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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Ralph Terry Ends Giants World Series Hopes

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TRIVIA QUESTION:  Ralph Terry was originally signed by the Yankees but was traded to Kansas City before being sent back to the Yankees. Who was the future Yankee manager involved in one of those trades?

ANSWER TO TRIVIA QUESTION IN THE PREVIOUS COLUMN: The 1963 World Series featured two opposing players who also played against each other in another professional sport; the NBA. Gene Conley was a pitcher with the Boston Braves but he also played a couple seasons for the Boston Celtics. Steve Hamilton, pitching for the Yankees, was a member of the Minneapolis Lakers from 1958-1960. The two teams faced each other in the NBA Finals in 1958-59 season in which the Celtics won in four games. 

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.

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

Also: Please check out our new Western Short Film. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/iron-gun-western-feature-film/#/
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 www.bobbrillbooks.com, or on Amazon.  

 


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Saving Face, June 8, 1969

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TRIVIA QUESTION:  Bill Stoneman pitched for eight Major League seasons. How many seasons did he finish with a winning record?

ANSWER TO TRIVIA QUESTION IN THE PREVIOUS COLUMN: Steve Hamilton pitched in the World Series in both 1963 and 1964 for the Yankees. He also played in the NBA finals against the Boston Celtics when he was a Minneapolis Laker in 1959. The only other player to play in the World Series and the NBA Finals was also a pitcher; Gene Conley. He tossed for the Milwaukee Braves in 1957 and was with the Celtics from 1959-1961. He ironically played against Hamilton in the Finals in 1959.

When the Montreal Expo's opened their inaugural season with an 11-10 victory on April 8, 1969, few of the people who were excited over the win would realize only two months to the day later, how distant a memory that game was. It was the only day the Expos were in first place all season but then again no one expected miracles from an expansion team. What they did not  expect began on May 13th.
On May 10th, Mack Jones homered in support of Dan McGinn who relieved Bill Stoneman and the Expos edged Cincinnati 7-6. Longtime Pirate's reliever Roy Face picked up the Save at age 41 in his final year in the big leagues. In their next game, three days later, Montreal lost to Houston, 10-3 with McGinn taking the loss in relief. 

The Expos continued to lose their next 19 straight games. During that span McGinn would lose three more and Face once. Ace Bill Stoneman would go 0-5 during the stretch, including No. 20 of the streak. The date was June 7, 1969.

June 8th was an unusually cool 68 degrees at game time at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles as the Expos and the Dodgers took the field for a Sunday afternoon game. A slight 10 mile per hour breeze was wafting through the ball park as a weaker than usual crowd poured into the stadium. The weather was so clear visibility was 20 miles and the view from the top deck was amazing. Only 15,628 people turned up to see the pathetic team from Montreal, which had lost 20 games in a row.

Announcer Vin Scully more than likely mentioned the fact Montreal was a Dodger AAA team in the 1940s and it was where Jackie Robinson made his home until the big club called him up in 1947 to break the MLB color barrier. He also no doubt mentioned the string of games the Expos had lost and the fact the Dodgers had beaten them two straight with Don Sutton and Claude Osteen getting the wins. It would be Bill Singer on this day facing Jerry Robertson. 
The game started off quiet enough until the fourth when former Dodger Maury Wills led off with a walk and Rusty Staub followed with a blast into the bleachers to give Montreal a 2-0 lead. Jones followed with a single and went to third on a base hit by Coco Laboy. Gary Sutherland squeezed him home with a bunt, scoring Jones to make the score 3-0. 

The Dodgers scored a run in the fifth when, with runners on second and third, Billy Sudakis hit a ground ball which first baseman, Ty Cline muffed to allow the unearned run to score, 3-1. The next inning there was that man again. Mack Jones led off the sixth with a solo homer just as he had two months previous and the Expos led 4-1.

It stayed that way until the ninth. The Dodgers began to rally and despite the fact the crowd had thinned out considerably,  they were still in it. Andy Kosco led off with a single. After Tom Haller singled, Jerry Robertson had had enough. Manager Gene Mauch had seen enough. He called on his aging right-hander and Save king, 5'8" Elroy Face. 
Face was far removed from his 18-1 year in 1959 and his long history of sub 3.00 ERA's with Pittsburgh. He'd been to Detroit since and was now playing out the string with Montreal. He still had something left in the tank, or so Mauch figured. He almost figured wrong.

Jimmy Lefevbre greeted Face with a ground ball which Cline fielded, stepped on first for the out as Kosco and Haller both moved up. Ron Fairly, who would later become an Expo, singled home Kosco to make it 4-2 Montreal. Haller stopped at third. There was still only one out. Sudakis drew a walk to lead the bases and then the unthinkable happened. 

While facing another aging player, Ken Boyer, Face balked. The run came home making it 4-3 with runners at second and third. There was still only one out. Face worked Boyer and the former Cardinal MVP popped to Laboy at third. Willie Crawford stepped up. Crawford the power hitting, striking out bonus baby of the Dodgers had not had much of a career to this point. He had been in the majors for five years and was still only 22 years old. This season was his first as what you can consider a regular and he'd bat .247. Still he was dangerous and Face knew it.

He worked the count and hit a towering fly ball to right, which Staub hauled in for the final out. Face once again saved the day as he had so many times in his career, but more importantly the streak had come to an end. Montreal lost 20 games in a row. They would go on to win the next one. In fact, they would win 8 of their next 20, before finishing 48 games out of first place with a 52-110 record.

Face would close out the season 4-2, and would Save 5 of the 6 games he was called on to Save. He finished with a 3.94 ERA. Lifetime he saved 191 of 251, with 104-95 record over 16 seasons. He saved three of the four games Pittsburgh won in the 1960 World Series. It was his only post season appearance. 


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 www.bobbrillbooks.com, or on Amazon.
 

   


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The Yankees First World Series Sweep as Losers

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TRIVIA QUESTION:  Only two players have ever played in the NBA Finals and the World Series. One of them played in the series discussed below. Name those two players.

ANSWER TO TRIVIA QUESTION IN THE PREVIOUS COLUMN: The Cleveland Indians catcher who made his debut in 1969 but began an all-star career the following year was Ray Fosse. Fosse's career was really taking off until he was taken out by Pete Rose in an all-star game in a hard collision at home. He was never the same player after that.

The 1963 World Series was one for the record books for many reasons. It was the first time ever the New York Yankees were swept in a four game World Championship Series. The Yanks who many times swept their opponents, did not win a game against the New York Giants in 1922 but that series actually went five games. Game Two ended in a 10-inning, 3-3 tie. In 1963 they would face their old rivals; The Dodgers. It was the Dodgers homecoming of sorts. It was their first time back to Yankee Stadium since leaving Brooklyn for the West Coast in the late 1950's.

New York was favored to win, after leading the American League with 104 victories while the Dodgers corralled 99 to take home the NL Pennant. The Yankees had the sluggers. Even with Mickey Mantle limited to 65 games and 15 dingers, the club still smacked 188 to finish second in the league in round-trippers.

Four players hit at least 20 home runs led by Elston Howard's 28. Roger Maris hit 23 and while not one Yankee had 100 RBI, they did score 714 runs which was again second in the AL. Mantle was the only player to bat .300 with a .314 average while an aging Yogi Berra (38) hit .293 in a very limited role.

And they were solid on the mound with two 20 game winners; Whitey Ford won 24 and Jim Bouton went 21-7. A young (22 year old) Al Downing was 13-5 and Ralph Terry won 17. The team ERA of 3.07 was only bested by one club and despite a tremendous bullpen, Yankee starters led the league in complete games with an amazing 59, led by Terry's 18. 


The bullpen was headed by Save leader Hal Reniff with 18, Steve Hamilton and Tom Metcalf each had ERA's under 3.00. To boot, Downing had four shutouts, Bouton six.  Downing was amazing as well in the K department, striking out 171 batters in 175 innings. 

Los Angeles was not a team of slouches by any means.  Not a power team the Dodgers were really in the middle of a run which featured speed and pitching. Maury Wills batted .302 and stole 40 bases, while Tommy Davis hit .325, clubbed 16 homers and stole 15 bases. Willie Davis stole another 25 and former Brooklyn Dodger Jim Gilliam stole 19. Frank Howard led the team in homers with 28 but amazingly only drove in 64 despite a .273 BA. Tommy D., would lead the team in RBI with 88.

The pitching staff is where the Dodgers chose to shine. Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax were at the top of their games, starting 82 games between them and completing 37 and combining for over 500 innings pitched. Koufax was 25-5 with a 1.88 ERA while Big D., was 19-17, 2.64 ERA. Koufax was unbelievable in another category which wasn't a big deal back then, WhIP. His was 0.87.
Johnny Podres won 14 and Bob Miller another 10, but the ace in the hole was closer Ron Perranoski who finished 16-3, 1.67 ERA with 21 Saves. The Dodgers still were no match for the slugging New Yorkers when it came to the plate. On the Mound give a very slight edge to New York, too.

But in a short series pitching usually holds sway and it was no different in 1963. Game One was on a Wednesday, which meant Koufax would open against Ford. If a series started on Saturday, it would be Drysdale because the devoutly Jewish Koufax would not pitch on Saturday. No worries in 1963.

Koufax was magnificent, giving up but six hits while striking out 15 Yankees on his way to a 5-2 win. Tom Tresh did homer but so did Johnny Roseboro who took Ford deep in a four-run second inning. 

In Game Two it was Podres turn to shine and he did. He went eight and a third before giving way to Perranoski to close it out. The Dodgers jumped on Al Downing for two runs in the first and in the fourth inning former Yankee, Bill Skowron clubbed a homer and when the dust settled the Dodgers were 4-1 winners. 

Following the Friday off day, Los Angeles sent Drysdale to the mound against Bouton. It was a classic match-up and the big man was never better. He allowed only three hits. Tony Kubek had a pair and Mantle had the other. He also struck out nine while walking one. Bouton was also outstanding except for one inning. He walked Gilliam, then wild pitched him to second before Tommy Davis drove him home with a double for the only run of the game, and a 1-0 Dodger victory.
Up three games to none, Manager Walt Alston brought back Koufax on three days rest. Again he was matched up against 24 game winner, Ford. It was going to be a tight battle and it was all about the most mistakes. Ford actually out-pitched Koufax. 

The game was scoreless until the fifth when Frank Howard blasted his only homer of the series to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. It stayed that way until Mantle homered in the seventh to tie it up 1-1. It was then the big break came. Jim Gilliam led off the seventh with a ground ball to third baseman Clete Boyer who made a leaping catch of the high bouncer and threw directly onto first base for the apparent out. However, Joe Pepitone (apparently losing the ball in the white shirted background) couldn't handle the throw at first and the ball got by him down the line. By the time he got the ball, Gilliam ran all the way to third base. Willie Davis followed with a deep fly ball to center to drive home Gilliam on a sacrifice fly with the go ahead run. 
Koufax closed out the last two innings without the Yankees really mounting a threat and the Dodgers had their sweep. Koufax, who gave up only six hits, struck out eight and did not walk a batter was named MVP of the series with two wins. 

New York hit an anemic .171 in the series with only two home runs while Los Angeles didn't fare much better at .214 and two homers. Boyer and Tresh each struck out six times and Mantle, five. The key may have been; Yankee pitchers issued 11 walks.  New York was  outscored 12-4. Scoring an average of one run per game isn't going to win you any championships and that's how New York finished. 

The Yankees would be back in the Series in 1964 but despite taking the series to seven games, they still lost to the Cardinals, 4-3. It wouldn't be until 1976 the Yanks were blitzed again. This time by the Reds. However, in 1998 and 1999 they swept both series against the Padres and the Braves and added a 4-1 Series win the following year, winning 12 of 13.

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

Also: Please check out our new Western Short Film. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/iron-gun-western-feature-film/#/

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 www.bobbrillbooks.com, or on Amazon.
  


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Indians Don't Lose 100

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TRIVIA QUESTION:  Name the Indians catcher who would have a break-out year beginning the 1970's?

ANSWER TO TRIVIA QUESTION IN THE PREVIOUS COLUMN: When one astronaut took care of his expected business on the moon, he took his love for sports a step farther. During the Apollo 14 mission, Alan Shepard took a break from excavating to become the first person to play golf on the moon. Using a six-iron, he had smuggled in his personal items pocket, Shepard hit two golf balls across the moon. They are still there today.

As major league teams settle in for the post season we look back at a game which was the total opposite dating back to the first year of the divisional playoffs in MLB; 1969. It was the season the Orioles would rebound to win 109 games before going on to defeat the 97 win Minnesota Twins to make it to the World Series. 

It was also the year the Amazin' Mets won the East, and then beat the Braves to move on to play in one of the most memorable World Series ever. The Mets beat the O's and were kings of not only New York, but the baseball world. 
There was one team which was in danger of losing 100 games that initial playoff year; The Cleveland Indians. To lose 100 when playing in the first divisional season would be the ultimate embarrassment. The Indians were not a terrible team. They would finish the season both fifth in team hitting and team pitching. They were also fifth in fielding. 

They had power with both Ken "Hawk" Harrelson and Tony Horton blasting 27 homers with Duke Sims pitching in another 18. The clubs .237 team BA belied the fact only three starters batted above .250 with .278 topping the list. They only scored 573 runs and only two teams scored fewer. Clutch, they were not.
On the mound Sam McDowell won 18 but Luis Tiant lost 20, which is why perhaps the game on Tuesday September 23rd was so important. The Indians had 61 wins and 92 losses (44.5 games back of the Orioles) with seven games left. A loss to the Orioles on this date would mean if the Indians did not win another game to finish out the season, they would lose 100 games. 

The club had just beaten the Senators and was to face Baltimore in a three game set in Cleveland's final home stand of the year. McDowell would go the mound seeking his 18th win. He'd face 14 game winner Tom Phoebus and a line up packed with power hitters the likes of Frank Robinson (31 homers to date), Brooks Robinson, Boog Powell and Don Buford. 
The game started out with both pitchers breezing through the first two innings. In the third however, McDowell would not be denied. He led off the inning with a single and went to third when Jose Cardenal laid down a bunt, which catcher Andy Etcheberren mishandled. After Frank Baker walked to load them up, Harrelson and Horton both drew bases on balls to send in two runs, 2-0 Indians. When Chuck Hinton hit a sac fly to drive in the third run, it was all McDowell needed, leading 3-0.

Despite Frank Robby's 32nd homer, a solo shot, it was all the O's could muster off the masterful and determined Sudden Sam. McDowell went the distance, giving up three hits, walking none and striking out six for his 18th and final win of the season, 3-1. Final because as might be expected the Indians went onto lose the next seven games to finish out the season with 99 losses.

They dropped the next two to the O's, three to Washington and a pair to the Yankees to close out the season in New York. It was a long ride back to Cleveland after that final game, but the Indians could take heart; they did NOT lose 100 games.  Oh I forgot, the Cleveland faithful could have applied for stardom in the film "Major League." The Indians finished 11th out of 12 teams in attendance. Rachel Phelps would have been proud, if not ecstatic.
(The Above video was for the "original" version of the scene in "Major League" but we all know what happened and how she "hated that 'blink'ing song.)

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 www.bobbrillbooks.com, or on Amazon.