Monday, January 30, 2017

Upshaw Goes Yard As Braves Humiliate Pods: Friday, July 18th, 1969


NY 6, MON 3  W-Koosman 10-7 L-Wegener 7-7  HR-Boswell(6)

PHI 1, CHI 0 (10inns)  W-Wise 7-7 L-Holtzman 8-5  Holtzman 14 K's, Wise 2-hitter, Callison 2-out walk-off double.

STL 7, PIT 2  W-Carlton 12-6 L-Walker 3-5  STL 18 hits--1 double and 17 singles.

ATL 6, SD 2  W-Jarvis 11-6 L-Santorini 4-16  HR-H.Aaron(30) Cepeda(13)

ATL 11, SD 2  W-Raymond 2-2 L-Kirby 2-11  S-Upshaw(19)  HR-Colbert(7) Tillman(7) Carty(15)ph Upshaw(1)

HOU 9, CIN 5  W-Dierker 9-9 L-Culver 8-4  Gotay 4 rbi.

SF 7, LA 1  W-Marichal 9-9 L-Drysdale 2-8  HR-Davis(11)

He does it all!
It's been a sad season for the woebegone Padres, and it didn't get any better on Friday in Atlanta. In the opener, Al "Losing Pitcher" Santorini lived down to his sobriquet by going down in dismal defeat. But it was the nightcap that really caused the Frairs to rend their garments. It was a fairly respectable 4-2 game, Braves leading, into the bottom of the 8th, when Pods skipper Gomez summoned lefty and Atlanta cast-off Dick Kelley into the game. First he surrendered a two-run shot to Bob "Hi, Bob!" Tillman. Then a three-run blast to reliever Cecil Upshaw, of all people. By the time Gomez arrived on the hill with the hook, Kelley had been "touched" as they say, for 7 runs in two thirds of an inning. The Holy Men are now 30-66 and the remainder of the season stretches out endlessly before them.  Meanwhile, the Braves find themselves just a half game out of first. 

He only lasted an inning.
At Cincinnati, the Reds' woes continue and the Grim Reaper keeps subtracting players, with a special preference for flyhawk Alex Johnson. AJ was injured, came back long enough to go one for ten, got injured again, came back and reached base on an error, then committed suicide at second base and will miss 5 more contests. At the same time, starter George "Armstrong" Culver pitched just one inning, gave up an unearned run, and had to leave with an arrow through his head. Enter Pedro Ramos, who was blasted by the Astros to the tune of 8 runs in 4 frames.  The immortal Julio Gotay struck for a triple, two singles and 4 rbi for the visiting Spacemen who have now won 13 of 16. 

The Cardinals went into Forbes Field and dinked the Pirates to death, plunking out 17 bloop singles and one lucky double to top the Buccos 7-2 behind Steve "Carlton Your Doorman" Carlton. Their lead is now a game and a half over the fading Cubbies.

Sign Man would be cooler if he were Jason Statham, but he'll have to do.
The Mets' Jerry Koosman exacted revenge on the Expo squad that pounded him in his last start, winning this time and moving his team percentage points ahead of Pittsburgh and into third place in the east, 4 games back. The Mets are completely healthy and are having a fine month so far. Your Impartial Goddess cheers for them loudly while wearing a Mets cap on her Impartial head. 

"Can't touch this!"
Finally, the game of the day was a stupendous pitching duel at Connie Mack Stadium between Ken Holtzman of the Cubs and Rick Wise of the Phillies. It stayed 0-0 into the tenth inning, when John Briggs reached base with one out. After Rich Allen was retired for the second out, crowd favorite Johnny Callison ripped a game-winning double for the 1-0 win. "I just wasn't good enough!" wailed Holtzman, who tied the league high for the season with 14 K's. For his part, Wise pitched poorly and suffered a couple of injuries during the first half, but has now pitched two straight shutouts over the Cubs to turn his season around. Your Most Serene Goddess was in actual attendance one night when Mr. Wise not only tossed a no-hitter, but smashed two home runs. That was in Cincinnati, 1971, when she was but a Goddess-ette. For more about that game, go HERE.
"Watch me mash this pitch, Shay!"

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Cardinals Re-take First: Thursday, July 17th, 1969


MON 8, PIT 6 (13inns)  W-Face 2-3 L-Hartenstein 3-3  HR-Stargell(15) Taylor(2)ph Staub(22) Bailey(8)GW

STL 5, PHI 1  W-Gibson 13-2 L-Jackson 10-7  HR-Ricketts(1)

ATL 6, CIN 3  W-Reed 10-5 L-Merritt 6-11

SF 3, LA 2  W-Perry 15-4 L-Osteen 9-6  Osteen 10 K's.

One cat escaped to Canada.
The Phillies kindly rolled over so that the Cardinals could drub them and re-take first place, a half game ahead of the idle Cubs. Idleness is a sin--according to my childhood nemesis Mrs. McGoblin, who couldn't have pressed her lips together any more thinly had she used a vice--but the Cubs were not idle. They were dispatched on the off day to gather up all of yesterday's black cats from the Friendly Confines. One reporter remarked that "the black cat thing was in September, and it didn't happen here; it was at Shea." Everyone in the ballpark, seeming to act with a single mind, converged on the helpful individual and promptly threw him over the left field wall. "Look!" cried a tender-hearted observer, seeing the helpful one's broken body below. "He landed on the cement!" "It isn't cement," croaked the smashed scribe with his final breath. "It's concrete." Then he expired.  Getting back to the Cards-Phils contest, Dave Ricketts of all people poled a two run homer by using his 66-6 with a man on third. Dave didn't actually hit a homer in '69, and hit just one in his entire MLB career. Nonetheless, he now leads Tim McCarver in the Cardinals catchers home run derby, 1-0.

They love Jim.
The Dodgers, visiting Baghdad By The Bay, took an early 2-0 lead off of all-star hurler Gaylord Perry. However, Jim Ray Hart solved the mystery of his team being behind, by ripping a three-run double to give the Giants a 3-2 advantage that Perry made stand up the rest of the way. Two fans in particular seemed to take delight in Hart's heroics. 

He didn't enjoy the homer.
Finally, the Buccos and the 'Spos did battle north of the border in a doozy of a game. The Pirates took a lead when Willie Stargell put one in the pool beyond the right field fence....the Expos tied it at 4. The Pirates went up 6-4....the Expos tied it in the bottom of the 9th on a two-run swat by Le Grande Orange--Rusty Staub--off of Joe Gibbon, who will retire to the primate exhibit until he regains his effectiveness. On and on the game continued until, with two out in the bottom of the 13th, up stepped your old Savings & Loan pal Bob Bailey, who took a Chuck Hartenstein pitch and lofted it into the night for a 2-run walk-off smash. "Gosh, that was swell! Did ya see that, Potter?" crowed Bailey as he circled the sacks.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Mets Sweep Cubs: Wednesday, July 16th, 1969


NY 4, CHI 3  W-McAndrew 6-10 L-Jenkins 12-6  S-McGraw(18)  HR-Kranepool(6) Banks(5)

PIT 4, MON 3  W-Blass 12-4 L-Robertson 7-9  S-Dal Canton(7)  HR-Oliver(18) Jones(10)

STL 6, PHI 1  W-Briles 7-9 L-J.Johnson 3-15

ATL 5, CIN 3 (10inns)  W-Upshaw 5-4 L-Fisher 8-8

HOU 7, LA 5  W-Griffin 6-10 L-Moeller 9-6  S-Gladding(6)  HR-Griffin(1)

SF 3, SD 2  W-Bolin 9-9 L-Sisk 4-10  S-Linzy(13)

Nice kitty.
The Mets went into Wrigley and swept the Cubs, moving to within three and a half of the top in the process. Releasing dozens of black cats from carriers strategically located in the hated venerable old ballpark, the Mets managed to spook the previously hot Cubbies. This time, it was Jim McAndrew turning in the latest fine pitching performance, supported by a three-run bomb by Ed Kranepool. Later in the game, Ernie Banks hit what seemed to be a routine fly ball, but it got caught in the wind and carried over the fence for a similar 3-run shot. (What I mean is, one die took a crazy ricochet off the side of the rolling box and completed the surprise 66! Ernie can sure use it, though I have to say he seems to have finally heated up.) Tug McGraw was summoned, sworn in, and then he handed nothing but the Truth to the last Cubs batters in the form of his famous scroogie. The Mets now lead the season series 8-6. The two teams do not meet again until September. See youuuuu in Sep-tem-ber. See youuu whenthesummer's throughhhhh la la la. Oops, sorry. 

"I must break you!"
The Cardinals reclaimed a share of first place--much to reader Steve's displeasure--by dispatching the silly Phillies 6-1.  Jerry Johnson has now seized a share of the loss lead, tying Al "Losing Pitcher" Santorini with fifteen setbacks. "Born to lose. I've lived my life in vain," he sang dolefully. 

Steve Blass (Cy) has quietly amassed 12 wins, with his latest victims being the baby Canadians from Montreal. Al "Ropes" Oliver, the super rookie, chipped in with a blast as the Pirates crept to within two of the top spot. 

Since revamping their line-up, the Astros have lost just 5 times, every one of them to an "A" starter. Send out less than your best and they will burn you up in the atmosphere! Their latest victim was Joe...Ron?, maybe?, Joe...Moeller, who was roughed up and blown out the airlock at the Astrodome. Houston hurler Tom Griffin spread his mighty wings and poled a homer in furtherance of his own cause, but he needed plenty of relief help from Dooley (f**king) Womack and Fred "Man From" Gladding.  

Pete Rose returned to the Reds line-up and had two hits, but also hit into two double plays as the Rhinelanders failed to hold a slim lead behind Fat Jack Fisher the erstwhile Miracle D.  Fatty has fallen upon hard times, and was seen gaping credulously at a shrill Oprah Winfrey who was gabbling away about diets. 

Frank Linzy wants the Friars off his lawn.
Meanwhile, new day, new leader in the west as the Giants outlasted the Pods 3-2. The game was a scoreless duel between the baffling deliveries of Tommie Sisk and the unhittable offerings of Bobby Bolin (stop laughing) until the bottom of the 8th, when Ron Hunt singled home a pair for the Giants. Willie Mays promptly drove Ron across the plate for a 3-0 Giants lead. But wait. The Pods struck back for two in the 9th but fell short as Frank Linzy slammed the door in their disappointed little faces. Big meanie, if you ask me. 


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Both Races Tight As Ticks: Tuesday, July 15th, 1969


NY 2, CHI 1  W-Gentry 9-5 L-Hands 13-4

MON 7, PIT 3  W-Stoneman 4-9 L-Veale 12-7  S-Face(11)  HR-Staub(21) Bateman(4)

PHI 6, STL 3  W-Palmer 1-2 L-Taylor 6-6  S-Wilson(10)  HR-Allen(14)  Palmer(2) Shannon(5)

CIN 5, ATL 4  W-Maloney 12-5 L-P.Niekro 9-8  S-Granger(11)  HR-Boyer(10) Francona(3)ph

LA 2, HOU 0  W-Singer 12-8 L-LeMaster 10-9  HR-Davis(10)  Singer 1-hitter.

SD 4, SF 2  W-J.Niekro 7-7 L-Sadecki 5-5  HR-Bonds(16)

Houston, here is your problem.
Another day another leader in the NL west, where the Dodgers moved percentage points ahead of the Giants, one up on the Braves and 2 up on the Reds. Bill Singer downed the Astros for at least the third time this year, allowing only a solid second inning single by "Rooster" Rader, who contented himself at first base by eating bugs, strutting short distances, and being eventually stranded as Singer blanked the Spacemen 2-0.   

He's fragile.
The Giants' Ray Sadecki surrendered 4 runs in the top of the first to the lowly Padres, with half the runs being unearned because of a Ron Hunt boot. Al Ferrara, in his first game back from injury, swatted a three-run triple, then died again after scoring himself. "It took everything out of me," he lamented, being carried off the field in a plastic bag. The 4-spot was all the Friars needed, as Joe Niekro mowed down the Giants with the exception of the silly-hot Bobby Bonds, who cranked his 7th homer of July.  

The Reds returned home and returned to form, building a 5-1 lead over the Braves behind ace Jim Maloney. The Braves rallied, though, on a pair of blasts, and Wayne Granger had to come on to secure the victory, if only by the slimmest of margins. It was sloppy play that undid the teepee dwellers, with a sorry array of early errors allowing the Reds to pull away just far enough. 

His future's so bright, he's gotta wear shades.
Lowell "Lulu" Palmer, so cruelly denied his first win in his last start as documented in this space, got it this time and even hit another homer to seal the deal! Could it be a late pennant push by the Philadelphians? No. But they did enjoy downing the Cardinals and keeping them a game out of first. 

At Chicago, Gary Gentry stopped the Cubs as the Mets won at Wrigley for the second straight day, drawing to within four and a half of the top spot. 

John Bateman destroys the diamond.
Finally, the Expos spoiled things for the Pirates, terrifying them with homers by Staub and a rampaging John Bateman, who crushed Tokyo beneath his enormous feet and waved his tiny arms as he devoured Bob Veale in front of horrified fans. It's clear that these 'Spos will out-perform their real-life counterparts by quite a bit. They would have to win only 11 games the entire remainder of the season to finish with their actual 52. "We don't give a shit about reality!" crowed skipper Gene Mauch, shoveling Purina T-Rex Chow into Bateman's gaping maw with a steam shovel. 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Half A League Onward: Monday, July 14th, 1969


NY 9, CHI 1  W-Seaver 9-6 L-Selma 4-11

PIT 12, MON 3  W-Ellis 7-10 L-Jaster 5-7  HR-Oliver(17) Pagan(5)  Oliver 5 rbi.

HOU 4, LA 1  W-Wilson 7-9 L-Sutton 11-6  HR-Sudakis(5) Wynn(13) Rader(5)

"Pound me to smithereens!"
The Wrigley faithful were not even in their seats yet when the Mets dropped a 7 spot on the Cubbies in the top of the first inning. If not for the first two outs being made on the bases, he might still be out there coughing up runs. The New York nine had batted around before Selma managed to actually retire a batter. With the bullpen, including the ghoulish re-animated Mr. Colborn, used up from early bashings in other recent games, Selma had to take it on the chops for the team. Weirdly, though, he gave up just one run during the ensuing five innings. No matter. The 7 were more than enough for Tom Terrific Seaver as the Mets drew to within five and a half of the top spot. 

Super Rook.
In Montreal, the Pirates feasted on Expos pitching and are now only 3 games back after doodling around aimlessly all season until now.  Al Oliver would seem to be the obvious front-runner for Rookie of the Year, but the Society For White Surfer Dudes are campaigning for the Dodgers' Ted Sizemore. "He's almost the same as Jim Lefebvre!" they crowed. Lefebvre, you may recall, beat out Joe Morgan for the award in '65. "Fair, schmair!" is the argument by the Society.

His favorite song is "My Girl Bill"
Finally, reader Kurt appeared at the Harris County Domed Stadium with 25 cups, demanding that the entire Astros team be drug tested. Indeed, the Spacemen are 11-3 in July! The Dodgers were their latest victim, with fireballer Don Wilson--winner of 4 of his last 5 decisions--getting the victory this time. His shutout bid was ruined when Bill Sudakis churlishly lofted a wall-scraper into the first row of seats with 2 gone in the 9th. He ruins everything!
A lone fan cheered the Sudakis HR.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Reds Road Trip From Hell Finally Ends: Sunday, July 13th, 1969


PHI 11, CHI 0  W-Wise 6-7 L-Jenkins 12-5  HR-Allen(13) Callison(13)  Callison 5 rbi, Wise 1-hitter.

CHI 5, PHI 4 (12inns)  W-Aguirre 3-2 L-Farrell 1-6  HR-Joseph(5) Callison(14) Money(4) Young(5)  Beckert 5-for-7, walk-off double.

NY 3, MON 2  W-Taylor 4-3 L-Waslewski 3-1  S-McGraw(17)  HR-Bailey(7)

MON 8, NY 5  W-Wegener 7-6 L-Koosman 9-7  HR-Herrera(4) Phillips(2) Staub(20)GS 

PIT 7, STL 2  W-Moose 2-4 L-Washburn 5-11

PIT 6, STL 5  W-Hartenstein 3-2 L-Carlton 11-6  S-Gibbon(8)  HR-Stargell(14) Pagan(4)

HOU 5, CIN 1  W-Dierker 8-9 L-Culver 8-3  HR-J.Alou(2)  Dierker 2-hitter.

SF 19, LA 1  W-Marichal 8-9 L-Drysdale 2-7  HR-Bonds(15) Mays(5)GS  Burda 5 hits of 25 by Giants, Mays 5 rbi, Henderson 4 rbi, Bonds 4 rbi and 5 runs, Fuentes 4 runs.

SD 8, ATL 7  W-Kelley 3-2 L-Upshaw 4-4  S-Reberger(11)  HR-Cepeda(12)  Cepeda and Murrell 4 rbi each. 

It got weird for the Reds.
Poor Reds. They had to endure a 2-week, 14-game 4 city road trip. Perhaps Crosley Field was booked with an unusually long series of outdoor concerts by the hugely popular Bobby Sherman.  At any rate, the Rhinelanders started out strong, sweeping 3 from the Braves in Atlanta to start things off. "Let's go sight seeing!" they crowed. "Let's see what's next!" Then they dropped 3 of 4 at LA, 2 of 3 at San Diego, and capped it all by being swept 4 in a row by suddenly unstoppable Houston. "Let's kill ourselves, " they squeaked. "Let's jump off a bridge." I'm sure that returning home to Ohio on Monday will set them right again. 

He got the big hit.
4 runs in the 8th off of reliever Jim Grant made the Pirates' opening game win over the Cardinals look easier than it was. Starter Jim "Easter" Bunning lasted exactly one pitch before noticing that he had left most of his right hand in his luggage. In came banished former starter Bob "Moose & Squirrel" Moose, who kept the Buccos close until they upended Mr. Grant and stuffed him back in his tomb. Still, the Redbirds felt good when they staked Steve "Carlton Your Doorman" Carlton to a 4-0 lead after 2, and 5-2 after 7. But the Pirates rallied, capped by a two-run shot off the bat of Willie Stargell that put them ahead and gave them the sweep.

Likewise, the Mets felt good about their chances to sweep the Expos, with Jerry Koosman going in the second game after they had taken the opener. But ol' Jer' just didn't have it, giving up bombs right and left. Adolfo Phillips, riding atop a tank and rumbling around the bases, sneered at the New York lefty before retiring to his bunker to shoot himself. 

17 runs, 18 rbi already in July.
The Giants mercilessly destroyed the Tinseltown nine, piling up 19 runs on 25 hits to back Juan Marichal with more offense than he usually sees in a couple of months. And they did it without Willie McCovey! The lopsided win moved the Giants into first place in the game of musical chairs that is the NL west. Bobby Bonds continued his absolutely crazed pace in July with 5 runs, 4 rbi and 2 steals.  Willie Mays's grand slam was his 5th HR of the year, giving him a career total of 592. Maybe. In actual, he entered '69 needing 13 homers for 600, and got exactly that many. But here is where it gets tricky when you play APBA. In '65, he hit 52 HR in actual, 51 for me, one short. In '61 he hit 40 actual, 47 for me, 7 better. So, replacing actual with my own replay totals, Sunday's homer was his 598th. 

3/4 of the Atlanta infield.
Finally, the Braves seemed to have a 4-game sweep of the Padres well in hand, leading 5-1 against a line-up of Holy Men lacking both Nate Colbert and Al Ferrara. But in the bottom of the 8th, with ace closer Cecil Upshaw toeing the slab, the Atlanta infield defense went kerblooey, with errors by Sonny "Where's Cher?" Jackson and Cletis Boyer paving the way for big extra base hits by Larry Stahl and, of all people, perpetually slump-encrusted Ivan Murrell. By the time the dust cleared, 5 unearned runs had come across the plate in front of 37 wildly cheering San Diego fans as the Monks grabbed an 8-5 advantage. Pods skipper Gomez had Thing phone the bullpen to summon Frank "Double" Reberger for the 9th. He gave up a two-run bomb to Orlando "And Dawn" Cepeda, who had three extra base hits and tied a yellow ribbon around Reberger's neck on his way around the bases, but the Braves were unable to knock three times (sheesh, who writes this stuff?) and fell one run short, 8-7. Oh shit, Candida, what just happened? 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sloppy Mets Win Anyway! : Saturday, July 12th, 1969


PHI 6, CHI 5  W-Jackson 10-6 L-Abernathy 2-7  S-Wilson(9)  HR-Hisle(6) D.Johnson(12) Ryan(7) Banks(4)

NY 7, MON 6  W-Koonce 2-0 L-McGinn 6-3  S-McGraw(16)  HR-Staub(19) Charles(1) 

STL 4, PIT 2  W-Gibson 12-2 L-Blass 11-4  HR-Torre(7)  

HOU 3, CIN 1  W-Billingham 2-9 L-Merritt 6-10  S-Gladding(5)  

SF 1, LA 0  W-Perry 14-4 L-Osteen 9-5

ATL 3, SD 2  W-Reed 9-5 L-Kirby 2-10  S-Upshaw(18)  HR-H.Aaron(29)

"Watch me win this game!"
The Mets chose an odd time to revisit their childhoods and play kickball, making five errors as they allowed the Expos to take a 6-2 lead over them into the bottom of the 8th. It looked like just another disappointing performance by the Amazin's, when lightning struck. With one run in and two men on, lefty Dan McGinn was summoned to face lefty-swinging Ed Kranepool, and in fact prevented a game-tying 3-run homer, reducing it to an rbi single. Typical Mets bad luck, it seemed. With the score 6-4, up stepped Ed (they lead the league in Eds) "Call me Ray" Charles, who hadn't hit a dinger all year. He promptly went yard, putting the Mets up 7-6 and driving the Shea Stadium crowd wild. Tug McGraw came on to nail it down and the New York nine came away with a very unexpected win. 

He wants to be a cowboy.
The Mets gained a game in the standings because the lowly Phillies went on a home run rampage with the wind blowing out at Wrigley, downing the Cubs by a run. Larry Hisle, Deron "Where's Samantha?" Johnson and Mike Ryan sent balls into orbit. Before Ryan could cross home plate, reader Kurt sprinted onto the field with a cup and demanded an on the spot drug test, but he was removed by men with butterfly nets. Billy Wilson got the save, but it wasn't very clean. He entered the contest with a three run lead and gave two back, but held on. On the Cubs' side, Ted Abernathy pitched with a lead for the first time in almost 2 months, and immediately blew it. Nice going, Ted. His name is Ted. And someday, he'll be dead, yo yo. 

The Astros continue their unlikely rise, defeating the Reds at the Harris County Domed Stadium for the third straight day. The Spacemen have won 9 of their last 11. Could they actually have ideas about getting back in the race? They are 14 back, but it is only mid-July. We'll see. 

"Hey baby, lay it right in here, let's go!" Dietz talks it up.
Gaylord Perry outdueled Claude Osteen at Dodger Stadium, 1-0, courtesy of a pair of doubles by McCovey and Lanier early in the game. Wearing a Pistons uniform and demanding to play center, Lanier surprised everyone with his crucial 2-bagger.  Catcher Dick Deitz, immune to injury all season despite the grinning Orsino Board, finally got injured when a foul tip deposited a baseball in his eye socket. He'll sit out a dozen games, pondering his .029 average in July--maybe he was exhausted--and handing the gear off to Bob "Hi Bob!" Barton and Jack Hiatt. 

"It's all meaningless. And who wears brown in the summer time anyway? No wow factor at all. I feel like a UPS driver."
Finally, the Braves managed to beat the Friars for the third day in a row, but this time it was close. A Roberto Pena error early in the game resulted in an unearned run, and Clay Kirby was dealt yet another hard luck loss. "I feel like the Impartial Goddess is either hostile or indifferent to my fate," he opined. He is also mightily pissed at the Cardinals for letting him be selected by the stupid Padres in the first place.
Don't give up, Clay! Life is good!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Spacemen And Aaron Punish Wrong-Doers: Friday, July 11th, 1969


CHI 8, PHI 2  W-Hands 13-3 L-J.Johnson 3-14

MON 2, NY 1  W-Waslewski 3-0 L-McGraw 3-7  HR-Bailey(6) Boswell(5)

PIT 3, STL 2  W-Veale 12-6 L-Briles 6-9  S-Gibbon(7)

HOU 9, CIN 4  W-Griffin 5-10 L-Fisher 8-7  HR-Tolan(9) Rader(4)

LA 4, SF 1  W-Moeller 9-5 L-Bolin 8-9  S-Brewer(10) HR-Haller(10)

ATL 8, SD 4  W-Doyle 5-2 L-Roberts 3-8  S-Upshaw(17)  HR-F.Alou(3) H. Aaron 2(28)  H.Aaron 4 rbi.

Gary Geiger....
...Death. Separated at birth?
It's been tough sledding lately for the former "Miracle D" pitchers in the league. Oh sure, George Culver won a couple of days ago to go to 8-2, but what of poor Fat Jack Fisher? He got stomped by the suddenly mighty Astros, losing his third in a row. Can nothing stop the former pipsqueaks from Houston? Who knew a new lineup could completely turn them around? Unfortunately for them, lead-off man and key to the new order Jim Wynn got blown out the airlock for the next two games. We'll see how they do without him. Gary Geiger has the audacity to try to take his place. 

Cani....Cannizr....oh fuck this.
Another Mirace D fallen on hard times is the Braves' Milt Pappas, who has been absolutely blistered his last three outings. This time he carried a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the 4th against the woebegone Padres only to let them tie it before being removed by an exasperated Lum Harris. Lefty fireman Paul Doyle was brought in to retire lefty-swinging Larry Stahl with two men on and two out, which he did. Doyle, Britton and Raymond held the fort while Hank Aaron drilled his second 2-run bomb of the game, both with Felix "Neon" Millan on base. Then Cecil Upshaw twirled three scoreless for the save. Backstop Chris Cannizzaro leaves the Pods for the next 5 games to enter himself in a spelling bee as a word. "I like to torture youngsters," opined the twisted San Diego receiver. 

"Start winning, you fools!"
Tug McGraw came on in the top of the ninth at Shea with the score tied 1-1 against the upstart Expos. He promptly gave up a run and the Mets dropped back to .500 again. With the Cubs drubbing the Philles, the Metropolitans drop 7 and a half back again. Gil "Gill Man" Hodges, the NY skipper, destroyed his aquarium after the game, in frustration. 

"No further outbursts, Johnson. And stay away from my daughter."
Finally, the Pirates rallied past the Cardinals with 3 late runs to send that high-steppin' Nellie Briles to his 7th loss in his last 8 decisions despite pitching well. "They'll send me to the madhouse!" he complained after the game, lamenting the lack of support. Meanwhile, the Cards have been "showcasing" their ace pinch hitter Bob "Rocky" Johnson all week, playing him at third instead of Mike Shannon. Cowed by the opportunity, Johnson's average fell from .336 on June 30th to .299 today. Then he told the owner that his beer tastes like llama piss, and shoved a waste paper basket over Red Schoendienst's head before hitting it with a bat and shouting "Gonnngggg!" Needless to say, Rocky was immediately given traded to Oakland for former spare part and current bush leaguer Joe Nossek, who is uncarded.  It's bad timing for the Redbirds, as Tim McCarver just went down for 13 games. Joe Torre would have moved behind the plate with Johnson at first, but now Torre stays put and Dave Ricketts gets taken out of mothballs and handed the tools of ignorance. Get 'em, Dave.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Lulu Palmer's Day of Glory Ruined: Thursday, July 10th, 1969


NY 4, CHI 2  W-Seaver 8-6 L-Selma 4-10  S-McGraw(15)  HR-Young(4)

STL 3, PHI 1  W-C.Taylor 6-5 L-Palmer 0-2  S-Hoerner(9)  HR-Palmer(1)  

PIT 9, MON 2  W-Ellis 6-10 L-Jaster 5-6  S-Dal Canton(6)  HR-Stargell(13)

HOU 7, CIN 1  W-LeMaster 10-8 L-Maloney 11-5  Blefary 4 rbi.

SF 5, LA 2  W-Herbel 3-1 L-Singer 11-8  S-Linzy(12)  HR-Mota(2)

ATL 7, SD 0  W-Stone 6-7 L-Sisk 4-9  Stone 10 K's.

Perhaps Lowell "Lulu" Palmer, while growing up in Sacramento, California, dreamed of someday pitching for the Yankees, winning in excess of 300 major league games, and starring in several World Series. I have no doubt that he dreamed of being successful, famous and "cool."

Secret agent man!
It's too bad he sucked. Oh, he tried. On his baseball cards he is always wearing dark glasses, which is kind of weird.  In his MLB career, he pitched briefly for Philadelphia, St. Louis, Cleveland and San Diego, compiling a lifetime log of 5-18, with an e.r.a. above five. His career batting average was less than a buck and a quarter, with just one dinger. However, on Thursday at Connie Mack Stadium, he received the starting nod, shut down the visiting defending NL champion Cardinals, and accounted for the game's only run through 8 innings with a home run! Lulu was only in there because both John Boozer and Billy Champion had flamed out as starters. He was called upon and carried that 1-0 lead into the top of the 9th! Wouldn't ya know, the Redbirds rallied for 3 runs to hand poor Mr. Palmer the bitter defeat. Sucks to be you, Lowell!

Fearsome power threat? You bet!
At Shea stadium, the Mets salvaged the finale of their 3-game set against the front-running Cubbies, riding the arm of Tom Seaver to victory, with last out help from Tug McGraw.  Rookie flyhawk Don Young hit his second homer in as many days for Chicago, but it wasn't enough. Not only that, but Cubs homer leader Jim Hickman slammed into the wall and collapsed a lung, rendering him deflated for next number of games.  

He fanned ten monks.
The Braves have played the lowly Padres less frequently than any other National League team, and are very glad to see the Pods on their schedule now. George Stone celebrated by shutting down the absurd Friars on five singles. Sonny Jackson stands ready to burst out of the doors of the hospital and rejoin the line-up tomorrow, thus ending the emergency platoon of Tommie Aaron and Ralph Garr at short for the team from Georgia. 

Pure genius, dude.
The Astros are thriving with their revamped line-up, playing .700 ball since the change! Their latest victim was the Reds and Jim Maloney, whose control issues don't match up well with the patient Houston hitters. He got lit up, and the Spacemen coasted to victory. Jim Wynn, sleepy all season, is loving the lead-off spot, where he gives skipper Harry Walker a Bonds-type star at the top of the order. 

"Goddamit, me!" Perhaps the Orsino Board will stop him.
Finally, things looked bleak for the Giants as they arrived at Dodger Stadium. They knew they had to play the opener of the series without superstar Willie McCovey, plus they were sending stopgap kid starter Ron Bryant to the hill against Bill Singer. But Bryant kept it close, departing after 5 with a 2-2 tie. When the San Frans pushed across three more, it made a winner of fireman Ron "Herbal Essence" Herbel, with help from closer Frank Linzy. Linzy sucked largely in April, but since then he has been the best darn "C" closer in all creation. Willie Mays got up from his meal of bland spaghetti and Ensure at the old folks' home to smack four hits for the visitors. He's been good before. He'll be (briefly) good again. But in '69 he kind of blows. If you want true stardom, check out Dodger outfielder Manny Mota, who is hitting a cool .396. Good grief. Please tell me I am not going to have to track a .400 bid by Manny freaking Mota. I've had some weird batting champions in my leagues in the past, including Ron Hassey (1986) and Greg Gross (1979), and I suppose Mota *was* a good hitter, but wasn't he more of a pinch hitter type guy? Maybe not. We'll see.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Bad Day For The Niekros: Wednesday, July 9th, 1969


CHI 4, NY 0  W-Holtzman 8-4 L-Koosman 9-6  HR-Young(3)

STL 5, PHI 1  W-Carlton 11-5 L-Fryman 6-8

MON 6, PIT 3  W-McGinn 6-2 L-Gibbon 2-3  S-Face(10)  HR-Bailey(5) Phillips(1) Oliver(16)

LA 3, ATL 0  W-Sutton 11-5 L-P.Niekro 9-7

CIN 13, SD 7  W-Culver 8-2 L-J.Niekro 6-7

HOU 9, SF 3  W-Wilson 6-9 L-Sadecki 5-4  S-Gladding(4)  HR-Morgan(6)

Lobster Boy demonstrates his claw grip.
The brothers Niekro felt as if they were in some horrid Russian novel, as they both lost on Wednesday, falling down in tears in the snow outside Leningrad.  Out in La La Land, brother Phil wasn't especially sharp, and the Dodgers pecked away all day and came away with a 3-0 win as Don Sutton blanked the flailing Braves batters on 3 hits, none after the third inning. The Dodger staff entered July with just 3 shutouts, but have doubled that total already. Meanwhile in San Diego, brother Joe lasted less than 3 frames and was shelled to the tune of 8 earned runs by the Reds, who outlasted the Holy Men 13-7. The Reds staff gave up 18 runs in the three games at Jack Murphy Stadium against the popgun Padres, and dropped the first two of those games. Pete Rose demonstrated his frustration by climbing into the enclosure at the San Diego Zoo and feeding himself to the lions. He'll miss 5 games while they digest him.

The Mets are wimpy kids.
The Mets had a chance to really make a move with a 3-game home series against the first place Cubs, but they forgot to bring their bats along, losing 4-1 on Tuesday, and 4-0 today. Injuries are no longer an excuse for the Metropolitans, as they have everyone except Garrett and Pfeil back; they just can't hit, plain and simple. "We're healthy, but wimpy," they explained to the ink-stained scribes. 

He's got the powa.
At Forbes Field, a pair of ex-Pirates came back in ghostly form to haunt the Pittsburgh nine. Bob Bailey, that old Savings & Loan pal, homered--one of a pair of two-run shots by the Expos off of lefty fireman Joe Gibbon--and Roy Face left the rest home long enough to garner his 10th save. Adolfo Phillips had the other round tripper, showing the Cubs they were wrong to dump him and his .104 batting average.

He walked ten.
Finally, at the Stick, the Astros' Don Wilson managed to walk ten batters in five innings, but hung on for the win anyway, with 4 innings of relief help from Dooley Womack and Fred "Man From" Gladding. Wilson also hit a batter, knocking Willie McCovey out for one game. "I'll send him a Candy-gram," opined the crazy wild Mr. Wilson. After being beaten 2-1 and 2-0 (on a no-hitter) by Gaylord Perry and Juan Marichal, the Spacemen were very glad to see Ray Sadecki out there on the bump. However, they were not as pleased to see ump "Hell" Enkeller on the diamond, and both Curt Blefary and Don "Call me Anita" Bryant got thumbed for exchanging pleasantries. 
He can't see you, but he can hear your smart mouth.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Marichal No-Hitter ! : Tuesday, July 8th, 1969


CHI 4, NY 1  W-Jenkins 12-4 L-Cardwell 5-6

STL 4, PHI 2  W-Grant 6-6 L-Wise 5-7  S-Hoerner(8)  HR-D.Johnson(11)

PIT 10, MON 4  W-Bunning 7-7 L-Renko 0-4  HR-Staub(18) Oliver(15) Taylor(1) Sanguillen(2) Alley(5)  Oliver 4 rbi.

LA 6, ATL 5  W-Foster 4-1 L-Upshaw 4-3  HR-H.Aaron(25)  Francona 5-for-5, Davis 1-out walk-off single.

ATL 6, LA 1  W-Jarvis 10-6 L-Osteen 9-4  HR-H.Aaron(26) Carty(14)

SD 5, CIN 2  W-Santorini 4-15 L-Cloninger 1-3  S-Reberger(10)  HR-Rose(18) 

SF 2, HOU 0  W-Marichal 7-9 L-Dierker 7-9  HR-Bonds(14)  Marichal NO-HITTER,  Dierker 2-hitter.

Juan Marichal tossed the league's third no-hitter on Tuesday, stopping the visiting Astros in masterful fashion.  It was sweet revenge for the high-kicking Dominican right-hander, as he defeated Larry Dierker--who only gave up 2 hits himself--two to nothing; the very same score Dierker beat him by in late June. The red hot Bobby Bonds led off the 1st with a booming homer, then another run scored on two walks, a grounder, and a sac fly, for all the offense that would be necessary. Juan gave up only a pair of walks, to Jim Wynn and Normal Norm Miller. When Jesus Alou hit a grounder to second sacker Don Mason, who fired to defensive first base sub Bob Burda for the final out, Marichal found himself in the record books. The '69 campaign was not even two weeks old when the first two no-hitters were recorded, by Hands of Chicago against the Phillies and Singer of the Dodgers against these same Spacemen. Incidentally, the win moved the Giants into second place in the jam-packed sardine can of the NL west.

"Shit! Where's my hand?!?"
San Diego has treated the visiting Reds rudely, winning twice in two days, this time behind Al "Losing Pitcher" Santorini. The Pods struck for five runs on seven singles in the bottom of the 6th inning on a weird barrage of dribblers and seeing-eye safeties. To make it all worse for the Reds, they lost Alex Johnson again, as well as Tony Cloninger. The affable Johnson came back too soon from his previous injury, stayed long enough to go one for ten, then left Tuesday's game with a sour disposition. As for Cloninger, having finally wormed his way into the rotation, his hand came off, rendering him useless. He is the third Cincy pitcher to go down, joining Arrigo and Nolan. (According to my 1970 baseball guide, pitcher injuries were a real thing for the '69 Reds, and at times they only had 6 pitchers available.) Clay Carroll may have to give up his seat in the bullpen and make a start; we'll see.

"Trade me for Carl Morton!" All in good time, Pat. All in good time.
Meanwhile, the other two western contenders, the Braves and Dodgers, squared off in L.A. for a doubleheader. The Braves staked Ron Reed to a 4-0 lead after 3, but as has been the case lately for Atlanta hurlers, he couldn't hold it and the Dodgers eventually forged a 5-all tie. Then in the last of the 9th, Willie Davis socked a walk-off single to make a winner of smilin' Alan Foster. The win did cost the Tinseltown nine the right-handed half of their stellar relief tandem, as Pete Mikkelsen was hit in the head by an errant golf ball and killed, but just for a week and a half. The Braves finally got a good mound performance out of Pat Jarvis in the nightcap to gain a split, as Jarvis became the staff's top winner with 10 triumphs.

He doesn't want anything to do with your backyard feeder.
In Chicago, Fergie Jenkins turned in a workman-like win against the Mets, as the pursuing Cardinals downed the Phillies despite another home run by the suddenly crazed Deron Johnson. "I was attacked as a child by a small songbird," he shrieked by way of explanation. Finally, Rusty Staub's meaningless 3-run blast in the 9th against Pittsburgh made the score a little more respectable, but the Expos still bowed to the Buccaneers who couldn't believe their Buccan-eyes at the fat pitches they received from Expo starter Renko, who remains winless.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Pods Win, Haller Simply Grand: Monday, July 7th, 1969


STL 5, PHI 4 (10inns)  W-Gibson 11-2 L-Wilson 1-8  HR-D.Johnson(10)  Gibson 13 K's.

PIT 9, MON 3  W-Blass 11-3 L-Robertson 7-8  HR-Clemente(11)

LA 10, ATL 3  W-Moeller 8-5 L-Pappas 8-5  S-Foster(1)  HR-Haller(9)GS 

SD 6, CIN 5  W-Reberger 4-7 L-Granger 6-4  HR-Tolan(8) Stewart(3)ph Cannizzaro(3) 

SF 2, HOU 1  W-Perry 13-4 L-Billingham 1-9  

Reds reserve Jimmy Stewart and friend.
Huzzah! The Padres finally snapped their 13-game losing streak. The Reds jumped out ahead of them 2-0 early, but 4 unearned runs made possible courtesy of a Tony Perez error gave the Holy Men the lead they had been praying for. The Rhinelanders tied it again at 4 when pinch hitter Jimmy Stewart slammed a two-run homer as his invisible rabbit cheered wildly in the stands. Not to be outdone, the scrappy Monks plated a run on a sac fly by Ed Spiezio off of Wayne Granger and held on for the one-run triumph. Frank "Double" Reberger claimed the win.

Jesus didn't come through.
At Candlestick, the newly feisty Astros had the tying and winning runs in scoring position in both the 8th and the 9th but fell just short against Gaylord Perry, 2-1. They turned to Jesus (Alou) with the sacks jammed and two out in the final frame, but their faith was not rewarded. Ron Hunt managed to wedge his head under second base while sliding, and will miss about a week, opening the proverbial door for Don "Call me James" Mason, who has been relegated to pinch running duties and little else all year except for the odd starring role in the movies. In this game he collected his first rbi all year, knocking in Bobby Bonds, who stole three bases in the game and scored both Giants runs.

He snapped at the ball with his deadly mandible, but dropped it.
Bob Gibson was sailing along with what looked like an easy victory over the Phillies when Deron Johnson surprised him with a three run jack, giving the Quakers the lead! But Terry "Jaws" Harmon's error led to disaster for the Phils as they lost in extra innings instead.

The Buccos re-took third place over the idle Mets by dispatching the Expos with ease. However, Roberto Clemente dislocated his spleen while making a game-saving catch, and will miss several games. Several old biddies appeared seemingly out of nowhere to lecture the Mets about the sin of idleness.

And finally, Alan Foster trotted out of the Dodger bullpen to garner the garbage save (though he pitched very well) against the Braves, who suddenly can't get anybody out. Upon investigation , I found that Mr. Foster never had a major league save, but for me he did. "I'm proud of my garbage save," he opined.