The Braves finished second and third, respectively, in those seasons, and after that were never higher than fifth place until the 1930’s. The Braves did not win another pennant until 1948, and the franchise shifted to Milwaukee for the 1953 season.

    Stallings and the team.jpg

    An excellent analysis of the 1914 season is posted at Seamheads.com (Aug. 2013)—Hardly a Miracle: http://seamheads.com/2013/08/12/hardly-a-miracle/

    1914 NL Boston 4.jpg

    Baseball Magazine had a number of articles in late 1914 and early 1915 discussing the team’s success. Links to three of these articles are below, and links to articles on many of the individual Braves are included in the respective posts that follow. The players in the following posts are listed in order of the World Series lineups, followed by the reserves and the pitchers.

    Baseball Magazine (Dec. 1914)—Why the Braves Won the Championship: http://library.la84.org/SportsLibrar...14/bbm142h.pdf
    Baseball Magazine (Feb. 1915)—Sidelights on the New World’s Champions: http://library.la84.org/SportsLibrar...15/bbm144n.pdf
    Baseball Magazine (Feb. 1915)—The Passing Show: http://library.la84.org/SportsLibrar...15/bbm144f.pdf
    Last edited by RUKen; 04-23-2014, 09:17 AM.

  • #2
    1914 Boston Braves, 93-59, .614, 1st place, World Champions (photographs taken October 1914)

    Top Row, L-R: Bill James (P), Ted Cather (LF), Charlie Deal (3B), George Davis (P), Ensign Cottrell (P), Gene Cocreham (P), Otto Hess (P), Les Mann (RF), Hank Gowdy (C), Butch Schmidt (1B), Bert Whaling (C).
    Middle Row, L-R: Possum Whitted (CF/2B), Oscar Dugey (2B/RF), Lefty Tyler (P), Paul Strand (P), Josh Devore (LF/CF), Larry Gilbert (CF/RF), Red Smith (3B), Herbie Moran (RF).
    Bottom Row, L-R: Joe Connolly (LF), Fred Mitchell (coach), Johnny Connolly (mascot), Dick Rudolph (P), Rabbit Maranville (SS), Dick Crutcher (P), Billy Martin (SS), Johnny Evers (2B).

    1914 NL Boston.jpg

    1914 NL Boston 2.jpg

    1914 NL Boston 3.jpg

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    • #3
      Owner: James Gaffney

      Gaffney James owner.jpg

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      • #4
        Manager: George Stallings

        Described in his SABR biography as a “dignified, fastidious Southerner”, Stallings’ major league playing career had consisted of seven games in the 1890’s, but he played thirteen seasons in the minors. He managed minor league teams in Augusta, Nashville, and Detroit from 1893 through 1896, the Philadelphia Phillies of the National League in 1897 and part of 1898, and then back to the Detroit Tigers from 1898 through 1901 (the Tigers were a minor league team during all but that last season). From 1902 through 1906 he managed the Buffalo Bisons of the Eastern League, and after one year spent tending his Georgia plantation, in 1908 he managed the Newark Indians of that same league. In 1909 he was back in the major leagues, managing the New York Yankees, and the following season he had led them to third place when he was fired with fourteen games left and was replaced by first baseman Hal Chase, who brought the team up to second place. In 1911 and 1912 he managed Buffalo again, and then in 1913 he was hired to manage the Boston Braves. He led Boston for eight seasons, and won the championship in his second, but was unable to win a second pennant. He was one of the earliest managers in the major leagues to use a platoon system. Stallings was well-known for his superstitions (such as freezing in position if his team was having a rally) and for wearing out his pants on the bench because of his nervousness. From 1921 through 1928 he managed minor league teams in Rochester and Montreal, before retiring after 35 seasons as a manager.

        Baseball Magazine (Feb. 1915)—The Miracle Man: http://library.la84.org/SportsLibrar...15/bbm144r.pdf

        Stallings portrait.jpg Stallings closeup.jpg Stallings newspaper.jpg Stallings w Rudolph Tyler James.jpg Stallings Evers 2.jpg

        Above left--Dick Rudolph, Lefty Tyler, and Bill James (left to right) with Stallings. Above right--Johnny Evers with Stallings.
        Last edited by RUKen; 03-21-2014, 07:46 AM.

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        • #5
          Leadoff Hitter (vs. right-handed pitchers): Herbie Moran, RF, 41 games, .266 BA, .347 OBP

          Moran’s contract was purchased from the Cincinnati Reds on August 23, 1914. He played one more season for the Braves and was then out of the major leagues after seven seasons.

          Moran portrait.jpg Moran w bat.jpg

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          • #6
            Leadoff Hitter (vs. left-handed pitchers): Les Mann, RF, 126 games, .247 BA, .292 OBP, 11 triples

            Mann was in his second major league season. His 8 double plays ranked third among NL outfielders. Before the 1915 season he jumped to the Federal League’s Chicago Whales. He became a Cub when the Federal League collapsed and was traded back to the Braves in 1919. His major league career lasted sixteen seasons.

            Mann.jpg Mann profile.jpg

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            • #7
              #2 Hitter: Johnny Evers, 2B, 139 games, .279 BA, .390 OBP, 81 runs scored

              Evers (pronounced EE-vers) had played in twelve seasons with the Cubs, and had managed the team in 1913, developing a reputation as one of baseball’s brainiest players. Chicago traded him to Boston in February, 1914, for Bill Sweeney and cash. His 73 double plays in 1914 ranked second among NL second basemen, and his .976 fielding percentage led the league at his position. Evers was awarded the 1914 Chalmers Trophy as the National League’s Most Valuable Player. He hit .438 (7 for 16) in the World Series. Evers’ performance declined over the next few seasons and he was waived to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1917. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1946.

              Baseball Magazine (Apr. 1914)—Loyal John Evers: http://library.la84.org/SportsLibrar...14/bbm126k.pdf
              Baseball Magazine (Aug. 1914)—The Sensational Evers Deal: http://library.la84.org/SportsLibrar...14/bbm134g.pdf
              Baseball Magazine (Feb. 1915)—A Day with John Evers: http://library.la84.org/SportsLibrar...15/bbm144h.pdf
              Baseball Magazine (Feb. 1915)—The Truth About John Evers’ Historic Misplay: http://library.la84.org/SportsLibrar...15/bbm144y.pdf

              Evers portrait.jpg Evers throwing.jpg Evers w bat.jpg
              Evers portrait 2.jpg Evers fielding.jpg
              Last edited by RUKen; 03-21-2014, 06:13 AM.

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              • #8
                Johnny Evers

                Evers fielding home uni.jpg
                Evers fielding practice.jpg Evers seated.jpg
                Last edited by RUKen; 03-21-2014, 07:47 AM.

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                • #9
                  #3 Hitter (vs. right-handed pitchers): Joe Connolly, LF, 120 games, .306 BA, .393 OBP, 28 doubles, 10 triples, 9 home runs, 64 runs scored

                  Connolly was in his second of just four major league seasons and was the only Braves’ starter to hit over .300. His .974 fielding percentage was second among NL outfielders.

                  Baseball Magazine (Feb. 1914)—Good Natured Joe Connolly, the Man Who Always Smiles: http://library.la84.org/SportsLibrar...15/bbm144h.pdf

                  Connolly leaping.jpg Connolly portrait.jpg Connolly with bat.jpg
                  Last edited by RUKen; 03-21-2014, 06:18 AM.

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                  • #10
                    #3 Hitter (vs. left-handed pitchers): Ted Cather, LF, 50 games, .297 BA, .338 OBP

                    Cather was obtained from the St. Louis Cardinals on June 28, 1914, along with Possum Whitted in a trade for pitcher Hub Perdue. He was in his third of four major league seasons.

                    Cather portrait.jpg

                    1914 Bos Cather batting.jpg
                    Last edited by RUKen; 10-11-2015, 04:02 PM.

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                    • #11
                      #4 Hitter: Possum Whitted, CF, 66 games, .261 BA, .326 OBP

                      Whitted (pronounced WHITE-ed) was obtained from the St. Louis Cardinals on June 28, 1914, along with Ted Cather in a trade for pitcher Hub Perdue. Following the 1914 season he was sent to the Philadelphia Phillies to complete a trade for Sherry Magee.

                      Baseball Magazine (Sep. 1915)—The Most Improved Player in the Game: http://library.la84.org/SportsLibrar...16/bbm165i.pdf

                      Whitted portrait.jpg

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                      • #12
                        #5 Hitter: Butch Schmidt, 1B, 147 games, .285 BA, .350 OBP, 67 runs scored, 71 RBI

                        Schmidt was in his first full season in the major leagues, and played just one more. He was one of the NL’s best fielding first basemen during his brief career. In 1914, his 88 assists were second among NL first basemen, and he led the league at his position with 109 double plays.

                        Baseball Magazine (Mar. 1916)—“Butch” Schmidt, the Player-Worker: http://library.la84.org/SportsLibrar...16/bbm165i.pdf

                        Schmidt portrait.jpg Schmidt fielding.jpg Schmidt swinging.jpg Schmidt w bat 2.jpg Schmidt w bat.jpg
                        Last edited by RUKen; 04-09-2015, 05:02 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Butch Schmidt

                          Schmidt home uni.jpg

                          Schmidt home uni portrait.jpg
                          Last edited by RUKen; 04-09-2015, 05:04 AM.

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                          • #14
                            #6 Hitter: Hank Gowdy, C, 128 games, .243 BA, .337 OBP

                            Gowdy played in seventeen major league seasons; 1914 was his fifth. His 151 assists that season ranked second among NL catcher. He batted .545 (6 for 11) with three doubles, a triple, a home run, and five walks in the World Series. He later was the first major league player to enlist in the armed forces for service during the Great War (World War I).

                            Baseball Magazine (Dec. 1914)—The Star of the World’s Series: http://library.la84.org/SportsLibrar...14/bbm142l.pdf

                            Gowdy throwing.jpg Gowdy w catchers mitt.jpg
                            Gowdy w bat.jpg Gowdy profile.jpg Gowdy closeup w mask.jpg
                            Last edited by RUKen; 03-21-2014, 06:32 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Hank Gowdy

                              Gowdy home uni.jpg Gowdy w bat 2.jpg

                              Gowdy with Boston Mayor Fitzgerald

                              Gowdy + Mayor Fitzgerald.jpg Gowdy + Mayor Fitzgerald 2.jpg
                              Last edited by RUKen; 03-21-2014, 07:48 AM.

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