Wednesday, April 30, 2014

World Series: Did You Know?

Gordon Richardson posted an ERA of 40.50 in the 1964 World Series?

Yes, the ugliest ERA of the '64 Fall Classic belonged to Gordie. The left-handed pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals had his hands full against the Yankees. But this came after he had a pretty good regular season. All Richardson did was go 4-2 and post an ERA of 2.30 in 47 innings pitched. Gordon got a crucial save on a win by Curt Simmons on September 30th of that year, as the Cards came back to overtake the Philadelphia Phillies.

St. Louis took the first game, 9-5. But in game two at home, Bob Gibson sort of met his match. He didn't pitch too bad. In 8 innings pitched, he gave up 4 (earned) runs, 8 hits and fanned 9. But Gibson was removed for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the 8th. The Cardinals, trailing 4-1, got one run back.

So it was up to Barney Schultz (who got a save in game one) to try and hold the fort in the top of the 9th. But Phil Linz greeted him with a home run to left to lead things off. It was Phil's third hit of the game. Bobby Richardson lined out, but Roger Maris slapped a single to right. Mickey Mantle was the next hitter.

Gibson had noticed that Mantle had trouble shifting his weight while batting left-handed, but Gordon Richardson was brought in to turn Mantle around to bat from the right side. The strategy backfired, of course.

Mantle lashed a sharp double to left. Maris scored and it was now 6-2, New York. Elston Howard, who had doubled earlier, was walked intentionally. But Joe Pepitone singled to right, Mantle scoring. The Mick sat down next to Ralph Terry and said, "You know my double? I wish it had gone foul. I'd have hit the next one out of here!" Classic Mick!

Richardson's troubles were not over. Tom Tresh flied out to right-center, but that scored Elston Howard with the 8th Yankee run of the afternoon. Pepitone took second on the throw home. Clete Boyer, who had driven in the Yankees' first run of the game, was walked intentionally by Richardson. Finally, Roger Craig came in and struck out pitcher Mel Stottlemyre to end that. New York went on to win this game, 8-3 and tie the 1964 World Series at a win apiece.

St. Louis took 2 of the next 3 games, though. In game 6, the score was tied at 1. Just like in games two and three. But Maris and Mantle went yard back-to-back in the 6th inning. The Yankees were ahead to stay. But there was a lot more on the side where that came from!

Barney Schultz came in the top of the 8th, and the first batter he faced was Phil Linz. Does this sound familiar?

Linz only singled this time. The other Richardson, Bobby, bunted him to second. Tim McCarver made the play unassisted. Roger Maris then grounded out. St. Louis looked safe. But when the batter is Mickey Mantle, things are never safe!

The Mick was walked intentionally, but Elston Howard singled to center. 4-1, Yankees. New York had all the runs they needed.

But Tom Tresh, who had a great series, walked to load the bases. Gordon Richardson came it. Joe Pepitone was the batter. Richardson's first pitch was a tough inside slider, and Pepi popped it up behind home plate. Tim McCarver, whose 10th inning 3-run home run won game 5, raced back and got under it. But Tim dropped it. Given a reprieve, Joe blasted an 0-1 slider over the right-field roof for a grand slam. It was now 8-1 for the Bronx Bombers. Clete Boyer was retired on a fly.

The Cardinals managed to get one run back in the bottom of the 8th. Bob Humphreys had a 1-2-3 9th for St. Louis. Another run in the bottom of the frame made it an 8-3 final for New York, who turned a nice double play off Curt Flood to end it. The Cards ultimatley won game 7 on Bob Gibson's complete game.

Richardson was traded on December 7th of that year (with Johnny Lewis) to the Mets for Elio Chacon (famous 1962 Met) and Tracy Stallard (famous for giving up Roger Maris' 61st home run of 1961). He left baseball after the 1966 season, so he never again got to pitch in the World Series. That 40.50 ERA in the 1964 World Series ended up being his lifetime ERA in the Fall Classic.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

World Series: Did You Know?

Sandy Amoros was a defensive replacement in game 7 of the 1955 World Series. The Brooklyn / New York matchup that year was very exciting, down-to-the-wire. Every player was important. Even the substitutes were needed. The Dodgers and Yankees had some mighty fine reserves that year.

But Amoros was actually a regular that season. He played 102 games in left. But there was someone else who was a clutch performer that had the chance to be the hero with a catch in left. But fate intervened!

Yes, Sandy's amazing catch could have been done by Jim Gilliam, who was always underrated. Gilliam, of course, drew two bases walks in his World Series career. He was also on the best team Jackie Robinson ever played for. The type of player who you don't read about, but can always be counted on. That's what Brooklyn needed in 1955!

But Jim Gilliam started game 7 of the 1955 World Series in left field. In 1953, he was a second basemen. In '55, Jim played 99 games at second, but only 40 in leftfield. It must have felt a little odd to see him out in left. And left in Yankee Stadium was very tricky. That's what made this game seven all-the-more tough for the Dodgers.

So it didn't look like Amoros was going to be needed in the finale. Gilliam did the job, and so did the pitching! The Dodgers were still looking for that elusive World Series title. Don Zimmer started the game at second. And the Dodgers got starting pitcher Johnny Podres two runs, which he made stand up. But in the top of the 6th, George Shuba pinch hit for Zimmer. When the bottom of the frame rolled along, it was Sandy Amoros in left, and Gilliam  back at second base. Back where Jim belongs! You could say he had played that position 100 times that year. Well, almost!

In any event, New York put the first two men on. Then Yogi Berra, who always came through in the clutch for the Yankees, lofted a fly towards left. Amoros, who caught right-handed, ran to the foul line and snared it! Then, Sandy alertly fired it back to the infield. Gil McDougald, taking off from the bag, was doubled off first base. The play essentially killed the Yankee rally that inning.

Amoros even got to bat in the 9th. The score was still only 2-0, Brooklyn. With one out and one on, Sandy drew a walk. But this rally would also die. Bob Turley, the Yankee pitcher, got Johnny Podres out on a fly to center. Gilliam, with a chance to put this game away, ripped a Turley offering to right. But Hank Bauer made the catch. The Dodgers would be forced to make due with just the two runs.

Podres though, was also money on this day. He retired New York 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 9th to bring the Dodgers their first World Series crown.

Gil Hodges had driven in both of Brooklyn's runs earlier in the game. Podres (as well as Yankee Whitey Ford), had won two games in the 1955 Fall Classic. There were other heroics as well. But none of them will ever top Amoros' catch. Brooklyn got "The Big Play" from the bench! And that, help propel the Dodgers to where they had never been before!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Emery And Lindback: Why No One Should Take Them Lightly!

So, I figure Montreal and New York are getting that feeling. The home-free feeling.

Steve Mason is out for the Philadelphia Flyers and Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning (all 6'7 of him) is also on the sidelines. For how long? No one knows for sure. But fans of the Montreal Canadians (Tampa Bay's opponent) and the New York Rangers (Philadelphia's opponent) must be thinking about round two already.

Before you get there, you must get past your first round opponent.

And, neither team has ruled out the possibility of Bishop and Mason returning. What about Ray Emery and Anders Lindback? Are they easy pickings?

On the surface, Lindback should be no problem for the Habs: 8-12-2, 2.90, .891 this season. Not the second coming of Ken Dryden 1971, says I. But it's often, "What have you done for me lately" in hockey that matters the most.

Linback has actually been quite hot recently, if you take a closer look. Last 5 games? Okay, we have a loss to Buffalo where he didn't play good. His next game was a loss to Pittsburgh in overtime, allowing four goals. But only one of them was scored even strength, and it was against the Pens. So...

And then he came in relief against Toronto and slammed the door shut in a shared shutout with Big Ben. That happened to be the game that put Bishop on the shelf. But Anders stopped all 25 shots against. Against Philadelphia on April 10th, he stopped 34 of 36 shots for his second straight win. Then, he blanked Alexander Ovechkin and his mates for a 3-1-1 finish. Yeah, he's playing well right now. Add to that the Lightning home-ice advantage, and Montreal better think twice before looking too far ahead to round two.

Emery has been there before, unlike Lindback (Anders has played just 13 minutes of a game back in 2011). He took Ottawa to the finals in 2007. After an off-season the next year, he joined the Flyers. While an injury cut his season short, it was Philly that made it all the way to the finals in 2010. From there on in, he came back from that injury and has posted some impressive winning numbers. Last year, in 21 games with the Chicago Blackhawks, Ray won 17, lost only 1 and posted a .922 S%. The Hawks won it all.

So that's three times he's been a part of a team that made it through at least three rounds. He did not play at all in the playoffs last season, but got a much deserved ring. Razor came down to earth this year, going just 9-12-4, 2.96, .903

The thing about Ray is, he's a great character. Ever seen one of his goalie fights? The stuff of legend! And character is the thing that is on trial in the Stanley Cup playoffs, more than anything. Ray Emery also brings experience to this situation. More than the Flyers would have with a healthy Steve Mason. Mason has little playoff experience. His last playoff was for Columbus back in 2009. And all it produced was 0-4, 4.27, .878! Is five years of zero playoff experience going to make him ready for the playoffs. Yes, that 33-18-7, 2.50, .917 looks good. But this is the playoffs, a whole new ballgame! And it's against the Rangers, who are no pushovers! So in a situation like this, I'd still want to use Emery, at least in some games. Even a healthy Mason, you tell me: Is he going to have his hands full?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

World Series: Did You Know?

The 1917 Chicago White Sox won the World Series, but were no-hit in back-to-back days in the regular season! Then, they were shutout in back-to-back games in the Fall Classic! In order to win, you have to overcome obstacles.

The no-hitters were not in back-to-back games, however. But it seems odd that it was done by the same team, and it was against the same team. The team that no-hit the White Sox? The St. Louis Browns!

The first no-hitter was on May 5th. But Chicago got a fine 5-hitter from Eddie Cicotte, who was one of the eight White Sox players banned for life after throwing the 1919 World Series.

Cicotte even walked twice to help his own cause. The other White Sox player to walk twice in the game was the most famous member of the 1919 team to get kicked out of baseball, Shoeless Joe Jackson. But the only other White Sox player to reach via the walk was Swede Risberg. He too, was one of the eight Black Sox. Risberg also made the White Sox only error of the game. St. Louis made two.

The pitcher who tossed this masterpierce was Ernie Koob. Despite this, he finished the 1917 season with a record of just 6 wins and 14 losses. When he left the majors after the 1919 (All signs pointing to that season, eh?) Koob's lifetime W-L record was just 23-31. However, against the Sox, he overcame those five walks and two errors to win the game, 1-0.

The next day was a doubleheader between the same teams. In the opener, it was the White Sox taking an 8-4 loss. They picked up eight hits. In the second game, it was the White Sox going down 3-0. Chicago picked up zero hits.

It was Bob Groom who did the honours for the Browns this time around. Groom would also finish his career with a losing record (119-150). And yes, he also has two "O's" in his last name. In 1917, like Koob, Groom would post a losing record 8-19. The 19 losses would lead the AL.

Groom was better than Koob in his no-hitter. The White Sox collected just three walks. Jackson, Risberg and Nemo Leibold each walked once. Buck Weaver, again part of the eighth Black Sox, was hit by a pitch from Groom. There were no errors in this game.

Cicotte atoned for his loss by winning game one of the 1917 Fall Classic against the New York Giants, 2-1. But it was another classic pitching duel that he would be involved in. Each team got 7 hits. Slim Sallee took the hard-luck loss.

In game two, it was Red Faber who fired a fine 8-hitter and won, 7-2 to put Chicago up 2-0. Then, Chicago went into a hitting slump at the wrong time.

Cicotte took the hill again in game three. But instead of putting Chicago up 3-0, he took the loss. That was because his own team couldn't get a run for him!

It was Rube Benton who went all the way for the Giants. And he tamed the White Sox on a five-hitter. The White Sox collected no walks off him. Cicotte wasn't too bad. But Chicago made three errors to New York's two. Chicago lost a close one, 2-0. Both runs scored in the bottom of the fourth and were earned. New York collected eight hits.

Faber returned to the hill for Chicago in game four, looking for another win. But like Cicotte, he could not. Again the White Sox were blanked. This time, they managed to get seven hits, but Chicago took a decisive 5-0 loss. Their big gun, Shoeless Joe Jackson, could do little. He was hitless in four trips to the plate. Eddie Collins got the only walk off a masterful Ferdie Schupp.

The NL leader in W% in 1917 (.750 after going 21-6), Schupp fanned 7 and faced just 33 batters. Only Shano Collins and Ray Schalk managed to get more than one hit. The Giants made only one error in the game. Chicago did not commit one. The Giants got ten hits this time.

But Chicago took game five, 8-5 to take a 3-2 lead in the 1917 World Series. And when Faber tossed a splended 6-hitter in a 4-2 triumph in game six, the White Sox were champions!

Chicago may not have always had the most honest players on the team around this time, but they sure knew how to come back from being no-hit in the regular season and shutout in the postseason. Do it to them once, fine. Do it to them twice back-to-back, and Chicago would fine a way to wake up!

World Series: Did You Know?

Ralph Miller was the first player born on February 29th to play in the Fall Classic.

Called up from the minors in July, he only got into 9 games for the Washington Senators in 1924. But this was one year the Sens were not last in the Amercian League. But they were still first in war and first in peace. The right time for Miller time was 1924! The New York Giants could not have cared that they were up against a team that had a player born on a leap year

But he didn't do much in the 9 games as he batted .133 with 0 RBIs. He would do only a little better in that year's Fall Classic.

Miller's first game was game 3. Roger Peckinpaugh was out of the game game in the bottom of the third. But the Senators were behind 2-0. Miller took over at shortstop.

With one out, Hack Wilson hit into a double play that Miller helped turn. Alas, a run scored and it was now 3-0 for the Giants at home. What could Ralph do about it?

Well, he got Washington on the board. In the top of the 4th with the bases loaded and just one out, Miller sent a fly to left that scored Sam Rice. The Sens scored another run on a walk with the bases loaded again that inning. It was still 3-2, New York, but Washington was back in the game.

Miller added a single in the 6th, and then walked in the 8th. Washington trailed 5-2 by the time Miller walked. They did manage to score a run to cut it to 5-3. With two down, Miller was on third and Mule Shirley was on first. But Nemo Leibold grounded out to end the inning.

The Senators got the run back in the bottom of the frame. But Washington scored another run and had the bases loaded with just one out in the top of the 9th. And guess who was up?

Miller popped out to third. And when Muddy Ruel grounded into a force at third, Washington had lost the game.

Game four saw Miller play the whole game at third base. But he was about to embark on an 0-4 afternoon.

Batting in the 8th spot, Miller came up to the plate in the top of the second. Miller grounded out to leave two runners on in the second. With one out in the fourth, he flied out with a man on second. He was the last out in a 1-2-3 6th. In the bottom of the 7th, Ralph made an error. His final plate appearance was a pop out. But Washington won the game, 7-4. The Fall Classic was a classic alright. It was tied two games apiece.

In game five, it was Miller time at third and again batting in the eight spot. The Senators needed this game, or they would have to win games six and seven at home. It was also Walter Johnson on the hill here, so he would likely not get another start. Again, that's why this game was so important.

In the top of the second with the game scoreless, Miller was the last out as he grounded to second. This left two men on. But in the top of the fourth with two outs, Ralph came through. His single tied the game. However, he got too aggressive on the base paths. When he tried for second on the hit, Miller ended up being the dead duck!

New York took the lead again with two runs off The Big Train in the bottom of the fifth. Amazingly enough, Walter Johnson gave up the two on a home run by opposing pitcher Jack Bentley. It just wasn't his day!

In the top of the 7th, it was Muddy Ruel who walked. Ralph was up representing the tying run. All he could do was ground out, but it did move Ruel to second. Johnson batted for himself and flied out. Another walk, this time to Earl McNeely, got the tying run to first. But the Senators could do nothing more that inning.

Washington got one run back in the top of the 8th as Goose Goslin hit a home run of his own. The next batter, Joe Judge singled. A ground out moved him to second. An single and this thing would be tied. But Washington failed to do so.

In the bottom of the frame, New York lit up Johnson for three more runs to put this game out of reach. Nemo Leibold batted for Miller and flew out to center in the 9th. Washington was shutout in that inning. The Giants were one win away from the 1924 World Series Championship. But that win never came!

Miller did not play in game six, which Washington won 2-1. In game six, the score was tied at three after eight. Ralph came in to the game a defensive replacement in the top of the 9th. Amazingly enough, there was also a new pitcher for this inning: Walter Johnson!

Miller made the innings first putout on a pop fly to third. He also threw out Irish Meusel at first to end the inning. But the Giants had runners on second and third before out number three!

It was then Washington's turn to try and win it. Washington had runners on first and third with just one out. A single, or a deep fly would win the game and the first championship for the Senators. Miller was the batter. Art Nehf was replaced on the mound by Hugh McQuillan. Amazingly enough, he did exactly what was needed. Miller hit into a double play. Clutch pitching!

Miller batted in the bottom of the 12th and was retired. But this proved to be the only out the Giants got. Washington won in dramatic fashion, although, it was New York that somehow made two errors in the inning. It was Earl McNeely with the walk-off single!

So Miller did little.He hit just .182, 2 RBIs, 2 hits and 1 walk. Game seven of the 1924 World Series would prove to be Miller's last at the MLB level. But he got a ring. Tthe Washington Senators finally get it done, as well.

And yes, 1924 was also a leap year. That's all the Sens needed to win it all. Leap year player, leap year Fall Classic!

Friday, April 11, 2014

World Series: Did You Know?

The San Francisco Giants almost came back from 8-0 down in game four of the 1989 World Series. But they couldn't quite do it.

San Fran, you see, was simply over-matched. It had been a bad year for baseball. Pete Rose was kicked out of baseball, the commissioner who passed the sentence on him died. Billy Martin was killed in a car accident in December.

But there was the matter of the World Series. It seemed almost like a formality. The Oakland A's got by the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS, losing just game three. They looked unstoppable. The first three games of the 1989 Fall Classic proved that. It was almost too easy.

Game 4 saw Oakland surge ahead early. Ricky Henderson led off the game with a long ball. In the top of the 2nd, it was A's starter Mike Moore somehow getting two RBIs with a double. Henderson singled for another run. 4-0, Oakland. Three more runs in the top of the 5th made it 7-0. A Carney Lansford double in the top of the 6th inning made it 8-0 for the A's.

San Francisco had scored seven runs in game three, but many (if not all) of them were meaningless. Here, they'd need at least nine runs somehow.

Kevin Mitchell got two for the Giants with a 2-run home run in the bottom of the 6th. The A's were blanked in the top of the 7th, with Moore removed for a pinch hitter.

But Gene Nelson came in for Oakland and seemed poised to end all this nonsense. Alas, Gene walked the first batter of the inning. And then another 2-run home run, this time by Greg Litton, and the lead was finally in half. 8-4. The Giants had no intention of stopping there. You see, their backs were still firmly against the wall!

With one out and Rick Honeycutt now pitching, future Jay Candy Maldonado hit a clutch, pinch-hit triple. Bret Butler doubled home the Candy Man to make it 8-5. Robby Thompson was sent up to pinch-hit. And he too, came through! A single to center scored Butler, and the Giants were within two runs. And the tying run was at the dish!

The rally died right there, as the next two batters were retired. But at least, this game was now a close one. However, Oakland wasn't done swinging their sticks at Candlestick Park on this day!

The A's loaded the bases up against Steve Bedrosian in the top of the 8th. When catcher Terry Steinbach walked, Oakland could breath a little easier, 9-6.

Todd Burns, who had put out the fire in the bottom of the 7th for Oakland, had a 1-2-3 bottom of the 8th. Bedrosian did likewise to the A's in the top of the 9th. And when Dennis Eckersley came in and had a 1-2-3 (typical) 9th for Oakland, the Athletics were the World Series Champions for 1989.

It had been a sweep, and only this game was close. And only for the first inning and the bottom of the 7th on. But The Quake was the real story. 25 years later, when I think about the 1989 World Series, it's always the false start to game 3. But San Francisco, with their rally in the 6th and 7th inning of game four, gave their fans something else to think about other than that. At least for the time being!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

World Series: Did You Know?

The Dodgers were shutout for the first thirteen innings of the 1959 World Series.

Early Wynn of the American League Champion Chicago White Sox was simply on his game in the opening act between Chicago and LA. The Dodgers just didn't seem to have a chance. Game two was also bad for a while. Sometimes, good pitching shutouts good hitting!

Charlie Neal hit a one-out single for Los Angeles in the top of the first. He stole second. A walk put two men on with two out. But the Dodgers could not score. The White Sox sure did: They touched home twice in the bottom of the frame!

And they needed only the first tally. Wynn had a 1-2-3 2nd and 3rd. Roger Craig, shaken up in the first for the Dodgers, also had a 1-2-3 2nd inning. But in the third, he was driven out on a 2-run home run by Ted Kluszewksi. It was 4-0, Chicago. Before the inning was over, the White Sox scored five more times. This game was all in the bag, now!

Wynn gave up a pair of singles in the top of the fourth. Neither of them scored. Chicago sure scored in the bottom of the frame, as Ted Kluszewksi again went yard. And again, it was for two runs. It was now 11-0, Chicago. Mercifully, the White Sox did not touch home again.

Wynn, though, had a 1-2-3 5th with two K's. In the 6th, it was Charlie Neal with another single, but that's all she wrote for Los Angeles in that inning. Maury Wills connected for a 2-out single in the top of the 7th. He did not steal second. Ron Fairly pinch hit for Sandy Koufax (who tossed 2 perfect innings in relief) and grounded out to Kluszewski at first. Wynn stepped on first for the putout.

Jim Gilliam led off the 8th inning for the Dodgers and got a single. It was the sixth hit off Wynn. Al Lopez, the White Sox manager, decided to remove Early. Gerry Staley came in to pitch and was about to make Lopez look like a genuis. Neal hit into a double play and Wally Moon hit a comebacker that Staley fielded and fired to first to retire the side.

Staley fanned Don Demeter to start the 9th. Then the Dodgers looked like they'd finally score. Norm Larker hit a single and Gil Hodges followed suit. Los Angeles was up to 8 hits, which isn't bad when you consider Chicago had 11. But the different was the White Sox had 11 runs by the end of the game. The Dodgers hits went for naught!

Johnny Roseboro hit into a force play at second, Larker now on third with two outs. The game ended as Carl Furillo batted for Maury Wills and flied out. The game went into the record books as an 11-0 win by Chicago.

Game 2 did not seem to start out any better for the Dodgers. Chicago was still scoring and Los Angeles was still looking for a single run, or something positive!

In the top of the first inning of game two, the Dodgers seemed to wake up with two outs. Warren Moon singled, and stole second. Duke Snider followed with a single of his own to move Moon to third. Alas, both runners were stranded.

With Luis Aparicio on third and Jim Landis on first in the bottom of the frame, Chicago was at it again. Actually, I should say, Ted Kluszewski was at it again. He grounded out, but that scored the speedy Aparicio to make it 1-0, Chicago. It would soon be 2-0 as Sherman Lollar followed with a single to score Landis from second. Al Smith reached on an error by Wills the shortstop, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Johnny Podres got Bubba Phillips to ground to third for the force out.

With two out in the top of the second, it was like the top of the first all over again. Two outs, and then, two singles. Wills singled and Podres helped out his own cause by connecting. The speedy Wills made it to third. Gilliam fouled out to Kluszewksi at first. Once again, ninety feet from immortality, and no dice!

The White Sox also got two men on in the bottom of the frame, but could not get anyone in. Bob Shaw, the Chicago starter, had a 1-2-3 top of the third. Podres settled down and retired the side in the bottom of the third on just a walk.

Shaw allowed a single by Roseboro with two outs in the top of the fourth, but that's all Los Angeles got. Shaw himself then got a single in the bottom of the inning, but that was all Chicago got.

In the top of the 5th, Podres flew out to start. Then, Jim Gilliam grounded out. The shutout streak had reached 13 2/3 innings. But Charlie Neal went yard on a solo blast to end that.

The Dodgers ended up winning game 2 of the 1959 World Series 4-3. They then took three of the next four games to win it all. But throughout the Fall Classic of that year, runs weren't easy to come by for the Los Angeles Dodgers. They were twice shutout. And for a while, I'm sure more than a few of the Dodgers' players and fans were chiming in with, "When are we going to score one crummy run?"

Patience can be rewarded. Even in baseball. Even in the World Series.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

World Series: Did You Know?

The San Francisco Giants, despite being swept and routed in the 1989 World Series, had their moments. One was the dramatic last inning of game 3. That was the first World Series game played after The Quake.

Oakland had won game 1 of the 1989 Fall Classic 5-0. Dave Stewart tossed the shutout for Oakland. Game 2 was tied at 1 after 3 1/2 innings. The Athletics used a four run uprising in the bottom of the fourth to win the game, 5-1.

Game 3 was delayed 10 days because an Earthquake on October 17th. But when play resumed at Candlestick Park, so did the rout.

Actually, game 3 was only 4-3 after 4, but then it was time for another four runs by Oakland. It was in the top of the fifth that the A's started flexing their muscles. There would be more to come. Both Jose Canseco and Dave Henderson hit shots that found the seats in that inning. The A's didn't stop there. They followed up their four-run fifth with another tally in the sixth via a Carney Lansford home run. It was 9-4 for Oakland. And they still weren't through.

Lansford knocked in another run on a hit in the top of the 8th. And error on the play plated still another. Two more runs by Oakland and it was now a 13-3 rout.

Dave Stewart, who had pitched seven fine innings, was pinch-hit for in that fateful 8th inning. Rick Honeycutt took over in the 8th and stopped the Giants on just one hit. In the 9th, it was Gene Nelson that took over. That's where things got a little interesting! Turns out those four runs scored in the 8th meant a lot, after all!

Ken Oberkfell led off with a walk and Kirt Manwaring hit a one-out double. Bill Bath was sent up to pinch-hit. It was his first World Series plate appearance. Bath surprised everyone with a 3-run, pinch-hit blast. It was the first time someone had a hit a pinch-hit long ball in their first ever World Series plate appearance. San Fran was not done yet, either. Candy Maldonado went down on strikes to put Oakland an out away from going up 3-0 in the 1989 Fall Classic. But Donell Nixon singled. Todd Burns came in to relieve Nelson. Greg Litton doubled him home to make it 13-7, Oakland. Will Clark walked before Burns finally got Oakland out of their when he retired Kevin Mitchell on a fly to deep left.

The A's went on to sweep San Francisco in the 1989 World Series. But Bath, who had not hit a home run since 1986, did something to distract from the rout and the tragedy of the quake.

World Series: Did You Know?

Ken and Clete Boyer had something to do with the first and last runs scored by their teams in five of the seven games of the 1964 World Series. They would either score the run, or knock it in! Ken was the elder statesman of the two, and part of the National League winning St. Louis Cardinals. He was also the MVP of the regular season that year. Clete was a little in shadow of not only his older brother, but of many of the Yankees. Ken was the better hitter and Clete was the better fielder. Ken had five years on Clete. But their performances in this World Series seemed to narrow all of those gaps.

Ken got the Cardinals on the board first in game one. Facing Whitey Ford of the Yankees, he flied out to Mickey Mantle in the bottom of the first. There was only one out with runners on the corners. Mickey was actually playing right field, as his knees were not 100%. Roger Maris was in centerfield. Lou Brock tagged on scored.  Ford fanned Bill White to get out of there without further damage.

Clete did not drive in or score the first Yankee run. Tom Tresh hit a 2-run shot in the top of the second to put the New York Yankees up, 2-1. But Clete did do something that inning. Clete singled off Ray Sadecki and scored on a Ford single. 3-1, Yankees.

Ken walked in his next at-bat in the bottom of the third. In the sixth, he led off with a single. He scored on Mike Shannon's towering 2-run home run. That tied the score at 4. The Cardinals would add two more to take the lead for good. St. Louis went on to win the game, 9-5.

Curt Flood drove in Mike Shannon with the first run of game two. That was on a groundout in the bottom of the third inning. But in the top of the 4th, it was Clete Boyer with an RBI on a sacrifice fly of his own. In Clete's last plate appearance, he walked intentionally by Bob Gibson. Ken did not get a hit or a walk. New York leveled the 1964 Fall Classic with an 8-3 win.

In game 3 in New York, Clete doubled home Elston Howard in the bottom of the second off Curt Simmons. Simmons himself tied the game with an RBI of his own in the top of the 5th. Clete didn't do much the rest of the way and Ken was held hitless for the second consecutive game. Thanks to a dramatic walk-off home run by Mickey Mantle in the bottom of the 9th, New York took this thriller, 2-1.

The next game saw the Yankees sail out to an early 3-0 lead with Bobby Richardson, Mickey Mantle and Elston Howard knocking in the runs in the bottom of the first. That was enough to knock out starter Ray Sadecki with just one out. In came Roger Craig, who more than got the job done. He and Ron Taylor combined to toss 8 2/3 shutout innings from there. A grand slam by Ken Boyer in the top of the 6th turned that 3-0 deficit into a 4-3 St. Louis lead. That was all the scoring in the game. Clete managed to get the last hit for the Yankees.

The next two games the Boyer brothers did not do much. But in game 7 at St. Louis, it was Ken Boyer with a double and a run scored in the bottom of the 5th. The Cardinals raced out to a 6-0 lead by the end of that inning. But Mickey Mantle hit a 3-run home run off Bob Gibson in the top of the 6th to cut that in half. That's where things started to get really interesting.

Ken hit a solo home run off Steve Hamilton in the bottom of the 7th. That seemed to put the game out of reach. It was the last run the Cardinals would score. But clearly, they weren't going to need more with Bob Gibson out there, right. A nice comfortable, four-run lead.

Actually, St. Louis got runners to second and third in the bottom of the 8th with just one out. But they failed to score. Gibson went out to the hill in the top of the 9th with St. Louis still up, 7-3. Bob needed just three more outs to put the Yankees away in the 1964 Fall Classic.

Tom Tresh went down on strikeout. But Clete Boyer rifled a solo home run of his own. That made it 7-4. Gibson fanned pinch hitter Johnny Blanchard, but then gave up another solo shot to Phil Linz. Now it was 7-5, Cards. Gibby had to dig deep and get Bobby Richardson, with thirteen hits in this World Series, to pop up and end it.

The Boyer brothers had been clutch for some, but not all, of the games in the 1964 World Series. They got the ball rolling on the offence. They overcame leads. The Boyers got their teams back in it. The made the 1964 World Series worth watching!

Monday, April 7, 2014

World Series: Did You Know?

Game 5 of the 1908 World Series was the first that neither team made an error! It was Detroit against Chicago, and the Cubs would prevail in a gem of a pitcher's duel.

The fielding of Tinker to Evers to Chance didn't turn two in this game. But there was two double plays against Chicago, who had 10 hits and only 2 runs. But Detroit could not get a runner home. Which is a shame. For as you will see, the Tigers brought their gloves with them, not their bats!

The Cubs, the visitors in this game, got on the board first. Three straight singles scored a man. Actually, it was Frank Chance's single that scored Johnny Evers. They could do more than just field, right?

How about  the Tigers? They did have Ty Cobb, right? Cobb hit .368 in this Fall Classic, but didn't manage to get one here.

In the famous bottom of the first, Orval Overall did something that has never been accomplished before or since. The Cubbies' pitcher fanned four batters. But with two on and only one out, Orval fanned Cobb. Claude Rossman then fanned for out number three. However, Overall had put too much into this pitch, and catcher Johnny Kling couldn't keep the ball in front of him. So the wild pitch loaded the bases with two outs. The kind of situation that makes the World Series so much fun to watch. Germany Schaefer fanned to end the inning. What a start by Overall! 4 K's in the bottom of the first!

Bill Donovan, who got a rough greeting by Chicago in the top of the first, then settled down for the next three innings. 1-2-3 went Chicago.

The fourth inning was an interesting one. In the top of the frame, the Cubs got a walk, but it was erased when the runner, Harry Steinfeldt, was caught stealing. In the bottom of the inning, it was the Tigers that coaxed a walk from Overall. Germany Schaefer, the clown of his day, also tried for second on a stolen base attempt. He, too, was out.

The fifth inning involved a double by both teams. With one out in the top of the 5th, Kling walked and Overall bunted him to second. Another walk followed. Johnny Evers doubled Kling home. It was 2-0, Chicago.

In the bottom of the frame, Detroit got a single and a double to put the tying run at second with only one out. Overall got Charley O'Leary out on a fly. Sam Crawford then became Overall's 9th strikeout victim of the game. Orval must have looked like the Sandy Koufax and Bob Gibson of his day.

Overall got Schaefer in the 6th for his 10th K, and he continued his mastery of the Tigers. Meanwhile, his teammates continued to get several glorious chances to put this one away.

In the top of the 7th inning, it was Orval helping out his own cause with a single. But then he hurt the cause when he was hit on a single by Jimmy Sheckard. The batter is out automatically under those circumstances. The Cubs continued on self-destruction mode in this inning when Donovan picked off Sheckard.

In the top of the 8th, it was Evers that started things out with a single. With one out, Chance singled. First and third with just one out. Steinfeldt fanned for the second out. As this was happening, Chance headed towards second on a delayed double steal. Boss Schmidt seemed to fall for it and gunned the ball to second. Schaefer, at second, got the ball. He noticed Evers going home. And Germany fired a perfect strike to home to nail Johnny. Even the clowns can make the big plays at World Series time. It was still a 2-0 game that could go either way.

I've been writing so much about Evers and Chance. Well what about Tinker? He was 0-3 going into the top of the 9th, but a single with just one out gave Chicago ten hits. Kling grounded to third, where Tiger third sacker Bill Coughlin picked it up and whipped it over to first. Claude Rossman caught the ball at first and Kling was out. Tinker tried to go to third and Rossman fired a strike to Coughlin. Tinker was out number three. Ten hits for the Cubs and just two runs.

Good thing Overall finished with a three-hit shutout. He retired the last twelve batters to face him. Orval even got the last five batters to ground out, meaning the fielders were fast at work. But it was a grand effort on both team's part, as some daring baserunning meant errors were inevitable. But at the end of the day, a "0" showed up under the "E" in the scorebooks. Baseball of this era was a game of singles and speed, with gloves still very primitive. Not everyone was serious (Schaefer come to mind?) about glovework, but this game is one I would have loved to see!