After an 11-2 blowout loss in game five, the Pirates went to 25 game winner Sam Leever for game six. He was suffering from a sore arm but on five days of rest since his loss in game two, he was ready to give it a shot. Deacon Phillippe wasn’t able to go after already pitching three games so far in the series so the Pirates had to go to Leever or otherwise risk using an unproven and much lesser talented rookie. As mentioned earlier, Ed Doheny was unavailable for this series and they didn’t know it at the time but he would never pitch again. He had won 16 games in 1903 and was easily the third best pitcher of the staff that season.
The Americans sent Bill Dinneen to the mound. He won game two over Leever but lost game four to Phillippe. Dinneen had won 21 games during the regular season, his third season with 20 or more wins. On Thursday October 8, 1903, a crowd of 11,556 fans showed up at Exposition Park in Pittsburgh to watch the Pirates try to avoid a loss which would tie the series up and swing the home field advantage back in favor of the Americans. The lineups were the same as the previous day with the obvious exception being the pitchers in the nine spot in the order.
Ginger Beaumont CF
Fred Clarke LF
Tommy Leach 3B
Honus Wagner SS
Kitty Bransfield 1B
Claude Ritchey 2B
Jimmy Sebring RF
Ed Phelps C
Sam Leever P
Patsy Dougherty LF
Jimmy Collins 3B
Chick Stahl CF
Buck Freeman RF
Freddy Parent SS
Candy LaChance 1B
Hobe Ferris 2B
Lou Criger C
Bill Dinneen P
Sam Leever started out strong retiring the Americans in order in the first. Dinneen gave up a one out infield single in the first to Fred Clarke. Tommy Leach grounded out which resulted in Clarke being forced out at 2B. Leach would then steal 2B and move to 3B on the errant throw which gave Honus Wagner a chance to add an early run for the Pirates but his slump continued with a pop up to SS to end the inning.
In the second inning, Leever retired the leadoff hitter before Freddie Parent reached on an error. He was quickly erased on a DP and Leever had faced the minimum through two innings. The Pirates also failed to score in the second, although Jimmy Sebring added a two out single to extend the inning before catcher Eddie Phelps struck out to end it.
In the third Leever’s ineffectiveness due to his sore arm began to show. He retired the first two batters but his couterpart on the mound, Dinneen, was able to reach base with a single and the first hit of the game for Boston. After a walk to Patsy Dougherty, Jimmy Collins drove in the first run of the game with a single to center field. Chick Stahl followed him with another hit up the middle to score Dougherty and made the score 2-0. Leever got Buck Freeman to ground out to 3B but Leach booted the ball which allowed Collins to score with the third run. Parent ended the inning with a comebacker to Leever who threw him out at first base.
The Pirates added their third hit in the third inning, a one out single by Ginger Beaumont. He would steal 2B but get stranded there when Leach popped out to 2B to end the inning. In the fourth inning Leever struggled a bit but was lucky to escape with no damage. He allowed three singles, two of them infield hits but was able to get Jimmy Collins to groundout to Wagner to end the inning. The Pirates had two runners of their own, a single by Kitty Bransfield and a walk to Claude Ritchey but Dinneen got three groundouts to escape without allowing a run.
The fifth inning did not start well for Leever, Chick Stahl tripled to deep left field and scored on a sacrifice fly from Buck Freeman to make the score 4-0 at that point. If you have noticed an extraordinary amount of triples at this point, there is a good explanation. The amount of fans for the World Series games was more than these old stadiums could handle. The solution was to put up a rope around the outfield and let fans actually stand on the field behind the rope. If a ball was hit into the crowd, it was an automatic ground rule triple.
Boston was not done scoring in the fifth inning. Leever hit Parent with a pitch and after a flyout by Candy LaChance, Parent would score all the way from first on a single by Hobe Ferris when Wagner made a poor throw to 3B to try to get Parent out. The inning would end at 5-0 when the Pirates couldn’t capitalize on a second single followed by stolen base from Ginger Beaumont. Again he was left stranded at second base.
Only one batter would reach in the sixth inning between both teams,a one out walk from Leever to Patsy Dougherty, but the Americans would add another run in the 7th inning. Freddie Parent hit a one out triple and he was follow by LaChance who drove him home with a double to put the score at 6-0.
Dinneen had not allowed a run through six but he also wasn’t totally on his game giving up five hits and a walk up to that point. In the bottom of the 7th the Pirates finally broke through. Jimmy Sebring and Eddie Phelps led off with singles and they each moved up on a groundout by Leever. Ginger Beaumont got the Pirates on the board finally with a hard single to CF scoring Sebring. Fred Clarke followed him with a double that scored Phelps and Beaumont and now the Pirates were back in the game.
Tommy Leach made the second out which brought up Wagner, who was now hitting .250 in the series. Clarke stole 3B before Dinneen would end up walking Wagner, who would in turn steal second base. With two runners in scoring position and his team down by just three now, Kitty Bransfield also drew a walk to load the bases. The tying run was now on but Dinneen settled down and got Claude Ritchey to ground out to SS to end the inning.
In the 8th inning Leever retired the side in order on two ground outs and a fly out by Jimmy Collins. The Pirates also went down in order in the bottom of the inning with Leever making the last out meaning he was coming out for the final inning. Despite pitching on fumes at this point, Leever retired the middle of the Boston lineup in order in the 9th inning, giving him eight straight outs and keeping the Pirates within striking distance to go to the bottom of the ninth.
The top of the lineup was up for the Pirates and Ginger Beaumont led off the inning with a single to center field. Dinneen was also on fumes but he had some luck on his side. With a man on and no outs Fred Clarke hit a hard line drive but it was right at Freddie Parent, who was able to throw quickly to 1B to double off Beaumont and end the rally. Tommy Leach made the final out popping up to Lou Criger to end the game. Boston had tied the best of nine game series at three games apiece.
Game seven was scheduled for Friday October 9th and it was supposed to be a very cold day in Pittsburgh. Cy Young would make his third start and fourth appearance for the Americans while Deacon Phillippe would look to win his fourth game of the series. The series was now guaranteed to return to Boston for as many as two games but the Pirates surely didn’t want to go back there with no healthy reliable pitchers and needing to win both games so game seven with their ace on the mound was pivotal. Next week we will see how the teams fared in this last game in Pittsburgh and how the Pirates would handle their pitching woes as the series returned to Boston for game eight.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.