Monday, October 30, 2017

World Series Game #6

TRIVIA QUESTION: Name the former AL MVP who was traded with Mudcat Grant to the Dodgers.

ANSWER TO TRIVIA QUESTION IN THE PREVIOUS COLUMN:  When the New York Yankees traded reliever Pete Mikkelson to the Pirates at the close of the 1965 season they got aging pitcher Bob Friend, a life long Pirate in return. Friend didn't fair well with the Yankees and finished his career with the cross town Mets. 

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 sixth game of the 1965 series while the next will deal with Game 7 of the 1967 series because there was no Game 7 in 1966. If the 2017 series is shorter than seven games we'll continue the series on here.

                                                   1965 (Game Six)
                                           Los Angeles at Minnesota 
                                                Twins 5, Dodgers 2

It was a game the AL Champion Minnesota Twins had to win to force a seventh and final game at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers. They knew, even if they won they would be facing the most dominant pitcher in the last five years in Sandy Koufax in the deciding game. They went with their ace, Jim "Mudcat" Grant. 

Grant had a break out year and his best in the big leagues. He paced the Twins with 21 wins and only seven losses, pitching six shut-outs along the way. He walked only 61 batters in 270 innings and despite giving up a league leading 34 homers, completed 14 of his 39 starts. Grant bested Don Drysdale in game one throwing a complete game in an 8-2 win. This time he would square off against lefty Claude Osteen.

The Twins started the scoring when after Earl Battey reached on an error on a ground ball to second, Bobby Allison smashed a homer deep to left. Grant didn't allow a base runner through four, until Ron Fairly singled in the top of the fifth. Los Angeles threatened in the sixth when singles by Dick Tracewski and Maury Wills put runners at first and second. Grant got Jim Gilliam and Willie Davis to end the inning. 

The game was pretty much put out of reach however, by Grant himself. In the bottom of the inning with one out Allison walked and stole second. After Don Mincher struck out, manager Walter Alston chose to intentionally walk the light hitting Frank Quilici to get to the Mudcat. Bad mistake for which Grant made them pay. Grant smashed a deep drive over the left centerfield fench which Willie Davis could not reach and the Twins had a 5-0 lead.

Farily led off the seventh with a solo shot of his own, but that was it. Grant would retire the next 10 of 12 batters he faced and the Twins would face Koufax in Game Seven. Sandy was even more masterful than Grant, tossing a three hit shutout, striking out 10 Twins in the process.

Lou Johnson's two run homer in the fourth knocked Jim Kaat out. It was Sweet Lou's second homer of the series. He only hit 12 during the regular season. Koufax was named MVP winning two games but the Mudcat wasn't far behind. Both pitchers finished 2-1 but Koufax won Game 7 in grand fashion. He would go on to have one more great year before retiring early, and Grant would fall to 13-13 the following year, never again winning in double figures.

Late in his career, Grant became a fine relief pitcher, starting with his only year as a Dodger in 1968 at age 32.

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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