The 1947 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers was tied at three games each. Bill Bevens, who had started Game 4 and had taken a no-hitter into the ninth inning only to lose both the no-hitter and the game, was expected to be the Yankees starting pitcher.
Just before the game, manager Bucky Harris scratched Bevens, who had a sore shoulder. It was speculated that Bevens had worked so hard in his no-hit bid that he injured his shoulder.
Frank “Spec” Shea, who had started the fifth game, would pitch on one day’s rest.
Harris explained why Shea was going start. “Frank is young and doesn’t need rest like the older fellows.”
Let’s step back for a moment.
Shea was a 26-year-old rookie right-hander. He started the Series opener, worked five innings and was the winning pitcher. Then Shea started the fifth game on three day’s rest, pitched a complete game four-hitter and now was starting the most important game a team can play with one day of rest.
It was even worse than it seems because Bevens warmed up before the game and under the watchful eye of Harris, it was determined that he wouldn’t be able to start. Shea was informed that he was the starter.
Shea was 14-5 during the season with a 3.07 ERA, but he had suffered a sore arm in August. He “worked out the soreness” during the last month of the season, which allowed him to pitch in the World Series.
There were no MRI’s, no CT scans, almost no x-rays and no steroids in 1947. Pitchers just tried to “work out the soreness.”
Shea was lucky to get to the second inning , Eddie Stanky led off the game with a single. He was caught stealing. Pee Wee Reese walked, Jackie Robinson hit a screeching line drive that right fielder Yogi Berra caught and then Reese was thrown out on an attempted steal to end the inning.
After former Yankee Dixie Walker fouled out to first baseman George McQuinn to start the second, Gene Hermanski tripled, Bruce Edwards singled him home and Carl Furillo singled to move Edwards to second. Shea was gone.
It’s not a good thing to start a pitcher in the seventh game of the World Series on one day’s rest.
But all was not lost, especially not the game. Sore-armed Bevens came in and after giving up a double to Spider Jorgensen that scored Edwards, he retired the side without any more scoring.
Bevens held the Dodgers scoreless for two more innings as the Yankees rallied to take a 3-2 lead into the fifth inning. Joe Page, the Yankees “closer,” replaced Bevens on the mound.
Page pitched five innings of one-hit shut out ball. The Yankees became world champions for the first time since 1943.