1925 Pirate Replay, October 15: Pirates Complete Comeback to Win World Series

In the wildest World Series finale to date, the Pirates beat Washington, 9-7, on a wet day at Forbes Field to take the Series, four games to three.  They did it despite twice facing large deficits against the great Walter Johnson.  In the process, the Bucs became the first team ever to rally after trailing in the Series, three games to one.

The game was played in weather that wasn’t much better than yesterday’s, which caused a postponement.  Play got underway in a mist that turned to a light rain.  The grounds crew relied on sawdust to try to keep the field, particularly the mound, in a playable condition.  Visibility got worse as the game went along.

To face Johnson, the Pirates sent out Vic Aldridge.  The righty won games two and five, but this one was a different story.  The Senators chased Aldridge in the first inning.

With one on and one out, Aldridge walked three straight batters, forcing in a run.  When Ossie Bluege lined a two-run single off the left field fence, Bill McKechnie had seen enough.  He called for Johnny Morrison, but he couldn’t stop the trouble right away, through no fault of his own.  He got Roger Peckinpaugh to bounce into a force play at home, but catcher Earl Smith was called for interfering with Peckinpaugh’s swing.  That forced in a third run, and a fourth scored when Eddie Moore fumbled a double play ball hit by Muddy Ruel.  Morrison finally ended the inning by fanning Johnson and getting Sam Rice, who started the inning with a single, to fly out.  Washington led, 4-0.

Morrison managed to hold the Senators off for two innings, but the Pirates missed chances in the first and second, when they had a one-out double and two one-out singles, respectively.

In the bottom of the third, though, Morrison managed to start a rally.  He led off with a single and scored when Eddie Moore doubled to left.  Max Carey drove in Moore with a single, then moved up on a ground out and stole third.  Clyde Barnhart blooped a single to center and it was 4-3.

Morrison, though, couldn’t keep the Senators quiet any longer.  With two out and two on, Joe Harris once again bedeviled the Bucs, driving a two-run double to right-center.  Johnson now had a 6-3 lead to work with.

The Big Train was laboring not only under the strain of bad weather — he called multiple times for more sawdust to be spread on the mound — but a sore leg as well.  Washington manager Bucky Harris left him in just the same, as he didn’t trust anybody else as much.

The Pirates edged closer in the top of the fifth, when Carey and Kiki Cuyler made it 6-4 with back-to-back doubles.

In the seventh, Moore led off with a pop fly and Peckinpaugh dropped it for his seventh error of the Series, with Moore taking second.  Carey followed with his third double and fourth hit of the day, driving in Moore.  Carey was still on base two outs later when Pie Traynor lined a ball into right-center.  Carey scored to tie the game, but when Traynor tried for an inside-the-park home run, he was caught by the relay from Rice to Bucky Harris to Ruel.

McKechnie had batted for Morrison back in the fourth.  He replaced Morrison with Ray Kremer, who’d thrown a complete game win in game six just two days earlier.  Kremer evidently wasn’t tired, as he set down the first ten batters he faced.  With one out in the top of the eighth, Peckinpaugh seemingly atoned for all those errors by putting Washington ahead, 7-6, with a home run to left.

Johnson retired the first two batters in the bottom of the eighth, but he couldn’t hold up any longer.  Earl Smith doubled.  His pinch runner, pitcher Emil Yde, scored when Carson Bigbee, batting for Kremer, slashed a double to left, tying the game once again.

Johnson walked Moore and then got Carey to ground to short.  Peckinpaugh made a wide throw to second for his record-setting eighth error of the series.  That loaded the bases to Cuyler.  The Bucs’ star drilled a ball inside first and down the right field line.  When Joe Harris had trouble fielding the ball, Cuyler circled the bases for what appeared to be an inside-the-park grand slam.  The umpires, though, huddled and decided the ball had touched one of the Pirates’ relievers in the bullpen in foul territory.  Cuyler had to go back to second and Carey to third, but the Pirates were ahead, 9-7.

The rest was anticlimactic.  With hurlers running short, McKechnie sent in veteran lefty journeyman Red Oldham.  He didn’t take long to finish it, fanning Rice and Goose Goslin, and getting Bucky Harris on a line out in between.  The Pirates were the World Champions.

Kremer got the win, his second of the series.  Carey went 4-for-5 and scored three times.  He batted .458 in the Series.  Cuyler had two doubles and three RBIs, and Moore scored three times.  The Pirates belted 15 hits against Johnson, nine of them for extra bases.

Joe Harris was the Senators’ hitting star for the Series.  He batted .440 with three home runs.  Goslin also homered three times.  The two sluggers drove in six runs apiece, as did Cuyler.  Moore led both teams with seven runs scored.

Aldridge, Kremer and Johnson all won two games apiece.  Kremer had the distinction of being only the second pitcher ever to win the last two games of a World Series.  The first was Red Faber of the Chicago White Sox in 1917.