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?


William Sagle said...

Is that a direct quote from Lum Harris?

Anonymous said...

I am impressed that a four-year-old Barry Bonds clubbed two taters. He was obviously born with an extra helping of human growth hormone that would make his father Bobby jealous. No telling what little Bary will do in less than three weeks when he turns five. Those nasty Pre-K kids!

Overall a wonderful day with the Reds and Braves winning while the Cards flounder. Might be a good name for a movie character in a decade or so!

Fireblossom said...

Yes, William. His very words!

Steve, how about that precocious tyke?!? Hey, I was tired and couldn't tell my Bonds from my Wes Stocks. I have corrected it, giving Bonds pere all the credit he deserves. ;-)