Today, we’re at Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field for Game 1 of our second (Simulated) Negro League Wild Card Series – the Newark Eagles versus the Homestead Grays. Newark manager Abe Manley has named Hall of Famer Leon Day as his Game 1 starter, while Homestead manager Vic Harris is countering with Ray Brown. There’s a good crowd in the stands, but the day is damp and overcast with a threat of rain.
With one out in the top of the first, Grays’ center fielder Jerry Benjamin turned in a gem, leaping high with his back to the fence to rob Harry Williams of what looked like a sure home run. The Grays broke through in the bottom of the third on a rare two-base throwing error by Newark third baseman, Hall of Famer Ray Dandridge with pitcher Ray Brown at the plate. Jerry Benjamin then scored Brown with a double down the right field line. After back-to-back ground balls to lead off the inning, Matt Carlisle stroked a single to left. On the next pitch, Homestead manager Vic Harris hit a booming double off the center field wall to score Carlisle, giving Homestead a 2-0 lead.
Hall of Famer Mule Suttles led off by grounding out to short. Thad Christopher then stroked a double in the gap between left and center field. But Brown then got two Hall of Famers – Willie Wells and Ray Dandridge – on a ground out and strikeout. Matt Carlisle answered with a two out double in the bottom of the seventh, but Day got manager Vic Harris on a strikeout. Leon Day gave up a one out double to Rap Dixon. After a fly ball out, Tommie Dukes received an intentional pass. Day then got Jelly Jackson on an infield popup to end the inning.
Although Newark seemed to be making solid contact in the top of the ninth as Ray Brown tried to complete the game, it ultimately came to nothing. Harry Williams led off with a sharp line drive which Matt Carlisle speared for the out. Ed Stone singled and Mule Suttles drew a walk. But Brown got Thad Christopher on another line drive, this time right at Homestead left fielder Vic Harris. Hall of Famer Willie Wells then grounded out to end Game 1.
So one game into our second wild card series, it’s Homestead 1, Newark 0.