1949-National League

The 1949 National League pennant race started in a frenzy as Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Boston, Brooklyn, and the New York Giants changed leads 10 times through the month of April.  May saw Boston and the Giants share the lead 11 days; and on the 29th of the month, Brooklyn joined the other 2 teams for a 3-way tie at 21-16.  From there, until July 4th, Brooklyn dominated 1st place; but teams like St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Boston were never too far behind.  On the 4th, the standings were: Brooklyn 44-28 (—);  St. Louis  42-30 (2);  Philadelphia 40-35 (5.5);  Boston 40-35 (5.5).

Through the rest of July and into August, St. Louis and Brooklyn were tied 7 days and the lead changed 5 times.  On August 20th St. Louis took the lead and held it until 9/29, with the Dodgers never more than 1.5 games behind. After the next to last Sunday of the season, St. Louis was 95-54, 1.5 games ahead of Brooklyn who were 94-56.  Before the last weekend of the season Brooklyn beat Boston twice and St. Louis lost 3 straight to Pittsburgh and one to Chicago.  Brooklyn had gone back into the lead by one game. 

On the last weekend of the season St. Louis continued to play in Chicago while the Dodgers travelled to Philadelphia.  Both teams lost on Saturday and the season came down to the last day.  The Cardinals would have to win while the Dodgers lose to force an end of season playoff.  In Chicago St. Louis’ ace Howie Pollet started against Chicago’s Johnny Schmitz.  St. Louis started the game off quickly scoring 3 runs in the 2nd, then 1 in the 3rd, and 2 in the 4th.  Leading 6-1 after 5, St. Louis never looked back, winning 13-5.  Pollet won his 20th; and Stan Musial was the hitting star going 3 for 5 with 2 HRs and 4 RBIs.

Meanwhile in Philadelphia, Brooklyn was locked in a struggle for their lead. Brooklyn’s starter Don Newcombe and then reliever Rex Barney could not hold 5-0 and 7-4 leads. After 6 innings the score was tied 7-7.  Reliever Jack Banta pitched 4.1 scoreless innings and he got the win when Brooklyn scored 2 runs in the 10th to win 9-7.  Carl Furillo went 4 for 6 and Gil Hodges 2 for 4 and each scored two runs.  Pitcher Newcombe and Roy Campanella each had 2 RBIs for the National League Champion Dodgers.  In the World Series against the New York Yankees, Brooklyn would lose 4 games to 1.

Throughout the long season Brooklyn’s best hitters were Jackie Robinson .342 BA 16 HRs and 124 RBIs; Carl Furillo .322/18/106; and Gil Hodges .285/23/115.  Their best pitchers were Don Newcombe 17-8 3.17 ERA and Precher Roe 15-6 2.79.

References: http://baseballrace.comhttp://baseball-reference.com

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