Sunday, October 29, 2017

World Series Game #5

TRIVIA QUESTION: In 1965 the Yankees traded Pete Mikkelson to the Pirates who turned him into an ace reliever for the 1966 season. Who did New York get in return?

ANSWER TO TRIVIA QUESTION IN THE PREVIOUS COLUMN:  I have a correction for last blog's Trivia Question. Mickey Mantle hit three home runs in a World Series three times, not twice. He did it in 1956, 1960 and 1964 which was his final World Series. Sorry about that. I'll try to be more diligent next time.

Since this is 2017 World Series Week, we'll be taking a look at the matching World Series games of the 1960's. Each of the next eight blogs will deal with a corresponding game where possible. This blog deals with the fifth game of the 1964 series while the next will deal with Game 6 of the 1965 series and so on. If the 2017 series is shorter than seven games we'll continue the series on here.

                                                   1964 (Game Five)
                                               St. Louis at New York 

Game Five of the 1964 World Series was like all Game Fives, pivotal. The two teams were tied at two games apiece and if New York won Game Five, they would be going back to St. Louis with a 3 games to 2 lead and two left at Busch Stadium. St. Louis knew it needed this one badly and handed the ball to ace Bob Gibson to do his best. He did not fail them.

Gibson won 19 games in 1964 striking out 245 batter in 287 innings. His 1.19 WHiP was a prelude of things to come. At 28 years old he still had not reached his prime. He was the ace of a staff which included 18 game winner Curt Simmons and 20 game winner Ray Sadecki. If you ever needed to call on someone to be "that guy," it was Gibson.

In game Two, Gibson gave up four runs in eight innings and left trailing 4-3 when the Yankees scored four in the ninth off relievers to nail down the win. This time there was no stopping Gibby who was squaring off against 22 year old starter, Mel Stottlemyre again.  He was a nine game winner with a 2.06 ERA and was behind Whitey Ford, Jim Bouton and Al Downing in the rotation. Bouton won 18 that year to lead the staff. Stottlemyre drew Gibson for a second time. The first time they squared off, Mel went the distance for the win.

The game was scoreless until the fifth when Gibson, a good hitting pitcher, singled with one out. Curt Flood hit a ground ball to second which Bobby Richardson booted for an error leaving runners at first and second. Lou Brock singled to right scoring Gibson with the first run of the game. Flood took third. Bill White then hit a ground ball which forced Brock at second, scoring Flood. Cardinals 2, New York 0.

New York didn't mount even a threat until the ninth when the Cards were trying wrap it up. Mantle led off with a ground ball to shortstop Dick Groat which went for an error. Two outs later Tom Tresh got hold of a pitch from Gibson and sent it over the right center field wall. With the score tied 2-2, they went into extra innings and Gibson went with them. It should have been a 2-0 shutout.

 In the top of the 10th Bill White drew a walk off reliever Pete Mikkelson. Ken Boyer laid down a bunt and Mikkelson didn't handle it cleanly and it went for a single.With Groat at the plate White stole third. Groat then hit a ground ball to third baseman Clete Boyer who held White and threw to second for the force out on Boyer. Tim McCarver, who batted .478 in the series then cranked a home run to deep right scoring both White and Groat and that was that. New York managed a single off Gibson in the bottom of the tenth, and St. Louis had a 5-2 victory. It was off to Busch Stadium for Games six and seven. 

Bouton would pick up his second win in Game Six but Gibson again would out duel Stottlemyre in Game Seven to win his second game against one defeat, pitching a nifty nine-hitter 7-5.

For Gibson it would only be a highlight because when he took the mound four years later in the 1968 World Series against Detroit he would set a World Series record for strikeouts in a game with 17.  Bob Gibson was a monster on the mound. Not only did he win 251 games including five 20-win seasons, he also was 7-2 in the World Series. In a 1968 game he took a line drive off the bat of Roberto Clemente which actually broke Gibson's leg. He continued to pitch and finish out the inning. He was tough. 

Please pick up a copy of my book "Tales of My Baseball Youth; A Child of the 60's" at, or on Amazon.

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