Trivia Question: When was the last time the Red Sox started a season 0-3 at home?
The answer: 1948.
This biog has covered the early struggles of the 1948 Boston Red Sox but this stat points to how those early struggles manifested out of the gate. They also provide some source of optimism for modern day Sox fans who just watched their guys drop three straight to the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway.
The Red Sox started the season on April 19th with a double header against Connie Mack and his Philadelphia Athletics. Massachusetts governor Robert Bradford got the festivities going by throwing out the first pitch. Joe Dobson got the start in the morning game, taking on Phil Marchildon of the Athletics. The Sox jumped out to early 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second on the strength of three straight home runs from Stan Spence, Vern Stephens, and Bobby Doerr. The A’s scored their first run in the 5th after Pete Suder doubled to left to score Sam Chapman and then tied it in the 8th on the strength of RBI doubles from Don White and Hank Majeski. An Eddie Jost single in the 11th put the A’s on top and they would ultimately win the game 5-4.
The afternoon game saw Denny Galehouse of the Sox take the mound against Lou Brissie of the Athletics. Both scored in the third to knot it up at one but the A’s took a definitive lead in 4th after Brissie helped his own cause by scoring Sam Chapman and Buddy Rosar. Eddie Joost immediately followed and scored Pete Suder to third with a fly ball to right. The Red Sox only scored one more and it came in 6th when Ted Williams scored Dom DiMaggio on a single. The A’s won the second game of the day 4-2.
The two teams were scheduled to meet again on the 21st but rain showers forced a delay until the 22nd. Joe Coleman and Dave Ferriss took the mound for the A’s and Sox respectively. The Sox took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the 4th after Ferriss grounded to the first, allowing Bobby Doerr to score. The A’s took the lead in the 7th after George Binks hit an RBI double and then Eddie Joost followed him with an RBI single to left. However, Johnny Pesky scored Dom DiMaggio on an RBI single in the bottom of the inning to tie the game. Mel Parnell came in in the bottom of the 7th to relieve Ferriss. In the top of the 9th, Barney McCosky hit a double to right to score Bob Savage and Eddie Joost to give the A’s a 5-3 lead.
The 1948 Boston Red Sox went on to narrowly miss the World Series but they won 96 games, which would be good enough for at least a wild card in today’s game. Prior to the 1969 season, the World Series was a meeting between the American League and National League team with the best record. There was no playoffs in 1948.
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the 1948 team, led by Ted Williams and anchored by players like Dom DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky, and Vern Stephens were expected to actually compete. The 2021 Red Sox don’t have nearly as lofty of expectations. But hey, no one expected anything in 1967 or 2013, did they?