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/


    Last April, I sent the story of the Boston Celtics playing at the Draper gym. Here’s
    another story 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 Hartnett, 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..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   

                               Hopedale History Email Menu                  HOME

    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.