9 Oct 1914 – 13 Oct 1914
| Atlanta Braves|
| Bill Dinneen (AL), Bill Klem (NL), George Hildebrand (AL), Lord Byron (NL)|
Umpire: Bill Klem
Braves: Johnny Evers, Rabbit Maranville.
Athletics: Connie Mack (mgr.), Frank Baker, Chief Bender, Eddie Collins, Herb Pennock, Eddie Plank.
1913 World Series, 1957 World Series, 1904 World Series, 1905 World Series, 1915 World Series
In the 1914 World Series, the Boston Braves beat the Philadelphia Athletics in a four-game series.
The "Miracle Braves" were in last place on July 4, then won the National League pennant by 10 1⁄2 games. The Braves' relatively unknown starting trio of pitchers, with a combined career record of 285–245, outperformed the Athletics vaunted rotation (929–654) in all four games. Hank Gowdy hit .545 (6 of 11) with five extra-base hits and also drew five walks for Boston in the series and was the difference maker in Games 1 and 3.
Adding to their supposed disadvantages, the Braves arguably lacked a notable home-field advantage. They had abandoned their 43-year-old home field South End Grounds in August 1914, choosing to rent from the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park while awaiting construction of Braves Field (1915). Thus their home games in this Series were also at Fenway.
This was the first four-game sweep in World Series history. The Cubs had defeated the Tigers four games to none in 1907, but Game 1 had ended in a tie before the Cubs won the next four in a row.
At least one publication, To Every Thing A Season by Bruce Kuklick, has suggested other factors that might have contributed to the sweep, noting that some of the A's may have been irritated at the penny-pinching ways of their manager/owner Connie Mack and thus did not play hard, and also noting the heavy wagering against Philadelphia placed by entertainer George M. Cohan through bookmaker Sport Sullivan, who was also implicated in the 1919 Black Sox scandal. Chief Bender and Eddie Plank would jump to the rival Federal League for the 1915 season. Mack unloaded most of his other high-priced stars soon after and, within two years, the A's achieved the worst winning percentage in modern history (even worse than the 1962 New York Mets or the 2003 Detroit Tigers).
1914 World Series Wikipedia
Because the AL had won the last four World Series, including three in the last four years by the A's, and the fact that the Braves were in last place in July and rose to win the pennant, it was assumed the AL was superior to the NL. The heavily favored A's with all their hall-of-fame talent were assumed to win as they were the better team on paper.
This attitude was reflected in the team's case when the pennant was assured in the A's case, Connie Mack gave star pitcher Chief Bender the week off and told him to scout the Braves personally. Instead Bender took a vacation. When scolded by Mack, he replied: "Why should I check out a bunch of bush league hitters?"
NL Boston Braves (4) vs. AL Philadelphia Athletics (0)
26-game winner Dick Rudolph scattered five hits while striking out eight as the Braves won the opener in convincing fashion against the Athletics ace, Chief Bender. Catcher Hank Gowdy had a single, double and triple as well as a walk in leading Boston's offensive attack. He was also on the back end of a double steal in the eighth inning, with Butch Schmidt's steal of home the Braves' final run.
According to Tom Meany's 1950 book "Baseball's Greatest Teams", with one chapter on each of the then 16 major league teams' one most outstanding season in the author's opinion, the chapter on the Boston Braves was naturally on their one world championship year, 1914. Meany recalled that manager Stallings and the Braves showed utter contempt for Connie Mack's heavily favored A's by spurning the Shibe Park visiting clubhouse for the one in the National League Phillies' deserted home park, Baker Bowl (the NL site of the next World Series, which again featured Boston defeating Philadelphia, but this time Red Sox 4, Phillies 1). Meany may also have been the source for the sensational sidelight that Stallings' motive for this may have been the rumor that the A's may have sabotaged the Shibe Park visiting clubhouse (with war clouds gathering in Europe as World War I was just beginning).
Bill James, Boston's other 26-game winner, hooked up against Philadelphia's Eddie Plank in a classic pitcher's duel. James allowed only three base runners in the first eight innings, picking off two of them in holding Philadelphia scoreless. Plank matched him until the ninth, when Amos Strunk lost Charlie Deal's fly ball in the sun for a double. Deal then stole third, and scored on a two-out single by Les Mann. James walked two batters in the ninth, but got Eddie Murphy to ground into a game-ending double play to give Boston a 2–0 advantage in the series coming back home to Fenway.
Lefty Tyler of the Braves went up against Bullet Joe Bush in a twelve-inning thriller. Frank "Home Run" Baker's two-out single in the tenth plated two runs to give the Athletics a 4–2 lead and a seeming victory to get them back in the series. But Hank Gowdy led off the bottom of the tenth with a home run, and the Braves then tied the game on Joe Connolly's sacrifice fly later in the inning. Game 2 winner Bill James, coming on in relief for Boston in the eleventh, would get the win after Gowdy led off the bottom of the twelfth with a double and pinch-runner Les Mann scored when Bush threw wildly to third on Herbie Moran's bunt, giving the Braves a commanding 3–0 lead in the series.
Johnny Evers' two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the fifth broke a 1–1 tie and the collective backs of the heavily favored Athletics as the "Miracle Braves" completed their improbable sweep. Game 1 winner Dick Rudolph allowed only one baserunner after Evers' tie-breaking hit and struck out seven in notching his second win of the series.
1914 World Series (4–0): Boston Braves (N.L.) over Philadelphia Athletics (A.L.)