The “Miracle Braves” were in last place on July 4, then won the National League pennant by 10 1⁄2 games. The Braves’ relatively unknown starting trio of pitchers, with a combined career record of 285–245, outperformed the Athletics vaunted rotation (929–654) in all four games. Hank Gowdy hit .545 (6 of 11) with five extra-base hits and also drew five walks for Boston in the series and was the difference maker in Games 1 and 3.
Adding to their supposed disadvantages, the Braves arguably lacked a notable home-field advantage. They had abandoned their 43-year-old home field South End Grounds in August 1914, choosing to rent from the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park while awaiting construction of Braves Field (1915). Thus their home games in this Series were also at Fenway.
This was the first four-game sweep in World Series history. The Cubs had defeated the Tigers four games to none in 1907, but Game 1 had ended in a tie before the Cubs won the next four in a row.
At least one publication, To Every Thing A Season by Bruce Kuklick, has suggested other factors that might have contributed to the sweep, noting that some of the A’s may have been irritated at the penny-pinching ways of their manager/owner Connie Mack and thus did not play hard, and also noting the heavy wagering against Philadelphia placed by entertainer George M. Cohan through bookmaker Sport Sullivan, who was also implicated in the 1919 Black Sox scandal.
Chief Bender and Eddie Plank jumped to the rival Federal League for the 1915 season. Mack unloaded most of his other high-priced stars soon after and, within two years, the A’s achieved the worst winning percentage in modern history (even worse than the 1962 New York Mets or the 2003 Detroit Tigers).
Because the AL had won the last four World Series, including three in the last four years by the A’s, and the fact that the Braves were in last place in July and rose to win the pennant, it was assumed the AL was superior to the NL. The heavily favored A’s with all their hall-of-fame talent were assumed to win as they were the better team on paper.
This attitude was reflected in the team’s case when the pennant was assured in the A’s case, Connie Mack gave star pitcher Chief Bender the week off and told him to scout the Braves personally. Instead Bender took a vacation. When scolded by Mack, he replied: “Why should I check out a bunch of bush league hitters?”