Bluejays Are Bad, Too
Phillies, Bluejays, whatever. Freddie Fitzsimmons was still trying to figure out what went wrong, and for the first two months of the season it appeared he might have the answer as his Bluejays were playing the league almost even at 17-19. But June was cruel (9-17), July was worse (11-20), and the slide to last was completed in August and September. You would have thought that a veteran pitcher like Freddie would have done better with his pitching staff, and in fact he had a five-man rotation, all of whom pitched near 200 innings or more, and four with ERAs less than four, but all five were double digit losers. Lefty Ken Raffensberger led the parade, and the league, with 20 losses, even though he had 18 complete games, three shutouts, and a 3.10 ERA; he could win only 13. Charley Schanz (13-16, 3.32 ERA), Dick Barrett (12-18, 3.86 ERA), Big Bill Lee (10-11, 3.15 ERA), and Lefty Al Gerhauser (8-16, 4.58) completed Fat Freddies’ top five.
There were no .300 hitters in the Bluejays 1944 lineup. Right fielder Ron Northey was the closest thing to an authentic hitter at .288 with 22 homeruns and 104 RBIs.
There seemed to be two leagues in 1944 – the East Coast teams, fighting for the bottom, and the inland teams fighting for the top, although the Cardinals were clearly in a league of their own with 105 wins. The Giants (67-87) were at the top of the second division, followed by the Braves (65-89), the Dodgers (63-91), and the Bluejays bringing up the rear (61-92).
Oddly, the Bluejays were better on the road (32-43) than at home (29-49); against the 4th place Cubs they were 1-10 at Shibe Park, and 8-3 at Wrigley Field. Go figure.
In a season of less than notable outcomes, two games stood out: June 22 - Braves Field, Boston. Philadelphia – 1, Boston – 0 (15innings) . Ron Northey’s 9th homerun the games’ only run. Al “Beartracks” Javery went the distance for Boston. For the Bluejays, Bill Lee pitched the first six, Charley Schanz relieved and blanked the Braves on two hits for nine innings and the win.
September 24 – Shibe Park. St. Louis – 4, Philadelphia – 3, (16 innings) . Whitey Kurowski’s 17th homer won it for the Cardinals. Blue Jays’ Ken Raffensberger (12-20), and Cardinals’ Mort Cooper (22-7) both pitched the entire 16 innings. Cooper was rattled for 19 hits, 18 of them singles, and walked five. The Bluejays left 17 runners on base. Raffensberger (12-20) gave up only13 hits (one a double by Danny Litwhiler who was 1-7), and one walk, stranding 10.
The Bluejays played 11 doubleheaders in September – two sweeps, five splits, four swept.By max blue
- Al Gerheauser, Al Javery, Big Bill, Bill Lee, Braves Field, Charley Schanz, Danny Litwhiler, Dick Barrett, Fat Freddie, Freddie Fitzsimmons, Ken Raffensberger, Mort Cooper, Philadelphia Phillies, Ron Northey, Shibe Park, Whitey Kurowski, Wrigley Field