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First NL-AL World’s Series; Phillies Not In It
After the disastrous 1902 season, Bill Shettsline crawled off the field and returned to the front office, no longer willing to face the now fearsome Pittsburgh Pirates who had thumped his team 18 times in 1902. The thought of another season without seeing Ed Delahanty in his outfield may have been the last straw. He picked long-time Cleveland catcher (18 seasons) Chief Zimmer to be the new manager. Zimmer was considered to be the best defensive catcher in the league, and he probably knew about everything there is to know about managing a major league ballclub, including the number one lesson – without the horses the race is lost. Zimmer’s team could win only 49 games, six more than the last place St. Louis Cardinals.
Pittsburgh won again, but were challenged by John McGraw’s first New York Giants team. The Giants were seriously last in 1902, 53 games back of the Pirates; they improved to a 6 ½ game deficit in 1903 mostly because of emerging pitching stars “Iron Man” Joe McGinnity (31-20) and Christy Mathewson (30-13).
In 1903 the American League Baltimore franchise was moved to New York where they were called the Highlanders until 1914 when they became the Yankees.
The first World’s Series game matching winners of the American and National leagues as we know them, was played on October 1, 1903 before some 16,000 rooters at the Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds in Boston, it was a best of nine series won five games to three by the Bostons Pilgrims’ (Oops! See: The Boston Pilgrims Never Existed, by Bill Nowlin.) over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The first pitch was delivered by Cy Young to Pittsburgh Pirates’ centerfielder and leadoff man. Ginger Beaumont. It was poetically just that a guy named Cy Young would be the first to deliver a World’s Series pitch because, in a 22-year career, beginning in 1890 when he was 23, Cy Young famously won 511 games, most ever by a Major League pitcher. Mostly overlooked, Cy Young lost 316 games in his career, also a Major League record. The big righthander gave up four runs in that first World’s Series inning on the way to a 7-3 loss.
Cy Young died in 1955 and the following year, the Baseball Writer’s Association of America approved establishment of the Cy Young Memorial Award to honor the Major League’s outstanding pitcher each year. In 1967, it was voted to make a Cy Young Award to the best pitcher in both the American and National Leagues.