The sentiment for the Senators against the Giants was nationwide, with Walter Johnson's coast-to-coast admirers having lusted for that day when he would finally be on the World Series stage. Unfortunately, it would support the aphorism that hope deferred is often bittersweet. Johnson made two starts, lost them both, though they were tough, hard-bitten defeats. In that Series opener, Johnson pitched seven consecutive shutout innings over one stretch and fanned 12, but was beaten in 12 innings, 4-3. He was the victim of cheap home runs by Bill Terry and George Kelly into the temporary bleacher seats that fronted the left field wall, installed to accommodate more fans.
Zachary held the Giants to one run in the second game until the ninth, when Kelly and Hack Wilson singled home runs to make it 3-3. But the Senators got to Jack Bentley in their half of the ninth to win it on Peckinpaugh's double. The games moved to the Polo Grounds and the Giants took the Series lead, two games to one, by beating Marberry, 6-4. And now it was Mogridge starting the fourth game. For the Giants it was Virgil Barnes and he had trouble with Goslin. If Johnson was number one in the hearts of Senators' fans, Goslin was number two. He swung the biggest bat on the Senators. He cared not whether the pitching was left- or right-handed. He hit home runs from his exaggerated, left-handed stance, crowding the plate so often that the umpires commanded him to stand back. He once jested of his prominent beak, "With my pull stance I was a one-eyed hitter. Couldn't see past my nose. If I coulda seen that pitch with both eyes I'da hit .600 in this league."
|The 'PTI' guys remember Shirley Povich|
The night in 1995 that Ripken broke Lou Gehrig's record for consecutive games played Shirley rode up to Camden Yards to cover the game. He was one of two people in the stands that night who had also been to Gehrig's farewell game in 1939 the other was Gehrig's teammate at that time, Joe DiMaggio.|
Lots of thrilling things happened that night, including Cal hitting a homer and then, pushed out there by his teammates, Cal taking that victory lap around the outfield, shaking hands with as many fans as he could reach. The spontaneity of that moment, the waterfall of joy pouring out from everybody in that stadium gives me chills still as I recall it. But the greatest thrill for me that night was to be sitting next to Shirley in the press box. I was on his right, and my colleague and friend Michael Wilbon was on Shirley's left. It was like we'd won the lottery and became Shirley's honor guard. Usually we are big yakkers, Wilbon and I. But on this night we were spellbound in silence, listening to Shirley tell stories about Gehrig, Ruth and DiMaggio. It was an oral history of the golden age of baseball.
Late in the game somebody fouled a pitch back sharply to the press box. I saw the ball heading straight at Shirley, and I reached for it to protect him. Fortunately, it missed Shirley and landed harmlessly in Wilbon's ample stomach.
I was a rookie reporter in 1980 when I met Shirley Povich for the first time. I didn't have a car and caught a ride with Shirley to Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland, for a closed-circuit telecast of a fight. I had been assigned to write a local reaction story and I was scared to death. Shirley told me, "It's natural to be nervous. Don't worry about it. I remember one of the first fights I covered ..." Shirley paused and I thought he'd say Joe Louis-Max Schmeling, 1938. But he said, "It was Dempsey-Tunney in 1927, the long-count fight."
I was stunned. My awe of him overwhelmed my anxiety. Like everyone else I ever knew who wanted to be a sportswriter, I idolized Shirley Povich. I loved him, treasured him, pinched myself that he knew my name and that I got to sit next to him at games, genuflected at every single encounter with him. He wanted young writers to treat him as an equal, but I couldn't. Every year we worked together it became more difficult.
In the third inning of Game 4, Goslin got the Senators a 3-0 lead with a three-run homer off Barnes. By the fifth, the Senators were in front 5-1 with Goslin driving in four. The Senators won, 7-4. Goslin's contribution: 4-for-4. In Game 5 Johnson gave back the Series lead to the Giants when he weakened in the eighth, also mishandling a bunt, and was a 6-2 loser. Evidence that he wasn't well-rested was seen in his mere three strikeouts. Across the nation Walter Johnson fans were saddened.
For Game 6, with the Series back in Washington, Harris not only made the choice of a winning pitcher, Zachary, but personally saved the Series from ending in six games in favor of the Giants. With McGraw's team holding a 1-0 lead, Manager Harris singled to right to get both runs home in a 2-1 victory that extended the Series into a seventh game.
A Fitting Finale
For the vital last game in Griffith Stadium, the President and Mrs. Coolidge were present again, along with 31,677 fans. They had no inkling of the high intrigue that had taken place before a ball was pitched.
Manager Harris had hatched a plot. He would start right-hander Ogden to trick McGraw into starting the Giants' left-handed batting order. Meanwhile he would have his own left-hander, Mogridge, warming up secretly under the stands. After Ogden faced one hitter, Mogridge would go in, keeping such feared left-handed hitters as Terry at a disadvantage.
Ogden struck out Freddie Lindstrom on three pitches, then walked Frankie Frisch and Mogridge came in. But the game would take a dreary turn for the Senators with the Giants going into the eighth inning with a 3-1 lead.
Then, the Senators rebelled. Nemo Liebold, pinch-hitting for rookie third baseman Tommy Taylor, doubled down the left field line. Ruel, hitless until then in the Series, singled. Bennie Tate, batting for Marberry, walked to fill the bases. But their hopes sagged when McNeely flied to Irish Meusel in short left.
This left it up to Harris, who met the issue, and the ball. He singled to left to get two runs home for a 3-3 game. Now Harris needed a new pitcher going into the ninth and the crowd was clamoring, "We Want Johnson!" When Johnson strode to the mound the stadium was in an uproar. He could yet win a World Series game and so much of America would be pleased.
However, when Frisch tripled with one out in the top of the ninth, it was ominous. Here Harris ordered an intentional walk to Ross Youngs. Now, with Johnson facing Kelly, a long fly could beat him. He disposed of Kelly on three wicked fastball strikes, got Meusel on an inning-ending groundball, and it was extra innings. Trouble for Johnson too in the 11th. Pinch hitter Heinie Groh led off with a single, and Lindstrom sacrificed. Now it was Frisch, the triple-sacker of two innings before. Johnson dealt with him by striking him out. Facing Youngs and Kelly again, Johnson repeated his heroics of the ninth inning walked Youngs intentionally and fanned Kelly for the last out.