Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Larry Jackson's Amazing 1960 Cardinals Streak

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TRIVIA QUESTION:  in 1964 when Larry Jackson finished second in the Cy Young Voting playing for the Cubs, who finished first?
ANSWER TO TRIVIA QUESTION IN THE PREVIOUS COLUMN: Manager Gene Mauch's record in the post season was like his career managing record; below .500. He went to the post season twice with the Angel and finished 5-7. In 1982 the Angels lost in five games to the Brewers, and in 1986 they lost to the Red Sox in seven. Mauch never made it to the World Series. 
On Sunday May 15th, 1960 the Cardinals Larry Jackson went on a streak and while his St. Louis teammates would not enjoy a trip to the World Series, Jackson would make it to the All-Star Game. Jackson, in his few short years in the big leagues had become a remarkably consistent pitcher. He was on his way to his second best year in a long career.
On that Sunday in May Larry J was coming off another loss in what was a 1-5 record. The Cardinals were not a very good team. Filled with aging players who were cast offs and a few stars in waiting, St. Louis was wrapping up a series with the Cubs in Wrigley. It was Jackson versus Dick Drott.

Neither team could score a run until the fifth when Jackson himself led off the inning with a triple and Ken Boyer promptly took Drott deep to give the Cards a 2-0 lead. In the sixth the Cards loaded the bases with a pair of singles from Joe Christopher and Daryl Spencer. After Hal Smith walked, Alex Grammas hit a sac-fly to make it 3-0. Jackson again to the rescue with a single up the middle to drive home two more. Cardinals 5, Cubbies 0.
In the eighth the Cubs finally broke through when a walk to Richie Ashburn turned into a run, but that was all Chicago could manage. Boyer's second homer of the game in the ninth, his ninth of the season, finished the scoring. Cardinals 6, Cubs 1.
For Jackson's part he went the distance pitching a four-hitter, giving up five walks and striking out four. He also went 2-for-4 at the plate with a run scored and two RBI. He was now 2-5. 

This was just the start. Five days later he beat the Reds 6-1 in just 2:17. It was a six-hitter and he struck out seven. He also drove in a run. His next start he went the distance again, beating the Braves on a nine-hitter, 5-3. Working on just three days rest he took on the Giants and won again. Again he pitched the distance in a five inning rain shortened game. Cardinals 4, Giants 1.
On June 2nd, he beat the Giants again with a little help from Lindy McDaniel who pitched the ninth in a 4-3 win. Four days later he put down Philadelphia. In the nine innings complete game Jackson gave up seven hits, didn't walk a batter and struck out nine. On June 10th he struggled but pitched five, and well enough to beat Pittsburgh with help from McDaniel again and Bob Duliba, 9-6. A couple of homers to Don Hoak and Smokey Burgess didn't help.

On the 14th he beat Cincinnati again, 6-3. He tossed a five-hitter and gave up an unearned run. However, on June 18th although he pitched well going six and allowing only six hits and two runs, his teammates could not muster a single run against Lou Burdette and the Braves. Jackson's streak came to an end at eight wins in a row. His next start saw the same result as the Cards failed to score again.  
The interesting thing about his first loss after eight wins was, it was only the second time in nine starts Jackson himself failed to hit safely.  During the eight game winning streak he went 8-for-26 with four runs scored, and he drove in three. For the season he hit .211 with 20 hits. It was the only time in his career he batted over .200. 
As a pitcher he finished 18-13 with a league leading 38 games started and also led the NL in innings pitched with 282, as well as 277 hits allowed. He only gave up 22 homers. In 1964 he went on to win 24 games for the Cubs, finishing second in the Cy Young voting. He lost 21 the following year.  Overall Larry Jackson made the All-Star team four times, and finished with 194 wins and 183 losses, just six wins away from the magical 200 career win record.

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