Monday, May 30, 2016

Splitsville, Daddy-O: Sunday, April 27th, 1969


CHI 3, NY 2 W-Jenkins 4-0 L-McGraw 0-1 S-Regan(4) HR-Hickman(4) Jenkins 11 K's.

NY 3, CHI 2 W-Seaver 2-2 L-Abernathy 0-2 HR-Boswell(1) Seaver 10 K's.

STL 9, PHI 2 W-Washburn 3-1 L-Boozer 1-2 HR-Hisle(1)

PIT 6, MON 2 W-Blass 4-0 L-Wegener 1-2 All 19 hits by both teams were singles.

ATL 2, LA 1 (10inns) W-Upshaw 2-1 L-Mikkelsen 0-2 S-Raymond(1) HR-Cepeda(3) Four Braves pitchers combine on 2-hitter.

SD 3, CIN 2 W-Reberger 2-1 L-Granger 3-1 HR-Perez(6) Brown(3) Dean 2-out walk-off single.

CIN 4, SD 1 W-Maloney 4-0 L-Sisk 1-2 

SF 3, HOU 1 W-Marichal 2-2 L-Billingham 1-2 

HOU 9, SF 1 W-Ray 2-0 L-Perry 3-1 S-Womack(2) HR-D.Bryant(1)

"Watch me win this game!"
The Mets, losers of six in a row, looked like they would win after a pair of sac flies put them up 2-1 in the 8th with Tug McGraw on the mound, but Tug muffed a tapper back to the mound and then served up a gopher ball to ex-Met Jim Hickman and the New Yorks lost their 7th straight. In the nightcap, Tom Seaver rode an early blast by Ken Boswell and his own rbi single to a 2-1 lead in the 8th inning again when Jim Qualls singled in the tying run for the Cubs as the New York fans groaned. But in the bottom of the 8th, Ron Santo kicked a grounder, an out advanced the runner to second, and slump-ridden veteran Ed Kranepool singled him in for a 3-2 lead which Seaver made stand up. Losing streak over.

The Allen-less and Callison-less Phils were no match for the Cardinals as the birds swept three at Shibe.

"Here I come to save the dayyy!"
Working on a perfect game in the 4th, Phil Niekro was struck by a line drive and had to leave the game. Paul Doyle and Cecil Upshaw made a 1-0 lead stand up until Wes Parker of the extraordinarily annoying Dodgers upset your impartial Goddess by singling in the tying run with 2 out in the bottom of the ninth. No matter. A clutch pinch hit by Bob Aspromonte gave the Braves the lead again in the 10th, and Claude "Everybody Loves" Raymond set the Dodgers down with ease for the save. Aspro got his hit off of Pete Mikkelsen, working in his third straight game. 

Again, NOT Tommy Dean.
The Padres finally snapped their 9-game losing skid when Tommy Dean singled in the winner with 2 out in the bottom of the ninth inning of the opener at San Diego. Of course, the Friars went right back to losing meekly in the nightcap. They have a team that is so offensively inept, I think that it may rival my unbelievably punchless 1967 Senators. This is not a good thing. In other news, Pete Rose entered play on Sunday still hitting .500 at 35-for-70. He promptly went 0-for-9 against the mighty Pod pitching staff, reaching base only once, on an intentional walk. His average plummeted to a dismal .443. "I'll wager you can bet I'll get some knocks next game!" he crowed as MLB brass frowned from the box seats.

Reserve backstop Don Bryant of the Astros finally saw some action and deposited one in among the paying customers. With Ron Bryant seeing action on the hill for the Giants, this game pitted Bryant against Bryant! The horror, the horror. But his blast could not rival the one hit in San Diego by Tony Perez, which may still be in the air. He really crushed it. (So says the Orsino board which sometimes tells me whether a HR was mighty or just dinked over the outfielder's glove. It also sometimes tells me whether a batter doubled standing up or barely beat the tag. It adds to the game, I think.)
An excited Padres fan runs down Tony Perez's home run ball.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Bucs Bash Expos' Brains In: Saturday, April 26th, 1969

CHI 4, NY 0 W-Nye 1-2 L-McAndrew 1-3  Nye 10 k's, 0 bb.

STL 1, PHI 0 W-C.Taylor 3-0 L-Fryman 1-1  Taylor 2-hitter.

PIT 22, MON 2 W-Moose 1-2 L-Stoneman 0-3 HR-Jones(3) May(1)phGS Hebner 5 hits, 4 runs, 4 rbi, Pirates 26 hits.

LA 6, ATL 4 W-Singer 3-2 L-K.Johnson 1-1 S-Mikkelsen(3) HR-Cepeda(2) Francona(2)

CIN 7, SD 2 W-Culver 1-0 L-Kirby 1-2 HR-Rose(6)

SF 9, HOU 5 W-Herbel 1-0 L-Griffin 0-3 HR-McCovey(5) McCovey 4 rbi.

"Watch me go yard!"
So unkind! The Buccos went insane against Bill Stoneman and the infant Expos, pummeling them for 22 runs on 26 hits! "I thought I had no-hit stuff," lamented a deluded Mr. Stoneman as he trudged from the mound having given up the first 11 runs. Richie Hebner piled up the stats as he drove in his first 4 runs of the season. In an effort to go easy on the beleaguered Canadians, Bucs manager Larry Shephard sent instant strikeout Jerry May to the plate to pinch hit late in the game, and all he did was launch a grand slam homer. It wasn't pretty, what the Pirates did to the Montreal nine, but the Saturday fans at Forbes Field enjoyed every minute of it, and it was sweet revenge for Friday's loss. However, the victory came at a price, with Roberto Clemente going back on the shelf for 9 games after making a spectacular catch.

Chuck Taylor is livin' on Tulsa time.
Since the death, er, injury to Vada Pinson, the Cardinals don't score much, but with their excellent pitching, they do score just enough to win on most days. Chuck Taylor,  an 18-game winner for the Tulsa Drillers in '68, proved he's ready for the big time, making a first inning run stand up against the Phillies at Shibe Park. 

The Mets' offensive ineptitude reached silly proportions when Cubs spare part Rich Nye blanked them at Shea, fanning ten. The Metropolitans have dropped 6 straight. "We're glad we have the Phillies to keep us company as we plummet!" mused skipper Gil Hodges.

"I'm Earl Webb!" No. You're Jerry DaVanon.
Pity the preposterous Padres, who have lost 9 in a row, and have not even been close to winning any of them. They exploded for three hits against the Reds on Saturday--a single by shortstop Tommy Dean, his first hit since being acquired from Los Angeles, and a pair of doubles by the immortal Jerry DaVanon. 

"I'M Earl Webb!" Yes you are, the long-time MLB record holder for doubles in a season with 67.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Cardinals Peck Phillies To Death: Friday, April 25th, 1969


CHI 4, NY 3 W-Holtzman 1-2 L-Gentry 3-1 S-Regan(3) HR-Santo(4)

STL 6, PHI 4 W-Giusti 1-1 L-J.Johnson 1-3 S-Hoerner(3) All 13 Cardinal hits are singles.

MON 7, PIT 2 W-Jaster 1-2 L-Bunning 1-2 HR-Clendenon(6) Laboy(2)

LA 2, ATL 1 W-Osteen 3-0 L-Jarvis 2-1 S-Mikkelsen(2)

CIN 4, SD 2 W-Fisher 3-1 L-Santorini 0-4 HR-Tolan(1) May(2)

HOU 9, SF 3 W-Wilson 1-3 L-Bolin 1-2 HR-Wynn(5) Menke(1)

"Hi! I stink!"
Bob "Bolin For Dollars" Bolin coughed up a five-spot to the resurgent Spacemen in the first inning at Candelstick Park. Despite three Houston errors, all on balls hit by Bobby Bonds, the Giants could never overcome the deficit. The Astros, meanwhile, have taken four straight and their bats have finally come alive.

"Behold my return, and weep!"
While on the subject of belligerent bozos, the Expos have won three in a row. Friday they visited Forbes Field and three former Pirates--Mota, Clendenon and Wills--did their best to make the Buccos regret trading them away. Along with the injured Bob Bailey, Montreal seems to be the mid-60s Pirates reunion team. Clendenon has quietly become the league leader in home runs! "I may refuse to report to the top of the list," he warned this reporter.

The Redbirds sentenced the Phils to death by a thousand cuts, or at least, by 13 singles. A safety patrol boy from a nearby elementary school was stationed near first base to prevent any Cardinal from stepping towards second base and possibly being hit by a car. Hey, Philly is the City of Brotherly Love, after all!

"I can't see anything"
Yankee reject Pete Mikkelsen really earned his save against the Braves, fanning Tommie Aaron and Felix Millan with runners at second and third to finish off the Atlantans. "There's life in the old boy yet," he proclaimed, peering myopically through thick glasses. We see that, Pete! (weird note: Mikkelson does not have a Topps baseball card after 1968, even though he pitched for the Dodgers from 1969-72. I have no idea why. I just discovered it when I searched images of him.)

APBA Nerd Note: the first season I bought, and played, was the 1979 set that came with my first APBA game, in 1980. I just bought the reissue and they have upgraded several of the pitchers who saw their grades diminished for lack of innings in the original set. This is good, because my replay was overly offensive, especially the American League. I played it straight out of the box, no modifications. I'd love to play it again with all I've learned and implemented since, and see how differently it might come out. For me, way back when, the Brewers, Twins, Phils and Reds won their divisions, and the Twins took the Reds in six games in the World Series. Tom Seaver pitched both of Cincy's wins. The Twins hit .298 as a team for the season!


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Goose Egg Hunt! : Thursday, April 24th, 1969


STL 3, CHI 1 W-Carlton 3-1 L-Hands 3-1 HR-Carlton(1)

MON 4, PHI 0 W-Grant 1-3 L-Jackson 1-2 HR-Clendenon(5) Jones(2)

PIT 5, NY 0 W-Ellis 2-2 L-Koosman 2-2 HR-Alley(1) Pirates 3rd straight shutout win.

HOU 9, SD 0 W-LeMaster 2-2 L-Roberts 1-2 HR-Wynn(4) LeMaster 2-hitter.

CIN 8, LA 0 W-Merritt 1-2 L-Moeller 2-1 HR-May(1) May 4 rbi.

ATL 2, SF 1 W-Pappas 2-0 L-McCormick 2-1 S-Upshaw(2)

Pods manager Gomez may have to put Thing in the line-up.
Poor Padres. They have lost their last three games by a combined score of 26-1, scoring their only run on a suicide squeeze. 

Lee May of the Reds finally hit a home run, but he didn't use either of his 1's. He rolled a 6 with a man on third. No matter! He had a single, double, homer, 3 runs scored and 4 rbi as the Rhinelanders swept 2 from the division-leading Dodgers. 


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Reds Turn Three!: Wednesday, April 23rd, 1969


CHI 3, STL 2 W-Jenkins 3-0 L-Gibson 1-1 HR-Kessinger(1) Santo(3)

MON 5, PHI 3 W-Robertson 1-2 L-Wise 1-3 S-McGinn(1) HR-Staub(2)GS 

PIT 2, NY 0 W-Veale 2-2 L-Seaver 1-2 HR-Clemente(2) 

HOU 7, SD 1 W-Dierker 1-2 L-Selma 0-2 HR-Wynn(3)

CIN 6, LA 4 (11inns) W-Granger 3-0 L-Brewer 0-1 S-Carroll(1) HR-Rose(5) Kosco(4) Reds turn triple play in 1st.

SF 3, ATL 0 W-Perry 3-0 L-Reed 0-2 HR-Bonds(2)

"Forget a bunch of bunting anyway!"
In the bottom of the first inning at Chavez Ravine, the visiting Rhinelanders shocked the Tinseltown nine with a triple play! Willie Davis drew a walk off of Reds starter Jim Maloney. Then Paul Popovich singled. Dodger backstop Tom Haller attempted a bunt, but bunted it in the air to Lee May, who threw to Woodward at second to get Davis, and then back to Helms covering first to retire Popovich for the season's first triple play. (Haller later failed to get a bunt down again, forcing the runner at third on a fielder's choice.) Despite jumping out to a 4-0 lead, the Ohioans let an error lead to a two-run homer by Kosco the Human Bulk Store, to cut their lead in half. The Dodgers later rallied for two more off Maloney to tie the contest, but the Reds prevailed in 11 innings when they plated two off of Dodger lefty Jim Brewer. Pete Rose is hitting an astonishing .500 on 29 for 58.

Rusty "Le Grande Orange" Staub thrilled the home crowd by hitting a grand slam to power the Expos past the Phils. Assists to Beliveau and Cournoyer!
Catcher John Bateman watches in confusion as Staub circles the bases on his grand slam. Baseball is different in Moan-ray-all!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Do The Walk (Off): Tuesday, April 22nd, 1969


PHI 4, NY 3 W-Boozer 1-1 L-Cardwell 0-3 S-Wilson(3) HR-D.Johnson(2) Agee(3)

CHI 7, PIT 5 W-Aguirre 1-0 L-Moose 0-2 S-Regan(2) HR-Santo(2) Smith(3) Stargell(3)

PIT 4, CHI 0 W-Blass 3-0 L-Nye 0-2

STL 4, MON 3 W-Washburn 2-1 L-Wegener 1-1 S-Hoerner(2) HR-Clendenon(4) Bateman(1)

HOU 3, CIN 2 (10inns) W-Womack 1-1 L-Arrigo 0-1 HR-Perez(5) Martinez walk-off triple.

LA 4, SF 2 W-Singer 2-2 L-Marichal 1-2 HR-Burda(1) Kosco(3) Crawford(4) Sudakis(1) Kosco 2-run walk-off HR.

ATL 10, SD 0 W-P.Niekro 2-2 L-Sisk 1-1 HR-Millan(1) H.Aaron(4) P.Niekro 2-hitter.

"Watch me pop a triple!"
Houston finally won one, when spare part Marty Martinez--starting in place of Norm "Normal Norm" Miller--ripped a triple to drive in....Normal Norm Miller, who had gotten on with a pinch single.  Imagine Dave Bristol's chagrin when, having burned up his decent relievers, called the bullpen in the 10th inning only to be told he had his choice between Arrigo and Cloninger. He chose the less terrible hurler (so far) but it made no difference. Martinez made short work of the Reds' lefty punching bag.
Why is this man smiling?

In LA, Andy Kosco launched a 2-run game-winning shot off of Juan Marichal, filling your impartial Goddess with disgust, as she does not especially like the '69 Dodgers. The Tinseltown nine hung around and hung around, despite falling behind 2-0 early. Sudakis homered to make it 2-1, Willie "Call me Joan" Crawford homered to tie it (in her most stirring role yet!), and then Kosco the Human Bulk Store homered to win it. These Dodgers are averaging a HR per game, which surely cannot continue. Your impartial Goddess is thinking that, if Crawford dares to hit any more homers, she will be left with no choice but to call in Bette Davis to put a stop to it.
"Oh, knock it off!"

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Monday, Monday: Monday, April 21st, 1969


PHI 4, NY 1  W-Fryman 1-0 L-McAndrew 1-2 S-Wilson(2)

STL 3, MON 1 W-C.Taylor 2-0 L-Stoneman 0-2

CIN 5, HOU 4 (10inns) W-Granger 2-0 L-Womack 0-1 HR-Wynn(2)

LA 6, SF 1 W-Osteen 2-0 L-Sadecki 0-1 HR-Haller(1)

ATL 5, SD 2 W-Johnson 1-0 L-Kirby 1-1 S-Upshaw(1) HR-Francona(1) Brown(2)

"I'm in this for ME!"
Wayne Granger coughed up the tying run with two out in the bottom of the 9th at the Astrodome, thus blowing the save, but revealed his plan of getting the win for himself when the Reds won it anyway in the 10th. At least the reeling Astros put up more of a fight this time, and a good sign for them was Jim Wynn homering, going 3-for-3 and walking twice. He has reached the Mendoza Line, hitting an even .200.

Claude Osteen and Ray Sadecki hooked up in a nice pitchers duel until the Dodgers struck for 4 in the bottom of the 8th at Chavez Ravine to blow it open. Despite heavy injuries (Drysdale, Foster, Fairly, Parker and Gabrielson are all out), the Tinseltown nine continue to lead the west and play good ball.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Alias Smith & Jones: Sunday, April 20th, 1969


CHI 9, MON 2 W-Hands 3-0 L-Grant 0-3 HR-Smith(1) Hundley(1) Clendenon(3)

MON 7, CHI 5 (12inns) W-Shaw 1-1 L-Ross 1-1 HR-Smith(2) Rudolph(1) Laboy(1) Jones(1)GW

PIT 3, PHI 2 (11inns) W-Dal Canton 1-0 L-J.Johnson 1-2 S-Hartenstein(3) HR-Allen(2)

NY 14, STL 4 W-Gentry 3-0 L-Giusti 0-1 

ATL 9, CIN 1 W-Jarvis 2-0 L-Fisher 2-1 HR-F.Alou(1) H.Aaron(3) T.Aaron(1)

LA 7, HOU 2 W-Moeller 2-0 L-Wilson 0-3 HR-Crawford(3)

SF 12, SD 3 W-Bolin 1-1 L-Santorini 0-3 HR-Cannizzaro(1) Fuentes(1) Dietz(2) Bolin(1)

Home run hero Mack Jones
Willie Smith went 3-for-3 on opening day for the Cubs, and then climbed into the deep freeze until today, when he slammed homers in each game of a doubleheader at Montreal. Unfortunately for the baby bears, Mack Jones hit a 2-out 2-run walk-off homer to win it for the 'Spos in the 12th. "C'est formidable!" cried the fans. As for Smith, he vows to become a Hollywood movie star. "I am legend!" he observed humbly.

Jim Bunning of the Pirates came within one batter of turning in a masterpiece against his old pals the Phillies, but Rich Allen took him deep to tie the game. No matter. The resurgent Buccos won it in 11.

"Behold, I turn wimps into ferocious beasts!"
The Cardinals looked everywhere for scheduled starter Nelson Briles, then remembered he had been run over by a cement truck, and had to choose between Dave Giusti or Mike Torrez to make the start. They went with Giusti, who was handed his head. In came Torrez who met the same fate. So many Mets ran so fast around the bases all afternoon that they turned to butter! (Those who grew up reading now-banned children's books will understand.) 

The Astros have now lost 10 of 11 and 8 straight. During the losing streak, they have scored more than 2 runs only once. They scored 4 in that one but lost 8-4.

Bob Bolin turned in a complete game win at Candlestick Park, not giving up an earnie until Chris Cannizzaro touched him for a meaningless 2-run shot in the 9th. Bolin also homered himself. "Not good enough. Go wash my car, too!" bellowed Giants skipper Herman Franks after the game. The win was costly for the Giants as Willie McCovey fell into a time warp while reaching for a pop foul off the bat of Nate Colbert. There, he was mauled by the, Berenstain Bears and will miss 4 games, including all of the upcoming series against the division-leading Dodgers.
"I don't remember it being this way!" cried McCovey.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Saturday In The Park, Death & Destruction Edition: Saturday, April 19th, 1969


CHI 2, MON 1 W-Jenkins 2-0 L-Robertson 0-2 HR-Staub(1)

PIT 8, PHI 3 (10inns) W-Ellis 2-1 L-Wilson 1-1 HR-Oliver 2(3)

NY 2, STL 0 W-Koosman 2-1 L-Carlton 2-1 Koosman 1-hitter.

ATL 13, CIN 5 W-Pappas 1-0 L-Merritt 0-2 HR-Carty(4) Cepeda 4 rbi.

LA 6, HOU 2 W-Sutton 3-0 L-LeMaster 1-2 HR-Wynn(1)

SF 4, SD 0 W-McCormick 2-0 L-Roberts 1-1 HR-McCovey(4)GS

"Ow! Who left this darn trophy here?"
The Mets and Redbirds hooked up in an absolutely classic pitching duel between Jerry Koosman and Lefty Carlton, won by the Mets 2-0. The only Cardinals hit was a sharply hit single in the sixth by Lou Brock. The Mets got off the schneid, finally winning their first in 5 tries against the St. Louisans. The loss cost the Cardinals more than pride; rbi leader Vada Pinson went down for two weeks after a cat knocked him off the feeder, and third sacker Mike Shannon will miss a couple of games after being trampled by the Clydesdales. 

The Buccos have come to life ever since Roberto Clemente and Al Oliver both came back from injury. They have won their last three, putting up a five-spot in the 10th inning on Saturday against Phillie fireman Billy Wilson to silence the Shibe Park faithful.

The Spacemen have a bad case of noodle bats, and although Jim Wynn finally hit one out, they have lost 9 of 10 since winning their first two at home against the Pods. After being no-hit yesterday by Bill Singer, Don Sutton held them hitless on Saturday for the first 13 batters, before Dennis "Menke's Monkey" Menke finally dribbled a single to break the spell. The 'Stros ultimately exploded for 3 hits. Sheesh.

"If ya can't dazzle 'em with brilliance, baffle 'em with baloney!"
Willie McCovey gave the Giants a 4-0 lead after just 4 batters in the bottom of the first at Candlestick Park, and when Jim "Couch me!" Davenport hit a single next, it looked like a short afternoon for Padre hurler Dave Roberts. But hold the phone! After a quick prayer, he and the rest of the Monks righted the ship as he and Giants lefty Mike "Spicy" McCormick matched zeroes the rest of the way. No matter. The 4 runs held up as the Friars were blanked for the first time ever. 

Enjoy this 30-minute time-lapse photograph of Rico Carty getting a hit and running to first!
Jim Merritt of the Reds has not found NL competition enjoyable so far, as the Braves knocked him from pillar to post. Rico Carty belted his third HR in two games at Cincy, but then departed for the next three weeks with lead posioning he got from his feet. (Har de har!) When Mr. Carty was felled, I looked in my book to see what injury had made him a J-3. Apparently, none. Despite hitting .342 with umpteen homers and 58 rbi, he played just 78 games in the Braves outfield in '69. He is lead-footed, and extremely prone to hitting into double plays, but he also has fearsome power and hits for a very high average. He would have played daily for me, had he not passed out with his face in the water fountain. He will now be replaced by the rather pedestrian Mike Lum.

Speaking of getting off the schneid, not only did the Mets beat the Cards and Jim Wynn hit a HR for the Astros, but Rusty Staub also hit his long-awaited inaugural blast for Les Expos. This leaves only the Reds' Lee May as a noted slugger without a HR so far, though he does have 5 doubles.  


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Bill Singer No-Hitter!: Friday, April 18th, 1969


PIT 5, PHI 2 W-Veale 1-2 L-Wise 1-2 S-Hartenstein(2) HR-Clemente(1)

STL 2, NY 1 (13inns) W-Waslewski 2-0 L-R.Taylor 0-1 Shannon GW SF.

CIN 5, ATL 2 W-Maloney 3-0 L-Reed 0-1 S-Granger(1) HR-Carty 2(3) Rose(4) Perez(4)

LA 1, HOU 0 W-Singer 1-2 L-Dierker 0-2 HR-Kosco(2) Singer NO-HITTER.

SF 3, SD 1 W-Perry 2-0 L-Selma 0-1 HR-Spiezio(1)

Bill Singer of the Dodgers delighted the home fans by cutting through the Houston line-up like a hot knife through butter, scoring the young season's second no-hitter, 1-0. The Spacemen only had three base runners, all in the fifth inning. An error, a walk, and an intentional walk loaded the bases with two out for Astro hurler Larry Dierker, who was easily dispatched by Singer. No one else reached base before or after, in an astonishingly easy-looking performance. Andy Kosco's 4th inning solo blast was all the help Singer needed.

In St Louis, the Mets took an early 1-0 lead when Rod Gaspar doubled in Jerry Grote, but the Cards tied it later on with help from an Art Shamsky error at first base. The zeros piled up inning after inning until ex-Redbird Ron Taylor took over in the bottom of the 13th and promptly gave up the deciding run to get the Cardinals back on the winning track. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

NBC Strange Game of The Week: Thursday, April 17th, 1969


MON 5, PHI 4 W-McGinn 1-0 L-Farrell 0-1 HR-Clendenon(2)

PIT 6, NY 1 W-Blass 2-0 L-Cardwell 0-2 HR-Stargell(2)

CHI 3, STL 2 W-Regan 1-0 L-Washburn 1-1 HR-Hickman(3)

ATL 9, HOU 2 W-P.Niekro 1-2 L-Billingham 1-1 HR-H.Aaron(2) H.Aaron 4 rbi.

SD 5, SF 4 (10inns) W-Reberger 1-1 L-Bryant 1-1 HR-Colbert(1)

Jim Hickman enduring early-season weather
Before we get to the Strange Game of The Week, the big news is that the Cardinals finally lost! Ray Washburn was 1 out from making the Redbirds 10-0 and himself 2-0, when Busch Stadium suddenly began to feel like Bedford Falls. The Cards were up 2-1 going into the 9th. Remember, the Cubs had rallied in the top of the 9th the day before, only to blow it in the bottom of the inning. Anyway, Billy Williams singled and was still on base with two outs when Jim Hickman stepped to the plate. "Help me, Clarence," he muttered as he stepped into the batter's box. "I'm not a praying man, but if you can hear me, send me a hanging curve!" Hickman turned on the very next pitch, sending it far out into the left field stands for a 3-2 Cubs lead. "Hot dog!" said the exultant Hickman as he circled the sacks. Phil Regan, who had pitched the 8th, stayed in to finish off the game, and hand St. Louis their first loss. Leo Durocher (looking and sounding a lot like reader Steve) says that every time the Cardinals lose, an angel gets their wings. Thanks, Clarence!

Soon found out, he had a heart of glass
Now for the Strange Game of the Week! I can go long stretches of games and not have the Orsino Board--my self styled weird play board--have much effect at all, but then just sometimes, it decides to make a certain game its own. It also adds color by giving details that aren't on the regular boards. Observe: the Padres rolled into San Francisco to help the Giants with their long-overdue home opener. The SF nine had played their first 8 games on the road, traveling from Atlanta, to San Diego to Cincinnati and then back to the west coast. Good grief, what an itinerary. However, everything on this day was sunshine and daffodils, with starter Juan Marichal chuckling softly to himself as the Padre line-up was announced. Opposing him was Pirates reject Tommie Sisk. The Giants struck for one in the bottom of the 1st, perhaps an insurmountable lead with Juan on the mound. Then, leading off the top of the third, Ed Spiezio lined a hit off of Marichal, knocking him out of the game with a minor injury. Juan won't miss any starts, but had to be relieved by Ron "Herbal Essence" Herbel. He promptly allowed Spiezio to score to tie the game. "I had soap in my eyes," whined the hastily-summoned reliever.

"Mommy, I'm wishing Linzy into the corn field."
Nonetheless, the Giants built a 4-1 lead after 7, driving Mr. Sisk from the mound. Joe Gibbon had pitched a flawless 7th inning, but gave way to Frank "The Wolf Who Lives In Linzy" Linzy. (Only Joni Mitchell fans will get that. Your Goddess is a fangirl.) Linzy has sucked so far, and took that theme right up again by giving up singles to Gonzales and Arcia to start the 8th. However, former Giant Ollie Brown grounded into a double play, seemingly saving Mr. Linzy. Nate Colbert stepped in as the Wolf Man took a book of matches from his hip pocket and moved his gasoline can closer to the pitching rubber. Colbert launched a drive straight down the left field line. Fair? Foul? It bounced off the pole for a 2-run dinger to make it 4-3, and despite Ivan Murrell following with a single and a steal, the Monks could not tie the game.

In the bottom of the 8th, after 2 were retired, Jim Ray Hart hit a drive to right field that bounced off of Ollie Brown's glove and into the corner. As Brown lay broken on the warning track, Hart pulled in at second base. Jack Baldschun relieved Billy McCool and promptly gave up a walk to pinch hitter Dave Marshall and then beaned Ron Hunt to load the bases. Jim "Any Davenport In A Storm" Davenport got up off the couch to hit, having replaced Hal Lanier who aggravated a previous injury earlier in the game. Baldschun reared back and struck him out, keeping the game 4-3. 

"Where am I?"
In the top of the 9th, Chris Cannizaro and Tony Gonzales ripped base hits and were on first and third with two out against the charred and smoking Mr. Linzy when Jose Arcia hit a bouncer to Ron Hunt. Still seeing double from being beaned, Mr. Hunt watched in horror as the ball clanked off of his glove and into right field. As Cannizaro motored home, Bobby Bonds ran in, grabbed the ball, and fired to third, just a hair too late to get the fleet Mr. Gonzales. Larry Stahl flied out, though, to end the inning at 4-4.

"Watch me snag this line drive!"
The game moved into extra frames. Nate Colbert dinked a single leading off the 10th, moved to second on Murrell's ground out, and after Pena flied to left, Ed Spiezio singled in the go-ahead run off Ron Bryant. Spiezio was so busy preening and strutting that he was easily picked off, but the Friars found themselves with a 5-4 lead! Frank "Double" Reberger retired Bob Burda--playing because Stretch McCovey had been ejected arguing strikes in the 5th inning--on a fly to left. Jim Hart then singled and was run for by Mason. "Call me James" he said, in an elegant accent. Bob Barton stood in and bashed a screaming liner to right. Larry Stahl turned on the afterburners, laid out, and nabbed an ice cream cone in the webbing of his glove. What a catch! Ron Hunt, leaving rehab long enough to bat, flailed blindly at three Reberger deliveries and the game was over, a 5-4 win for the Padres. The Friars are now 5-1 in 1-run games, while the Giants sank to 0-5. Three of the games have been against each other. 

His glove hand is fine, but his mind is gone.
Ron Hunt is rumored to believe himself to be an end table, and the poor addled second sacker spends his days with a lamp on his back in the corner of Willie Mays's living room. So sad.