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..