Pivotal World Series Plays
Fans Help the Visitors
1903 World Series Game 3: Pittsburgh Pirates @ Boston Americans
Before reading this article, read the story of the overflow crowd for the game ....
The first World Series started with three games at the Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds in Boston. The Pirates won Game 1 7-3, but the Americans evened the Series the next day, 3-0. With Games 4-7 in the Steel City, the Americans wanted badly to win Game 3.
Attendance at Game 1 on Thursday, October 1 was 16,242. Game 2 the next day drew only 9,415. But the Saturday game attracted an official crowd of 18,801 but a much larger throng - estimated to be 25,000 by some observers - descended on the Baseball Grounds and overwhelmed the ticket sellers and ticket takers, forcing their way in and climbing over the walls. It took a small army of policemen to push the overflow crowd off the infield and against the outfield walls and grandstand so that the game could start. The picture below shows the cramped playing field, particularly in center field.
The three umpires and the managers agreed that any fair ball hit into the outfield crowd would be a ground rule double. That decision would have a huge impact on the game and help the visitors more than the home team.

Overflow crowd at Game 3 of the 1903 World Series
Boston player-manager Jimmy Collins started 24-year-old "Long Tom" Hughes, a 6'1" righthander who had won 20 games and lost only seven. Pittsburgh player-manager Fred Clarke decided to go with his ace, 31-year-old Deacon Phillippe, who went 25-9 during the season and pitched a complete game victory in Game 1.

L-R: Jimmy Collins, Tom Hughes, Fred Clarke, Deacon Phillippe
After a scoreless first inning, the Pirates plated a run in the second solely because of the special ground rule. With two outs and none on, 2B Claude Ritchey lofted a fly to left cen­ter field that normally would have been an easy out. But the ball landed a few yards into the crowd for a ground rule double. After RF Jimmy Sebring walked, C Ed Phelps hit a fly that landed among the fans in left field for another double to score Ritchey.

L-R: Claude Ritchey, Jimmy Sebring, Ed Phelps, Candy LaChance
In the bottom of the second, 1B Candy LaChance smashed a two-out drive into the crowd that many thought might have been a triple or even an inside-the-park home run without the fans on the field. But LaChance was stranded at 2nd.
Hughes didn't survive the top of the third. He walked CF Ginger Beaumont on four pitches. Then LF Clarke doubled into the crowd in left field. 3B Tommy Leach singled in Beaumont. With Pittsburgh's star SS Honus Wagner due up, Collins started arguing with the umpire to buy time for a relief pitcher to warm up. The crowd jammed against the grandstand parted, and out walked Boston's beloved ace, Cy Young, who had won 28 and lost nine during the season.
Young had been in the club's office, still in street clothes, helping count the proceeds from the ticket sales.
The Boston Globe reported that "Hughes had the chance of his life to make good, but lost his opportunity in Boston being too sporty." That was an oblique reference to Hughes's gambling, which may have led Collins to suspect that his young hurler was not doing his best. However, another writer had a different take. Hughes became rattled when he saw "those dumpy, illegal hits" drop into the crowd for doubles instead of easy outs.
Young plunked Wagner in the left shoulder with a curve ball to load the bases with none out. Cy almost got out of the jam. He got 1B Kitty Bransfield to foul out. Then Ritchey hit a hard shot to third that Collins fielded and threw to the plate for a forceout. Sebring hit a sharp grounder to SS Freddy Parent, who could only knock it down, allowing Leach to score from third. But Parent spotted Wagner rounding third and caught him in a run­down to end the inning with the Pirates leading 3-1.

L-R: Ginger Beaumont, Tommy Leach, Honus Wagner, Cy Young
As the teams changed sides for the bottom of the fourth, the police managed to push the outfield crowd back another 30'. Many Boston partisans must have thought, If you had done this earlier in the game, the Pirates might not have three runs.
The Americans got a run in the bottom of the fourth on a single, a walk, a groundout that advanced the runners, and a fly to right field.
Neither team threatened again until the eighth. The visitors added to their lead when Wagner doubled into the right-field crowd and came around on a bunt that Young mis­played and an error by Collins. But Boston countered with a run of their own in the bot­tom of the inning. Young led off by grounding out to Wagner on a play that had to be seen to be believed. Cy smacked the ball 15' to the right of the pitcher. Wagner sped from his shortstop position "on the dead run with one hand after making a 30' dive for it, and after nailing it threw Young out with his left hand," his glove hand. Even the partisan Bos­ton fans went wild. "For half a minute the grandstand was a sea of hats and the roar was awful. Thousands in the outfield ... cheered wildly, almost insanely." After a strikeout, Collins doubled and scored on Stahl's single to make the score 4-2.
That was the final score as both teams went out in order in the ninth.
Despite the gloom that descended on the Boston rooters after losing Game 3, the Americans won the best-of-nine series in eight games.