Thursday, January 26, 2017

World Series: Did You Know?

Heinie Groh faced Joe Jackson and Walter Johnson once, and Babe Ruth three times. Although his teams came out on top the first two times, Heinie was on the wrong team in 1923, 1924 and 1927.

Groh faced Joe Jackson's Chicago White Sox in 1919, and took no prisoners in the first contest. Heinie Groth's team, the Cincinnati Reds, bombed 'em 9-1 at home. Jackson did score the only run for Cincinnati's opposition, Chicago, but got no hits. Groth collected two RBIs in that game. The first on sac fly to Jackson in left. In the seventh, his single to centre scored another run.

Things were much closer in game two, and speaking of that number, that's Groh's walk total. He came around to score the Reds' third run of the fourth inning after a walk, a single and a triple to left. In the eighth innings, the home team lead 4-2. But with two outs, Jackson singled (Hit # 3 on the day for Joe) and made it to second on an error. Happy Felsch then lined it to third. Groh, the third basemen, made sure it didn't get by him. His throw then beat Felsch to the bag. In the bottom of the frame, it looked like the Reds would get some more breathing room. They'd led 4-0 after 6 innings. Chicago had scored twice in the top of the seventh. In the bottom of the frame, Groh walked. There was only one out as Edd Roush sent a sinking shot to centre. Felsch, the White Sox centre fielder, made the play, and then Groh was doubled off! Chick Gandil and Ray Schalk got singles for Chicago in the ninth to get the tying run on. Slim Sallee got Fred McMullin to ground out to second to end the game.

The next three games were on the road in Chicago. The Reds lost game three, 3-0. Groh got another walk. That was it. Heinie was actually held hitless in the next two games for good measure by Chicago, but he scored a run in game five. The Cincinnati Reds won game four, 2-0, and game five, 5-0. One more win in this best-of-nine and it's all over.

Cincinnati, back at home for game six, took a 4-0 lead early. Groh got a hit and a walk. Chicago fought back and tied it. Groh ended the ninth inning by getting nailed at second on an attempted steal. The Sox pounced on that lifeline they got in the tenth. Buck Weaver doubled. Joe Jackson beat out a bunt. An infield single by Chick Gandil plated Buck Weaver. The home team went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the frame. The next game was all Chicago. They won 4-1. Down 4-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Groh doubled and scored his team's lone run.

Determined to end it on their third try, it'd have to be in Chicago. And in game eight, it was quickly 4-0 for Cincinnati. Groh had singled and scored in the top of the first. An inning later, he singled and later scored. 5-0. A home run by Joe Jackson got the home team on the board. Cincinnati was unfazed. Groh wasn't involved, but they added five more runs. Groh did strand two runners in the seventh with a fly ball to Happy Felsch in centre. Chicago suddenly erupted for four runs thanks to some bad fielding by Cincinnati in the bottom of the eighth. Still, it was 10-5 after all that. Morrie Rath was on second with one out in the ninth when Heinie Groh flied out to centre. Chicago put two on before Joe Jackson ended the 1919 World Series by grounding out to second.

Groh's finest moment in October was three years later. Now on John McGraw's New York Giants, they really gave it to Babe Ruth's Yankees in 1922. Only a 3-3 tie in the second game prevented a four-game sweep. Groh scored the tying run in the eighth inning of game one, which the Giants took, 3-2. Babe Ruth had no hits in a very important third contest, won by the Giants at home by a score of 3-0. Groh had two hits and scored the only run his team would need in the bottom of the third. Heinie was batting .545 to Babe's .182 at this point. The New York Giants were up 3-0 after a 4-3 win in the fourth game. Groh had another hit and run scored. The finishing touches on the 1922 were in game five, as the Giants won 5-3. Groth had two hits, but didn't score a run. He finished the 1922 World Series with a batting average of .474!

Ruth and company won it all the next year, beating Groh's Giants in six games. This time, it was Ruth hitting .368 and Groh only .182. But the Yankees weren't around next October. Groh's team sure was.

Facing Walter Johnson and the Washington Senators, Groh made just one appearance. But it was in the top of the 11th inning of game seven. And it was against Walter Johnson. The game was tied and Heinie batted for Giant's pitcher Hugh McQuillan. And Heinie singled!

The New York Giants seemed poised to win. They'd beaten Johnson twice so far in the 1924 Fall Classic. Why not a third time?

Groh exited the game for a pinch runner. A bunt got the new guy, Bill Southworth to second. A hit puts the visitors ahead! Walter Johnson was clutch. He fanned Frankie Frisch on a 2-2 pitch. After an intentional walk, The Big Train got his team out of the jam via another K!

Johnson held the fort. He got another K in the 12th. Two doubles by Washington, and two errors by New York, won the 1924 World Series for the Senators in the bottom of the frame.

By 1927, Heinie Groh was on the Pittsburgh Pirates, who ironically enough, beat Walter Johnson and the Washington Senators in game seven of the 1925 World Series. Groth spent 1925 and '26 with the Giants, then moved on to the Pirates in 1927, his last season. He played in just 14 games but was added to the postseason roster.

But the New York Yankees were waiting, and they were too tough. They won game one in Pittsburgh, 5-4. Then they headed home up 2-0 after winning the second contest 6-2. Game three was in New York, and the home team made it look easy. They won 8-1. Groh finally got into a series game, but it proved to be his last major league appearance.

Batting for pitcher Mike Cvengros in the top of the ninth, he popped out to the Yankees' hurler, Herb Pennock. Pennock got out of that inning unscathed, and finished with a great 3-hit performance.

The New York Yankees completed the sweep in game four. It was close, but the final score of 4-3 gave the Yankees the 1927 world crown. Heinie Groh's MLB career was over.

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