Saturday, April 9, 2016

Pinson Punishes Pittsburgh: Thursday, April 10th, 1969


PHI 5, CHI 3 W-Johnson 1-0 L-Holtzman 0-1

NY 2, MON 0 W-Gentry 1-0 L-Jaster 0-1 Gentry 2-hitter.

STL 12, PIT 5 W-Briles 1-0 L-Bunning 0-1 HR-Pinson 2(2) Shannon(2) Pinson 6 rbi.

SD 3, HOU 2 W-Kirby 1-0 L-Wilson 0-1 S-Reberger(1)

Vada Pinson, acquired in the off season at the expense of Bobby Tolan and Wayne Granger, belted not one but TWO three-run dingers as the Cardinals again crushed the staggering Buccos. I know that no team is as good as it looks when it is winning, but these Cardinals do not look like a 4th place outfit to me. As for the Pirates, they have been the first to be seriously bitten by the injury bug, with both Roberto Clemente and Al Oliver set to miss the next five games with pink eye. (They think they picked it up at school.) 

Call me a bleeding heart, but I think it is probably unkind to start a new expansion team out in its first three games against the likes of Seaver, Koosman, and Gentry. Gentry stopped the 'Spos on just two hits on Thursday as the Metropolitans completed the sweep of the baby Canadians at Shea.

Clay Kirby, or Nervous Norvus?
On the opposite coast, the Pods' Clay Kirby, just 20 years of age, found his team leading 3-1 with two out and nobody on in the top of the ninth! He began to feel fidgety and faint. When Curt Blefary tapped one back to him for what should have sealed the Friars' first victory, Kirby took the ball in a desperate death grip and spiked it, putting "Coo Coo" Blefary (his actual nickname, on the card) on at first on the error.  Up stepped "The Toy Cannon" Jim Wynn, representing the tying run at the plate. Practically bursting into flame with nervous distress, young Master Kirby flung four pitches wildly and put Wynn aboard via the base on balls, pushing pinch runner Leon McFadden to second. That brought up "Rooster" Rader, who had left no fewer than 7 teammates stranded through the course of the game, but now had the chance to be a hero. Monks' manager Preston Gomez
Preston Gomez

strode slowly to the mound where paramedics were loading Clay Kirby onto a stretcher for a ride to the rest home. Enter Frank "Double" Reberger to face Rader. The Astro third sacker promptly delivered a line drive to center, allowing the fleet Mister McFadden to cross the plate and make it a 3-2 game with runners still on first and second. Imagine the shock and dismay on the Friars' bench when Jesus stepped up to bat for the Spacemen. I'm talking about Jesus Alou, who hit a bouncer up the middle. Arcia grabbed it, flipped to Pena at second for the force, and the Holy Men had their first win of...well, ever. 

"You were so wonderful, darling. It was chilling," said Morticia as she hung all over Gomez after the win. 
   "It was nothing," he replied modestly. "I just sent Pugsley over to the Houston dugout and had him spike Alou's Gatorade with embalming fluid."
   "He did look a little stiff."
   "Cara're merciless."

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