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Eddie Sawyer now knew what it took to field a winning team: give the ball to Robin Roberts, have Eddie Waitkus lead off, and bat Dick Sisler third. That’s what he did on opening day, 1951, on the same Ebbetts Field he danced on those six short months ago. And it worked. For one game. It was déjà vu all over again, except it was Carl Erskine, not Don Newcome who took the hit, and Phillies second baseman, Mike Goliat who hit the homerun, but without the 10th inning drama. It was a 5-2 Roberts win, the two Dodgers’ runs coming on Jackie Robinson’s 6th inning homerun. There were a lot of empty seats that day at Ebbetts Field, the borough of Brooklyn showed little interest in watching the Philadelphia team play baseball – only 19,000 people showed up.
So for at least one day in the 1951 season, the Phillies, and their fans, had reason to believe. The next day reality set in: Jim Konstanty blew a save. It would not be a 1950 repeat. For 8 ½ innings it looked like it might just be. Homeruns by Puddin’ Head Jones in the first and Dick Sisler in the second, and strong pitching from Bubba Church, had the Phillies in a 2-2 tie, when Puddin’Head unloaded his second homerun, in the 9th inning, to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead. When Church walked the first batter in the bottom of the ninth, Eddie Sawyer went to his hammer: Jim Konstanty. The 1950 MVP got two outs, then, in the blink of an eye, he lost it – a game-tying triple to Duke Snyder, and a game-winning single to Jackie Robinson.
A midseason three-game series with the Dodgers at Shibe Park drained the air out of the Phillies 1951 balloon once and for all. Coming into the series, the Phillies had not yet given up but they were close to doing just that. They were 35-38, compared to the Dodgers’ 47-26, 12 games out of first place with 81 games to play. Still time, but this series could decide it. The Dodgers swept the series and left town 15 games up on the phillies. The final game of that series was a microcosm for the season. Bubba Church went into the 9th inning with a 4-3 lead and Jim Konstanty blew the save, then the game when Jackie Robinson, who was making a habit of torturing the phillies, homered in the tenth to win it for the Dodgers.
On September 30th at Shibe Park, with the Dodgers in a desperate struggle to hold off the sizzling Giants (41-15 since August 1st), 31,755 baseball fans watched Jackie Robinson hit a 14th inning homerun to beat Robin Roberts one more time.
Three days later, at the Polo Grounds in New York, Bobby Thomson fired the shot heard ‘round the World. Dodgers’ fans were left to wonder what terrible crimes they had committed to be be hit with pennant clinching homeruns two years in a row. Bobby Thompson joined Dick Sisler in the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Hall of Shame.
Robin Roberts was 21-15 and led the league in innings pitched with 315.
Whitey Ashburn hit .344, second to Musial again (.355)
Del Ennis was down to .267, 15 homeruns, 73 RBI in 144 g.
Putsy Caballero, in 88 games at second base, hit .186.
December 10 – Andy Seminick, Ed Pellagrini, Dick Sisler, and Niles Jordan traded to Cincinnati for Connie Ryan, Smokey Burgess, and Howie Fox.By max blue