“Old Pete” Alexander and Ernie Shore: Starters in Game One of the1915 World Series

“Old Pete” Alexander and Ernie Shore: Starters in Game One of the1915 World Series

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1915 World Series: Phillies vs. Red Sox

The 1915 World Series doesn’t get a lot of attention, but with Don Stokes’ beautiful colorization of Grover Cleveland “Old Pete” Alexander and Ernie Shore – the starting pitchers in the first game of the Series – this is a good time to take a closer look.

In the 1915 World Series, the Red Sox beat the Phillies four games to one. “Old Pete” came away a 3-1 winner in Game One; and then the Phillies were swept the rest of the way, with Games Two to Five all decided by one run. 

The 101-50 Red Sox pitching staff was loaded that year, with five starters winning 15 or more games for manager Bill Carrigan: Rube Foster: 19-8; Ernie Shore: 19-8; Babe Ruth: 18-8; Dutch Leonard: 15-7; and “Smoky Joe” Wood: 15-5, with a team 2.36 ERA. The staff was so strong that a young Babe Ruth was not used on the mound during the series and only made a single pinch-hitting appearance. Hall-of-Fame outfielders Tris Speaker and Harry Hooper  led the potent Boston lineup, with Hooper hitting .350 in the series with two home runs, after hitting only two during the regular season.

The Phillies, on the other hand, behind manager Pat Moran finished 90-62, winning their first National League pennant. They featured slugger Gavvy Cravath who had led the league with twenty-four home runs and 115 RBIs and Fred Luderus. It was 65 years before the Phillies won their next World Series game in 1980. 

The Red Sox rebounded to win Game Two behind ace Rube Foster. With the series tied at a game apiece, the teams traveled to Boston for Game Three. Newly opened Braves Field, which was much larger than Fenway and could handle the expected capacity crowd of over 42,000, was the venue. Alexander returned for a second appearance against Dutch Leonard, who retired the last twenty batters on the way to a 2-1 Red Sox victory. It was more of the same the next day when the Phillies suffered their third consecutive loss thanks to an outstanding performance by Game One loser Ernie Shore. 

Despite the valiant efforts of first baseman Fred Luderus and reliever Eppa Rixey, the Phillies were unable to pull out a victory in Game Five. Luderus had a two run double and added a homer in the fourth giving the Phils a 4-2 lead. Rixey shut out the Red Sox from the third to the seventh, but the Phillies’ luck ran out in the eighth after Duffy Lewis launched a game-tying, two run blast. In the ninth, Hooper added his second home run for a 5-4 victory giving the Red Sox had their second World Series championship in four seasons.  They also won the World Series in 1916 and 1918, giving them four world championships in a six year period.

The Series featured seven future Hall-of-Famers: Babe Ruth, Tris Speaker, Harry Hooper, Herb Pennock, Pete Alexander, Eppa Rixley, and Dave Bancroft. The umpires were Hall-of-Famers Bill Klem and Billy Evans, plus Cy Rigler and Silk O’Laughlin.

-Gary Livacari

Photo Credits: Colorization by Don Stokes https://www.facebook.com/Don-Stokes-Old-Time-Baseball-Colorizations-923346241033508/; all others from Google search

Information: Excerpts edited from article on the 1915 World Series on Baseball Almanac; and from the 1915 World Series Wikipedia page.

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I'm a baseball historian who also loves to write. My forte is identifying ballplayers in old photos, and my specail interest is the Dead Ball Era.

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