Thursday, October 10, 2013

October 10, 1920: Bagby, Smith, and Wambsganss Combine For a Number of World Series Firsts

On October 10, 1920, one of the greatest games in World Series history was played at Dunn Field in Cleveland, Ohio. With the series deadlocked at two apiece Cleveland came out and delivered an 8-1 victory over the Brooklyn Dodgers in what is perhaps one of the greatest games in the history of the Fall Classic. The Indians came out swinging early, in the first inning Charlie Jamieson and Bill Wambsganss picked up singles off of the Dodgers starter Burleigh Grimes, then Tris Speaker bunted his way on with a single. With the bases loaded right fielder Elmer Smith stepped to the dish and hit a towering shot to right that left the park and bounced off a house across the street, it was the first ever Grand Slam in World Series history. In the fourth, the Indians starting pitcher Jim Bagby became the first pitcher  to hit a home run in World Series history, it was a three run shot that blew the door wide open. While both Smith's and Bagby's home runs were beyond impressive, the highlight of the day happened in the fifth inning when Wambsganss turned an unassisted triple play. The inning began with back-to-back singles by Pete Kilduff and Otto Miller, Clarence Mitchell had replaced Grimes at pitcher in the last inning and was the next man up. The Dodgers hurler hit a hot shot high and to the the left of the second base, only to have Wambsganss jump up and snag the ball, he quickly touched second to force Kilduff, then tagged Miller who was running toward second. To date, it's the only triple play in World Series history and on top of it all it was an unassisted triple play. The Indians added their eighth and final run in the bottom of that fifth while Bagby only allowed one run as he worked his way around 13 hits, he allowed his only run in the ninth when the game well at hand. The 1920 series was the best of  9, the Indians would take the next two ballgames and win the series 5 games to 2.  It was the first Championship for the franchise.

Along with the 1920 series, the 1903, 1919, and 1921 series were the best of 9.
Here's the box score:

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