Sunday, December 7, 2014

December 7, 1980: Porter Joins The Birds

     On December 7, 1980, the Cardinals came to terms with Darrell Porter. The backstop would be making his way across the state from Kansas City, and he would prove to be worth the $3.5 million five year deal that made him the highest paid catcher in all of baseball. He took home the World Series MVP award in 1982, and he also helped the club get to the Fall Classic in 1985.

     The move for Porter was just one of many that Whitey Herzog would make, as he retooled the organization in rapid fashion. The acquisition led to the departure of a fan favorite in Ted Simmons, and was a move that could be looked at as a domino being knocked down that sent the rest of the dominoes tumbling. The article featured in the picture was published a week after Porter came to terms with the Birds. It mentions some of the subsequent dominoes that fell, as the "White Rat" built himself a contender. The trades and acquisitions that Herzog made were just as important, as the decisions he made from the Cardinals dugout. He built more than a contender. He built a championship squad. The move for Porter was simply the beginning of something special.

     Something that I have hoped to touch on at some point is the substance abuse issues that Porter had later in life. It is something that ultimately took his life. For many years it looked like he was able to overcome his addiction issues, then he made a fateful choice to do cocaine in 2002. That choice killed him. He was just 50 years old at the time. While I do not know the majority of you, I will disclose that I too have had addiction issues in my life. In fact, I will be five years clean and sober this coming February. This page would not exist if I had not changed the way I was living. The reason I put this is because I believe that having an addiction issue is not something a person should be ashamed of. After all we are all human, and we all have our flaws. I am currently working toward obtaining a degree that will help me help others who are trying to beat addiction, so this very important to me.

     Darrell Porter should forever be celebrated in Cardinal Nation. Today is not a day to remember how it all ended, as much as it is a day to remember what he did while wearing the Birds on the Bat. With that said, if you or someone you know is trying to beat an addiction do not be afraid to reach out to those who will help. If you feel like you do not have someone to reach out to send the page a message, and I will do everything in my power to help you find the help that is needed.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

November 16, 1932: Shortstop Charlie Gelbert Accidentally Shoots Himself While Hunting

     On November 16, 1932, Cardinals shortstop Charlie Gelbert accidentally shot himself in the leg while hunting in the mountains of Pennsylvania. The 26-year-old had tripped over a vine, and within an instant his life and major league career were forever changed. The accident sidelined him, but it did not end his career. He had a long road ahead, and by the time he got to the end of that road he had led a life worth remembering.

     Gelbert helped the Cardinals take the National League pennant in 1930, then in 1931 he helped the club win their second World Series title. His star was just beginning to shine before that gun went off. As we all know everything can change in the blink of an eye, and it did that day. The initial reports had the shortstop listed in "good" condition.  His spirits were high as he lay in a hospital bed recovering, and even as early as January of '33 he was talking about reporting for Spring Training. That was not going to be the case. In fact, he had setback after setback that required multiple surgeries.

      While Gelbert held onto optimism, Branch Rickey had to scramble to figure out who would man the position if things did not work out the way everyone involved wished. It led to a deal in the Spring of '33 that put the Birds on the Bat across the chest of Leo Durocher. The acquisition of Durocher was a move that had to be made, and it proved to be a good one, as held down short through 1936, and was a key member of the '34 Championship winning club.

     Before that Gashouse Gang got together in '34, Gelbert had hopes of joining them. However, gangrene set in, and for a short while there was fear that he would lose his leg. By March of '34 the news hit the wires that Gelbert would be lost for yet another season. Through it all Gelbert remained optimistic. He was determined to return to the diamond, and his determination did pay off.

     When the calendar turned to 1935 the rest of Charlie Gelbert's life began. He had turned a page on a dark chapter in life. The team announced he would be on the roster in the coming year. Finally some good news. Gelbert ended up playing in 62 games for the in '35, and cranked out a .292 average. He returned in '36, and played in 93 games, but his average dipped to .229. That proved to be his last year with the Birds, as the club sold him to the Reds in December of that year. He bounced as utility man until the end of the 1940 season, then hung up his baseball cleats.

     As mentioned before the accident did not define the man that Charlie Gelbert was. His days on the diamond were far from over. In 1946, Gelbert joined the ranks of college coaching when he took a job managing the Lafayette Leopards in Easton, Pennsylvania. The ole ballplayer turned coach had been a multi-talented athlete in his youth, and helped coach the school's football and basketball teams as well. He made his true mark on the diamond though as he led the team to five Division II World Series appearances. He coached the Leopards until he passed away suddenly in at the age of 60 in 1967. The impact he made at that school will never be forgotten, they honored his legacy in 2004 by retiring his number 20. The man who had suffered an unfortunate accident in he Fall of '32 would forever be remembered as a great coach, and today I look at him with great admiration as someone who would not give up after being knocked down time and time again.

You can view Charlie Gelbert's career numbers here:

Monday, November 10, 2014

November 10, 2005: Carpenter Wins The Cy Young

     On November 10, 2005, Chris Carpenter was named the National League's Cy Young Award winner. Carpenter was the just second Cardinal to lay claim to the prize, as he joined a club that was occupied by one man. That man's name was Bob Gibson. Gibby claimed the prize twice, with the first coming in 1968 and the second coming in 1970. Gibson found some company in the club 35 years later, as Carpenter posted a 21-5 record with a 2.83 earned run average.

    Carpenter had fierce competition for the award, as Dontrelle Willis of the Florida Marlins posted a 22-10 record with a 2.63 earned run average. However, it was Carpenter that had 19 of the 32 first place votes going to him. Willis had 11, and Roger Clemens followed them up with two. The article featured in the picture today documents the road that Carpenter traveled to get to that point. It was a road that involved pain, rehab, and even the questioning of a career that had hardly started before an injury looked like it may have ended it. He had showed promise early in his career in Toronto, as he posted double digits in the win column during three different seasons. However, 2002 proved to be a year that tested Carpenter's will. He had suffered an arm injury, and setbacks thereafter that raised the question if he should go on. The answer was yes, he should go on.

     Things got worse before they got better. The Blue Jays brass wanted him to consider working through his issues at the minor league level. It was not something he embraced, so he tested the market, and in December of 2002 Chris Carpenter put ink on a contract that made him a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. The organization was well aware of the road he had traveled, and they were well aware that there would be a long road ahead of him before he was ready to pitch for his new club. Together, they traveled that road, and were rewarded with a triumphant return to the mound in 2004. The hurler posted a 15-5 record for the National League Champions, and was awarded the Comeback Player of the Year at season's end.

     The 21-5 season the next year kept the awards coming for the man who came oh so close to calling it quits. He was a Cy Young Award winner who showed that hard work and determination can push you through. He did not give up, and because of that he is the last Cardinal to take home the coveted award. The 2005 season was Carpenter's finest season from a personal standpoint. However, he did win 15 or more games three more times. What he did on the diamond, and in the clubhouse helped bring the Cardinals the title in 2006 and 2011. As we all know Carpenter did fight through injury throughout the rest of his career. The key word to that last sentence is "fight". He kept fighting right up until he could fight no more. From this fan's perspective he is one of the greatest pitchers I have seen on the diamond. His battle to stay on that diamond is quite inspiring as well. When you consider what he went though that Cy Young Award had to mean so much to the man who wore the 29 over the course of nine years in St. Louis.

Friday, November 7, 2014

November 7, 1945: Eddie Dyer Gets The Job

     On November 7, 1945, Eddie Dyer was named the new skipper of the St. Louis Cardinals. The announcement came one day after Billy Southworth announced that he would be moving onto the Boston Braves. Southworth had taken the Cardinals job in 1940, and he led the club to three consecutive pennants with the first coming in 1942. Two of those three pennant winning squads won the title, and he had driven his stock high. The Braves made an offer that Sam Breadon would not match, and that Southworth could not refuse. Breadon knew that Southworth would be leaving for nearly a month. However, both parties chose to keep it under wraps until the Cardinals owner could choose his replacement. Once that was done the news hit the wires on consecutive days. A changing of the guard had taken place. Eddie Dyer now stood at the gate.

     With the string of recent success the club had, Dyer was stepping into some big shoes. The Cardinals had failed to win the pennant in '45, but they were considered a powerhouse club that had raced to the finish line, despite the fact that Stan Musial had to miss the season to serve his country. Dyer would be getting Stan back, and had all the talent he needed to guide the club to another title. He also had all the skill he needed, He had managed at various levels within organization, and had gained a great respect amongst his peers, which earned him a job that until then he had only dreamed about.

     The new skipper met the high expectations in '46 by guiding the team to a pennant winning season, then a subsequent World Series title. It had been a true battle between the Cardinals and the Dodgers that season, as they stormed down the stretch in a neck and neck race that ended with a tie. The tie set the table for a three game playoff that took Dyer's Birds just two games to decide the National League Champion. He then guided then guided them to victory over the Boston Red Sox in a classic seven game battle that put the words World Series champion on his resume.

     Ultimately, that was Dyer's finest hour as the skipper of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Dodgers took over the National League in the latter part of the decade. It was not handed to them though. The Birds put up a fight. In 1949, the club finished just one game out, but in those days there were no extended playoffs, and a one game deficit meant no shot at the title.  Following the disappointment in '49 the club nosedived to a fifth place finish in 1950. It spelled the end for Dyer's position as manager. He made the decision to turn his interests to multiple business ventures he was involved in, and did not return to baseball thereafter. While the years that followed '46 were years that might have been considered a disappointment Eddie Dyer was a part of Golden Era in St. Louis. When he filled out his lineup card he was able to scratch the name Musial, Slaughter, Schoendienst, and quite a few others who made a name for themselves with the Birds on the Bat adorned on their chests.

If you would like to read more about Billy Southworth or Eddie Dyer you should check out their Society of American Baseball Research biographies provided below. The article featured in today's picture was featured in the Deseret News out of Salt Lake City, Utah on December 6, 1945.

SABR bios



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

November 4, 1963: Roger Craig Gets Dealt To St. Louis

     On November 4, 1963, Cardinals General Manager Bing Devine sent outfielder George Altman and pitcher Bill Wakefield to the New York Mets in exchange for hard luck hurler Roger Craig. The 6 foot 4 righthander embraced the move with open arms. The Cardinals had been a thorn in his side up to that point. The thorn would be pulled out, and by the end of the '64 campaign he was one of many heroes that brought the city another Championship Title. 

     Craig had led the National League in losses in back-to-back seasons before the deal took place. He had lost 24 losses in '62, and 22 losses in '63, but he felt the trade would wipe his slate clean. He was headed to a  contender. However, the move to St. Louis did not provide an instant turnaround for him. He posted just a 7-9 record during the regular season, but it was what he did in the postseason that made the trade a great one.  

     Craig's performance in Game 4 of the '64 World Series earned him a win and a key victory in the seven game battle against Mickey Mantle and the Yankees. As far as the players that the Birds shipped to New York only Altman would spend significant time in the major leagues. He never did hit higher than .235 after he dealt. When it was all said and done, Craig spent just one season with the Cardinals. It was one helluva season to spend in St. Louis. 

If you would like to know more about the life and times of Roger Craig check this out:

Monday, November 3, 2014

November 3, 1968: Harry Caray Nearly Loses His Life In The Lou

     In the wee hours of the morning, on a rainy November 3rd in 1968, Harry Caray nearly lost his life after being struck by a car in front of the Chase Park Plaza in St. Louis. The Hall of Fame broadcaster had returned from Columbia where he had called a Mizzou game the evening before, watched some Blues hockey, had dinner, then made a fateful decision to continue his night by going to the hotel to have a few drinks.

     Caray parked across the street from the hotel, and when he began to cross a 21-year-old man from Overland name Michael Poliquin was headed right for him. Poliquin did not see him until it was too late, and despite his efforts to stop he skidded into the Cardinals broadcaster. It was said that Caray flew 40 feet in one direction, and his shoes flew 25 feet in the other direction. Caray suffered a variety of injuries, which included compound fractures on both of his legs. As he lay there in the street he thought he was going to die.

     The man who had narrowly escaped death was listed in critical condition the following day. However, he upgraded quickly, and began a road to recovery. Within weeks he was smiling, and looking forward to getting back to work. The article on the left was printed the day after, while the photo on the right published five weeks later. There was no keeping Caray down.

Mark over at went into much greater detail. He even talks about how Caray turned his hospital room into party central. Check it out here:

One other note, I noticed Caray was ticketed for crossing in mid block. Some unsympathetic cops I guess. I mean for Pete Kozma's sake if you break both of your legs there should be a pass given for jaywalking.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

November 2, 1881: A Franchise Is Born

     On November 2, 1881, the American Association was born within the walls of the Gibson House in Cincinnati, Ohio. One of the six teams selected to join this new league would call the City of St. Louis home. They would call themselves the Brown Stockings initially, but today we all know them as the St. Louis Cardinals. A franchise had been born.

     The game began being played in St. Louis long before that meeting took place. A man by the name of Merritt Griswold  had made his way to the Mound City in 1859. He had learned the game in New York, and he brought it with him. On April 26, 1860, Griswold had the rules published with a diagram that had the positions in an issue of the Daily Missouri Democrat.  He had planted a seed, and it took root.

      Griswold then organized a club that was called the Cyclone. Other teams formed around the region as well. One of those other clubs called themselves the Morning Stars. They took their name because they like to get in a game in the early hours of the day. They were known to hit the diamond between 5 and 6 in the morning. The Morning Stars called on Griswold to coach them in this new game. They were playing it their own way, and wanted to get it right. Griswold himself said, that they did not embrace his coaching at first, and went as far to say that they were disgusted by the way he wanted them to play it. It was described as the men "kicked" in their version base ball, as it was obvious they had not truly grasped the game just yet.

      That would change. After the initial practice that had the men repulsed they decided to let Griswold try to teach them some more, and their efforts paid off. The Cyclone and the Morning Stars played the first game of organized base ball in St. Louis on July 9, 1860. The Morning Stars won that first game 50-24. That seed that had taken root was now becoming a tree, and that tree would have to weather a storm. The storm I speak of  is the Civil War, which began in 1861. Griswold fought for the North, while some of the men he had been teaching that game went and fought for the south. In some cases brother against brother, had turned into teammate against teammate. Many of those men never returned to a diamond. Many of those men did not return home. Griswold's Cyclone club disbanded because of the war, and he returned to New York thereafter. He did not return West. However, his contributions to base ball in St. Louis should not be forgotten.

     While the times were turbulent, base ball survived in the city. A man named Jeremiah Fruin arrived in St. Louis in 1862. After leaving school at the age of 16, Fruin joined his father's construction business in New York. He then spent some time in New Orleans. He too was affected by the war, and was a member of the Union Army. That is what brought him to St. Louis. He was stationed there, and it proved to be a bit of fate for the man and the city as well.

      Fruin's construction experience was something that both he, and St. Louis benefited from. He helped get roads paved, a sewer system installed, and was instrumental in bringing the first rail system to town. Fruin also founded a construction company in 1872 that many would be familiar with today called Fru-Con Construction. He was very involved within the city, and later in life he would serve as the police commissioner. He was a man who served his community in many ways.

     The founder of the Sporting News Alfred H. Spink once said Fruin  was the Father of Base ball in St. Louis. It was something that Fruin did not embrace since he knew that he was not there when it all began. The reason Spink felt that way was that Fruin did act as a glue that held organized base ball together in St. Louis. There was a great respect for him because he served his community in many ways.

     One of those ways came with the knowledge he had of the game that was played on the diamond. While growing up in Brooklyn he had played organized ball, and what he seen around St. Louis was not so organized. He joined the Empires, and with some effort he helped straighten things out. As Fruin captained and played second base for the Empires, the game took another step forward, with the city and the world around him evolving as well.

       As time moved forward Fruin taught his men to play the game the right way, and base ball bloomed Soon there were clubs forming all around him.  Meanwhile in Cincinnati, the first first professional team formed with the Red Stockings. Men were getting paid, and an organized league was on the horizon. The Red Stockings toured the country, and played wherever they could find a diamond. Some of those diamonds found came in St. Louis, which had become a hotbed for base ball. At one point the Red Stockings played Fruin's Empire club, and handed them quite a defeat. 31-9  to be exact. The professionals also beat other local teams before heading to their next stop on their base ball tours. The St. Louis clubs may have lost those contests, but they made it be known that the city could support the game as fans turned out to watch the pros play ball.

     The first professional league formed in 1871. It was called the National Association of Base Ball Players.Two teams from St. Louis joined the league in 1875. The Red Stockings played ball at Compton and Gratriot, while the Brown Stockings played at Grand and Dodier in a site that became known as Sportsman's Park. Neither club would have direct ties to the Cardinals organization. Although, like the teams that played around the city before them they too were a part of something bigger that was yet to come.

      Unfortunately, the St. Louis Red Stockings came and went quickly. The National Association folded in 1876, and the club followed suit. The Brown Stockings joined the National League that season, and put together a 45-19 record. It was good for a second place finish behind a club in Chicago that would become known as the Cubs.  That string showing did not equal long term success though. The club was accused of throwing games in 1877, and after a fourth place finish the club left the league altogether.

     The city was without professional base ball. The aforementioned Alfred H. Spink wanted that to change. Many of the players from the Brown Stockings still played ball at Grand and Dodier after the team left the National League, and Spink knew the game could survive. It just needed someone with the financial backing to make it viable. The viable option ended up being Chis Von der Ahe, a grocery store, and saloon owner. He purchased the rights to the name and the ballpark for $1,800 after noticing his profits spike at the saloon. That $1,800 today would be roughly $40,000. Things were coming together.

  Von der Ahe was not well versed when it came to the game of base ball. Some said he had no idea what he was doing at all, yet dove right in. He fixed up the site at Grand and Dodier, and with help from Spink and company Von der Ahe made it be known that St. Louis could support a professional franchise. His efforts led to him being in that room when the American Association founders met in Cincinnati in 1881. When he walked out of that room he was the very first owner of the team that we call the Cardinals.

      The new league adopted a liberal set of rules to rival the National League. They could play on Sundays, were cheaper at the gate, and something that Von der Ahe surely loved was they could sell alcohol at the ballpark. The team enjoyed great success during their decade, winning four AA Pennants, and taking home a World Series title in 1886. There were rough times as well. The largely wooden structure that the fans called the ballpark burned six different times between 1882 and 1892. Engineering had not advanced, and quite frankly they were a victim of the times. Even then the game survived.

     Another setback came in 1890 when the Players League formed. It took money and players right out of the hands of those who ran American Association teams, as the market became more and more competitive. Teams came and went, and several teams jumped to the NL, which included the Cincinnati and Brooklyn clubs. As the dominoes fell the American Association fell with them. It went under in 1891, and the St. Louis Browns joined the National League before the 1892 campaign began. While their stay in the American Association was just a decade in time, it did provide a solid foundation for the club that would become the Cardinals. It was the birth of a franchise in a city that loved the game of base ball from the moment it found its way west of the Mississippi.

                                                                   Sources included

Chris Von der Ahe: Baseball pioneering huckster written by Richard Eigenreither for the Society of American Baseball Reasearch, It can be found here: (If you love baseball history you should consider becoming a member. I am. Check out the benefits here:

Base Ball Pioneers 1850-1870: The Clubs and Players who Spread the Sport by Peter Morris, William J. Ryczek, and Jan Finkel

The St. Louis Baseball Reader by Richard 'Pete' Peterson.

St. Louis, the fourth city 1764-1909. This book provides a short bio into Jeremiah Fruin. It can be found here:

The Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri. It can be found here:

The Chicago Tribune

The Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette 

A couple of other mentions to websites that I think anyone that has interest in baseball history would be interested in. The first is The website provides a great deal of information about baseball in St. Louis before the turn of the 20th century. It is absolutely great. It helped guide me to other helpful sites as well. I tip my cap to the person that put it together.

Another website that is very interesting is it is all about 19th Century Base Ball. The history, the ever evolving rules, the teams, and more.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

October 15, 1964: The Birds Take The Title

     On October 15, 1964, the Cardinals were crowned World Series Champions after beating the New York Yankees 7-5 in Game 7 of the World Series. It had been 18 seasons since the City of St. Louis could celebrate as champions, and Bob Gibson's complete game MVP performance on just two days of rest had a large part in making the celebration possible. The Birds also took advantage of key opportunities which led to the year 1964 being a year that will forever be celebrated in the history of the St. Louis Cardinals organization.

      Mel Stottlemyre was on the bump for the Yankees, and the rookie hurler was locked up in a dual with the 28-year-old Gibson through the first three innings. However, things unraveled for Stottlemyre in the third. Ken Boyer started the inning off with a single, and Dick Groat followed it up with a walk. Tim McCarver looked like he had hit into a double play, only to have Phil Linz throw wide to first. Boyer scored on the play, while McCarver stood on first. Mike Shannon moved the Cardinals catcher over to third with a single to right center, and the Birds were beginning to fly. When things are going right it seems everything falls into place, and the next Cardinals run is a great example of that, as McCarver and Shannon executed a double steal with Shannon swiping home for the second Redbird run. Dal Maxvill  added another one to the board with a single that brought McCarver in, before Stottlemyre could get the last two outs of the inning. When reflecting on the game later Yogi Berra saw the throwing error by Linz as the play that made all the difference in the inning, and quite possibly the game.

     Not only did the Cardinals plate three runs on the young Yankee hurler in the third, they also ended his day. He had tried to dive for the ball before Linz's critical error, and hurt his shoulder in the process. Berra said it led to his decision to pinch hit for him in the fifth. The Yankees could not get anything going in that inning. Then in the bottom of the frame Lou Brock took Stottlemyre's replacement Al Downing's first pitch, and put it in the stands to lead things off. It was going to be another big Redbird inning. Downing did not even record an out. He gave up a single to Bill White, then a double to Ken Boyer, before he was given a ticket to the showers. Rollie Sheldon inherited Downing's mess, and while he was able to record three successive outs, the first two were productive outs that brought White and Boyer trotting in. After five the Cardinals held a 6-0 lead, and the fans in the stands were buzzing. They could feel victory in the air.

     There was a man on that Yankees roster who would bring some of them back down to earth in the sixth. He was future Hall of Famer, and he had already broke a few Cardinals hearts with a walk off blast in Game 3. That man's name was Mickey Mantle, and he made Bob Gibson pay for giving up back-to-back singles by hitting a three run bomb that touched the clouds in St. Louis, and cut the Cardinals lead in half.  Gibby picked up two outs, then walked a man before ending the inning by striking out Clete Boyer.

     Ken Boyer grabbed one of those runs back with a solo shot in the seventh, and Gibby sailed into the ninth up 7-3. Just three outs away. They were not going to be easy outs. However, Gibby did strike out Tom Tresh to start things off. Suddenly the short rest might of caught up with Gibson, as he served one up to Phil Linz who was doing what he could to make up for the earlier error by launching a solo shot. Gibby then set down pinch hitter Johnny Blanchard with his ninth K, and he needed one more out to wear the crown. Clete Boyer made him wait by launching a bomb of his own into the seats, which made the Boyer brothers the first siblings, to both hit a home run in one World Series contest. To date, they are only brothers to accomplish that feat.

     As you could imagine there had to be many fans with their hands put together as they prayed, while other fans could hardly bring themselves to watch what turned out to be a historic last out. That out came with a soft pop up by Bobby Richardson that landed in the glove of Dal Maxvill.It had been a true seven game battle, and every man on each of those rosters gave their all before the St. Louis Cardinals were crowned World Series Champions.

Check out the box score here:

     Afterword: As mentioned before it had been 18 years since the fans could celebrate a World Series title in the city, and when Maxvill recorded that out, hundreds poured onto the field, as McCarver and the rest of the team ran to the mound to congratulate the warrior, the World Series MVP, the champion, Bob Gibson. The season had many ups and downs. From Bing Devine getting fired after building what proved to be a championship ballclub, to overcoming an 11 game deficit just to have a shot at winning that title. What the club had been through had simply battle tested them, and they were ready to take the title when they got their chance.

     Historically, the series has been looked at as a last hurrah for that Yankees club who had built on decades upon decades of success. Mantle had won seven World Series titles beginning in 1951. His last came in 1962. He did not appear in another World Series following the '64. In fact, he hung up the cleats at the end of the '68 campaign, and the Yankees did not make it back to the Fall Classic until 1976. That run in 1964 made Bob Gibson's name known in every household across America. He was already making a name for himself before that World Series before that title run, but after it came his name was splashed across the headlines of every major newspaper in the country. His legendary tale was just beginning, and it helped make the Cardinals one of the best clubs in the National League during the latter half of the decade.

     There would be immediate changes in management, as Johnny Keane resigned the next day. He ended up taking Yogi Berra's job in New York. Through the years I have read that it was big surprise, and it may have been. However, speculation was rampant during the World Series that Keane would be leaving St. Louis, and Gussie had to at least have some idea that the Cardinals skipper might be on his way out. Keane was not happy with the way things went with Devine, and there were rumors that Leo Durocher had already been tabbed the next Cardinals manager before the historic run had take place. Keane scoffed at the offer Gussie made him at season's end, and when the World Series was over he would not let the Cardinals owner make another offer. He was done. He did not let it turn into a distraction during that run to glory, which is something that makes me have a great respect for him. Keane did a masterful job of managing during that group of men. The speculation after Game 7 was that he was going to managing the Pirates. Nobody thought it would be the Yankees, considering Berra had just skippered them to a pennant winning season. However, the bar was set higher than a pennant in New York, and someone in that front office thought Keane would be able to  reach that bar. After just two years in the Bronx his days as a skipper were over, and a year after that he passed away just a month after taking a job with the Angels as a scout.

     Devine went onto win Executive of the Year after building the club that took the flag, then went
onto build a foundation that would evolve into the Miracle Mets in 1969. Coincidentally, he was back with the Cardinals following the Championship run in '67. Seems he never enjoyed the fruits of his labor the way he deserved to. He served as the Cardinals GM from '68 to '78, and after a brief stint with the football Cardinals he returned to the baseball Cardinals as a special adviser. A lifelong St. Louisan, Bing Devine's name is one of many names that each every Cardinals fan should know.

     The sudden departure of Keane opened a door, and it was not Leo Durocher that walked through It was Red Schoendienst, and he was at the helm when they took the top prize just three years later. He managed the team until 1976, and has been with the team in some capacity ever since, which included two other stints as skipper. In my opinion St. Louis has many treasures, and Schoendienst is one of them.

       I will be taking a break from the daily posts. I hope that all of those who have spent the time to read these have enjoyed them. I know that I have enjoyed writing them. This has been a fun season, and I feel blessed to know that as a Cardinals fan our postseason continues later today. Win or lose I will always be a proud fan of the St. Louis Cardinals.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

October 14, 1964: The Bronx Bombers Bomb The Birds In Game 6

      On October 14, 1964, the Yankees forced a Game 7 by knocking off the Cardinals 8-3 in front of more than 30,000 at Busch. The game featured starters Curt Simmons on the mound for the Cardinals while the Yankees countered with the Jim Bouton in what was a rematch of Game 2. Coincidentally, the Yankees prevailed in that game by the same exact score. However, the circumstances were very different, as the Bronx Bombers lived up to the nickname by bombing their way to victory.

     Things started out good for the Cardinals, as Curt Flood and Lou Brock picked up back-to-back hits to lead off the first. Flood moved over to third on Brock's hit, then scored when Bill White hit into a double play. While the double play ball was one of misfortune for White, there also a bit of fortune because it gave the club an early 1-0 lead, Curt Simmons looked to be on his game early, he worked into the fifth clinging onto the one run lead. It was that inning that he saw the score get knotted up. It began with a ground rule double by Tom Tresh, who ended up at third after Clete Boyer grounded out. With Tresh just 90 feet away Bouton came to the dish and lashed an RBI single. The .139 regular season hitter had come through against the veteran. Simmons got out of that inning by retiring Phil Linz with a long flyball that landed in Lou Brock's glove in left, but it was a whole new ballgame.

     Going into the bottom of the fifth still knotted at one Simmons was set to face the heart of that Yankees lineup, and they let him know that their heart was still beating strong. The Cardinal hurler set Bobby Richardson down to start the inning, then came the thunder and lightning of Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle who hit back-to-back home runs. The score might have only been 3-1 at that point, but the staggering booms had dealt a hefty blow to the Cardinals. Simmons did settle down after the two big hits, but it hardly mattered because Bouton was keeping them off the scoreboard.

       Simmons was lifted after allowing a one out single to Clete Boyer in the seventh,  To make matters worse that single ended up with Ken's brother standing on second after Lou Brock committed an error in left. Simmons' day did not go the way he wished, With that said, the Cardinals were still in it, and Ron Taylor was able to get out of that inning with Bouton hitting a scorcher to second, which ended up with Boyer getting doubled off.

     Then came the inning that put the Cardinals to bed. A hero of Game 1 was called on when Johnny Keane handed the ball to Barney Schultz, and the well traveled veteran gave up a lead off single to Phil Linz. He then picked up back-to-back outs. They were productive outs though, as Linz moved over to third as they were recorded. Schultz wanted nothing to do with the big bat of Mickey Mantle, who had already taken him deep with the big walk off in Game 3, so he put him on intentionally. The Yankees backstop Elston Howard followed it up with an RBI single to give his club a 4-1 lead, then Schultz walked the bases full by issuing a free pass to Tresh. The Cardinals skipper Johnny Keane pulled the plug on Schultz, and called on a rookie southpaw to pitch to Pepitone in what was going to be a lefty on lefty matchup. The rookie hung a curve ball, and Pepitone pounced on it. As soon as he took the cut he knew it was a goner. It was the tenth grand slam in World Series history. It came just four days after Ken Boyer's historic slam in Game 4, and made Pepitone the just the tenth man in the history of the Fall Classic to belt a long ball with the bases full. The score was now 8-1, and the Yankees were well on the way to victory.

     Bouton had said that he did not feel comfortable until Pepitone gave him the big cushion, and even after he was given the comfortable lead the Cardinals made him work. Curt Flood led off the eighth with a walk, then was moved over to third on a Lou Brock double, before scoring the second Redbird run of the day on a ground out by Bill White. Bouton got out of the inning, then watched Bob Humphreys work a scoreless top of the ninth. He was lifted for Steve Hamilton after allowing back-to-back one out singles in the ninth. Hamilton gave up an RBI single to pinch hitter Bob Skinner, which brought the score to 8-3. It was too little to late though, as Flood hit into a double play to end the contest. The Yankees had come in with their backs against the wall, and did what they had to do to play another day. It was going to take a seventh game and the winner would take the crown. The Cardinals had been there before. Johnny Keane would be calling on Bob Gibson to get the job done, while Yogi Berra called on Mel Stottlemyre. It was going to be a classic that would end with celebration in St. Louis.  

Check out the box score here:

Monday, October 13, 2014

October 13, 1964: The Birds Receive a Warm Welcome After Taking Two In New York

     On October 13, 1964, the Cardinals returned to Busch Stadium where they prepared to take on the Yankees in Game 6 of the Fall Classic. The night before the team received a heroes welcome when their plane arrived. An estimated crowd of 10,000 people joined a marching band to cheer on their Birds who had stunned the Yankees by taking two in New York, which set up a possible clincher in front of the St. Louis faithful. It is safe to say those fans who had waited 18 years were more than ready to celebrate a World Championship title.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

October 12, 1964: McCarver's Tenth Inning Blast Gives The Birds a 3-2 Edge In The Fall Classic

     On October 12, 1964, Tim McCarver's three run home run in the 10th inning proved to be the difference maker in a 5-2 Cardinals win over the Yankees in Game 5 of the Fall Classic in New York. A crowd of 65,633  witnessed the game that pushed the Yankees against the wall, as the Cardinals headed back home with a 3-2 edge in the series. They would have two chances to take the cake in front of the fans in St. Louis, and that cake would be theirs.

      Coming into Game 5 the Cardinals had their hands full with a hero of Game 2 with Mel Stottlemyre on the bump. However, Bob Gibson countered the Yankee hurler, and turned in a 13 strikeout performance, as he helped lead the Birds to victory. The two hurlers were locked in a dual until the fifth when Gibby helped his own cause by picking up a one out single. Curt Flood followed it up by reaching base on an error by Bobby Richardson. It was the second day in a row that the Yankees second baseman had committed an error, and once again it would haunt him. Lou Brock followed with an RBI single that brought Gibby trotting in, then Bill White knocked in Curt Flood for the unearned run of the inning. Stottelmyre set Ken Boyer down with a ground out to the end the frame, but the damage had been done. The Cardinals were up 2-0 and Gibby was dealing.

     Stottlemyre put the bad inning past him, and worked through a scoreless sixth and seventh. He was lifted in the bottom of the seventh for a pinch hitter by the name of Hector Lopez. The Yankees skipper Yogi Berra was hoping the pinch hitter could get to Gibson.... Gibson had other things in mind as he made Lopez his 11th strikeout victim of the day. The day looked like it belonged to the Cardinals pitcher. However, the tide did turn in the ninth. Mickey Mantle opened up the inning with a hotshot to Dick Groat who could not get a handle on it. The Cardinals shortstop said he knew something bad would happen almost instantly, as every error in the series had ended up with runs on the board. It seems that Gibby did not have that mindset. He went back to work, and struck out the Yankees catcher Elston Howard for the first out of the frame.

     The first out was followed with what has to be considered the finest defensive play of the game, as Joe Pepitone hit one right back at Gibby where it bounced off of his hip and rolled toward third. The future Hall of Famer had the presence of mind to snag the ball quickly and fire an off balance throw to Bill White at first to record the second out. The next man up was left fielder Tom Tresh, and he tied the ballgame up with one swing of the stick. If Gibson would have not made that previous play the series would be headed back to St. Louis with a 3-2 Yankees lead.

     While there had to be some level of disappointment on the Cardinals bench it was a group of men who had battled back before. Johnny Keane made sure Gibby knew that when the hurler took his seat in the pine during the tenth. He said "Don't worry we have been a scrapping team all year, and we can scrap back again." The men on the bench knew those words were very true, and they wasted no time in getting back to scrapping out the win.

     Bill White opened up the tenth by working a walk out of Pete Mikkelsen who had taken over on the bump for the Yankees with one out in the eighth. Mikkelsen had not allowed a Redbird hit going into that tenth inning. He was hoping to set the stage for his Yankees to win it in the bottom of the frame, but Keane and company had other ideas. The Cardinals skipper then made what might have been considered an unconventional decision when he called on Ken Boyer to bunt. The Cardinals captain had led the team with 24 big blasts, and just 24 hours earlier his grand slam had decided Game 4. With that said, Keane was worried about a double play ball, so the made the call. Boyer had only been called on to bunt just three times that season, and each of those times he bunted foul, before taking a swing that turned into a hit. He had not dropped a successful bunt down all year, but he would today, and it would be good for a single.

     The Cardinals were primed. White took third when it looked like he was going to get picked off at second, then Dick Groat ended up hitting into a fielder's choice that erased Boyer from the basepaths. This had all set the table for the 22-year-old Cardinals catcher Mr. Tim McCarver. He worked the count to 3-2 before taking the swing that sent the Mikkelsen pitch crashing over the wall in right. There would be no hijinx in the bottom of the inning for the Cardinals, as Gibby set the first two men down before Phil Linz tried to breathe life into the Yankees with a single into center. It was a gasp at best though. Roger Maris flied out to Boyer at third and the series was coming home. There was still work to do. Another battle had been won. The Yankees did have their backs against the wall, but they had not lost this war just yet.

Check out the box score here:


Saturday, October 11, 2014

October 11, 1964: Ken Boyer Slams The Birds To Victory In a Pivotal Game Four

     On October 11, 1964, Ken Boyer became just the ninth man in the history of Major League Baseball to hit a Grand Slam in the World Series. The historic shot off of Al Downing came in the sixth inning, and it proved to be all the Birds would need to prevail 4-3 in front of a crowd of more than 66,000 at Yankee Stadium in New York.

     The day did not start off the way anybody in the Redbird clubhouse had hoped for. Ray Sadecki got the call to start for the club, and while he had recorded a win in Game 1, and locked down 20 wins during the regular season this was not going be his day, as the Yankees bats teed off on him early. Shortstop Phil Linz led off the first with a double, then grabbed third on an error by Boyer at the hot corner. The Yankees second baseman Bobby Richardson then came through with an RBI single, that was followed by a single by Roger Maris. Definitely a rough day at the office for Sadecki, and it was going to be an early day at the office as well. Mickey Mantle sent him to the showers by coming up with single that scored Richardson. Luckily for the Cardinals, Mantle ended up out when he tried to advance to second on the play, and when Johnny Keane called on Roger Craig to take over on the bump he had one less out to worry about.

     Craig had led the National League in losses in 1962 with 24, then again in 1963 with 22. If you took one glance at that one might think disaster was on the Redbird horizon. Far from it. When this one was put in the books he was one of the heroes of the game. However, the 34-year-old gave up a RBI single to Elston Howard before setting down the next two men. Eight men had come to the plate during the Yankees half of that first inning, and the momentum from Mantle's walk off in Game 3 seemed like it had carried over to Game 4.

     Downing was on the bump for the Yankees because Whitey Ford had come up injured after pitching Game 1, and Yogi Berra went to the 23-year-old who had posted a 13-8 record during the regular season. He had held the Cards in check until that fateful sixth, and Craig had done the same against the Yankees after their hot start. When the inning got underway Keane made a move by sending up Carl Warwick to pinch hit for the Cardinals hurler. Little did Craig know it, but that decision would lead to a W next to his name in the box score.

     The move by Keane paid off, as Warwick dropped a single into left. Curt Flood followed it up by singling to right, and the Birds were in business. Downing's goal: put them out of business. Not today. The Yankee hurler was able to get Lou Brock to fly out, and you can almost bet that he had a double play being turned in his head when Dick Groat stepped up to the dish. He nearly got the damn thing too, as Groat sent a scorcher toward second base and the sure hands of Bobby Richardson. Today they were not so sure. Curt Flood came flying into second trying to bust up the inning-ender, and as it unfolded the ball stuck in Richardson's glove. Not only was Groat safe at first. but Flood was safe as well, and Warwick was standing on third.

     The  stage was set; here comes The Captain. When he came strolling up to the plate, I think it would be safe to say he had one thing in mind: Get a hit. He had only one hit in his previous 13 trips to the plate. That was about to change, as the man who had led the team with 24 long balls during the regular season came around on a 1-0 pitch and slammed it down the left field line where it continued to sail until it was sitting in the stands in left. The Cardinals were up 4-3, and Boyer's slump had just been busted in grand slam fashion.

     Not to be lost in the heroics of Ken Boyer, Ron Taylor, a 26-year-old righty came into the game and tossed two hit ball the rest of the way. Craig had held them, Boyer had slammed them, and Ron Taylor shut the door on them. Game 4 was in the books, and the tide had turned. The Birds were flyin toward a title. Bring on Game 5.

Check out the box score here:


Friday, October 10, 2014

October 10, 1964: Mantle Wins Game Three With a Walk Off Blast

      On October 10, 1964, one Yankees legend surpassed another, as Mickey Mantle hit his 16th World Series home run to surpass Babe Ruth's longstanding record of 15 Fall Classic blasts. This was not your average home run. It was a walk off solo shot that sent the Cards to the locker room as 2-1 losers, and gave the Bronx Bombers a 2-1 lead in the series.

      This game was a classic. The Birds might not have been flying high when it was put in the books, but that does not take anything away from the fact that this one is one that will not be forgotten. The two 18 game winners that faced each other, Jim Bouton and Curt Simmons matched each other pitch for pitch. Simmons was tagged for a run in the second, when Ken Boyer's brother Clete came through with a clutch RBI double.

     The Cardinals took advantage of a fifth inning error by Mantle that haunted the Yankee slugger, as the Cardinals pitcher knocked in Tim McCarver with a two out single. With the score knotted at 1-1 the Cardinals had several opportunities to plate a run, but just could not come through with the run. What might be considered the greatest opportunity came in the ninth.  McCarver reached on an error, then was sacrificed over to second before Bouton walked Carl Warwick. The Birds were in business, or so it seemed. Desperate to score the go ahead run Johnny Keane pulled the plug on Simmons' day. He sent Bob Skinner to the dish to pinch hit for his hurler, but the move did not pay off. Skinner lifted a Bouton pitch that landed in the mitt of Roger Maris standing in center. It did move McCarver over to third. However, the Cardinals half of the inning would end with Curt Flood lining out to The Mick in left.

     Mantle was also going to be the first man up, and the last man to hit in this ballgame. Keane called on one of Game 1's heroes by handing the ball to Barney Schultz. It took Mantle just one swing, which came on the first pitch that Schultz threw his way. That one swing sent the ball more than 400 feet to deep right, where it bounced off the faced of the third deck. Ruth built the house, Mantle made it be known that he was a prominent resident as he rounded the bases as a walk off winner.

    As to be expected Schultz's spirit was crushed the moment Mantle crushed that pitch. The pitch he had thrown Mantle was described a knuckle ball that did not knuckle. Every single pitcher that has ever thrown a ball would love to have one of those balls back. A reset button so to speak. However, that is just not how it works. As said in a previous blog in this series: this was battle of heavyweights. Both teams would take their blows. Both teams would win some rounds. The bell had rang with the decision going to the Yankees in this round, but you and I both know the difference 24 hours can make in that great game that is played on a diamond. 24 hours later the momentum would shift.  

Check out the box score here:

Thursday, October 9, 2014

October 9, 1964: The Birds Fly To The Big Apple

     The boys were off to New York on October 9, 1964, and Yankee Stadium was on the horizon. On this off day I am going to provide several articles that were printed in newspapers all across the country. After the Yankees had taken Game 2 in decisive fashion there were many who believed they were well on the way to another title. However, they were up against a team that may have been counted out all season long, and at no point did that team lie down. They continued to fight and those Bronx Bombers would have a fight on their hands within the walls of the House that Ruth built.

     In large part the newspapers focused on the pitching matchups, which is to be expected. The matchup for Game 3 had a 35-year-old lefty in Curt Simmons going for the Cardinals, while the Yankees countered with a 25-year-old in Jim Bouton. While the hurlers were separated by a decade on their birth certificates they were both coming off of 18 win seasons, and they were both ready to go head to head in front of more than 67,000 fans in New York.

     One little blurb I ran across on that off day was the Sporting News named Ken Boyer player of the year.  A well deserved honor, Ken led the National League with 119 RBIs. He led the team with 10 triples, as well as 24 home runs, and without his production we would not be talking about this historic World Series run. His contributions also landed a National League MVP Award on his shelf.

     If you have not already done so check out the Facebook page by clicking on the link below. I consider the author Kevin McCann a friend. Although, we have never met in person. We simply share a common bond that involves two birds on a bat. His upcoming book about Boyer will give you an in depth look into The Captain's life and career.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

October 8, 1964: A Controversial Call Helps Swing Momentum In Game 2 Of The Fall Classic

     On October 8, 1964, a controversial call grabbed the headlines after the Yankees knocked off the Cardinals 8-3 in Game 2 of the Fall Classic in St. Louis.

     The incident came with one out in the sixth inning. The score was knotted at 1-1 when Bob Gibson sailed one in on the Joe Pepitone who looked like he was following through with his swing when the ball may or may not have nicked his thigh. The Yankees first baseman then turned to the home plate umpire Bill McKinley and said it had hit him. He had a what appeared to be a red mark on his leg to prove it. The ump said "no swing, take your base", which sent Tim McCarver and company into a frenzy.

     A fierce argument ensued, but the call stood and Pepitone was standing on first, and Mickey Mantle who had walked to leadoff the inning stood at second. The hit batsman immediately haunted the Birds.  One batter later Tom Tresh came through with a single that brought Mantle into score the go ahead run. While the call was controversial, it hardly decided the contest. Gibson was tagged for two more runs in the seventh, and the Birds bullpen had a four run implosion in the ninth that added to the Yankees side of the scoreboard. The sixth inning call was something that people simply latched onto, rather than focus on the entire game. There is no doubt it was a momentum shifter, but there were plenty of other things to look at as well.

     All too often we see a pivotal moment in the game take away from the splendid performance of the players on the other team, and there were several Yankees players that truly did deserve  a proverbial tip of the cap. One of those players was a young rookie by the name of Mel Stottlemyre. Many Cardinals fans of this generation almost surely recognize the name, as he is the Father of former Redbirds hurler Todd Stottlemyre. Mel's performance in Game 2 of that series was masterful. While he did surrender the three runs, he did go the distance, and held the Cards to just seven hits, and struck out four. On the offensive side of the ball everyone that was penciled into the starting lineup for the Bronx Bombers contributed.  Their shortstop Phil Linz  went 3 for 4 and sparked the big ninth inning with a leadoff home run, and  Mickey Mantle went 1 for 4, knocked in two with a sacrifice, and a double. This was a battle of heavyweights. Very similar to Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Some rounds went to the Yankees, the final round went to the Cardinals.

     There were some bright spots in this game for the Cardinals. One of them came before the game, as backup Bob Uecker entertained the fans by playing a Tuba in the outfield. Another had the name Gibson and the number 45 on his back. While he was charged with the loss, he struck out nine, which included the four in a row after walking the first man he faced.  It did not work out the way he had hoped, but Gibson's contributions to this series were far from over. He had taken some lumps, but he would learn from them and move forward. That sixth inning call that went against the Cardinals would become a distant memory in the coming days, as the club focused on the road ahead, and marched toward a World Series title.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

October 7, 1964: The Birds Topple The Yankees In Game One of The Fall Classic

     On October 7, 1964, the Cardinals opened the World Series with a 9-5 victory over the Yankees. It was a matchup that featured 17 game winner Whitey Ford on the bump for the Yankees, while the Cardinals countered with a 20 game winner in Ray Sadecki. Neither of the hurlers had their best day on the bump, but Sadecki was able to keep the Birds in it, which was key to the victory. However, there would be unlikely heroes off the bench and the bullpen, as well as a moon shot by a rookie that was nicknamed "The Moon Man."

     The Birds flew into the lead early with an RBI sac fly by Ken Boyer in the first inning, but the lead would be short lived. The Yankees catcher Elston Howard got onboard with a single to lead off an inning, then came trotting in when leftfielder Tom Tresh  put one over the wall in left. The Yankees were on top, and were not done yet. Clete Boyer rapped an one out single, and stole second, then was rewarded for his efforts when the pitcher, Whitey Ford came up with a single that brought him into score. Definitely not going the way Sadecki had hoped for. He walked a man, then finally got out of the inning.

     There was a long way to go in this one, and the men on that Cardinals bench knew that. They would go right back to work, and Sadecki matched counterpart Ford by knocking in a run with a single that brought the Birds one step closer with the score now 3-2. From there the Redbird hurler settled in, and did not allow a run until the fifth. It looked like Sadecki might get out of that inning unscathed, but he gave up back-to-back singles, then Tresh struck again. This time it did not clear the fence, but it did turn into an RBI double, and the Cards were down 4-2.

     That is where the score stood until the tide turned in the sixth. Ken Boyer led off the frame with a single, and took second on a passed ball. Then came the game changer. He was a rookie. His name was Mike Shannon. He had his struggles like any rookie does during their first regular season. In fact, he spent 70 games with the triple A affiliate in Jacksonville, Illinois to help work his way through them. When he was called back up in early July he was ready to contribute to the club, as they made a historic run at the National League flag, and once they had grabbed it he was ready to contribute to winning a title. He proved it quickly in that sixth inning, as he connected on a pitch by Ford that some called the furthest ever hit at Busch. He carried, and carried some more, then bounced off the B on Budweiser sign that sat atop the scoreboard. The game was knotted at 4-4, as the kid they called "The Moon Man" had belted a moon shot.

     That home run might not have put the Birds ahead, but it it did swing the momentum, and the Cardinals took advantage of the shift. Ford gave up a double to Tim McCarver following the big blast, which led to a trip to the showers. Before making that trip he handed the ball over to Al Downing. The lefty got Charlie James to fly out for the second out of the inning, before Johnny Keane pulled the plug on Sadecki's day by sending Carl Warwick in to pinch hit. The move paid off, Warwick, who had hit just .259 during the regular season, came through big by singling in McCarver. It was his lone RBI of the series, and it was a pivotal one. The Birds were ahead, and they would not let that lead go. Keane made another move, by adding some sped to the basepaths by sending in Julian Javier in to pinch run for Warwick. It paid off as well. Curt Flood sent a ball over Tresh's head in left, and bounced off the wall. Javier scored, and Flood was standing on first. The Birds were flyin now.

     Following the big inning Keane handed the ball to 38 year-old Barney Schultz. The veteran knuckleballer would be on the rubber when the game was put in the books, as he held down the fort for three innings.He is unsung hero who played nearly 700 games of minor league ball. His baseball journey began when he was 19 years of age. He was 28 the first time he stepped on a major league diamond with the Cardinals. Over the next ten seasons he would be traded and shuffled around while playing most of his ball in the minors. He did spend time with the Tigers and the Cubs big league teams during that time, which led to the Cardinals reacquiring him in the Summer of '63. Like Shannon, Schultz had to work to be a part of the big league roster in '64. He appeared in 42 games in triple A before getting the call to the big club on August 1st. The club was about to turn a corner, and make a run, and he was about to be a part of it. All of the work he had put in had paid off as he proved to be a guy who could lock it down by saving 11 games while putting up a 1.64 earned run average. On this day he was standing on baseball's biggest stage, and he performed at the highest level.

     Schultz worked a scoreless seventh before a hiccup in the eighth. The hiccup was a two out RBI single that came off the bat of the Yankees second baseman Bobby Richardson. Suddenly that two run lead was cut in half. With the score 6-5 the Yankees were on the heels of knotting this thing up, and they had a future Hall of Famer by the name of Mickey Mantle at the dish. One newspaper called it a matchup against Mantle and a "who is he." He was Barney Schultz and he was about to induce Mantle into a groundout to Javier at second. The huge out shifted the momentum back toward the Birds, and they made the most of it.

     Rollie Sheldon took over pitching duties for the Yankees. He was victimized by a Clete Boyer error that put Shannon on first. Shannon then took advantage of a passed ball, and dashed over to second. McCarver worked a walk out of Sheldon, before the hurler recorded an out. In fact, he recorded two outs, as Schultz lined one right back at the pitcher. The bang bang play caught McCarver off the bag at first, and he was one out away from keeping the score within one. With the light hitting Julian Javier up next Keane pulled another card from his sleeve by calling on Bob Skinner who was put on with an intentional walk before Sheldon hit the showers. Keane pulled another card from his sleeve by sending in Jerry Buchek to run for Skinner.

     The Cardinals skipper was determined to give Schultz some breathing room. On the other side of the diamond the Yankees skipper Yogi Berra then called on Pete Mikkelsen to face Curt Flood, and Flood made him pay by dropping an RBI single into left to bring Shannon into score the seventh Redbird run of the day. The move continued to haunt Berra and company when Lou Brock doubled in both Buchek and Flood. The score was now 9-5, and the crowd in St. Louis was ready to celebrate the first World Series win that the city had seen since October of '46. After Mikkelsen got out of the inning with no more damage done Schultz set the Yankees down 1-2-3. Game one was in the books. The Cards were victorious.

     After the game the clubhouse was not in full celebration mode. They knew there was a lot of work to do if they were going to win this series. There were players answering reporters questions sprawled about, and Johnny Keane sitting off to the side smoking  a cigar answering a few questions of his own. The biggest group mobbed Shannon who boasted he had hit a ball farther in the minor leagues. Keane had called his blast the biggest moment of the game. The skipper claimed he had not seen a ball hit any further at the stadium. There were reporters question Flood about his 157 pound  frame, and those who surrounded the veteran pitcher who had gave it his all to save the game for Sadecki by pitching the last three innings of the ball game.

      There were many heroes in this one. From Sadecki, to Flood, to Schultz and Shannon. They had come out and beat the favored Yankees in convincing fashion. However, each and every man knew that the Yankees would no go quietly. They were confident in their abilities, but they were not cocky. There was a great respect between both teams, and both teams were more than ready to continue this battle. There would be many more heroes in store.

Check out the box score here:

Monday, October 6, 2014

October 6, 1964: St. Louis Welcomes The Fall Classic Back To Town

     On October 6, 1964, St. Louis was buzzing, as the World Series would be making a triumphant return to the Mound City for the first time since 1946. The race had went down to the wire, with the Cardinals grabbing ahold of the National league Flag in the last week of the season. Even then, they had to fight to the finish, and capped off the the schedule with an 11-5 victory over the Mets on October 4th. If they would have lost that game the club would have been in a two way tie with the Phillies who had won that day as well, but it was not enough to make up for what is considered one of the biggest collapses in the history of Major League Baseball. They had held a seven and a half game lead in late August, but let it slowly slip away. In the last two weeks of the campaign it slipped away for good. Cincinnati worked their way into the mix, but there would only be one winner in the National League, and that winner wore two birds on a bat.

     The city was not prepared for the postseason after being deprived for so long. Hotel rooms were scarce, as the press and Yankees arrived, as well as the fans from all the reaches of the mighty signal of KMOX. The Fall Classic was on tap. Everywhere you looked the color red was prominent. Banners flew to show support for the club, and an electricity filled the air that might have been great enough to power the entire city. Many fans had braved a frigid night and long lines as they awaited their chance to be one of the many who would witness the home games live and in person. The temperature and the wait hardly mattered. The only thing that mattered was the ticket that would grant them passage through the gates at Busch.

     For many of us the joy that was felt from the fanbase would be reminiscent to 2004 or 2006. It had been so long, and the fans were overjoyed to finally be back in the postseason. I personally believe the run in '64 could be closely compared to the run in 2011. The stars had to align for the Cardinals to be there, much like the stars aligned in 2011. They did align, as everything fell into place, and the Cardinals were set to make World Series history. Over the course of the next week or two we will relive all for the highs and all of the lows of the '64 World Series, and in the end we will celebrate that title 50 years after it was celebrated for the first time.

Throughout the day today I plan on posting several pictures and stories that were featured in the newspapers the day before a pitch was thrown in this series.

You can always find me on Facebook at:

Or catch up with me on twitter here:

Sunday, October 5, 2014

October 5, 1926: A Grand Celebration In St. Louis Takes Place Before Haines Leads The Way In Game 3 Of The Fall Classic

     On October 5, 1926, 37,708 souls witnessed the first World Series contest to be held in St. Louis during the modern era. The Birds had split the first two games in New York, by snagging a win in the second game by the score of 6-2. The club returned home to a heroes welcome the day before, then with Cardinals starting pitcher Jesse Haines starring in the third game with a five hit complete game shutout in a 4-0 Redbird winner the club moved ahead two games to one in the classic battle that would reach seven games before the Cardinals claimed their first title since 1888.

     The day before that battle an estimated crowd of 100,000 stood at Union Station awaiting the National League Champion Cardinals. The Birds had flown home at a record pace, as the train in which they rode made the dash from New York in just 23 and 1/2 hours. That was 15 minutes faster than that trip had been made before. The mayor of city Victor Miller had ordered all departments close at 3 p.m., and many businesses did the same, so everyone could be there when that train rolled in. A celebration was about to take place that had never been seen in the city just west of the Mississippi, and it was a grand celebration.

     The Yankees arrived five minutes before the Cardinals. Some fans cheered, others jeered, as they made their way to their awaiting cars. When the Cardinals train rolled in the roar of the crowd was so deafening the whistle of the train was drowned out. 20 cars decorated in Cardinals colors, a group of mounted police, and some fireman flying the American flag led a parade into the business section where the Cardinals players were showered in confetti and ticker tape. By his own request Hornsby was in the rear, as he had let his men receive the cheers before him. A brief ceremony took place that had all of the Cardinals players receiving a wide variety of gifts that ranged from a new pair of shoes to a gold watch. Rogers Hornsby was presented with finest gift when he was given a brand new car. He was recognized as the he man who captained this ship into port.

     Long after the players made their way home to  the celebration continued. An article that was printed in the  Southeast Missourian the following day proclaimed that automobiles sped through the streets dragging wash tubs and buckets, They called it a noise making device second to none. Although, the fans were making noise with anything they could find. Bells, whistles, as well as occasional gunshots and bombs could be heard going off around the city. Justy think this was the day before the third game of the World Series. It had been 38 years in the making, and the fans were more alive than they had ever been.

     Some of those fans did not attend the festivities. Those fans camped out for the chance to get a ticket to the game. Some of them for more than 24 hours. It had been a rainy week in St. Louis, and the rain did not stop that night either. At some points it poured, but those fans were not leaving. They yearned to be one of those 37,708 souls who stood within the walls at Sportsman's Park. Not another person could be held. The number of fans in attendance would be nearly 20,000 less than the number of fans in attendance in New York. However, the the cheers could be rivaled by no other. Those who were lucky enough to get a ticket would witness a gem.

     More than 5,000 packed the bleachers three hours before the game began. There were brief periods of rain, but they did not care, The World Series would be played in the coming hours. Once the game time finally arrived the fans would not be disappointed. The fans enthusiasm would not dim, for this day was theirs. It would also be a day that Jesse Haines would remember, as he led the Birds to victory in historic fashion.

     Haines was set to face a lefty in Dutch Ruether. The Yankees hurler struggled a bit early, but was bailed out by the defense behind him. Meanwhile, Haines held the New Yorkers hitless through the first two, before allowing a hit to lead off the third. He followed it up with two quick outs, then walked a man before ending the threat. Then the skies opened up in the fourth.

     The Yankees looked like they might find their spark in the fourth. Babe Ruth led off the inning with a single, then moved over to second on a groundout.Then the skies opened up. 32 minutes later play resumed on a muddy field, and the Cards grabbed two quick outs, and went to work quickly in the bottom of the inning.

      Third baseman Les Bell  got things started with a single, and was sacrificed over to second with a bunt by Chick Hafey. The Cardinals catcher Bob O'Farrell worked a walk out of Reuther. A game changer followed, as shortstop Tommy Thevenow looked like he had hit into an inning ending double play, only to have shortstop Mark Koenig overthrow Lou Gehrig at first. It led to the first Redbird run, and set the stage for the hero of this one: Jesse Haines. The Cards hurler stepped to the dish and launched a towering two run shot into the right field stands. It was a hefty blow that gave him some breathing room in a contest that he would dominate. Hornsby scored on a groundout in the next frame, and from there it was all Haines. Only two Yankees batters would reach second base as he cruised to victory. The club still had quite the battle in front of them. However, it was a battle they were prepared to fight. It was a battle they were prepared to win. Five days later they did exactly that in New York. The party that was held in St. Louis would exceed the party that came before it, as the Cardinals returned home champions.

Check out the box score here:

The second photograph with the 1926 pennant pin was provided to me by The Real BSmile. Check out his Facebook page for all kind of great vintage photos from baseball's past:

You can also find him on twitter here: