Whatever happened to the doubleheader?

I’m pleased to present this post from Joe Guzzardi, who writes a guest column here every Wednesday. Today, he looks at the vanishing art of the doubleheader.

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Another Independence Day has come and gone without the once traditional doubleheader. Since half a century has passed when baseball fans could watch two games for the price of one, you’d think I’d be used to it.

I’m not. Nearly two generations have grown up since baseball’s Golden Age ended. When I realize that the new wave of fans identify a double header as a dreary day-night affair requiring separate admissions, I’m seriously bummed.

Back in the 1950s, the Sunday and holiday doubleheaders were among the summer’s most anticipated events. Since teams scheduled doubleheaders instead of slapping them together as a result of rain outs, we all marked our calendars accordingly.

Managers planned ahead, too. A Brooklyn Dodger-New York Giant double dip might pit Preacher Roe and Don Newcombe against Sal Maglie and Larry Jansen. A Cleveland Indian-Chicago White Sox match up could send Bob Feller and Bob Lemon to face Billy Pierce and Dick Donovan.

But no two names struck more fear into their American League rivals than the New York Yankees’ Allie Reynolds and Vic Raschi, the era’s dominant stoppers.

Reynolds was not only the Yankees number one starter but also the first man manager Casey Stengel called out of the bull pen. During Reynolds’ eight year Yankee career, he made 88 relief appearances.

On September 28, 1951 Reynolds and Raschi faced the Boston Red Sox in a late season double bill against Mel Parnell and Bill Wight. The Yankees took both ends, 8-0; 11-3, on (what else?) complete games.

But, although the Yankees clinched the pennant that late autumn day, the headlines weren’t about the Yankees sweep or the team’s third consecutive American League pennant.

In the opener, Reynolds (17-8) threw a no hitter, his second of the season—and one with a cliffhanger ending. To get his no-hitter, Reynolds would have to record twenty-eight outs.

With two gone in the bottom of the ninth, Reynolds had issued only four widely spread walks. At bat was the American League’s most feared hitter, Ted Williams who for the season would hit .318 with 30 HRs, 126 RBIs, OBP .464 and SLG .556.

Williams lofted a harmless foul ball behind the plate. Catcher Yogi Berra settled under the pop up but it squirted out of his glove.

The thought of Williams still alive at the plate when he should have been an easy out would have unnerved most pitchers. But Reynolds reassured Berra: “Don’t worry, Yogi. We’ll get him again.”

Sure enough, Williams sent another foul pop up that looked tougher than the first one. Yogi snared it in front of the Yankee dug out.

Reynolds’ line: 9 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 9 K.

In the nightcap, Vic Raschi dominated the Sox. Led by Phil Rizutto, Hank Bauer and Joe DiMaggio, the Yankees romped, 11-3. Rizutto and Bauer had three hits each while DiMaggio slammed a 3-run homer.

Never having to worry about run support, Raschi (21-10) coasted.

His line: 9 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 5 Ks.

Here’s another oddity about those two games. The Yankees used the same position players without substituting in either contest—no pinch hitters, no pinch runners and no defensive replacements.

The line ups:
Phil Rizzuto, SS
Jerry Coleman, 2B
Hank Bauer, RF
Joe DiMaggio, CF
Gil MacDougald, 3B
Yogi Berra, C
Gene Woodling LF
Joe Collins, 1B

The game times were an efficient 2:12 and 2:33.

In case the double dip on the 28th didn’t provide enough baseball to satisfy fans, the Yanks and Sox returned on the 29th for two more! Again, the Yankees swept, 4-0 and 3-1.

In the opener the third of the Yankee ace, Eddie Lopat (21-9) hurled six shutout innings before giving way to lefty Bob Kuzava. The second game was another dreary affair for the lifeless Sox who would finish in third place, eleven games of the pace. Tom Morgan, 9-3, picked up the win.

With the pennant wrapped up, the Yankees let some of its second stringers play. Take a look at the bench depth: Billy Martin, Bobby Brown, Jackie Jensen and Clint Courtney.

Only a few days later, the Yankees were again baseball’s world champs when they bested the New York Giants in the World Series, 4-2. Lopat won two games; Reynolds and Raschi, one each.

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Joe Guzzardi is a writer and member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Email him at guzzjoe@yahoo.com.

0 thoughts on “Whatever happened to the doubleheader?”

  1. Full details.

    New York Yankees 8, Boston Red Sox 0 (1)
    DayGame Played on Friday, September 28, 1951 (D) at Yankee Stadium I
    BOS A 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 – 0 0 3
    NY A 2 0 2 1 0 2 0 1 x – 8 10 1
    BATTINGBoston Red Sox AB R H RBI BB SO PO A
    DiMaggio cf 2 0 0 0 2 1 2 0
    Pesky 2b 4 0 0 0 0 1 1 2
    Williams lf 3 0 0 0 1 1 3 0
    Vollmer rf 2 0 0 0 1 1 0 0
    Goodman 1b 3 0 0 0 0 2 12 0
    Boudreau ss 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
    Hatfield 3b 3 0 0 0 0 1 3 2
    Robinson c 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
    Parnell p 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 2
    Scarborough p 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 1
    Taylor p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
    Maxwell ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    Totals 26 0 0 0 4 9 24 10
    FIELDING –
    DP: 1. Hatfield-Goodman.
    E: DiMaggio (11), Vollmer (3), Hatfield (6).
    BATTING –
    Team LOB: 3.
    New York Yankees AB R H RBI BB SO PO A
    Rizzuto ss 5 1 1 0 0 0 1 1
    Coleman 2b 3 2 1 1 1 0 2 4
    Bauer rf 4 0 1 1 0 1 5 0
    DiMaggio cf 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
    McDougald 3b 3 1 1 1 1 0 0 1
    Berra c 4 0 1 1 0 0 9 1
    Woodling lf 4 2 2 1 0 0 2 0
    Collins 1b 4 2 2 2 0 0 8 0
    Reynolds p 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 1
    Totals 34 8 10 7 2 2 27 8
    FIELDING –
    DP: 1. Rizzuto-Collins.
    E: Berra (13).
    BATTING –
    2B: Collins (8,off Scarborough).
    HR: Collins (9,6th inning off Scarborough 1 on 0 out); Woodling (15,8th inning
    off Taylor 0 on 0 out).
    SH: Reynolds (5,off Scarborough).
    Team LOB: 5.
    BASERUNNING –
    SB: Coleman (6,2nd base off Parnell/Robinson).
    PITCHINGBoston Red Sox IP H R ER BB SO HR BFP
    Parnell L(18-11) 3 5 4 3 2 2 0 16
    Scarborough 3 3 3 3 0 0 1 13
    Taylor 2 2 1 1 0 0 1 8
    Totals 8 10 8 7 2 2 2 37
    New York Yankees IP H R ER BB SO HR BFP
    Reynolds W(17-8) 9 0 0 0 4 9 0 30
    Umpires: HP – Cal Hubbard, 1B – Bill McGowan, 2B – Charlie Berry, 3B – Eddie Hurley
    Time of Game: 2:12
    Starting Lineups:

    Boston Red Sox New York Yankees
    1. DiMaggio cf Rizzuto ss
    2. Pesky 2b Coleman 2b
    3. Williams lf Bauer rf
    4. Vollmer rf DiMaggio cf
    5. Goodman 1b McDougald 3b
    6. Boudreau ss Berra c
    7. Hatfield 3b Woodling lf
    8. Robinson c Collins 1b
    9. Parnell p Reynolds p

    RED SOX 1ST: DiMaggio walked; Pesky grounded into a double play
    (shortstop to first) [DiMaggio out at second]; Williams struck
    out; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Red Sox 0, Yankees 0.

    YANKEES 1ST: Rizzuto singled to center; Coleman singled to
    center [Rizzuto to second]; Bauer singled to right [Rizzuto
    scored, Coleman to third]; DiMaggio flied out to left [Bauer to
    second]; McDougald walked; Berra grounded out (pitcher to first)
    [Coleman scored, Bauer to third, McDougald to second]; Woodling
    grounded out (second to first); 2 R, 3 H, 0 E, 2 LOB. Red Sox
    0, Yankees 2.

    RED SOX 2ND: Vollmer was called out on strikes; Goodman struck
    out (catcher to first); Boudreau popped to second; 0 R, 0 H, 0
    E, 0 LOB. Red Sox 0, Yankees 2.

    YANKEES 2ND: Collins grounded out (pitcher to first); Reynolds
    was called out on strikes; Rizzuto grounded out (second to
    first); 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Red Sox 0, Yankees 2.

    RED SOX 3RD: Hatfield flied out to left; Robinson grounded out
    (pitcher to first); Parnell struck out; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.
    Red Sox 0, Yankees 2.

    YANKEES 3RD: Coleman walked; Coleman stole second; Bauer struck
    out; DiMaggio popped to second; McDougald singled to center
    [Coleman scored]; Berra singled to center [McDougald scored
    (error by DiMaggio) (unearned), Berra to second]; Woodling
    popped to first; 2 R (1 ER), 2 H, 1 E, 1 LOB. Red Sox 0,
    Yankees 4.

    RED SOX 4TH: DiMaggio popped to second; Pesky grounded out
    (second to first); Williams walked; Vollmer flied out to right;
    0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Red Sox 0, Yankees 4.

    YANKEES 4TH: SCARBOROUGH REPLACED PARNELL (PITCHING); Collins
    doubled to right; Reynolds reached on a fielder’s choice on a
    sacrifice bunt [Collins to third]; Rizzuto popped to first in
    foul territory; Coleman flied out to center [Collins scored];
    Bauer flied out to left; 1 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Red Sox 0,
    Yankees 5.

    RED SOX 5TH: Goodman was called out on strikes; Boudreau flied
    out to right; Hatfield struck out; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Red
    Sox 0, Yankees 5.

    YANKEES 5TH: DiMaggio grounded out (third to first); McDougald
    popped to catcher in foul territory; Berra grounded out (pitcher
    to first); 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Red Sox 0, Yankees 5.

    RED SOX 6TH: Robinson grounded out (second to first);
    Scarborough struck out; DiMaggio was called out on strikes; 0 R,
    0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Red Sox 0, Yankees 5.

    YANKEES 6TH: Woodling singled to right [Woodling to second
    (error by Vollmer)]; Collins homered [Woodling scored]; Reynolds
    reached on an error by Hatfield; Rizzuto popped to third in foul
    territory; Coleman lined into a double play (third to first)
    [Reynolds out at first]; 2 R, 2 H, 2 E, 0 LOB. Red Sox 0,
    Yankees 7.

    RED SOX 7TH: Pesky flied out to left; Williams grounded out
    (second to first); Vollmer walked; Goodman grounded out (third
    to first); 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Red Sox 0, Yankees 7.

    YANKEES 7TH: TAYLOR REPLACED SCARBOROUGH (PITCHING); Bauer
    grounded out (shortstop to first); DiMaggio singled to center;
    McDougald flied out to center; Berra flied out to left; 0 R, 1
    H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Red Sox 0, Yankees 7.

    RED SOX 8TH: Boudreau flied out to right; Hatfield flied out to
    right; Robinson flied out to right; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Red
    Sox 0, Yankees 7.

    YANKEES 8TH: Woodling homered; Collins popped to third in foul
    territory; Reynolds grounded out (pitcher to first); Rizzuto
    grounded out (pitcher to first); 1 R, 1 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Red Sox
    0, Yankees 8.

    RED SOX 9TH: MAXWELL BATTED FOR TAYLOR; Maxwell grounded out
    (second to first); DiMaggio walked; Pesky was called out on
    strikes; Berra dropped a foul fly hit by Williams; one of the
    more famous dropped foul balls in history; Williams popped
    to catcher in foul territory; 0 R, 0 H, 1 E, 1 LOB. Red Sox 0,
    Yankees 8.

    Final Totals R H E LOB
    Red Sox 0 0 3 3
    Yankees 8 10 1 5

    New York Yankees 11, Boston Red Sox 3 (2)
    DayGame Played on Friday, September 28, 1951 (D) at Yankee Stadium I
    BOS A 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 – 3 6 2
    NY A 0 7 0 0 0 3 0 1 x – 11 13 0
    BATTINGBoston Red Sox AB R H RBI BB SO PO A
    DiMaggio cf 5 2 2 0 0 0 4 0
    Pesky 2b 4 1 1 0 0 0 2 3
    Maxwell lf 3 0 0 0 1 0 2 0
    Vollmer rf 4 0 0 0 0 2 1 0
    Goodman 1b 3 0 0 0 1 1 5 0
    Boudreau ss 4 0 2 1 0 0 1 2
    Hatfield 3b 3 0 1 1 1 1 1 1
    Moss c 3 0 0 0 0 0 7 0
    Richter ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    Wight p 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    Masterson p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    Stobbs p 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 0
    Nixon p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    Wright ph 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
    Totals 33 3 6 2 4 5 24 6
    FIELDING –
    DP: 2. Boudreau-Pesky-Goodman, Boudreau-Pesky-Goodman.
    E: Goodman (14), Boudreau (15).
    PB: Moss (5).
    BATTING –
    Team LOB: 7.
    BASERUNNING –
    SB: DiMaggio (4,2nd base off Raschi/Berra).
    New York Yankees AB R H RBI BB SO PO A
    Rizzuto ss 5 1 3 2 0 0 1 3
    Coleman 2b 1 3 1 0 3 0 1 3
    Bauer rf 5 2 3 2 0 0 3 0
    DiMaggio cf 5 1 1 4 0 2 3 0
    McDougald 3b 5 0 1 2 0 1 2 0
    Berra c 4 1 2 0 0 0 5 0
    Woodling lf 4 1 0 0 0 1 6 0
    Collins 1b 4 1 2 1 0 1 6 0
    Raschi p 3 1 0 0 1 1 0 0
    Totals 36 11 13 11 4 6 27 6
    BATTING –
    2B: Bauer (18,off Stobbs); Coleman (11,off Nixon).
    3B: McDougald (4,off Masterson).
    HR: DiMaggio (12,6th inning off Stobbs 2 on 2 out).
    SH: Coleman (8,off Stobbs).
    Team LOB: 6.
    PITCHINGBoston Red Sox IP H R ER BB SO HR BFP
    Wight L(7-7) 1.1 4 6 3 3 0 0 11
    Masterson 0.1 2 1 0 0 0 0 3
    Stobbs 4.1 5 3 3 1 2 1 18
    Nixon 2 2 1 1 0 4 0 9
    Totals 8 13 11 7 4 6 1 41
    WP: Nixon (4).
    New York Yankees IP H R ER BB SO HR BFP
    Raschi W(21-10) 9 6 3 3 4 5 0 37
    WP: Raschi 2 (8).
    Umpires: HP – Bill McGowan, 1B – Charlie Berry, 2B – Eddie Hurley, 3B – Cal Hubbard
    Time of Game: 2:33 Attendance: 39038
    Starting Lineups:

    Boston Red Sox New York Yankees
    1. DiMaggio cf Rizzuto ss
    2. Pesky 2b Coleman 2b
    3. Maxwell lf Bauer rf
    4. Vollmer rf DiMaggio cf
    5. Goodman 1b McDougald 3b
    6. Boudreau ss Berra c
    7. Hatfield 3b Woodling lf
    8. Moss c Collins 1b
    9. Wight p Raschi p

    RED SOX 1ST: DiMaggio singled to center; Pesky singled to center
    [DiMaggio to second]; Maxwell flied out to left; Vollmer struck
    out; Goodman walked [DiMaggio to third, Pesky to second];
    Boudreau singled [DiMaggio scored, Pesky to third, Goodman to
    second]; Hatfield walked [Pesky scored, Goodman to third,
    Boudreau to second]; Moss forced Hatfield (shortstop to second);
    2 R, 3 H, 0 E, 3 LOB. Red Sox 2, Yankees 0.

    YANKEES 1ST: Rizzuto singled to center; Coleman walked [Rizzuto
    to second]; Bauer grounded into a double play (shortstop to
    second to first) [Rizzuto to third, Coleman out at second];
    DiMaggio flied out to left; 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Red Sox 2,
    Yankees 0.

    RED SOX 2ND: Wight popped to shortstop; DiMaggio singled to
    center; DiMaggio stole second; Raschi threw a wild pitch
    [DiMaggio to third]; Raschi threw a wild pitch [DiMaggio
    scored]; Pesky popped to third in foul territory; Maxwell flied
    out to left; 1 R, 1 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Red Sox 3, Yankees 0.

    YANKEES 2ND: McDougald grounded out (third to first); Berra
    singled; Woodling reached on an error by Goodman [Berra to
    second]; Collins singled to center [Berra scored, Woodling to
    second]; Raschi walked [Woodling to third, Collins to second];
    Rizzuto singled to center [Woodling scored (unearned), Collins
    scored, Raschi to second]; Coleman walked [Raschi to third,
    Rizzuto to second]; MASTERSON REPLACED WIGHT (PITCHING); Bauer
    singled to center [Raschi scored, Rizzuto to third, Coleman to
    second]; DiMaggio flied out to center [Rizzuto scored
    (unearned)]; McDougald tripled to center [Coleman scored
    (unearned), Bauer scored (unearned)]; STOBBS REPLACED MASTERSON
    (PITCHING); Berra flied out to center; 7 R (3 ER), 5 H, 1 E, 1
    LOB. Red Sox 3, Yankees 7.

    RED SOX 3RD: Vollmer struck out; Goodman struck out; Boudreau
    grounded out (shortstop to first); 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Red
    Sox 3, Yankees 7.

    YANKEES 3RD: Woodling struck out; Collins singled to first;
    Raschi grounded into a double play (shortstop to second to
    first) [Collins out at second]; 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Red Sox
    3, Yankees 7.

    RED SOX 4TH: Hatfield struck out; Moss flied out to center;
    Stobbs flied out to left; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Red Sox 3,
    Yankees 7.

    YANKEES 4TH: Rizzuto singled to center; Coleman out on a
    sacrifice bunt (pitcher unassisted) [Rizzuto to second]; Bauer
    popped to catcher in foul territory; DiMaggio struck out; 0 R, 1
    H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Red Sox 3, Yankees 7.

    RED SOX 5TH: DiMaggio grounded out (shortstop to first); Pesky
    flied out to center; Maxwell walked; Vollmer flied out to left;
    0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Red Sox 3, Yankees 7.

    YANKEES 5TH: McDougald flied out to right; Berra singled to
    right; Woodling flied out to center; Collins grounded out (first
    unassisted); 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Red Sox 3, Yankees 7.

    RED SOX 6TH: Goodman grounded out (second to first); Boudreau
    singled to center; Hatfield singled to left [Boudreau to
    second]; Moss flied out to right; Stobbs struck out; 0 R, 2 H, 0
    E, 2 LOB. Red Sox 3, Yankees 7.

    YANKEES 6TH: Raschi grounded out (second to first); Rizzuto
    flied out to center; Coleman walked; Bauer doubled to center
    [Coleman to third]; DiMaggio homered [Coleman scored, Bauer
    scored]; McDougald popped to third; 3 R, 2 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Red
    Sox 3, Yankees 10.

    RED SOX 7TH: DiMaggio grounded out (second to first); Pesky
    flied out to right; Maxwell grounded out (first unassisted); 0
    R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Red Sox 3, Yankees 10.

    YANKEES 7TH: NIXON REPLACED STOBBS (PITCHING); Berra popped to
    shortstop; Woodling reached on an error by Boudreau; Collins
    struck out; Raschi struck out; 0 R, 0 H, 1 E, 1 LOB. Red Sox 3,
    Yankees 10.

    RED SOX 8TH: Vollmer flied out to left; Goodman flied out to
    center; Boudreau grounded out (second to first); 0 R, 0 H, 0 E,
    0 LOB. Red Sox 3, Yankees 10.

    YANKEES 8TH: Rizzuto flied out to left; Coleman doubled to
    center; Bauer singled to center [Coleman scored]; Moss allowed a
    passed ball [Bauer to second]; Nixon threw a wild pitch [Bauer
    to third]; DiMaggio struck out; McDougald struck out; 1 R, 2 H,
    0 E, 1 LOB. Red Sox 3, Yankees 11.

    RED SOX 9TH: Hatfield flied out to right; RICHTER BATTED FOR
    MOSS; Richter popped to third in foul territory; WRIGHT BATTED
    FOR NIXON; Wright walked; DiMaggio flied out to left; 0 R, 0 H,
    0 E, 1 LOB. Red Sox 3, Yankees 11.

    Final Totals R H E LOB
    Red Sox 3 6 2 7
    Yankees 11 13 0 6

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