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Random Game Callbacks

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Random Game Callback, August 21, 1949
2006-08-21 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

The Phillies and Giants split a doubleheader that began placidly and ended in acrimony before a crowd of 19,742 at Shibe Park. The Phillies picked up a 4-0 win in the opener, but the Giants won the second game 4-2 in a game that was called in the top of the ninth when the umpires ordered the game forfeited to the Giants after the Philadelphia crowd bombarded the field with empty bottles.

Both teams were more than 10 games behind first place St. Louis and it wasn't expected to be a contentious day. Giants manager Leo Durocher started Sheldon Jones in the opener and Larry Jansen in the second game. Phillies manager Eddie Sawyer used Ken Heintzelman and 39-year old veteran Schoolboy Rowe, who was in his final season.

In the opener, Heintzelman limited the Giants to five hits, all singles. The Phillies got some help from the Giants outfield to score their four runs. Center fielder Bobby Thomson and left fielder Whitey Lockman both dropped fly balls that led to Phillies runs.

The Phillies led first in the nightcap. Second baseman Mike Goliat hit his first major league home run in the third innning and catcher Stan Lopata hit his sixth homer of the season in the fifth off of Jansen to put the Phillies up 2-0.

New York tied the game up in the seventh. Second baseman Hank Thompson (not to be confused with the outfielder who had no p in his name.) drew a walk from Rowe and Lockman and third baseman Sid Gordon followed with singles and Thompson scored. Right fielder Willard Marshall hit a grounder to third baseman Willie Jones who misplayed a potential double play ball and Lockman scored the tying run.

In the eighth, Thompson doubled and Lockman singled to score him and put the Giants ahead 3-2.

Then the game got interesting, with one out in the top of the ninth, Marshall was on second and first baseman Joe Lafata (replacing Johnny Mize who had been benched by Durocher as the team was in a slump and then traded to the Yankees the next day) was at bat. Lafata lined a ball to center. Phillies center fielder Richie Ashburn attempted a diving catch, but umpire George Barr ruled that the ball was a trap and Marshall scored and Lafata went to second.

Ashburn immediately jumped to his feet and argued with Barr that he had made the catch. Rowe ran out to argue as well, claiming that another umpire, Lee Ballanfant had called Lafata out, but Barr did not change his call. And soon everybody got in on the act, including the Phillies fans who started to throw empty pop bottles on the field. One of the bottles hit Ballanfant in the leg and another fan managed to hit home plate umpire Al Barlick in the leg with a tomato. This of course raises the question: who would go to a baseball game with a whole tomato?

The umpires told the public address announcer that the game would be forfeited if the barrage of bottles did not stop, but after 15 minutes, the umpires realized it was a lost cause and the game was declared a forfeit. Under the scoring rules of the team, all of the stats counted, but no winning or losing pitcher was named. Under rules in place today, Jansen would have been given a win and Rowe a loss.

The forfeit was the first one in the majors since September 26, 1942 when the Giants had to forfeit a home game to the Boston Braves. The game ended in the eighth when children in the crowd stormed the field. Complicating this matter was the fact that the kids were admitted to the stadium for bringing in a piece of scrap metal for the war effort. This turned out to be a bad idea. The last forfeit in the majors was on August 10, 1995 when a Dodgers-Cardinals game was called with one out in the bottom of the ninth when fans started throwing souvenir baseballs on the field to protest a series of questionable calls and the ejections of Raul Mondesi and manager Tommy Lasorda. There have been only eight forfeits in the majors since World War II ended.

At the end of the season, the Dodgers won the NL with a 97-57 record, one game better than the Cardinals. The Phillies finished in third place at 81-73, 16 games out. They had not finished that high in the standings since 1917. The Phillies would win the NL in 1950. The Giants finished in fifth place at 73-81. The Giants would improve to third in 1950 and then win the pennant in 1951.

Sources: New York Times, Retrosheet,

2006-08-21 08:53:37
1.   das411

Phillies fans who started to throw empty pop bottles on the field.

2006-08-21 09:15:52
2.   Bob Timmermann
And you didn't use the link I had on the sidebar!

However, the story as it was written in 1949 used "pop."

2006-08-21 09:21:41
3.   das411
Ok ok, agree to disagree then.

Kind of cool how you found a game with the next two years' NL pennant winners though Bob. It's almost like having, say, a Giants/Marlins game in 2001, or a Dodgers/Phillies game in 2005 :)

2006-08-21 09:27:22
4.   Bob Timmermann
Only six RGCs left in the season. Then they're gone forever.

The last one is going to be like the last episode of "Seinfeld." Quite anitclimactic.

2006-08-21 09:37:24
5.   popup
Say it's not so, Bob. I have enjoyed your recaps, starting last year on Jon's site.

By the way, if you had lived anytime in or near Philadelphia as I did, you would not question why anyone would go to the ballpark with a tomato in hand.

Stan from Tacoma

2006-08-21 09:47:29
6.   Bob Timmermann
I'm afraid it is.... I just won't have the access to the necessary resources to write them up, i.e. old newspaper accounts.
2006-08-21 10:21:00
7.   das411
So Bob's RGCs will be ending at the same time as Shanoff's Daily Quickie on

One of those two will actually be missed. Not hard to guess which one.

2006-08-21 11:40:06
8.   Linkmeister
Maybe there were produce markets near the ballpark?

I've almost forgotten what a really good tomato tastes like since the advent of supermarkets.

2006-08-21 16:50:48
9.   Greg Brock
The Giants won the pennant in 1951? Sorry, but my brain has no memory of any such thing. In fact, I'm not even sure they played baseball that year.

I think you made that up.

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