The Braves Win The Franchise’s First World Series (by AtlCrackers Fan)

Ed. note: to see the previous installment in the 1914 Braves saga, click here

Three days after the regular season’s end, the 1914 World Series started on October 9 in Philadelphia. The surprising upstart Braves faced off against the defending World Champions, Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics. The A’s were making their fourth World Series appearance in the last five years, having won the 1910, 1911 and 1913 series. Possessing a famed “$100,000 Infield” that included Eddie Collins at short second and Frank “Home Run” Baker at third, along with a pitching staff anchored by Hall of Famers Eddie Plank and Chief Bender, the Mackmen stood as prohibitive favorites to win a fourth World Series.

Game 1, played at Shibe Park in Philadelphia, was the only snoozer of the series. Dick Rudolph pitched a masterpiece, and the Braves easily won by a score of 7-1. Possum Whitted iced the game for Boston with a 6th inning triple.

Game 2, played the next afternoon, turned into a nail-biter as Bill James and Eddie Plank matched pitch for pitch through eight scoreless innings. Third baseman Charlie Deal, playing only because Red Smith remained in Brooklyn with a broken leg, hit a double with one out. A botched pickoff led to Deal reaching third. After James struck out, Les Mann singled Deal home for the only run of the game. James made the bottom of the ninth interesting by walking two before inducing a game ending double-play.

After a Sunday off, Game 3 moved to Boston but the game was played in Fenway Park, rather than the Braves’ more usual home field of South End Grounds. Lefty Tyler started for the Braves and ended regulation tied 2-2, with all the runs coming in the first four innings.

In the top of the 10th, Home Run Baker stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and lived up to his clutch nickname with a singling home two runs. However, Hank Gowdy led off the bottom of the 10th with a solo home run, cutting the deficit in half. Following a strikeout of a pinch hitter, a walk to Moran and single by Johnny Evers left runners on the corners. Joe Connolly followed with a sacrifice fly to center field, allowing Moran to tie the score.

Game 2 starter James came on in the 11th, allowing no runs. In the bottom of the 12th, manager Stallings showed his tactical skills. Hank Gowdy started with a ground rule double. Stallings then inserted Les Mann as a pinch runner, and had Larry Gilbert pinch hit for James. Gilbert received an intentional walk. Moran then attempted a sacrifice bunt, but the pitcher threw wildly to 3b, allowing Mann to score, ending the game 5-4.

Game 4 seemed anti-climatic. Dick Rudolph started his second game, giving up a run in the 5th that tied the game. But Boston came back with two in the bottom of the fifth, and that was the end of the scoring. On October 13, 1914, the Braves won the fourth and final game of the World Series by a score of 3-1.

As improbable as the last to first finish, Boston had swept the mighty Athletics 4-0.

Postscript

After season’s end, Connie Mack would trade away most of his stars (maybe that’s where the Marlins got the idea) and the Athletics would finish in last place for the next 7 seasons, 1915-1921. The A’s wouldn’t finish out of the second division or above .500 until 1925, as Mack assembled his next dynasty, the team that would win the American League crown three consecutive years from 1929-31. Even today, the A’s franchise has captured nine World Series titles, trailing only the Yankees and Cardinals.

Showing that 1914 wasn’t entirely a fluke, Boston finished 2nd in the National League the next season and then 3rd in 1916. But it was a brief flourish. Between 1917 and 1945, the Braves would have only three seasons (1921, 1933 & 1937) above .500.

But the Braves’ fortunes turned once more after the end of World War II, when the return of Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain from the war gave rise to the team’s second World Series appearance and the memorable phrase “Spahn, Sain and pray for rain.” Spahn finally won a World Series ring with the Braves in 1957. Of course, Sain left his mark, too. After he had retired as a player, Sain began a long and successful coaching career, eventually returning to the Braves. Beginning in 1979, he mentored a young Braves pitching coach named Leo Mazzone. Mazzone won a ring in 1995 — the third and last world championship in Braves franchise history thus far.

74 thoughts on “The Braves Win The Franchise’s First World Series (by AtlCrackers Fan)”

  1. You know, I came here to say that if Dan O’Dowd is the next GM, I would rather devote my energies to deciphering the Voynich Manuscript or something than root for the Braves anymore. But after reading this post, I am forced to admit I’ll be a fan through whatever hell and high water awiaits. Thank you. Go Braves.

  2. He’d fit in.

    @Buster_ESPN: ESPN Stats/Info: In his postseason career, Adam Jones has seen 29 pitches thrown out of the zone with two strikes – and swung 23 times.

  3. Ya know, I keep hearing about Wren’s trade for Uggla being a stroke of genius, but the extension was the downfall. And while I largely agreed with this mindset, I decided to look at it through the Marlin’s perspective:
    Infante- Worth 4.1 WAR in 1.5 seasons for about 4.25MM
    Dunn- Worth 1.8 WAR in 4 seasons for about 3MM

    Dunn is still under team control for 2 more years and the fruits of Infante keep falling in the form of trades. If the Uggla extension never would have been, Uggla would have collected 5.5 WAR in 2 years at 22 million.

    Compare that straight up to Infante and Dunn’s worth in respect to cost, and the trade isn’t close. Marlins won the trade. Braves lost on the extension. Double loss for the Braves. Looks like Loria fleeced Wren, not vice-versa.

    Any other perspective?

  4. The A’s have won 9 series, but didn’t get the threepeat in 1931. They did win ’10, ’11, and ’13, ’29-30, ’72-74, and 1989.

  5. I wouldn’t say it was a stroke of genius, but rather just a good trade. Uggla filled a power void that the Braves needed to address and for the first year he filled that role. The extension was of course bad in hindsight but going forward nobody predicted the **cliff** he would fall from.

  6. It would also be wrong to suggest that it was rational to expect that much positive WAR from Omar Infante, at the time of the trade.

  7. @8 Stroke of genius? I think that ‘good trade’ was as far as anyone got when assessing that deal. At the time,a RH power hitter that had hit 30 or more homers for 5 seasons straight for a utility infielder and a journeyman relief pitcher was a good deal. The Marlins simply got lucky. Or to describe it better, the Braves got very unlucky.

  8. No one on the Marlins should get credit. The Uggla trade was a straight up salary dump. He became available when he turned down their extension offer.

  9. The extension was of course bad in hindsight but going forward nobody predicted the **cliff** he would fall from.

    Can’t find the thread, but I recall posting at the time that Uggla was exactly the kind of player to fall off a cliff with a link to some research on the subject. Not to pat myself on the back, – just saying this was not completely unforeseen, albeit perhaps the extent was quicker and deeper than predicted.

  10. Just because they decided to dump salary doesn’t mean they also wouldn’t try to fleece us while dumping that salary. Which is what they did.

    Uggla was a Rule 5 success story. I don’t get the sense that they tend to have long shelf lives. And we traded for him when he was 31. I’d love to know who the Braves’ talent evaluator was who thought Infante couldn’t keep doing exactly what he did in 2010 — because that’s exactly what Infante has done up until this year, when he’s been injured.

  11. @18 So what you are saying is that the Marlins knew that Uggla was going to turn to crap and Infante would end up contributing more? After they offered Uggla an extension? Sure, whatever.

  12. @17: that’s what I’m saying. A decline for sure should have been foreseen. But the extent was shocking,

  13. In hindsight it seems like all the roided-up power-hitting 2B in the game should have been obvious candidates for falling-off-a-cliff. It all seems so obvious now. I don’t think it was nearly that obvious then.

  14. I don’t think there’s necessarily a correlation between Rule 5 success stories and early burnouts. It’s more that these people’s talent has been missed for various reasons, and some of those reasons may contribute to that talent not lasting as long as people who have been correctly identified. Johan Santana was a Rule 5 success story who turned into the best pitcher in baseball for a few years; he flamed out due to a shoulder injury, which can bedevil anyone. Josh Hamilton is a Rule 5 success story who is aging fast, but he’s put a lot of miles on his body in a whole lot of ways. The greatest Rule 5 pick of all, Roberto Clemente, was a great player his whole career; his last season before his untimely death was played at the age of 37.

  15. @19, I’m saying the Marlins decided they didn’t want to pay Uggla and that they also believed Infante wouldn’t be a fluke. They’re not such a caricature of extreme miserliness that they don’t dream on the upside of the cheap players they acquire. Factor in Infante’s age/cost/years of control…it’s a fleecing.

  16. Family is doing good. My wife is gettimg better. Still buildomg strength. Thanks for asking.

    We will be a significant upgrade as GMs

  17. @11
    How so? Infante was worth 1.1 WAR in 70 games 2 years before the trade and 2.1 the year prior to the trade. Expecting 2.1 from a 30 year old Infante seems quite feasible.

    Prior to Wren’s firing, I’ve never really questioned the trade. Looking back at it now, it doesn’t look like the Braves got the better deal.

  18. The Braves badly needed right-handed power. The real problem with the Uggla trade is that the Braves already had an All-Star second baseman — Martin Prado. Acquiring Dan Uggla was not the best use of internal resources, since it moved one of our better players far down the defensive spectrum to a position where his bat would not be nearly as valuable, diminishing his own value to us.

    Without Prado, I think it would have been perfectly reasonable to mortgage a bit of the future — Infante and Dunn were lovely players, but they were role players — for a slugger roughly in his prime. The extension was stupid and we knew it at the time. But flags fly forever, and when you get the chance to trade Omar Infante and a LOOGY to rent a middle infielder who hits 30 homers, that isn’t a bad deal on its face.

  19. Trades take time to show their real worth. Just as it looks like the deal for Uggla wasn’t bad on its face, the deal that brought back Infante and Dunn to the Marlins looks pretty good on its ass. We as Braves fans talk about trades that the Braves lost and trades that the Braves won. In many’s view, this was a trade that the Braves won. Looking at it from the other team’s point of view after a half-decade, I can’t say I agree. I did then, I don’t now. It cost the Braves wins and money.

  20. I’m with Alex on this. The trade wasn’t dumb, but the extension was. I feel like our scouting department should have picked up on the decline in bat speed. I also wonder if Uggla was a PED guy that stopped due to increased testing.

  21. By the way, here’s hoping we get the Reynolds/Verducci color team for the World Series. They’re not bad. Cal and whoever that other jackass is with him alongside Ernie Johnson are just terrible.

  22. Everything he says is like a little explosion. I want to see the super-slow-mo cam on his lips and cheeks when he says his p’s and b’s.

  23. Nick Markakis is 30 years old, and is coming off a combined line of 274/335/371 for 2013-14. Jason Heyward actually out hit him last year.

  24. @48

    I knew someone was going to say something pedantic like that. Listen to him first and you’ll see that he’s in a class by himself.

  25. It’s also the fact that the K zone has grown by leaps and bounds, universally downward toward, so if your swing doesn’t cover that part of the zone (BJ Upton) you are going to be in deep shit.

  26. @49, no way he can hit period with both elbows pointing to the ground. Whoever is advocating that needs to ‘splain themselves.

  27. Well, he does “hit period”–the problem is he didn’t hit with any power. Does the elbows-down thing rob him of power?

    I’m playing with my elbows here at work, and swinging an imaginary bat. When I put my elbows in, it makes me inside-out my imaginary swing more, in the same way that Heyward’s swings in the on-deck circle are all caricatures of inside-out swings. The more I move my elbows out the more control my top-hand has over the invisible bat.

    I’m not sure if any of this is at all accurate in a real-bat context.

  28. Yes, power comes from a dominant top-hand and a last-second explosive wrist release. It’s very similar to the golf swing. Heyward’s grip is rotated too far past optimal and robs him off that explosive wrist snap. Both elbows down means he has to move the hands up and back to get into a hitting position in order to load a powerful swing. The more that you have to move pre-pitch, the more that can go wrong, and the odds are you’ll just be late a lot.

    He has so many swing problems. It’s a miracle he hits as good as he does. Shows you what kind of athlete he is. If we ever find that coach that can get through to him…

  29. Apparently our minor league coaches did a good job with either, working with him or not changing him. He needs to be fixed. Stand taller in the box, close up his stance, and get his hands higher and with less movement. Lots of tee drills and a focus of driving the ball with good level swings. That should help stop the diving across the plate movements.

  30. I’ll repeat for the sake of clarity; there’s a good 3-6 inch zone at the knees that umpires will call a strike to Jason Heyward, that Ken Griffey never had to even think about swinging at. The zone has expanded massively, downward, since 2008. So if his 2010 swing had power but no coverage of the low zone, it would leave him open to being retired with low-and-in pitches.

  31. His 2010 swing started with his hands and bat in a markedly different (better) position than this past season. The picture in the Gammons article posted above shows it all. I don’t disagree about the strike zone getting bigger vertically (and also shrinking horizontally), but I really think his mechanics are mostly to blame.

  32. Well that downward shift in the zone should’ve helped Heyward’s power increase. He’s never had issues hitting a lower pitch in the zone. He’s seeing more pitches above his hands now which is why he’s lost so much power.

  33. I am not a big Heyward fan, but the kid is a baseball player. I think he should be extended if possible, but not for big thumper money.

  34. Interesting that the data shows the zone expanding downwards. I had internalized the issue as being one of the high strike, which years ago pitchers were complaining wasn’t getting called. My unscientific observation is that the high strike seems to get called more often now, but perhaps that adjustment happened a few years ago.

  35. Tell him I’m flattered but I couldn’t possibly offer the team more than what he and his gurus have already taught them about hitting imaginary baseballs instead of real ones.

  36. Updated Seat Painter Rooting Chart (Fall Classic Edition):

    1. KC

    2. Jameis Winston’s 2013 Heisman Trophy collapsing into a singularity.

    3. Zombie Apocalypse.

    4 SF

    Winston makes an unexpected jump into the top 2 after recent autograph revelations surfaced. Zombie Manager Fredi G. was quoted as saying, ‘Braaaaainnnnnns. I need braaaaiinnns….”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *