Thursday, December 22, 2016

World Series: Did You Know?

Bill Mazeroski made the first and last putouts in 1960. He also had some home run heroics, as you well know.

Maz’s Pittsburgh Pirates were up against the New York Yankees in the World Series that year, but had the home-field advantage. The Yankees had some sluggers named Mantle, Berra, Maris, Howard and Skowron. They’d also get a grand slam from Bobby Richardson. These guys were dangerous.

The Pirates didn’t get off to such a good start, even though they were at home. The very first batter of the Fall Classic was Tony Kubek of the Yankees. And, as if to send a message to the Bucs, he singled.

But Maz was about to turn a potentially dangerous situation into nothing.

Hector Lopez came to the dish, and hit towards second. A grounder that second basemen Bill Mazeroski stopped, stepped on second, and first to first. Double play!

The Pirates took the lead early, and held on. But the Yankees had a tendency to score a lot. No, this was not 1961, but this New York team was dangerous.

So it was only 3-2 for Pittsburgh as they batted in the bottom of the fourth. One man was on, and it was our boy at the dish. And he had a favourable count. Two balls, no strikes.

The next pitch from Jim Coates was sent way out to a spot out of reach of the three outfielders, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Lopez. It was Hector in left, who saw it go over the fence. 5-2.

The Yankees actually scored two more runs, but that of course, was not enough.

But in game seven, two runs by New York in the top of the ninth tied the game 9-9. So that was enough to send it to the last of the ninth. Mazeroski made the last putout on a force play at second.

Two pitches later, he send Ralph Terry’s offering over Yogi Berra’s head in left for a dramatic walk-off! The home team had won!

Probably no one had realized that Pittsburgh’s second basemen had a home run in the first game, of course. Maz was more known for his fielding (He won eight gold gloves), and amazingly, was still around in 1971, when the Pirates won again. That home run by Bill turned out to be one of only two times a Fall Classic concluded via that. Joe Carter did that in 1993.

But that one swing by Maz, the brilliant second basemen, that ended a great World Series, will stand the test of time.


References


Neft, David S., Richard M. Cohen, and Michael L. Neft. The Sports Encyclopedia: Baseball. 12th ed. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992. Print.

Neft, David S., and Richard M. Cohen. The World Series: Complete Play-by-play of Every Game, 1903-1989. 4th ed. New York: St. Martin's, 1990. Print. pp. 281-286

Sports Reference LLC.  Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 22 Dec. 2016

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Sure Could Have Fooled Me!

Ken Harrelson went on to a professional golf career after his playing days ended. If you'd have asked me about a successful baseball player-turned-golfer, I'd have said Ralph Terry.

Harrelson faced Terry 12 times at the dish, and didn't come away with much. Ralph held 'em to just a .167 (2-12) batting average, 2 hits (Both singles) and no RBIs or runs scored. Terry made it to 5 PGA tour events, missing the cut in all of them. But Terry won a World Series in 1961 and 1962, while Harrelson had to settle for just an appearance in 1967, which his team lost.

Harrelson got into some trouble while with Kansas in 1967, and got him on the World Series-bound Boston Red Sox. The Athletics released him on August 25th, 1967. But fate came calling. Boston had lost their star rightfielder Tony Conigliaro one week before that when he was beamed by California's Jack Hamilton.

Tony would not be back until 1969, and meanwhile, destiny called "Hawk".

Harrelson showed up to Boston, and Boston signed him three days after his release. He made an immediate impact in his first game in a Red Sox uniform.

In the top of the second of a game August 29th, 1967, he stepped up to the dish against the Yankees and hit a home run. The Red Sox, up 2-0, eventually lost the game in 20 innings to the Yankees, but guess who'd found a home?

While he hit only .200 in the 24 games he got into, he made a huge impact. He drove in 13 runs, and helped drive Boston to the pennant that year, picking up the slack from Carl Yastrzemski and George Scott. Boston also added veteran Yankee catcher Elston Howard earlier that season, an old battery mate of Ralph Terry.

Harrelson didn't do much in the World Series, however, getting into just four games, including the last three contest. Ken hit just .077, and Boston lost in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Hawk was needed the next season, and he really came through for Boston. He drove in a league-leading 109 runs, hit 35 home runs, and batted .275. But when Tony C. returned in 1969, Ken was traded just ten games into the season, ending a short but memorable stay. Red Sox fans had grown to love him. Alas, Harrelson wouldn't be around much longer.

He went to Cleveland, and while he hit 27 home runs (Giving him a very respectable total of 77), his batting average dipped to just .222 despite 84 RBIs. Two years later, he was retired. But that didn't stop Ken from taking some cuts. Or should I say, making some.

He turned to pro golf, and had quite a round one time. Having been released by the Indians in early 1971, he had only a little bit of time to prepare, but he made it to two PGA Tour events, shooting poorly in the August events. The next year, Ken made it to the British Open, but shot 75 and 78 in the first two rounds, missing the cut.

In 1980, after an absence of 7 years, Harrelson gave the PGA another try. At the Plesant Valley Jimmy Fund Classic, he shot an opening round 68. He slumped to a 72 in the second round, and didn't contend the rest of the way. He made the cut, however. He ended up shooting 293 in four rounds, ending it at +9. Ken played in just one more PGA event before he moved on to broadcasting.

Ken wasn't the best baseball player or golfer around, but he sure could swing. He always entertained, ask fans of the Chicago White Sox! He's not the colour commentator, but he sure is colourful!


References


Anderson, Dave. "Four For The Money." Pennant Races: Baseball At Its Best. New York: Doubleday, 1994. Print. pp. 289-323.

"DatabaseGolf.com - Golf Statistics, Awards, and History." DatabaseGolf.com - Golf Statistics, Awards, And History. Roto Sports, Inc., 2011. Web. 13 Dec. 2016. <http://www.databasegolf.com/>

Golenbock, Peter. Dynasty: The New York Yankees, 1949-1964. Lincolnwood, IL: Contemporary, 2000. Print. pp. 459-466.

Golenbock, Peter. Fenway: An Unexpurgated History of the Boston Red Sox. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1992. Print. pp. 299-304.

"Ken Harrelson." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 17 Nov. 2016. Web. 13 December. 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Harrelson>

"Ken Harrelson - Official Profile." PGATour. PGA Tour, n.d. Web. 13 Dec. 2016. <http://www.pgatour.com/players/player.11660.html>

"Ralph Terry - Official Profile." PGATour. PGA Tour, n.d. Web. 13 Dec. 2016. <http://www.pgatour.com/players/player.05600.html>

"Ralph Terry." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 15 July. 2016. Web. 13 December. 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_Terry>

Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 13 Dec. 2016.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Sure Could Have Fooled Me!

Ed Reulbach is the only pitcher to throw shutouts in both games of a doubleheader. While not the best pitcher on those great Chicago Cubs teams of 1906-1910, he was right up there.

But Ed posted W% of .826, .810 and .774 from 1906 to 1908, and Chicago was there in the Fall Classic all three years. Despite posting ERA's of 1.42, 1.65, 1.69, 2.03 and 1.78 from 1905 to 1909, he did not lead the league in that category any of those seasons. He never lead the league in wins or ERA at all, although he ended up winning many games.

But it was on September 26, 1908 that his big day came. Reulbach looked like he was ready for a no-hitter (X 2) as it was Chicago vs. Brooklyn.

The Cubs were just on fire. They were 91-54 on the season. Brooklyn? They finished with just 53 wins and 101 losses. They were still, "The Robins" at this point. Chicago beat 'em 5-1 on the 25th.

Reulbach was gonna remind 'em that there was a lot to choose between the two teams. In the opener, he pitched a complete game shutout, winning 5-0. It took Ed just 100 minutes to do that. His team pounded out 10 hits in the nine innings. Brooklyn managed just 5. Reulbach walked but one batter.

And he'd told his manager, Frank Chance, to count him down for the nightcap.

And Reulbach was even better there!

The Cubs got only five hits. The Robins, though, managed just three. Again, Ed walked just three. The games was a little closer, but it was the visiting Chicago team that won, 3-0. The Cubs commited an error, but the Robins committed four in the first game and another two in the second. Ed Reulbach over Jim Pastorius in just 82 minutes!

Chicago lost only one more game the rest of the season. Coming up short to Cincinnati, 6-5 on September 30th, it proved to be a mirage. They finished the year 9-1, winning their last four contests. But they still needed a 4-2 win over the New York Giants on the season's dramatic end. Chicago, you see, appeared to have lost a game on the 23rd of September to New York. Fred Merkle had forgotten to touch second in a force play in the last inning, thus nullifying the winning run. Chicago had never looked back despite losing the very next game. In the World Series, they were even better, beating Ty Cobb's Detroit Tigers in just five games. Reulbach won the opener and even made what had to be a surprising relief appearance in an 8-3, game three loss. Chicago pitched back-to-back shutouts from there to win it all for the second straight year.

When it comes to pitchers on even that Cubbies team, you probably wouldn't remember Ed. The truth is, only Modecai "Three Finger" Brown was better than him. Brown was 29-9 that season, while Reulbach was right there with a 24-7 record. I guess Reulbach being nowhere near Brown's 1.47 ERA is the reason for his legendary status. Actually, three others starters, Orval Overall, Jack Pfiester and of course Mordecai had better ERA's than Ed Reulbach in 1908. But Orverall and Pfiester won just 108 and 71 games, respectively.

Reulbach ended up with 182 wins, nowhere near enough for Hall Of Fame consideration. Brown ended up winning 239, losing just 130 and posting a career ERA of 2.06. But, then again, Reulbach lost just 106 games of his own and his lifetime ERA was 2.28. Shutout were not his specialty despite pitching two on the same day and 40 overall for his career. Brown finished with 55, leading the league twice. So here again, perhaps he wasn't that far off Brown after all.

Ed ended up bouncing around the bigs. By 1914, he was in the Federal League with the Newark Pepper, winning 21 games after being just 11-18 with Brooklyn of all teams the previous year. Ed ended up with the Boston Braves in 1917, winning just one game in five appearances before being released on July 17th. And while he isn't as well remembered as he should be, that never-to-be-forgotten pennant race of 1908 was clinched in no small part due to Ed Reulbach. 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Sure Could Have Fooled Me!

John Paciorek, age 18, went 3-3 on September 29th, 1963. Six years later, he played his final season in the minor leagues. He was only 23 went it was all over.

Paciorek spent most of 1963 in the minors. He didn't do very well. His batting average was just .219 with Modesto of the California League. "A" ball level. But then, he was in the bigs for the last day of the season. Joe delivered big time.

Houston put him in the game in right. They were still, "The Colts" at this point. Their opponents were none other than their fellow expansion pals of the previous season, the New York Mets.

But New York won only 51 games that season, and this final game would be one of their 111 losses. Well, at least they didn't lost 120 like they did in '62. Houston finished the 1963 season with 66 wins, by comparison, although flash-forward 54 years and it's New York with 2 World Series while their counterparts the Astros have none.

So Paciorek walked in the home half of the second inning. Houston had not yet moved to the Astrodome, of course. And only 3,899 fans showed up at Colt Stadium. But they witnessed something incredible.

A two-run triple by catcher John Bateman scored Paciorek and Bob Aspromonte. It was 2-0. In the fourth, a single by Paciorek scored two more. And then he scored himself on a sac fly to make it a 5-4 game for Houston.

The next inning brought more heroics. John singled to score Aspromonte. A walk and a single scored Paciorek to make it 9-4. Soon, it was 11-4 by the end of the frame. The game was Houston's but Paciorek had more in store for the Mets.

The very next inning, he walked. A wild pitch, grounded out and single saw John touch home for the third time in the game. He added a single in the eighth as Houston won 13-4. John finished 3-3, walked twice, scored 4 times and knocked in 3.

Now, for a surprise. That proved to be John Paciorek's final MLB game. So he was a one-game wonder. And quite one at that!

He spent all of the remaining years of his pro careers in the minors. Injuries set in. Not helping was the fact John hit .135, .193 and .104 in the next 3 seasons in the minors, not even playing at all in 1965. Although he caught on with Cleveland in 1968, making it to the spring, he was still in the minors on opening day that season. Paciorek hit 20 home runs, 73 RBIs and hit .268 in 95 games in the minors that year, playing with Reno and Rock Hill. Again, "A" ball level. 1969 was his last season. John hit .213 with Waterbury at "AA" ball. His career was over.

One has to wonder how it all came together for him that one major league game. If Joe couldn't hit minor league pitching, he sure shouldn't have been able to hit MLB hitting. But he sure did. Granted, it was only one appearance, but it would have been interesting to see what another game at big-league level might have brought him. John Paciorek had his day in the sun. One day, and it was a perfect one!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

World Series: Did You Know?

Mickey Mantle hommered in his first full Fall Classic (Seven games) and his last. Twelve years apart, 1952 and 1964. Mantle left game two of the 1951 World Series with an injury he substained tripping over a a sprinkler top. This forced him to miss the rest of the famed New York Yankees (Mantle's team) vs. New York Giants (Willie Mays' team). The Yankees won in six games.

But the great Joe DiMaggio retired and there was a big hole to fill. Mantle hadn't quite reached his potential yet this season. But his team? They were just rolling! They reached the Fall Classic and were looking to repeat what the great team of 1936-1939 team had done: Win four in a row! Opposing them were the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Yankees had tripped 'em up in 1941, 1947 and 1949. They were looking to continue their domination over the Dodgers!

Well, things were looking grim after game five. The Yankees lost at home. They had to win games' six and seven, in Brooklyn. New York was down 3-2.

Mantle hit a home run in game six. The Yankees won, 3-2. The Bronx Bombers won another tight one, 4-2 in game seven. Mantle broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the sixth with a home run. He later added a single in the top of the next frame, scoring Gil McDougald. No doubt Mantle was pleased when he saw Gene Woodling take Pee Wee Reese's fly in the ninth to end the game. Gene was in right field next to Mantle, who was now in DiMaggio's old spot! The tradition of winning would continue!

The Yankees made in five in a row, and remained on top (Or near it) for the next 12 years. They only missed in 1954 and 1959. But by 1964, the Yankees were an old bunch. Mantle was nearly 33. It was also his last World Series. The St. Louis Cardinals were the opposition.

Mantle hit a walk-off home run in game three, giving his team a 2-1 win. In game six, he added another home run, making it 3-1 for New York. The final score was 8-3 and the Yankees had sent this to a game seven. But it was in St. Louis, and the Cardinals were not about to lose at home.

But Bob Gibson seemed to be like a man possessed on ending the dynasty. He was handed a 6-0 lead after four, and proceeded to stop the mighty Bombers through five. In the top of the sixth, the visitors got two straight singles to start the frame. Mantle came up and took Gibson the other way over Lou Brock's head in left. The home run not only gave Mantle 18 for his career in the World Series, but it also sliced the lead in half, 6-3. New York was not done.

They got another man on next inning, but before Mantle could bat, Roger Maris lined hard to right. In the bottom of the inning, it was time for a home run by the Cardinals. Ken Boyer did the honours. Now it was 7-3 before Mantle could bat again. He connected well, but could only fly out to centre. The Yankees stopped the Cards in the bottom of the frame, and then went at Gibson in the top of the ninth. Home runs by Clete Boyer (Ken's brother) and Phil Linz (With two down!) brought Bobby Richardson to the dish. If he could get on, Mantle would be in the on-deck circle, representing the go-ahead run.

It would have been one amazing thing to see, but Maris watched from that spot as Richardson popped out to second. It was all over for Mickey and company. They'd go down the tubes fast the next four seasons (Although, they did finish 83-79 in 1968) and wouldn't be back until 1976. Everyone on the team was gone by then,

The Mick still has the record for most World Series home runs, with 18, many of them in clutch situations. He'd hit 'em when New York needed 'em, be it at 20 or at 32.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Sure Could Have Fooled Me!

Tom Seaver and Jim Palmer pitched against each other precisely once. Not in the 1969 World Series.

Tom was the big ace of the New York Mets, while Jim Palmer was a great for the Baltimore Orioles. When Seaver took the mound to begin the 1969 Fall Classic, it was Mike Cuellar on the hill for the O's.

Seaver struggled. Don Buford greeted him with a home run in the bottom of the first. The Orioles were off and flying at home. They didn't look back, either, winning 4-1. Seaver took the loss of course.

But a funny thing happened next. The Mets won the next four games!

Palmer took a loss in game 3. Seaver edged 'em 2-1 in the next contest, and the Mets came back from 3-0 down in the fifth game to win. And while Palmer and company were back in the Fall Classic in 1970, 1971, 1979 and 1983, Seaver had only the 1973 World Series for his "other" appearance. The Mets lost that in seven to the Athletics.

Palmer was just amazing. He was "Lights out" in many of the key games when Baltimore needed him. Seaver was that, too. However, Seaver's teams were not up to par with the Orioles. It's too bad, really. This could have a pitch a pitching matchup that would have been awesome in the 70s and 80s in the Fall Classic.

Seaves was a remarkable 14-2 in 1981, despite being 36. By 1984, he in the American League with the Chicago White Sox. By then, Jim Palmer had helped the Orioles win their third (And to date, final) World Series. Seaver was 15-11 in 1984, 16-11 the next season. But Palmer wasn't around in 1985.

Palmer and Seaver didn't oppose each other on opening day in 1984. Instead, the Chicago White Sox's LaMarr Hoyt beat World Series hero Scott McGregor. Palmer and Seaver had to wait until April 23rd to face off.

It wasn't really a good game. Palmer was gone after just 3 2/3 IP. 4 earned runs and five hits. Seaver went 6 innings, giving up 4 earned runs of his own. Neither got a decision. The White Sox won 7-6 in 10 innings at home.

When Seaver lost 2-0 on June 28th, Palmer had already retired. Seaver kept right on going, finishing his career with the Boston Red Sox in 1986. Palmer tried to come back in 1991, but didn't make it to opening day. He was nearly 46 years old at the time. Seaver had also tried a comeback in 1987. But at age 43, he was through.

Palmer and Seaver were, in my opinion, better than Nolan Ryan. Were they better than say Bob Gibson or Juan Marichal? That's open to debate. I think they were both better than Jim Bunning. Better than Catfish Hunter. Since then, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Greg Maddux, and yes, Roger Clemens have come and gone. Who was the greatest right-handed pitcher ever? Well, I didn't mentioned Cy Young and Walter Johnson now right? Can't go wrong with any of the above, eh?

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

World Series: Did You Know?

Rollie Sheldon was with the New York Yankees from 1961-1965, but only appeared on the big stage in '64. New York had some depth in pitching, so Rollie was the odd man out in several of those Fall Classics.

Sheldon appeared in 35 games as a rookie in 1961. The pitcher went 11-5 and was on the postseason roster. The Yankees, however, didn't use him against the Cincinnati Reds. Though games one and three were close, and the Reds won game two, it lasted just five games.

Alas, Rollie's second year wasn't very good. He was just 7-8 and his ERA was 5.49. The Fall Classic that year against the San Francisco Giants was very close, including a 1-0 win in game seven by New York. Sheldon watched and waited in vain to be used.

1963 saw the Yankees get swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Sheldon was not with the club, and spent the entire year in the minors, going 5-9 with Richmond. New York actually got some great pitching from  But in '64, Rollie was back.Whitey Ford, Al Downing, Jim Bouton and Stan Williams. That, however, could not avert a Dodger sweep.

He was only 5-2 in his 19 games, but 12 of them were starts. His ERA 3.61, which was better than any year except his rookie season (3.60). So when the New York Yankees faced the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series that year, Sheldon not only was there, he was used! Yogi Berra, the Yankee manager, looked past both Bill Stafford and Stan Williams in the Fall Classic in 1964, but not Rollie.

It came early enough. Whitey Ford left game one in St. Louis after just 5 1/3 innings. Al Downing pitched the next 1 2/3 frames. In the top of the eighth, with New York trailing 6-4, Johnny Blanchard pinch hit for Downing, and delivered! A two-out double brought the tying run to the dish. Phil Linz grounded out, but Bobby Richardson singled, 6-5. Roger Maris singled, and the tying run was 90 feet away. Mickey Mantle ended the inning by grounding out.

So Sheldon started the bottom of the eighth. Mike Shannon grounded to Clete Boyer at third. Boyer made an error. Then, with Tim McCarver batting, Elston Howard, the Yankees' catcher, allowed a passed ball. McCarver coaxed a bases on balls from Sheldon, and this was trouble.

Barney Schultz, the pitcher, batted for himself and lined right back at Sheldon. Not only did Rollie get it for the out, he fired to Joe Pepitone at first to nail McCarver going. Two down.

Rollie had pitched to his last batter for the day. Pete Mikkelsen came in, and Curt Flood singled home Mike Shannon. Lou Brock hit a double to left to score two more. None of these runs were earned, but did it matter? Down went New York 1-2-3 in the ninth, as game one of the 1964 World Series went to St. Louis, 9-5.

The series lasted seven games. Sheldon wasn't used again until game seven. Mel Stottlemyre left, and so did Al Downing who relieved him. With two on and nobody out in the top of the sixth, it was Sheldon's turn again. New York was down, 4-0. Dick Groat grounded out to second. 5-0. Tim McCarver flied to Mickey Mantle in right, Ken Boyer tagged and scored. 6-0.

Sheldon got out of that with a K of Mike Shannon, and pitched well in the bottom of the sixth. The Yankees woke up in the top of the frame. Bob Gibson, starting on just 2 days' rest, came undone. Two singles and a Mickey Mantle home run made it 6-3. There was plenty of time for a comeback. Sheldon fanned Dal Maxvill for the first out, as St. Louis tried to give Gibby some more breathing room. Gibson batted and flied out to Tom Tresh in right. When Mantle took Curt Flood's liner in right, Sheldon had faced six batters and gotten 'em all!

Hector Lopez batted for Sheldon in the top of the seventh as New York looked for more. Gibson fanned him. Phil Linz flew out to right, just as he had his previous trip to the dish. The inning, however, continued as Bobby Richardson singled. Roger Maris, with a single of his own the last time up, connected well. Alas, he could only line it to McCarver in right, ending the inning. Sheldon would not get a decision.

The Cardinals ended up winning it, very close, 7-5. Sheldon started 1965 for the Yankees, pitching well in three appearances, but then was shipped out to Kansas with Johnny Blanchard. Sheldon wasn't around the bigs much longer, drifting to Buffalo in 1967. He finished his professional career with Salt Lake City in 1970.


References


Golenbock, Peter. Dynasty: The New York Yankees, 1949-1964. Lincolnwood, IL: Contemporary, 2000. Print, pp. 347-368.

Halberstam, David. October 1964. New York: Villard, 1994. Print

Neft, David S., Richard M. Cohen, and Michael L. Neft. The Sports Encyclopedia: Baseball, 1992. 12th ed. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992. Print, pp. 347-368.

Neft, David S., and Richard M. Cohen. The World Series: Complete Play-by-play of Every Game, 1903-1989. 4th ed. New York: St. Martin's, 1990. Print, pp 287-306.

Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 6 Dec. 2016.

Youtube. Web. 6 Dec. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/>

Monday, December 5, 2016

Common Denominator: Harmon Killebrew

"0 SH in his career, attempted three times. All against the New York Yankees."

That would be the Minnesota Twins' Harmon Killebrew, who actually started his career when they were still in Washington in 1954, but not becoming a regular until '59. Washington moved to Minny in 1961,

Killebrew lead the American League in home runs for the first time in 1959. It would be the first of six seasons he'd do that. But it was the only time he did it while the franchise was in Washington. That same year was Killebrew's first attempt to get a sac bunt.

April 22nd, and Killebrew's Senators were hosting Mickey Mantle's New York Yankees. It was Whitey Ford for the Yankees and Bill Fischer for the Senators. It was a long night. The Yankees couldn't get it going.

Harmon had two hits and a walk. But Ford was clutch. After nine innings, it was scoreless. In the top of the 14th, Moose Skowron gave Whitey Ford a 1-0 lead with a home run. The Twins needed to answer that tally in the bottom of the frame.

Norm Zauchin got it started out on the right foot with a single. Harmon Killebrew was next. He forced Zauchin at second with a bunt. The Senators got a two-out single, and Harmon was at second representing the tying run. Ford got pinch hitter Ron Samford to ground out to second. A tough 1-0 loss.

The Yankees, if you can believe it, didn't win the pennant that year. But they were back in the hunt in 1960. Killebrew and company came to town on May 28th to try and stop 'em.

Jim Kaat was going for the Senators, and he did quite a job for a while. Jim Coates was just the Yankees' pitcher. He was fairly good for a few years, but you'd think the Sens could get something off him, right?

Killebrew lashed a double off him in the top of the second. He ended up stranded. Harmon walked his next trip up, only to be stranded again. Top of the sixth, another walk for him. Jim Lemon moved to second as a result. A double play erased Killebrew. Lemon was stranded at third as Earl Battey popped to short.

Bottom of the sixth, and The Mick broke the 0-0 game. Home run. Mantle then fanned his second time up that inning, to end it. By that time, the Bronx Bombers had added three more runs. Roger Maris hit a home run the next inning, and it was 5-0. Where was the great Twins, err Sens, offence?

Bob Allison walked to start the top of the eighth. Julio Becquer doubled him to third. Allison hit a sac fly to Mantle in centre. Becquer made it to third. Killebrew was up. A home run here and it's 5-3.

And then we got a ballgame.

Not so fast. Killebrew bunted. Foul. On the third strike. Dan Dobbek was retired on a scorcher to left. Coates got 'em 1-2-3 in the ninth for a tidy 5-1 win.

Killebrew was now in Minnesota for the 1962 season. It was August 13th. But the Yankees were still the Yankees. They'd won it all in 1961 and looking to repeat. Jim Bouton was on the hill for New York. Jack Kralick was opposing him. Killebrew singled home the game's first run in the bottom of the first.

New York tied it via a solo Tom Tresh home run in the third. In the bottom of the frame, Killebrew came up with runners on the corners and not a man out. He tried to avoid the double play and bunted foul for strike three. Minnesota never scored a run that inning.

Harmon and the Twins weren't about to be denied. Almost by himself, he beat the Yankees. He ended the game 4-5 with 5 RBIs. The home team won, 6-4. So just one bat at bat. New York went on to the pennant and won the World Series in seven games over the San Francisco Giants.

Killebrew and company had to wait until 1965 to dethrone New York. They took the pennant as the Yankees slid down to below .500 that year. Alas, Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale of the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Minnesota Twins in seven games.

Killebrew lead the AL in home runs in 1962, 1963 and 1964. He tied Carl Yastremzki in 1967 with 44. No one was tied with Harmon in 1969, as he took home the MVP via 49 long balls. The Twins made it back to the postseason, only to lose to the Baltimore Orioles in the first-ever American League Champion Series. Mantle had retired the year before, never making it to the World Series his last four seasons.

Harmon had one last great season in 1971, as he topped the league in RBIs with 119. He ended his career as a teammate of George Brett's in 1975, but he hit just .199 for Kansas. Brett had 9 sacrifice hits in that season alone.

Still, Killebrew ended his career with 573 home runs, 12th on the all-time list. They didn't pay him to move the runners over. They paid him to crush the ball.


References


Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 05 Dec. 2016.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

World Series: Did You Know?

Whitey Ford drove in the only run he'd need in game six of 1960. His team, the New York Yankees, needed a win. All Ford did was go out and pitch a shutout.

It was Ford's second of the 1960 Fall Classic against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He'd beaten them 10-0 in game three at Yankee Stadium. But game six was at Forbes Field.

The Pirates looked like they might get to Ford early. The Yankees went down 1-2-3 in the top of the first. Pittsburgh, up 3-2 in the World Series and looking for the finishing touches, got a single by Bill Virdon in the bottom of the frame to start their turn. Dick Groat hit into a 4-6-3 double play, however. Roberto Clemente singled to keep the inning alive, only to be stranded at first as Dick Stuart fanned.

The Yankees got into the swinging habit in the top of the second. With one out, Yogi Berra, playing left field as Elston Howard actually caught this one, walked. Moose Skowron singled. Howard was hit by a pitch. Bob Friend was in a jam. He managed to get Bobby Richardson to fly out. Short enough that no one scored. Berra though, came home with the game's first run as Ford hit one back to Friend. Berra beat the throw home. 1-0.

The Pirates got their third hit in the bottom of the second, but again nobody scored. The Yankees sure did in the top of the third. Tony Kubek was hit by a pitch. Roger Maris doubled him to third. Mickey Mantle singled 'em both home to make it 3-0. And the rout was just beginning!

Berra singled Mantle to third. Skowron flied out, and that brought The Commerce Comet home. 4-0. Johnny Blanchard singled to keep this thing going! When Bobby Richardson singled, it was 6-0. Ford and Clete Boyer were retired to end the inning, but the lefty had a nice six-run cushion to work with after 2 1/2 innings of play.

Whitey really settled down to make sure Pittsburgh have any comebacks in mind. He set 'em down 1-2-3 in the third and fourth inning. Hal Smith singled to start the fifth, and Don Hoak got the Bucs their fourth hit of the game. Bill Mazeroski hit into a double play, alas. Pinch hitter Rocky Nelson fanned.

New York added two more in the top of the sixth to make it an 8-0 laugher. Roberto Clemente got his second hit of the afternoon in the bottom of the frame, but Whitey Ford kept the shutout going. Richardson and Ford then picked up another RBI each in the top of the seventh to get it to double digits. 10-0, New York.

In the top of the eighth, Roger Maris singled for his third hit of the game, Mickey Mantle forced him at second, but there was no stopping another Yankees' uprising. Clem Labine, pitching for Pittsburgh, had once shutout the Yankees in a World Series game years earlier for the (then) Brooklyn Dodgers. Here, he was having all sorts of troubles. His wild pitch moved the great Mantle to third. Berra singled to centre, and Mantle scored. Berra took second on Bill Virdon's fielding error. Skowron grounded out, but now the catcher-turned-left fielder was 90 feet away from making it a dozen runs.

Johnny Blanchard, the actual catcher (Having replaced Elston Howard earlier) doubled to right. Berra scored for the third time. Maris, Berra, had company. Blanchard was with them with 3 hits in this must-win game.

Dick Groat singled with two out in the bottom of the frame. Nothing came of it. It was also only the sixth hit off Whitey Ford all day long. Red Witt, the fifth reliever of the game for the Bucs, got New York out 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth to keep the score at 12-0. Ford eyed the shutout, needing just to retire three more men.

Dick Stuart grounded out to short. Gino Cimoli singled. Hit number seven by Pittsburgh. But only Hal Smith and Roberto Clemente managed more than one. Smith came up, and didn't get a hit, He grounded to Clete Boyer at third. Boyer to Richardson covering second, one. Richardson to Skowron at first, double play! A nice 6-4-3. Ford was a 12-0 winner.






Whitey Ford ended the 1960 World Series with a 2-0 record, a 0.00 ERA and only 11 hits allowed over the course of 18 innings. Alas, all this was not enough. The Pittsburgh Pirates won game seven (Ford did not appear) 10-9 to take it. Remarkably enough, Ford came back the next year to win both his starts again. And again he did not allow a run. Ford was simply pitching "Lights out!" in the World Series at this time!


References


Neft, David S., and Richard M. Cohen. The World Series: Complete Play-by-play of Every Game, 1903-1989. 4th ed. New York: St. Martin's, 1990. Print. pp. 281-286.


Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 03 Dec. 2016..

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Common Denominator: Al MacAdam

"Scored the GWG to eliminate the Toronto Maple Leafs in the deciding game of the 1979/80 playoffs. Then scored the GWG in the deciding game to eliminate the Montreal Canadians in the 1979/80 postseason."

That would be the Minnesota North Stars' Al MacAdam. Al was a player to be feared that year, scoring 42 goals and adding 51 assists. The right winger took home the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. He had some software.

In the 1978/79 season the Habs had won their fourth Stanley Cup in a row (Beating Toronto along the way), and sixth of the decade. The North Stars had finished 28-40-12. Would the next season be any different?

Well, Montreal lost their coach, Scotty Bowman. They lost Ken Dryden, their great goalie,. Jacques Lemaire was gone. Yvan Cournoyer was also gone. Of those, mentioned above, only Bowman was involved in the NHL in 1979/80, that as the coach of the Buffalo Sabers. Minnesota and Buffalo would each be in the final four that year. The Habs and Leafs would not.

The Leafs came into the 1979/80 playoffs five games below .500, but had Darry Sittler (97 points), Wilf Paiement (74 points), Rick Vaive (22 goals in only 69 games). Plus Borje Salming and Ian Turnbull. Toronto had plenty to test Minny goalie Gillies Meloche. But he had a pretty good goals-against average of 3.06 that year. Could Toronto get some by him? They were 7th in the 21-team league that season with 304 goals.

But they ran into a stop sign as the playoffs began.

The first two games of the first round between Minny and Toronto were right there in the North Stars' ring. The home team weathered the storm in the first two contests. They pounded the Leafs for an amazing 61 shots on goal in the first game, prevailing 6-3 (It was only 4-2 after 40 minutes). Game two was all Minnesota, however. They looked for the sweep after winning it so easily, 7-2. It was 4-0 after two periods in this on, and Al MacAdam had two goals in it!

Game three was at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens. Would now be a good time to tell you this was a best-of-five? The Maple Leafs had to win. The led 2-1 after 2 periods. But in the third, it was the Stars tying it, and then taking the lead. John Anderson tied it at 3 in the third with little more than five minutes to play. In overtime, Al MacAdam won it just 32 seconds it.

Next came the Montreal Canadians. Seeking their fifth cup in a row, they swept past Hartford in the first round. Minnesota surprised them in the first two contests in Montreal. The North Stars were 36-28-16 that year. But the Habs? All those departures and they still were 47-20-13. How did they end the season in their last 21 games? 15-0-6. So when the quarterfinals started, Montreal was essentially 18-0-6. Can you say, tall order for Minny?

Minnesota couldn't score a goal on Dennis Herron through two in game one, and neither could Montreal dent Meloche. In the third period, it was the visitors breaking lose with three goals, MacAdam getting his fourth of the playoffs. He was averaging a goal a game.

Meloch was amazing in game two, as well, stopping 40 of 41 shots. Minny won 4-1. But when if shifted to Minnesota, Montreal woke up. Game three saw the Habs make a crucial decision. Bunny Larocque, ken Dryden's old backup, was no slouch in goal. Although Herron posted better numbers in the regular season, 25-3-3, 2.51 GAA, Bunny had all the experience to get the Canadians back in this on the road.

Stopping all 25 shots that came his way, Bunny got Montreal's first shutout of the 1980 playoffs. The game itself was a rout, 5-0 for the Habs. And what a little confidence will do for you, eh? Montreal blasted the home team again, 5-1 in game four. Yvon Lambert was playing amazing. 8 goals in as many games played.

Back home for game five, Larocque, who'd beaten Hartford in the third contest of the first round, upped his playoff record to a perfect 4-0 with an easy 6-2 win. Well, the Habs were for real.

Amazingly, they'd need a game seven to clinch. Minnesota went home and Meloche regained his form. Montreal looked poised to finish 'em off. They had 10 shots on goal in the first period and the only goal, but Minnesota came back with five of their own in the second. Rick Chartraw scored the only goal of the third, but that really didn't matter. The 5-2 win by the home team sent this one back to Canada.

Game seven was back-and-forth, but you had to figure the Canadians would find a way. Yet tied 2-2 with only 86 minutes to play, it was Al MacAdam's 6th goal of the 1980s playoffs that put Minnesota up 3-2. The Habs failed to get the equalizer, much to the amazement of everyone.

Minnesota faced Philadelphia next game, and even won the first game. From there, though, it was all the Flyers, who reached the finals after winning the next four contests. MacAdam had only one goal in those five games.

The Minnesota North Stars made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals the next year, as MacAdam scored nine more goals. They didn't become the next dynasty, however. That title belonged to the New York Islanders, who'd won it in 1980 and then beat Minny in just five games in '81. They'd win it the next two years for good measure.

The North Stars had to wait until 1991 to make it back to the finals, losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games. MacAdam was long gone by then. The team was off to Dallas for the 1993/94, although a new team, called the Wild, arrived in time for the 2000/2001. The Stanley Cup has yet to make it's way to the city, however.

But they still managed to eliminate two of the the most prominent teams in one magical season many years back.


"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


"Hockey Summary Project." Hockey Summary Project. N.p., 1 Nov. 2008. Web. 29 Nov. 2016. <http://hsp.flyershistory.com/>


Sports Reference LLC. Hockey-Reference.com - Hockey Statistics and History. http://www.hockey-reference.com/. Web. 28 Nov. 2016.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Common Denominator: Djokovic And Murray.

"Born a week apart in 1987, finished a year on a tremendous 24-match winning streak not long after a loss at the US Open."

For Novak Djokovic, born May 22nd, 1987, that was 2013. He watched as Nadal caught up to him and passed him in the rankings that year, including beating him in a four-set US Open finals. However, the Serb was not about to lose again.

He won both his rubbers at a Davis Cup tie vs. Canada, beating both Milos Raonic and Vaskek Pospisil (Both of whom were in the top 50 at that time). Neiter player managed to win a set off Djokovic. Then Novak went to Beijing and beat Richard Gasquet in the semis and Nadal in the finals.

Novak won in Shanghai, beating Gael Monfils, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Juan Martin del Potro in the last three rounds. Challenges were coming his way, and Djokovic was meeting them with open arms.

At Paris, he beat David Ferrer in the finals, having overcome a pair of players from Switzerland in the previous rounds named Wawrinka and Federer. Roger won set of him. Wawrinka and Ferrer weren't so lucky. 6-4, 6-3 and 6-3, 6-3.

Federer, del Potro and Gasquet then put up spirited fights at the ATP Finals in London, but Djokovic beat them all in three sets. Wawrinka and Nadal managed to win a combined total of 13 games against Djokovic in the semifinals and finals. It was all-too-easy after three early scares.

One more hurdle existed in 2013 for Djokovic. The Davis Cup finals was against Czech Republic. Check out the score vs. Tomas Berdych. 6-4, 7-6, 6-2. Check out the score vs. Radek Stepanek, 7-5, 6-1, 6-4.

Djokovic found himself being hounded by Andy Murray three years later. He lost the US Open finals to Wawrinka. But Novak beat Andy in the Australian Open final and later at the French Open finals.

Murray, though, won Wimbledon, and then the Olympics. He lost a Davis Cup tie vs. del Potro after losing in the quarters of the US Open. The loss to Juan was Andy's last of 2016.

He came to China following Great Britain's loss (Although Murray beat Guido Pella in his other singles' match) to Argentina at the Davis Cup. In China, Andy roared to the finals without losing a set. Grigor Dimitrov had been hammered into submission by Andy Murray in the round of sixteen at the US Open, and played much better in the finals. But not good enough to win a set. Murray won, 6-4, 7-6.

Shanghai, and the same. Murray didn't lose a set. In the finals, he beat Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6, 6-1.

Off to Vienna, and Andy was a little more human. He dropped a set in his first two matches, then didn't lose another. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was the last to fall to him, 6-3, 7-6.

Paris saw Andy Murray beat Tomas Berdych in the quarters, Milos Raonic (by default) in the semis, and finally John Isner in the finals. This time, Murray dropped a set. He'd routed Isner at Vienna. Here, the Scotsman scraped by, 6-3, 6-7, 6-4.

In the round robin of the ATP Finals in London, Murray dropped a set to Kei Nishikori. In the semifinals, Milos Raonic was his opponent. The Canadian gave him all he could handle, but Andy Murray found a way, 5-7, 7-6, 7-6.

The finals should have been a challenged, but Andy Murray had all the answers for Novak Djokovic's quest for another Year-End Championship. With a 6-3, 6-4 win, Murray had title #9 on the year, and would finish #1 for the first time in his career.

The 29-year old was born on May 15th, 1987, one week before his vanquished opponent, who happened to have five ATP Finals titles to his name. 2016 had started out frustrating for him. But it ended with 24 wins (Plus 2 more by default). Djokovic likewise ended 2013 with 24 consecutive victories, and still is great player on all surfaces. Both players will be 30 in May of next year. Their rivalry will no doubt continue to be a riveting one. However, other than the Grand Slams, they'll be looking out for the #1 ranking in 2017.


References


"Andy Murray Career Statistics." Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia . Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Unknown, 2016. Web. 28 Nov. 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Murray_career_statistics>

"Novak Djokovic Career Statistics." Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia . Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Unknown, 2016. Web. 28 Nov. 2016 <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Novak_Djokovic_ career_ statistics>

"Official Site of Men's Professional Tennis | ATP World Tour | Tennis." ATP World Tour. Emirates. Web. 28 Nov. 2016.  <http://www.atpworldtour.com/>

Saturday, November 26, 2016

World Series: Did You Know?

Roberto Clemente got a hit in every game. And his Fall Classic appearances were eleven years apart.

Clemente was on the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates who faced off against the New York Yankees in that year's World Series. Clemente was wielding a hot bat!

The home team at Forbes Field saw Roger Maris put the Yankees up 1-0 in the top of the first, but back came the Bucs in the bottom of the frame. Facing Art Ditmar, and having watched his pals score twice, Clemente delivered a single to make it 3-1. That was the end for Ditmar and the Yankees. Pittsburgh won the game 6-4.

New York snapped right back in the next two games, winning 'em 16-3 and 10-0. Roberto did collect two hits in the second contest, and another in game three at Yankee Stadium. But it did little. Pittsburgh won the next two games, however, and were heading home up 3-2, with a chance to finish 'em off in game six.

Clemente had just a hit in games four and five, collecting his second RBI of the postseason in the last game at the Stadium. His team was blown out for a third time, 12-0 in game six, but Roberto got two hits of Whitey Ford, who'd shut 'em out in game three.

So, in the winner-take-all game seven, Clemente popped out in the bottom of the first as Pittsburgh got two runs off Bob Turley. Two more runs in the second seemed good, but Roberto wasn't doing anything. He hit into a double play to end the third. The Yankees seized up on this and scored seven runs to take a 7-4 lead into the bottom of the eighth.

Clemente's single scored the second run of that inning, as the home team refused to die. Trailing still, 7-6, Hal Smith hit a three-run home run off Jim Coates to make it 9-7! Three more outs!

Well, the Yankees refused to die, too. They scored twice in the top of the ninth to tie it at 9. Bill Mazeroski then won it for Roberto and company with a walk-off home run off Ralph Terry in the last of the ninth. Clemente sort of had to take a back seat to Maz's big hit. But so too, did Bill Virdon's great defence and Harvey Haddix's excellent pitching.




The sad thing out of all this for Pittsburgh was, they had a team that seemed destined for a rematch in 1961. The Yankees, of course, were back. The Pirates? Not quite. They dropped below .500 (75-79). New York kept returning until 1965, when the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Minnesota Twins. The Dodgers boasted pitchers Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. They'd won in 1959, again in 1963, and finally, '65. They reached back to the Fall Classic the next year, only to be swept by the Baltimore Orioles.

The Yankees fell to Bob Gibson and the St. Louis Cardinals in 1964, and that put 'em on the map. The Cards hadn't made it to the World Series since 1946. They'd return again in 1967 and 1968. The New York Mets amazed the world with a five-game win over the Baltimore Orioles in 1969. The Cincinnati Reds, who were in the 1961 World Series instead of the Pittsburgh Pirates, made it back in 1970. But let me tell you about the next year!

The Pirates had a much different team. Now, they had Willie Stargell, Al Oliver and Bob Robertson. Their pitching staff was great. Dock Ellis, Steve Blass were there. Nelson Briles, who'd helped the Cards make it to the Fall Classic in 1967 and 1968 was there with his experience. Mudcat Grant, there on the Twins in '65 was now a Pirate. Bob Johnson, Luke Walker and Bob Moose completed the lucky seven.

So, after beating the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS, it was off to the Wordl Series against the Baltimore Orioles.

This time, it was on the road for games one and two. The Orioles won 'em both. Clemente lashed two hits in game one, and another pair of 'em in the second contest. Baltimore won game two, 11-3.

So in Pittsburgh, Clemente got just one hit. Willie Stargell got none (Although he walked three times). However, just take a look at the final score: 5-1 for Pittsburgh! Steve Blass had himself a fine 3-hitter!

Game four was close, but Roberto Clemente was all over the place. 3 hits, a walk. Surprisingly, he didn't knock in a run or touch home. But his team did four times to the O's three. And game five? It wasn't close. Pittsburgh won, 4-0. Nelson Briles trumped Mr. Blass. He allowed Baltimore two hits. Speaking of hits, our favourite player on the Pirates had one, and it knocked home the final run of the ballgame in the bottom of the fifth. The Pirates had this contest from the get-go!

In Baltimore for game six, Pittsburgh got a big blow off the bat of Roberto. He tripled his first time up off the great Jim Palmer, who'd whipped Pittsburgh in the second contest. Clemente was stranded, the Pirates scored the next inning. Here's where Roberto took over. He hit a solo home run in the third to make it 2-0. Palmer though, had 'em in the bag after that. He handcuffed the Pittsburgh Pirates the rest of the contest. It took extras, but Roberto Clemente and the Pirates were denied, 3-2.

No denials in the seventh game, however.

It came down to Steve Blass going on the hill for Pittsburgh vs. Mike Cuellar for Baltimore. Clemente could only ground out in the top of the first.

But in the top of the fourth, it was a different story. He took Cuellar out of the park for a home run. That marked the second straight game that Roberto had helped the Pirates with the long ball.

It was still 1-0 Pittsburgh in the top of the eighth when Willie Stargell singled to start the inning. Jose Pagan singled him home. The insurance run was needed, for the Orioles scored a run off Blass in the bottom of the frame.

Steve settled down, and Clemente had to settle for one hit. But when Baltimore was retired 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth, the Pittsburgh Pirates had won the 1971 World Series.




Roberto Clemente finished the 1971 Fall Classic with 12 hits, 2 home runs, and a splendid batting average of .414 to nab the MVP honours. He was just so dominating. Sadly, he'd die little more than a year later, and the young age of 38. The Pirates have only won the World Series one more time since, and that was in 1979. But although the time inbetween the World Series was more than a decade for Clemente, he made the most of all seven games each time.


References


Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 26 Nov. 2016.

Friday, November 25, 2016

World Series: Did You Know?

David Ferriss handed the St. Louis Cardinals their only shutout on the road in the 1940s. The Cards had a dynasty going with appearances in the 1942-1944 World Series. After the Tigers beat the Cubs in 1945, it was the Boston Red Sox's turn in 1946 to face the St. Louis Cardinals.

The teams split the first two games, and Ferriss pitched game three at Fenway. Murry Dickson started for the road guys.

It all seemed to come apart early for Dickson and company. In the bottom of the first, Joe Pesky singled with one out. Dom DiMaggio grounded out, moving Pesky to second. With first base open, Ted Williams was walked intentionally. Rudy York hit a home run to left. 3-0, Boston.

Ferriss seemed to get stronger as the game moved on. In the top of the sixth, it was Dickson himself with a double. But DiMaggio in centre caught up to Red Schoendienst's short fly. Not only did Dom made the catch, he fired to Pesky the shortstop covering second. Two down. Terry Moore ending the inning by striking out.

Another double play got the Red Sox out of any trouble in the next inning. Harry Walker singled in the top of the eighth, but nothing came of it. The Red Sox scored an unearned run off Murry Dickson in the bottom of the frame, effectively sealing the win.

Schoendienst and Moore were retired by Ferriss to start the ninth. Stan Musial tripled to keep St. Louis alive. But when Enos Slaughter fanned, the game was over and Ferriss had the shutout. Boston also had a 2-1 lead in the 1946 World Series.

The St. Louis Cardinals went on to win three of the next four games, even though Ferriss started game seven. Neither team was to return to this point until the 1960s (Boston and St. Louis met in the 1967 World Series, and twice so far in the 21st century).




Ferriss had lead the American League in W% in '46, .806. Although his career came to an end in 1950 before he was 30, Dave posted an excellent W-L record of 65-30 for a career W% of .684. He'd won 21 games in 1945 and added 21 in the pennant-winning season. So there was no doubt he belonged on the hill in games three and seven of the Fall Classic in 1946, although Boston came up a tad short in the last contest.


References


Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 25 Nov. 2016.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

World Series: Did You Know?

Although he allowed six hits in just 2 1/3 innings pitcher, Ralph Branca was the winning pitcher in game six of 1947. The Brooklyn Dodgers lived to fight another day.

Branca had started game one, and lost. He allowed a Yogi Berra home run in game three, but Brooklyn held on for a 9-8 win. But once it got to game six at Yankee Stadium, it was do-or-die for the Dodgers.




Well, the Dodgers dodged defeat. It wasn't easy.

Vic Lombardi started for the visiting Dodgers, and Brooklyn got up 4-0 going into the bottom of the third. Here's where New York woke up. They scored twice and had runners on first and second, with two down.

Branca came in and Billy Johnson singled. 4-3. Bobby Brown batted for Jack Phillips and singled. That scored the great Joe DiMaggio. Game tied, 4-4.

The next inning was tough, too. Branca gave up a single, got two strikeouts, then allowed another single. Yogi Berra singled to score the go-ahead run, but DiMaggio hit into a force. Brooklyn needed some offence.

They didn't get any in the top of the fifth. In the bottom of the frame, Ralph Branca held the fort. Johnson grounded out. George McQuinn popped to second. Phil Rizzuto singled to keep the inning going, but Aaron Robinson grounded out to second to end that.

In the top of the sixth inning, the Dodgers scored four times to take an 8-5 lead. Branca had been removed for a pinch hitter. Joe Hatten took over on the mound for Brooklyn. He held the fort, but the Yankees still managed to get to him eventually.

In the last of the ninth, Johnson singled and McQuinn. Hugh Casey came in. Rizzuto flied out to centre. Robinson singled, however, and the bases were loaded.

Lonny Frey batted for Butch Wensloff, and singled home Billy Johnson. 8-6. Stuffy Stirnweiss grounded out to Casey, and the Dodgers had the game.

Alas, in game seven, the Dodgers couldn't hold an early 2-0 lead. It was the Yankees scored the game's final five runs, to take the 1947 World Series in 7 games. Branca was not done pitching in the Fall Classic, however.




Two years later, the two teams met again. Ralph pitched much better this time around. Given the ball for game three at Brooklyn, he allowed a third inning run, then seemed to settle down. The Yankees gave up the lead in the bottom of the fourth when Pee Wee Reese homered.

The game stayed tied at 1 going into the top of the ninth. New York pulled it out as Yogi walked with one out. When Joe DiMaggio popped out, Branca seemed safe. Bobby Brown singled Berra into scoring position. Gene Woodling walked to load the bases. And when Johhny Mize singled, Berra and Brown scored. Jack Banta came into relieve Branca, who'd allowed just four hits over eight and two-thirds innings pitched. Jerry Coleman singled to make it 4-1.

The Brooklyn Dodgers had quite a bottom of the frame. Three outs away from losing, they sure didn't quit. Gil Hodges was retired, but Luis Olmo, the left fielder, hit a solo home run. 4-2. Joe Page, pitching in relief and going for the win, fanned Duke Snider. Then, Roy Campanella hit a solo shot of his own, 4-3. Bruce Edwards went sent to the dish for Banta, but Page got him looking to end game three.

And Brooklyn lost the next two games.




Branca never pitched again in the World Series, although he was on the Dodgers' postseason roster in 1952, the year after famous Giants pennant win over Branca's team. The '52 World Series went seven, and again, Brooklyn lost. They'd finally win in 1955 (After suffering a six-game defeat in '53 and watching the Giants win again the next year.) but Ralph was no longer pitching for Brooklyn. Soon, he retired from baseball, not much past his 30th birthday.

The Dodgers suffered a lot of heartbreak, long before Ralph Branca arrived. Was 1947 especially hard? They were so close, yet the Yankees made 'em look so-close-yet-so-far in game seven. In '52 they had games six and seven at home, coming up just empty. Even after Brooklyn's big win in 1955, the New York Yankees took their revenge in seven the following season. The Dodgers headed west to Los Angeles and won in 1959, 1963 and 1965. By then their pitching staff was primarily Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, so the opposition didn't have a chance.

Branca passed away yesterday, age 90. The Dodgers haven't won since 1988 and the San Francisco Giants (Having also gone west in '58) have recently won the Fall Classic three times. The New York Yankees have 27 World Titles to their name, while Brooklyn / Los Angeles has had to settle for 6. The Giants are up to 9, tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for the most of any National League team. But Ralph Branca was part of some great Brooklyn teams, and remembering him for Bobby Thompson's home run just doesn't seem right.


References


Enders, Eric. 100 years of the World Series. Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. New York, 2005. Print.

Neft, David S., Richard M. Cohen, and Michael L. Neft. The Sports Encyclopedia: Baseball, 1992. 12th ed. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992. Print.

Neft, David S., and Richard M. Cohen. The World Series: Complete Play-by-play of Every Game, 1903-1989. 4th ed. New York: St. Martin's, 1990. Print.

Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 24 Nov. 2016.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

World Series: Did You Know?

Jerry Koosman never lost a game in the all-important October finale! In fact, he never lost a postseason game, period.

As a member of the 1969 New York Mets, he was given the ball in the very first NLCS. His team had beaten the Atlanta Braves 9-5 in the first contest.

The game started well for New York. After three innings, it was 6-0. After 3 1/2 in Atlanta, it was 8-0 for the visitors. The Braves got a run in the bottom of the frame, and then the Mets countered that with another tally of their own in the fifth, making it five straight innings of at least one run. However, Hank Aaron hit a 3-run home run in the bottom of that inning to cut it to 9-4. Ex-Yankee Clete Boyer drove home two more before the inning was over, and suddenly, it was 9-6. There were two outs, but that was all for Koosman as manager Gil Hodges replaced him with Canadian Ron Taylor. New York held on to win, getting some breathing room via a 2-run home run by Cleon Jones.

So, after finishing off Atlanta, is was off to the World Series to face the Baltimore Orioles. This would be no easy task. The O's beat Tom Seaver 4-1 in game one. Could Koosman win game two on the road this time? Send it back home for games 3, 4 and 5 even steven?

You bet! It wasn't easy, but a fine 2-hitter and some more help from Taylor, and this thing was heading home tied 1-1.






The Mets, as you can see, had to pull it out in the top of the ninth. The Orioles got two on after Koosman retired the first two batters as the O's were down to their last gasp! You take the 2-1 win if you're the Mets.

Game three went to New York 5-0, but it was closer than that. Seaver then won game four by the same score of Koosman's game two win. But this one required extras! Up 3-1, but with games six and seven in Baltimore, could Jerry end it all in game five?

Well, Baltimore didn't even ponder that thought. Their pitcher, Dave McNally, who'd battled Koosman to a gem of a duel in game two, actually hit a home run off him in the top of the third. It was a two-run shot. Frank Robinson hit a solo drive later that inning! 3-0, Baltimore.

New York scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth via a two-run home run by Don Clendenon. But McNally got the next three batters out, and seemed to have it back together. However, Al Weiss tied the game 3-3 with a home run in the bottom of the seventh. McNally was then removed for a pinch hitter in the top of the eighth, but Jerry Koosman got 'em 1-2-3.

The bottom of the frame saw the Mets go ahead via two doubles. The Orioles then committed two errors on one play to allow another run to score. 5-3, New York.

Frank Robinson drew a walk as the Orioles batted in the top of the ninth. A fielder's choice got the Mets to within two outs of wrapping it up. Brooks Robinson flew out to right. Davey Johnson then sent a ball to left. But when Jones made the catch, the home team had the 1969 World Series won!




Four years later, it was another NLCS for the Mets. Koosman was clutch. He beat the Cincinnati Reds 9-2 in the third game, and New York went on to win it in five games. The World Series was against Oakland.

Koosman started game two, following a win by Oakland in the opener. He just didn't have it. The A's got six hits off him in only two and a third innings. The Mets, however, fought back and eventually won in extras, tying the 1973 World Series, 1-1. Just like in 1969, it was on to home sweet Shea Stadium for games three, four and five.




The teams traded wins and game five would decided who went up 3-2. Jerry Koosman, given the ball, made sure that was the Mets. Jerry pitched well. The Mets scored twice off A's starter Vida Blue, and it was up to Koosman to make that stand up.

Jerry allowed three hits in the game. But in the top of the seventh, Gene Tenace drew a leadoff walk. One out later, Ray Fosse hit a double, and the tying run was at second. Tug McGraw came in.

Deron Johnson walked to load the bases. Koosman had allowed 4 walks in 6 1/3 innings. McGraw walked three more himself. But would you believe it? The A's didn't score!

The next two batters, you see, didn't even get the ball out of the infield. There were more chances for the Athletics, however. In the very next inning McGraw retired the first two men, but then Reggie Jackson drew a walk. So too, did Tenace. Jesus Alou lined to third to end that.

New York got a pair of baserunners on in their half of the inning, but neither scored. McGraw, however, had it in the ninth, getting the side in order. Tug fanned the last two batters for an exclamation mark on the save. Jerry Koosman had another win. The Mets, however, lost games six and seven.




Koosman, now 4-0 in the postseason, had one last appearance in him, but I'm sure he'd rather forget it. He was on the Chicago White Sox and facing the Baltimore Orioles in the third contest of the ALCS in 1983. The series was tied. But the third contest was a rout.

It was already 7-1 in the top of the of the ninth at Comisky Park by the time Koosman came in. John Shelby pinch hit and walked. Tito Landrum came in to bat for Jim Dwyer and flied out. Cal Ripken doubled. Eddie Murray was walked intentionally, loading the bases. That was the last batter Jerry Koosman faced in the postseason.

The Orioles scored four times that inning, as future Toronto Blue Jay Dennis Lamp couldn't hold the fort. The game ended 11-1 for Baltimore, who also won game four, 3-0. The Orioles went on to win the World Series over Philadelphia in just five games.




Koosman pitched two more seasons, both with Philadelphia, coincidentally. He went 20-19 from 1984 to 1985 before he retired. And while one might think of names like Dwight Gooden, David Cone, Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan and maybe some other starting pitcher in the Mets postseason history, it's Jerry Koosman who was Mr. Clutch when the chips were down. He got the Mets back into that Fall Classic in 1969, pushed his team to within a game of another World Championship in 1973, and won two crucial NLCS games. It's save to say the New York Mets of 1969 and 1973 wouldn't have done so well in the World Series without their lefty, Jerry Koosman!


References


Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

World Series: Did You Know?

Bill Bevens no-hit bid in 1947 was not his last game. He would return in game seven. The Yankees, who lost that heartbreaker to the Dodgers in the fourth contest, made sure to wrap it all up at Yankee Stadium three games later.

Bevens had been just 7-13 in the regular season that year, but pitched a good game four sans all those walks. 10 to be exact. Holding the opposition scoreless on the road in the Fall Classic is no small feat. But game seven was at home and the Yankees (Who'd beaten the Dodgers in just five games in '41) didn't want to lose it there.

So they sent out Spec Shea, who lasted all of 1 1/3 innings. Bevens got the call, three days after his near-miss. Spider Jorgensen greeted him the hard way. His double scored a run, putting the visiting Brooklyn Dodgers up, 2-0.

Bevens got out of that mess with no further damage. Phil Rizzuto drove home a run in the bottom of that second frame, and it was 2-1. Bill, for his part, fanned both Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson to start the third, and got out of that inning after allowing a walk. The next frame saw Brooklyn get the first batter on via a single. Bevens thwarted 'em again, getting the next three batters out. But it was still 2-1 Brooklyn after 3 1/2.

With two on and two out in the bottom of the fourth, Bobby Brown batted for Bill Bevens (A lot of "B's" there, eh?) and delivered a clutch double. After Snuffy Stirnweiss walked, New York had runners on the corners. Old Reliable, Tommy Henrich, lived up to his nickname and scored Phil Rizzuto from third with a single. Both Brown and Stirnweiss moved into scoring position following that hit, but they ended being stranded.

The Yankees, however, had the lead for good.

Joe Page, their ace reliever, came in and retired the first 13 men to face him. New York tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth and seventh. The Dodgers finally got a hit off Page in the ninth, but a double play erased that and ended the game.

Page ended up getting credit for the win, although by today's rule, it would have been Bevens. Sadly, Bill was gone from the majors for good (Although he pitched in the minors until 1952). 9 year later, Don Larsen did him one better, getting a perfect game against the Dodgers in game five of the 1956 World Series.

Bevens finished his career with a mediocre 40-36 record, despite a 3.08 ERA. The Yankees, despite not returning the next season (And without Bevens) were on their way to five in a row beginning in 1949 under Casey Stengel. Bill, of course, was not a part of that. So sadly, not only did Bill miss out on becoming the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter in the World Series, he also missed out on the dynasty years of the Yankees. Fate just didn't seem to be in the cards for this hard-luck pitcher.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Sure Could Have Fooled Me: Mike Montgomery!

Mike Montgomery's save in game seven of the 2016 World Series brought the championship to the Chicago Cubs, right? It was also his first save at the MLB level! Wow!

Mike started out as a starter. Although only 4-6 in 2015 with Seattle, he recorded two shutouts. That was good enough to tie four other starters for first place. His 4.60 ERA was not a good sign, however.

2016 was a little better with the W-L record. He was 3-4, but lowered his ERA to just 2.34, starting just 7 of 49 games for Seattle. Traded to the Chicago Cubs, he went 1-1 with a 2.82 ERA. Of the 17 games Montgomery pitched for Chicago, only 5 were starts.

Then came the postseason. The NLDS saw Mike collect a hold and a loss, but record a great ERA (1.69). The NLCS was not as good. Montgomery won a game, but posted an ERA of 6.23 in 4 games.

How about the Fall Classic against Cleveland?

Mike fanned four batters in just two innings in the second contest, won by Chicago, 5-1. Montgomery pitched the next two games, but could help little. The Cubs lost 'em both, going down 3-1 to the Indians.

A win at home in game five sent it back to Cleveland for games six and seven. In the sixth contest, it was Chicago with a 9-3 win. The Indians hit the ball hard against him, but they couldn't score a run despite getting a hit and a walk. Aroldis Chapman, the closer, pitched 1 1/3 of an inning and Cleveland did score on him. He'd gone 2 2/3 innings in game five, getting the save to keep Chicago alive. He'd be needed again in game seven.

And in that game, it was Chicago up 6-3 as Chapman came in with one on and two out in the bottom of the eighth. Four more outs. However, a three-run home run by Raja Davis tied the game. Chapman, still on the hill, got 'em 1-2-3 in the ninth, keeping it tied at six, and sending it to extras.

Chicago seized the moment. They scored twice in the top of the 10th to make it 8-6, and seemed to have it wrapped up. Carl Edwards, with two saves in the regular season, was the man the Chicago Cubs sent out to bring 'em home a winner!

It seemed like the right move. The first two batters were retired, bringing the Cubs to within one out of a World Championship. But then Brandon Guyer coaxed a walk from Edwards. Then, he took second base on the first pitch to Davis. On the second pitch, it was Raja continuing to keep his team in the game. Smacking a single to centre, it was 8-7. Mike Montgomery was the new pitcher and Michael Martinez was the batter.

Mike got a strike on Michael, who then sent a grounder to third. Kris Bryant picked the ball up, tossed it to first and Chicago had the game, 8-7! Montgomery, lost in all this hoopla, got his first save at the Big-League level! Could it have come at a better time? I don't think so! Anytime you get a save in game seven of a World Series, it's memorable!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

World Series: Did You Know?

The Chicago Cubs are the only team to win game seven on the road in extra innings. Not only did their win in 2016 erase a long drought you see, but it was a first of it's kind.

1924 Washington Senators won game seven, at home, in extras. Ditto for the 1991 Minnesota Twins. Florida, 1997, same deal.

Chicago trailed Cleveland 3-1 at their place, Wrigley Field. They managed a 3-2 win in game five, sending it back to Cleveland.




All Chicago in game six, 9-3. This one was going to a deciding game seven.





The Cubs, seeking their first World Championship since 1908, surged ahead 6-3 going into the bottom of the eighth, despite the home team scoring twice on a wild pitch in the fifth. The visitors needed just six more outs!

John Lester, pitching a great game for Chicago, then got the first two men out in the bottom of the eighth, and just four more outs were needed. However, Jose Ramirez sent Lester to the showers with a single to left.

Aroldis Chapman came in to pitch for the third straight game. Brandon Guyner greeted him with a double on a 3-2 pitch, scoring Ramirez and cutting it to 6-4. When Rajai Davis deposited Chapman's 2-2 into the left field stands, it was all tied, 6-6. Chapman gave up still another hit before getting out of that inning.

The Cubs tried to retake the lead the next inning, getting a man to third with less than two outs. But Bryan Shaw extricated the Indians from that problem. Chapman had an easy 1-2-3 ninth to send it to extras.

And get this: Chicago scored twice in the top of the 10th off Shaw to make it 8-6! They had a chance for more, as the bases were loaded and there was one out. Trevor Bauer relived Shaw and got the next two batters out without any further damage.

So it was up to Carl Edwards to close this one out. He blew strike three past Matt Napoli for the first out. Ramirez grounded out. At last! The moment had come for Chicago!

Or had it?

Edwards walked Brandon Guyer, getting just one strike. Rajau Davis was back up, again representing the tying run. Guyer took second on defensive indifference, the pitch being ball one. Davis wasted no time in adding to his heroics of the night, singling to centre on the next pitch. Guyer, off with the crack of the bat, motored on home, 8-7. The Cleveland team was just not going away!

But just when it appeared this one might never end, Mike Montgomery came in to pitch. The tying run was at first. Mike had 100 innings pitched to his name that season, but this was gonna be his most memorable moment in baseball, one way or another.

The batter was Michael Martinez.

Montgomery got a called strike. On the next pitch, Martinez grounded to short! The game and the Fall Classic were over! Chicago had an 8-7, extra-inning win in game seven on the road. The first team to do that.




The long wait was over in Cubbie Land. Chicago had kept at it, not letting themselves get discouraged at Cleveland's comebacks. And they were rewarded for their patience. 7 games, 10 innings, and 108 years were over with that last grounder!


References


Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 08 Nov. 2016.

Monday, October 31, 2016

World Series: Did You Know?

Winning game six has never been easy for Cleveland, so Chicago is still very much alive.

The 2016 Cleveland Indians were up 3-1 and looking to put the Chicago Cubs away in game five, but could not. The Cubs won a narrow 3-2 ballgame, sending it back to Ohio for it's conclusion. Whether or not we see a game seven remains to be seen.

How about Cleveland's history of game six's?

Well, not quite up there with the Boston Red Sox, for sure, but interesting nonetheless. A struggle, too!

They did win game six of their first Fall Classic appearance, against the Brooklyn Robins in 1920. This World Series was a best-of-nine format, just like the year before. Even though Cleveland, (Up in games 4-1 in 1920) won it 1-0, they had their problems. Their starting pitcher, Duster Mails, went out and 3-hit Brooklyn. Mails' team made three errors behind him. The Indians clinched it with another shutout, 3-0 in game six.

The 1948 team lost game five, 11-5 at home despite sending Bob Feller to finish the Boston Braves off. The Indians had 'em! Up three games to one, they lost it big time. Forced to head to Boston for games six, Bob Lemon won it by the narrowest of margins, 4-3. The next time the Indians played in the World Series, it was against the Braves again. Completely different story, however.

For one, it was 1995. Also, they were now the Atlanta Braves, and Cleveland needed a win in game five to stay alive. They got it, 5-4 as Orel Hershiser beat Greg Maddux, no small feat. But the visiting Braves nearly came back, as they scored twice in the top of the ninth before the last out was made. Tom Glavine finished off the Tribe in game six in Atlanta with a 1-hit shutout, 1-0.

Two years later, Cleveland was down 3-2 to Flordia, one the road, and needing a win to force a game seven. They got the much-needed win, 4-1. But the Marlins loaded the bases for Bobby Bonilla in the bottom of the seventh. Michael Jackson got him to pop up and end that. The Fish put two more runners on the rest of the way, and could have made a game of it, but Jose Mesa slammed the door shut on any comeback hopes. In the end, however, the 1997 World Series went to Florida in seven games.

So this year, 2016, saw Cleveland only split the first two games. They really played well, despite no DH in games three, four and five at Wrigley. They won 1-0 behind four pitchers (Andrew Miller picking up the win). Then they won game four in a laughter, 7-2, despite the Cubs scoring first.

The Indians, trying to end the Fall Classic on the road, scored first on a home run in the top of the second inning of game five. But the Cubs put across three runs in the bottom of the fourth, erasing that and taking a 3-1 lead. Three Cleveland relievers put some nice zeros on the Cubs side of the scoreboard from then on. And the Indians got a run back in the top of the sixth. Would you believe it? Chicago brought in closer Aroldis Chapman in to pitch the top of the the next inning with just one down. Chapman did the job, and this thing was heading back to where it all began, in Cleveland, as Chicago won 3-2.

What will it be in this game six, Cleveland? I say a good ballgame. Certainly not an easy one!


References


Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 31 Oct. 2016.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

World Series: Did You Know?

The last time (Pending the results in 2016 games four and five) that the Chicago Cubs won a game at home in 9-innings was game six of 1935. 81 years ago. Chicago was swept in the 1938 World Series and won only one game at home in 1945, extra innings, of course.

So going into game five of the 1935 Fall Classic, Chicago needed a win. Detroit, who were seeking their first World Series, were up 3-1 and looking for the clincher on the road. The sent Schoolboy Rowe to the hill for this game. He'd lost game one, and won game three in relief.

However, he'd blown the save in that game, and was looking for a good start here. But it was Chuck Klein hitting a two-run home run off him in the bottom of the third. Rowe settled down nicely after that. He got the Cubs 1-2-3 in the fourth and did that again the next frame.

The Tigers were having problems with Lon Warneke, who was looking to keep the Cubs alive and putting up a noble effort. Staked to that 2-0 lead, he got Detroit 1-2-3 in the top of the fifth and sixth. Bill Lee replaced him in the top of the seventh, and delighted the crowd at Wrigley. While he gave up a leadoff walk, Lee got a flyball and double play to get out of that, preserving the 2-0 lead. Could Detroit get a run or two?

On a single, a bunt, an error and a single by Babe Herman, Detroit's chances further dimmed. It was 3-0, Chicago because of all that in the bottom of the seventh. The Tigers were down to their last six outs. They did not go away quietly.

Rowe himself singled in the top of the eighth with one on and one out. But Lee got out of that via a K and and Mickey Cochrane grounding to first. Lee himself covered first, taking the toss for the putout. The next inning would not end without Detroit getting a run.

Rowe got 'em 1-2-3 in the bottom of the eighth to keep the score, 3-0. In the top of the ninth, the Tigers made their move. Charlie Gehringer singled off Lee. Goose Goslin did, too. Tying run at the dish, just like last inning. But nobody out.

Pete Fox singled, the third straight hit by Detroit in the ninth. Gehringer scored, 3-1. Bill Rogell batted, but Lee was about to bear down and get Chicago the win.

Gee Walker was sent out to bat for Marv Owen. Lee got him to ground out. Both runners advanced, but the home team at Wrigley was just one out away. Of course, a single by the visitors here, and it's 3-2, Detroit.

Flea Clifton, with Schoolboy Rowe due up after him, popped out to first. Phil Cavarretta put the squeeze on it, and the Cubs won, 3-1. Lee got the save.

Chicago battled hard in game six in Detroit, but the home team won that game. The Tigers had their first World Series. Chicago would have to be content with another appearance in 1938 and 1945, but came up empty both times, losing game seven of '45, 9-3.

Tonight, Chicago is in a similar situation. They need this game. They are not going to win by going down 3-1, with games six and seven (If they are needed at all) to be played in Cleveland. They suffered a tough 1-0 loss in game three at home. Game four (And five) are a must.


References


Neft, David S., and Richard M. Cohen. The World Series: Complete Play-by-play of Every Game, 1903-1989. 4th ed. New York: St. Martin's, 1990. Print.

Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 29 Oct. 2016.

Retrosheet. Web. 29 Oct. 2016.  <www.retrosheet.org>

Thursday, October 27, 2016

World Series: Did You Know?

Jake Arrieta carried a no-hitter in game 2016 well into the game. It was the furthest anyone had taken a no-no in World Series game since Jerry Koosman did in the second contest of the 1969 Fall Classic against Baltimore. Koosman's Mets went on to win games three, four and five at home. Arrieta has brought the Chicago Cubs home tied, for games three, four and five. Have high hopes, Chicago!

Koosman was tying to tie up the Fall Classic after his New York Mets lost game one, 4-1 to Baltimore. He was fantastic, and his team had a 1-0 over the Orioles after six innings. The O's woke up in the bottom of the second, and the home team would tie it as the no-hitter was broken up by Paul Blair's leadoff single. Although Koosman got the next two batters off, Blair stole second. A single by Brooks Robinson tied it. Those two hits by the Orioles, however, would be their only ones of the game.

Would you believe it?

The Mets broke the 1-1 deadlock with three singles in the top of the ninth. All of this coming, after stater Dave McNally had retired the first two New York batters. But Ed Charles, Ron Swoboda and Al Weis all singled to left, making the score 2-1 for the visitors.

In the bottom of the frame, Jerry Koosman got the first two batters out. He seemed safe, just like McNally in the top of the inning. But Frank Robinson had to be pitched very carefully to. Koosman was too careful. He walked him. Boog Powell followed that by drawing a walk. Ball four was the last pitch Koosman would throw. Gil Hodges, the Mets' manager, turned it over to Ron Taylor. Taylor got Brooks Robinson to ground out to third to end the game.

It was a similar story for the Chicago Cubs 47 years later. Playing in their first Fall Classic since 1945, they lost the first game on the road. Badly, worse than the Mets. 6-0, to the American League winners, the Cleveland Indians. So game two, as it had been for the Mets in '69 was a must.

The visiting Chicago Cubs scored first in the second game, so there would be no shutout for the Cleveland Indians. Another run in the top of the third, and it was 2-0, Chicago. Three more for good measure in the top of the fifth. Jake Arrieta had all the runs he needed.

But Jake was really pitching well. Through he'd walked three batters, including two in the bottom of the first, he was lights out. The Indians didn't get a hit off him until the bottom of the sixth. With one out, a double, a grounder and a wild pitch got Cleveland on the board. Mike Napoli singled to keep the rally going. Arrieta had now allowed two hits in one inning, but the home team would not score another run. Mike Montgomery came in and retired Jose Ramirez.

Both bullpens did the job after that. The Cubs had opportunities galore to add to their score. How about Cleveland. They got their third hit, and had two men on the very next inning as they tried to make a game of this. Montgomery held the fort. Chicago went down 1-2-3 in the 8th and 9th. Napoli got his second hit (And Cleveland's fourth) of the game with two away in the bottom of the eighth. That brought in Aroldis Chapman, who got Ramirez to end that.

Chapman, pitching well but not in a save situation, got the first two batters in the bottom of the ninth, looking to send this to Wrigley tied at one. Brandon Guyer drew a walk and took second on defensive indifference. But when catcher Robert Perez grounded out, the ballgame was over.

Arrieta had gone only 5 2/3, but his team needed a big effort from him in this big game. He provided it. Much like Jerry Koosman, he wanted to keep his team in the Fall Classic, not put 'em behind the eight ball. Although he didn't last quite as long as Jerry in 1969, Jake did the job and had the opposition guessing at his offerings all night. All the bullpen carried it from there!


References


Neft, David S., and Richard M. Cohen. The World Series: Complete Play-by-play of Every Game, 1903-1989. 4th ed. New York: St. Martin's, 1990. Print. PP. 326-327.

Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 27 Oct. 2016.

Retrosheet. Web. 27 Oct. 2016.  <www.retrosheet.org>

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

World Series: Did You Know?

Tonight's win by the Chicago Cubs was their first win not going to extra inning since game three of the 1945 Fall Classic? And did the winning pitcher for Chicago ever pitch well. And his hitting was pretty good, too.

Detroit and Chicago split the first two games of the '45 World Series, but the Tigers should have had the edge in the third contest at home. They had Hank Greenberg and Rudy York and were looking for some serious offence.

It never came in this game.

Claude Passeau, the Cubs starter, was 17-9 with a 2.46 ERA in 1945, so he was the right man to stop the Tigers. And stop them he did. They went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the first. In the second inning, York got the home team's first hit of the game, but he was stranded. Detroit would not get another hit the entire game.

The Cubs, meanwhile, scored twice in the top of the fourth, and that was all Passeau needed. The Tigers coaxed a walk from him in the bottom of the sixth, swiftly erased via a double play. Passeau helped out his own cause by hitting a sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh to make it 3-0, Chicago.

Passeau finished the game in style, retiring the last eleven Detroit batters, giving Chicago a 3-0 lead and a 2-1 lead in the Fall Classic that year. Detroit, however, won the next two games to force Chicago to the brink of elimination.

Passeau pitched game six at Wrigley. Claude was not as effective as he'd been in game three. He allowed three runs over 6 2/3 IP. His team went on to an extra inning, 8-7 win. The joy was short-lived, however. Two days later, the visitors won 9-3 to take the 1945 World Series. The Tigers would have to wait until 1968 to return to the Fall Classic, whereas the Cubs would have to wait 71 years to return.

But the 1945 World Series, despite the lop-sided game seven, was very exciting. Passreau had to work hard in his 3-0 game, and even his own bat was needed for that effort. The World Series had started with a lot of promise, as the Cubs blanked 'em 9-0 in the first contest. Every game after that, with the exception of the sixth one, was a pretty good effort on the winning pitcher's part, despite the final score.


References


Neft, David S., Richard M. Cohen, and Michael L. Neft. The Sports Encyclopedia: Baseball, 1992. 12th ed. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992. Print.

Neft, David S., and Richard M. Cohen. The World Series: Complete Play-by-play of Every Game, 1903-1989. 4th ed. New York: St. Martin's, 1990. Print.

Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.

Retrosheet. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.  <www.retrosheet.org>