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Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Ralph Terry - Giant Killer

FOR MORE GENERAL TRIVIA CHECK OUT MY YouTube Channel !
 
TRIVIA WINNER: Congrats to Hank Farley, of Atlanta, GA who correctly answered the trivia question about Harry the Hat Walker's batting title. Walker won the batting title in 1947 with a .363 average. He started the season with St. Louis batting .200 in 10 games but on May 3rd, he was traded to Philadelphia where his hitting stroke took hold. He batted .371 the rest of the way with a league leading 16 triples. This week a new Trivia Contest. The Prize this week again is a Starbucks Gift Card. 
 
NEW TRIVIA CONTEST:  IF YOU ANSWER THE TRIVIA QUESTION CORRECTLY YOU WILL BE ENTERED INTO A WEEKLY DRAWING FOR A Starbucks Gift Card.  YOU MUST ENTER VIA THE EMAIL AT THE END OF THIS COLUMN.
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TRIVIA QUESTION:  Willie McCovey made the final out of the 1962 World Series and in his career he was known as one of the game's most feared sluggers. How many times did McCovey hit more than 40 homers in a season?  
 
ANSWER TO TRIVIA QUESTION IN THE PREVIOUS COLUMN:
In 1947 Harry the Hat Walker won the batting title with a .363 average playing only 10 games for the Cardinals before being traded to Philadelphia where he batted .371 the rest of the way as a full time player. 

In the 1960's if you asked most people who was the ace of the Yankee's staff and a stalwart in a World Series, most people would probably say Whitey Ford. In 1962 it was another long time major leaguer; Ralph Terry
 


Terry had an awesome 1962, winning 23 games to Ford's 17 and leading the team in innings pitched with 298. He walked but 57 batters and struck out 176. All figures which outdistanced Ford. Perhaps, his most amazing feat was a 1.05 WHiP to Ford's 1.21. 

 

It was in the World Series where he really stood out. That cool October day when Game One against the Giants began in San Francisco's Candlestick Park, it was Ford who got the call. He did not disappoint and neither did his Bronx Bomber teammates, responding with six runs as they defeated Billy O'Dell and the Giants 6-2. The six runs would be the second most scored by a winning team in the series which was supposed to be a slug-fest. In Game One Clete Boyer homered and Roger Maris drove in a pair, which was pretty much all the Yanks needed.  

Terry got the start in Game Two but Yankee bats went silent, managing only three hits off Jack Sanford. A Willie McCovey homer was all the Giants needed as Terry gave up only six hits but two runs. San Francisco tied the series a 1-1. 
New York came back in game three to back the four hit pitching of Bill Stafford 3-2 and take a one game lead in the best of seven series.  Ford got the call in Game Four and lasted six good innings before giving way to the relief corps. The Yankee staff gave up a total of seven runs in losing 7-3, to bring the series even again at 2-2.

Terry took the mound for his second start in Game Five and was neck and neck with Sanford until the eighth. Tom Tresh, batting third, got his second extra base hit of the night; a three run blast to put the Yanks ahead for good. Despite striking out 10, Sanford was on the losing end and Terry went the distance with an eight hitter.

New York hoped to close it out in Game Six but Ford was not up to it and the Giants were not going away. Whitey gave up five runs on nine hits in 4.2 innings and was gone along with the Yankee fans desire to avoid a Game Seven. San Francisco stayed alive with a 5-2 win.
Pitching on five days rest (he went the distance on October 10th), Terry faced the Giants in Game Seven on October 16th. Over 43,000 people filled Candlestick to see Terry take on  Sanford again. It was a Tuesday afternoon in October and as anyone knows October near the Bay can be treacherous. The temperature was in the 60's with a 20 mile per hour wind - the wind tunnel so to speak in those days.

The game was scoreless until the fifth when Moose Skowron led off the inning with a single. Boyer followed with a single sending Skowron to third with nobody out. Sanford then did the unthinkable; he walked the opposing pitcher to load the bases. Lead off man Tony Kubek hit a sharp ground ball to shortstop Jose Pagan who quickly turned the double play allowing Skowron to score, making it 1-0. 
It was a good move by the defense figuring one run would not make the difference. Unfortunately for the Giants it did. Terry was masterful until the ninth. The ninth inning involved one of the most memorable plays in World Series history.

Matty Alou led the Giants off with a bunt single. Brother Felipe and Chuck Hiller struck out. With San Francisco down to it's final out, Willie Mays banged a double off Terry, sending Matty to third and bringing up the dangerous McCovey. McCovey had tripled earlier in the game and today never would have gotten to swing the bat. Orlando Cepeda, just as dangerous but batting a lowly .158 in the series, was on deck.
With the game on the line McCovey smashed a wicked line drive which second baseman Bobby Richardson grabbed for the final out. The game and the Series was over and Terry had pitched two complete games, winning two including the final Game Seven. 

Terry allowed just four hits, striking out four and did not walk a batter, going 2-1 in the Series with a 1.80 ERA. He gave up only five runs in 25 innings and walked just two batters in leading New York to a 4-3 Series victory.  
TRIVIA CONTEST; After reading this column you can enter the weekly trivia contest for a chance to win a Starbucks Gift Card. Enter via the following email. Send 1) your answer to the trivia question at the top of the column, 2) your name, address and email so where we know where to send the card if you win 3) any comment you have on the column. One winner will be selected at random each week based on correct answers with the odds being based on the number of correct entries.  Please cut and paste or enter the following email into your email system.
                             SEND YOUR ANSWERS TO; brillpro@gmail.com  
 ==========================================================
Need to get out of a baseball hitting slump, or a golf swing slump? Order my new book "Beating the Slump; An athlete's guide to a better career." See it on Amazon for only $5.99. That is for the Paperback, you can also order Kindle on that link. You can also order paperback copies directly from me via the email below for my other books.

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. 





Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Houston; We Have a "Break-Even" Season

FOR MORE GENERAL TRIVIA CHECK OUT MY YouTube Channel !
 
TRIVIA WINNER: Congrats to Tim Fealy, a Reds fan, who correctly answered the trivia question about Pirate losing pitchers in 1966. Only Bob Purkey and Luke Walker had losing records for the 1966 club, both at 0-1, combined 0-2. This week a new Trivia Contest. The Prize this week again is a Starbucks Gift Card. 
 
NEW TRIVIA CONTEST:  IF YOU ANSWER THE TRIVIA QUESTION CORRECTLY YOU WILL BE ENTERED INTO A WEEKLY DRAWING FOR A Starbucks Gift Card.  YOU MUST ENTER VIA THE EMAIL AT THE END OF THIS COLUMN.

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TRIVIA QUESTION:  In 1947 Harry Walker won a batting title while playing for two different teams in the same year. What were those teams?  
 
ANSWER TO TRIVIA QUESTION IN THE PREVIOUS COLUMN:
In 1966 the Pittsburgh Pirates had only two pitchers on the roster with losing records. Bob Purkey and Luke Walker were both 0-1 on the season or a combined 0-2.

It took them until the end of the decade, or seven seasons of losing at least 90 games a year, but the 1969 Houston Astros finally broke the spell and had their first "non-losing" season. Led by super hitter's instructor, Harry 'the Hat' Walker, the club would produce only one .300 hitter, barely reaching the 100 homer mark, and not one regular batting better than .269. However, the starting pitching was solid and they had one aging relief pitcher who put together an impressive Save record along with a young strikeout king in the bullpen.
The team wasn't going anywhere in the first year of divisional play but if not for a September slide they might have finished over .500 for the first time, finishing 5th out of six clubs. They lost 8 of the last 12 down the stretch. They cemented a .500 season with a 5-4 loss to the Dodgers on the final day of the season before less than 10,000 fans in Los Angeles. 

With the score tied 4-4 in the ninth, Fred Gladding gave up a pair of singles and with men on first and third, Walker called on former Dodger, Jack Billingham who promptly wild pitched across the winning run, 5-4. The season was over and an 81-81 record had been achieved. 
                                                   1964-Topps-Coin-2-Jim-Wynn-Colt-45-039-s-NM-MINT-Hi-Grade-Set-Break-up
Only part timer Marty Martinez bettered .300 with a .308 BA in 78 games. Denis Menke, believe it or not, led the regulars with a .269 average tied with Jim Wynn. Wynn did crank out 33 home runs or one-third of the club's total production of 104. Menke hit 10 homers, while Joe Morgan added 15 with 49 steals. The entire team registered 101 stolen bases.  This was really an unusual team when it came to batting. Pitcher Tom Griffin's two homers were more than any non-regular in the line-up.
                                                            1966-Topps-Set-Break-228-Larry-Dierker-NR-MINT-GMCARDS
Pitching carried this team certainly, led by Larry Dierker's 20-13 record and 2.33 ERA at the age of 22. Don Wilson was 16-12, Griffin 11-10 while Denny Lemaster was a hard luck 13-17 with a 3.16 ERA. Jim Ray's bullpen action was good, striking out 115 batters in 115 innings and was 8-2. Gladding at 33 didn't have the impressive ERA but he did Save 29 games to lead the league with a career personal best. The team's 153 errors on defense were good for 7th in the league with Menke and Doug Rader committing 53 between them. 

For the first seven years of it's existence the club lost an average of 94 games. They would not better the record of the 1969 season until 1972 when they had their first winning season. 

TRIVIA CONTEST; After reading this column you can enter the weekly trivia contest for a chance to win a Starbucks Gift Card. Enter via the following email. Send 1) your answer to the trivia question at the top of the column, 2) your name, address and email so where we know where to send the card if you win 3) any comment you have on the column. One winner will be selected at random each week based on correct answers with the odds being based on the number of correct entries.  Please cut and paste or enter the following email into your email system.
                             SEND YOUR ANSWERS TO; brillpro@gmail.com  
 ==========================================================
Need to get out of a baseball hitting slump, or a golf swing slump? Order my new book "Beating the Slump; An athlete's guide to a better career." See it on Amazon for only $5.99. That is for the Paperback, you can also order Kindle on that link. You can also order paperback copies directly from me via the email below for my other books.

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. 
 

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

1965; When Christmas Came Early in Pittsburgh ++ TRIVIA PRIZES


FOR MORE GENERAL TRIVIA CHECK OUT MY YouTube Channel !
 
TRIVIA WINNER: Congrats to Rich Klein of Grand Prairie, TX, who correctly answered the trivia question about record breaking double play combo's in the 1960s. He correctly stated it was Bill Mazeroski and Gene Alley who broke the record set for DP's three years earlier by Ken Hubbs and Andre Rodgers. This week a new Trivia Contest. The Prize this week again is a Starbucks Gift Card. 
 
NEW TRIVIA CONTEST:  IF YOU ANSWER THE TRIVIA QUESTION CORRECTLY YOU WILL BE ENTERED INTO A WEEKLY DRAWING FOR A Starbucks Gift Card.  YOU MUST ENTER VIA THE EMAIL AT THE END OF THIS COLUMN


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TRIVIA QUESTION:  In 1966 the Pittsburgh Pirates only had two pitchers of the 14 who played for them that year with "losing" records. Bob Purkey and Luke Walker. What was their combined record?  
 
ANSWER TO TRIVIA QUESTION IN THE PREVIOUS COLUMN:
In 1966 Bill Mazeroski and Gene Alley broke the record set for DP's three years earlier by Ken Hubbs and Andre Rodgers. Rodgers was involved in 100 in 1963, and Alley was involved in 128. In 1965 they became teammates in Pittsburgh, which is appropriate for this week's column.



 In 1965 the Pittsburgh Pirates were at a crossroads. It was a club in transition. It had a solid core but an aging core. Several key players were on the cusp while several more were in their prime and a few longtime Buc stalwarts were over the hill or ready to move on and out. On December 1, 1965, the Pirates made one of the best trades in their history  They acquired outfielder Matty Alou from the Giants for reliever Joe Gibbon and catcher Ossie Virgil.

Alou was the middle brother of the major league playing Alou's. Felipe, the slugger was the oldest, Jesus the potential star was the youngest and in the middle was the fastest of the trio, Mateo. All three were good defensively and it goes without saying Felipe was the guy no one wanted to give up. The Giants had a crowded outfield and needed a left-handed arm in the bullpen. 



The Pirates needed to replace the aging Bill Virdon in center-field with a swift outfielder who could cover lots of ground in spacious Forbes Field. They needed someone too who could back up Willie Stargell and Bob Bailey in left. Roberto Clemente was a fixture in right so having a center-fielder who could really go get it was essential. The problem was, while earlier in his career Matty showed some signs of a consistently good average, he'd only hit .231 in 1964 and .264 the year before that. Virdon was hitting higher for an average but still was not the lead off man the Bucs always sought.

Pittsburgh needed a guy who could get on base ahead of Clemente, Stargell, Donn Clendenon and Bailey. Could the 5'9" 160 pound Alou be that guy? New manager Harry "the Hat" Walker thought so. Walker was a solid hitter in his day and even won a batting title, but more importantly he knew how to teach hitting. He figured by using the extra hard infield in front of home plate at Forbes Field, Alou should be able to bounce his way to at least .290. With some bunt singles and his speed from the left side of the plate, there could easily be another 15 or 20 hits in the season.

                                          (Spacious Forbes Field)
No one ever dreamed what Alou really did accomplish. In the first three games little Matty had five hits in 15 at bats. By the time the end of the season rolled around he would hit .342, 111 points above his previous season's average and would take the National League batting title. He was the driving force behind a pirates club which dominated the NL hitting stats. Walker was right. By bouncing the ball off the hard turf and spraying the ball around using an oversized bat, Alou became a master hitter.

Gene Alley and Clendenon both hit .299 (Clendenon also banged 28 homers), Clemente won the MVP with a .317 average and 29 homers, Stargell hit at a .315 clip and led the team in home runs with 33, Bill Mazeroski had one of his best hitting seasons at .262 but added 16 dingers and Bailey and Jose Pagan combined for 17 home runs and an even 100 RBI. The team batting average was an amazing .279 with 158 home runs in 1966. If the pitching had not faltered so badly, they would have had more than their 92 wins and a third place finish behind the Dodgers and Giants.

Alou would go on to hit ,338, .332, .331 and .297 in the following four years. He missed out on his second batting title when he ended in a virtual tie with Pete Rose at .332 and lost by a the fourth number to the right of the decimal point. One more bunt single and he'd have had a second NL batting crown. After batting .297 he was traded to St. Louis where he had three more seasons above .300. However, his defensive skills were fading and he eventually played with several teams including the Yankees, A's and Padres before finishing his 15 year career in 1974. Based on his work with Harry Walker and his years in Pittsburgh, Alou concluded with a .280 lifetime average and he got to the World Series twice. In the 1972 ALCS he batted .381 for Oakland.


Gibbon had a couple of good seasons with the Giants before coming back to Pittsburgh in 1969 and having perhaps his best year, recording a 1.93 ERA in 51 innings. Virgil hit .213 for the Giants in 1966 and was out of baseball. He did come back in 1969 for one game with San Francisco. Virdon, the NL Rookie of the Year in 1955, was released by the Pirates before the 1966 season despite hitting .279, and retired. He did come back for a few games with the Pirates in 1968 but went onto a good managing career with the Yankees, Pittsburgh and Houston before calling it a career. 

In the end when it came to career batting average, Matty bested his brothers, finishing at .307 to .280 for Jesus, although Felipe finished with 206 home runs and a near .290 average. 

TRIVIA CONTEST; After reading this column you can enter the weekly trivia contest for a chance to win a Starbucks Gift Card. Enter via the following email. Send 1) your answer to the trivia question at the top of the column, 2) your name, address and email so where we know where to send the card if you win 3) any comment you have on the column. One winner will be selected at random each week based on correct answers with the odds being based on the number of correct entries.  Please cut and paste or enter the following email into your email system.
                             SEND YOUR ANSWERS TO; brillpro@gmail.com  
 ==========================================================
Need to get out of a baseball hitting slump, or a golf swing slump? Order my new book "Beating the Slump; An athlete's guide to a better career." See it on Amazon for only $5.99. That is for the Paperback, you can also order Kindle on that link. You can also order paperback copies directly from me via the email below for my other books.

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.