Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Cards Win Flag Three Games To One Over Giants

The NLCS was a little bit of a disappointment, to be honest. I expected low scores, what with both teams featuring two shut-down aces, but it got silly when neither team could buy a run at all. 

The Cardinals won game one, 2-1, behind Gibson. Bobby Bonds hit a 9th inning solo homer to get the home crowd excited, but that was it. Perry took the loss after giving up 2 in the top of the first on three doubles before settling down.

In game 2, the Cards scored an unearned run and that was all she wrote. STL 1, SF 0. Carlton tossed a 2-hitter with 10 strikeouts. Marichal took the hard luck loss.

Game 3 saw the same script reversed, when the Giants scored an unearned run and rode it to a 1-0 win at St. Louis to stay alive. McMahon the winner, Briles the loss, Linzy the save.

The Cardinals jumped on Bob Bolin for a run in the bottom of the first in game 4, and then exploded for 9 runs in the second off of Bolin and Ray Sadecki. Chuck Taylor got the win as the final tally was a whopping 13-1. St. Louis wins in four.

Lou Brock was named the NLCS MVP for hitting .400 (6 for 15) with a double, 4 runs scored and 2 rbi.  The Giants only scored 3 runs for the entire series, and never more than 1 in any game. There was only the one home run by Bonds in the series. 

St. Louis Cardinals, 1969 replay National League champions. 

Note: my next project will be the 1956 National League. I won't be doing daily updates like I did for this replay, but I will turn up in this space now and then with news about it.

Final 1969 NL Replay Stats, Leaders, & Team Reports

My 1969 National League regular season replay is over! I started it on April 3rd, 2016 and finished on June 26, 2017, so a little under 15 months to play it.

The NLCS will appear in my next --and last--post, but for now let's take a look at the season just gone by (um, almost 50 years ago!). The Cardinals and Giants both went 97-65, winning their respective divisions, but the Giants had a much tougher fight, eventually winning by 2 over the Dodgers, while the Redbirds skunked the Cubs and the rest of the east by 8 games. 

Some random fun facts to know and tell, before we get to the leader board and team summaries:

20-game winners: replay 7, actual 9.
.300 hitters qualifying for the batting title: replay 13, actual 11.
No hitters: 4. Hands, Singer and Marichal 2.
Cycles: 3. Lee May, Pete Rose and Donn Clendenon

Player of the Month
April--Rose, cin
May--McCovey, sf
June--H.Aaron, atl
July--H.Aaron, atl
August--Tolan, cin
September--May, cin

My league totals vs (actual).
ERA--3.60 (3.59)
K's--12,080 (11,628)
Shutouts--162 (166)
Saves--302 (356)
CG--638 (531)

Errors--1768 (1758)
DP's--1636 (1777)
TP's--4 (4)

BA--.247 (.250)
HR--1282 (1470)
2B--2549 (2455)
3B--450 (471)
xbh--4281 (4396)
SB--874 (817)
CS--468 (548)
steal pct.--65% (60%)
runs--7997 (7890)
rpg--8.23 (8.12)


WINS--Carlton-stl 22-7, Perry-sf 22-8, Singer-la 22-11, Maloney-cin 21-10, Veale-pit 20-10, Sutton-la 20-11, Hands-chi 20-12

LOSSES--Santorini-sd 6-24, J.Johnson-phi 6-22

ERA (162 IP)--Hands-chi 1.88, Carlton-stl 1.99, Perry-sf 2.10, Koosman-ny 2.11, Gibson-stl 2.19, Marichal-sf 2.21, Seaver-ny 2.29, Briles-stl 2.31, P.Niekro-atl 2.32, Sutton-la 2.34

K's--Jenkins-chi 233, Singer-la 232, Carlton-stl 230, Veale-pit 224, Wilson-hou 212, Ellis-pit 211, Sutton-la 207, Hands-chi 206 

IP--Hands-chi 306, Marichal-sf 301.2, Maloney-cin 300.2

CG--Wise-phi 25, Carlton-stl 24, Marichal-sf 24, Dierker-hou 23, Koosman-ny 23, Perry-sf 23

SHO--Dierker-hou 7, Marichal-sf 7, Singer-la 7

Saves--Upshaw-atl 29, McGraw-ny 27, Regan-chi 21, Face-mon 20, Linzy-sf 20

BAvg--Rose-cin .368, McCovey-sf .362, Jones-ny .357, Davis-la .352, Mota-la .330, Clemente-pit 329, Oliver-pit 323, Tolan-cin .317, H.Aaron-atl .313, Allen-phi 304, Bench-cin .303, Javier-stl .303, Brock-stl .300

HR--H.Aaron-atl 44, Allen-phi 38, May-cin 34, McCovey-sf 32, Oliver-pit 32, Staub-mon 31 

RBI--May-cin 136, Oliver-pit 121, Staub-mon 117, McCovey-sf 116, Tolan-cin 112, H.Aaron-atl 109, Rose-cin 105, Santo-chi 103, Stargell-pit 100 

2B--Laboy-mon 42, Kessinger-chi 39, Javier-stl 38, May-cin 38 

3B--Tolan-cin 14, Sanguillen-pit 13, Harrelson-ny 12

Runs--Rose-cin 140, Bonds-sf 130, Brock-stl 119, Wills-la 114, Wynn-hou 114,  May-cin 108, H.Aaron-atl 107, Oliver-pit 106, Tolan-cin 103, Davis-la 100

Hits--Rose-cin 233, Davis-la 219, M.Alou-pit 200

Steals--Bonds-sf 62, Morgan-hou 62, Wills-la 55, Brock-stl 47, Tolan-cin 31, Wynn-hou 31, Davis-la 30

Errors--Morgan-hou 38, Arcia-sd 37, Sizemore-la 37


MVP--Rose, cin
Cy Young--Carlton, stl
Rolaids Fireman--Upshaw, atl
Rookie of the Year--Oliver, pit 


Dud of the Year:  Colbert, sd
Sigh Young: Guinn, hou 
Shouldn't Have Comeback Player: Whitfield, cin
Paul Schaal Award (last position player to get a hit): Grabarkewitz, la
Jim Hardin Award (the high J-factor pitcher who never gets injured and puts up big numbers): Carlton, stl and Maloney, cin co-winners.
Orsino Award (same as above, but for position players): Herrera, mon 
Overcarded Pitcher: Briles, stl
Overcarded Hitter: Oliver, pit


STL--The Cardinals jumped out to a sensational 20-4 start, then sputtered their way through May and June, finally being caught and overtaken by the Cubs in July. But the Redbirds regrouped and played very sold ball through the rest of the season to take the east division handily by 8 games. Injuries limited Bob Gibson to 18-6 in 33 starts, but the entire Cardinal starting four were sensational all year.  With the pitching solid, when they got enough hitting, they won. Julian Javier (13, 84, .303) had a career year at second base. Star Performance: On May 17th at San Diego, Gibson carried a no-hitter into the 9th and got the first two batters, only to give up a hit to the last man. He ended up with a 1-hit, 4-1 win. Team Thrill: On Sept. 23rd, the Cards clinched the east with an 8-2 win at New York. Beetle Bomb Award: Vada Pinson, supposed to replace Roger Maris in right--and for whom they traded away Tolan and Granger to the Reds--had a dismal 6, 50, and .214.

CHI--Freaking Cubs. They got superb pitching all year, but the bats just never heated up. Ernie Banks (16, 77, .229) hit only 2 home runs in the first half! The team hit only 114 homers. On the bright side, Ferguson Jenkins won the strikeout crown--as he actually did--edging out Carlton by a single whiff.  Star Performance: Way back on April 9th, Bill Hands no-hit the Phillies 2-0, allowing only one runner, a walk. Team Thrill: The Cubs won 11 in a row from June 27th through July 6th. Beetle Bomb Award: Late acquisition Jimmie Hall was picked up to hopefully provide some missing pop, but hit .091 with no xbh, no runs and no rbi.

PIT--The Bucs got off to their traditional lousy start, and although they warmed up and had lots of hitting, they never had enough starting pitching to get them further than they got. The clearly overcarded rookie Al Oliver (1-5-6 power for 19 doubles and 17 homers in almost 500 ab's) went wild, but veteran Roberto Clemente, though he hit .329, had only 31 xbh's and 62 rbi.  Matty Alou set a record with 722 ab's, but hit a disappointing .277. Star Performance: On June 4th at Forbes, Oliver launched three home runs for 7 rbi in an 8-1 demolition of the Reds. Team Thrill: on Sept. 25th the Pirates turned a triple play in the first inning against the Phillies. Beetle Bomb Award: the whole team, for collecting 24 hits on April 11th vs. Philadelphia, and losing 15-11. 

NY--One reason I chose this replay was to see if the Miracle Mets could replicate their legendary run. They couldn't. The Mets won 86 games and finished third in '70 and '71, and that's about right for them. Here, they won 86 and finished 4th, all due to non-existent offense. Tommie Agee (18, 75, .228, 71 runs) was counted on to hit, and he mostly didn't. Art Shamsky actually hit .300 in part time duty, but went 16, 57, .233 here. Tom Seaver actually went 25-7, but went 16-13 for me, in large part due to lack of support and facing the other team's ace a lot of the time. Star Performance: On August 10th at Atlanta, Agee hit a grand slam and had 6 rbi in an 8-6 win. Team Thrill: In a crazy doubleheader on June 24th vs. the Phillies, Swoboda hit a pinch hit walk-off in the opener for a 12-11 11-inning win, and Garrett hit a walk-off single in the 12th inning of the nightcap for a 4-3 win and the sweep. Beetle Bomb Award: Donn Clendenon. He had 16 HR (and 40 rbi with a .290 avg) to lead the league when the Mets got him in June from the Expos. He only hit 8 for the Mets, with 30 rbi, and batted .232.

MON--The Expos lost 9 of the first 10 games of their existence, but then rallied. Wills, Mota and Clendenon were hitting, and the team enjoyed their first-ever winning month in June, going 16-15. But then management dealt away all three of those players and the troubles began. Rusty Staub did his part (31, 117, .276) and Roy Face--acquired from the Tigers in late April to help a dismal bullpen--turned in a surprising 20 saves with a decent 3.04 e.r.a. Coco Laboy made a bid for rookie of the year with 20, 97 and .265 with a league-high 42 two-baggers. Utility man Jose Herrara got the Orsino Award for batting 480 times with an inexplicable 34 doubles (he only had two zeroes) and a .281 average. Star Performance: May 23rd at Crosley Field, Donn Clendenon hit for the cycle and drove in 4, but the Expos lost 11-9 anyway. Team Thrill: existing! Beetle Bomb Award: Ron Fairly, acquired in the June trades, hit only 4 HR with a .254 avg after hitting over .300 for the Dodgers, plus he was injured all the time. 

PHI--Oh dear me, was this team awful. They had two starters, Wise (12-16) and Grant Jackson (16-14) and absolutely no other pitching. The bullpen didn't have a left-hander at all, and the "closer" was Billy Wilson (1-12, 16 sv, 4.37). The Phillies couldn't pitch, couldn't field, and couldn't generate sequential offense. The one and only thing they could do was hit home runs. They were 3rd in the league with 134. Rich Allen (38, 92, .304) and John Callison (19, 76, .261) appear to have played their last game for the Quakers. Star Performance: July 18th, Rick Wise tossed a 10-inning 2-hitter and walked away a winner after Callison's 2-out walk-off double. Team Thrill: the season ending. Beetle Bomb Award: Hurler Jerry Johnson, who was the third starter, at least to begin with, and went a horrid 6-22 with a 5.79 e.r.a.  

SF--What a race the Giants had with the Dodgers! The San Francisco club rode 3 starters--Marichal (19-12 2.21), Perry (22-8, 2.10) and McCormick (13-7, 2.60) and some timely hitting to the west title. Bob Bolin went 16-11, but his 5.16 e.r.a. shows how lucky he was. The bullpen is weak, but Frank Linzy did manage 20 saves and 3.05.  The big mystery is, how did a team in the middle of the pack in every offensive category, manage to score 758 runs, second only to the Reds? I have no idea. Willie McCovey (32, 116, .362) was a terror in the first half, but turned into a slap hitter in the second half. Aging Willie Mays (13, 77, .259) was inconsistent, but he really helped carry the team in the last two months. Jim Ray Hart, not even counted on to start, turned in 10, 81, and .287, sore shoulder and all. Even little Hal Lanier hit only .225 with just 10 xbh's, but somehow drove in 56 runs, 22 of them after September 1st. Star Perfomance: August 8th, Juan Marichal threw his second no-hitter of the season, defeating St. Louis 2-0. Team Thrill: hearing that the Dodgers had lost to Houston on the next-to-last day of the season, giving the Giants the division. Beetle Bomb Award: Rookie flyhawk Dave Marshall, counted on to be a left-handed threat off the bench, had no homers, 4 rbi, and a dismal .097 average.

LA--After the '66 World Series and Koufax's retirement, the Dodgers became irrelevant for '67 and '68. They weren't irrelevant in '69! They battled the Giants down to the wire. In fact, they looked like the odds-on choice to win the west before a rash of injuries slowed them fatally down the stretch. After starting strong, they ended the final month 15-16, their only losing month all year. One who missed time late was Willie Davis (15, 93, .352, 100 runs) who lit up NL pitchers all season.  Before he got hurt he was torrid, spraying hits all over the place and combining with Wills for steals galore. At the end of June, the Dodgers were last in the league in steals, with 16, but they re-acquired Wills, and Davis went crazy, lifting their final total to 85. The bullpen tandem of righty Mikkelsen (9-4-17, 1.97) and lefty Brewer (4-5-16, 2.68) was solid. Injuries and the lack of a 4th starter was all that kept the Dodgers from winning the west. Star Performance: On April 18th, Bill Singer no-hit the Astros 1-0. Team Thrill: In a meaningless game on the last day of the season, sore-armed star Don Drysdale came in to toss the final two frames and make his last appearance in Dodger flannels. Trailing 6-3 with 2 out and nobody on in the bottom of the ninth, Don was allowed to step to the plate, as the Dodger fans rose and gave him a lengthy standing ovation, knowing this was goodbye. Plate umpire "Hell" Enkeller took his time dusting off home plate, to give Drysdale a chance to have his moment. Even Don's usually potent bat was quiet in '69, but he swung and belted a double off the wall. The crowd went nuts all over again. The next batter made the final out, but what a nice moment. Beetle Bomb Award: rookie infielder Ted Sizemore, much ballyhooed, hit just 2, 46 and .225 with 37 miscues in the field, many of them during the pressure-packed days of September. 

ATL--It was the Henry Aaron show all summer in Atlanta. He belted 44 homers (hitting the last one on the final day, to match his actual total), drove in 109, scored 107, hit .313 and did not make an error all season. Hammerin' Hank was Player of the Month in both June and July, when he was sending balls out of the park with stunning regularity. It was only a slow start and so-so finish that prevented him from taking the league MVP award.  I almost gave it to him anyway. The Braves matched their actual 93-69 record, but it wasn't quite enough in the replay. A bad month of August and start of September sank the Braves, who fell too far back and couldn't make it all up in time. The pitching was stellar, posting a 2.98 team e.r.a., but the offense relied too heavily upon Aaron, Cepeda (23, 96, .295) and Rico Carty (21, 60, and .283 in 382 ab's.) Clete Boyer hit ten homers, but none after July 15th. Felipe Alou had no power. Catcher, shortstop and second base were offensive black holes. Star Performance: June 20th, Hank Aaron hit 3 home runs in a 6-1 win vs. S.F., giving him 5 HR in 2 games. Team Thrill: playing the Astros. The Braves took 16 of 18 from the Spacemen.

CIN--Good gravy could these guys hit! They led the league with a whopping 842 runs scored and were entertaining as can be. If they had had anyone behind Jim Maloney (21-10, 3.05) to start games, they would have won. Granger was a good stopper if they managed to get to the late innings; he had 19 saves and was a workhorse. The Reds were never out of games. They had May (34, 136, .281), Tolan (18, 112, .317), Rose (22, 105, .368 and 140 runs), Bench (17, 78, .303) and Perez (26, 96, .263). Alex Johnson threw in 14, 68 and .313 when I could keep him on the field. However, a putrid July, when they went 10-17 and inexplicably stopped hitting, did them in. Star Perfomance: Tommy Helms set a NL mark for consecutive hits with 11, over three games in late September. He had 10 singles and a double. With a chance to tie the MLB record of 12, he flied to center. Team Thrill: On April 28th at San Francisco, the Reds turned 6 DP's but lost 3-2. Beetle Bomb Award: Fred "Wingy" Whitfield batted 61 times, never had an xbh, never drove in a run, and hit .148. Hang 'em up already, Fred.

HOU--All right, class, which one is not like the others?:  9-15, 12-15, 10-19, 21-5, 8-20, 12-16. If you said 21-5, you're right. That was the Astros record in July, when they suddenly went from doormat to powerhouse. Honestly, I've never seen anything like it. They didn't acquire anybody, nothing changed except for a new line-up, and the line-up stopped working after July when they turned back into pumpkins again. The offense was spotty but could be potent. Denis Menke (9, 96, and .276) turned in a career year, and Joe Morgan, piddling around with a .208 average at the end of July, turned it on and ended up with 14, 60 and .253 with 62 bags. Jim Wynn (23, 69, .240, 114 runs) was slump-ridden much of the time, going weeks without doing anything at all. The Astros did walk a lot, though I didn't keep that stat. I do keep bullpen stats, though, and theirs was terrible, posting a league-low 14 saves. Fred Gladding ( 4-8-9, 3.89) actually had a league-leading 29 saves despite an e.r.a. above four. How he did it, I have no idea, but even though his e.r.a. for me was slightly better, he stank, and let numerous leads go a-glimmering before finally losing his job to Jim Ray (8-3-2, 2.20).  Down there at the end of the bullpen bench we find Skip Guinn with his 0-2 record and 12.46 e.r.a., more than four full runs worse than the next worst pitcher in the league, Ron Bryant of the Giants (8.05). Star Performance: Tom Griffin fanned 15 Padres on September 8th, winning 12-2. Team Thrill: On June 5th, the Astros rallied for 3 runs in the bottom of the ninth against St. Louis, capped by Curt Blefary's 1-out 2-run walk-off triple for a 4-3 Houston win. Beetle Bomb Award: Jesus Alou, acquired from Montreal before the season began at the cost of Rusty Staub, put up 2, 43, and .222 and spent long stretches riding the lonesome pine, though he did at least smack 20 doubles. 

SD--Hahahaha. The Pods were putrid, plain and simple. They couldn't field, they couldn't hit, they didn't have much of a pitching staff. Al "Losing Pitcher" Santorini was thrown to the wolves in 34 starts and posted a barf-worthy 6-24, 5.64, though he did lead the team with 186 K's. Five other Padre hurlers lost at least 13 games, while Joe Niekro (9-16, 3.53) led the team in wins. Slugger Nate Colbert was expected to approximate his actual 24 HR, but he only hit 11, with 58 rbi and a paltry .225 average, though he did display gap power with 31 doubles--4 in the season's final 2 games--and 8 triples. Ollie Brown led the team with just 14 HR and the whole team hit just 66, down by a third from their actual 99. Star Performance: Al Santorini fanned 14 Phillies on June 4th, but naturally lost the game anyway, 4-3. Team Thrill: watching ancient relic Johnny Podres stumble out to the mound to post his 1-2 record with 6.62 e.r.a. Beetle Bomb Award: the entire team.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Dodgers Lose, Giants Take West : Wednesday, October 1st, 1969


NY 2, CHI 0  W-Seaver 16-13 L-Jenkins 16-11  S-McGraw(26)  

PIT 10, MON 1  W-Veale 20-10 L-Robertson 12-16

STL 4, PHI 3  W-Washburn 11-15 L-Palmer 3-9  S-Hoerner(18)  HR-Hisle(12)

HOU 6, LA 0  W-Dierker 16-14 L-Singer 22-11  HR-Menke(9) Wynn(23)  Dodger loss gives SF the west crown.

SD 6, SF 0  W-J.Niekro 10-16 L-Bolin 16-11  HR-Ferrara(8)  J.Niekro 1-hitter.

1 day and 6 games to go.

The Tinseltown nine went down in flames.
Bill "The Singer Throwing Machine" was unbeatable from mid-July through mid-September, but he lost his last 3 decisions as the Tinseltown nine fell in the ratings and were eliminated on Wednesday. Singer actually pitched extremely well in the first two losses, but this time the Astros' Larry Dierker totally out-pitched him and the pesky Spacemen had the pleasure of sending the Dodgers to a watery grave. "We messed with the plumbing," explained 'Stros skipper Harry Walker. 

They were so primitive!
In San Francisco, the Giants fielded a line-up of reserves, as they prepare to meet the Cardinals in the first-ever NLCS. Joe Niekro had no trouble with them at all, allowing only a 2-out third inning single to mound rival Bob "Bolin For Dollars" Bolin, who absorbed the defeat despite his hitting heroics. Strangely, the Dodgers' night game ended before the Giants' afternoon game began, but I have followed the schedule left-to-right all season and kept the practice up. "Los Angeles" comes alphabetically before "San Francisco", so the Dodgers played first in this topsy turvy way out wacky world of 1969 NL. The weirdness of finishing the season on a Thursday, and with a slew of night games, was NOT my idea. They were so primitive then, poor things. They hadn't yet figured out how to squish in the new playoffs. 

And yadda yadda. Other teams played, no one cares, everyone except the Giants and Cardinals just wants to go home. 
She just wants to come home.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Giants Clinch Tie, Helms Sets Record : Tuesday, September 30th, 1969


PHI 13, STL 8  W-Jackson 16-14 L-Taylor 11-9  S-Wilson(15)  HR-Allen 2(38) Rojas(5)GS Watkins(4) Javier(13)  Allen, Rojas and Javier 4 rbi each.

ATL 3, CIN 2  W-Wilhelm 1-0 L-Merritt 13-16  S-Upshaw(29)  Helms sets NL record with 11 consecutive hits over 3 games.

HOU 9, LA 6 (11inns)  W-Ray 8-3 L-Moeller 11-11  Edwards 5 hits.

SF 13, SD 0  W-Marichal 19-12 L-Kelley 5-5  Hart 4 runs, Henderson 5 rbi, Lanier 4 rbi. Giants clinch at least a tie for the west title.

2 days and 11 games to go.

"Maybe Tom Selleck is right about those reverse mortgages..."
At Los Angeles, dottering old Walter Osteen decided to go with dottering starter Jim Bunning, and it didn't work out so well for the Tinseltown nine, though they still could have won. The visiting Astros and the Dodgers fought back and forth to a 5-all tie at the end of six. Both starters were gone by then. Nobody scored in the 7th through the 10th, though there were chances for both sides. In the 11th, the Astros had only one reliever left (the goshawful Skip Guinn) and one bench player (back-up catcher Don Bryant). The Dodgers had only Al McBean remaining in the pen, and nobody on the bench. Banished former starter Joe Moeller came on and got lit up for 4 runs, finally giving way to McBean. 9-5 Astros! But the Dodgers didn't go quietly against Jim Ray in the bottom of the 11th. He had struck out the side in the 10th, but coughed up a run and faced homer-happy Bill Sudakis with two on. Ray got him, and the Spacemen put a big dent in the Dodgers' hopes.

Willie who?
At Candlestick Park, the Giants opened a can of whoop-ass on the beleaguered Padres, stomping them 13-0 and clinching at least a tie for the west title. Juan Marichal stopped the Friars on 4 hits. The Holy Men have been blanked 7 times in September, after only being whitewashed 11 times all season before that. They just look dead in the water--bad news for the Dodgers who have to have their help! Ken Henderson knocked in 5 for the home squad. 

He's a record-setter.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the hitting record that Tommy Helms set! Helms collected hits in 11 consecutive at bats over 3 contests, breaking the NL record of ten. He went 4-for-4 in both weekend games at home against Houston, and then got hits the first three times up in Tuesday's game at Atlanta. Ten singles and one double = one NL record! With a chance to tie the major league record of 12, shared by Pinky Higgins and Walt Dropo, both of the Red Sox, Tommy skied out to center field, ending his chance. But still, way to go, Tommy!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Giants Stage Last-Gasp Rally, Take Over First : Sunday & Monday, September 28th & 29th, 1969

Scores, Sept. 28th

MON 3, STL 2  W-Jaster 11-14 L-Briles 13-14  S-Face(20)  HR-Browne(1) Laboy(20)

NY 4, PHI 1  W-Gentry 19-9 L-Wise 12-16  S-McGraw(25)  HR-Agee(18)

CHI 2, PIT 0  W-Hands 20-12 L-Blass 15-10  HR-Banks(16)

ATL 2, SD 0  W-Stone 13-10 L-Kirby 4-18

HOU 5, CIN 4  W-Wilson 11-15 L-Granger 12-6  S-Ray(2)  HR-May(33) Perez(26)

SF 4, LA 3  W-Perry 22-8 L-Mikkelsen 9-4  S-Linzy(20)  HR-McCovey(32) Wills(7) Sudakis(13)

No games Sept. 29th.  3 days and 15 games left. 

Dodger Stadium was filled with the glitterati!
Holy moley, could this division race be any better? The Giants and Dodgers each won one of the first two games at Dodger Stadium, and met on Sunday tied for the lead in the west. Giants skipper Clyde King, seeing that kid Ken Henderson seemed overmatched in the three spot, moved Willie McCovey there, with Jim Ray Hart batting clean-up. In an effort to goose the sluggish offense, Hart played third instead of Jim "Couch me!" Davenport. McCovey seemed to like his new spot, because he hit a home run off of Dodger lefty Claude Osteen in the top of the first to give the Giants a quick 1-0 lead. Gaylord Perry toed the slab for the Giants, and ran into trouble in the 2nd. Old Giant Tom Haller doubled and was still aboard with two out when Bill Sudakis stepped up. Sudakis has been on a late-season home run tear, but Claude Osteen, on deck, is a pretty good hitting pitcher. Clyde King elected to pitch to Sudakis, who launched his 7th homer since August 30th, giving the Tinseltown nine a 2-1 lead. 

Exactly how many Wheaties did he have???
In the top of the 3rd, the Giants came right back. Bonds walked and swiped second, stayed there as Ron Hunt made an out, and looked on as Willie McCovey was intentionally walked, bringing up Hart. Osteen delivered, and Hart slashed a double, scoring Bonds to tie it up at 2. BUT. Back came the Dodgers in the bottom of the inning, when red-hot Maury Wills poled a homer leading off, to put the Dodgers up again, 3-2. It was Wills' 3rd homer as a Dodger this year, and his career-high 7th on the season including his time with the Expos. (Maury hit the Expos' first-ever home run, way back in April.)

We don't need another hero. Oh wait, yes we do!
After that, the two starting hurlers settled down, Osteen shutting down the Giants on 3 hits through the 8th, and Perry doing the same to the Dodgers on only 2 hits. Osteen went to the hill in the 9th with that 3-2 lead, and quickly disposed of pinch hitters Tito Fuentes and Bobby Etheridge. Two outs, nobody on. Out ambled Walt Alston, signalling for the right-hander Pete Mikkelsen to face Bobby Bonds. However, in a series that has seen two sensational lead-off men square off, it was Bonds keeping the San Fran hopes alive by drawing a two-out walk. He then stole second, making him 2 out of 3 in steal attempts on the day, and putting him in scoring position for Ron Hunt. Clyde King scanned his bench, but stuck with his second sacker. Hunt rewarded him by slapping an rbi single to tie the game at 3! Up stepped McCovey. Jim Brewer was ready in the Dodger bullpen, but with the pitcher due up third in the bottom of the 9th, Alston stayed with Mikkelsen. Or maybe he just dozed off in front of Hollywood Squares. In any event, Mikkelsen pitched to McCovey, and Willie Mac popped one off the wall in right center, scoring Hunt with the lead run! Jim Ray Hart was retired, but the damage was done. 4-3 San Francisco. 

Can't we all just get along?
The good news for the Giants was that they had the lead. The bad news was, Perry was out of the game, having been pinch hit for by Etheridge. Enter Frank Linzy, horrible in April, great all summer long, and not so hot in September. Whattya know, he retired Haller, pinch hitter Andy Kosco, and the crazy-hot Sudakis in order for the win.  Now the Giants are up by one with 3 games left. The Dodgers stay home to host 3 with the Astros, while the Giants host sad-sack San Diego for 3. No team has looked more ready for the season to end than the Pods. All S.F. has to do is sweep the series and they win. For the Dodgers to catch up, they need some help from the Friars, while taking care of Houston themselves. We'll see! If the season ends in a tie, there will be a one game playoff on Friday at Candlestick Park, by virtue of the Giants winning the season series 10-8.
...to help the Dodgers.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Jeepers Creepers, It's Tied Again! : Saturday, September 27th, 1969


STL 4, MON 0  W-Carlton 22-7 L-Renko 2-10  S-Torrez(1)

NY 2, PHI 1  -Koosman 17-12 L-Wilson 1-12  HR-Allen(36)

CHI 8, PIT 4  W-Holtzman 13-8 L-Moose 4-9  HR-Santo(23) Pagan(6)

ATL 4, SD 0  W-P.Niekro 17-13 L-Santorini 6-24  

CIN 7, HOU 3  W-Maloney 21-10 L-LeMaster 15-16  S-Granger(19)  HR-Perez(25)

LA 3, SF 2  W-Sutton 20-10 L-McCormick 13-7  S-Brewer(16)  HR-McCovey(31)

5 days and 21 games to go.

Okay, this is officially the best pennant or division race I've ever had with APBA. Tied again with 4 games to go for both teams, they play each other again tomorrow. (My 1986 AL east division saw a tie between the Yankees and Tigers, but they didn't play head to head like this down the stretch.) 

He came up big.
Don Sutton took the mound for Los Angeles against the Giants at Dodger Stadium with the season on the line. Falling two games back with four left, and the Giants going home to face the laughingstock Padres would have been grim business. So what did Sutton do? He pitched no-hit ball for 6 innings as his teammates handed him a 3-0 lead. But with 2 out in the top of the 7th, Willie McCovey broke the spell with a wall-scraper that landed in the first row to make it 3-1.

"They say I'm just one step away from winning the Publisher's Clearinghouse sweepstakes!"
With 2 out in the top of the 8th, Hal Lanier--who is always in the middle of the action, it seems--lofted a fly ball to left field that Andy Kosco lost in the afternoon sun. It dropped and Lanier landed at second base. Clyde King went to his bench with the pitcher's spot due up, and selected Jim Ray Hart to try to drive Lanier home.  Across the diamond, Dodger skipper Walter Alston was interrupted from a thrilling discussion of stool softeners and asked what he wanted to do. "Take a nap?" No, Walter. Stick with Sutton or make the call to the bullpen? Alston popped out of the dugout for the first time in months, and touched his right arm, summoning Pete Mikkelsen. 

He's got this.
Mikkelsen toed the slab, adjusted his glasses, and dealt to Hart, retiring him and preserving the 3-1 lead. Don McMahon, avoiding Alston at all costs due to Walter's constant inquiries about his sweepstakes entry, took the mound in the bottom of the 8th wearing a funny nose and mustache disguise. He set down the Dodgers, setting the stage for the 9th inning. Bobby Bonds, who has swatted many a late-inning extra base hit for San Francisco, did it again, ripping a lead-off double. Ron Hunt stood in and hit a liner to left. Defensive wizard Bill Russell, having replaced Kosco after his gaffe, broke back, then reversed course and came in, but could only watch helplessly as the ball clanked off his mitt for an error, scoring Bonds to make it 3-2. Don "The Little Mason Jar" Mason ran for Hunt and looked on in dismay as Ken Henderson made the first out. Alston, giddy with being needed, went to the bullpen again for portsider Jim Brewer to face Willie McCovey. Brewer retired Willie Mac and pinch hitter Tito Fuentes to seal the game for the Dodgers and knot things up again atop the west. The Giants managed only the homer and the double, for a 2-game total of just 3 hits in the series. Where's the beef?

In other--albeit meaningless--action, Steve Carlton went a ceremonial 5 innings, and little-used spare part Mike Torrez went 4, to shut out the Expos, who are failing in their quest not to lose 100 games. They have 98 setbacks with 3 games remaining. 
The Expos can use any help they can get!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Marichal Outduels Singer As Giants Take Over First : Friday, September 26th, 1969


STL 5, MON 4  W-Gibson 18-6 L-Robertson 12-15  S-Grant(1)  

NY 7, PHI 0  W-Seaver 15-13 L-J.Johnson 6-22  HR-Jones(10) Agee(17)  Seaver 2-hitter.

PIT 3, CHI 2 (10inns)  W-Dal Canton 10-6 L-Regan 6-7  M.Alou 2-out 2-run walk-off triple.

ATL 4, SD 3  W-Jarvis 17-10 L-J.Niekro 9-16  HR-Stahl(11) Cepeda(23)  Cepeda 2-out walk-off single.

HOU 4, CIN 0  W-Dierker 15-14 L-Fisher 11-12

SF 2, LA 1  W-Marichal 18-12 L-Singer 22-10  HR-Kosco(17)  

6 days and 27 games to go.

"I'm just not good enough!" moaned Bill, dissolving into tears.
Poor Bill Singer. His last start, he held on to a 1-0 lead against the Reds into the bottom of the ninth, then got the first two batters in order before a bloop and a blast made a loser of him. Then on Friday night, he allowed only one lousy hit--a single to his mound rival Marichal--and lost 2-1 anyway. Here's what happened: in the first game of a pressure-packed 3-game series, the Giants scored first in the top of the third when Singer himself fumbled a tap back to the mound, putting a runner on. Marichal got his single, sending Lanier to third, and Bonds lofted a sac fly for an unearned run and a 1-0 S.F. advantage. Andy "The Human Bulk Store" Kosco evened it up again with a solo blast off of Marichal in the 4th. Finally, in the top of the 6th, Bonds walked and stole second--his 60th steal of the season--and came home on a boot by error-prone rookie Ted Sizemore. 2-1 Giants, and that's how it stayed to put the Jints in first by a game with 5 to play. However, the Giants lost the services of Willie Mays for the rest of the regular season. Kid flyhawk Ken Henderson will try to fill those big shoes. It was a down year for Willie, at 13,77 and .259 with 81 runs scored, but he is still a vital cog in the Giants offense, and the pitchers appreciate him in center field chasing down balls in his wheelchair on his way to the day room to watch "Perry Mason." See ya in the NLCS, Willie, if the Giants can hang on.

"I can't straighten up!"
In other games...oh phooey, WHAT other games? I will report that the fragile Cardinals "B" team suffered another loss, as reserve shortstop Huntz--I don't even remember his first name--turned out to be made of glass. He takes his sub-.200 average, one homer, and his broken dreams and retires to Bedlam forever. 

Note: I won't be doing this blog daily for the upcoming 1956 NL replay, although I will post a monthly update. It requires a fair amount of time and effort to put together, but the sound of crickets is deafening. It will join my old satire blog Objets D'art on the Scrap Heap Of Time.
Elegance just isn't properly appreciated, is it Babs?

Sunday, June 18, 2017

West Division Tied Heading Into Weekend Showdown : Wednesday & Thursday, September 24th & 25th, 1969

Scores, September 24th

CHI 5, MON 4  W-Abernathy 7-8 L-Waslewski 4-4  S-Regan(21)  

STL 6, NY 3  W-Taylor 11-8 L-Ryan 3-3  S-Hoerner(17)  HR-Shamsky(16)

PIT 8, PHI 4  W-Ellis 10-14 L-Palmer 3-8  HR-Allen(35) Oliver(32)

CIN 10, LA 2  W-Merritt 13-15 L-Osteen 17-10  HR-Stewart(7) May 2(32)

HOU 5, ATL 1  W-Billingham 3-13 L-Pappas 12-8  Billingham 11 K's.

SF 5, SD 2  W-Perry 21-8 L-Roberts 5-16

Score, September 25th

PHI 2, PIT 0  W-Jackson 15-14 L-Walker 5-8  Pirates turn triple play.

One week and 33 games to go.

Math Genius tells me that it's down to a 2 team race!
Yesterday I said that the Reds could still tie it with a miracle, but that's not accurate. Because the Dodgers and Giants play each other for three games this weekend, they can't both lose. Therefore, both the Reds and Braves were already eliminated. Also, my brain hurts.  

"Fucka buncha Maury Wills; I'll just launch a pair of moon shots!"
At Cincy, the Reds took out their frustrations on Claude Osteen, demolishing the Dodgers 10-2 and taking 2 of 3 for the series and 12 of 18 on the season. Don't blame Maury Wills, who got on base 4 more times in the defeat. However, Lee May simply bombarded the left-handed servings of Mr. Osteen to the tune of two mammoth home runs. The win moved the Reds back into a third place tie with Atlanta. 

Hey Gaylord. What if I told you you'll be a Padre one day?
The Giants got the "gimme" win they had to have over the Padres, riding the 3-hit pitching of Gaylord Perry to victory at San Diego. This leaves the Giants and Dodgers in a flat-footed tie going into the 3-game weekend series at Dodger Stadium. After that, the Giants host the comical Pods for three, while the Dodgers host the Astros for three. That's it. The season is almost over!

He couldn't solve the "B" team.
With the starters all nursing thick heads after clinching the division on Tuesday, the Cardinals sent an all-reserve squad out there on Wednesday, with the exception of starting pitcher Chuck Taylor. So, of course, they plated 5 in the top of the second inning against this wild kid Nolan Ryan, and beat the Mets' regulars 6-3.  Third sacker Phil Gagliano, having batted less than 50 times all season, was really looking forward to some playing time before he got smacked in the kisser with a Ryan heater in his first at bat, shelving him for the season and the NLCS. Mike Shannon had to stumble out there and play, after all. As for the Mets, they are finishing the way they started in April, which is to say, very poorly.

Lo and behold, the Astros snapped their 12 game losing skid, and won for just the 2nd time in 18 tries against Atlanta. Kid chucker Jack Billingham, a consolation prize in the Rusty Staub trade snafu with Montreal, fanned 11 and won his third game. 

And finally, the Phillies took two out of three at Pittsburgh, winning twice on shutouts by Rick Wise and Grant Jackson. The Quakers went half the season before they even hurled one whitewash, but this was Jackson's second in a row. "Who the hell cares?" inquired the Pirates, before being fined by the league office. This induced a team shrug from the hopelessly middling Pirates, who just want the season to end. They did care enough to turn a bases loaded line drive off the bat of Rich Allen into the season's fourth triple play in the first inning of Thursday's contest, however.

Okay, see you at Dodger Stadium! 
Your Impartial Goddess stops by the Dodgers' locker room to say hi.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Cardinals Take The East : Tuesday, September 23rd, 1969


CHI 5, MON 2  W-Hands 19-12 L-Jaster 10-14  HR-Kessinger(2) Hickman(22) 

STL 8, NY 2  W-Giusti 5-4 L-McAndrew 10-15  S-Hoerner(16)  HR-Brock(9) Shannon 2(9)  Shannon 4 rbi, Cardinals clinch east division.

PHI 6, PIT 0  W-Wise 12-15 L-Blass 15-9  HR-Hisle(11) Ryan(11)

LA 10, CIN 1  W-Sutton 19-10 L-Nolan 5-10

ATL 3, HOU 2  W-Stone 12-10 L-Griffin 10-13  S-Upshaw(28)

SF 8, SD 5  W-Bolin 16-10 L-Kelley 5-4  S-Linzy(19)

9 days and 40 games to go.

Redbirds rule the roost.
It's over in the east, where the St. Louis Cardinals are the east champs for the first season of divisional play. After starting 20-4, the Cards were caught briefly in July by the Cubs, then reclaimed the lead before month's end and never looked back, finishing strong. The clinching game was an 8-2 slaughter of the Mets at Shea (appropriately enough, given that the "Miracle Mets" were the actual winners.) The first two Cardinal hitters, Brock and Shannon, hit home runs off of Met starter Jim McAndrew and St. Louis took off from there. Now the scrubs will see some action, both to rest the regulars for the NLCS, and to avoid injuries. Everything is happiness in the bird nest!

Wrong move, Dave.
At Crosley Field, Reds field commander Dave Bristol had to decide between starting Jim Merritt on 3 days rest, and pitching Fat Jack Fisher on Wednesday, or sending sore-armed kid Gary Nolan out there today and Merritt on Wednesday. Bristol went with Nolan and it all blew up in his face as the Dodgers feasted on his lollipop deliveries and stomped the Reds virtually out of the race with a resounding 10-1 decision. The best the Rhinelanders can hope for now is a tie, and with three teams ahead of them, that is the longest of longshots. Still, they have beaten the Tinseltown nine 11 times and hope to at least throw a monkey wrench into their spokes when they send their powerful, mostly right-handed line-up out there tomorrow against Dodger lefty Claude Osteen. 

Tom shows off his sunburst-themed funeral shroud.
Atlanta continued their mastery over the hapless Spacemen, beating them for the 16th time in 17 tries, 3-2. It was the Astros' 12th straight loss, as they free fall to the end of the schedule, which, for them, cannot arrive soon enough. It arrived today for hurler Tom Griffin, who got up out of his hospital bed, made the start, got injured for the rest of the season, took the loss, and was given a Christian burial out behind third base.  

"Just another 8-5 win for me!" squeed a jubilant Mr. Bolin.
At San Diego, Clyde King had a similar decision to make to the one Dave Bristol faced, whether to start Perry or Bolin. He chose Bolin and it worked out, but not without a scare. The Pods jumped out 3-0 before they started playing kickball. 4 Padre errors led to 4 gift runs and an 8-5 triumph for the Giants, who remain one game back and send Perry to the mound tomorrow against the Friars. "We pray that he forgot to pack his Vaseline," opined the prayerful Pods.