1921 Governor's Cup Series
Game One: Portland 10, San Francisco 5 at Portland Tue., Oct. 4, 1921
Portland took an early Series lead by outlasting the Seals in a Game One slugfest. Beavers shortstop Orville Riggins set the tone early with a lead-off homer. The Seals roared back in the top of the second; Morrie Rath's two-run double followed three consecutive singles, giving San Francisco a 3-1 edge, its only lead of the day. It lasted until the bottom of the inning. Chaney White began the rally with a one-out walk and came home on Lew Fonseca's double. The onslaught on Seals' starter Dave Brown continued with run-scoring singles by Bullet Rogan, George Grantham, and Oscar Charleston. Up 5-3 after two, Rogan went the distance and never relinquished the lead, while the Beavers piled on with two in the fifth and three more in the seventh.
Game Two: Portland 15, San Francisco 1 at Portland Wed., Oct. 5, 1921
A nightmare game for the Seals, but particularly so for second baseman Morrie Rath. He was 0-4, but that was only the beginning: his three errors led to 12 unearned runs. Rath's first miscue, occurring in the third inning when the score was 1-1, led to a 10-run outburst capped by Oscar Charleston's three-run blast. Portland starter Syl Johnson cruised to a complete game victory as the Beavers took a 2-0 Series lead.
Game Three: San Francisco 6, Portland 1 at Portland Thu., Oct. 6, 1921
After consecutive shellackings, the Seals turned to Lefty O'Doul to right the ship. He did not disappoint, spellbinding the Beavers in a four-hit, complete game victory. In addition to his mound heroics, the part-time outfielder also started San Francisco's key rally with a one-out base hit in the fifth. The four-run outburst was capped by Willie Kamm's two-run double. Besides losing the game, Portland suffered a potentially crucial setback when Bob Meusel, a .556 hitter in the Series, left the game after being hit by a pitch in the fourth frame.
Game Four: San Francisco 8, Portland 5 at San Francisco, Sat., Oct. 8, 1921
The Series moved South, and one Seal in particular demonstrated a preference for the California sun. First baseman Jimmy O'Connell, entering the game at .182, went 4-5 with a pair of doubles; at game's end his average stood at .375. The Seals pounded out 10 hits but were actually outhit by the Beavers, who collected 12. The lead changed hands a few times in the early going but the clubs stood knotted at four runs apiece going into the bottom of the sixth. A key two-out error by Portland shortstop Orville Riggins kept the inning alive, giving right fielder Lefty O'Doul the opportunity to break the tie with a ringing two-run double. The Seals added two more for starter Dick Niehaus in the eighth, and Plunk Drake finished up to preserve the Series-tying victory.
Game Five: San Francisco 5, Portland 1 at San Francisco, Sun., Oct. 9, 1921<
Dave Brown rebounded from his Game One loss, scattering eight hits in a complete-game triumph. Brown contributed with the bat as well: his one-out double in the fifth set up a run-scoring ground out by Morrie Rath which broke a 1-1 tie, and then he scored on Dick Lundy's triple. Lefty O'Doul committed two errors in right field but Brown escaped unscathed both times, stranding two in the sixth by fanning Sammy Hale and two more in the seventh by retiring Orville Riggins on a fly ball. Now up three games to two, The Seals seemed to have shifted the momentum in their favor.
Game Six: San Francisco 5, Portland 3 at San Francisco, Mon., Oct. 10, 1921
The Seals jumped on Wayne Carr early, building a 5-0 cushion, and then had to hold on for dear life as the Beavers' chipped away and brought the tying run to the plate three times in the ninth. In the opening frame Joe Cartwright's two-run single was followed by Willie Kamm's two-run double, and the Seals appeared to be poised for a rout. Lefty O'Doul picked up a pair of hits but continued his misadventures in right field with three errors, two of them on consecutive sixth inning plays that gave the Beavers their first run. In the end Bill Holland had enough to stave off the Beavers' final threat, giving the Seals a 4-2 advantage and the opportunity to close out the Series on their home grounds.
Game Seven: Portland 9, San Francisco 3 at San Francisco, Tue., Oct. 11, 1921
Their backs to the wall, the Beavers struck for four in the first and never trailed. Oscar Charleston led things off with a single and then stole second, coming around to score on Orville Riggins' ground ball single. Seals' starter Lefty O'Doul walked back-to-back hitters in the first, once forcing in a run, and then was victimized when catcher Sam Agnew couldn't get a handle on a dribbler off the bat of Lew Fonseca; the miscue allowed George Grantham to scamper home from third. The game remained within reach until the top of the ninth when Dick Cox's three-run double capped Portland's second four-run rally of the afternoon. Bullet Rogan went the distance for the Beavers, and the mood in the visitors' clubhouse was jubilant as the club packed in preparation to conclude the Series in Oregon.
Game Eight: San Francisco 11, Portland 8 at Portland, Thu., Oct. 13, 1921
As threatening clouds loomed overhead, the Beavers built a 3-1 lead with four first inning singles off of Dave Brown and some assistance by Seals backstop Sam Agnew, who committed two passed balls. After Willie Kamm drove in a pair with a fourth-inning single, Agnew redeemed himself with a game-tying run-scoring ground out. The game remained knotted until the visitors' half of the sixth. Syl Johnson clipped George Shively with an 0-2 pitch, and Lefty O'Doul followed up with a single. Shively then stole third, and Johnson seemed to fall apart, walking Bert Ellison and Jimmy O'Connell, hitting Kamm with a pitch, and then walking Agnew. With three runs already in and the bases still loaded, Johnson then gave up RBI singles to Morrie Rath and Brown before his manager arrived with the hook. Rudy Kallio yielded a sacrifice fly and another run-scoring single before getting O'Doul to bounce into a merciful inning-ending double play. The skies finally broke loose in the bottom of the inning but neither the rain nor the deluge of Seals runs could intimidate the proud Beavers. Following a delay of nearly an hour, the home team started a rally of their own. With two out and two on, Del Baker, Kallio, Oscar Charleston, and Orville Riggins pounded out singles and Bob Meusel worked a base on balls, chasing Brown. The score now 10-7, Dick Cox strode to the plate representing the go-ahead run, but Plunk Drake retired him on a pop-up, and generally kept the Beavers at bay for the rest of the afternoon, cementing a title for San Francisco in what would eventually be considered the league's initial major-league season.
And the regular season comes to a close. The Portland Beavers, who will take on the San Francisco Seals in the Governor's Cup Series beginning October 4th, came oh-so-close to a 100-win season. They finished with 98. On a considerably less positive note, the Sacramento Solons came even closer to a 100-loss season; they finished with 99, dropping their final 15 contests.
Heavy Johnson of Vernon won the batting title with a .386 clip. Turkey Stearnes of Los Angeles topped the loop in home runs with 27. Oscar Charleston of Portland won the RBI crown with 138. Dave Brown of San Francisco paced the circuit in victories with 25, and also led in strikeouts with 166. John Donaldson of LA was the ERA king, posting a 2.28 mark.
The match-up for the Governor's Cup Series is set. Portland will host San Francisco on October 4 to begin the best-of-nine tournament.
The Seals are red hot, having won six straight, and hope to keep the momentum going as they close out the season with a six-game at home against Oakland. The Beavers, mired in a rare two-game losing streak, also finish the season at home, hosting Seattle.
Although Los Angeles was eliminated from post-season contention this week, the Angels' star left fielder Turkey Stearnes had a week to remember, hitting .519 with five home runs in six games at Sacramento. Stearnes has hit 23 of his league-leading 27 home runs on the road this year, with 18 of them occurring in the friendly confines of Salt Lake City and Sacramento.
The playoff picture is coming into focus. Portland, who took four out of five from Salt Lake City, has clinched a playoff spot, and the Beavers' magic number for clinching home field advantage is 3. San Francisco likewise took four out of five from Vernon (eliminating the Tigers from post-season consideration); the Seals' magic number for clinching the second playoff berth is six. It was a rough week for the Los Angeles Angels, who were swept at home by Seattle, falling into a third place tie with the Rainiers. Seattle has won six straight but their surge appears to be too little, too late.
The batting race seems to have come down to a three-man contest between Vernon's Heavy Johnson (.376), teammate Pete Schneider (.374), and Portland's Oscar Charleston (.370). Duffy Lewis of Salt Lake City still leads the loop in home runs (23), with Los Angeles' Turkey Stearnes (22) and Charleston (20) in pursuit. Charleston has the RBI crown all but clinched with 130, leading his nearest competitor by 15. Syl Johnson of Portland's 23 victories gives him the edge over San Francisco's Dave Brown, who has 22. Brown seems to have wrapped up the strikeout race with 154; 21 more than his nearest competitor has. There is a tight race for the ERA title, with San Francisco's Dick Niehaus (2.41) edging Los Angeles' John Donaldson (2.44).
Fittingly, the teams with the most to play for played the best this week, and the teams with the least to play for played the worst. Portland, heading toward a clinching of the top spot (their magic number is now 9) took four out of five from sixth-place Vernon. The second-place Seals, although unlikely to catch the Beavers, are playing like a team not satisfied with merely clinching a playoff spot; they took five of six from last-place Sacramento. Third-place Los Angeles, now three-and-half-games behind San Francisco, took five straight (with one to play) from seventh-place Salt Lake City. The Solons and Bees have been eliminated from playoff consideration. Vernon could be days away from elimination. The Oaks and Rainiers appear to be done for as well, barring an epic collapse from both the Seals and Angels. Oakland is 8 games behind San Francisco, Seattle is 8 1/2 games back.
With a dominant 5-1 series win over Sacramento, San Francisco's Seals took a giant step towards securing a playoff berth. They now lead Los Angeles, who dropped four out of six in Portland, by four games.
If the Seals can hold on, it sets up perhaps the most intriguing post-season match-up possible this year; San Francisco is the only team in the league with a winning record against the Beavers.
As for the other contenders, the light's getting a bit dim. Fourth-place Oakland is now 5 1/2 games behind the Seals, Seattle trails by 7, and Vernon is now just as close to the cellar as they are to the playoffs, exactly 10 games behind the Seals and 10 ahead of the Solons.
With a little over a month to play, nothing is set in stone yet, although only a fool would bet against Portland, who now hold an 11 1/2 game lead over their closest competitors.
Second place is still very much up for grabs; the Seals rode a 5-2 week to grab sole possession of the spot, while the Angels were just a bit better at 5-1, and have moved within a half-game of San Francisco. The Oaks had to play Portland, losing the first four to the Beavers before salvaging a win on Sunday. The series concludes on Monday. Oakland trails the Seals by three games.
Seattle (6 1/2 games behind the Seals) and Vernon (7 1/2 games back) are fading, but either one could get back into the conversation with a hot streak. It'll have to happen soon, though.
Duffy Lewis of the Bees has wrested the home run lead from Turkey Stearnes of the Angels. Lewis has 23 round-trippers. Heavy Johnson of Vernon now leads the league in batting at .386.
The Oakland Oaks completed a 6-1 week, and while they still trail Portland by 11 games, they're now all alone in second place. Hot on their heels are two clubs that went 5-2: San Francisco (a half-game behind the Oaks), and Los Angeles (a game-and-a-half back). Seattle trails Oakland by 4 1/2, and Vernon now trails by 6.
Salt Lake City climbed out of the cellar, but lost their best all-around player, center fielder Cristobal Torriente, to a strained back muscle. Torriente is expected to return to action before season's end, but by then the Bees are likely to have been officially eliminated from the race.
Sacramento is back in last place, and has lost second basemen Les Sheehan and Frank Warfield as well, each succumbing to a fractured finger. The Solons have been the league's most-injured team, and it's Warfield's second stint on the shelf.
Pete Schneider of Vernon looks like a man who might want to hit .400 after all. On the heels of a .519 (14-27) week, the streaky Schneider's average stands at .386.
Portland had a lackluster 2-4 week, but they still hold a 14-game edge over the two second-place teams, Oakland and San Francisco (each of whom played .500 ball this week). The fourth-place Angels went 4-2 and are just a game behind the Bay Area clubs. Seattle also rode a 4-2 week to further tighten up the race (they trail Los Angeles by a game), and Vernon's still in the hunt as well, 3 1/2 games out of second. The race for the honor of playing Portland for the league championship could very well go down to the wire.
But this should be remembered as the Beavers' year; they are the only truly dominant team in the league.
Portland has won six straight, and lead San Francisco and Oakland by a whopping 15 games. They're at least a month to six weeks away from mathematically clinching; in the meantime the Beavers' faithful may indulge in stat watching. Right fielder Bob Meusel is in competition for the batting title at .367 (nine points behind co-leaders Duffy Lewis of Salt Lake City and Pete Schneider of Vernon). Center fielder Oscar Charleston's 18 round-trippers trails only Turkey Stearnes' (Los Angeles) 21. And pitcher Syl Johnson leads the league both in victories (16, tied with San Francisco's Dave Brown) and ERA (2.39), with teammate Bullet Rogan is in the hunt in both categories (14 and 2.54, respectively).
The race for second-place remains tight, with Oakland and San Francisco in a dead heat, two games ahead of Los Angeles, three games ahead of Seattle, and four games ahead of Vernon.
The Angels' Turkey Stearnes hit 7 home runs in 4 days at Salt Lake City (there was one doubleheader). He's hit over half his home runs this year (11 of 21) in that ballpark. It's frightening to imagine how many he'd hit if he played there full time.
One final trade was made before the deadline: Sacramento and Los Angeles swapped third-string catchers, with Rowdy Elliott heading south and Oscar Stanage heading north. While not exactly the stuff headlines are made of, at least it was a homecoming of sorts to the Central Valley-born Stanage.
Well, we have ourselves a race, boys! Oh, not for first place—that ship's sailed. The Portland Beavers hold a commanding 11 1/2-game lead over second-place San Francisco. There are still two months to go, but… forget about it. Portland will not be caught.
But we've got a serious free-for-all for that second playoff spot. The Seals still hold the edge, but they're free-falling, losers of five straight. Two games behind them are the surging Oaks, who put together a nice little 6-1 week and are above .500 for the first time since June 2nd. A half-game behind Oakland are the Vernon Tigers, who are trying to overcome a rough 5-13 patch. And tied for fifth, but just four games behind the Seals, are the consistently inconsistent Angels and the hottest team in the league, the Seattle Rainiers. Seattle's won eight straight.
Paul Strand, the Rainiers' right fielder, hit for the cycle on July 26th at Salt Lake City, becoming the second player this year to do so (Portland's Bob Meusel also turned the trick, on May 23rd vs. Oakland).
With the trade deadline approaching two PCL clubs negotiated swaps with National League teams. Los Angeles sent outfielder Dixie Carroll to the Cubs for outfielder Babe Twombly, and San Francisco dealt shortstop Ike Caveney to Cincinnati for infielder Wally Kimmick.
Portland put together a perfect (6-0) week, and now leads San Francisco by 8 1/2 games. It's too early to say it's all over but the shouting, but now even the shouting seems to occur in hushed tones.
The Seals didn't have a great week (2-3), but it was better than Vernon's (1-6), so they now hold a four game lead over the third place Tigers. The up-and-down Angels are showing signs of wanting to get back into it; they're now just a half-game behind their cross-town rivals.
Just when the fans of the Sacramento Solons seemed to have something to cheer about (they've climbed into a seventh-place tie with Salt Lake City and are just a half-game out of sixth), they received news that their best pitcher, Juan Padron, is lost for the season. Padron finishes up at 11-8 with a 2.60 ERA.
The San Francisco Seals took four out of six against the Vernon Tigers, and now hold a two game edge in the race for the second playoff spot. The Seals still trail Portland by 5 1/2 games, but that's as close as anyone's gotten to the Beavers in almost a month.
A lot can happen in a month; it was about a month ago that Pete Schneider of Vernon was hitting over .430. He's at .379 now; still an impressive clip, but it's no foregone conclusion that he's even going to win the batting title, with Portland's Oscar Charleston breathing down his neck at .377. Charleston has also caught Salt Lake CIty's Duffy Lewis for the home run lead, with 15. Could this be a Triple Crown season for the Hoosier Thunderbolt? He leads in RBI as well, with 86.
Sacramento traded pitcher Tony Faeth to the Pittsburgh Pirates for pitcher Chief Yellow Horse. Neither hurler has seen much action this year, but Pirates appear to have faith in Faeth; he's already made start for them, and has rewarded them with a complete game victory.
The top three teams all had a good week: Portland went 5-3, and the two teams chasing them, San Francisco and Vernon, each went 5-2. The Beavers still lead the league by 7 games; right now the only compelling race is for second.
Duffy Lewis of Salt Lake City was leading the league in home runs when he strained his hamstring on June 9. Amazingly, after missing an entire month, he's still leading the league in home runs; and he's back in action now.
Oscar Charleston of Portland is having a phenomenal year as well; his 82 RBIs lead the league. He also took home Player of the Week honors for the second time this year, driving in 11 runs and hitting .375.
Sacramento, clearly looking to the future, traded 28-year old hurler Dick Niehaus (7-3, 2.36) to San Francisco for 21-year old pitcher Willie Ludolph.
Stop the presses—the Portland Beavers lost a series!
Actually, it's happened twice this year; they dropped three out of five against Los Angeles at the beginning of May, and most recently suffered the same fate against San Francisco to close out June, allowing the Seals to pull within 6 1/2 games. But they've already stretched their lead back to 7 1/2, taking two of the first three games in July against Seattle.
While the Seals still have their work cut out for them if they want to make a run at first place, they at least can enjoy having second all to themselves for once, although their lead over Vernon is just one game.
Sacramento remains in last place, but the Solons' right fielder Buddy Ryan was the player of the week, going 9 for 15 with a pair of dingers.
A blockbuster three-team trade was finalized on June 20. The Angels sent pitcher Doc Crandall to Oakland, the Rainers sent outfielder Ross Eldred to Los Angeles, and the Oaks sent shortstop Ray Brubaker to Seattle. Crandall will be asked to anchor an inconsistent Oaks' staff, Eldred will fill the cleanup spot in an Angels' lineup which has had trouble scoring runs, and the slick-fielding Brubaker is expected to help turn a porous Seattle infield into a stingy one.
Portland keeps rolling; they are playing .676 ball and lead the Tigers and Seals by 8 1/2 games. After a 6-1 week, the Angels are back at .500, 3 1/2 games behind Vernon and San Francisco.
It's been a trying season thus far for Sacramento, but Dick Neihaus, a journeyman pitcher who has made stops in St. Louis (N.L.) and Cleveland, has been a revelation. Though nominally a back-end-of-the-rotation starter, Neihaus now leads the league with a miserly 2.12 ERA.
Not much change in the races… Portland leads Vernon by five-and-a-half games, San Francisco trails Vernon by a game; and the rest of the pack is at least five games behind the third-place Seals.
So this week we'll turn the spotlight on some individual performances. Pete Schneider of Vernon continues to amaze; his .433 average is fifty points higher than his teammate Heavy Johnson, who is second in the league at .383.
Syl Johnson of Portland leads the loop in ERA at 2.27, but the real story there is that three of his teammates—Bullet Rogan, Herm Pillette, and Wayne Carr—are in the top five.
Lefty O'Doul of the Seals and Frank Shellenback of the Tigers are tied for the league lead in victories, with nine apiece.
Seattle's George Kelly hit .600 this week (12-20).
Lastly, I don't know if anyone's paying attention to the National or American League races but... Go Tribe!
Well, it was fun while it lasted. The race for the league's best record (and home-field advantage in the Governor's Cup Series) is increasingly looking like no race at all, as the high-flying Portland Beavers, who have won six straight, now lead their closest competitor by six-and-a-half games. The Beavers appear to be the class of the league by a wide margin.
The Vernon Tigers and San Francisco Seals are in a heck of a battle for the other playoff berth, though; the Tigers hold a one-game edge over the Seals after a victory over Oakland on Monday.
Duffy Lewis of Salt Lake City will be out of action for about a month. Duffy's total of 15 home runs is matched only by the New York Yankees' Babe Ruth.
The hottest team in the PCL right now is the Seals, who are on an eleven-game winning streak. They trail league-leading Portland by four games but are tied with Vernon for the second-best record (highly significant in that the second-place team at the end of the season earns a Governor's Cup Series berth). The Beavers are also on a winning streak (six in a row), as are the Tigers (four straight). With all those winning streaks going on, there must be a few losing streaks too, and there are: Seattle has dropped seven straight and Salt Lake City has lost four. Los Angeles lost twelve in a row before beating Oakland on Sunday. Pete Schneider, the former Cincinnati Reds hurler, is enjoying a phenomenal season, having switched from the mound to the outfield. After a 15-for-22 week he has increased his league-leading average to .439.
The Seals roared back into the race with a stunning 5-game sweep of the Angels. San Francisco is now in third place, four games behind Portland and two-and-a-half games behind second-place Vernon. Los Angeles began the week in second place and finished it in the second division. The race for second place (and thus the second playoff berth) has heated up, with six teams separated by three games.
How 'bout them Tigers? The Vernon varmints have won seven straight, catapulting themselves into third place, just a half-game behind crosstown rival Los Angeles and just two games behind league-leading Portland. On May 21, Don Brown of Salt Lake City hit 3 home runs in a game against Seattle. The Bees' home park is beginning to get a bit of a reputation has a homer-friendly facility. Bees' left fielder Duffy Lewis leads the league in round-trippers with 12, four more than runner-up Turkey Stearnes of the Angels, and perhaps more significantly, three more than the American League leader, Babe Ruth.
First-place Portland is on a five-game winning streak, and has increased its lead over Los Angeles to a game and-a-half. The Angels have a three-game winning streak of their own and now hold a game-and-a-half edge over third-place Oakland.
Duffy Lewis of the Salt Lake City Bees had an absolutely insane week, driving in 14 runs. That's over half of his season's total of 27, which now leads the league. Also leading the league are the Portland Beavers (14-9), who hold a 1 game advantage over Los Angeles and San Francisco, with Oakland just a game and a half back.
"It's still early" would be as much an understatement as it is a cliché, but look at that race! Four teams at the top separated by one game, the fifth place team just a game-and-a-half out. Dick Lundy of the Seals is supposed to be a glove man; he's leading the loop in hitting, at a torrid .466 clip. Los Angeles' Turkey Stearnes has joined Portland's Oscar Charleston as the league's co-home run leader with 4 (Stearnes hit all 4 this week).
Week Two is in the books
And the Beavers, at 7-3, remain on top of the heap, albeit mere percentage points ahead of San Francisco. For now, at least, we have a race!
WE HAVE LIFT OFF!
What an entirely not-1921 thing to say. Anachronistic though it may be, it's appropriately triumphant-sounding for a league that was four years in the making (and two years in the re-making). Check it out! Standings even! The pesky Portlands are running away with it already. In case you missed it, a sim schedule has been posted (note the week off after July 31, to encourage and facilitate trade-deadline activity).