Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Don Bryant's Moment of Glory: Saturday, May 24th, 1969


ATL 5, PHI 0  W-Reed 4-2 L-Champion 2-3  Reed 10 K's.

MON 8, CIN 4  W-Robertson 3-4 L-Culver 3-1

HOU 5, NY 3  W-Gladding 1-1 L-McGraw 2-4  HR-Shamsky(3) Bryant(2)GW

LA 7, STL 1  W-Moeller 5-3 L-Washburn 3-5  HR-Haller(5)

SD 8, CHI 5  W-Roberts 2-4 L-Nye 1-3 S-Reberger(6)  Brown 4 rbi.

SF 5, PIT 2  W-Sadecki 2-1 L-Walker 0-1  HR-Alley(4) Oliver(6) Hart(4)

The east teams keep taking it on the chops. For the second straight day, the west took five out of six from the east.

He can't believe it, either.
In Houston, Tug McGraw served up a 2-run walk-off dinger to back-up catcher Don Bryant, who doesn't even have a "1" on his card, but he has a "5" and he used it. So elated was Mr. Bryant, that he filled his swimming pool with Florida orange juice in celebration. 

The Phillies were shut out again, yes again, their tenth blanking and second in a row. Right now this team couldn't find home plate with divining rods and GPS. 

Finally, the Padres have reeled off four wins in a row! Ollie Brown stroked 4 hits, including a pair of doubles, good for 4 rbi. 

The Redlegs, who fell to the Expos,  were the only west team to lose, and so the Giants once again leapfrog into first. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Cycle and Night Of The Stone Gloves: Friday, May 23rd, 1969


ATL 7, PHI 0  W-P.Niekro 5-3 L-Fryman 1-4  HR-Carty(8)  P.Niekro 1-hitter.

CIN 11, MON 9  W-Fisher 5-3 L-Jaster 3-4  HR-Clendenon(14) Staub(8) Jones(5) Perez 2(9) Clendenon cycle; Perez 6 rbi.

HOU 1, NY 0  W-LeMaster 4-5 L-Gentry 5-2  LeMaster 2-hitter.

LA 6, STL 5  W-Foster 2-0 L-C.Taylor 3-2 S-Brewer(3)  

SD 7, CHI 4  W-Baldschun 2-1 L-Regan 3-1 S-Reberger(5)  HR-Hundley(3) Stahl(1) Brown(6)ph

PIT 11, SF 4  W-Blass 6-1 L-Bolin 3-4  HR-Blass(1) McCovey(11)

Recycled gaffer, or cycle smasher?
Bad night for the east, with only the Pirates winning! At Cincinnati's Crosley Field, Expo skipper Gene "The Genius" Mauch decided to pitch to slump-encrusted Tony Perez with a base open and red hot Tommy Helms due up next. Mistake. Perez launched the first of two home runs. He hit the second with a base open, too! Now Mauch, along with The Monkees, is presumably a believer. The Rhinelanders built an 11-3 lead going into the top of the ninth, when Les Expos exploded for six runs, driving Fat Jack Fisher from the mound. It got so dicey that Wayne Granger had to be woken up and put int the game. He, too, got hit around and gave up some runs, but finally stopped the bleeding. However, the big story of this game was Donn Clendenon hitting for the cycle! He hit the HR first, and the triple last, in the 9th. Donn doesn't have a "2" on his card, but his teammates kindly put runners on first and second ahead of him, and he used his trusty "5" to stroke the three bagger.

What, exactly, is a "Breek"?
At that mecca of beauty and grandeur, Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, Phil Niekro gave up a single to John "Breek" Briggs (Breek? Wtf?) with one out in the first inning and never gave up another hit. The foolish Phils were blanked for the 9th time already this season, despite having all their regulars in the line-up. I hardly know what to say about them anymore. 

At San Diego, the Cubs kept dinking out singles, 14 of them in fact, plus a homer by backstop Randy Hundley, but they also kept hitting into double plays, four of them, but nonetheless carried a 4-3 lead into the last of the 8th against the Holy Men. Enter relief stalwart Phil Regan, who was promptly lit up for 4 runs, including Ollie Brown's two-run pinch hit job.  When the smoke had cleared, the Friars had a 7-4 lead, and Frank "Double" Reberger shut down the Cubs in the 9th for the Pods' third win in a row. It was the first time all season that Regan had failed like this.

"You sure about this?"
Okay, the Mets are getting reallllllly frustrating to play! The Amazin's were one of the reasons I chose this league to play, and if they could hit at all, they would win a bunch. But noOOoo. Once again, they wasted excellent pitching in falling to the silly Spacemen 1-0. The Astros manufactured their only run when Joe Morgan singled, moved to second on a ground out, stole third, and came home on a sac fly.  So decimated are the previously healthy Spacemen, that Leon McFadden had to be pressed into service. If you saw McFadden's card, you'd understand what an extreme measure that is! So, naturally, the 'Stros are on a rare winning streak!

He lost it in the moon.
In the City of Angels, the visiting Cardinals seemed to have the game well in hand with a 5-0 lead and Chuck Taylor working on an easy shutout as of the 7th inning stretch. Then the roof caved, in or the nest fell out of the tree, or something. The Dodgers mustered nothing scarier than a few singles, but an error by Joe Torre and two blunders by Lou Brock led to a six-run L.A. rally! Here's the thing: coming into this game, the 42nd of the season for St. Louis, Torre and Brock's combined error total was....zero. With his defenders obviously suffering from some kind of palsy, Mr. Taylor exited the game and the win column, absorbing the bitter defeat instead. Reader Steve was seen in the stands doing a happy dance.

Hi, Bob!
Finally, in the latest chapter of the alarming failure-fest that has been Bob "Bolin For Dollars" Bolin's season on the mound, he got rocked by the Buccos despite Willie McCovey hitting a 3-run blast behind him. Marichal, Perry and McCormick have been great, and Sadecki has been serviceable in his 5 starts, but Bolin, despite a not-terrible 3-4 record, has been a huge steaming pile of rhinoceros droppings all season. It may soon be time to try out kid lefty Ron Bryant instead. In this game, Giants backstop Dick Deitz stepped in a gopher hole on his way to first base and fucked up his foot. He will miss 3 games, but can still pinch hit. The catching duties will be shared by Jack "Beanstalk" Hiatt and Bob "Hi, Bob" Barton.


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Narrow Margin; Every Game A Thriller! : Thursday, May 22nd, 1969


ATL 2, NY 1 (11inns)  W-Doyle 2-0 L-McGraw 2-3  HR-Tillman(1)ph  Millan GW bb.

HOU 3, MON 2 (11inns)  W-Womack 2-1 L-Face 0-1  HR-Morgan(2) Griffin 12 K's, Gotay GW double.

LA 2, CHI 1 (13inns)  W-Mikkelsen 2-2 L-Abernathy 2-6  Sudakis GW triple.

SD 3, PIT 2  W-Kirby 2-3  L-Ellis 3-5  HR-Ferrara(2)

STL 4, SF 3  W-Gibson 4-1 L-Marichal 5-4  HR-Pinson(4) Bonds(4) Dietz(5)

A terrified Felix Millan.
Drama abounds in a series of low-scoring thrillers! In Atlanta, Tom Seaver nursed a 1-0 lead through 7 innings before Red Sox reject and Yankee used-to-be Bob Tillman pinch hit leading off the bottom of the 8th and drilled a Seaver delivery far into the grandstand to tie it. In the last of the 11th, Tug McGraw found himself in a bases-loaded, 2 out jam. He had squirmed out of another bases loaded situation earlier in the game, and now faced Felix "Bushbaby" Millan, who responded to the pressure by becoming totally paralyzed with abject terror. Bat glued to his shoulder, he watched as McGraw hurled four pitches in his general direction. Home plate ump "Hell" Enkeller bellowed "Ball four" and the Braves were 2-1 winners. Millan had to be soothed by a team of therapists before he could move enough to join the celebration. Walk-off walks are nothing new to the Atlantans, who are now 2-1 in games decided that way. 

"Behold, I have won the game."
Inside the Harris County Domed Stadium, both the Expos and the Astros plated a pair of runs in the first inning and it looked like the slugfest was on. But wait! Tom Griffin, who has gone from punching bag to flamethrower, turned in a 10 inning, 12 strikeout performance and the game went into the bottom of the 11th still deadlocked at 2. Marty Martinez, who had gone 0-for-4 with two GIDPs, led off with a single. The little rascal then scampered home on a double by the immortal Julio Gotay for the win. When asked why his team was playing a "no singles" defense, Gene "The Genius" Mauch just drooled and stared vacantly at a portrait of the '64 Phillies. 

"Sing of me, and my exploits!" commands Dodger dud Sudakis.
The Cubs' offensive woes continue, despite Billy Williams gathering three hits against the Tinseltown nine in Thursday's game. One of them would have been a 2-run blast, but lefty Claude Osteen put the kibosh on the lefty-swinging Williams's ambitions and he had to settle for an rbi single instead. This cost the game, as the Dodgers won it in the 13th inning on a walk-off triple by pipsqueak Bill Sudakis, who had also driven in the other L.A. tally earlier in the game. Neither Sudakis nor Jim Lefebvre have been hitting at all, but something woke Mister Sudakis on this occasion, at least. Ted Abernathy's quest to lose 20 games in relief received a boost with his 6th setback.

A Padre star, or Mr. Hankey the Christmas poo?
The Buccos visited San Diego intent on destroying the infant Friars, and they delivered the opening blow by winning the first game on Tuesday, but lost on Wednesday and got sand kicked on them by the southern Californians again on Thursday! With runs in each of the first two frames, Pittsburgh appeared to be on track for victory, but the Holy Men prayed away the gray, and rode an Al Ferrara home run to a 3-2 lead, which Clay Kirby somehow preserved, despite jam after jam, straight through to the end for his 2nd victory.  The Steel Town nine fall a game under .500 and move on to San Francisco in a cloud of shame.  

Did Barry share his performance-enhancing breakfast cereal with Vada Pinson?
Finally, the marquee match-up of the day was definitely Gibson vs. Marichal at Candlestick Park. Dick Dietz touched the Redbird great with a home run in the second, and the 1-0 lead stood up until the 7th, when Joe Torre singled with one out, and chugged all the way home on a Vada Pinson triple to tie it up. Torre had to be put on oxygen, but whatever works, right Joe? Tim McCarver followed with a sac fly to put the Cards up 2-1. Gibson cruised into the bottom of the eighth with said lead, but then Bobby Bonds, fresh from stirring steroids into his infant son's Malt-O-Meal, bombed a blast to tie it up again at 2. Little Barry got so excited at his dad's feat, that he threw his high chair over the left field stands. Ron Hunt followed with a walk off of the disgruntled Mister Gibson,  then Mays singled. After McCovey popped out, a passed ball charged to McCarver put Giants at second and third. The preposterously hot Jim Ray Hart lofted a sac fly to put the Giants up 3-2, the run unearned due to McCarver's gazelle-like blunder behind the plate. Could Marichal make it stand up in the 9th? Curt Flood led off with a single. Julian Javier sacrificed, and Joe Torre, breathing almost normally by then, moved Flood to third while making the second out. Up stepped Pinson, who slammed one into the right field cheap seats and just like that, the Cardinals were back in the lead 4-3. In the bottom of the ninth, Gibson disposed of Dietz for the first out. Bob Burda, hitting for Hal "I Can't Do That, Dave" Lanier and cheered on by reader William, made the second out. Jack Hiatt pinch hit for Marichal, and drew a walk to keep it alive. Bobby Bonds, carried bodily to the plate by little Barry, singled and the tension grew thick as Ron "Easter Egg" Hunt stood in. He flied out to Flood, enabling the Redbirds to take 2 of 3 in this meeting of division leaders. 

The Reds moved to within a half game of the defeated Giants as they, and the Phillies, were idle. The Philadelphia club, the worst in the league in an expansion year (!), was reportedly too ashamed to take the field.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Thanks, Clarence! Cito Gaston Undoes the Bucs: Wednesday, May 21st, 1969


NY 4, ATL 1  W-Koosman 4-2 L-Jarvis 5-3  HR-Carty(7)

CIN 5, PHI 1  W-Maloney 6-2 L-J.Johnson 2-7  HR-Callison(6) Rose(12)

MON 4, HOU 1  W-Grant 4-5 L-Dierker 3-4  HR-Staub(7)

CHI 3, LA 0  W-Abernathy 2-5 L-Sutton 5-3 S-Aguirre(1)  HR-Santo(7)

SD 6, PIT 5 (14inns)  W-Podres 1-1 L-Moose 1-4  HR-Clemente(4) Colbert(4) Gaston GW 2b.

STL 2, SF 0  W-Briles 4-1 L-Perry 7-2  Briles 1-hitter.

Hitting hero or 70s wardrobe malfunction?
Padre skipper Gomez told his charges to keep it close and he'd think of something, and so they went right out and gave up a homer to Roberto Clemente in Pittsburgh's 3-run 7th, and fell behind 5-3. But the Friars scored one in the bottom of the inning and then in the last of the 9th, Chris "How The Hell Do You Spell My Name?" Cannizzaro tripled off of Chuck Hartenstein to put the tying run 90 feet away. Clarence Gaston stepped up and ripped a single, chasing home Chris C. to make it 5-5. The game went on into the 14th inning, with the Corsairs being blanked over the final 7 innings of the game. In the bottom of the 14th, Al Ferrara walked leading off, but had only advanced as far as second after two were out. Up stepped that man again, Cito Gaston, and he bombed a double off of failed starter Bob "Moose & Squirrel" Moose, to drive in the winning run for the Holy Men. Ancient relic Johnny Podres got his first "W" of the campaign. "Cara Mia!" shouted a jubilant Gomez to Morticia sitting in the box seats.  As for the Buccos, they sank to .500 once again and just can't seem to sustain anything. 

"I shall fear no spitball!"
In the second match-up between division leaders, that high-steppin' Nellie Briles tossed his second 1-hit shutout of the month, allowing only a lead-off double by Bobby Bonds in the 7th. Bonds tried to make it interesting in the 9th by drawing a walk with 2 out and stealing second, but second sacker Ron "Easter Egg" Hunt fanned to end the festivities. The Cards didn't exactly scald the ball themselves, but they plated two runs, one unearned, on 5 hits off of Giants stalwart Gaylord Perry. Dal "Bones" Maxvill had two of the hits, including a double.  

Our Savior, playing close to the line in right.
At the Astrodome, Jim "Mudcat" Grant (a "dirty" player?) notched his 4th win at the expense of the silly Spacemen, outdueling Larry Dierker, who has won only 3 of his 10 starts so far. Useless Joe Morgan had to appear in the outfield for the Astros due to their current injury depletion. With Blefary out, Rader moved to first, Menke to third, Marty Martinez played short, the immortal Julio Gotay manned second, and Morgan joined Jimmy Wynn and Jesus Alou (playing right field for your sins) in the Houston line-up. All of this maneuvering went for nought, as the Space Cowboys can call themselves Maurrrrrrrice, but can't call themselves very good.

Finally, Pete Rose continues to make a mockery of National League pitching, batting an astonishing .430 so far. he homered yet again on Wednesday and scored three more runs, giving him 50, putting him on pace for 200 (!) which would smash the all-time record set when dinosaurs roamed the earth, by Sliding Billy Hamilton of the Phillies. The Phils could use him now. I am feeling kinda bad for these Quakers, for whom nothing seems to go right. They have lost 23 of their last 31, and even the return of Rich Allen has not helped, as he has gone 2-for-15 since coming back, though he does have a homer. Meanwhile, Cookie "Lend Me Your Comb" Rojas, who hit .037 in April, is over .300 in May! 
Would you know who he was, without the All-Time All-Star set?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Homers Fly As Division Leaders Meet: Tuesday, May 20th, 1969


CIN 7, PHI 6  W-Carroll 2-1 L-G.Jackson 2-5  HR-Allen(3) D.Johnson(5) Rose(11) May(9)  Woodward walk-off double caps 3-run rally.

HOU 10, MON 4  W-Wilson 3-5 L-McGinn 2-1  HR-Clendenon(13) Laboy(8) Wilson 10 K's.

CHI 6, LA 3  W-Hands 6-1 L-Drysdale 0-2  HR-Haller(4) 

PIT 12, SD 3  W-Veale 5-3 L-Santorini 2-7  HR-Clemente(3)  Sanguillen 4 rbi, Pirates 20 hits.

SF 7, STL 5  W-McCormick 5-1 L-Carlton 5-3 S-Gibbon(2)  HR-Torre 2(5) Maxvill(2) Hart(3) McCormick(2)

Hart drove in 3 and scored 3 Tuesday against STL.
In a clash of division leaders, the Giants hosted the Cardinals and were most rude to Lefty "Carlton Your Doorman" Carlton, bombing two 3-run homers in the first three innings, one of them by his mound opponent Mike "Spicy" McCormick, the other by the scorching-hot Jim Ray Hart who now has 19 rbi in May. The Redbirds made a game of it with 3 blasts of their own, but fell short. Joe "Apeman" Gibbon lowered his e.r.a. to a microscopic 0.28 and garnered his 2nd save. The Giants and Cards now have identical 26-13 records, but are going in opposite directions. The San Francisco club is a stunning 14-2 in May, while the St. Louisans have lost 9 of their last 14. 

Alice inspects the Phillie bullpen.
Woody Woodward was the walk-off hero for the Reds as they rallied for 3 runs in the bottom of the ninth off of Phils lefty Grant Jackson. With no one but Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum in the bullpen, the Quakers rode the rapids with Mister Grant, and dropped right over the edge of the waterfall. Pete Rose cranked his 11th blast as the Rhinelanders stayed 2 back.

A deadly weapon, but it CAN calculate Dan McGinn's exploded e.r.a.
Les Expos found themselves with a 3-2 lead against the Astros at the 7th inning stretch, and removed kid hurler Mike Wegener, who had not seen action in two and a half weeks and was given kid glove treatment by Expo skipper Gene "The Genius" Mauch. In came Dan McGinn, who promptly surrendered 8 big ones. The win came at a cost, however, as Spaceman right fielder Gary Geiger jammed his finger in an abacus (because, Geiger...counting...oh never mind!) and he will miss 11 contests. Combined with Norm Miller's recent injury, it's all part of a vast conspiracy to keep Jesus Alou in the line-up for Houston. 
"Put me in, Coach!"

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Almost Perfect, And A Happy Ending: Sunday + Monday, May 18-19, 1969

Scores, May 18th

MON 2, ATL 1  W-Jaster 3-3 L-P.Niekro 4-3  HR-Clendenon(12) 

SF 6, PHI 4  W-Bolin 3-3 L-Farrell 1-3 S-Linzy(4)  Money 3 errors.

CIN 6, NY 3  W-Nolan 2-0 L-Cardwell 0-5 S-Granger(2)  HR-Boswell(2) Jones(3)

CHI 6, HOU 2  W-Selma 1-4 L-Lemaster 3-5 S-Regan(7)  HR-Williams(4)

LA 5, PIT 2  W-Singer 5-5 L-Blass 5-1  HR-Stargell(8) W.Davis(8)

SD 2, STL 1  W-Sisk 2-3 L-Hoerner 4-1  HR-Brown(5)GW  Sisk 2-hitter.

Score, May 19th

ATL 4, MON 2  W-Reed 3-2 L-Robertson 2-4  HR-Boyer(3)

Remember Tommie Sisk? Don't feel bad, no one does. I only recall him cos he went an unremarkable 7-12 for my '65 Pirates. But on Sunday he was almost famous! Scoffing at recent near no-hitters by the likes of Gibson and Marichal, Mister Sisk tossed 8 PERFECT innings at the St. Louis Cardinals. Batter after batter went up, and went down. Unfortunately, Redbird twirler Carl Taylor was almost as good, allowing only a pair of hits by Tony Gonzales leading off the 4th and 7th innings. Tony was immediately erased both times on double plays off the bat of Jose Arcia. This meant that through 7 innings, BOTH pitchers had faced the minimum number of opposing batters. 

Expansion bait, or fearsome fireballer?
0-0 it went, into the top of the ninth at Jack Murphy Stadium, in front of 52 fans who either can't surf or don't like the zoo. Mike Shannon, newly healed by prayer and greenies, stroked a hit leading off. Everybody groaned. Dal Maxvill, assigned to bunt, did so poorly and was safe on a fielder's choice, Shannon retired at second. Dave Ricketts hit for pitcher Taylor and grounded out, moving Maxvill to second. Up stepped Lou Brock, who had already spent the weekend torturing the Padres, and he naturally singled in Maxvill for a 1-0 Cardinals lead. 

He didn't fold under pressure!
Tony Gonzales led off the bottom of the ninth with his third hit (of the Friars' 5 total to that point) off of reliever Joe Hoerner. Jose Arcia's bad afternoon got even worse when he fanned trying to bunt. That brought up "Downtown" Ollie Brown, who promptly deposited Jo-Ho's first delivery into the seats for a 2-run walk-off home run! Reader Steve was seen running onto the field tossing his cap in the air as the Holy Men stunned the haughty Cardinals.

In other news, as they say, the offense-challenged Cubs were muddling along, losing 2-1 to Denver Lemaster and the Astros for most of the afternoon, when someone observed that the iceman cometh, and that worthy took a pick and dug Billy Williams out of his frozen block so that he could deliver a two-run bomb to put the Cubs ahead! The baby bears added three more and cruised to victory. For the luckless Spacemen, Normal Norm Miller was caught in a bear trap carelessly left in the outfield, and will miss ten games. Not to be outdone, in their game at Dodger Stadium, spare part rookie Billy Grabarkewitz was caught up in a Hollywood vice bust and will have to serve 34 games for gypping some kid out of his Sandy Koufax rookie card in exchange for a bent-up Walt Moryn. Shame, Billy, shame.
It's rare, kid. Honest!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Gibson, Marichal Lose No-Hit Bids in 9th: Saturday, May 17th, 1969


ATL 3, MON 1  W-Pappas 5-1 L-Stoneman 1-4 S-Upshaw(7)  HR-H.Aaron(7)

SF 17, PHI 0  W-Marichal 5-3 L-Champion 2-2  HR-McCovey(10) Hiatt(2) McCovey 6 rbi. Marichal 1-hitter.

CIN 5, NY 1  W-Culver 3-0 L-Seaver 3-4  HR-Rose 2(10) Tolan(5) Rose 4 rbi.

HOU 6, CHI 1  W-Griffin 2-5 L-Jenkins 5-2  Griffin 12 K's.

PIT 8, LA 3  W-Ellis 3-4 L-Osteen 4-1  HR-Pagan(2) W.Davis 2(7)  Pagan 4 rbi.

STL 4, SD 1  W-Gibson 3-1 L-Kirby 1-3  Gibson 1-hitter.

"Tough shit, Gibby!"
Bob "Captain Friendly" Gibson went into the bottom of the ninth at San Diego having allowed the lowly Padres a few walks, but no hits. He retired Ollie Brown, then Nate Colbert was safe on the second error of the game by Dal Maxvill. Gibson disposed of Roberto Pena for the second out and then faced Dodger reject Al Ferrara. Ferrara ruined everything by doubling home Colbert! Gibson got former Cardinal Ed Spiezio and had to settle for a one-hit win. "I would have thrown it back anyway," said Gibson. "It wouldn't count if it was the Padres!" The Holy Men have been just what the doctor ordered to get the Redbirds back on the winning track. 

Phillie sparkplug Tony Taylor.
In Philadelphia, Juan Marichal also entered the ninth inning with a no-no going, but that, too, was broken up. Tony Taylor had the audacity to single with one out, and then, with the Quakers trailing by a hilarious 17-0 margin, was promptly thrown out trying to steal second. "I was trying to spark a rally," said a sheepish Mister Taylor.  The Giants pounded out 20 hits, and Willie McCovey homered and drove in 6. Jack Hiatt found his way on to the field again and sent a ball into the stands as well. The long-awaited return of Rich Allen to the Phils' lineup resulted in a disappointing 0-for-3.

Pete "You Betcha!" Rose continued his crazy hitting for the Reds, driving a pair of two-run homers, one off of Tom Seaver, the other off Cal Koonce. He now has 10 homers as of mid-May, one off the league lead.  His career high in HR was 16, accomplished in 1966 and again in this season, 1969. I carefully went over his card, to see if he is overcarded, but he isn't; he's just getting the rolls. In addition, the two runs scored gave him 44 for the season in just 37 games, on pace for an astonishing 192 runs scored, which would obliterate the modern NL record of 158, set in 1930 by Chuck Klein, but would fall a half dozen short of the all-time record of 198, set in the 19th century by Sliding Billy Hamilton. Will Pete cool off eventually? Place your bets now.

Lefty-hitting psychic backstops are hard to find.
Cubs mound mainstay Ferguson Jenkins retired the first two Astros he faced in the bottom of the first at the Astrodome before surrendering a free pass to Joe Morgan, who then stood on first base analyzing the hell out of it until everyone wanted to tape his mouth shut. It annoyed Jenkins so much that he gave up hits to the next five Spacemen, culminating with a 3-run triple by backstop John Edwards, who hears dead people. Astro hurler Tom Griffin, who had been the worst starter in the league until his last start, turned in his second consecutive gem, fanning a dozen. Weirdly, once Morgan was off the bases and Jenkins could hear himself think, he settled down and the Astros managed only one more hit all evening. No matter. The 6 in the first was plenty. The Cubs just can't hit. Santo and Kessinger were great in April, but only reserve flyhawk Don Young was hitting in May. He's now injured. Williams is at the Mendoza line, Santo, Kessinger and Banks are all under .250 with no production in the month, and Jim Hickman was a ghost before going down with an injury for a few games. I keep thinking the baby bears will wake up and hit, but i keep waiting and they keep making outs. 

Finally, every replay has a "Miracle D" pitcher, who does well despite his D rating. So far, it's Milt Pappas of the Braves who checks in at 5-1. "I lay it in there, but they still can't hit it!" he crowed after defeating the Expos. In that game, Henry Aaron and Felipe Alou crashed into each other. Aaron will miss just one game, but the red-hot Alou burst into flames and will miss 8 games. He did hold on to the ball for the out, though, as fire crews blasted him with flame-retardant foam.
Crews extinguish Felipe Alou.


Sunday, August 7, 2016

Perry Pitches Giants To 2-Game Lead: Friday, May 16th, 1969


MON 5, ATL 3  W-Grant 3-5 L-Jarvis 5-2 S-Face(4)  HR-Carty(6) F.Alou(2) Jones(4)

SF 5, PHI 0  W-Perry 7-1 L-J.Johnson 2-6  HR-McCovey(9)  Perry 2-hitter.

NY 9, CIN 3  W-McAndrew 2-6 L-Maloney 5-2

HOU 5, CHI 1  W-Dierker 3-3 L-Holtzman 3-3  HR-Wynn(7)

LA 5, PIT 2  W-Sutton 5-2 L-Bunning 2-5 S-Brewer(2)  HR-Parker(3)

STL 6, SD 0  W-Briles 3-1 L-J.Niekro 2-1

Perry believes in spit and polish!
Gaylord Perry continued his run of outstanding pitching by stopping the silly Phillies on 2 hits for the shutout win, his league-leading 7th. With the triumph, the Giants increased their lead in the west to 2 games over the Braves and Reds, and 3 over the rival Dodgers. 

In Montreal, baseball capitol of Canada, Grant came out of his tomb long enough to stop the Braves, with relief help from tireless kid Dan McGinn and effective codger Roy Face. Mack Jones sent one over the fence, then came down with mumps and will miss a few games. This will keep handy Ty Cline in the Expo outfield despite Manny Mota's return next game. He'll just shift from left to center. 

He's delicate.
The Cardinals want to thank the schedule-maker and vow to keep him on the payroll for pitting them against the pipsqueak Padres early and often as they make their swing through the western teams. That high-stepping Nellie Briles reduced his e.r.a. to a stingy 1.49 with the blank job on Friday, allowing only 5 singles to the popinjay Pods. Joe Niekro suffered his first defeat and was summarily ejected from the game in the sixth inning for plunking Joe Torre with a pitch. Ump "Hell" Enkeller felt it was intentional. "That knuckler could hurt somebody!" he opined before retiring to read conspiracy theories in the umpires' dressing room.  Meanwhile, Robert "Homerun" Johnson fell victim to the flashing spikes of Jose Arcia on the dreaded "23" steal of third thing, and will take his blues guitar and his two round trippers and go home for eleven games. This caused Phil Gagliano to have to give up his seat on the bench yet again, and come in to play third. "Can't a fellow get a nap?" he whined piteously.

Friday, August 5, 2016

5 O'clock Lightning! Two Great Games: Thursday, May 15th, 1969


NY 3, ATL 1  W-Taylor 2-2 L-Stone 1-2 S-McGraw(5)  HR-Boyer(2) Agee(6)

PHI 9, CIN 8  W-Farrell 1-2 L-Granger 4-2  HR-May(8) Callison(5) Rojas(1)GW

She thinks Al Weis is hawt.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Braves and Mets traded 2-1 extra inning decisions. On Thursday, the Mets jumped out in the bottom of the first, when Cleon Jones led off with a single and scored on a double to the wall by Al Weis. The ball might have been fielded sooner except for Julie Andrews wandering around the outfield singing "Hey there, Weis; hey there, Weis" as the shrimpy second sacker pulled in with a double and an rbi for a 1-0 New York lead. It stayed that way all the way until the top of the seventh, when, with one out, Cletis Boyer sent one wobbling down the line. Mets left fielder Ron Swoboda raced over to the corner but could only look on in dismay as the ball fluttered into the first row just inside the foul pole to tie the game at one. Metropolitans starter Gary Gentry was heard to mutter "oh my!" or similar. 

Hit Julie Andrews and win a free suit!
Well, it looked like another squeaker headed for extra innings, but wait! After being allowed to bat leading off the top of the eighth (and making an out), Braves starter George Stone faced the dreaded Mister Weis leading off the bottom of the frame, and gave up a single. Once again, Julie Andrews strolled center field, crooning, "The rally is aliiiiive....". So anyway, up stepped Tommie Agee, who was so cold in April that his locker was moved to the penguin house at the zoo. However, he has heated up in May and he sent the first pitch far into the stands for a 3-1 Mets lead! Julie Andrews fainted dead away, and your impartial Goddess waved her Mets pennant like a nut case. Tug McGraw garnered the save despite a 2-out walk to Bob Tillman. Tugger got a win, a loss and a save in the three game set. 

Baseball, baseball, who's got the baseball? Oops.
In Philadelphia, the art of pitching went the way of the dinosaurs as the Rhinelanders and Quakers hit everything in sight. This was the rubber game (*snicker*) and the Phils jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first by ringing a single, double and triple off of bewildered Reds starter Fat Jack Fisher. The Cincinnatians scored two in the 3rd and two more in the fifth, answered by a pair of Phillies tallies in the bottom of the frame. With the score 6-4 Phils, Woody Fryman stepped to the mound in the top of the seventh and, after retiring slump-encrusted Alex Johnson, induced a bouncer back to the mound by Lee May. Fryman grabbed at it, dropped it, kicked it, lost sight of it, all as May lumbered endlessly toward first base. Finally, Mister Fryman picked up the ball and threw it in the dirt to the wrong base. E-1. This opened the floodgates as the Reds rallied for four unearned runs to take an 8-6 lead.

"YOU lost the game?" quoth Cookie to a distraught Dave Bristol, who had sent Granger to the bank with the deposit.
The lead held as Reds "ace" reliever Wayne Granger, proud owner of exactly one save all season, faced the Phils in the last of the ninth. He retired hometown favorite Johnny Callison, but then gave up a bloop and a seeing-eye single to Deron Johnson and Don Money, respectively. Mike Ryan made the second out, and with Cookie Rojas due up and only third string catcher Watkins available on the bench, it looked over. You may recall that Rojas finished April hitting a lusty .037 on 1-for-27. May had seen him rise to the giddy heights of the .170s, but still. Granger delivered and Cookie swung, lifting a high fly ball into the night. Left fielder Jimmy Stewart (really, that's his name!) drifted back, muttering that Cookie Rojas is "nothing but a warped, frustrated old man!" Imagine his chagrin when the ball sailed over the fence for a two-out, three-run walk off homerun! "Look sharp, you fool!" shouted Cookie to the lackey pushing his wheelchair, and they both circled the bases to a roar of cheers that filled old Shibe Park. Pretty cool! Who'da thunk it?
Call me. Don't be afraid you can't call me. Maybe it's late but just call me. Call me cos I touched 'em all!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Giants Turn Three, Take Top Spot: Wednesday, May 14th, 1969


CHI 3, SD 1  W-Hands 5-1 L-Santorini 2-6  Hands 2-hitter.

MON 10, HOU 9  W-Reed 1-2 L-Gladding 0-1  HR-Wills(4) Staub(6) Cline(1)  Sutherland GW double.

ATL 2, NY 1 (11inns)  W-Doyle 1-0 L-McGraw 2-2

PHI 7, CIN 5  W-G.Jackson 2-4 L-Merritt 3-4  HR-Tolan(4) Callison(4) D.Johnson 2(4) Deron Johnson 4 rbi.

SF 8, PIT 2  W-McCormick 4-1 L-Veale 4-3 S-Gibbon(1)  HR-Hart(2) Dietz(4) Alley(3) Giants turn triple play in 1st.

STL 8, LA 3  W-Carlton 5-2 L-Drysdale 0-1 Carlton 10 K's.

"I'm like a fielding god!"
Mike "Posh Spice" McCormick and the Giants seemed to be on the ropes in the bottom of the first inning at Forbes Field. Matty Alou led off with a double, then held second as Dave Cash was safe on an error by the stupefied Hal Lanier. Catcalls rained down from the stands as Pirate fans cheerfully derided the bumbling Giant shortstop. Roberto Clemente then walked to load 'em up for Al "Scoops" Oliver.  Oliver uncoiled and sent a screaming line drive at the much-maligned Mister Lanier, who caught it for the first out, tagged Cash standing in front of him for the second out and tossed to Fuentes at third to retire Alou for the triple play. "You won't have me to kick around anymore," quoth Hal as he flashed the V for Victory sign at the abashed Steeltown faithful. It was the second triple play of the season, the Reds having turned one previously against the Dodgers. The Giants went on to win and install themselves alone atop the NL west. Jim Ray Hart hit his second homer of the season, and second in as many days, and Dick Dietz made it back-to-back when he connected off of the the stunned Chuck Hartenstein. 

"Gee, dad, can I borrow the car?"
In Montreal, the Expos came back from deficits not once, not twice, but three times against the preposterous spacemen from Houston. Maury Wills, who actually never homered for the 'Spos, and hit only 4 dingers all year, all of them for the Dodgers, hit his 4th of the replay for Les Expos. Le Grande Orange (the beloved right fielder Rusty Staub) also homered, and journeyman Ty Cline--subbing for the frightened and fractured Manny Mota--joined the long ball parade. But it was a double by the unheralded Phillie cast-off Gary Sutherland that scored Cline with the game-winner.  A jubilant Montreal crowd celebrated the hit, then drove the hated English off the North American continent once and for all. 

Why is this idiot laughing?
At Shea Stadium (SHAY Stadium looks better to your impartial Goddess), the Metropolitans walked red-hot Felipe Alou to get to silly shortstop Gil Garrido with the game on the line, and it worked. The same situation came up again in the 11th, and I--er, I meant, that fool Gil Hodges--decided to pitch to Felipe this time and he promptly lined a hit to give the Braves the lead, and eventually, the game. Your ever-forgiving Goddess, sitting in her box seat with her Mets cap on, pointed pointedly at the boneheaded Mets manager as Alou stood preening at first base. Some churlish miscreants whispered that your Goddess sometimes rolls too fast without thinking. These malcontents now reside in an underground dungeon and are forced to listen to Minnie Ripperton sing "Lovin' You" 24/7. Your Goddess can be severe.

"Watch me crank a couple homers!"
The Phillies grew tired of being stomped on, and erupted for three home runs against the pitching-poor Reds. Deron Johnson hit two out, matching his season total coming into this game. (Actually, he had only hit ONE out; his other previous blast was an extremely unlikely inside the park job, the only one by anybody all season, if memory serves.) John Callison hit his first since his return from injury, and little Tony Taylor tried to add another, but was denied by righty reliever Clay Carroll. Tony had to settle for an rbi single.

Her doorman is a Cardinal mainstay!
Your gracious Goddess was glad to see old favorite Don Drysdale emerge from the L.A. dugout to make the start against the homestanding Cardinals. Don's arm is hanging by a thread, and he had pitched only one inning all season up to now. (In actual fact, he tore his rotator cuff.) Don wasn't very successful, however, as the Redbirds teed off against him and downed the Tinseltown nine. Cardinal lefty Steve "Carlton your doorman" Carlton fanned ten Dodgers on his way to his 5th win of the year. Rhoda Morgenstern cheered wildly, but Reader Steve did not.