Saturday, December 31, 2016

Total Insanity At Candlestick: Saturday, July 5th, 1969


PHI 9, MON 6  W-Fryman 6-7 L-Wegener 6-6  HR-Staub(17)  Fryman 13 K's.

NY 6, PIT 1  W-Seaver 7-6 L-Ellis 5-10  HR-Boswell(4)

CHI 5, STL 0  W-Selma 4-9 L-Briles 6-8  HR-Hundley(6)

CIN 3, LA 1  W-Maloney 11-4 L-Sutton 10-5  S-Granger(10)  HR-May(20) Perez(15) Davis(9)

HOU 8, SD 3  W-Wilson 5-9 L-J.Niekro 6-6  S-Womack(3)  HR-Wynn(12)

ATL 11, SF 10  W-P.Niekro 9-6 L-Bryant 2-4  S-Upshaw(16)  HR-Millan(4) Bonds 2(12)  Bonds 5 rbi.

It took a bad hop. Twice. Into his stupid face.
Mercy what a wild game at Candlestick Park! Scoreless through three between Braves ace Phil Niekro and kid lefty Ron "Call me Anita" Bryant, that all changed in the top of the 4th when the Braves plated half a dozen runs, aided by two consecutive miscues by the bewildered Ron Hunt. Even Niekro chipped in a two-run single. Four of the tallies were unearned, but they all count. 6-0 Braves. Meanwhile, Knucksie hadn't given up a hit through four. He walked Dietz to start the 5th, and with two out walked the opposing pitcher, setting the stage for Bobby Bonds to smash a three run jack to cut the Atlanta lead in half! 

"Neon" Millan
No matter. In the top of the 6th, Felix "Neon" Millan hit his second three run homer in as many days, prompting him to rhapsodize about cable cars and to start wearing flowers in his hair. "I love it here!" Felipe Alou followed with a triple and was singled in by Orlando Cepeda, bent on punishing his old team.  After an out, Clete Boyer was safe on an error by none other than Willie Mays and by the time the inning ended, it was 11-3 Braves. By the seventh inning stretch, with Niekro having surrendered only the one hit--albeit a big one--it looked like the rout was on, and Clyde King removed Mays and began making plans to play his scrubs the rest of the way.

"Watch me fail to finish this game!"
Sitting on an 8-run cushion, Knucksie naturally walked the lead off man, Bob "Hi Bob" Burda. Then seldom-seen Bob Barton, who had replaced Dietz, singled. Tito Fuentes singled in Burda to make it 11-4. Still no outs. Disgusting malcontent Cesar Gutierrez (who broke up Tom Seaver's earlier no-hit bid, gaining him the deathless enmity of your Impartial Goddess) walked to load 'em, and after Bonds fanned, Ron Hunt redeemed himself by blooping a crazy three-run triple to make it 11-7! Ken "Where's Barbie?" Henderson, who had come in for Mays, lofted a sac fly to make it 11-8 and that was all for Niekro, who saw his e.r.a. jump from 1.91 to 2.34 by giving up 8 earned runs in less than 7 innings. Relief ace Cecil Upshaw, who had gone back to the hotel, was hastily brought back and put into the game. Jim "Couch me!" Davenport greeted Upshaw with a single, then went insane and tried to steal second base but was, of course, thrown out by Bob "Hi Bob!" Didier to finally end the inning. 

"I need a fucking shortstop!" Language, Luman. Language.
11-8 it stayed through the 8th, but disaster still struck the Atlanta nine. With two out, Bob "Hi Bob!" Barton singled and, crazed by the sight of Davenport trying it, took off for second and was similarly thrown out to end the inning. However, he killed Braves third-string shortstop Bob Aspromonte for ten games, leaving all three of their shortstops on the shelf. Tommie Aaron, who played short at Eau Claire in 1958, will start the next few games on an emergency basis, but he had already been removed from the game for defense, replaced by Tony Gonzales who batted just once, fanned--Bryant's only strikeout over 7 innings of taking it on the chops for the team--and got himself ejected for questioning umpire "Hell" Enkeller's ancestry. (The Giants are down to 7 pitchers with the departure of Ron Kline and the injury to Mike McCormick.) So, Ralph Garr, who played second base for Austin in '67 had to come in and play short, replaced in the pasture by fossil Tito Francona. Thank goodness I kept my 1969 Sporting News baseball register that my father bought me; it shows their minor league records as well as major. 

Into the bottom of the 9th went this nutso-cuckoo fiasco, with Upshaw gamely trying to close it out, and the Giants "B" team refusing to die. Fuentes led off with a single, and after pinch hitter Marshall made the first out, Bobby Bonds poked his second homer of the game, giving him 5 rbi'sand cutting the score to 11-10! Ron Hunt made the second out and up stepped Ken "Call me Florence" Henderson as Barbie pretended not to know him and Willie Mays writhed in frustration on the bench. Upshaw induced the final out and the Braves, bloodied but unbowed, escaped with the victory to stay just a half game back of the Reds. What a nutty game.

Tom Seaver. Squee! Back way off, Nancy.
There *was* other action, but I'll be brief. The Cardinals' collapse just gets worse all the time, with Dick Selma blanking them and fanning 11. Woody Fryman of the Phils allowed Montreal to plate 4 in the top of the first and it was only the arrival of Bobby Wine and pitcher Wegener at the dish that kept him in the game. He ended up going all the way and fanning 13, one short of Al Santorini's season high of 14. Ken Boswell, not finding anyone to be biographer for, decided to hit a homer to lead off the game instead, and Tom Seaver pitched the Mets to another win over Pittsburgh. 

WKRP's battery holds a confab on the mound.
I had been challenged to do a special bit about WKRP's charity softball game against WJM Minneapolis, and I will, but my editor, Zac the dog, says there's only an inch on page 12C for the story. I bow to his authority. The Cincy team plated a run in the top of the first inning when Ted Baxter dropped an easy fly ball. "I lost it in the fog," he intoned. Bailey pitched shutout ball until the final frame, when Gordy doubled, Sue Ann Nivens was hit with a pitch--some say on purpose!--and Mr. Grant hit one out for the 3-1 WJM win. Your team really showed spunk, Lou. Oh that's hate spunk!
next opponent?

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Two New Division Leaders! : Friday, July 4th, 1969


PHI 4, MON 3  W-Wise 5-6 L-Renko 0-3  HR-Briggs(7)

NY 5, PIT 1  W-Gentry 8-5 L-Bunning 6-7  HR-Kranepool(5) Clendenon(17)ph

NY 1, PIT 0  W-Koosman 9-5 L-Walker 3-4

CHI 5, STL 1 (12inns)  W-Regan 5-3 L-Hoerner 6-6  

LA 6, CIN 0  W-Osteen 9-3 L-Culver 7-2  HR-Crawford(9) Sizemore(2)  Osteen 2-hitter.

HOU 1, SD 0  W-Dierker 7-8 L-Santorini 3-15  HR-Morgan(5)

ATL 5, SF 4  W-Reed 8-5 L-Marichal 6-9  S-Upshaw(15)  HR-Millan(3)

ATL 9, SF 1  W-Jarvis 9-6 L-Sadecki 5-3  HR-Cepeda(11) Henderson(4)  Aspromonte 4 rbi.

Geez, these races are amazing. In the east, the Cubs and Cards are going head to head on the 4th of July weekend, and the Cubs took Friday's game in extra frames to take over sole possession of first place after St. Louis had led all season until now. After Ken Holtzman and Steve "Carlton Your Doorman" Carlton had dueled to a 1-1 tie, the Cubbies teed off on reliever Joel Hoerner to sink the haughty two-time National League champs. Ron Santo's heels are getting worn down from clicking them, as the Chicago club has won 9 in a row and 12 of 13. 

O.J. turned Gerry into one of the walking dead!
Out west, it's a game of musical chairs with four teams within a single game of each other. The Dodgers hadn't seen the top spot in a while, but took it over by defeating the Reds for the second day in a row, with lefty Claude Osteen holding Cincinnati to just a pair of singles, by Johnny Bench and Darrel Chaney. Reds hurler Gerry Arrigo didn't enjoy the visit to southern California, as he was attacked on the mound by O. J.  and will pretty much miss the rest of July.  

Felix shows off his home run grip from his bag of tricks.
In San Francisco, the Braves finally found the winning method, as they swept a holiday doubleheader from the Giants.  Little Felix Millan managed to pole a three-run homer in the opener, and the Braves got 5 in all against Juan Marichal. They needed them all as the Giants scored 3 in the bottom of the ninth and had the tying run 90 feet away when Cecil Upshaw retired Ron Hunt to secure the victory. Who'd have thought that Marichal (A-yz) would only be 6-9 at the 4th of July?!? In the nightcap, hit-happy Bob Aspromonte stroked three safeties, including a pair of doubles, and knocked in 4 as the Braves drubbed the home team 9-1, allowing only a meaningless blast by Ken "Call me Florence" Henderson. After the game, the now-sober San Francisco brain trust peddled embarrassment Ron Kline away to the Red Sox, his third team this season. He only lasted a month after being acquired at the cost of Joe Gibbon. "It seemed like the thing to do at the time," mumbled a scout who was seen dancing with a lampshade on his head when the trade was being approved.

Donn Clendenon *finally* hit his first homer and drove in his first runs as a Met, and it helped the New Yorkers to sweep his old Pittsburgh pals at Forbes Field. In the nightcap, Cleon Jones drove in Jerry Koosman with the game's only run, as Kooz blanked the Buccos for his 9th win. The Mets are slowly getting healthy again and stand just 6 games back.

Al "Losing Pitcher" Santorini
I feel bad for poor Al Santorini, who lost his 15th game of the season when Joe Morgan hit a wall-scraper in the 9th for the only run in a 1-0 contest. It was the second straight game that the Pods went into the 9th with a scoreless tie, only to surrender a round tripper and lose. Santorini fanned ten Astros, but lost anyway as his Friar teammates managed only three hits off of Larry Dierker, and he had one of them himself. The Holy Men really miss the hobbled Nate Colbert. As for Joe Morgan, he couldn't help over-analyzing his tater at length. "Where did everybody go?" he asked when he finally noticed the clubhouse was empty. "I wasn't done!"
You're done, Joe.

Monday, December 26, 2016

A Pitching Gem & A Beanball Brawl! : Thursday, July 3rd, 1969


CHI 8, MON 4  W-Jenkins 11-4 L-Robertson 7-7  HR-Williams(7) Hickman(17)

STL 1, NY 0 (11)  W-Hoerner 6-5 L-McGraw 3-6  HR-Flood(3) walk-off.

LA 4, CIN 3  W-Mikkelsen 4-2 L-Granger 6-3  HR-Perez(14)

SF 12, ATL 0  W-Perry 12-4 L-Pappas 8-4  HR-Mays(4) Mays 4 runs, 4 rbi.

"I wonder who threw Schoendienst through the wall..."
What a match-up! Future HOFers Nolan Ryan and Bob Gibson head to head, albeit with a very young Ryan. Someone forgot to tell Noley that he wasn't ready for prime time, because the two pitchers matched zeroes for ten innings at Busch Stadium, each allowing just 4 hits, and each fanning 10. The Mets had several chances, but just could never get the big hit. (Donn Clendenon, who tore up the league for the Expos, has yet to club an extra base hit or drive in a run for the Mets.) The Cardinals had a few mild opportunities too, but failed. In the bottom of the 10th, Red Schoendienst removed Gibson for a pinch hitter. How the Redbird skipper ended up embedded in the clubhouse wall is a mystery. When asked, Gibby opined, "Aw shucks, who knows?" Pinch hitter Rocky Johnson made an out and the game went to the 11th with Joe Hoerner on the mound, eating his Christmas pie. Mets manager Gil Hodges decided he wasn't going to let this kid Ryan possibly lose such a magnificent effort, so he took him out and sent up a pinch hitter.  Nothing came of it. Enter Tug Mcgraw in the bottom of the 11th. He fanned Byron Browne, who had entered the game when Lou Brock goofed up his whatchamacallit, and then faced Curt Flood. Flood jacked a homer and just like that it was all over. "Man, I'm exhausted!" sighed Hoerner upon receiving the victory for his one inning of work. Now the Cards await the arrival of the Cubs for a 4-game set.  

Everything is sunny for the Cubs these days!
Speaking of the Cubbies, they dispatched the Expos for the fourth day in a row, getting a homer--his first in nearly a month--from Billy Williams and another from the suddenly fearsome Jim Hickman. This kept the baby bears tied with the Cardinals atop the NL east. Despite the loss, the 'Spos completed a very good (for a new expansion team) first half, going 35-46. After starting 1-9, that's nothing to sneeze at.  

If your lovin' is hot and your cookin' ain't greasy....
Poor Braves. After logging the league's best mark in June, the month of July has been a nightmare for them so far. After getting shellacked 11-3 by the Reds yesterday, the tomahawkers traveled to Baghdad By The Bay and got rocked 12-0 by the Giants.  Miracle "D" Milt Pappas ran out of magic while Gaylord Perry notched his fourth shutout for the Giants. He also tied Bill Hands for the league lead with 12 wins. 

The Goddess abhors violence. Get him!
Finally, despite all that your Impartial Goddess has done to keep violence out of the game, it exploded on the field at Dodger Stadium on Thursday. Wearing a Red Wings jersey with "Kocur" on the back, your Most Serene Goddess screamed "Hit him! Deck him!" while bouncing on her heels in, um, disapproval.  Here's what happened: in the top of the second, Tony Perez launched a long home run off of Don Drysdale to give the Reds a 2-0 lead. The Rhinelanders had beaten the Tinseltowners 7 out of 8 on the season,  and frustration was boiling on the Dodger side. Andy "The Human Bulk Store" Kosco stood in against Jim "Bones" Merritt, and was decked by a high and tight pitch that knocked his helmet off and left him sprawled in the dirt. As soon as he stopped seeing double, Andy saw red and charged the mound! (The first fight the Orsino Board has ever produced in three seasons.) Kosco rained punches in bulk on the dome of the Reds hurler, and it took Johnny Bench to throw Kosco off. Of course, by then the benches had emptied and the obligatory savage milling around was accomplished. Ump "Hell" Enkeller thumbed both combatants, and Kosco injured his hand on Merritt's face and will miss a week's action. He's the team's home run leader and will be missed.  

An rbi single can do wonders for your confidence!
When play resumed, Little Al Jackson had been retrieved from the Reds' luggage and sent in to pitch. He allowed Willie "Call me Joan" Crawford, who had run for the dismissed Mr. Kosco, to score, but then he hurled 4 frames of shutout ball, preserving the 2-1 lead. In the 4th inning, Don Drysdale plunked Reds flyhawk Bobby Tolan. Would Big D do that on purpose? Of course he would! And was he ejected, fined, lectured? No! This is 1969! He pitched on. In the 6th, the Dodgers finally tied it against reliever Clay Carroll when Willie Davis tripled and scored on Crawford's single. "Let's see Bette Davis do THAT!" said Crawford, preening at first base. The inning ended when Wes Parker belted a fly to left center. Ted Savage made the catch and hung on, but Pete Rose was bent in the collision and will miss a couple of games. 

"Wingy" has wings on his feet!
The Reds tied it in the top of the 7th when Wingy Whitfield singled, and Ted Savage doubled. With runners on second and third and one out, newly-summoned strikeout artist Jim Brewer fanned the lefty-swinging Tolan, just the way it was drawn up, but backstop Tom Haller let the ball squirt away! As he chased it down, Wingy came chugging across home plate to make it 3-2. Tolan was gunned down at first,  but the damage was done. No Matter. In the bottom of the inning, pinch hitter Len Gabrielson singled in pinch runner and Paul Schaal Award winner Billy Grabarkewitz to tie it again at 3.  Clay Carroll could only hang his head.  In the bottom of the 8th with two out against Wayne Granger, pesky Wes "Call me Fess" Parker singled in Manny Mota and that's the way it ended, 4-3, with lots of band-aids.
Bob Probert, chairman of the Goddess's new commission on preventing violence.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Monday, June 30th, 1969 Plus End Of June Leaders!


CHI 9, MON 2  W-Selma 3-9 L-Wegener 6-5  HR-Santo(12) Hickman(16)

PIT 4, PHI 3  W-Ellis 5-9 L-Fryman 5-7  S-Gibbon(5)  HR-Allen(12) Pagan(3)

STL 2, NY 1  W-Briles 6-7 L-Koosman 8-5  HR-Torre(6)

CIN 4, ATL 2  W-Maloney 10-4 L-Jarvis 8-6  S-Granger(8)  HR-Maloney(4)

LA 2, HOU 0  W-Sutton 10-4 L-Griffin 3-10  Sutton 1-hitter.

SF 7, SD 6  W-Sadecki 5-2 L-J.Niekro 6-5  S-Linzy(8) HR-Ferrara(5)  Ferrara 5 rbi.


NY  2.74  240 runs against
ATL  2.81  267
CHI  2.86  262
STL  3.00  270  most CG (37)
SF  3.37  301  least K's (442)
LA  3.47  289  most saves (21)
PIT  3.62  339  most K's (564)
CIN  3.64  339
HOU  3.95  367  least saves (6)
MON  4.31  383  least CG (17)
PHI  4.52  397
SD  4.86  436


CIN  .276  386 runs  most HR (84)
PIT  .272  387  most steals (56)
LA  .263  327  least steals (16)
SF  .259  364
STL  .254  309  most doubles (124) least HR (30)
ATL  .253  323
MON  .252  332
CHI  .244  305
HOU  .232  322  most triples (29) most caught stealing(27)
PHI  .229  323
NY  .224  250  least doubles (79)
SD  .210  245

FIELDING (avg is IP divided by errors. How many innings between errors.)
STL  14.87  61 DP turned
CHI  12.24  78
ATL  11.66  99
CIN  10.86  70
LA  10.76  52
NY  10.22  60
PIT  9.98  55
SF  9.27  70
MON  9.02  62
PHI  8.65  73
SD  8.48  49
HOU  7.64  52

WINS: Hands-chi 11-2, Perry-sf 11-4, 7 tied with ten wins.

ERA (75 IP): Gibson-stl 1.77, Hands-chi 1.77, P.Niekro-atl 1.81, Koosman-ny 1.83, Perry-sf 1.83, J.Niekro-sd 2.10, Taylor-stl 2.19, Reed-atl 2.28, Dierker-hou 2.30, Marichal-sf 2.33, Seaver-ny 2.33

IP: Hands-chi 152.2, Maloney-cin 149, Dierker-hou 145, Jenkins-chi 143.2, Jackson-phi 143.1

Can't touch this!
K's: Carlton-stl 117, Jenkins-chi 115, Veale-pit 111, Perry-sf 110

shutouts: Gibson-stl and Veale-pit 4

Baffling 'em with bullshit!
SAVES: Upshaw-atl 14, Regan-chi 12, McGraw-ny 11, Mikkelsen-la 11

CG: Carlton-stl 12, 6 tied with 11.

LOSSES: Santorini-sd 3-14, Johnson-phi 3-11

With MON: 16 HR. With NY: doodley squat.
HR: H.Aaron-atl 24, May-cin 17, Rose-cin 17, Clendenon-ny 16, Hickman-chi 16, McCovey-sf 16, Staub-mon 16

AVG. (202 AB): Mota-la .388, McCovey-sf .376, Rose-cin 369, Davis-la .349, Jones-ny 336, Bench-cin 324, Oliver-pit .324, Clemente-pit .323, Tolan-cin .323, Hebner-pit .322

RBI: McCovey-sf 70, May-cin 62, Staub-mon 57, H.Aaron-atl 56, Menke-hou 56

RUNS: Rose-cin 73, Wynn-hou 61, Bonds-sf 60, Brock-stl 54

2B: Kessinger-chi 22, Rader-hou 21, Torre-stl 20, 3 tied with 18.

3B: Rose-cin 7, several tied with 5.

STEALS: Morgan-hou 26, Wills-la 24, Brock-stl 23

"I suck but I'm fast!" Joe stays just ahead of the Mendoza Line.
ERRORS: Money-phi 24, Arcia-sd 23, Morgan-hou 21 

Final notes: Poor Phillies. Their pitching went from awful to not as awful, their hitting really picked up, but they still went 10-20 in June, including 2-11 in one-run games. Atlanta was the cream of the June crop, at 19-11; San Diego the worst at 9-20. The Expos enjoyed their first winning month ever, at 16-15. Hank Aaron is the Player of the Month for June after hitting 14 HR. He joins Pete Rose (April) and Willie McCovey (May).

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Total Insanity At Shea! : Tuesday, June 24th, 1969


CHI 4, PIT 3  W-Aguirre 2-2 L-Dal Canton 3-4  Beckert 2-out walk-off single.

MON 3, STL 2  W-Robertson 6-6 L-Carlton 10-4  S-McGinn(2)  HR-Bailey(4) Jones(8)

NY 12, PHI 11 (11inns)  W-McGraw 3-5 L-Palmer 0-1  HR-D.Johnson 2(8) Money(3) Swoboda(3)phGW  Money 4 rbi, Swoboda 1-out solo pinch hit walk-off HR.

NY 4, PHI 3 (12inns)  W-Ryan 1-0 L-Wilson 1-7  HR-Joseph(3) Agee(11) Dyer(1)ph  Money 5 hits, Garrett 0-out walk-off single.

LA 7, ATL 3  W-Osteen 7-3 L-Reed 6-5  HR-Haller(7) H.Aaron(22)

CIN 6, SD 3  W-Culver 6-1 L-Santorini 3-13 HR-Bench(9)  Tolan 4 rbi.

HOU 2, SF 0  W-Dierker 6-7 L-Marichal 6-7 HR-Wynn(11)  Dierker 1-hitter

In a season replay like this one, when it's all over, only a very few games stand out enough to be remembered when it's all said and done. In my 1967 AL, I remember Boston staying alive with a nail-biter win against the Tigers, and Don Mincher's total destruction of his former Twins teammates. In my '65 replay I recall Ron Perranoski going down in flames as the eventual champion Reds beat back the Dodgers in a September series. In '61 I remember Orlando Cepeda's quest for 60 HR going down to the last day, when he had to settle for 59. And when '69 NL is done, I think I'll remember the Mets sweeping the Phillies in a crazy doubleheader at Shea Stadium that may have finally set the Mets on the winning track. Fasten your seat belts. Here we go!

Sleepers Awake!
Game 1. Don Money pretty much sleep-walked through the season until I finally benched him recently in favor of lantern-jawed Terry Harmon. However, doubleheaders got Money back in there and he has done nothing but rake ever since. In the top of the first, he launched a 2-out 3-run bomb off of Gary Gentry to stake the Phils to a 3-0 lead.  The Mets came back in the bottom of the 1st with 2 off of Billy "Spark Plug" Champion. Top of the third, Phils take a 5-2 lead, only to see the Mets cut it to 5-4 in the bottom of the 3rd. By the end of the 4th, the game was tied 6-6 and both starters had hit the shower. The last two Mets runs were courtesy of not one, but two errors by Ric Joseph, doing an impression of a first baseman.

Even his mother doesn't remember him.
Enter Cal Koonce, whose first official act was to give up a single to Larry Hisle and a two-run shot to Deron Johnson for an 8-6 Phillies lead. The forgettable Al Raffo held the Mets in check for three innings. Then in the bottom of the 7th, a barrage of singles off of Turk Farrell resulted in 4 runs and a 10-8 Mets lead. Enter relief ace Tug McGraw to pitch the 8th. The Mets were feeling good.

He's happy.
Rich Barry had the audacity to collect a two-out single, followed by an rbi double off the bat of error-prone Ric "Chief" Joseph, making the Nez Perce tribe happy, and making the score 10-9. Up stepped Terry Harmon, who insulted Mr. McGraw by lining a single that scored Joseph with the tying run. 10-10! The Mets came right back against hapless Quaker reliever Billy Wilson. Tommie Agree rattled a double off the wall leading off the last of the 8th, and was immediately driven in on an Ed Kranepool single. 11-10 Mets and another chance for McGraw to nail it down. But no! Deron Johnson led off the top of the 9th with his second homer of the game, knotting it up again at 11. Good grief! 

He'll end this.
Somehow Mister McGraw kept the Phils off the board in the 10th and 11th, working 4 innings in all. As a converted starter, he could handle it. Lowell Palmer blanked the Mets in the 10th, and got Wayne Garrett leading off the last of the 11th. Manager Gil "Gill Man" Hodges bobbed up out of his tank and sent Ron Swoboda up the dish to hit. Palmer delivered his pitch and Swoboda killed it, sending it far over the wall for a crazy 12-11 win. How about THAT?!

Doctor No.
Game 2. After the two teams combined for 23 runs on 34 hits in the opener, they took the field in the nightcap for a very different kind of game. Through 8 innings, Grant Jackson and hard-luck Mets starter Jim McAndrew matched zeroes on the board, with just this one difference: Jackson had a no-hitter going through 8! In the top of the 9th, Don Money--who would end up going 7-for-11 for the two games--led off with a double down the line and was bunted along to third by Harmon. With the absurd Vic Roznovsky due up, Mike Ryan was sent to hit for him, and "Irish" lofted a sac fly to give the Quakers a slim 1-0 advantage. Nobody was happier about it than Grant Jackson.

It's gone!
With the pitcher's spot up first in the bottom of the ninth, Gill Man pulled third string backstop Duffy Dyer out of the seaweed and sent him to face Mr. Jackson. Nothing like sitting around on the bench for six hours or so and then being asked to break up a no-hitter in the 9th! But that's exactly what he did. Dyer drove a Jackson pitch out of the park for his first homer all season, good for a 1-1 tie. The crowd at Shea--and your Impartial Goddess--went completely insane. Ya gotta believe! 

Raw suckage.
With Tug McGraw totally used up, reliever Ron Taylor toed the slab for the Metropolitans in the top of the tenth. Joseph:HR. Briggs: double. Hisle: double. Johnson: single. Money: single. Luckily for New York, Briggs had brilliantly gotten himself picked off second, but the Phillies plated 2 on 5 hits before Taylor finally got them out. 3-1 Phils into the last of the tenth. Dyer's heroic home run was looking like it wouldn't be enough, and after all this, the Mets were staring down a split with the last place Philadelphians. 

He's got the moves!
Grant Jackson had lost his no-no, but still carried a 1-hitter and a two-run lead into the bottom of the tenth. "I scoff at namby pamby 2016 hurlers!" said Jackson as he took his warm-ups. One pitch--BOOM!--one run, on a mammoth shot by Tommie Agee, cutting it to 3-2. Jackson then fanned Jerry Grote and retired Ed Kranepool before surrendering a double to that man, Ron Swoboda. Out trudged whoever the f--- the Phillies manager was, making the signal to the bullpen for John Boozer, who had to be dragged off his bar stool and handed a glove and cap. Ed Charles, due up next, was called back to the Black Lagoon by Gill Man, and lefty-swinging Wayne Garrett hit for him. Two out, one run down. Boozer dealt, and Garrett hit a seeing-eye single, scoring Swoboda with the tying run! Holy heck! J.C Martin hit for the pitcher and also singled, but Boozer managed to retire Ken Boswell to end the frame. 3-3 after 10!

"Usher Man is strong"
Kid fireballer Nolan Ryan found himself summoned from the pen, and he disposed of the Phillies in the 11th, fanning two. Billy Wilson came on to stop the Mets in the bottom of the 11th, also fanning a pair. In the top of the 12th, Ryan fanned larry Hisle, but then gave up back to back singles by Johnson and Money. Fans were nervous, but Noley disposed of Cookie Rojas and Mike Ryan to end the threat! Bottom of the 12th: Billy Wilson walked Ed Kranepool to start things off. Ron Swoboda hit a worm-burner to Don Money at short, and it looked bad for a second for the Mets, but Money reminded his skipper--whoever he is--about why he had gotten benched, by booting the ball, leaving runners on the corners with nobody out. Gil Hodges scanned up and down his bench for a pinch runner for Kranepool, but found he had run through his roster and had to take his chances with Ed The Beer Truck. So be it. Up stepped Wayne Garrett, the hero of the 10th inning. He flailed at a Wilson delivery and sent the ball wobbling on an arc towards Mr. Money, who leapt, reached, and watched helplessly as the ball fell behind him on the grass for a walk-off hit. Mets sweep, Phillies weep. What a pair of games!

The Orsino Board allowed him his whimper of protest.
There was other action: The Cubs beat the Pirates again at Wrigley to move back ahead of them into second; Larry Dierker outdueled Juan Marichal at the Dome, 2-0, allowing only a single to lead off the second by Bob Burda; and the Expos rode a pair of solo homers to top Steve "Carlton your door man" Carlton and the Cardinals, but none of it could compare to the insanity at Shea.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

From Dumpster To Dynamo, The Dave Watkins Story! : Saturday, June 21st, 1969


MON 7, CHI 4  W-McGinn 4-1 L-Regan 4-3  S-Face(6)

STL 1, NY 0  W-Gibson 9-1 L-Koosman 7-4  Koosman 2-hitter.

PHI 15, PIT 1  W-Wise 4-5 L-Ellis 4-8  HR-Joseph(2) Allen 2(9) Watkins 3(3)  Allen 4 runs scored, Watkins 6 rbi.

ATL 8, SF 5  W-Doyle 4-1 L-Herbel 1-1  S-Upshaw(13)  HR-Boyer(4)

CIN 3, LA 2 (12inns)  W-Granger 6-2 L-Foster 3-1  May 1-out walk-off double.

SD 7, HOU 6  W-Baldschun 3-1 L-Gladding 1-3  S-Reberger(8)  HR-Brown(7) Spiezio(4) Miller(4)  Brown 5 rbi.

The last shall be first.
Some players have long productive careers. Some aren't so productive, yet have some skill that keeps them in the game for several years. Then there are players like the Phillies' Dave Watkins, who get just one season in the bigs, never to reappear again. With the Quakers mired in last place and regular right fielder Johnny Callison sidelined,  I decided to throw Mr. Watkins out there against the visiting Pirates. Why not? Dave plays catcher, first base and the outfield with equal ineptitude; what could it hurt? Well, early on he made an error and then a little bit later let a fly ball fall in for a single. No matter! After executing a perfect sacrifice bunt his first trip, and making an out his second, Dave blasted homers in each of his next three at bats! (The second day in a row that the league has seen a 3 HR performance, with Henry Aaron accomplishing the feat yesterday.)  He finished up with 6 ribbies, and, aided by two blasts off the bat of Rich Allen, the Phils romped 15-1. They hit six dingers overall. 

The always-jolly Mr. Gibson. Ken Burns wants to marry him.
In New York, as your Impartial Goddess sat morosely in the stands, Bob Gibson out-dueled Jerry Koosman 1-0, as the Redbirds blanked the Metropolitans for the second day in a row. The Mets actually out-hit the Cards 4-2, and had a couple of chances to score, but couldn't come through. At one point they had runners on second and third with nobody out, but Wayne Garrett grounded out to Maxvill with the infield in, and then J.C. Martin popped out in foul territory with Julian Javier making the grab, then gunning down the runner at home as he attempted to score. Fly double play, inning over. It was Gibson's second straight shutout.  The Cards have stretched their lead to 7 games in the east, as they are "pursued" by the snail Cubs and the tortoise Pirates.  

Don't judge yourself too harshly, Wes.
The Dodgers came in to Crosley Field and seemed to be about to accomplish that rarest of feats, a blanking of the mighty Reds offense. There were two outs in the bottom of the ninth, nobody on, and the Dodgers leading 2-0 when Ted Savage kept it alive with a walk. Pete Rose sent a grounder to shortstop which was scooped up and sent to first base by Maury Wills, but somehow sure-handed Wes "Judge" Parker let it clank off his glove. By the time the sphere had been retrieved, Savage stood at third base and Rose at second. Up stepped popular and affable flyhawk Alex Johnson, who crushed a double to tie the game. Bobby Tolan was then retired to send the contest into extra frames. Eventually, Lee May swatted an rbi double that scored pinch hitter Chico Ruiz, who had singled, with the winning tally. Talk about snatching victory from the jaws of defeat! It was, however, a bitter pill for the SoCal nine. 

Eat hearty, Fred.
At the Astrodome, Ollie Brown decided he doesn't like spacemen. He drove in one run with a ground out, another with a sac fly, and three in the top of the ninth with a 3-run tater, for a total of 5 rbi and a 7-6 win over the Astros, whose fans seem to be mispronouncing the team nickname these days. There's no "L" in "Astros." The "L" was reserved for crap closer Fred Gladding, who served up the round-tripper. What kind of a pitch was it, Fred? "It was a f--ing hit-me fastball with nothing on it. What do you THINK the f---ing pitch was?!?" remarked "The Bear." Now now, Fred. Have some porridge. 

Hey Willie, think fast!
Finally, the Braves once again dispatched the visiting Giants. With the San Franciscans having rallied to knot it up at 5, Clete Boyer smacked a two-run shot to put the Braves up for good. They're hot, and have put a sliver of daylight between themselves and the three teams behind them, at least for now.  Meanwhile, the newly healed Willie Mays, having been back for just two games, once again broke every bone in his body smashing into the wall to make a catch. Ever the lady, your Impartial Goddess can't tell you what the "Say Hey" kid said, but it wasn't "hey" or "my goodness, another compound fracture, gosh!" What I can tell you is that Willie will sit out 6 more games. "Tough break, Mays!" crowed back-up outfielder Ken Henderson, grabbing his glove. It's a tough league.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Larry Stahl's Season of Glory Continues: Saturday, June 14th, 1969


ATL 5, PIT 2  W-Pappas 6-3 L-Walker 2-2  S-Upshaw(11) HR-H.Aaron(13)

HOU 7, STL 4  W-Ray 5-1 L-Washburn 3-8  HR-Miller(3)

CHI 6, CIN 3  W-Hands 9-2 L-Nolan 2-2  S-Regan(9)

NY 4, LA 2  W-Gentry 6-4 L-Drysdale 0-5  S-McGraw(8)

SD 4, PHI 3 (10inns)  W-Reberger 3-6 L-Wilson 1-5  HR-Hisle(4) Stahl 2-out GW single.

MON 8, SF 1  W-Reed 2-2 L-Bolin 4-7  HR-Clendenon(16) Reed(1)

He leads the Friars with 8 rbi in June!
Larry Stahl strikes again! He stroked a 2-out walk-off single to defeat the visiting Phillies, who had been perfect guests by making 4 errors and allowing 3 unearned runs to even send the game into extras in the first place. It was a smorgasbord of sloppiness with four different Quakers kicking the ball. In came Billy "Old Kerosene" Wilson to cough up yet another walk-off for the opposition. There was a bright spot for the Phils, though, with kid flyhawk Larry Hisle jumping out of his hospital bed to fall a double short of the cycle for the visitors, and driving in all 3 runs. Frank "Double" Reberger feasted on the win for the Pods.

"Watch me baffle 'em with bullshit!"
Grizzled vet Howie Reed got the spot start for the Expos and wowed 'em with a complete game win. Not only that, but he crushed a double and a home run as well! The convincing win over the Giants was the Expo swan song for slugger Donn Clendenon, dealt early the next morning to the Mets for busher Steve Renko and spare part infielder Kevin "Call Me Joan" Collins. Donn hit a round tripper in his final game for Montreal, once again putting him atop the league alone, with 16. He takes his 40 rbi and .290 average to New York, who can really use the offense. With earlier acquisition Ron Fairly still sidelined with whooping cough, Bob Bailey takes over at first base for the time being. Fans in Canada burned the Expo GM in effigy after he dealt away their starting 1,2, and 4 hitters over the past few days.

A new career may be in order for Big "D".
Mister Drysdale left the bank long enough to lose yet again, this time bowing to the Mets at Dodger Stadium, 4-2. Don's pride is taking a beating after he was passed over in favor of Moeller for yesterday's start, and despite the encouragement of all the Clampetts, he just can't buy a win. How the mighty have fallen. Too bad, Don was one of my favorite players. Newly acquired Manny Mota, hitting a cool .400 since donning Dodger flannels, stepped in a gopher hole while chasing down a fly ball, and will miss 5 games. This momentarily resolves the log jam in the L.A. pasture, with Kosco,  Crawford, and Willie Davis taking over without interference. Geezer skipper Walt Alston heaved a sigh of relief and trimmed his eyebrows with a hedge clipper so he could see the three in action.

The Astros punished skidding Cardinal hurler Ray Washburn by handing him his 7th consecutive loss. The Cubs are creeping up on the Red Birds, and are now just two and a half back. Normal Norm Miller went deep, and then Mrs. Miller took the field and serenaded fans with all her best-loved hits! I heard 'er/ play once or twice./ Oh, murder!/ Still it was nice!


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Saturday, May 31st 1969 and End of Month Leader Board


CHI 3, ATL 2  W-Holtzman 5-3 L-Jarvis 6-4 S-Regan(8)  HR-Carty(11) Tillman(2) Williams(5) Smith(4)

MON 11, SD 9  W-Stoneman 2-4 L-Sisk 2-4  HR-Clendenon(15)GS Jones(6) Bailey(2)ph 

NY 4, SF 1  W-McAndrew 3-6 L-McCormick 5-3 S-McGraw(6)  HR-Mays(3) Agee(8)

LA 8, PHI 4  W-Mikkelsen 3-2 L-Farrell 1-4 S-Brewer(4)  HR-Popovich(1) Callison(8)

PIT 11, HOU 3  W-Walker 1-1 L-Billingham 1-5 S-Marone(1)  HR-Rader(1) 

STL 6, CIN 2  W-Briles 5-2 L-Carroll 2-2  HR-May(10)

In the battle of the Macs, Jim McAndrew outpitched Mike "Spicy" McCormick and the save went to Tug McGraw. 

Donn Clendenon smacked his league leading 15th homer, a grand slam, as Montreal built a 10-2 lead over the Pods for the second straight day. But the Expo pitchers almost coughed it up! With the score 11-9 in the ninth, the Holy Men had runners on second and third with two out, but failed to come all the way back. 

Nervous Norvus?
Rico "Beeg Mon" Carty homered in a losing cause at Wrigley Field, giving him 11 homers but just 19 rbi! "Base runners make me nervous," he opined. 

Finally, the Reds tried to make Lee May's 2-run shot stand up against the Cardinals, but the Redbirds tied it off of George Culver, and then bombarded dazed reliever Clay Carroll for a four spot in the eighth. The Reds managed just 3 hits, while the Cards put together 13, all singles. "We'll peck you to death!" quoth the ferocious fowls. Personable flyhawk Alex Johnson died a horrible death during this game, and will miss 6 games. With Bobby Tolan and Woody Woodward already out, the Reds must send out the likes of Jimmy Stewart, Darrell Chaney and savage Ted Savage for a few games.


Wins: Perry-sf 8-2, Hands-chi 7-1, Carlton-stl 7-3 

ERA: Hands-chi 1.18, Briles-stl 1.47, P.Niekro-atl 1.51, Taylor-stl 1.53, Koosman-ny 1.61

IP: Hands-chi 99, Jackson-phi 94.2, Perry-sf 94.2, Sutton-la 91.2, Carlton-stl 91, Maloney-cin 91

CG: Marichal-sf 9, Perry-sf 9, Carlton-stl 8, Hands-chi 7, P.Niekro-atl 7

K's: Veale-pit 79, Jenkins-chi 75, Singer-la 74, Perry-sf 73, Carlton-stl 72

Shutouts: Briles-stl 3, Hands-chi 3, LeMaster-hou 3

Saves: Regan-chi 8, Reberger-sd 7, Upshaw-atl 7, McGraw-ny 6, Linzy-sf 5, Wilson-phi 5

Steals: Morgan-hou 17, Brock-stl 16, Wills-mon 12

AVG (124 abs): Mota-mon .396, Rose-cin .394, McCovey-sf .392, Hebner-pit .352, Jones-ny .351

HR: Clendenon-mon 15, Rose-cin 13, Carty-atl 11, McCovey-sf 11, H.Aaron-atl 10, May-cin 10, Perez-cin 10

RBI: McCovey-sf 47, May-cin 40, Rose-cin 40, Staub-mon 36, Menke-hou 35, Santo-chi 35

Runs: Rose-cin 56, Wynn-hou 41, Clendenon-mon 34, Davis-la 34, Bonds-sf 33

Doubles: Kessinger-chi 16, Rader-hou 16, Javier-stl 14, May-cin 14

Triples: Rose-cin 6, Arcia-sd 4, Colbert-sd 4, Wills-mon 4

Errors: Arcia-sd 17, Boswell-ny 15, Money-phi 13, Kessinger-chi 12

Pitching (team ERA)
CHI 2.46
ATL 2.55
NY 2.62
STL 2.98
SF 3.04
LA 3.61
CIN 3.63
PIT 3.89
HOU 4.25
MON 4.65
PHI 4.87
SD 4.87

Hitting (team BA)
CIN .287
PIT .282
STL .268
SF .266
ATL .258
LA .255
MON .249
CHI .246
HOU .244
NY .227
PHI .215
SD .202