Sunday, November 27, 2016

Total Insanity At Shea! : Tuesday, June 24th, 1969


CHI 4, PIT 3  W-Aguirre 2-2 L-Dal Canton 3-4  Beckert 2-out walk-off single.

MON 3, STL 2  W-Robertson 6-6 L-Carlton 10-4  S-McGinn(2)  HR-Bailey(4) Jones(8)

NY 12, PHI 11 (11inns)  W-McGraw 3-5 L-Palmer 0-1  HR-D.Johnson 2(8) Money(3) Swoboda(3)phGW  Money 4 rbi, Swoboda 1-out solo pinch hit walk-off HR.

NY 4, PHI 3 (12inns)  W-Ryan 1-0 L-Wilson 1-7  HR-Joseph(3) Agee(11) Dyer(1)ph  Money 5 hits, Garrett 0-out walk-off single.

LA 7, ATL 3  W-Osteen 7-3 L-Reed 6-5  HR-Haller(7) H.Aaron(22)

CIN 6, SD 3  W-Culver 6-1 L-Santorini 3-13 HR-Bench(9)  Tolan 4 rbi.

HOU 2, SF 0  W-Dierker 6-7 L-Marichal 6-7 HR-Wynn(11)  Dierker 1-hitter

In a season replay like this one, when it's all over, only a very few games stand out enough to be remembered when it's all said and done. In my 1967 AL, I remember Boston staying alive with a nail-biter win against the Tigers, and Don Mincher's total destruction of his former Twins teammates. In my '65 replay I recall Ron Perranoski going down in flames as the eventual champion Reds beat back the Dodgers in a September series. In '61 I remember Orlando Cepeda's quest for 60 HR going down to the last day, when he had to settle for 59. And when '69 NL is done, I think I'll remember the Mets sweeping the Phillies in a crazy doubleheader at Shea Stadium that may have finally set the Mets on the winning track. Fasten your seat belts. Here we go!

Sleepers Awake!
Game 1. Don Money pretty much sleep-walked through the season until I finally benched him recently in favor of lantern-jawed Terry Harmon. However, doubleheaders got Money back in there and he has done nothing but rake ever since. In the top of the first, he launched a 2-out 3-run bomb off of Gary Gentry to stake the Phils to a 3-0 lead.  The Mets came back in the bottom of the 1st with 2 off of Billy "Spark Plug" Champion. Top of the third, Phils take a 5-2 lead, only to see the Mets cut it to 5-4 in the bottom of the 3rd. By the end of the 4th, the game was tied 6-6 and both starters had hit the shower. The last two Mets runs were courtesy of not one, but two errors by Ric Joseph, doing an impression of a first baseman.

Even his mother doesn't remember him.
Enter Cal Koonce, whose first official act was to give up a single to Larry Hisle and a two-run shot to Deron Johnson for an 8-6 Phillies lead. The forgettable Al Raffo held the Mets in check for three innings. Then in the bottom of the 7th, a barrage of singles off of Turk Farrell resulted in 4 runs and a 10-8 Mets lead. Enter relief ace Tug McGraw to pitch the 8th. The Mets were feeling good.

He's happy.
Rich Barry had the audacity to collect a two-out single, followed by an rbi double off the bat of error-prone Ric "Chief" Joseph, making the Nez Perce tribe happy, and making the score 10-9. Up stepped Terry Harmon, who insulted Mr. McGraw by lining a single that scored Joseph with the tying run. 10-10! The Mets came right back against hapless Quaker reliever Billy Wilson. Tommie Agree rattled a double off the wall leading off the last of the 8th, and was immediately driven in on an Ed Kranepool single. 11-10 Mets and another chance for McGraw to nail it down. But no! Deron Johnson led off the top of the 9th with his second homer of the game, knotting it up again at 11. Good grief! 

He'll end this.
Somehow Mister McGraw kept the Phils off the board in the 10th and 11th, working 4 innings in all. As a converted starter, he could handle it. Lowell Palmer blanked the Mets in the 10th, and got Wayne Garrett leading off the last of the 11th. Manager Gil "Gill Man" Hodges bobbed up out of his tank and sent Ron Swoboda up the dish to hit. Palmer delivered his pitch and Swoboda killed it, sending it far over the wall for a crazy 12-11 win. How about THAT?!

Doctor No.
Game 2. After the two teams combined for 23 runs on 34 hits in the opener, they took the field in the nightcap for a very different kind of game. Through 8 innings, Grant Jackson and hard-luck Mets starter Jim McAndrew matched zeroes on the board, with just this one difference: Jackson had a no-hitter going through 8! In the top of the 9th, Don Money--who would end up going 7-for-11 for the two games--led off with a double down the line and was bunted along to third by Harmon. With the absurd Vic Roznovsky due up, Mike Ryan was sent to hit for him, and "Irish" lofted a sac fly to give the Quakers a slim 1-0 advantage. Nobody was happier about it than Grant Jackson.

It's gone!
With the pitcher's spot up first in the bottom of the ninth, Gill Man pulled third string backstop Duffy Dyer out of the seaweed and sent him to face Mr. Jackson. Nothing like sitting around on the bench for six hours or so and then being asked to break up a no-hitter in the 9th! But that's exactly what he did. Dyer drove a Jackson pitch out of the park for his first homer all season, good for a 1-1 tie. The crowd at Shea--and your Impartial Goddess--went completely insane. Ya gotta believe! 

Raw suckage.
With Tug McGraw totally used up, reliever Ron Taylor toed the slab for the Metropolitans in the top of the tenth. Joseph:HR. Briggs: double. Hisle: double. Johnson: single. Money: single. Luckily for New York, Briggs had brilliantly gotten himself picked off second, but the Phillies plated 2 on 5 hits before Taylor finally got them out. 3-1 Phils into the last of the tenth. Dyer's heroic home run was looking like it wouldn't be enough, and after all this, the Mets were staring down a split with the last place Philadelphians. 

He's got the moves!
Grant Jackson had lost his no-no, but still carried a 1-hitter and a two-run lead into the bottom of the tenth. "I scoff at namby pamby 2016 hurlers!" said Jackson as he took his warm-ups. One pitch--BOOM!--one run, on a mammoth shot by Tommie Agee, cutting it to 3-2. Jackson then fanned Jerry Grote and retired Ed Kranepool before surrendering a double to that man, Ron Swoboda. Out trudged whoever the f--- the Phillies manager was, making the signal to the bullpen for John Boozer, who had to be dragged off his bar stool and handed a glove and cap. Ed Charles, due up next, was called back to the Black Lagoon by Gill Man, and lefty-swinging Wayne Garrett hit for him. Two out, one run down. Boozer dealt, and Garrett hit a seeing-eye single, scoring Swoboda with the tying run! Holy heck! J.C Martin hit for the pitcher and also singled, but Boozer managed to retire Ken Boswell to end the frame. 3-3 after 10!

"Usher Man is strong"
Kid fireballer Nolan Ryan found himself summoned from the pen, and he disposed of the Phillies in the 11th, fanning two. Billy Wilson came on to stop the Mets in the bottom of the 11th, also fanning a pair. In the top of the 12th, Ryan fanned larry Hisle, but then gave up back to back singles by Johnson and Money. Fans were nervous, but Noley disposed of Cookie Rojas and Mike Ryan to end the threat! Bottom of the 12th: Billy Wilson walked Ed Kranepool to start things off. Ron Swoboda hit a worm-burner to Don Money at short, and it looked bad for a second for the Mets, but Money reminded his skipper--whoever he is--about why he had gotten benched, by booting the ball, leaving runners on the corners with nobody out. Gil Hodges scanned up and down his bench for a pinch runner for Kranepool, but found he had run through his roster and had to take his chances with Ed The Beer Truck. So be it. Up stepped Wayne Garrett, the hero of the 10th inning. He flailed at a Wilson delivery and sent the ball wobbling on an arc towards Mr. Money, who leapt, reached, and watched helplessly as the ball fell behind him on the grass for a walk-off hit. Mets sweep, Phillies weep. What a pair of games!

The Orsino Board allowed him his whimper of protest.
There was other action: The Cubs beat the Pirates again at Wrigley to move back ahead of them into second; Larry Dierker outdueled Juan Marichal at the Dome, 2-0, allowing only a single to lead off the second by Bob Burda; and the Expos rode a pair of solo homers to top Steve "Carlton your door man" Carlton and the Cardinals, but none of it could compare to the insanity at Shea.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

From Dumpster To Dynamo, The Dave Watkins Story! : Saturday, June 21st, 1969


MON 7, CHI 4  W-McGinn 4-1 L-Regan 4-3  S-Face(6)

STL 1, NY 0  W-Gibson 9-1 L-Koosman 7-4  Koosman 2-hitter.

PHI 15, PIT 1  W-Wise 4-5 L-Ellis 4-8  HR-Joseph(2) Allen 2(9) Watkins 3(3)  Allen 4 runs scored, Watkins 6 rbi.

ATL 8, SF 5  W-Doyle 4-1 L-Herbel 1-1  S-Upshaw(13)  HR-Boyer(4)

CIN 3, LA 2 (12inns)  W-Granger 6-2 L-Foster 3-1  May 1-out walk-off double.

SD 7, HOU 6  W-Baldschun 3-1 L-Gladding 1-3  S-Reberger(8)  HR-Brown(7) Spiezio(4) Miller(4)  Brown 5 rbi.

The last shall be first.
Some players have long productive careers. Some aren't so productive, yet have some skill that keeps them in the game for several years. Then there are players like the Phillies' Dave Watkins, who get just one season in the bigs, never to reappear again. With the Quakers mired in last place and regular right fielder Johnny Callison sidelined,  I decided to throw Mr. Watkins out there against the visiting Pirates. Why not? Dave plays catcher, first base and the outfield with equal ineptitude; what could it hurt? Well, early on he made an error and then a little bit later let a fly ball fall in for a single. No matter! After executing a perfect sacrifice bunt his first trip, and making an out his second, Dave blasted homers in each of his next three at bats! (The second day in a row that the league has seen a 3 HR performance, with Henry Aaron accomplishing the feat yesterday.)  He finished up with 6 ribbies, and, aided by two blasts off the bat of Rich Allen, the Phils romped 15-1. They hit six dingers overall. 

The always-jolly Mr. Gibson. Ken Burns wants to marry him.
In New York, as your Impartial Goddess sat morosely in the stands, Bob Gibson out-dueled Jerry Koosman 1-0, as the Redbirds blanked the Metropolitans for the second day in a row. The Mets actually out-hit the Cards 4-2, and had a couple of chances to score, but couldn't come through. At one point they had runners on second and third with nobody out, but Wayne Garrett grounded out to Maxvill with the infield in, and then J.C. Martin popped out in foul territory with Julian Javier making the grab, then gunning down the runner at home as he attempted to score. Fly double play, inning over. It was Gibson's second straight shutout.  The Cards have stretched their lead to 7 games in the east, as they are "pursued" by the snail Cubs and the tortoise Pirates.  

Don't judge yourself too harshly, Wes.
The Dodgers came in to Crosley Field and seemed to be about to accomplish that rarest of feats, a blanking of the mighty Reds offense. There were two outs in the bottom of the ninth, nobody on, and the Dodgers leading 2-0 when Ted Savage kept it alive with a walk. Pete Rose sent a grounder to shortstop which was scooped up and sent to first base by Maury Wills, but somehow sure-handed Wes "Judge" Parker let it clank off his glove. By the time the sphere had been retrieved, Savage stood at third base and Rose at second. Up stepped popular and affable flyhawk Alex Johnson, who crushed a double to tie the game. Bobby Tolan was then retired to send the contest into extra frames. Eventually, Lee May swatted an rbi double that scored pinch hitter Chico Ruiz, who had singled, with the winning tally. Talk about snatching victory from the jaws of defeat! It was, however, a bitter pill for the SoCal nine. 

Eat hearty, Fred.
At the Astrodome, Ollie Brown decided he doesn't like spacemen. He drove in one run with a ground out, another with a sac fly, and three in the top of the ninth with a 3-run tater, for a total of 5 rbi and a 7-6 win over the Astros, whose fans seem to be mispronouncing the team nickname these days. There's no "L" in "Astros." The "L" was reserved for crap closer Fred Gladding, who served up the round-tripper. What kind of a pitch was it, Fred? "It was a f--ing hit-me fastball with nothing on it. What do you THINK the f---ing pitch was?!?" remarked "The Bear." Now now, Fred. Have some porridge. 

Hey Willie, think fast!
Finally, the Braves once again dispatched the visiting Giants. With the San Franciscans having rallied to knot it up at 5, Clete Boyer smacked a two-run shot to put the Braves up for good. They're hot, and have put a sliver of daylight between themselves and the three teams behind them, at least for now.  Meanwhile, the newly healed Willie Mays, having been back for just two games, once again broke every bone in his body smashing into the wall to make a catch. Ever the lady, your Impartial Goddess can't tell you what the "Say Hey" kid said, but it wasn't "hey" or "my goodness, another compound fracture, gosh!" What I can tell you is that Willie will sit out 6 more games. "Tough break, Mays!" crowed back-up outfielder Ken Henderson, grabbing his glove. It's a tough league.