Friday, January 31, 2014

Scrivens: Certainly Capable, Right?

So, the latest in the never-to-stop (by me?) debate over Bernier-for-Scrivens sees Ben trump anything Mr. Bernier has done so far for the Leafs. And with a record-shattering performance!

Now, a disclaimer: Yes, it was just one game!

No need to get carried away.

But I'm not sure. You know, that was sort of like a no-hitter out there, to borrow a term from baseball. What, I don't write anything about baseball?

In any event, I think this 59-save effort certainly should indicate that Ben Scrivens is a capable goalie. Now that is actually a compliment. Let me give you an example of some capable goalies. They have plenty of fans out there and they'd be on my team in half a heartbeat!

Two of my favourite goalies in the league are Roberto Luongo of the Canucks and Mark Andre Fleury of the Pens. They have much in common, not the least of which was being on the Olympic team in 2010. Both were deserving. Yet, you get the feeling that neither of them is quite an elite goalie. But they are oh-so-close. And I think the same thing of Ben Scrivens. Here's why.

Okay, take a look on youtube for Luongo and Fleury. They've got a bunch of vids out there on both. They make eye-catching saves. But then, they'll have games where you really wonder if their heads are screwed on straight. Goaltending is just on a different scale of mental focus, believe me.

Goaltending in hockey differs greatly from positioned players. The goalie plays the entire game (barring a "hook" because of poor play or an injury) and must focus, focus, focus. Even when there is no shot directed at him, the goalie needs to follow plays, analyse and make mental notes. What does this shooter do? What about skating tendencies? There's just so much involved in goaltending that you and I don't see. Luongo and Fleury, I both believe do this fairly well most of the time. But there is the feeling that Roberto and Mark's focus isn't there enough game in, game out. Judging from their recent playoff performances, you have the feeling the lack of proper focus is being exposed. This is what seperates good goalies from great goalies. The great goalies have it all the time!

But I have seen great focus from both, at least in the regular season. And Fleury in the 2009 playoffs. Luongo almost brought the Cup to Vancouver 2 seasons later. Both Luongo and Fleury play on teams where their eye-catching performances are lost in the on-ice-artistry of the Sedins and the Keslers, the Crosbys and the Malkins. A goal by any one of them has got to be the highlight of the night, right? You're not going to remember the Luongo and Fleury stop!

But there are games when Vancouver and Pittsburgh have just mailed it in, and you know what? They still won. The goalie bailed them out.

Now, this may have been the case for Scrivens in Los Angeles. But I can remember games with Toronto where he played we. Maybe the Leafs didn't win, but he did keep them in there. And yes, there were games where he looked like he was fighting the puck.

But again, here's that word again: Scrivens is capable!

Can he be consistent? I could ask the same question of Luongo and Fleury and get a shoulder shrug! And Luongo will be mentioned again, by the way!

And for you stat lovers out there. Here's a little chart. A little comparison for the rubber that has been directed at goalies in one game since 87/88. Another disclaimer is that Sam Lopresti recorded 80 saves in a 1941 game. I however, am not going to include that for a number of good reasons. Not the least of which is the lack of television, obviously. Do you really think there is no chance that at least a few of those 83 shots (Sam gave up 3 goals and still lost the game) weren't really shots on goal? Exactly!

Since this was a regular season game, I decided to omit any playoff games. Just because this was a 60-minute affair. But I will include OT games.



Date Team Opp OT? Goals Shots S% Goalie
29/01/2014 SJS EDM No 0 59 1.0000 Scrivens
             
26/12/1992 LAK SJS No 2 59 0.9661 Hackett
             
21/03/1991 BOS QUE Yes 3 73 0.9589 Tugnutt
             
31/01/1991 VAN NYR Yes 3 62 0.9516 Richter
             
23/11/2009 TOR NYI Yes 3 61 0.9508 Roloson
             
27/02/2002 DET FLA Yes 3 60 0.9500 Luongo
             
25/10/2008 NYI CAR No 3 60 0.9500 Ward
             
17/03/1993 NYR EDM Yes 3 59 0.9492 Ranford
             
12/03/1989 CHI PIT No 5 62 0.9194 Barrasso
             
28/03/1988 MNS CHI Yes 7 63 0.8889 Mason
             
23/02/1991 CGY QUE No 10 59 0.8305 Cloutier
             
24/02/1990 MTL PIT No 11 61 0.8197 Pietrangelo


References

http://www.hockey-reference.com/

http://www.nhl.com/

Thursday, January 30, 2014

How The White Sox Scored 11 Runs On 1 Hit!

World Series-bound teams always seem to do amazing things that no one else can do that year. That's why they make (and sometimes win) the Fall Classic.

The 1959 Chicago White Sox scored 11 runs on 1 hit in the top of the 7th inning in a game, April 22, 1959. The victims were the Kansas City Athletics.

It was 8-6 Chicago when the fatal inning started. Then all hell broke lose via 1 hit. Poor Kansas pitcher Tom Gorman!

Ray Boone, who had entered the game earlier as a pinch hitter, got the inning started by reaching on an error by shortstop Joe DeMaestri. Then, if you can believe it, Al Smith reached on an error. On an attempt to bunt Boone to second, Smith laid it down on the left side of the infield. Kansas third basemen Hal Smith made a boo boo! Wow! Just let the other team self-destruct, why don't you?

Johnny Callison hit a single to right. And of course, that was the only hit in the inning. It scored Boone. On a bad throw by Roger Maris, Smith also scored. Johnny made it all the way to third. Three straight errors by Kansas. And nobody out!

Luis Aparicio drew a walk off Gorman, who wasn't exactly to blame for all this. Aparicio then stole second and starting pitcher Bob Shaw drew the second walk of the inning off Gorman. But Gorman had allowed just 1 hit, don't forget! But now, with two runs already in, the bases were loaded and there were no outs.

It was pinch hitter Earl Torgeson who Gorman fell behind, which lead to him being yanked in favour of Mark Freeman. Freeman threw the 4th ball to Torgeson, but the BB was credited to Gorman. 3 runs had scored on just 1 hit, 3 walks and 3 errors at this point. It was now 11-6, White Sox.

Nellie Fox drew the 4th walk of the inning to scored another run. Jim Landis then made the first out of the inning when he hit into a force at home. The bases were still loaded, however. The Athletics needed a double play!

They didn't get it, of course, and what the got was more walks. Sherman Lollar drew the 5th walk of the inning to force in another run. George Burnet, who pitched forever, came in to put out the fire. He brought in more gasoline, however. 12-6, Chicago.

Ray Boone, who started this carnage when he reached on an error, walked. That scored another run. As too, did a walk to Al Smith. A nice comfortable 8-run lead! Chicago was not done.

Callison was hit by a pitch to score the 7th Chicago run of the inning and 16th overall in the game. Louis Skizas came in to pinch run. Aparicio drew a walk to score another run. Shaw fanned for the 2nd out of the inning. The White Sox were still not done, however!

Bubba Phillips pinch hit and drew the innings' 9th walk and score Smith. The score was now 18-6 in favour of Chicago.

Nellie Fox drew a walk to score the innings' 11th run. Landis hit a come-backer that Brunet tossed to first to end the inning.

11 runs, 1 hit, 3 errors, 3 men left on base.

Yep, 11 runs in 1 inning on 1 hit. That's baseball for you!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

World Series: Did You Know?

The Big Train then won his first two starts of the 1925 World Series. He almost brought the Senators back-to-back World Series. But it was not quite to be.

Taking the hill in game 1 of the 1925 Fall Classic against Pittsburgh, Walter made sure the Pirates didn't have a chance!

The Washington Senators got a run in the top of the 2nd on a Joe Harris home run. Then the Nats tallied two more in the top of the 5th on a 2-run single by Sam Rice. Pie Traynor then took away Johnson's shutout bid in the bottom of the frame with a 4-bagger. But it was still 3-1, Washington.

But that would be the only run the Bucs got!

Settling down into clutch mode, it was a 1-2-3 6th and 1-2-3 7th for Johnson. In the 8th, the Pirates got a 1-out single. Then they sent pinch hitter Stuffy McInnis to the plate. But The Big Train fanned him and got Eddie Moore to ground out.

In the top of the 9th, the Senators plated another man to make it 4-1. The, in the bottom of the frame, Pittsburgh got two men on when Johnson hit a batter and gave up a single. There was only 1 out, but Johnson retired the next two batters. Johnson had looked so masterful out there: 5 hits, 1 walk, 10 K's!

And Johnson was not done.

In game 3, with the Senators up 2 games to 1 in the Series, Johnson was even better. The Senators scored 4 runs in the bottom of the 3rd. The Pirates' pitchers managed to hold the Nats at bay the rest of the way. But Walter Johnson was just too good here. Johnson gave the Senators' fans a World Series moment they would not soon forget.

He gave up a walk in the top of the first. In the top of the 2nd, it was 2 hits by Pittsburgh. In the 7th, the Bucs got 2 more. They would end the day with 6 hits. But none of them would lead to any scoring and neither did anything else. Johnson, despite only 2 K's this time, had blanked the Pirates. He was 37 years old at the time.

The Senators were up 3-1 in the Series. But it was not quite to be. The Pirates came back and took game 7 away from Johnson and Washington. But the Big Train had pitched nearly 2 shutouts and brought the Senators so much respectability with his pitching.

Monday, January 27, 2014

World Series: Did You Know?

Walter Johnson lost his first two World Series starts.

The Big Train and his Senators finally made it to the Fall Classic in 1924. But John McGraw's New York Giants were ready to pounce on anyone. For a while, it was a question of whether Washington could finally win a World Series and if Walter Johnson could win one crummy game!

Having given their cross town rivals The Yankees all they could handle in 1921, '22 and '23, here the Giants were again. Walter Johnson seemed to be a little less than overpowering in his first two outing of this Fall Classic. Here's someone who drove fear into men like Ty Cobb, Shoeless Joe Jackson and even Babe Ruth. Now on the big stage, Johnson seemed to be unable to be up to the task!

Johnson didn't pitch too badly in game 1. But it was Art Neft who opposed him. Neft just had a knack for being clutch in the World Series.

In any event, the Giants quickly build and early 2-0 lead. Washington rallied with single tallies in the bottom of the 6th and 9th. The Sens were lucky to get that second run because they were 2 outs away from losing. But a clutch hit by Roger Peckinpaugh tied the game.

The game went to the 12th inning. There, 3 hits and 2 walks gave Neft a 4-2 lead. Washington scored once in the bottom of the frame, but lost 4-3. Johnson gave up 14 hits and 6 walks in 12 innings. He also fanned 10.

New York and Washington alternated victories in the first four games. And with the Series tied at 2, Johnson took the hill in the crucial game 5. The Series lead was at stake!

And Johnson came up short again!

He managed to go the distance, but gave up 13 hits, 6 runs and 2 walks. Only 4 of the runs were earned, but Johnson only managed to K only 3 batters. Something was wrong here. Washington lost, 6-2. The Giants were once again being, the Giants when it came to the World Series.

But the Nationals dug deep and won a narrow game 6, 2-1 over Neft. It was on to game 7. Johnson did not start.

The Senators, at home, trailed 3-2 in the bottom of the 8th when Bucky Harris tied it with a clutch hit. Walter Johnson took the hill in the 9th. He almost lost it right there!

The Giants got runners to second and third before the Big Train dug down deep and ended that. New York got the leadoff man on in the 10th before a strikeout and double play ended the danger. The Giants also got a runner on in the 11th before The Big Train came through. Again, in the 12th, it was a hit by the Giants' Irish Meusel that looked like trouble. But once again, the ageless Johnson escaped. The Sens also seemed to be unable to score all awhile. So close! Would Walter and Washington be denied?

In the bottom of the frame, two Senator doubles and two costly Giant errors brought to an end one of the most exciting World Series games and Series. Johnson finally had his first World Series win. Johnson had gone 4 innings, given up 3 hits and 3 walks (5 K's), but ended up the winning pitcher. The Big Train had finally brought the Washington Senators to the promised land!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

World Series: Did You Know?

The Pittsburgh Pirates actually out-hit the Yankees in game 1 of the 1927 World Series. Were the Yankees of that year not that good?

Well, they were. But it was as if the Pirates weren't scared of them. At least in game 1. The Pirates sure put on a brave fight at home.

After Lou Gehrig cashed in Babe Ruth with a triple to open the scoring in the top of the first, the Bucs came right back! Waite Hoyt hit leadoff hitter Lloyd Waner. His brother Paul hit a double. A sac fly scored Lloyd and squared things at 1.

The Yankees erupted in the top of  the 3rd. An error, a single by Ruth and a walk to Gehrig, would start a 3-run inning that had to have the Pirates thinking reality here: no chance against New York!

But the Pirates were quick to answer in the bottom of the third, as starting pitcher Ray Kremer got things going with a double. Paul Waner then hit a single to score him. It was still 4-2, Yankees however.

The Yankees would make it 5-2 in the top of the 5th as Matt Koenig hit a double, Ruth grounded out and Gehrig hit a sacrifice fly of his own. The Pirates would need a miracle to come back. They almost got it!

In the bottom of the inning, with one out, Pittsburgh got 3 straight hits and a run to make it only 5-3, Yankees. The Pirates then had runners on the corners but could do no more.

The Pirates went 1-2-3 in the next two innings, but the Yankees did not score in the 6th, 7th or 8th inning. Actually, the Yankees would not touch home in this game again. But the Pirates sure did!

In the bottom of the 8th, three more singles led to another Pirate run and ran the Bucs hit total to 9. Now it was only 5-4, New York! The Pirates again had runners on the corners. But this time the tying run was 90 feet away and the winning run needed only a double. But Wilcy Moore, the Yankees bullpen ace, got Earl Smith to ground out to first. Both teams would be retired in order in the next inning. The Yankees managed only 6 hits in total on this afternoon.

The 1927 Yankees, one of the greatest baseball teams ever, had won this close game and were on their way to a sweep. But even great teams can be out-hit and still win. That's baseball for you!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

World Series: Did You Know?

Ruth isn't the only player with good timing in the 1920s. Stuffy McInnis had some good timing during his stay on teams in both leagues. In doing so, he became the first player to win a World Series in both!

He only played in 38 games for the 1910 Philadelphia A's, and didn't appear in the World Series as the Athletics won. The next year, though, he appeared in 126 games, batted .321, knocked in 77 runs, and was there in October as Philly took home the Fall Classic for the second straight year.

McIinnis seemed to lack a great World Series performance, though. He appeared in just 1 game in the 1911 Fall Classic and never got to bat. In 1913, the A's won the World Series again, having missed out on a three-peat in 1912. Stuffy batted just .118 in the 5 game stanza. When the Athletics made it back in 1914, they lost. McInnis batted just .143 in the 1914 World Series.

On Stuffy McInnis went to the Boston Red Sox in 1918. Here, Stuffy batted .250 and knocked in just 1 run. But he got another ring. It seemed to be his last as McInnis went from Boston to Cleveland to Boston (NL) in the 1920s. He continued to put up good numbers, hitting over .300 four times.

But then Stuffy found his way to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1925. And it was good timing! They made the World Series. In game 1 against Washington, McInnis batted once in the bottom of the 8th. Facing the Senators' Walter Johnson as a pinch hitter, he fanned. He also had plenty of company as The Big Train had a total of 10 in the game. The Pirates lost.

The Pirates also lost 3 of the first 4 games. They looked down and out, and McInnis didn't play in any of them. But he was back in game 5.

He managed to get a hit in 5 trips to the plate. The hit drove in a valuable insurance run as the Pirates were clinging to a one-run lead at the time. The Pirates managed to win that game.

The also won the next game, but Stuffy failed to get a hit. Game 7 would be Walter Johnson on the hill for the Senators. McInnis would play.

Stuffy picked up 2 hits that did not fare into the scoring. But with a 9-7 win, the Pittsbrurgh Pirates were the World Series winners for 1925. McInnis became the first player to win a World Series with a team from both leagues!

Friday, January 24, 2014

World Series: Did You Know?

The 1923 World Series was the first one Babe Ruth won as an exclusive positioned player! And right now, the watch from that series is going to be auctioned!

The Babe was coming off back-to-back Fall Classic setbacks in 1921 and 1922 to the rival Giants. In the 1915 World Series, The Babe appeared in just one game, but the Boston Red Sox won it anway. The next year, it was just a single mound appearance. Again, a Red Sox World Series win. It was a little better in 1918, as he appeared in 3 games, including the clincher as a defensive replacement. Boston won, but they would not win another World Series for 86 years!

That's because it was off to New York for Babe Ruth, where a pair of losses in the early 1920s must have put a littler damper on The Bambino. Was this bad timing? 1923 would be different. And Ruth made sure of it.

It was the third straight Subway Series.

Ruth got a triple and scored a run in game 1, but like the previous World Series, the Yankees came up short by a single run.

However, in game 2 against the Giant's Hugh McQuillan, Ruth helped the Yankees tie the Series. After the Yankees' Aaron Ward and the Giants' Irish Meusel traded home runs in the 2nd inning, it was Ruth up to the plate to lead off the top of the 4th. The Babe would take McQuillan deep to right on a tremendous blast. 2-1, Yankees.

Great plays from great players inspire. And the Yankees were inspired as they tacked on another run that inning to make it a 3-1, Yankee lead in this Fall Classic.

Ruth was not done. The very next inning, he came to bat against Giants' reliever Jack Bentley. Again, Ruth went deep to right. Another big blast. The Yankees went on to win, 4-2 and square the series at a win apiece.

In game 3, however, the Giants' Art Neft shutout the Yankees, 1-0. Neft, a clutch Fall Classic performer of his time (Think Bob Gibson), tamed the Yankees on just 6 hits and 3 walks. Art was careful with Ruth in this game, however. He walked him twice after Ruth connected for a first-inning single! The Babe was putting fear into the Giants in this series. In any event,  the Giants were back up, 2 games to 1.

But again, the Yankees tied it. In game 4, the Bronx Bombers used a 6-run uprising in the top of the 2nd to put the game out of reach, right there. Babe Ruth, for the second straight game, had just a hit and two walks (plus he fanned twice), but he scored two runs. The Yankees won this game handily, 8-4. Series tied at 2.

In game 5, once again the Yankees scored 8 times, but this time the Giants only scored a single tally. For the third straight game, The Babe had just 1 hit. But for the second straight game, he scored 2 runs. The Yankees were now just one win away from a World Series crown!

Neft tried to extend the series to a 7th game. And he almost did that. Keeping the Yankee hitters off-balance with some good stuff, he took a 4-1 Giant lead into the top of the 8th. But guess how the Bronx Bombers' got that one run? Why, a Babe Ruth home run, of course!

Neft was humming along with a 2-hitter though 7 innings. But in the 8th, the Bombers scored 5 times off Neft and reliever Rosy Ryan. Ruth was not a part of this (in fact, he fanned against Ryan) but the Yankees now had a 6-4 lead. There was no further scoring from either New York team.

Babe Ruth had played in all 6 games of the 1923 World Series. He played right field except for some time at first in game 3. In the 6 games he batted .368, hit 3 home runs (tops in the tournament), scored 8 runs (tops) and walked 8 times (first). And those three home runs were very timely, which is symbolic of his watch from his first New York triumph going on the block right now!

World Series: Did You Know?

Game 2 of the 1922 World Series was the last "tie" game in the Fall Classic. A tie in the World Series?


And, yes, Babe Ruth played in it.

In the first ever Subway Series (involving New York teams) in 1921, it was the Giants' prevailing. They would again meet their cross-town rivals the Yankees the next year. And again, the World Series was held in it's entirely in the Polo Grounds. But things would be different this time.

The New York Giants swept the Yankees. Well, sort of. There was game 2 of the Series, which made it a 5 game affair!

The Series itself was actually quite close, as the winning margin was no more than two runs in any of the games. The Giants just seemed to have the answers and the pitching. Having said that, the Yankees' pitching was far from shabby in this Series.

After dropping a tough 3-2 decision in the opener, the Bronx Bombers went out to square things up in game 2. It didn't quite happen, but they did manage to avoid a loss! And what a pitcher's duel this gem of a game was!

It was the Giants' Jesse Barnes vs. the Yankees' Bob Shawkey. These two men were destined to go the distance on this day. And the distance was past the 9th inning!

The Giants scored three times in the top of the first on a 3-run dinger by Irish Meusel. But the Yankees came right back with a run in the bottom of the frame. Joe Dugan reached on an error. It was a bad throwing error and Joe made it to second. After Babe Ruth grounded out, Wally Pipp cashed Dugan in with a single. Both pitchers were about to settle down, however.

Shawkey would allow just 5 hits and no runs over the course of the next 9 innings. Barnes didn't quite do that, as the Yankees came at him with everything they had. They had to win this game, you know!

Barnes had a 1-2-3 2nd. In the 3rd inning, Jesse gave up a double to Dugan and a walk to Ruth. The Yankees, however, failed to score. Barnes then got the first two batters out in the bottom of the 4th, but a home run by Aaron Ward. Ward had hit just 7 in the regular season that year. The Yankees were within a run!

Dugan got still another hit in the bottom of the 5th, but Jesse retired Babe Ruth to end the inning. In the 6th, Jesse walked Bob Meusel, but got out of that with no damage. Then came the 7th.

Barnes retired Dugan to lead it off, but then The Bambino went the other way for a 2-bagger. Wally Pipp became the second out on a booming fly to center. But another double, this by Meusel, scored Ruth and tied the game. The Babe didn't have to go yard to hurt you, as the Giants had found out.

In the bottom of the 9th, the Yankees seemed poised to win it, right then, right there. Singles by Everett Scott and Whitey Witt meant a single would win it. Red-hot Joe Dugan was up, with Babe Ruth on deck! But all Dugan could do was K!

With the game now in extras, the Giants went quietly against Shawkey, who was just humming along on a day that seemed made for him. Could the Yankees take it in the bottom of the 10th?

Not so. Ruth fouled out to the catcher, Wally Pipp grounded out. Bob Meusel then fouled out to the catcher, as well. Darkness had descended on the Polo Grounds. The game was called.

The Yankees lost the next three games, and the Giants sort of had the sweep. But this would be the last tie game in the World Series. Somehow, a memorable pitcher's duel and Babe Ruth made it okay for a tie game.

Not that it would ever happen again in the World Series.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

World Series: Did You Know?

The 1959 and 1960 World Series have little in common on the surface. But in reality, they actually have a few things in common.

In both series, the National League team won the Fall Classic. The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago 
White Sox in 1959. The following year, it was the Pittsburgh Pirates with a huge upset over the New York Yankees. The difference was that it took Dodgers six games and the Pirates 7.

In both series, the American League team scored more runs despite losing. The American League team also tossed 2 shutouts. The difference is that Whitey Ford tossed both for the Yankees, while the White Sox got them both from a 2-pitcher effort.

In both series, the losing team actually scored more runs than the winning team. The difference was the Yankees outscored the Pirates by a wide margin, 55-27. The White Sox only outscored the Dodgers 23-21.

In both series, it was Clem Labine who pitched for the winning team. The difference was Clem only tossed 1 inning over 1 game in 1959. In 1960, he appeared in 3 games. Labine was routed by the Yankees, as he gave up 13 hits in 4 innings for an ERA of 13.50.

In both series, the winning team walked more batters than the losing team. Again, the difference lies in the margin. The Dodgers’ pitchers issued 20 walks to the White Sox’s 12. The Pirates’ pitchers missed the plate 4 times to a batter 18 times to the Yankees’ 12.

As you can tell, the losing team in both series walked 12 batters.

In both series, the losing teams also got a superb performance by a unlikely source. Ted Kluszewski of the White Sox, who battled injuries and was past his prime, hit .391 with 3 home runs and 10 RBIs in only 6 games. Bobby Richardson of the Yankees hit .367 with a grand slam and 12 RBIs. The difference was that Richardson received the MVP and Kluszewksi didn’t (Larry Sherry won it in 1959).

In both series, the winning team got a great performance from a relief pitcher. Larry Sherry was 2-0 with 2 saves. Elroy Face was 0-0, but set a World Series record with 3 saves in the Series. Face would have been the winning pitcher in game 7 had the Pirates not let the Yankees score twice in the top of the 9th. So both pitchers could have had a hand in all 4 of their teams’ wins.

In both series, the losing manager appeared in the World Series for the last time. The difference was the success of both managers. Casey Stengel of the Yankees had won 7 World Series and 10 pennants, while Al Lopez had won 0 World Series and 2 pennants.

But, both managers were on the pennant winning teams for all AL teams appearing in the World Series in the 1950s (Lopez managed the 1954 Cleveland Indians).

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

World Series: Did You Know?

Luis Tiant not only pitched a 5-hitter in game 1 of the 1975 World Series, but he also started the winning rally!

Quite an accomplishment when you consider he hadn't batted much the past 3 seasons. The Boston Red Sox hurler, who was an enormous fan favourite, had a lot going against him in game 1. Not the least of which was the Big Red Machine facing him!

Luis had batted once in 1975, under some unusual circumstances. For those unaware, if the designated hitter ever takes to the field to replace a player, the DH is abolished for the rest of the game by that team.

On July 12, Boston faced Texas. In the top of the 8th, Cecil Cooper (the Red Sox's starting DH) replaced veteran Carl Yastrzemski at first base. So Tiant was forced into that game. In the bottom of the inning, Tiant managed to get the bat on the ball and fly out. But hitting in the World Series would be even harder!

The Red Sox seemed to have Cincinnati's Don Gullett on the ropes early in the opening tilt. In the bottom of the 1st, the Red got two singles and a walk, but Dwight Evans was thrown out at home trying to score on a single by rookie sensation Fred Lynn.

Gullett then proceeded to give up a single and a walk to start the bottom of the 2nd. Then he settled down and got the next three men out. Tiant himself went down on a strikeout.

The Red Sox were retired 1-2-3 by Don in the top of the 3rd. In the 4th, Boston scratched out a single, but nothing more.

Luis managed to draw a walk in his next at bat in the bottom of the 5th. Then, a single by Denny Doyle gave the Sox a little hope. But Yastrzemski grounded out to end the inning.

In the bottom of the 6th, Boston loaded the bases with just one out. But Fred Lynn was out at home attempting to score on a flyball.

Tiant came up in the bottom of 7th, trying to start a rally. Amazingly, he did just that!

Hitting a leadoff single, Tiant came around to score on a single by Yaz. The Red Sox didn't exactly stop there. The scored off Gullett and two Red relievers. Six runs had scored by the time Tiant was retired to end the uprising.

Tiant also kept Cincy off the scoresheet, finishing with a complete game 5-hitter. 6-0 was the final score.

But Tiant was simply doing it all on this day. He personally scored more runs than the entire Reds team!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

World Series: Did You Know?

Al Weis' home run in game 5 of the 1969 World Series was the only one he ever hit a home during his career. Another reason to call the New York Mets, the Miracle Mets

Weis seemed, next to the pitcher, to be the least likely candidate to hit a home run in that World Series. At least, the least likely Met. He wasn't an everyday player and just a utility infielder. But he still hit long balls in the regular season, which was more than Bud Harrelson and Wayne Garrett.

But the Mets dropped the opener to Baltimore on the road.

The Mets squeeked by in game 2 to square the series. In game 3 (at home), it was a 5-0 Mets final, but New York needed two spectacular catches by Tommie Agee in centerfield to stop the O's from making a game of it. In game 4, it was Ron Swoboda in rightfield with a great catch off Brooks Robinson to help the Mets win it 2-1. Up 3-1 in the Fall Classic, New York put the champagne on ice with a win in game 5. And it was right there in New York!

But in game 5, it was the Orioles who were out to put a stop to this nonsense. In the top of the third, it was Baltimore's Dave McNally (the pitcher) who went yard for a 2-run shot off New York's Jerry Koosman. Before the Mets could recover, Frank Robinson hit one of his own. 3-0, Orioles. Were the Miracle Mets out of miracles?

Fate, as was often the case for the Mets of this year, intervened in the bottom of the 6th. Shoe polish on ball revealed McNally had actually hit Cleon Jones. Don Clendenon then hit a 2-run home run of his own. The New York Mets were right back in it!

Weis led off the bottom of the 7th inning. It was time for his only home run at Shea Stadium, or any home ballpark he played at. Belting a McNally offering, Weiss turned a Mets team that looked down an out, into one that was up and at 'em.

In the very next inning it was two hits by the Mets, and two errors by the Orioles, that made it 5-3, New York. The Orioles got a man on in the 9th inning before Koosman retired Davey Johnson on a long fly. The Mets had pulled it off!

1969 was certainly an amazing year. The summer of Woodstock. Man on the moon. But yours truly thinks not about that when I think of that year. It's the Mets taking it all a mere 8 years into their franchise existence. One things for sure, I don't like their chances of winning if the Orioles took it back to Baltimore for games 6 and 7.

But the Mets had a Weis guy to take care of that problem!

Monday, January 20, 2014

World Series: Did You Know?

Mickey Lolich's home run in game 2 of the 1968 World Series was the only home run he ever hit.

Lolich, being on the 1968 Tigers, had good numbers (17-9, 3.19), but that paled in comparison to Denny McLain's 31 wins. But McLain lost game 1 to St. Louis' Bob Gibson, who fanned 17. Denny also lost game 4 of the Fall Classic. It was really all up to just Lolich in this post season tussle!

Lolich knotted things at 1 with a superb performance in game 2. Mickey gave up just 6 hits and 2 walks while fanning 9. The Detroit Tigers won easily, 8-1. And then there was Lolich's bat!

With Detroit ahead 1-0 in the top of the third, Lolich faced Nelson Briles. He hit his first (and only) home run to put the Tigers up 2-0. That was all Mickey needed. But Mickey wasn't done pitching or hitting. He fanned against reliever Steve Carlton in the top of the 6th. But in the 8th against Ron Willis, Mickey got his second hit of the game with a single to center. The Tigers stranded him.

Lolich would be the last American League pitcher to get two hits in a game until game 2 of the 1992 World Series. David Cone had two hits in that game for the Toronto Blue Jays, none of them for extra bases.

Lolich wasn't done pitching or hitting in this series.

The Cardinals won the next two games to put the Tigers down 3 games to 1. In game 5, they scored 3 early runs against Mickey. Mickey settled down, but the Tigers needed offence from everyone. And everyone included Mickey himself!

Again he faced Briles. In the bottom of the third, Mickey fanned. The Tigers scored twice in the 4th to pull to within a run of the Cards. But Mickey would also strike out in the bottom of the 6th.

But in the next inning, with one out, he singled and eventually scored the tying run on a 2-run single by Al Kaline. Dick McAuliffe would come in right behind Mickey. The Tigers then added an insurance run. Lolich had to snuff out a St. Louis uprising in the top of the 9th to keep the Tigers alive.

The Tigers won game 6 (behind a rejuvinated McLain) as well to send the series to a deciding 7th game. It was Lolich (2-0) vs. Gibson (2-0). And it was in St. Louis.

Mickey defused what could have been a huge inning for St. Louis by picking off both Lou Brock and Curt Flood in the top of the 6th. At bat, Lolich fanned against Gibby in the 3rd. In the 6th, he grounded out.

The Tigers broke a scoreless deadlock open with three runs in the top of the 7th. In the 9th, Detroit scored another run off Gibson before Lolich batted again. Lolich was the third out of the inning as he popped out.

Lolich retired the first two men to face him in the bottom of the 9th. But Mike Shannon rocked on of Mickey's pitches to deep left for a home run. The shutout was gone. But when Tim McCarver popped out, the Tigers were World Series Champions.

Mickey Lolich walked away with the MVP for his pitching. And his hitting was pretty good too, eh?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Violence In Hockey: How To Try And Make Sense Of It!

Amazing that a Leafs / Habs game would get trumped by another game involving two Canadian teams.

I'm not going to bother going too much into it, but what you saw last night between Vancouver and Calgary may have been coming from a long ways away.

Vancouver was 23-11-6 on December 29. They beat Calgary that night for a 3-game winning streak. All was looking rosy. But then they proceeded to win one of their next nine games. Something had to be done.

The Flames were coming into last night's action with a total of 3 wins in their last 16 games. Something had to be done.

And I'm not about to get into a finger-pointing game here, because then you will not read the rest of the blog. Once someone's credibility has been lost, you don't read much more. But the point is, both teams had their 4th line out there. You actually don't have to be a hockey fan to know when the 4th line is out for both teams: all you have to do is be unable to identify all the players out there sans the goalies!

The truth is, though, both teams were ready to go at it because both teams were frustrated. See, a huge hockey fight is a welcome distraction from the rest of the game for both teams. The final score is not important any more. Rather, it's a sign of a team coming together and making a stand. Statement game. Bonding. What was the final score in that game, anyway? Anyone here know the final score in the game where Pat Quinn hit Bobby Orr and Forbes Kennedy took on the world?

At least, that's what you will hear. Do I agree with it? Yes and no, to be honest with you. Hockey is just so much more popular right now then when I was a kid. There was a Leaf game televised on Monday. Then Wednesday (on TSN, which was the only all-sports channel in Canada at the time) and finally, on Saturday on Hockey Night In Canada. It just isn't like that anymore.

LeafsTV, Sportsnet, Sportsnet East, Sportsnet West, TSN2, you name it. You can't get away from a hockey broadcast if you try. You're a team on a losing streak? It's all over the place! You're a hockey player? Great! You get reminded (read, "Shoved down your throat!") of it in the two or three days off. You get called names by your fan base. You've got to go out and do something.

This is where fighting comes in to play.

You just don't want to be missing the playoffs, or on the verge of it.

Toronto with that collapse against the Bruins last year. What have they become this year? If you count exhibition games, the Leafs have been involved in 55 fights so far this year (Jan 19th). Vancouver, trying to get back to the success they had in 2011, is 3rd with 51 fights. Ottawa, playing better now and trying to keep the ball rolling is 5th with 45. Even Calgary is 9th with 39. These teams are built tough!

But all of those teams I mentioned were either struggling or are struggling. But the theory of hockey is this: fighting is a building block in the game!

You may not win the game, but you showed heart. You cared. You've got grit. You won't let the opposition push you around. Even if, again, you lose the game, a coach will be happy with all that. At least, in theory.

And that's the other thing if you are a hockey coach. You've got to get the players to be better than they really are. Backcheck, forecheck, paycheck, right? Well, yes. But also, you need your players to be on the same page. Gotta stick up for a teammate. Gotta be ready to dish it out. That's what I've read. The theory of hockey violence, again.

So that is what happened last night. Oh, Tortorella? He has to be a bit peeved about his team's performances in recent games. Were they not blown out 9-1 by Anaheim on the 15h? He's mad that his team has been "mailing it in" the last little bit. So he, too, is making a statement.

Gilles Gilbert: Overlooked And Forgotten By Too Many

You have all seen the clip of Lafleur getting that goal against the Bruins.


You have all seen Orr getting hauled down and getting the pass off behind his back for a goal (Johnny Bucyk actually scored the goal, by the way) against Minnesota.

You have all seen the clip of Beliveau's 500th goal against Minny.

You have all seen Rick McLeish get that goal that he tipped in against the Bruins.

Who was the goalie on all those? Why Gilles Gilbert, of course. Yes, that Lafleur goal was not against Cheevers.

Add to that Rick Vaive's 50th in 1983, and Gilly seems to be at the wrong place at the wrong time when it comes to hockey history. But the irony is, he usually played about as good as the masked man standing 200 feet away from him. Think Bernie Parent of the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1974 Stanley Cup finals vs. Gilbert and the Bruins. Cheevers was off in the WHA, so Boston was left with Gilles Gilbert. Did Gilly play that badly?

In game 1, Gilbert played quite well, but Boston almost let the underdog Flyers win the game. Behind 2-0, Philadelphia came back to tie it. Then they nearly won it when they hit the crossbar behind Gilbert. Bobby Orr scored the game winner with less than a minute to go. Nobody remembers Gilly's fine game.

Gilly was also fine in game 2, and again the Bruins took a 2-0 lead. Gilbert allowed an early goal in the second period by Bobby Clarke. But the goal itself was a tip-in of a high shot. Gilbert did not have a chance.

And after that, Gilbert matched Parent save for save. The Flyers tied it on a goal by Moose Dupont with less than a minute left after pulling Parent. Gilles Gilbert was screened on that. What can you do?

In overtime, Gilbert made the save of the game when he stopped Terry Crisp (not quite the coach, yet) when Terry was on the doorstep. Parent also made a fine save on a breakaway. Bobby Clarke would win the game a little past the 12th minute of OT.

Gilbert did have a bit of an off-game in game 3. But he was not alone as the Bruins just didn't seem to have it. Boston scored just 1 goal to the Flyers' 4.

In game 4, Philadelphia took an early 2-0 lead. But 2-0 leads never seemed to mean much in this series, and the Boston Bruins proved that again. They quickly erased it, tying the game before the first period was half over. Parent and Gilbert than raged a ferocious duel, as both goaltenders knew the next goal would be huge in this series. The second period proved that as Gilly stopped all nine shots his away and Parent eight himself.

The Flyers broke through with 2 goals in the third to wrap it up and put the Bruins behind 3-1 in the series. What could Boston do to come back and win this series? Gilbert would have to play well.

He sure did in game 5. So, too, did Bobby Orr. Parent? Not quite. Boston rammed 5 goals behind him and Philadelphia could only answer with a single tally. The Flyers would have to win game 6 at home or come back to Boston for game 7. The Flyers had won 2 games in their history in Boston. One of them had been game 2 of this series. The odds didn't seem in Philly's favour here.

In game 6, Boston came out and peppered Parent as they had in game 5. The shots were 16-7 at one point. It seemed like the momentum from game 5 had carried over to this game. But on a 4 on 3 powerplay (with Bobby Orr and Bobby Clarke in the penalty box following a scuffle in front of Gilly), Rick MacLeish tipped home Moose Dupont harmless looking point shot.

Here, Gilly matched Parent the rest of the way. He made several key stops. But it seemed like the Bruins weren't as good in the second and third period as they had in th first. Boston had several chances to tie it, but Parent got in the way. A penalty to Bobby Orr (and it's a debatable one, trust me) ended the Bruins' hope of a comeback. Parent and the Flyers won, 1-0. Parent got the Conn Smythe award as the Most Valuable Player of the 1974 playoffs. Who was the goalie for the Bruins? Oh!

And two seasons later, is now the right time to bring up that Gilbert won 17 straight from December 26, 1975 to March 5, 1976? That's an NHL record that still stands. Bobby Orr was hurt that year and did not play in any of those games (And sadly, would never again play for the Bruins). Gilbert was not in goal when Darryl Sittler got six goals and ten points on February 7, 1976.

In 1979, The Boston Bruins were actually the underdogs against the Mighty Montreal Canadians. This was not the final, but rather the semi-finals. But the favoured New York Islanders had lost to their rivals, the Rangers in the semi-finals. So whoever won the Boston / Montreal matchup was going to win the Stanley Cup. This series was going 7, although most people had the Canadians winning it in 6 or less games. The year before, it was the Habs over the Bruins in the Stanley Cup finals in six games. Gerry Cheevers was back in net for Boston (having come back in 1975/76) and lost the first two games to put the Cubs in an early 2-0 hole. How would this series go 6? Cheevers, too, didn't play that bad. But anything less that spectacular isn't going to be enough against this team. The Habs were going for their 4th straight Stanley Cup and 6th overall of the 1970s.

Gilbert came in to play game 3, and turned the series in the Bruins favour by stopping the Habs the next 2 games. The two teams then split games 5 and 6. Winner-take-all game 7 in Montreal!

And Gilly was hot. So hot that Danny Gallivan, the famed Hockey Night In Canada broadcaster, remarked that Gilbert reminded him "of the time Johnny Bower beat the Habs personally in 1964." Now that is praise!

Boston took a 3-1 lead into the third period. But a pair of spectacular assists by Guy Lafleur tied it. As you can see, Lafleur was tough to stop on this night. However, Rick Middleton's goal at 16:01 seemed to spell the end of the Canadians.

But, as we all know, Boston put too many men on the ice. At this point, I should point out that the Bruins were coached by someone named Don Cherry. What more do I need to say about him?

So Lafleur tied it with his majestic, never-to-be-forgotten goal. But, really, Gilly had no chance. There was only 74 seconds to play in the game. While Lafleur was certainly known for this speed on skates, that one-timer slapshot was as hard as I have ever seen.



On his next shift, Lafleur again beat Gilly with a long shot, but it went wide. The game and the series would be decided in OT.

Ken Dryden, the Habs' goalie, made a super save early in overtime off Boston's Don Marcotte. And then the Habs really turned it on!

If not for Gilbert, the series would have ended a lot sooner. Lafleur continued to have trouble getting off the shot he wanted. His accuracy seemed lost!

Taking a nice pass from Doug Risebrough, Lafleur one-timed it again. But it missed the net. Mario Tremblay came on to the ice the next shift and fed the puck in front. But no Canadian player could get this thing home!


When the Lafleur line came back on, it was Steve Shutt who got a shot away from a sharp angle. The puck was lose for a bit. Again, no Montreal player could do a thing with it.

The Habs won the draw to Gilbert's left and the puck came to Lafleur. He managed to get away a backhand that went wide. But later that shift, Lafleur got a shot off that was deflected by Jacques Lemaire. But Gilly was equal to the task.

Marcotte proceeded to almost win the game for the Bruins with a deflection of his own. Then Lafleur, on another rush, fanned on it. But the result was a knuckleball of sorts that that Gilles had to be careful with. Gilbert made the glove save.

After Dryden made an easy stop, Montreal almost won the game when a pass from Mario Tremblay centred to Yvon Lambert. But Lambert tipped it wide.

Lafleur's next shift saw him make a nice long pass to Shutt, who took a long shot that Gilbert made an easy save on. Lambert came off the bench and missed with a shot. Rejan Houle tried a turnaround shot that Gilly again made an easy save on.

Finally, Tremblay centred the puck and Lambert got the disk behind Gilbert.

A tough way to lose. But should that take away from Gilly's fine performace in this game, and in this series? I don't think so. A goalie is used by the coach in situations like these because of the belief that he will make the team better. Whether he wins or not, often the team has done as well as it can because the goalie gave them a chance to win. In 1974 and 1979, Gilles Gilbert gave the Boston Bruins a great chance to win, it's just they came up a little short.

No one should be forgotten for that.


The information used herein was obtained free of charge from and is copyrighted by The Hockey Summary Project. For more information about the Hockey Summary Project please visit:

http://hsp.flyershistory.com

or

http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/hockey_summary_project/


References

Diamond, Dan. Total NHL. Toronto: Dan Diamond And Associates, 2003. Print.

Diamond, Dan. Total Stanley Cup: An Official Publication Of The National Hockey League. Toronto: Published in Canada by Total Sports Canada, 2000. Print.

Fischler, Stan. The All-New Hockey's 100. Scarborough: McGraw-Hill Ryerson Limited. 1988. Print

Hughes, Morgan, Fischler Stan, Fischler Shirley, Joseph Romain, and James Duplacey. Hockey Chronicle: Year-By-Year History Of The National Hockey League. Lincolnwood: Publications International, 2007. Print.

Irvin, Dick. My 26 Stanley Cups: Memories of a Hockey Life. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2001. Print.

Weekes, Don, and Kerry Banks. Hockey's Top 100: The Game's Greatest Goals. Vancouver: Greystone, 2010. Print.

Weekes, Don, and Kerry Banks. Hockey's Top 100: The Game's Greatest Records. Vancouver: Greystone, 2008. Print.

Official Site of the National Hockey League." NHL.com. VISA. Web. 19 Jan. 2016. <https://www.nhl.com>

Sports Reference LLC. Hockey-Reference.com - Hockey Statistics and History. http://www.hockey-reference.com/. Web. 19 Jan. 2014.

Hockey Summary Project. 10 Jan. 2001. Web. 19 Jan. 2016. <http://hsp.flyershistory.com>

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Bernier And Scrivens: Now What?

I was surprised when the Kings traded Ben Scrivens to the Oilers for Double-D, Devan Dubnyk. I guess this is going to make the off-season trade of Jonathan Bernier for Scrivens all the more interesting. Life throws more than hockey pucks at you, I guess. Scrivens will be seeing as many if not more than Bernier for what could be forever.

In an event, I can't help but wonder if the rise of Martin Jones had anything to do with this. My gut feeling is "no", but remember when I said that we hadn't seen the last of him? I can safely say the other Jonathan, Quick, has his job still safe.

So what does this trade do for the Bernier and Scrivens situation? I guess it levels the playing field somewhat. Scrivens is clearly on the worse team now. The Leafs though, have relied heavily on Bernier and James Reimer to get them wins, especially in the shootout.

But now the door is open for Jones to play in Los Angeles, and Scrivens to become what Bernier and Reimer are, a game stealer.

But if that 1st game is any indication, Scrivens will have to be better. Stopping 29 of 33 pucks wasn't enough as the Oilers lost 4-1 to the Wild. But the fact that he started his first game available for Edmonton suggests that he will at least be the 1A goalie on the team. That obviously was not going to happen in Los Angeles with Quick playing so well.

And another thing about the Los Angeles situation: Scrivens was backed by good defence, so his goaltending would get overshadowed! Sort of like what is said about Martin Brodeur always having the Devil's D to insure a low shot total against. I never have believed that the defence makes the goalie look that good. I guess I am about to find out in Edmonton

But now Ben has a chance to become like what Jonathan Bernier is in Toronto. Now we find out if he was the product of good defence or he was just that good. Imagine a scenario where the Oilers suddenly put together a winning streak with Scrivens in net? Oh, he was the difference!

Bernier, by the way, has continued his strong play since my last post. Remember when I talked about him being a "stopper" of sorts for the Leafs? As in losing streak stopper?

Toronto had lost 3 straight games when Bernier got the call against Washington. The Leafs seemed to play with confidence and poise in this game, and Jonathan kicked away 32 of 35 pucks. It wasn't enough to stop the losing streak, but you kinda got the feeling the Leafs were back on track. The feeling was that if Bernier could play a little better, and the Leafs could play like they did against Washington, the losing streak was over.

Sure enough, Bernier stopped 36 of 38 shots against facing the Devils. The Leafs won the game in, you guessed it, a shootout. Then came Boston.

You know, the team that came back against the Leafs in game 7 from last year's Stanley Cup playoff? The Bruins looked like they were going to do that again. Again in Boston. But Bernier made sure it didn't happen and Toronto skated off with a 4-3 win and a 2-game winning streak. A strong performance by a suddenly confident Reimer made it a 3 game winning streak against Buffalo.

Your turn, Scrivens!

See you after game 82!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

World Series: Did You Know?

The first Subway Series involving New York teams was in 1921.

The arrival of Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1920 truly had ushered in a new era of prosperity for the only American League team based in the Big Apple.

So the Bronx Bombers were there with Babe Ruth and 98 wins. Opposing them were the New York Giants with 94 wins. Would it be an even match-up? For a time, yes! The World Series was still a best-of-9 affair, and this one certainly had the potential to go the distance. That would give everyone a good long look at the Babe in his prime.

Carl Mays was the pitcher for the Yankees in game 1. He was also acquired by New York from Boston, coming over in a July 1919 deal. Here, he made the deal, a steal!

Mays finished with a fine complete game 5-hitter. Babe Ruth got into the action and got an RBI to put a stamp on the Boston Red Sox's bad deal. Here were two fine Red Sox, who shared the spotlight in an opening act.

The Yankees were stealing some of the Giants' thunder for good measure. Although both teams used the same ballpark (The old Polo Grounds), the Giants were the home team here. The next game would see the Yankees bat in the bottom of every frame.

In game 2, Ruth was pitched to very carefully. Actually, he ended up with just 1 AB. The Giants walked Ruth 4 times and the rest of the Yankees 3 times. But what a pitcher's duel this game was!

Art Nehf of the Giants gave up just 3 hits and 3 runs scored. Of those, only 1 was earned. The 7 walks he issued were his only glaring problem. But Waite Hoyt outshone him by tossing a 2-hitter, and getting the shutout. More importantly, the American League pennant winners were up 2-0.

But the Giants would come back to win the two games.

The Yankees led 3-0 after 2 1/2 innings of game 3. But then the wheels came off the chariot. The Giants outscored the Yankees 13-1 the rest of the way!

Ross Youngs, the Giants' rightfielder, led the way with 4 RBIs. But he had plenty of company there as leftfielder Irish Meusel had 3, as did second basemen Johnny Rawlings.

Ruth, for his part, did have 2 RBIs, but he and his teammates might have tried a little too hard with the wheels in this game. Ruth and Bob Meusel (Irish's brother) were both caught stealing in this game.

In game 4, Ruth had his signature moment. It came in the bottom of the 9th, as he hit a solo home run off Phil Douglas. The problem was, the Yankees trailed 4-1 when Ruth went yard. An even bigger problem was that was the last run the Bronx Bombers were to score. The first Fall Classic Battle Of New York was now tied 2 games apiece.

The Yankees were back "on the road" in game 5. But they were also back in the winner's circle. Indeed, the Yankees came out on top 3-1 to take a 3-2 lead in the Series.

Ruth, continuing his clutch play, proved his versatility in this game. When he faced Neft again in the top of the 4th, the game was tied at 1. But The Sultan Of Swat surprised everyone with a bunt, and made it to first! When Bob Meusel followed with a double. Another run by the Yankees that inning made a winner out of Hoyt again. Hoyt gave up 10 hits in 9 innings, however.

Just when things had started to look up for the Yankees, however, disaster struck. Ruth was out for this game and perhaps more. Indeed, he had a bad knee and now a scraped elbow was making it hard to continue.

The Yankees started the game looking like they didn't need him. As the "home team", they scored 3 times in the bottom of the 1st and 2 more times in the bottom of the second. But the Giants had tied the game in the top of the 2nd, and the Yankees offence was out of gas after the two-run second inning. The Giants were just getting started. Irish Meusel, High Pockets Kelly and Dave Bancroft all had 2 RBIs in this game for the Giants. The World Series of 1921 was now deadlocked again, 3-3.

Game 7 was one of the best game 7's that you will see from a pitcher's perspective. Alas, this was a winner-take-all game 7. And Babe Ruth did not play.

The Giants, playing at their home and batting in the bottom of every frame, took this one 2-1. Douglas, who used a spitball among his arsenal, won over Mays despite giving up 8 hits to Carl's 6. Irish Meusel again did some damage with an RBI in the 4th that tied the game.

Leading 4-3 in the Series, and needing just one more win to end it, the Giants turned to Nehf again. Nehf had pitched well in the Fall Classic, but was 0-2. His performance in game 8 would change that!

Nehf went out and fired a 4-hit shutout of the Bronx Bombers. It was a heart-breaking loss for the Yankees, as Hoyt pitched his third straight complete game. He gave up just 6 hits and 1 run. But he took the loss.

Babe Ruth did make a dramatic appearance in this game. He pinch-hit in the bottom of the 9th, but could only ground out. The Yankees would not go quietly as Aaron Ward drew a walk. Then, Frank Baker hit a hard smash that looked like a sure hit to centre. Rawlings, at second, got a piece of it to keep it in the infield. He threw to first then got Baker. Ward tried to make it to third on the play. A fine throw by Kelly got him at third. A spectacular play to end a memorable first World Series, New York exclusive!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

World Series: Did You Know?

The 1906 World Series was also the first ever Subway Series. Amazing to think it wasn't the Yankees, Dodgers or Giants. Baseball fans associate the term "Subway Series" with thee Big Three from New York. But it was first the Big Two from Chicago.

So the all-Chicago affair of '06 was and upset, a pitcher's series, a classic, and a first! Sadly, it was also the only time both Chicago teams (which are still around more than 100 years later) would meet in October.

The Dodgers didn't reach the World Series until 1920, so it lessoned the odds a little. The New York Yankees had to wait a little longer. The Giants, meanwhile, did enjoy some early success.

And it should be noted that in 1889, the Giants did face a team from Brooklyn in a 9-game series. Seems sort of fitting that the Giants won it. Brooklyn was known as the Bridgerooms at this point. Soon they'd be the Superbas. The name "Dodgers" wasn't used until the next century.

Then the New York Giants won the World Series in 1905, but seemed stuck in the mode of runner-ups for a time. They lost the 1911, 1912, and 1913 World Series. A loss to the Chicago White Sox in 1917 seemed to seal their fate!

After Brooklyn lost to the Boston Red Sox World Series, it was only the Yankees who hadn't made it. Brooklyn even made another appearance in the 1920 World Series. They lost it, again. Would there ever be a Brooklyn / New York World Series? A new arrival in the Bronx that very game year would make that and a Yankees / Giants Fall Classic a strong possibility. Guess who showed up in pinstripes in 1920, poised and ready to help the Yankees win?

That would be Babe Ruth!

World Series: Did You Know?

Babe Ruth's "called shot" (What he meant, whether he did or didn't, will never be fully known) ended up being his last ever World Series home run!

It was in game 3 of the 1932 World Series.

The Yankees had tried everything they could to push the Cubs' away in this game. But the Cubs came back again and again. Ruth took Chicago's Charlie Root out of the park in the top of the 1st. It was a 3-run blast.

The Cubs came back with a run of their own in the bottom of the frame. But The Iron Horse had an answer for that!

Gehrig then hit a home run of his own in the top of the 3rd. Back to a lead of three runs. Comfortable. The old New York Yankee firepower was sizzling today!

But Kiki Cuyler, who drove in the Cubs' first run of the game, hit a home run of his own in the bottom of the 3rd. Chicago tacked on another run in that inning for good measure. That 3-run lead was down to 1! The very next inning, the Cubbies tied it. Something had to be done. Something had to be done by someone named Ruth.

The Bambino came up with 1 out in the top of the 5h. As to what he did? Do I want to spoil the legend? If the legend is entertaining, print it. Okay.

In any event, Ruth hit a dramatic shot following the gesture. As to what gesture, well...

And Gehrig, not to be overlooked, followed with a home run. The two big boys went back-to-back for the last time, as well!

It was also Charlie Root's last pitch. But when he retired in 1941, Root had racked up 201 wins. This was no pushover pitcher, you know! The Yankees added another run in the top of the 9th. Another 3-run lead!

It didn't quite last as the Cubs got a leadoff home run by Gabby Harnett in the bottom of the frame. Billy Jurges got his third hit of the day for the Cubs. Tying run at the plate!

New York's George Pipgras (enough run support?) was done for the day on the mound. Herb Pennock was in. Jurges eventually stole second, but Pennock did not let him or any other Cub score.

The Yankees, with this win, were up 3-0 in the Series. And New York wrapped it up in game 4, 13-6.

And the Yankees did hit 2 home runs in that game. But none of them were hit by Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig. I mean, what are the odds? But Ruth's homerun in game 3 (his 15th in World Series play) proved to be his last. But what a last blast it was!

Monday, January 13, 2014

World Series: Did You Know?

Lou Gehrig (who I haven't written much if anything about) averaged a home run a game in the 1928 World Series!

Always in the shadow of Babe Ruth, as you will recall what I wrote earlier, Gehrig nonetheless put his name on the Fall Classic map that year. Gehrg had not hit a World Series home run in the 1926 and 1927 Fall Classic, so Gehrig was due for a breakthrough. And did he ever!

The Yankees took the opener 4-1, but Gehrig could not get a hold of one. Ruth didn't either, but got 3 hits to Gehrig's 2. But the Yankees did get a long ball by Bob Meusel. And the Cardinals even got one from Jim Bottomley.

So Gehrig's moment would have to wait. But in game 2, it came. And the moment came early! And it was off Grover Cleveland Alexander, no less! In the bottom of the first with Cedric Durst on first, Ruth walked. Gehrig slammed Grover's pitch to deep right for a long ball. 3-0, Yankees.

While the Cardinals did tie it up in the top of the second, Gehrig's home run served notice that it was the Yankees' day. They came out on top, 9-3. Now you have to met Lou in St. Louis, Louis! Or St. Lou, Lou! On to game 3!

With the Cards up 2-0 in the top of the 2nd, Gehrig went solo on a blast. And The Iron Horse was not done. Well, at least this time he didn't leave the yard.

But in the top of the 4th, Lou hit a liner to center that dropped in. The Bambino made it around to score! So did Gehrig. Now the Yankees were on top! A nice inside (the park) job by Lou.

The Yankees would score 6 more times to St. Louis' 1. Ruth got the last RBI. Okay, so the Yankees got this one wrapped up

Babe Ruth tied the score in the top of the 4th with one of his signature blasts. Then, in the 7th, the Yankees were behind again, 2-1. But up stepped Ruth. Goodbye! 2-2. Gehrig then connected solidly! Goodbye! 3-2, Yankees. Back to back shots!

The Yankees scored twice more in that inning and two more times in the next inning. Two more home runs. Yes, one by Ruth. Gehrig could only ground out.

It was 7-2, Yankees in the last of the 9th. St. Louis got one run back and then put runners on the corner. A fine catch by Ruth ended it.

3 home runs by Babe Ruth in this game. 4 home runs in 4 games by Gehrig in this Series. It doesn't seem right, but The Bambino is going to stick out a little more than Lou here, right?

World Series Did You Know?

The 1906 World Series was an all Chicago affair.

Yep, the White Sox and Cubs took care of their respected leagues to make for the first World Series to be held in one city. The White Sox's 93 wins paled in comparison to Cubbies' 116, however.

A terrific pitcher's duel was game 1. That saw the White Sox's Nick Altrock and Three Finger Brown end up with a 4-hitter each. But Altrock and the Sox ended up winning, 2-1.

The Cubs almost got a no-no in game 2. Athough their starter, Ed Reulbach walked 6 batters, he gave up only a Jiggs Donahue single in the bottom of the 7th to finish with a 1-hitter. 50 years later it was Don Larsen who became the only pitcher to toss a no-hitter in the World Series. This game was also a bit of a laugher, however. The Cubs won, 7-1.

If you can believe it, Ed Walsh of the White Sox, went out in game 3 and did some no-hitting of his own. He allowed a pair of hits in the bottom of the 1st. But the Cubs did not get another hit the rest of the way. The Cubs' Jack Pfiester finished with a fine 4-hitter of his own, but it was not enough. The White Sox won 3-0. They were also ahead ahead 2-1 in the Fall Classic.

For the 4th straight game of this Series, the losing team scored one or no runs in game 4. And for the 2nd time in 3 games, a Cub pitcher tossed a 2-hitter. Brown, back from game 1, tossed a 2-hit gem. Altrock pitched another gem, but the Cubs won 1-0. This all Chicago World Series had been a great pitcher's Series so far! The Series was also now deadlocked at 2. It was down to a best-of-three affair.

The White Sox's Walsh beat Pfiester in game 5. But this time, neither starting pitcher fared too well. The White Sox took it, 8-6, and were now only 1 win away for the World Series Championship. The White Sox had to survive the six errors they made in the game. But the Cubs' six runs meant that Doc White was summoned in from the bullpen to finish the game for the White Sox. In doing so, Doc became the first pitcher to record a save in the World Series!

And Doc was not done. Neither were the Sox.

White took the hill in game 6, looking to put the Cubs away for good in 1906. Three Finger Brown tried to stop the White Sox. But this time, it was a hill too steep to climb. And Although the Cubs scored a run in the top of the 1st, the White Sox answered with 3 in the bottom of the inning. The White Sox then knocked Brown out of the game in the bottom of the second. They scored three more runs off him before Orval Overall got the Cubs out of there. The final score would be 8-3, Chicago White Sox.

Half of the city of Chicago must have been ecstatic. The other half must have been disappointed.