Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Yankees & A's; A Wierd Ending

TRIVIA QUESTION:  Pete Lovrich became the first player from his university to reach the major leagues. Several others have made it since. Where did Lovrich go to school?

ANSWER TO TRIVIA QUESTION IN THE PREVIOUS COLUMN: In a career which spanned 19 seasons and seven different teams, Dick Schofield suited up in a Cardinal uniform three different times. He broke in as a St. Louis rookie in 1953 before being traded to Pittsburgh in 1958. He followed those years with stops with the Giants, the Yankees and the Dodgers before heading back to St. Louis in 1968 as a free agent. The Cards eventually traded him to Boston who traded him back to St. Louis two years later. After 34 games the Cards sent him away for good. This time to Milwaukee where he finished his career in 1971 at the age of 36. In all he spent eight years with St. Louis.

It was one of the wildest games of the 1960's. There were 21 runs were scored over 12 innings and both starting pitchers each gave up six runs before being pulled. The real story was it would end with the winning run scored without a hit, with the winning pitcher getting his only big league win ever. When the Yankees pulled into Kansas City on July 15, 1963 they were 20 games over .500 and up by 5.5 games on their way to winning the AL pennant by 10 full games.

It was a game in which New York should have dominated. They were starting Whitey Ford, who would lead the league in wins and finish 24-7. He was facing Dave Wickersham of the A's. He was a pretty good pitcher who would close out the year 12-15 for a lackluster team. 
Leading 1-0 on a Johnny Blanchard homer, Ford went into the third inning pitching well enough. A walk to Bobby Del Greco, a triple by Gino Cimoli and a bunt put two runs across and the A's led 2-1. Ed Charles hit the first of his two homers in the fourth and it was 3-1. New York scored three in the fifth off Wickersham and went ahead 4-3. 

The A's fought back, and on a pair of singles and a double went up 5-4. The Yankees scored two in the sixth and Wickersham was gone, with John Wyatt taking over. Charles hit his second homer in the bottom of the inning and manager Ralph Houk had seen enough. Ford was gone, relieved by Stan Williams.
Wyatt and Williams battled each other into the ninth. In the top of the inning Blanchard drove in a run to give New York a 7-6 lead but Norm Siebern came back and drove in a run to tie it in the bottom of the inning off reliever Marshall Bridges. Ed Rakow and Bill Kunkel pitched a scoreless 10th but in the 11th, New York broke through.

Tom Tresh led off with a walk and Joe Pepitone and Elston Howard followed with back to back doubles. Later in the inning Clete Boyer singled to drive in Howard the New York put up a three spot, leading 10-7. It looked like it was all over. Closer Hal Reniff was called on to wrap it up. The A's were having none of it.

A walk, an error, a Jerry Lumpe double and a Doc Edwards single brought home three and it was all tied up at the end of 11. It was now 10-10 and the faithful of the 16,000-plus fans who stayed around for nearly four hours, were being treated to a game.

Little known rookie, Pete Lovrich took the mound for Kansas City in the 12th. A one out single by Bobby Richardson and a walk to Tresh put the game in jeopardy again. Lovrich reached back and struck out Pepitone and got Howard to ground out. It was the A's turn and they faced Bill Stafford who had relieved Jim Bouton (normally a starter who pitched to one batter in the 11th) who had relieved Reniff.
After there was one out, Stafford hit Del Greco with a pitch putting him on first. Lovrich was left to bat and laid down a perfect bunt moving Del Greco into scoring position. Cimoli drew a walk as Stafford didn't want to give him anything good to hit. If he did walk it set up force plays on the bags. Then the unexpected. He walked Wayne Causey to load the bases. 

Jerry Lumpe strode to the plate with two out, the bases loaded and the score tied 10-10. Lumpe hung in there and when the dust was settled, he'd drawn a walk, Del Greco scored and the game ended with the winning run coming across without a hit. It was a true "walk off" win for the A's. In a game which featured 21 runs on 30 hits, it was three walks and a hit batter which brought the winning run across. 
In all there were 13 walks issued in a game which took 3:44 minutes to play. Lovrich got the win. It was the ONLY win in his career. Lovrich only played the one season, pitched in just 20 innings and gave up 18 earned runs, five homers and struck out 16. He finished 1-1. The 20 year-old came to the plate once in his major league career and it was to bunt Bobby Del Greco to second base to set up the winning run in the only game he ever won. It doesn't get any better than that.

Thank you to those of you who purchased my book after reading this column. It has been appreciated. 

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, or on Amazon.

No comments:

Post a Comment