Hopedale History
    November 15, 2009
    No. 144
    Sox, Yanks, Douglas

    Hopedale in October          Hopedale Pond, October 20   

    Hopedale in November   

    When I sent the Home School story two weeks ago I was uncertain as to how my Hopedale website
    would survive the closing of GeoCities. All went reasonably well and almost all of the pages are now
    opening as they should. Thanks to John Bevilaqua for suggesting that I use UltraEdit for the job and
    also for keeping the emails coming when I had questions about it. You can still get to the homepage
    using the old URL, but I had to make changes to all the other pages. The new URL is http://www.
    hope1842.com/

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    Last April, I sent the story of the Boston Celtics playing at the Draper gym. Here’s another story from
    the area of a sports event that wouldn’t happen now.

                                            The Great Douglas Baseball Game, 1946

    The Blackstone Valley was buzzing as word spread from Douglas to Millville, from Hopedale to
    Uxbridge, to the Annex and the Blue Eagle Inn. The shops and mills were closed and schools were
    emptied as the “Splendid Splinter” and the “Yankee Clipper,” Williams and DiMaggio, headed for
    Douglas. Major league baseball as played by two of the best teams in the land was about to begin.

    The date was September 26, 1946, the setting was Soldier Field in the town of Douglas. The Red Sox
    and Yankees were America’s jewels as the Blackstone Valley joined in the celebration of the 200th
    anniversary of Douglas and its 50 year connection with baseball.

    The people of the Blackstone Valley, like the textiles and prize woolens they produced, exhibited
    creativity and new talent in their relationship with baseball. Stars such as Hank Greenberg, Gabby
    Harnett, Jack Chesboro and Wes Farrell started playing ball on the fields bordering the Blackstone
    River. Established players like Lefty Grove were brought to the Valley to enhance competition and to
    highlight the Valley’s connection to Major League baseball.

    Winifred Schuster, longtime town father, sportsman and baseball fan, gave as his gift to the town and
    people he loved the best traditional rivalry in baseball, the Boston Red Sox versus the New York
    Yankees. All the players received woolen jackets produced in the Hayward-Schuster mills. Schuster’s
    role in helping he town celebrate its 200th birthday as well as the recent return of its World War II
    veterans would long be remembered.

    A crowd of 12,000 filled Soldier Field to root the Red Sox to victory over the Yankees. While Boston
    proved unable to give their fans a victory that day, they did give them some history by being the only
    championship team to appear in an exhibition game less than a week before the World Series.

    Al Schact, the forerunner of the San Diego Chicken, was on hand with his comic baseball routines to
    the delight and cheers of the crowd. Upton’s Bill Summers, a former Blackstone Valley league umpire
    and then a top flight American League umpire, called balls and strikes.

    The anticipated fireworks from the bats of Williams and DiMaggio were absent that day. The Boston
    regulars played for three innings, giving way to substitutes while trailing New York, 2 – 1. The highlight
    of the day was the legendary defense of Joe DiMaggio. In the third inning, with Joe’s brother Dom, the
    “Little Professor,” on first, Williams hit a deep, towering drive to center that seemed destined to put
    Boston ahead and a souvenir in someone’s hands. Suddenly, the “Yankee Clipper” sailed high above
    the center-field grass to glove the ball and take away the go-ahead home run.

    A fourth inning uprising by the Sox gave them a 6 – 3 advantage. The Yanks chipped away at the
    Boston lead with two runs in the fifth and three in the sixth for an 8 – 6 lead. Following the seventh
    inning stretch, Boston got its last run to make the final score 8 – 7, Yankees.

    While this exhibition game may be a footnote in record books, it remains as one of the high points in
    the rich history of the Blackstone Valley.

                                                                                                                   by Paul Playe

    NOTE: The author thanks Anthony H. Coppola, Douglas town historian, for his cooperation and
    invaluable assistance.

    Mr. Schuster was known to be a huge baseball fan. It would be interesting to know just how he
    managed to have the big game played in his town.

    A few years ago I heard that one of the reasons that a Red Sox-Yankees game had been played in
    Douglas in 1946 was that ball games weren't allowed on Sundays in Boston at that time, so a day when
    the Yankees were in town was sort of sitting there, available for something.  Probably the assumption
    was that they'd had a game on Saturday and one scheduled for Monday, so they might as well play an
    exhibition game on Sunday, somewhere in the area. However, in comparing the Red Sox schedule for
    1946 with the calendar for that year, I found that they had played Sunday games throughout the
    season. Also, even if there had been a ban on Sunday games, it turns out that the date when they
    played in Douglas, September 26, was a Thursday. They had played the Yankees in Boston on the
    24th, winning 5-4, and again on the 25th, and won that one 5-2. They ended the regular season with
    games against Washington on the 27th, 28th and 29th. The Red Sox won the first of those, and lost the
    other two. The World Series, with Boston playing the Cardinals, began on October 6. The Sox lost in
    seven. . DM

                      Blackstone Valley baseball                The Celtics at the Draper Gym   

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    The 1946 World Series was played in October 1946 between the St. Louis Cardinals (representing the
    National League) and the Boston Red Sox (representing the American League). This was the Red Sox
    first world series appearance since their win in 1918. In the eighth inning of Game 7, with the score 3–
    3, the Cardinals' Enos Slaughter opened the inning with a single but two batters failed to advance him.
    With two outs, Harry Walker walloped a hit over Johnny Pesky's head into left-center field. As Leon
    Culberson chased it down, Slaughter started his dash. Pesky caught Culberson's throw, turned and—
    perhaps surprised to see Slaughter headed for the plate—supposedly hesitated just a split second
    before throwing home. Roy Partee had to take a few steps up the third base line to catch Pesky's toss,
    but Slaughter was safe without a play at the plate and Walker was credited with an RBI double. The
    Cardinals won the game and the Series in seven games, giving them their sixth championship.

    Boston superstar Ted Williams played the Series injured and was largely ineffective but refused to
    use his injury as an excuse.

    The World Series returned in 1946 to the 2–3–2 format for home teams, which has been used ever
    since. Wikipedia

    If ticket prices had only risen as much as inflation
    overall, you'd get change back when you paid for
    your World Series ticket with a twenty.