Sunday, April 30, 2017

Fists And Feathers Fly At Busch : Thursday, August 28th, 1969


CHI 5, CIN 2  W-Aguirre 6-3 L-Merritt 9-14  S-Regan(15)  HR-Hundley(9)

PIT 6, ATL 5 (10inns)  W-Dal Canton 6-6 L-Upshaw 5-7  HR-Stargell(21)  Sanguillen 2-out walk-off single.

STL 10, HOU 9 (13inns)  W-Torrez 2-0 L-Guinn 0-1  HR-Edwards(6) Torre(11)  Torre 4 rbi, Torrez 1-out walk-off single. STL 22 hits. 

LA 11, MON 3  W-Drysdale 3-9 L-Wegener 9-12  HR-Kosco(13)ph

SF 9, PHI 0  W-Bolin 14-10 L-Palmer 2-6  HR-McCovey(26)

"Take THAT, Vada!"
Nucking futs, that's what the game at St. Louis was on Thursday! Completely coo-coo.  The 'Stros, under the expert guidance of Harry Walker, struck for 2 in each of the first two frames, then added 1 in the third for a cushy 5-0 lead. But Tom Griffin wasn't sharp, and coughed up a 3-run bomb to Joe Torre in the bottom of the third, followed by an rbi double by the usually ice cold Vada Pinson to make it 5-4. Griffin thought, aw shucks, why not let them tie it, and gave up another in the 4th. Exit Mr. Griffin. However, the Astros weren't done punishing Chuck Taylor, and took a 6-5 lead in the 5th. Jim Ray, untouchalbe in the first half, not so much in the second half, gave up the tying run to Saint Looie in the last of the 6th when Julian Javier knocked in Torre, who had doubled. 6-6 the score stayed into the 11th inning, when Joe Morgan doubled in 2 off of seldom-seen rookie chucker Mike Torrez, and Jim Wynn knocked in Morgan for a 9-6 lead. Looking good for Harry & Co., right? Maybe not.

"Note my resemblance to a 1970s movie mobster!"
Wade Blasingame, usually a mop-up man with no decisions all year, had to come in, but all he needed to do was to record more outs than runs given up. Things started well enough, when he fanned Lou Brock. Spare part Phil Gagliano, subbing for the broken and bloodied Mike Shannon who stroked 3 hits and then sickened and died, notched a safety. Curt Flood made the second out. Almost home, Wade! But noOOooo. Joe Torre ripped his third x-base hit of the game, a double to score Gagliano, making it 9-7. Jerry DaVanon ran for the cement-footed Torre. Julian Javier promptly singled him in. 9-8! Vada Pinson singled, and then Dave Ricketts came up with a knock to tie it up at 9. Geez. The intimidating Dal Maxvill was walked by a terrified Blasingame, loading the bases for...Torrez? Yes, because there were no more subs at all in either the Cardinal bullpen or their bench. Blasingame managed to retire his mound opponent to preserve a tie, at least. Little-used geriatric Bill White came on to play first, and Torrez trudged back out to toe the slab once more.

He'll cut a bitch.
The Astros put two on with one out in the top of the 13th, when Torres walked--thus reducing the Houston bench to zero--and Marty Martinez singled. But Joe Morgan hit into an inning ending double play, and then analyzed the bejesus out of it. Still 9-9. Enter lefty Skip Guinn for the Spacemen. Skip has been batting practice all year, with an e.r.a. north of ten. All he cared about, though, was avenging the Chuck Taylor pitch that hit Doug "Rooster" Rader back in the 2nd inning, injuring his wattle and shelving him for the next 3 contests. So, Guinn aimed a blazer straight at Vada Pinson's dome. Boom! Down goes Vada. But then, up popped a bloodied and charging Vada, who landed blows about Skip Guinn's person until the wait...the benches...empty too...uh, the handful of idle starting pitchers ran out onto the field and a melee ensued. When order was restored, Pinson and Guinn were gone--Pinson ultimately suspended for 5 games--and hurler Jim Grant stood perched on first, running for the violent offender Pinson. Starter Jack Billingham came on for the Astros, and immediately surrendered a knock to Dave Ricketts, his 4th single of the game. Dal Maxvill was retired, bringing up Torrez again. Billingham smirked and delivered. Torrez smacked a single to win the game! Crazy, man, crazy. 

They say he killed a man named Gray and took his wife to Italy.
In other action, the Giants, behind a 5-hit shutout by Bob "Bolin For Dollars" Bolin, swept the entire season series from the Phillies, taking the game 9-0 and the series 12-0. However, the win came at a cost for the San Franciscans. Fan favorite Dick Dietz was hit by a back-swing and his head was knocked off. Concerned teammates put the head in a bag, loaded it into an ambulance with the rest of Dietz, and sent him off to the hospital to have it reattached. Dietzy will miss two weeks. Bob "Hi, Bob!" Barton stepped in and went 2 for 3, raising his season average to a nifty .348 in just under 50 ab's, despite a putrid card. "I can't help it if I'm lucky," quoth Barton, as Bob Dylan smiled benignly at his side. 
Violence never solves anything, but we like it anyway.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Giants Take First On Dietz Walk-Off : Wednesday, August 27th, 1969


CIN 9, CHI 8 (11inns)  W-Granger 9-5 L-Johnson 2-3  S-Carroll(2)  HR-Perez 2(22)  Perez 4 rbi.

ATL 6, PIT 1  W-Stone 9-9 L-Walker 4-7  HR-H.Aaron(39)

HOU 3, STL 0  W-Wilson 10-11 L-Briles 11-12  HR-Menke(5)

MON 4, LA 2  W-Robertson 10-12 L-Sutton 15-8  HR-Staub(26)  Staub all 4 rbi.

LA 4, MON 2  W-Osteen 14-8 L-Stoneman 4-14  S-Mikkelsen(16)  HR-Bateman(6)

NY 9, SD 2  W-McAndrew 10-11 L-Santorini 5-20  HR-Shamsky(13) Stahl(9)ph  McAndrew 11 K's.

SF 6, PHI 5  W-Herbel 4-2 L-Wilson 1-10  HR-Allen(30) Fryman(1) Mays(12)  Dietz GW single.

Mister Wilson has nothing to smile about.
Why does San Francisco backstop Dick Dietz hate the Phillies? For that matter, why does the whole Giants team hate the Phillies? What ever happened to peace and love, baby? The visitors from Philadelphia took the field Wednesday afternoon trying for their first win in 11 tries against the Giants. Things looked crazy-good for the Quakers in the top of the second. Larry Hisle walked, the next two batters made outs following a steal by Hisle, and so the Giants brain trust decided to intentionally walk catcher Dave Watkins and deal to Phils' hurler Woodie Fryman. Lefty Mike McCormick served up a pitch, and Fryman, who pitches left but bats (poorly) right, mashed a drive into the left field stands for a 3-run crank! (The Giants brain trust underwent immediate lobotomies.) Still celebrating, Mr. Fryman took the mound in the bottom of the 2nd and promptly ate a baseball off the bat of Hal Lanier, knocking him out of the game and into the dentist's chair.  Enter Turk Farrell, who gave up a couple of tallies in the 3rd, but kept the lead. Riding yet another blast by Rich Allen--his 11th of August--the Phils held a 5-2 lead going into the bottom of the 7th when Willie Mays hit a two-run shot to make it 5-4. (The HR was either his 599th, or 603rd, if you count his 4 extra homers for me back in '61.) Al Raffo, quaking in his boots, somehow retired Willie McCovey and ran to the showers like a scared rabbit. 

Dietz sent for the free book.
Fast forward to the bottom of the 9th with Billy Wilson on the mound for Philadelphia. Poor Billy entered the game with a log of 1-9 and no saves in August. In fact, the entire Phillie bullpen has no saves in August. He had escaped a jam in the bottom of the 8th and started the 9th by serving up a single to young speedster Bobby Bonds. Ron Hunt moved him up with a ground out that would have been a hit, had not Tony Taylor moved to his right to cover second on the hit-and-run.  Wilson, thus reprieved, retired Willie Mays, leaving it all up to Willie McCovey. The Phillie brain trust ordered "Stretch" to be walked, and so he was.  2 out, 2 on, and Ken Henderson at the plate. Ken had entered the fray when Jim Ray Hart's shoulder exploded on a play in the outfield earlier in the game. Hart will miss 10 games while watching Robert Wagner and Stephanie Powers on tv. But I digress! Henderson shocked everyone by laying down a perfect bunt to load the bases. Up stepped Tito Fuentes. A panicked Billy Wilson couldn't stop the plate from jumping around, and in true Phillie style, he walked in the tying run. 5-5! That brought Dick Dietz to the dish. His homer yesterday had undone the Phillies, and so they had retaliated by beaning him twice in this contest. No matter. Dick smacked a single to left that scored McCovey with the winning run, as a jubilant Giants squad took over sole possession of first place and ran their record against the Quakers to a cool 11-0 with one contest remaining. Wilson sinks to 1-10 and wonders why Tom Hanks keeps talking to him. 

Don't be a hater, Larry.
A different Wilson, Don, stopped the Cardinals with a complete game shutout at Busch Stadium. At San Diego, the Mets completed a 3 game sweep of the lowly Pods with a 9-2 win behind Jim McAndrew, 7-1 in his last 8 decisions. However, Larry Stahl hit his second dinger of the series. He only hit 3 all year in '68 for the Mets, but he is fueled by hate for the team that let him end up with the stinking Padres. At Chicago, the suddenly crazed Tony Perez enjoyed his second straight 2-homer game at the Cubs' expense, powering Cincy to another wild high-scoring win. 

"Eet theez pay-stree! Or pay zee price!"
Finally, the Expos played two against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, a twin bill made necessary by events in Canada earlier this month. A contest scheduled for Jarry Park in late May was snowed out, and rescheduled for August 18th, an open date for both clubs. However, Quebec separatists chose that day to take to the streets in roving gangs, obliging helpless victims to read statements against the Toronto Maple Leafs and then forcing them to eat delicious pastries. Oh the humanity! And so the league office, headed by Warren Giles, produced an edict to the effect that the game be played as part of a doubleheader in Los Angeles, where Quebec separatists are not especially common. "The safety of our fans and players is the most important thing to us," opined the League President, munching on a raspberry tart.  Mon dieu!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Mets Hit The Road, Sweep Pods : Tuesday, August 26th, 1969


CIN 8, CHI 7  W-Ramos 6-1 L-Abernathy 4-8  S-Granger(17)  HR-Perez 2(20) Banks(11)  Tolan, Perez and Banks each drive in 4. 

PIT 5, ATL 0  W-Blass 15-6 L-Jarvis 13-9  HR-Stargell(20)

STL 3, HOU 2  W-Carlton 17-6 L-LeMaster 14-13  HR-Shannon(7)

LA 4,  MON 3  W-Singer 18-8  L-Renko 2-6  HR-Jones(14)

NY 6, SD 2  W-Koosman 15-9 L-Kirby 3-15  HR-Grote(8) 

NY 8, SD 1  W-Gentry 14-8 L-Sisk 6-13  HR-Shamsky(12) Martin(2) Stahl(8)

SF 3, PHI 2  W-Perry 17-6 L-Jackson 12-11  HR-Allen(29) Dietz(7)

"You keep hitting, but we keep losing!"
We start off in San Francisco, where the Phillies were seeking their first win over the Giants. You read that right. They played 'em tough, riding a 2-2 tie into the bottom of the 8th, but with 2 out, Dick Dietz got a hold of one and put S.F. up by a run. Gaylord Perry disposed of the bottom of the Quaker order in the 9th, and the Giants are now 10-0 against the Philadelphians. Rich Allen continues to belt the ball, hitting his 10th homer of August, but it isn't translating into wins. Meanwhile, iron man backstop Mike Ryan finally died with his gear on and was carried off the field for the next 5 contests. Dave Watkins dons the tools of ignorance in his stead.

The red-hot Mets took their show on the road to San Diego, where they handily swept two from the lowly Friars. Even J.C. Martin got in on the act, slugging a homer in the nightcap as reader William fumed.

Tim McCarver says, "Lay it on in here, baby!"
Houston went into St. Louis with hopes of dumping the Cardinals, but a late 3-run jack off the bat of Mike Shannon brought the Redbirds back. Oft-injured backstop Tim McCarver is out again, making another opportunity for Dave Ricketts to show what he can do. "Get healthy, or we trade you to Philadelphia!" opined St. Louis skipper Red Schoendienst to his fragile catcher.

"They say I may have already won millions!"
Bill Singer and the hated Dodgers seemed to have things well in hand, despite a top of the 1st inning round tripper off the bat of Mack Jones. The Dodgers built a 4-1 lead going into the 9th, but the stubborn and scrappy Expos plated a pair, and the Tinseltown nine had both star relievers up. Singer talked ancient Walter Alston into keeping him in the game for the final out, and also made the old codger believe he was about to win the Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes. Lo and behold, Singer escaped with the win, but Alston is still waiting for Ed McMahon to appear. Your Impartial Goddess finally hit a Dodger with her elephant gun, relegating outfield caddy Bill Russell to a makeshift hospital in the bush for 10 games. Mack Jones was punished for his good deed as well, and will sit out 5. Adolpho "Captain" Phillips takes over in the Expos pasture.

Happiness is 2 home runs!
Tony Perez and Bobby Tolan powered the Reds to a thrilling 8-7 win at Wrigley. Perez smoked a pair of bombs, and Tolan upped his August rbi total to a gaudy 25. Wayne Granger nailed down the save. That Tolan and Granger for Vada Pinson deal is looking very very good these days for the Rhinelanders. For the Cardinals not so much. Vada can't buy a hit in St. Louis.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Lucky 7 For The East : Sunday & Monday, August 24th & 25th, 1969

Scores, August 24th

CHI 2, HOU 1  W-Jenkins 15-7 L-Dierker 13-12  HR-Hickman(20) Dierker 2-hitter.

CHI 7, HOU 2  W-Hands 17-8 L-Billingham 2-11  HR-Morgan(10) Rudolph(4)

MON 6, SF 3  W-Jaster 9-10 L-Marichal 15-10  S-Face(14)  HR-Hunt(1) Henderson(5)ph Bailey(10) Staub(25)

NY 4, LA 3  W-Seaver 11-11 L-Bunning 9-9  Charles 1-out walk-off double.

PHI 5, SD 2  W-Wise 10-11 L-J.Niekro 8-12  HR-Allen(28) Hisle(8)

PIT 4, CIN 3  W-Hartenstein 6-3 L-Maloney 15-9  HR-May(25) Stargell(19)

STL 4, ATL 3 (11inns)  W-Hoerner 9-6 L-Doyle 5-4  HR-Gonzales(6) Aspromonte(3)ph Maxvill(6)  Flood 1-out walk-off single.

No games for August 25th.

"Is this the right bus?"
The east beat up on the west to the tune of 7-0 on Sunday, and there was plenty of excitement along the way. First, the New York Mets and their "Lucky Bus" struck yet again when Eddie Charles stroked a walk-off double to give the Metropolitans a 3 game sweep of the Dodgers, with all 3 wins of the come-from-behind variety, with the last 2 being walk-offs. Asked by scribes about his dramatic hit, Charles just screamed something about having a woman "way over town" who's good to him. Oh yeah!

In Pittsburgh, the Reds seemed poised to take all 3 from the Bucs, but then Dave Cash got on and Willie Stargell cranked a two-run shot off of Jim Maloney to send the Rhinelanders down in bitter defeat after Chuck Hartenstein slammed the door in the 9th. However, the Cincinnati club took 7 of 12 on the season. 

Curt contemplates success, failure, and bloop singles to center.
The Braves thought things looked good at Busch Stadium when they plated a run in the opening inning off of Bob Gibson, but the Cards tied it off Knucksie Niekro in the bottom of the initial frame. Rico Carty led off the 2nd with a screamer right into Gibby's sour old puss, shelving the right-hander for the next 5 games. Enter Jim "Mudcat" Grant, fresh from his tomb, who twirled 6 and 2/3 innings and gave up just one run. Dal "Federal Super Max" Maxvill cranked his astonishing 6th homer of the year to tie the game at 2, and then Curt Flood brought in Lou Brock with the lead run 3-2. Joe Hoerner came in and got the first two Braves out in the 9th, but Bob "Hi, Bob!" Aspromonte pinch hit and launched a deep drive to left which departed the yard and tied up the contest at 3. No matter. Curt Flood delivered his 3rd rbi, driving in Brock each time, to cap his 4-for-4 day and a 4-3 extra inning Cards win. 

John Bateman being backed up on the throw by Larry Jaster. This baseball stuff is a cinch!
Juan Marichal was looking for his 10th straight win when he took the mound at Jarry Park against the Expos, but they cleaned his clock instead. Following a walk, the 'Spos delivered a pair of doubles and then back-to-back blasts by Bailey and Staub, to hang a five-spot on the high kicking chucker and send him to an early shower. With the win, their 53rd, the Expos officially exceed their actual win total of 52, and August isn't even over yet! 

Ken Rudolph and friend.
Finally, the Cubs eked out just 2 hits against Larry Dierker of the Astros, but one of them was a late 2-run bomb by Jim Hickman to take the opener, and then Ken "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Back-Up Catcher" Rudolph hit one out to power the sweep in Chicago. The Astros are so weird. After going 23-4 to reach .500 at 54-54, the Spacemen have slumped to 5-15 ever since. 

And I could mention the Pods-Phillies game, but why?

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Lucky Bus Rolls On! : Saturday, August 23rd, 1969


CHI 7, HOU 6  W-Aguirre 5-3 L-Womack 4-5  S-Regan(14)  HR-Wynn(20) Hickman(19)

SF 7, MON 2  W-Sadecki 6-7 L-Wegener 9-11  HR-McCovey(25)

NY 6, LA 5  W-McGraw 4-10 L-Mikkelsen 8-3  HR-Jones(9) Grote(7)  Agee 1-out 2-run walk-off triple.

SD 7, PHI 5  W-Reberger 5-10 L-Raffo 1-4  HR-Stahl(7) Briggs(10)

CIN 2, PIT 0 (13inns)  W-Granger 8-5 L-Dal Canton 5-6

ATL 4, STL 0  W-Reed 13-7 L-Washburn 8-13  HR-H.Aaron(38)  Reed 1-hitter.

"Forget the Love Train, I'm on the Lucky Bus!"
Too much, the Lucky Bus! The Dodgers were at Shea again on Saturday as your Impartial Goddess lounged in her private box seat wearing her Mets gear and taking potshots at the Tinseltown nine with her elephant gun, all the while smiling benignly. Things started well when the crazy-hot Cleon Jones smacked a two-run bomb in the bottom of the first. However, Nolan Ryan's express delivered a train load of slop in the top of the 5th, serving up 5 big runs before being removed by stadium security. The Metropolitans got one back in the 4th on a solo jack by Jerry Grote. Cal Koonce twirled 3 and a third of shutout relief, Ron Taylor 2 more, and Tug McGraw 1, but it was still 5-3 Dodgers going into the bottom of the 9th. Kenny "They killed Kenny!" Boswell made the first out against L.A. relief ace Pete Mikkelsen, but Al Weis, in for injured shortstop Bud Harrelson, dinked a single to give New York hope.

Now I got my Lucky Bus....
At this point your Impartial Goddess rubbed up the roof of the Lucky Bus, so instrumental in yesterday's win. Cleon Jones, a walking fireball he's so hot, bashed a double to make it 5-4! More roof rubbing. Shamsky draws a walk. Yet more roof rubbing as your completely Impartial Goddess implored the New York nine to rally on.  Tommie's disciples led him away from his pinball machine to the dish to hit, and Mr. Agee launched a soaring drive to the wall in center field for a 2-run walk-off three bagger! DOWN go the evil Dodgers! Oh yeah! Incidentally, after a very lackluster 40-41 first half, the Mets are 27-17 in the second half.

"I'm soooo high...."
In Chicago, Astro chucker Dooley "Freaking" Womack coughed up the losing tallies for the second straight day and was promptly peddled to the lowly Pilots in exchange for blabbermouth author and washed-up kuckleballer Jim Bouton. Dooley's former teammates shouted encouragement as he left the clubhouse for the last time: "Get outta here ya no-talent busher! And don't come back!" It is rumored that, upon arrival in Seattle, Dooley was immediately issued a plaid flannel shirt and a cup of Starbuck's. 

The two best hitting teams in the league squared off for 13 innings before either one could score. At last, Tony Perez singled in a run, and Johnny Bench did the same for a 2-0 win for the Reds. Starter Jim Merritt had nothing to show for 11 innings of shutout ball, as he and Dock Ellis dueled to a stand-off. 

My little petlet.
Finally, my little pet Larry Stahl hit a two-run shot off of the immortal Al Raffo, and Frank "Double" Reberger made it stand up for a 7-5 win at Philadelphia, the Friars' 4th win in a row! As for the Phillies, they are on suicide watch. Larry Stahl turns up riding the bench for tail-enders in my replays, but always seems to do well for me when he gets in there. After hostile influences tried twice to kill him off yesterday, today he showed his glowing good health with his homer, even though the return of Nate Colbert knocked Larry back to the bench from whence he came to save the day after replacing Cito Gaston in center field. Larry now stands third on the Pods in homers with 7, trailing only Ollie Brown and the aforementioned Nate Colbert. "I'm like a God!" quoth Larry as he polished his spot on the bench with loving care.
Pods mgr. Gomez lights up yet another victory cigar!


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Cubs and Reds Stage Miracle Rallies : Friday, August 22nd, 1969


CHI 5, HOU 4 (10inns)  W-Regan 6-6 L-Womack 4-4  HR-Blefary(11) Williams(15)  Popovich 1-out walk-off single.

SF 14, MON 2  W-Bolin 13-10 L-Robertson 9-12  HR-Hart(9)  Hart 6 rbi.

NY 6, LA 4  W-McAndrew 9-11 L-Osteen 13-8  S-McGraw(21)  HR-Jones(8)

SD 4, PHI 2  W-Santorini 5-19 L-Fryman 7-13  S-Reberger(14)  HR-Stahl(6)

CIN 6, PIT 5 (10inns)  W-Granger 7-5 L-Veale 14-9  HR-Stewart(6)ph Stargell(18)

STL 5, ATL 0  W-Taylor 8-8 L-Britton 0-1  HR-Javier(7)

Too much! The Lucky Bus!
Imagine the verbiage your Impartial Goddess may have employed when the hated Tinseltown nine plated 4 runs in the top of the first against the Mets at Shea. Imagine my colorful patois as every roll and circumstance seemed to go their way. Who knew, when Maury Wills singled in the second inning and advanced to third with one out, that the Dodgers had only one hit left in them? Who could have predicted a fly out/ throw 'em out double play to exterminate the threat and prevent Jim McAndrew from being reduced to a "D"? What peerless seer could have predicted that the Mets would score 2, and then 4 more, with the big blow coming off the bat of Cleon Jones in the form of a 3-run HR to give him 8 rbi in the last two games? Who could have envisioned McAndrew advancing to "A" status, or Tug McGraw turning in a flawless inning of relief? In any event, that's what happened. Some credit my newly trotted-out 1960s NYC transit bus, now dubbed the Lucky Bus. 

Fear the mighty Po-Po!
Second-place Chicago looked like they were going down in dismal defeat to fireballer Don Wilson and the Astros, but when he allowed two runners to reach with two out in the bottom of the ninth, and the Spacemen up 4-1, Dooley "Freaking" Womack was ladled out of the Houston bullpen to try to get Ron Santo out. Nothing doing! Ron knocked a two-run double, and then a pinch runner scored the tying run, sending the contest into extra frames. That's when Leo Durocher dusted off little Paul Popovich, who singled home the winning run. The bruins scored all five runs from the 8th inning on, to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. As for Dooley Womack, he is rumored to be on the block following several lackluster performances of late. 

Bill meets his end. (courtesy of Pepper's Dog Blog)
Not to be outdone, The Reds had a rally of their own. After being one-hit by Bob "Hi, Bob!" Veale at Cincinnati, he was setting them down again with regularity, and carried a 5-2 lead into the 9th. However, the big lefty walked a pair, and with 2 out, pinch hitter Jimmy Stewart cranked a three-run bomb to tie the game in front of the dismayed Pittsburgh crowd. "Aw that's swell!" chirped Stewart. Then in the 10th, with Veale still on the hill, Bobby Tolan, who had been mystified by the left-handed slants all day, managed a single, then took off for second. Manny Sanguillen rag-armed the throw into center field, allowing Tolan to advance to third. Up stepped slump-encrusted Lee May, who dinked a single to score Tolan, and although in the excitement Lee managed to get thrown out trying for a double, it was all the Reds and Wayne Granger needed to seal the victory.  As for the Buccos, they are sinking like a stone, and lost the services of Bill "Oh no, Mr. Bill!" Mazeroski for the next ten games while he works on his baseball magazine and rests his smashed-in face after being creamed by a fastball. Kid keystoner Dave Cash returns to the line-up in his stead. 

"Yeegh! There's something crawling up the inside of my uniform!"
Poor Atlanta. With Ron Reed and Pat Jarvis both sidelined for the moment, kid chucker Jim Britton had to toe the slab (why does that sound so gross?) against the Cardinals at Busch. He didn't do too badly, giving up 4 earnies in 7 innings and fanning 9, but Chuck Taylor blanked the teepee dwellers for the second straight start, this time on 3 hits. Asked by a scribe about his future plans, losing pitcher Jim explained, "I plan to really foul up my elbow, get traded to the Expos, make a few more futile appearances in '71, and then fade from the scene!" Oh that youthful exuberance! 

Guess who our favorite player is?
In Montreal, Jim Ray Hart exploded for 6 rbi to lead the San Franciscans past the Expos by a whopping count of 14-2. Ever since Mike McCormick's injury saved him and kept him in the rotation by the hair on his chinny chin chin, Bob "Bolin For Dollars" Bolin has done nothing but win. He hasn't pitched especially well, mind you. He just wins. Cue Reader William's views on the "W". 

"It's amazing, Mr. Stahl. There's not a scratch on you!"
Finally, the unstoppable Pods have cobbled together a real live 3-game winning streak! Of course, this also means that the Phillies' dreadful season has reached a new low, with the Friars stopping the hometown Quakers 4-2, and not only that, but Al "Losing Pitcher" Santorini scored the win! Flyhawk Larry Stahl, only in there against the lefty Fryman due to a lack of living bodies to pencil into the line-up, cranked a two-run shot for the Holy Men. He did this despite twice trying to get injured, but the Magical Protective Shield (TM) that prevents injuries to teams down to a bare minimum of participants swooped in and saved him both times. "I can't be killed!" he crowed, as the glum Philadelphia nine shambled off the field in shame.
The Phillies' team bus is here.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

A Sisk-sational Pods Victory : Thursday, August 21st, 1969


ATL 7, CHI 4  W-Pappas 10-7 L-Holtzman 10-6  S-Upshaw(24)  HR-H.Aaron(37) Cepeda(17)

SD 4, MON 3  W-Sisk 6-12 L-McGinn 7-4  S-Reberger(13)  Sisk 4 rbi, Herrera 5-for-5.

NY 6, SF 0  W-Gentry 13-8 L-McCormick 11-5  HR-Jones(7)  Jones 5 rbi.

LA 11, PHI 1  W-Sutton 15-7 L-J.Johnson 5-18  HR-Allen(27)

STL 2, CIN 0  W-Briles 11-11 L-Fisher 11-10  Briles 2-hitter.

He's in a quiet vibration land.
Tommie Sisk, the Pods' very own deaf dumb and blind boy, did it all on Thursday! Not only did he take the "W" for the second straight start and draw to within one of team leader Joe Niekro, but he had a an rbi single and a 3-run triple for all 4 rbi as the Friars downed their expansion cousins 4-3 at Parc Jarry.  And if all that isn't enough to give your heart palpitations, it was the Holy Men's second win in a row, and now they head to Philadelphia for a Clash of the Titans.

Your Impartial Goddess has about had it with L.A.
When I was nearing the end of my '67 AL replay and trying to decide what to play next, I liked a lot of things about '69 NL (obviously), and one of the teams that drew me was the Phillies, who had a lot of my old favorites in their line-up. Imagine, if you will, how bitterly disappointed I am in them now, especially after they dropped all 3 at home to the despised Dodgers. Your Most Serene Goddess even visited them in their clubhouse, deep in the bowels of crumbling Connie Mack Stadium before Thursday's contest, to implore them to put on their hitting shoes. Skipper George Myatt had a huge decision to make: Johnson or Fryman for the start? He chose Johnson, who immediately gave up a 5-spot in the top of the fist inning as your Imperturbable Goddess flipped her program into the aisle in disgust. Rich Allen did pop a homer in the bottom of that frame, but it didn't prevent yet another Dodger victory. "Next time I'm bringing my elephant gun," muttered your Impartial Goddess on her way out.

Cleon Jones hoisted the Mets on his back and Gary Gentry did the rest as the New York nine downed San Francisco 6-0 with Jones knocking in 5 of the 6. The Metropolitans now move to within three of the second place Cubs.

Beanie & Cecil don the high fash shades.
The Cubs, for their part, fell behind the Braves at Wrigley 7-1, then tried to claw their way back but the hole was too deep. Miracle "D" Milt "Uncle Miltie" Pappas garnered his 10th win with help from super relief ace Cecil Upshaw, who kept asking, "Where is Beanie?" 

NOT Joe Torre.
That high-steppin' Nellie Briles stopped the visiting Reds on just two hits, harmless two-out singles in each of the first two innings. Cards' first sacker Joe Torre, finally deciding to actually do something, drove in both runs to go along with the 4 he knocked in on Wednesday. However, he *was* cut down on the base paths, making Joe a dismal 0-for-3 in steals on the season, effectively ending his bid to displace Lou Brock as the St. Louis lead-off man.  

Finally, the Astros and Pirates didn't even take the field on Thursday, both teams citing "ennui" as the reason for their pervading sense of indifference and malaise. Jean Paul Sartre was called in to speak to both squads before Friday's upcoming action.
Aw, sez you!

Monday, April 10, 2017

If You Meet The Dodgers On The Road, Kill Them : Wednesday, August 20th, 1969


CHI 3, ATL 1  W-Hands 16-8 L-Stone 8-9  HR-Williams(14) Santo(20)

SD 4, MON 1  W-Kelley 5-3 L-Stoneman 4-13  S-Podres(1)  

NY 2, SF 1  W-Koosman 14-9 L-Perry 16-6  HR-Etheridge(1)ph

LA 3, PHI 0  W-Singer 17-8 L-Jackson 12-10  HR-Kosco(12)

HOU 13, PIT 0  W-LeMaster 14-12 L-Blass 14-6  HR-Morgan(9) Wynn(19) Blefary(10) Edwards(5)

STL 8, CIN 5  W-Carlton 16-6 L-Nolan 3-7  HR-May(24) Torre(10)  Torre 4 rbi.

The Singer Throwing Machine
Please, someone stop the Dodgers. Do it while I still have a race. They are so annoying. Once again, they dinked out just enough offense--don't they always?--and rode their pitching to yet another victory. Bill "The Singer Throwing Machine" Singer, hit hard in the first half despite a no-hitter against the Astros, has come on in the second half to take the league lead in wins, with 17. Add to their general annoyingness that they have not had an injury of any kind in some time, and have added Jim Bunning to seal their one glaring weakness--the bottom of the rotation.  

He finally traded in his Wimpies for some Wheaties.
The Astros wrapped up their brief visit to Pittsburgh by going homer-happy and destroying the Buccos 13-0. Little Joe Morgan, who floundered his way through the season at a .208 clip entering August, is hitting about .480 for the month, raising his average all the way to .250. "I have attained mediocrity," he opined as Reds scouts drooled in the stands.

The Mets beat the Giants at Shea behind lefty Jerry Koosman, even though he lost his shutout in the 9th on Bobby Etheridge's first blast of the season. "I live inside the bench, where I raise my larvae," he explained.

Johnny's save thrilled even the Montreal fans!
The Pods thought they might have a prayer with Joe Niekro bringing his talents--and his emery board--to Parc Jarry on Wednesday, but Joe got decapitated by a line drive after just a single frame, and was relieved by lefty Dick Kelley. All Kelley did was pitch 7 and two thirds innings of stellar relief before finally crumbling dead in a heap. Searching frantically for another lefty to face the last Montreal batter,  Pods skipper Gomez summoned ancient relic Johnny Podres, who garnered his first save. Informed that, in actuality, he had retired in late June, Johnny scoffed and vowed to pitch "until my arm falls off." As for the stalwart Mr. Kelley, he will miss three weeks taking it easy and complaining of having been effective. 

Finally, Joe Torre doubled his month's rbi total in a single game by collecting a single, homer, and triple off of absurd Cincinnati pitching.  Vic Davalillo, agog over the chance to fill in for Curt Flood for 4 games, hyperventilated and blew away in a strong wind, leaving Joe Hague and Byron Browne to man right field for the Redbirds while Vada Pinson shifts to center.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

No Respect For "A"s : Tuesday, August 19th, 1969


CHI 5, ATL 1  W-Jenkins 14-7 L-P.Niekro 14-10  HR-Hickman(18) Smith(9)

MON 6, SD 2  W-Jaster 8-10 L-Kirby 3-14

SF 8, NY 4  W-Marichal 15-9 L-Seaver 10-11  HR-Mays(11) Lanier(1)ISP Charles(3)  Mays 4 rbi.

LA 5, PHI 4  W-Bunning 9-8 L-Wise 9-11  S-Mikkelsen(15)  HR-Davis 2(15) Allen(26) Wise(1)

PIT 13, HOU 8  W-Walker 4-6 L-Dierker 13-11  HR-Wynn(18) Stargell(17) Hebner 2(3)  Wynn 4 rbi.

CIN 5, STL 0  W-Maloney 15-8 L-Gibson 16-5  Maloney 1-hitter.

I tell ya, grade "A" pitchers got no respect on August 19th!  First, the Cubs roughed up Knucksie Niekro at Wrigley, handing him his tenth loss. Fergie Jenkins was supported by homers from Jim Hickman--his first since July 3rd--and Willie Smith. The win moved the baby bears to within 4 of the top.

Willie enters a land of statistical confusion and chaos.
Then Juan Marichal and Tom Seaver hooked up at Shea Stadium. Last time they faced each other, the game went into extra frames 0-0. Not this time! The Mets gave Seaver a 2-1 lead, but pesky little Hal Lanier smacked a two-run inside the park homer to give the Giants a 3-2 lead. It was the 6th inside the parker this season, and was Hal's first dinger since 1966! Undaunted, the Metropolitans fought back to take a 4-3 lead with 2 runs in the bottom of the 7th, and carried that lead into the bottom of the 9th. Seaver allowed a base runner but had just one out to get--pinch hitter Jim Ray Hart--for the win. No dice! Hart knocked in the tying run, then he crossed the dish himself for a 5-4 Giants lead, before Willie Mays walloped a three-run jack to make it 8-4 San Francisco and chase Mr. Seaver. The lead held and a stunned group of Mets retired to their silent clubhouse in defeat. Tom Terrific is now a pedestrian 10-11....very disappointing. As for Marichal, he won his 9th straight decision. Willie Mays is tearing it up in August with 18 rbi. In addition, Tuesday's homer was either his 598th (if you consider he entered the season with his actual total of 587) or his 602nd (if you factor in that he hit 44 HRs for me in '61 instead of his actual 40).

Someone show him where the plate is!
At Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, Astro righty Larry Dierker lasted only two and a third innings against the lumber company, barfing up 8 big runs before departing, including back-to-back round trippers by lefty swingers Stargell and Hebner. Skip Guinn came on to walk three batters in a row and five for the inning before finally getting out of the third with the score 11-3 Pirates despite a 3-run bomb from Jim Wynn in the top of the first. 

He helped Mike.
To top off the "A"-bashing for the day, Bob Gibson was greeted with 2 Cincinnati tallies in the top of the first inning, helped along by a wild throw from Tim McCarver, who quipped, "My throw was wild because it was not accurate, and therefore was propelled into center field." The Reds eventually chased Mr. Gibson with one out in the 8th inning when they plated their fifth run against him. But the real story was Jim Maloney's no-hit bid! He tossed 8 innings of hitless ball, but Mike Shannon doubled leading off the bottom of the 9th to prevent history from being made. "The Little People helped me," he slurred by way of explanation. Incidentally, Cardinal flyhawk Curt Flood will miss the next 4 games while trying to merge the reserve clause with Santa Claus. "Go away! I'm busy!" he was heard to shout from his mysterious back yard workshop.

Jim Bunny. Er, Bunning.
Finally, there were two non-"A" games of note. In one, the Expos downed their expansion cousins for their 52nd win of the season, matching their actual total with 38 games left to play! In the other, Jim Bunning, newly acquired by Los Angeles, traveled to Philadelphia to defeat his old pals the Phillies, fanning 10. Dodger relief ace Pete Mikkelsen almost blew it when he allowed a 2-run crank to the suddenly red-hot Rich Allen, but he held on for the one-run win. It was Philly's 27th one-run loss.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Giants Sweep Cubs, Share First Place In West: Sunday & Monday, August 17th & 18th, 1969

Scores, August 17th

LA 4, MON 3  W-Osteen 13-7 L-Wegener 9-10  S-Brewer(12)  HR-Parker(8) Fairly(9)

NY 6, SD 1  W-McAndrew 8-11 L-Reberger 4-10  HR-Jones(7) Grote(7)ph GS  

NY 8, SD 4  W-R.Taylor 6-3 L-Roberts 3-12  HR-Gaston(1)  Charles(2)

PHI 4, HOU 3 (11inns)  W-Farrell 2-7  L-Ray 6-2  T.Taylor GW sac fly

STL 6, ATL 0  W-C.Taylor 7-8 L-Jarvis 13-8  HR-Shannon(6) 

PIT 3, CIN 0  W-Veale 14-8 L-Nolan 3-6  Veale 1-hitter.

SF 7, CHI 3  W-Bolin 12-10 L-Selma 8-13  S-McMahon(1)  HR-Williams(13) Bonds(20) McCovey(24)

SF 8, CHI 6  W-Linzy 7-4 L-Regan 5-6  S-Herbel(1)  HR-Rudolph(3) Mays(10)ph

Score, August 18th

CIN 10, PIT 3  W-Merritt 9-13 L-Ellis 7-13  HR-Johnson(12)GS Bench(12)  Johnson 6 rbi.

I have reached the exact three-quarter point of the season.

"I suck, but I win!"
The Giants were rude hosts to the Cubs this past weekend, taking all 4 games and winning the season series 9 games to 3. Bob "Bolin For Dollars" Bolin continues to toss batting practice, but somehow he wins anyway. In the nightcap, Phil Regan continues to struggle out of the Chicago bullpen, and the Giants got an inning out of a surprised Ron "Herbal Essence" Herbel for the save. The Giants have now gotten saves from 5 different chuckers this season. Unusual in APBA, at least in my experience, partly because I have never used a set with all the players included.  Anyway, the hero of the game for SF was Willie Mays, who launched a 3-run pinch hit homer in the bottom of the 8th.

The Mets swept a pair from the hilarious Padres, but the scores are not indicative of how close the games were. A 5 run 8th and a 4 run 7th made it look good for the Mets. They'll take 'em any way they can get 'em.  Clarence Gaston did slug his first dinger for the Friars. I recalled his excellent 1970 season, but had not remembered how wimpy he was in '69.

He's looking into it.
The Dodgers took all three at Montreal, but all of those games were close, too. Mike Wegener fanned 9 and walked 10 in a weird complete game effort, but the 'Spos came up a run short despite a blast from former Dodger Ron Fairly. The Dodgers now travel to Philadelphia, pending an investigation as to why they have such an easy schedule! 

The Cardinals continue to roll, riding a fine shutout effort from Chuck Taylor to defeat the Braves in Atlanta. With the Cubs flailing, the Cards are once again pulling away. Can anyone stop the two-time NL champs? They don't hit much, but they lead the league in shutouts pitched with 16.

"What's the score? Where am I?"
Finally, Alex Johnson went off on the visiting Pirates, belting a grand slam and knocking in 6. Ted Savage, filling in for Bobby Tolan and hitting just ahead of Johnson, contributed a pair of doubles, three runs scored, and a steal of third. The Pirates, alone in the league right now except for the similarly crippled Padres, fielded what amounted to a "B" team in Monday's only action. They did stroke a dozen hits, but they were all singles. Next game, they get Stargell and Carl Taylor back, though mainstays Clemente and Oliver will remain shelved for 5 more games. The Reds' Jim Merritt won the battle of the disappointing #2 starters over Dock Ellis. From here on out, Steve Blass takes over the second spot in the rotation. "It's so beautiful," mumbled Ellis nonsensically, while staring at unicorns only he can see.