Saturday October 4, 1924
U.S. Presidents had routinely been a part of baseball in Washington, but Calvin Coolidge was the first President to see a World Series game in Washington. He was present to throw out the first pitch, but there was controversy surrounding the game before it even started.
On October 2, two days before the series was to start, Judge Landis announced that two members of the Giants, Jimmy O’Connell and coach Cozy Dolan, were banned from the World Series for attempting to bribe a Philadelphia player to go easy on the Giants in an important late-season game. O’Connell, a backup outfielder and frequent pinch-hitter, was not a huge loss for the Giants, but up to the start of the series it was thought that other, more important parts of the team would be implicated as well.
Though the other players were cleared by Landis, Ban Johnson still felt that the series should not be played. When he was ignored by the owners, Johnson staged his own protest by not attending any games.
Managers Bucky Harris and John McGraw
The series went on, however, and Washington saw its first World Series. The lineups for game one:
New York Giants Washington Senators 1. Lindstrom 3b McNeely cf 2. Frisch 2b Harris 2b 3. Youngs rf Rice rf 4. Kelly cf Goslin lf 5. Terry 1b Judge 1b 6. Wilson lf Bluege 3b 7. Jackson ss Peckinpaugh ss 8. Gowdy c Ruel c 9. Nehf p Johnson p
Walter Johnson looked strong initially in his first World Series game, retiring the Giants in order in the first. Art Nehf responded in kind to take the game into the second inning.
George Kelly led off the second inning with a home run into the temporary bleachers in left field off of Johnson. The Washington ace had allowed just 10 round trippers all season, but Kelly’s shot gave the Giants a 1-0 lead. In the fourth, Bill Terry hit one to the same bleachers to give the Giants a 2-0 lead.
Nehf, on the other hand, was cruising along, allowing just one hit in the first five innings. The Nats didn’t get to him until the top of the sixth. Earl McNeely led the inning off with a double, and reached third on a Bucky Harris ground out. Sam Rice hit a roller to second to put Washington on the board for the first time.
The two pitchers exchanged scoreless innings until the bottom of the ninth, when Washington came to bat down by a run. With one out, Ossie Bluege singled. Bluege scored from first when Roger Peckinpaugh launched a double to left field. The Nats had tied the game and forced extra innings.
Nehf and Johnson both stayed in the game, and the score remained tied into the 12th inning. The Nationals put a threat together in the 10th with two straight one-out singles, but Nehf closed the door by retiring the last two men in the inning.
The Giants’ half of the 12th started when Johnson issued a walk to Hank Gowdy, the fifth walk that Johnson had issued in the game. The pitcher Nehf followed with a single, and both runners advanced on an error charged to Washington center fielder McNeely. Jack Bentley drew his team’s sixth walk off Johnson to load the bases with no outs.
It looked like Johnson may get out of the mess when Frankie Frisch hit a hard grounder to second to force the runner at home. The next batter, Ross Youngs, singled to center to put the Giants ahead 3-2. Kelly then hit a sacrifice fly to score an important insurance run before Johnson got out of the inning.
The Nats made it interesting in the bottom of the 12th, scoring an unearned run to cut the lead to one. With one out, Sam Rice was caught trying to stretch a single into a double on a throw by Billy Southworth. Had Rice been safe, the Nats would have second and third with just one out. As it stood, the tying run was at third with two outs, and Art Nehf ended the game by getting Goose Goslin to hit a slow roller to Kelly at second, who made a bare-handed play to clinch game one for the Giants.