Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Opening Day; Bad April 9, 1962


TRIVIA QUESTION: 1962 Saw the debut of the two expansion teams; The Mets and The Colt .45's (later the Astros). How did those two teams fare on opening day 1962. The Mets played the Cardinals, Houston took on the Cubs?  

ANSWER TO TRIVIA QUESTION IN THE PREVIOUS COLUMN: When the Dodgers gave up on Stan Williams at the end of the 1962 season and blown playoff series, they sent him to the Yankees in a trade. They got Bill "Moose" Skowron in return. Skowron played one season for the Dodgers hitting .203 with four homers, before moving on to the Senators, the White Sox and the Angels. Williams revived his career pitching for five other teams before bring his career to a close. He twice on in double figures including a 10-1 season with the Twins.


Some days it just doesn't pay to get out of bed. Such was the day for Joey Jay and Bob Miller of the Cincinnati Reds on April 9, 1962. It was Opening Day and the 28, 506 fans who showed up at Crosley Field on a beautiful spring day, deserved better.

Spring was in the air and the Reds were playing their first regular season game after losing the World Series to the Yankees almost six months previous. They were coming off a 93 win season and the Phillies had lost 107, finishing in last place in the National League, 46 games back of the Reds.

Jay had a 21 win 1961 season and Miller was pitching for the first time in the big leagues since 1956, due to spending the previous fours years in the military. It was a common occurrence in those days.  Miller had shown some promise before that. This season was the beginning of the end for the 6'1" lefty.
The game started nice enough. After a scoreless first, catcher Clay Dalrymple took Jay deep to right for this first homer of the season. He would hit 10 more on the year. Phillie starter Art Mahaffey was keeping the powerful Reds in check. A Gordy Coleman single was about all the Reds could muster early on.
Then came the third, and four of the first five Philadelphia batters got singles to drive in two more making it 3-0 with runners on first and second and Jay was done. Manager Fred Hutchinson brought in lefty Miller to face lefty hitting Dalrymple who promptly singled to make it 4-0. Ruben Amaro and Mahaffey both got hits followed by a SAC Fly and when the dust settled it was 6-0 Phils. Most of those runs charged to Jay.

Miller would start the fourth by hitting Tony Gonzalez who was thrown out trying to steal. A walk to Roy Sievers set up a two run jack by Don Demeter making it 9-1. Despite a Cincinnati rally in the fourth the damage had been done. When the dust cleared the Opening Day crowd left early with their NL Champions going down to defeat to the lowly Phils 12-4. 
Mahaffey went the distance giving up nine hits and four runs. Jay, the first of five Reds hurlers went 2.1 innings and gave up five earned runs, Miller 1.2 innings and four earned runs. Miller also hit two batters including Frank Robinson.

Jay would go on to win 21 games again in a season which saw the Reds improve to 98 wins but finish third. The Phillies would really improve, winning 81 games and finishing in seventh place.

Bob Miller would pitch in 6 games, toss 5 innings and record a 21.94 ERA for the Reds before being shipped off May 7, with Cliff Cook to the fledgling New York Mets for Don Zimmer. Miller would toss 20 innings for New York and register a 7.08 ERA while splitting four decisions. He was out of baseball the following season at age 27. His best season was 1954 with a 2.45 ERA in just under 70 innings. 

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Please share this blog with your friends and colleagues and leave a comment at the bottom of the blog if you have one. Thank YOU VERY MUCH!! Please pick up a copy of my book "Tales of My Baseball Youth; A Child of the 60's" at www.bobbrillbooks.com, or on Amazon.     


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

1962 Giants; Well Rounded Powerhouse

TRIVIA QUESTION: After the 1962 playoff loss, Williams was known as the GOAT (not the Greatest of All Time), and was shipped off after the season to the New York Yankees. Who did the Dodgers get in return for Williams?  

ANSWER TO TRIVIA QUESTION IN THE PREVIOUS COLUMN: In 1962, when Dodger Stadium opened, the final cost to build the latest "new" ballpark was $23 million.

If there was ever a team which showcased the essence of power, hitting, pitching and overall depth and balance it was the 1962 San Francisco Giants. They won 103 games and finished tied with their arch rivals; the Los Angeles Dodgers at the end of the regular season. This was a club which hit 204 home runs led by Willie Mays (49), Orlando Cepeda (35), Felipe Alou (25) and Willie McCovey (20). Four players hit .300 or better and another five batted higher than .290. Mays drove in 141, Cepeda 114. On the mound Jack Sanford won 24 games, Billy O'Dell 19, Juan Marichal 18 and another 16 for Billy Pierce. Only Pierce threw less than 260 innings, which is an amazing statistic by today's standards.

 It really came down to game no. 162. The Giants beat the Astros, 2-1 to win game no. 101. The Dodgers squared off with the Cardinals and if they had won the final game, would have finished with 102 wins and won the pennant. Alas, while Johnny Podres allowed only five Cardinal hits, one of them was Gene Oliver's 14th homer of the year. Curt Simmons meanwhile allowed only five hits and the Dodgers couldn't get a man past second base. The Oliver homer held up and the Dodgers fell to St. Louis 1-0. Thus the Giants and Dodgers ended up in a tie and a best of three game playoff was scheduled.

The two clubs split the first two games and it came down to the final game of the season (no. 165)  with the Giants winning 6-4 in Los Angeles, with Don Larson getting the win over Ed Roebuck.
                                (Game One with a bunch of home runs and a Giants victory.)
It is remembered as boiling down to one of the most frustrating innings in a history of frustration between the two. For Dodger manager Walt Alston it was all pretty much beyond his control as performers must perform, and they did not as Dodgers but they did as Giants.

The game was scoreless until the third when San Francisco scored two runs on three Dodger errors. Starter Podres must have been fit to be tied as he himself got the trouble going with an error.
The Dodgers battled Giant ace Juan Marichal into the eighth, with a home run by Tommy Davis being the only long ball of the contest. The Dodgers forged ahead, getting one run on a Giant error, and into the ninth Los Angeles led 4-2. The Giants used every bit of their depth and Dodger ineptitude going into the sporadic ninth inning.

Matty Alou led off the inning with a single and one out later Willie McCovey drew a walk. A walk to Felipe Alou loaded the bases and Alston decided to leave Roebuck in to face Willie Mays who promptly singled in a run making it 4-3. Stan Williams replaced Roebuck with the bases loaded. The game before Williams had a blown save but ended up picking up the win in a Dodger comeback. In this game he faced Orlando Cepeda who flied out to tie the game with a Sac Fly.
                                   (Williams years later still regretting the walk to Davneport)
Then came the infamous play. Williams uncorked a wild pitch to Ed Baily sending Mays to second and into scoring position, placing runners at 2nd and 3rd.  An intentional walk to Baily set up the killer. Williams then "unintentionally" walked Jim Davenport to bring the go-ahead run across, 5-4. Jose Pagan hit a ground ball to Larry Burright who muffed it for the final error putting icing on the cake 6-4. The Dodgers went quietly in the bottom of the inning, giving San Francisco 103 wins and the pennant. They lost 4-3 to the Yankees in the World Series.

Williams would go on and win 59 more games in his career including an amazing 10-1 (1.99 ERA) for the Twins in 1970, adding 15 Saves. He finished 109-94.


"SPECIAL OFFER"
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"Tales of My Baseball Youth - a child of the sixties"
for $15 Shipping Included 
Use PayPal to brillpro@prodigy.net or contact us at the same email for other payment. 


Thank you to those of you who purchased my book after reading this column.

Also: Please check out our new Western Short Film. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/iron-gun-western-feature-film/#/

 
Please share this blog with your friends and colleagues and leave a comment at the bottom of the blog if you have one. Thank YOU VERY MUCH!! Please pick up a copy of my book "Tales of My Baseball Youth; A Child of the 60's" at www.bobbrillbooks.com, or on Amazon.     

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The New Stadiums of the 1960's


TRIVIA QUESTION: What was the cost of Dodgers Stadium when it was built?  

ANSWER TO TRIVIA QUESTION IN THE PREVIOUS COLUMN:When the 1967 Angels acquired Don Mincher they also picked up 1B/OF Len Gabrielson for insurance. He only played in a few games before being shipped across town to the Dodgers for the Super Minor Leaguer of the Century, Johnny Werhas. Werhas played half of his major league career in 1967 for the Angels, finishing with a lifetime record of 198 AB's, two homers and .173 BA in 89 career games. Gabrielson would have a couple of his best years with the Dodgers before finally retiring after the 1970 season.


In case you were counting there were a total of 11 new Major League Baseball Stadiums making their debuts in the 1960's. It seems pretty remarkable when you consider until 1960, there were only 16 big league teams in existence. Granted, of the 11, five were built directly for their new expansion teams, three were built as those expansion teams grew older and more profitable, and three were built for teams who moved from other cities. Only one, Busch Memorial Stadium in St. Louis was for a long term existing team.
                                                                (Busch Memorial)
New stadiums needed to be constructed for expansion teams. Colt Stadium was the place debuting for the Houston Colt .45's while Jarry Park became the new home of the Montreal Expos. The expansion San Diego Padres played their home games in Jack Murphy Stadium.
                                                                   (Dodgers Stadium 1962)
When the Braves fled Milwaukee for Atlanta the new park was Atlanta's Fulton County Stadium. The Giants saw the opening of "the Stick" which was Candlestick in San Francisco a couple of seasons after leaving New York. Dodgers Stadium broke ground in 1959 after the team moved from Ebbets Field in Brooklyn to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The club occupied the new ballpark starting in 1962.

It would be a couple seasons before the expansion Mets moved into newly constructed Shea Stadium and then came the ninth Wonder of the World; The Houston Astrodome in 1965 for the Astro's who changed their name from the Colt .45's. 


                                                                  (Shea Stadium 1964)
The situation with Robert F. Kennedy Stadium (RFK) in Washington and Texas Arlington is a little convoluted. The original Senators moved to Minnesota, so the new Senators, an expansion team, moved into the new DC Stadium (later named RFK after Kennedy's assassination). They stayed there until they moved from Washington to become the Texas Rangers in Arlington. While the Rangers did not come into existence until the 1970's, the stadium was actually built in the 1960's, so we must include it in the list. The new Washington Nationals would eventually play at RFK decades later. 

There were a lot of firsts. The biggest of which was the first indoor domed stadium; the Astrodome. It was the kind of stadium the Dodgers Walter O'Malley wanted to build in Brooklyn and which would have kept the Dodgers in New York. When he couldn't get it, it sealed the deal to moved to Los Angeles. 
                                                                     (Houston Astrodome)
The Astrodome truly was a wonder. It opened the door to something new; synthetic turf or Astoturf due to the lack of sunlight.  But you could play without the mosquitoes which plagued Colt Stadium, and you could actually play in rain and cold weather. Below is a list of stadiums opened in the 1960s.

Arlington
Atlanta Fulton County
Colt 1962
Astrodome
Jarry Park 
Shea 1964
Busch Memorial 1966
Jack Murphy 1967
Candlestick 1960
RFK 1961
Dodgers Stadium 1962
 

"SPECIAL OFFER"
You can get a signed paper back copy of the above book
"Tales of My Baseball Youth - a child of the sixties"
for $15 Shipping Included 
Use PayPal to brillpro@prodigy.net or contact us at the same email for other payment. 
 
Thank you to those of you who purchased my book after reading this column. It has been appreciated. You can click on the link above (my childhood photo) to see how to purchase this book; "Tales of My Baseball Youth; a child of the 60's."

Also: Please check out our new Western Short Film. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/iron-gun-western-feature-film/#/


Please share this blog with your friends and colleagues and leave a comment at the bottom of the blog if you have one. Thank YOU VERY MUCH!! Please pick up a copy of my book "Tales of My Baseball Youth; A Child of the 60's" at www.bobbrillbooks.com, or on Amazon.