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).