Looking Back: 1950 World Series, Part 2

After two disappointing losses in Philadelphia, the 1950 World Series moved to Yankee Stadium. The Phillies were still optimistic even against long odds of coming from way behind to beat the vaunted New York Yankees. Of course, the Phillies pitching staff was overworked down the final week of the season and their two best pitchers – Jim Konstanty and Robin Roberts – had pitched games one and two. Things didn't look good as the World Series continued.

Game Three: Friday October 6, 1950 in Yankee Stadium

With Jim Konstanty and Robin Roberts not available to start Game Three, manager Eddie Sawyer went with veteran Ken Heintzelman. 1950 had not been kind to Heintzelman, but Sawyer saw him as his best shot. Heintzelman had pitched better late in the season, so there was some reasoning behind the choice.

Early on, it looked like Sawyer was a genius. Heintzelman's off speed pitches kept the Yankees guessing just as they had against Konstanty in Game One. The Yankees did scrape out a run against Heintzelman in the third inning. Phil Rizzuto walked and stole second, advancing to third on a bad throw from Andy Seminick. Still, there were two outs and the Phillies had a shot at escaping. Jerry Coleman stepped to the plate and singled to left and the Yankees led 1-0.

Heintzelman battled Yankees starter Eddie Lopat until the Phillies could tie the game in the sixth on a double by Del Ennis, followed by Dick Sisler's RBI single. An inning later, the Phillies went ahead for the first time in the series. Granny Hamner led off with a single and was sacrificed to second by Seminick. Mike Goliat singled and Hamner's speed allowed him to score and give the Phillies a 2-1 lead.

It looked like Heintzelman might be able to make the lead stand up. In the eighth inning, the left-hander retired the first two hitters before completely self-destructing. He walked Coleman, Yogi Berra and Joe DiMaggio to load the bases with two outs. While Sawyer couldn't use Konstanty to start the game, he was able to go to him if he was desperately needed and this situation seemed pretty desperate. Konstanty did his job and got pinch-hitter Bobby Brown to ground a ball right at Hamner. From there, tragedy struck; Hamner simply dropped the ball and the Yankees had tied the game 2-2.

In the ninth inning, it looked like Hamner might go from goat to hero as he led off the inning with a double. Seminick moved Hamner to third with what the Phillies hoped would be the tying run. Goliat drew a walk and little did anyone know at the time, but that was when Sawyer out-manuevered himself. He brought in Putsy Caballero to pinch-run for Goliat and Dick Whitman to pinch-hit for Konstanty. Whitman bounced a sharp ground ball to first, but Joe Collins handled it easily and threw home to get Hamner at the plate. The Yankees got out of the jam and as the Phillies took the field in the bottom of the ninth, Jimmy Bloodworth replaced Goliat at second and Russ Meyer came on to pitch.

Meyer didn't seem out of place even though he was normally a starter. He got the first two outs with no problem and was set to face Gene Woodling. Woodling smacked a groundball at Bloodworth, who bobbled and then threw wide to first, allowing Woodling to reach on the error. Rizzutto then hit a shot that Bloodworth was able to knock down, but couldn't make a play on. Woodling alertly raced to third and the Phillies were officially in trouble. Coleman again came to the plate and hit a fly ball just deep enough to elude Richie Ashburn and Jackie Mayo and the Yankees had a 3-2 victory and a 3-0 lead in the series.

Game Four: Saturday October 7, 1950 at Yankee Stadium

The Phillies were officially up against the wall. Optimists among them pointed out that the Phillies had lost the first three games by a combined score of 6-3. Perhaps, if Robin Roberts was able to pitch Game Four, things might have seemed brighter by at least a little. Roberts though had worked Game Two and with no off days in the Series, was pretty worn down. Sawyer decided to keep him for a Game Five – if there would be one – and went instead with rookie Bob Miller, who was still ailing from injuries.

As a crowd of over 68,000 gathered at Yankee Stadium, the Phillies were clearly outmatched. Whitey Ford, who was just 21 and had joined the team in mid-season was flawless. As for Miller, he was in trouble from the beginning.

Mike Goliat booted a ground ball by Gene Woodling, who later scored on an RBI single by Yogi Berra. Joe DiMaggio then laced a double to score Berra and suddenly, the Phillies were down 2-0 and Miller was making an early exit.

Jim Konstanty, who had relieved Miller, held the Yankees scoreless until the sixth inning. Berra hit a solo homerun. DiMaggio was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a ground ball that went through the legs of first baseman Eddie Waitkus. Goliat made a near amazing play on the ball and was able to get the runner at first for the out. Bobby Brown followed though and ruined things for the Phillies with a triple that scored DiMaggio. Hank Bauer then hit a towering fly to left that scored Brown and the game was suddenly 5-0 in favor of the Yankees.

Down to their last at bat, the Phillies tried to make a run at the Yankees. With runners on first and third, Seminick lifted a fly ball to deep left that was misplayed by Woodling. Two runs scored on the play, pulling the Phillies to within 5-2. Casey Stengel had seen enough from Ford, his young rookie, and brought in Allie Reynolds. Sawyer sent Stan Lopata to the plate as a pinch-hitter and Reynolds quickly struck him out to end the game and the series.

With the exception of Game Five, the Phillies were with the Yankees step for step. Who knows what may have happened if Sawyer had started either Konstanty or Roberts in Game Four? What if he hadn't lifted Goliat for a pinch-runner in Game Three? Would Goliat had made the plays that Bloodworth didn't? Would it all have made a difference?

The 1950 team has remained one of the most popular in Phillies history. They came up short against the New York Yankees, but they had finally been the team that conquered the National League and put the Phillies into the World Series. After waiting 35 years for the Phillies to make it to the World Series, their fans would have another 30 years before the Phillies would be a part of the Fall Classic.

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