Monday, June 30, 2014

June 30, 1959: Two Balls In Play At Wrigley!!!

     On June 30, 1959, Stan "The Man" Musial was involved in one of the most unusual plays in baseball history at Wrigley Field in Chicago when he was retired with two balls in play.

     The ridiculous turn of events came during the top of the fourth when Musial worked Chicago's starter Bob Anderson to a 3-1 count, before he fired ball four over the plate. The ball hit the Chicago catcher Sammy Taylor, and caught a piece of the umpire Vic Delmore and bounced to the backstop. Taylor wasn't even worried about the ball. He began arguing with the umpire because he thought that the ball had caught a piece of the bat, therefore it would be a foul tip. As Musial trotted to first his teammates began screaming "Run, run!" He heard them and made a break for second, while the Cubs third baseman Al Dark realized this and went after the ball.

     As Dark was trying to retrieve the ball as quickly as he could, the Cardinals batboy picked it up and tried to flip it to the Cubs field announcer Pat Peiper, who also was in charge of keeping the baseballs for the umpires. Dark screamed to Peiper "Gimme that ball!" Peiper, not wanting to interfere, pointed at it saying "it's right there." as Dark stormed in, scooped and fired to second. At the same time that Dark was making his throw, the catcher Taylor had another ball put into his hands by Delmore, and he fired toward second as well. Taylor's throw sailed into center, while Dark's was dead on to Ernie Banks.

    While this craziness unfolded Stan decided to take third base as well, and the choice cost him, as Banks was able to tag him out as he tried to get back to second with baseballs flying everywhere. Bobby Thomson fielded Taylor's misguided throw into center, and he immediately threw the ball back in to the Cubs bench realizing that the other ball was the one that had tagged Musial out. Then came an argument.

     The Cards skipper Solly Hemus was furious, as he argued that Musial should be safe no matter what since the bat boy had his hand in it. The Boys in Blue referred to the rule book, and pointed at a rule that said if a bat boy had unintentionally interfered there was no interference at all. The ruling led to Hemus playing the game under protest, which in the end hardly mattered as the Cardinals ended up winning the tilt 4-1. I can only imagine Musial cracking his classic smile as he talked about the play with his teammates later that day.

Check out the box score here:

Sunday, June 29, 2014

June 29, 1933: Ethan Allen's Inside The Park Home Run Never Makes It To The Record Books

     On June 29, 1933, Cardinals rightfielder Ethan Allen hit an apparent inside-the-park home run during the top of the second inning of a contest against the Giants in New York, only to have the run not count because he had batted out of turn. Allen was the sixth man on the lineup card, while Ducky Medwick had possession of the five hole. While Allen was trying to catch his breath the umpires conferred, and called Medwick out. Allen got another turn, and immediately grounded out. The mental error didn't cost the Birds,as they exploded for six runs in the next inning, then added one more in the ninth before starter Tex Carleton survived a late inning three run rally as he locked down a 7-3 complete game winner. No harm, no foul I guess when it comes to Allen's gaffe, and all these years later it just goes down as an odd play on the diamond. With that said, Allen is an interesting figure from baseball's past, and while this moment in his playing career was a bit rough to say the least, his story is a great one that should be told.

     Allen was well traveled ballplayer, as he spent time with the Reds, and Giants, before joining the Cardinals. He spent just one year with the Cardinals, and unfortunately it was a down season for him, as he hit just .241 for the club. He was sold to Philadelphia in February of '34, where he had a career year. Allen had a career in Philly as he batted .330 and led the league in doubles. Luckily in the grand scheme there were men that got the job done for the '34 Cardinals, so that getting rid of Allen is not a haunt from baseball's past.

     After two and a half seasons in the City of Brotherly Love, Allen was sent to the Windy City where he played 91 games for the Cubs as they made a run for a pennant in 1936. The Cubs fell short as the Giants took the flag, and he was sold during the offseason. The purchaser guaranteed a return to St. Louis, although, it would be as an American Leaguer with the Browns. Allen retired after the '38 season. In his 13 major league seasons Allen carried a .300 average, and had played in nearly 1,300 games.

     At age 34, Allen was still a young man with a lot of life ahead of him. He was an educated man, as he had earned a Bachelors Degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1927, then obtained his Master's Degree from Colombia in 1932. Immediately after retiring Allen was took a job leading the National League's first film bureau. From there he spent a short time in the booth calling games alongside Lefty Gomez, before joining the armed forces in 1945, where he taught a Special Services sports program in Italy. After serving, Allen was hired to coach Yale's baseball team where he spent the next 23 years, which included two trips to the College World Series in 1947 and 1948. Allen had a young future President manning first base on those squads by the name of George H. W. Bush, and they both maintained a lifelong relationship.

     Allen also wrote several  instructional books, and invented two popular baseball board games called Strat-O-Matic Baseball and All Star Baseball that remained popular for more than 50 years, and can still be bought today. Allen passed away in 1993 at the age of 89, and while his name might not be known by fans today, he had many great moments, and some not so great moments. One of those moments turned out being an inside-the-parker that did not count, which led to those who read this knowing a little bit more about the man who lived quite the baseball life.

Check out the box score here:

You can view his career numbers here:

Saturday, June 28, 2014

June 28, 1916: Hornsby Tears It Up In Cincy

     On June 28, 1916, down 6-5 in the top of the ninth in Cincinnati, the Cardinals put together a four-run rally that was capped off with an RBI triple by Rogers Hornsby to give them a 9-6 edge. An eighth inning rally that gave the Reds a short lived lead was all that Cincy squad had in them, as Redbird hurler Charley Hall pitched a perfect bottom of the ninth to secure the victory. Hornsby had quite the day at the plate going 5 for 5, with two singles, two triples and a home run.

     The Hornsby led Cardinals were up 5-2 headed into the eighth, but surrendered four runs to the hometowners to give them the slim 6-5 lead. The Reds player/manager Buck Herzog called on Al Schulz to finish things off in the top of the ninth, and it looked like he might get it done, as he had two outs under his belt before the winning rally began. Bruno Betzel and Bob Bescher  picked up back-to-back singles, before Tom Long was called into pinch hit. He hit a scorcher to Herzog at short that could not be handled. The bases were loaded for Dots Miller, and Miller cleared'em all with a triple. Hornsby followed him with his second triple of the day, which brought Miller trotting in.

     While this was a great day for Hornsby and the boys, the 1916 season was quite rough. The battle between the Reds and Cardinals was a battle of cellar dwellers. The two teams couldn't decide who was the worst between them so they finished with an identical 60-93 record, as they helped maintain the basement in the National League.

     With that said, as someone who likes to look for silver linings, Hornsby was the silver lining. The 1916 season was his rookie campaign. He finished the season with a .313 average, which made him the only Cardinals batter on the roster to top the .300 mark that season. He would become a fixture in the Cardinals lineup through 1926, and had many more great days at the plate in store. He only fell under the .300 mark once during that 10-year-span, with that being in 1918 when he hit .281. Between 1920 and 1925 Hornsby dominated the National League with a .397 average. He topped the .400 mark three times during the span, and it was nearly four times, but he fell three points short of the mark in 1921. The three seasons that he topped .400 came in '22 (.401), '24 (.424), and '25 (.403). Twice he took home the triple crown, with the first coming in 1922 and the second coming in 1925. No matter if the team was winning or losing, the fans in St. Louis knew if they came to the ballpark for a Cardinals game that kid was gonna hit.

     While he saw his numbers decline in 1926, Hornsby led the Cardinals to their first title in the modern era. He had spent a 10 year rollercoaster ride with the team before he was rewarded with a World Series title. He was the toast of the town following that run, and while his days with the club ended a little more than two months the city and the team celebrated  the title, he had forever cemented himself into the rich history of the franchise. The run to legendary status was just beginning on that day in Cincinnati.

Check out the box score here:

Stats of a legend:

Friday, June 27, 2014

June 27, 1964: Javier Ties The Putout Record

     On June 27, 1964, a quintuplet of Philadelphia errors made the headlines as the gaffes helped lead the Cardinals to a 9-4 win over the visiting Phillies. However, one stat that slipped through many of those papers was that Julian Javier had tied a National League record for second baseman with 11 putouts in the contest. Only six other National Leaguers had accomplished it before him, with the first coming in 1893, when Washington Nationals second bagger recorded 11 in a game. Javier was the last man in the National League to record 11 putouts in one game. The major league record was set in 1888, when  Lou Bierbauer recorded 12 putouts as a member of the American Association's Philadelphia A's.  It was equaled in 1966, when Bobby Knorr of the California Angels recorded 12 in a contest. It has not been matched since.

     Being a .257 career hitter, Javier was best known for his glove. He owned the Cardinals second base position for more than a decade, and celebrated two championships with the Birds on the Bat across his chest. Javier appeared in two All Star games during his tenure with the Cardinals. He also led the league in putouts in 1963 and 1964. While his scraptastic way of playing led to quite a few errors (led the league in '64 with 27), he earned the respect of his teammates by making spectacular grabs time and time again.

If you would like to know more about the man whose teammates called him "Hoolie" give this a read:


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Paul Dean, The Brother of Dizzy

     Paul Dean, the brother of Dizzy, and by some accounts known as Daffy, is often overshadowed when it comes to the famous sibling pitching duo from the days of the Gashouse Gang. Dizzy was an over the top kind of personality. He was what I like to call a "quote a minute kind of guy." Dizzy had joined the Cardinals in '32, and two years later he was joined by his brother. It was going to be quite the year in St. Louis. Paul went about getting his job done quietly, while Dizzy grabbed the reporters ears, and the subsequent headlines. Although Paul did grab a few headlines of his own. In fact, 19 times during that rookie campaign Paul's name appeared in the headlines and the win column during the regular season, which included a no-hit performance against the Brooklyn Dodgers.

     The two brothers combined for 49 wins on the club that won 95 games, and the National League Pennant. The success continued into the World Series as Dizzy and Daffy combined to win all four games for the Cardinals. Dizzy opened the series with a win, Daffy won the third game by scattering eight hits while allowing a run. Dizzy did lose the fifth game of the series, but his brother won the sixth, and Dizzy, otherwise known as Jay Hanna Dean shut the Tigers out in the seventh game, that was won by the Cardinals 11-0, as the brother stood side by side as World Champions.

     Paul returned to form in 1935, he matched his '34 win total with 19 wins, while Dizzy added 28 more to his totals. Unfortunately for Paul, he ran into arm trouble that led to him winning just eight more games between '36 and '39. Five of the eight came in '36, and the other three came two seasons later. While many historians say that Paul ran into his arm trouble because of a massive workload in his first two seasons, he attributed it to weight gain, as he went from 175 to 225 after the '35 season. There is a very good possibility that both factors played into his struggles. Paul would also say that many pointed at the toe injury that Dizzy suffered in the '37 All Star game as the moment his career turned for the worst, but in reality Dizzy's arm had been hurting him in the Spring of '37, and the All Star game injury was just another proverbial strike against him.

       While this is an era in baseball that is looked at with great admiration, it was also an era in baseball that pitchers went the distance game in and game out, and there were many occasions that they would be called onto pitch in relief between starts. Simply put, the workload that pitchers took on during the era led to many careers ending before they truly got started.  I have heard today's fans berate a guy for not getting past the sixth or seventh inning of a game, and say things like "they used to do it back in the day", and that might be true, but it also is important to look at a much bigger picture which is not to not only have success today it is about sustained success. Both Paul and Dizzy could be considered a victim of the times.

    The brothers days as teammates ended with Dizzy being shipped to the Cubs in the Spring of '38. Both of their best days had come and gone. Paul joined New York Giants in 1940, and he won just four games for them that season. While his days in the game looked to be over Paul returned in '41, and appeared in just five games without figuring into decision. The Cardinals organization worked out a deal with the Giants in the Fall of '41, and it looked like he might get another shot in St. Louis. However, it never came to be, although, he did win 19 games for the club's minor league affiliate out of Houston. Following that season he shuffled around a bit before landing with the St. Louis Browns in '43. He pitched in just three games for the Browns before heading back to the minors. Paul officially hung up the cleats at the age of 33 in 1946. He never did make it back to the bigs after the stint with the Browns.

     After his days on the mound came to an end Paul spent seven years as a minor league manager, before retiring in 1965. Even after he officially retired Paul made appearances as an instructor in the years that followed. When Dizzy passed away in 1974, Paul acknowledged he played second fiddle to his brother, and he said he would do it all again if he could. The siblings bashed heads like siblings do, but they had a bond between them that was like no other. He talked about how they did not see each other for two or three years at a time, but that bond never faded. This is something I can relate to, as I have a brother who lives in another state, but there is a bond between us that cannot be broken. Dizzy often talked about his brother by saying "Me and Paul." While some might have looked at the younger Dean as the second fiddle to the more colorful Dizzy, to him he was just his brother and they lived what most of us could only consider a dream.

     Paul passed away six years after his brother. He was 67. He had lived a long happy life that included a wife, two sons, two daughters, and 15 grandchildren.While Dizzy stands amongst baseball's immortals, Paul is a figure that should not be forgotten. He too, is responsible for the 1934 Flag that waves in the wind at Busch Stadium.

June 26, 1934: Paul Dean Wins His 10th; The Cardinals Outslug The Giants

     On June 26, 1934, Paul Dean went the distance during a slugfest that had the Cardinals prevail 13-7 over the New York Giants at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. The New Yorkers picked up 15 hits off of the rookie hurler, which included home runs by Mel Ott and Travis Jackson. On the Cardinals side of the diamond the Gashouse Gang rapped out 13 hits, that did far more damage than those of their opponents. Ripper Collins led the Cardinals attack with a 4 for 5 day at the plate, that included a double and four ribbies, while Jack Rothrock went 3 for 5 with two ribbies, and a run scored. Dean not only went the distance during the contest, he also helped his own cause by picking up two hits, which led to an RBI, a run scored, and his tenth victory of the season.

Check out the box score here:


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

June 25, 1999: Jiminez Tosses a No-No In The Desert

      On June 25, 1999,  a 25-year-old rookie by the name of Jose Jiminez walked into Arizona with a 3-7 record, an E.R.A. over 6, and he was about to face one of the most dominant pitchers of the era: Randy Johnson... no problem.  Jiminez struck out eight, walked two, and hit a batter on his way to tossing the first no hitter for the Cardinals since 1983.  

      It was a true duel. Johnson was dealing, and he held the Redbirds hitless until the fourth. The big lefty kept them off the scoreboard until he walked two men in the ninth, before leftfielder Thomas Howard came through with a two out rbi single to put the Cardinals on top 1-0.  It was all the Dominican born Cardinals hurler would need. Although, David Dellucci nearly spoiled the no-no with one out in the ninth when he dropped a sinking liner into right that took a spectacular diving play by Eric Davis to keep it from falling in. Davis had also made a spectacular grab earlier in the ballgame. Jiminez retired Tony Womack with a slow roller to Joe McEwing at second, who fired the ball to a triumphant Mark McGwire, who celebrated with his teammates by mobbing the no-hit hero of the day. 

     Before that  game started 45, 540 souls walked through the turnstiles  at Bank One Ballpark expecting to witness a dominant outing by Randy Johnson, and they did. The Big Unit struck out 14, and picked up the 2,500th strikeout of his career in what was a true gem for both pitchers. However, the gem by Jiminez shined quite a bit brighter.  The no-hitter was the first for a Cardinals rookie since Paul Dean in 1934, and the first for the club since Bob Forsch accomplished the feat in 1983. The last man to achieve the feat with the Birds on the Bat across his chest was Bud Smith in 2001. 

Check out the box score:

Watch the final out here with the Moon Man Mike Shannon on the mic: 

     Jiminez posted a 5-14 record for the Cardinals during that '99 season, then was traded to the Colorado Rockies during the offseason as part of a package deal that brought Darryl Kile, Dave Veres, and Luther Hackman to the Gateway City.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

June 24, 1951: The Cardinals Celebrate The '26 Club With a Comeback Led By Stan The Man

     On June 24, 1951, before a contest against the Boston Braves at Sportsman's Park, the Cardinals organization honored members of the 1926 club to commemorate the 25 year anniversary of  the organization's first championship season. Once the ceremonies came to a close the Braves thrashed the Cardinals pitchers, as they scored five runs through the first five innings. However, Stan Musial's bat helped the club mount a classic comeback that took 14 innings to complete.

     Musial led off the sixth with a single, was knocked in by Del Rice to give the Birds their first run, then came up in the the eighth and parked the 189th home run of his career in the seats, which narrowed the gap to 5-2. That score stood until the Birds put together a three run game tying rally in the ninth that was capped off with a double off the bat of Musial. There was free baseball in St. Louis until Musial sparked the game winning rally with his second double of the day. Moments later he was sacrificed over to third, and Nippy Jones put the exclamation point on the comeback by legging out a two out single that brought Stan into score the game winniner. 3 hours and 27 minutes after the Cardinals had taken the field Musial and the boys were running off of it victorious.

     The home run by Musial in the eighth came courtesy of Warren Spahn. Musial hit more home runs against Spahn than any other pitcher he faced throughout his storied career. Spahn would end up alongside Stan in Cooperstown, as he won more than 300 games in a storied career of his own. With that said, I am sure Spahn remembered that Stan The Man Musial hit .326 against him and put 17 balls over the fence after he delivered them to the plate.

Check out the box score here:

June 24, 1977: The Cardinals Get To Lonborg and The Phils

     On June 24, 1977, the Cardinals pounced on Phillies starter Jim Lonborg early with a five run first inning, which was a precursor to a 7-1 win in front of more than 17,000 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Lou Brock led off the big inning with a walk, before he stole second, and was knocked in by Garry Templeton on an RBI single. Keith Hernandez and Mike Tyson both knocked in two runs before the inning came to a close, as the club went into cruise control with Eric Rasmussen going strong on the mound. The Birds added another run in the second and another in the fourth, as they continued to pound Lonborg. The Philadelphia hurler was yanked for a pinch hitter in the top of the sixth, but the damage had been done. On the Cardinals side of the diamond Rasmussen scattered five hits, and went the distance for the club. The lone run scored by the Phillies was unearned, as an error led to the tally in the ninth.

     The '77 club went 83-79, which was an eleven game improvement over the '76 club. However, there was dissention in the clubhouse that was caused by Vern Rapp, who took over for Red Schoendienst following the '76 campaign. Rapp was a hard nosed disciplinarian, which is what Gussie Busch thought he needed leading his club. The move backfired, as Rapp ended up alienating his own players with his approach, which led to his dismissal early in the '78 season. After Rapp was given his walking papers Jack Krol was named interim manager for two games, before Ken Boyer was hired on as the new pilot.

Check out the box score here:

Monday, June 23, 2014

June 23, 1926: Rogers Hornsby Joins The 2,000 Hit Club, Then Hits a Game Winning Grand Slam

     On June 23, 1926, Pittsburgh's Don Songer served up a seventh inning grand slam to the Cardinals player/manager Rogers Hornsby. The big blast proved to be the game winner in a 6-2 victory over the Pirates at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. Hornsby also picked up the 2,000th hit of his career in the contest.

     Coming into that day's action Rajah was just two hits shy of the milestone, and surpassed it with a 3 for 4 performance. The 2,001st hit of his career was truly the one that mattered most, as it cleared the fence, and propelled the Cardinals to victory. Jesse Haines had gotten the start for the Birds, and surrendered a run in the second, and another in the eighth, before locking down a complete game winner.

     The home run by Hornsby was his sixth of the season, and his first longball in St. Louis. His power numbers dropped considerably during that '26 campaign. He hit just 11 homers, after hitting 39 the year before. Some say that was one of the reasons he was traded after he led the club to their first championship. While that might be the case, his contributions to the '26 club will never be forgotten. Without his bat in the lineup, and his leadership within the locker room it is likely that the great celebration after the Cardinals won the World Series later that year would have never happened. Hornsby picked up 2,930 hits over 23 years in the big leagues. 2,110 of those came as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.

The article featured with today's fact appeared in the Pittsburgh Press the following day. I found it to be a great one as the Pirates skipper Bill McKechnie acknowledged that the Cardinals could be true contenders for the National League Pennant. He was right, and history would be made.

Check out the box score here:

Sunday, June 22, 2014

June 22, 1948: Five Hits For Stan The Man In Boston

     On June 22, 1948, Stan "The Man" Musial rapped out five hits in five trips to the plate in Boston, as he led the way to a 5-2 victory over the hometown Braves. All of Musial's hits were singles, and the fifth and final one of the day broke up a 2-2 tie in the ninth that brought Red Schoendienst, and Harry Brecheen into score. Enos Slaughter followed Musial with another RBI single that gave the Cardinals the three run lead that would hold up as Brecheen locked down a complete game victory by setting the Braves down in order in the bottom of the ninth.

     Musial went onto win the National League MVP award that season. It was the third time he took home the honor. He had picked up five hits in a game four different times that season which tied a mark set by Ty Cobb in 1922. According to Mark Tomasik at that is a feat that has only been matched twice since. Mark did a great job on this piece about Stan's last five hit game of that season which came on September 22nd. It also covers a little bit of the other five hit games, and has some great facts as well. Check it out here:

Check out the box score here:

Saturday, June 21, 2014

June 21, 1941: Ernie White Fires His Second Consecutive Two-Hitter

     On June 21, 1941, Cardinals hurler Ernie White tossed his second consecutive two-hitter, as he led the way to a 6-0 win over the New york Giants at Sportsman's Park. The 24-year-old southpaw was assisted by a Enos Slaughter's 2 for 3 day which included three RBIs, and White helped his own cause by knocking in one of the runs as well. The offense was hardly the story of the day as White had pitched consecutive gems. The only hits given up by White came off the bat of Bill Jurges in the second, and in the fourth future Hall of Famer Mel Ott tagged him for another single. White walked five men in the contest, but never broke a sweat as he picked apart the Giants lineup. Six days earlier he had frustrated the Dodgers by allowing two hits as they visited St. Louis.

     White enjoyed the best year of his career in 1941, as he won 17 games, and only lost 5. he would run into arm troubles in '42, but did pitch a pivotal game Game 3 of the World Series against the Yankees. White went the distance in that contest, struck out six, and locked down a complete game shutout, as the Cardinals beat the New York club 2-0. It was the first time that the Yankees had been shutout at home during the World Series since 1926, when another Cardinals hurler by the name of Jesse Haines was able to keep them off the board on their home turf. After missing the the entire '44 and '45 seasons due to his service in the Armed Forces, White returned the the Cardinals in '46 where he continued to struggle with arm issues. He was released that Spring. He went onto pitch for the Boston Braves until the end of the '48 season, before turning to the coaching ranks, where he spent the rest of his days teaching the game to the next generation.

If you would like to learn more about the life and times of Ernie White check this out:

Check out the box score here:

Friday, June 20, 2014

June 20, 1986: Forsch Surpasses Dizzy

     On June 20, 1986, Bob Forsch surpassed Dizzy Dean on the Cardinals all time win list, with a 9-2 win over the Phillies at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. It was his 135th victory as a Cardinal, and moved him into fifth on the franchise's all time wins list. Forsch was assisted by home runs off the bats of Curt Ford and Jack Clark during the nine run explosion. Ford's big blast led off the game, but Forsch gave up a long ball to Philadelphia's lead off hitter Jeff Stone who tied it up at 1. The score remained tied until the fourth when Clark's bat put the Birds on top, and there would be no looking back, as they extended the lead to 4-2 before the fourth inning came to a close. The Birds added three more in the fifth, and another in the sixth, before the Phillies answered back in the bottom of the sixth with a run that put the score at 7-2. The hurler helped his own cause in the ninth with a ribbie, before an error led to the ninth Redbird run of the contest. While Forsch had his hiccups, which included putting two men on in the ninth, he worked his way around the Philadelphia lineup, before he locked down the complete game winner. The moment the 27th out was recorded Forsch had surpassed a legendary member of the Gashouse Gang.

     Only Bill Doak, Bill Sherdel, Jesse Haines, and Bob Gibson were ahead of him on that list, and he would eventually surpass both Doak and Sherdel, as he won 163 games with the Birds on the Bat across his chest. To date, only Jesse Haines and Bob Gibson have more wins in a Cardinals uniform.

Check out the box score here:

Thursday, June 19, 2014

June 19, 1967; Maris' 11th Inning Double & Curt Flood's Unassisted Double Play Leads To a 5-4 Cardinals Win In Houston

     On June 19, 1967, after taking a 4-3 lead over the Astros in the top of the eighth in Houston, the Cardinals watched the lead slip away in the bottom of the ninth as Julio Gotay tied the game with an RBI single that led to extra innings at the Astrodome. Roger Maris came up with the clutch hit of the day in the eleventh when he doubled in Tim McCarver from first to give the Bird a 5-4 edge. The Cardinals held onto win the contest, which was due in large part to Curt Flood's unassisted double play in the bottom half of the inning. The hurler for the Cardinals, Nelson Briles gave up a leadoff  single to Jim Landis, before watching him moved over to second with a sacrifice bunt. Bob Lillis came to the dish with hopes of coming up with a game tying hit, and he nearly got the job done by hitting a looper into shallow center. Then came the Gold Glove of Curt Flood who swooped in and made an amazing shoestring catch. Landis was on his way home, as Flood ran to second to double him off.

     While many tend to remember Curt Flood as the man who boldly challenged baseball's reserve clause. It should not be forgotten that he was one of the greatest center fielders of his time. He won seven consecutive Gold Glove awards with his first coming in 1963, and he most definitely showed off his athletic abilities on that day in Houston, as he sealed a Redbirds victory with an unassisted double play.

     Today also marks the day that the Supreme Court Ruled against Flood in 1972. His sacrifices paved the way for ballplayers to make millions of dollars. I have written several papers and blogs that reinforce my belief that Flood deserves a spot in Cooperstown. The court battle defined his legacy, and it forever changed the landscape in sports. Every player in Major League Baseball is indebted to him, and the world of sports owes him a bit of gratitude as well. Instead of writing a long piece about the court battle, I thought it might be better to look back on a day when Flood ran off the field celebrating with his teammates after pulling off one helluva web gem. He also ran off the field a World Series Champion later that same year.

Check out the box score here:

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

June 18, 1987: Jack The Ripper Walks Off In The Tenth

     On June 18, 1987, Jack Clark's two run home run off of Pirates reliever Don Robinson in the bottom of the tenth inning at Busch propelled the Cardinals to a dramatic 8-6 win. It was Clark's second big blast of the day, and his 20th of the season. Clark was on an MVP caliber tear in '87. He ended up with 35 homers, with his last coming on the 6th of September. Three days after his 35th big fly, Clark severely injured his ankle. After the club edged out the Mets for the Eastern Division Crown, Clark had hopes of being able to contribute in a playoff run. Unfortunately, he could not overcome his injury, and only made one plate appearance in the NLCS, before missing the entire World Series. The injury not only stole the National League MVP award out of Clark's grasp, it removed the club's most powerful bat from the lineup. Had it not happened there might just be another championship flag waving at the ballpark With that said, the key word to that last sentence is "might", as one man does not make a team, and each and every club has to fight through injuries. The '87 squad did not lie down and die after watching their power slugging first baseman hit the shelf. They fought their way to the seventh game of the World Series before watching the Twins celebrate a World Championship.

    Clark hit 340 home runs over 18 years in the big leagues, with 66 of those coming while wearing the Birds on the Bat. He hit more home runs against the Pirates than any other club he faced with 38 big flies while facing the Buccos. The Atlanta Braves came in a close second, as they watched "The Ripper" park 34 in the seats. Don Robinson was his number one victim, as he sent seven over the wall while facing him. The seventh was the walk off shot in the tenth that came On This Day In Cardinal Nation.

Check out the box score here:

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

June 17, 1944: Kurowski Plays The Hero With His Bat; Munger Plays The Hero With His Arm

     On June 17, 1944,  a solo shot in the bottom of the sixth off the bat of Whitey Kurowski proved to be the difference maker in a 2-1 Cardinals win over Pittsburgh Pirates in St. Louis. While Kurowski's bat made the difference on the offensive side, it was the arm of Red Munger that made the difference for the Cardinals from the mound.

     18,145 fans packed the stands at Sportsman's Park that day, and they witnessed quite the pitching duel that featured Preacher Roe and Nick Strincevich for the Buccos, while Billy Southworth called on his 25-year-old Red Munger. Roe gave up a run in the second by surrendering an RBI triple to second baseman Emil Verban. Although, he did put that fire out quickly and Verban was left stranded, as the man they called Preacher settled down quickly. Munger's only hiccup came in the top of the sixth, as he watched the Pirates centerfielder Johnny Barrett knock in his teammate Lee Handley with a game tying RBI single.

     It looked to be a whole new ballgame, but not for long, as Kurowski put one in the seats during the bottom half of the sixth. A familiar name in Frankie Frisch was the skipper for the Pirates, and after Roe got out of the inning he ended his day by sending in a pinch hitter to bat for him the seventh. Roe had respectable numbers. He had give six hits, and six strikeouts through six, but he, nor his team could get anything going against Munger, who went the distance, and struck out nine.

     It was the eighth win of the season for Munger, and he only had one loss on the wrong side of the stat column. At the time he was being called the hottest pitcher in the National League, and he was not about to cool off. It was his third win in a row, and he won two more, before being saddled with a loss. That loss was 1-0, 10 inning heartbreaker, that came on June 29th against the Phillies. Still yet, the performance that Munger turned in on that day is a testament as to how well he was pitching at the time.

     The Cardinals like every team in the ranks of Major League Baseball had seen players be called to serve their country, and it would end up being the fate of Munger as well. He was informed that he would need to report to Jefferson Barracks for active duty on July 12th, but before that happened he had one more gem in his arm, which came on July 5th as he went the distance for the club during a 4-1 win over the New York Giants in St. Louis. Two days later he came in relief against the Brooklyn Dodgers, and ended up being charged with a loss, which moved his record to 11-3. It would be his last appearance in the big leagues as Uncle Sam called his name. Munger's 11-3 record is even more impressive when you look at his earned run average that sat at 1.34 after his final outing  in '44.

     Munger's entire '45 season went to the wayside while he served, and most of  '46 would be taken away as well. However, the hurler returned late to club in late August, went 2-2, with two complete games, and would end up pitching a complete game in a Game 4 win over the Browns in the Fall Classic. Five days later the Cardinals were World Champions. Munger pitched for the Cardinals during nine different seasons, and posted a 74-49 record with the Birds on the Bat across his chest. His best season came in '47, when he posted a 16-5 record.

     Kurowski was key piece to all three of the clubs that won Championship Titles in the forties. He could not be called into service because of a childhood injury that caused an infection,which led to some bone removal to combat it. The surgery ended up causing his right arm to be four inches shorter than his left. It was simply an obstacle that would he would overcome, as he could not be told that he could not play the game he loved. While many scouts could not get past the disfigured throwing arm. Kurowski finally got a shot with a Class D club in the Northeast Arkansas League. Little did he know it at the time, but it would end up being the first leg of a trip to the big leagues. He rose through the ranks, and in 1942 he joined another young rookie by the name of Stan Musial on a big league diamond in St. Louis. Kurowski not only won three Championship Titles with the club, he was also selected to four All Star games while wearing a Cardinals uniform, and it would have been five had the midsummer classic not been cancelled in 1945 because of the War.

     Both Kurowski and Munger were participants in what was Golden Era in Cardinal Baseball. If we look at the '44 season alone, they both made great contributions to the club who would be featured in the only all St. Louis World Series  the city has ever seen. While Munger had to leave in July, Kurowski led the club with 20 home runs on the year, and was able to celebrate the Championship run. In the case of Munger we can only wonder where his final numbers would have rested if he had been able to pitch the entire season. He clearly had everything working when he was called into service, but fate took his life in another direction.

Check out the box score here:

Monday, June 16, 2014

June 16, 1964: Ken Boyer Welcomes Lou To The Club By Hitting For The Cycle

     On June 16, 1964, Ken Boyer welcomed Lou Brock to the club by hitting for the cycle as he led the way to a 7-1 defeat of the Colt .45s in Houston. Brock was making his debut in a Cardinals uniform after being traded to the club the day before. He picked up two hits in five at bats, which included a triple and a run scored. Boyer's historic day began with a leadoff single in the second, and it was followed up with a run scoring double in the third, a triple that scored Brock in the fifth, and  was capped off with a leadoff home run in the seventh. The newest addition to the Cardinals who donned the number 20 on his back went 2 for 5, and with the help of Boyer's hot bat scored a run. He also stole second base in the eighth inning, which would be the first of 888 bases he would steal while wearing the uniform of the St. Louis Cardinals.

     The game was a slumpbuster that put to bed a five game skid the club had been on, and was the beginning of a four game winning streak. Brock, who the newspapers so aptly pointed out was struggling with a .251 averaged when the trigger was pulled to send him to St. Louis would end up hitting .348 in 103 games for the Cardinals during that championship season. The cycle hit by Boyer was the second time he had accomplished the feat with the Birds on the Bat across his chest, making him the only man to accomplish the feat twice in the modern era. The first coming in 1961. His contributions to the '64 club go beyond measure, as he put together an MVP campaign by leading the team with 24 home runs, 119 RBIs, and runs scored with 100. On and off the field he was a true leader, and that is why he will forever be known as The Captain.

Check out the box score here:

If you haven't already please check out the page:

The author, Kevin McCann, is in the process of writing an in depth book about the life, and career of the man who gave his entire life to baseball.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

June 15, 1964: The Cubs Send The Birds Brock for Broglio

     On June 15, 1964, one of the most lopsided trades in the history of Major League Baseball was made when Cardinals General Manager Bing Devine dealt Ernie Broglio, Doug Clemens, and Bobby Shantz to the Chicago Cubs, in return the Cardinals got Jack Spring, Paul Toth, and a 24 year old kid by the name of Lou Brock. On the surface it looked like the Cubs got the better end of the deal. Broglio was a former 20 game winner, and it looked like they had landed a true frontline starter for their rotation. Brock had just two big league seasons under his belt at the time of the trade, he was a hot prospect with blazing speed and great baserunning skills but struggled at the plate a bit, which led the Cubs organization to making the deal that sent him to St. Louis. Broglio's best days were behind him.  He spent just two and a half seasons in Chicago, and was hampered by a sore arm that led to a 7-19 record, which led to an early retirement. Brock spent the next 16 years in St. Louis and forged a career that led to Cooperstown. Four months to the day that Brock was traded to the team the Cardinals won the World Series in seven games over the New York Yankees, and he helped the club win another title in '67. When Brock retired in 1979 he was the all time leader in stolen bases with 938 and had collected 3,023 hits in the big leagues. Brock found his spot in Cooperstown, New York in 1985. 

MLB Network did a great piece about the trade. It is narrated by St. Louis' own Greg Amsinger:

June 15, 1949: Nippy Jones Knocks In Six For The Birds

     On June 15, 1949, a 9-5 win over the Dodgers in St. Louis brought an eight-game winning streak to a screeching halt for the club from Brooklyn who were sitting alone atop the National League Standings. The Cardinals offensive attack was led by first baseman Nippy Jones who drove in six runs with a home run, a double, and two singles. While Jones fell just a triple short of the cycle, his teammate Marty Marion was a home run away from achieving the feat before the game was put in the books. The game also featured what would have been called a web gem today, as Stan "The Man" Musial made a spectacular diving catch to cap off the Dodgers half of the fourth inning.

Check out the box score here:

     Jones' given name was Vernal. He said he got his nickname from his Dad who enjoyed to take a little nip off a bottle here and there. When friends and family would see father and son coming along, they would say "There goes Nip and Little Nipper." He joked with a name like Vernal he needed a good nickname. Jones gained notoriety as a member of the Milwaukee Braves in 1957, for being hit on the shoe in the tenth inning while trailing the Yankees 5-4  in Game 4 of the World Series in Milwaukee. Initially it was called a ball, then an argument ensued, and Nippy pointed out some shoe polish on the ball, which led to him being awarded first base. The Braves rallied and won the game on a towering walk off by Eddie Mathews, then went onto win the series. It was the second World Series title that Jones would be a part of, as he was also crowned a World Series Champion in 1946, as a member of the Cardinals. Jones came up in '46, and played in just 16 games for the National League Champions, before striking out in his only at bat during the Fall Classic. He wore the Birds on the Bat across his chest during six different seasons, with the '48 and '49 campaigns being his best.

Check out the career numbers of Nippy Jones here:

Saturday, June 14, 2014

June 14, 1917: The Cardinals Pull Off a Triple Steal

   On June 14, 1917, the Cardinals pulled off a rare triple steal during a four run fifth inning at Robison Field in St. Louis. The feat happened with Walton Cruise at first, Tim Long at second, and Dots Miller on third, when everyone went, and Miller stole home. The four runs scored in the inning put the Birds up 4-2 over the visiting Dodgers, but they watched it disappear as the Brooklyn squad tied it up with a run in the sixth and another in the seventh. Rogers Hornsby broke up the deadlock with a longball in the bottom of the seventh that proved to be a game winning shot, as reliever Lee Meadows held the Dodgers off the board the rest of the way.

     To my knowledge this is the only time a triple steal has been pulled off in the history of the Cardinals. I have researched it quite bit without finding another. With that said, there are no comprehensive lists that I can determine it for certain, and I do welcome any corrections as long as they can be determined factually. I did find an instance where the Cardinals were the victim of a triple steal, which happened on August 29, 1955, as Jackie Robinson swiped home plate with base runners in trail. That game in 1917 was quite a game as Dots Miller and the boys stole their way into the history books. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

June 13, 1914: Griner Whitewashes The Trolley Dodgers

     On June 13, 1914, Dan Griner pitched a five hit gem in Brooklyn, as he led the Cardinals to a 6-0 win over the Dodgers. On the offensive side of the ball, Griner was assisted by every bat that was in the lineup besides leftfielder Ted Cather and himself. He was also assisted by six errors by the home squad. The Dodgers starter Raleigh Aitchison was on the bump for each of the Cardinals runs as he gave his club seven innings of work, although he was charged with just two of the six runs scored. With the way Griner was pitching the defensive lapses hardly mattered, since all he needed was a run to win the contest.

     When it comes to the pitchers that have come and gone in the history of the Cardinals organization, Griner will never be a name that is widely recognized. His career began with the Birds in 1912. After going 3-4 in seven starts, he found a regular spot in the rotation the following season. To call the 1913 season a rough one for Griner would be an understatement. In fact, that season in Cardinals baseball was a particularly rough one, as they won just 51 games while losing 99 which was good for last place. Griner led the National League with 22 losses that for the club during that abysmal season in which he carried an E.R.A. over five. While Griner failed to post a winning record in 1914, he did bring his E.R.A. down to a respectable 2.51 as he put together a 9-13 record for the team who looked to be turning things around as they went 81-72 during the 1914 campaign. However, the team would still fall short of true contention for a number of years.

    After going 5-11 in 1915, Griner's career with the Redbirds came to a close after four appearances during the 1916 season. It looked like his days on a big league diamond were over, but he did return in 1918 for those same Dodgers that he shutout in 1914. He went just 1-5 in Brooklyn, however, the one win is a win that might have been the best of his career. It came on May 6th of that season, as he nearly laid claim to a no-hitter, only to watch it disappear with two outs in the ninth in Brooklyn.

     Griner put together a 27-50 record during his five years in St. Louis, and while those are hardly numbers to be wowed by, I look at him as part of a family tree that  has been growing since the St. Louis Brown Stockings joined the American Association in 1882, and 100 years ago today him and his teammates trotted off the field with smiles on their faces after he helped lead them to victory.

Check out the box score here:

Thursday, June 12, 2014

June 12, 1984: Ricky Horton Gets The Job Done In His First Major League Start

     On June 12, 1984, with his family in the stands at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, Cardinals rookie Rick Horton made his first major league start. Inserted into the rotation because of an injury to Bob Forsch, the 24-year-old hurler helped lead the Birds to a 7-2 victory over the Phillies. Horton was impressive as he went five strong, while allowing just two runs on a day that the offense provided him plenty of run support. Neil Allen took over for Horton in the sixth and was impressive as well, as he did not allow a hit the rest of the way. The offensive highlights included three hits by Ken Oberkfell, and a 2 for 5 performance by George Hendrick that included three ribbies, and a home run. Primarily a reliever throughout his career, Horton made a career high 18 starts during that rookie campaign.

Check out the box score here:

On that same day St. Louis' own Kyle McClellan was born. The Hazelwood West grad was a key contributor in the 2011 Championship club, as he posted 12 wins for the team who made an extraordinary run at an 11th title.

June 12, 1927: Les Bell Comes Through With a Walk Off Blast

     On June 12, 1927, trailing 4-3, with one out, and a man on in the bottom of the ninth at Sportsman's Park, Cardinals third baseman Les Bell stepped to the plate and hit a walk off shot that propelled the Birds to a 5-4 victory over the visiting Phillies. That one swing of the bat instantly ruined the day of each of the men on that Phillies roster, but none bigger than that of Johnny Mokan. The leftfielder had picked up five hits in five trips to the plate, knocking in two, while only crossing the dish once. The June of '27 was the best month of the year for the defending World Series Champions, as they went 17-9. The club finished with 92 wins, which made them the first 90 win team since 1889 when they were the American Association's Browns. Despite improving their record by three games, the Cardinals fell short in repeating as National League Champions, as they finished three games behind the Pirates. With that said, they were a part of what was a Golden Era in Cardinal Baseball.

Check out the box score here:

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

June 11, 1989: The Wizard Has The First Five Hit Game of His Career

     On June 11, 1989, Ozzie Smith picked up five hits in six trips to the plate during a 10-7 win over the Cubs in Chicago. It was the first five hit day for the future Hall of Famer who first stepped on a major league diamond in 1978. The victory was highlighted by an eight run seventh inning that saw Smith pick up two hits as the Cardinals batted around. Tom Brunansky and Pedro Guerrero also picked up two hits in the frame.The first hit for Brunansky was a two run homer, and the second was an RBI single. Brunansky led the way in the RBIs department with three on the day, while The Wizard, and Tony Pena each had two. Ozzie had one more five hit day during his illustrious career, which came on June 17, 1993, and once again he victimized the Cubs on their home turf with a 5 for 5 day that included three doubles, and six RBIs, as the Birds pulled off an 11-10 victory.

Today I am going to include the box score for both of Ozzie's 5 hit games:



Tuesday, June 10, 2014

June 10, 1967: Roger Maris Wins It With an 11th Inning Walk Off at Busch

     On June 10, 1967, tied 2-2, with two on, and one out in the bottom of the eleventh at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Roger Maris sent the crowd of more than 30,000 home happy with a walk off shot that led to a 5-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. The bomb was the 264th of his career, as well as the third and final walk off of his career. The man who had broken Babe Ruth's home run record with 61 in '61, only hit nine home runs with the Birds on the Bat across his chest, however, he was a key contributor in winning the National League Pennant, then in the World Series. Maris hit .385, with a home run, and seven RBIs, as he helped the Cardinals win their second title of the decade. He played one more season with the Birds before calling it a career, and helped the club win the National League crown once again. One year to the day of the walk off shot, the Cardinals were tied 2-2 in Atlanta when Maris connected on a two run bomb in the third inning. The home run proved to be the difference maker as the Birds hung onto win 4-3. Maris finished his career with 275 big blasts.

Check out the box score here:

Monday, June 9, 2014

June 9, 1963: McCarver Belts an Inside The Park Grand Slam

     On June 9, 1963, after dropping the first game of a doubleheader to the Mets 8-7, the Cardinals bounce back with a 10-4 victory over the Mets at the Polo Grounds in New York. The bounce back winner was highlighted by an eighth inning inside the park grand slam off the bat of Tim McCarver that put the Birds up 10-2. The ball that McCarver hit looked to be a routine out to center until Ron Kanehl slipped and fell, which ended up with the ball going deep into the vast centerfield that the Polo Grounds held. An alert McCarver never did turn on the brakes until he was well past the dish.

Check out the box score here:

Sunday, June 8, 2014

June 8, 1945: Buster Adams Goes 5 for 6 as He Leads The Birds To Victory

     On June 8, 1945, Buster Adams picked up five hits in six trips to the plate, as he led the way to a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Redbirds centerfielder knocked in the tying run in the ninth, then came through again in the thirteenth with a single to left that scored Red Schoendienst from third.

     The Pirates starter Al Gerheauser pitched all thirteen innings for his club, and took the loss on the chin, while Blix Donnelly got the call for the Cards, and pitched nine full innings. Donnelly was victimized by an error that led to two runs before his day on the bump ended after nine full innings.

     With the score tied 2-2, Billy Southworth put the ball in the hands of Ken Burkhart, and Burkhart looked to be getting the job done, until a hiccup gave the Buccos a 3-2 lead in the top of the thirteenth. The lead was short lived as Debs Garms picked up a one out pinch hit double, that turned into a run as Red Schoendienst knocked him in moments later. Johnny Hopp followed the Redhead with a single of his own, and by the time he was settled onto the bag at first, Red was standing on third. Then came the hot bat of Buster Adams to win it. A reported 3,695 souls walked through the gate at Sportsman's Park that day. It took 2 hours and 46 minutes to put it into the books, and those who stayed throughout witnessed a great finish to a hard fought battle.

     Buster Adams' career began with the Cardinals in 1939, although it was just a two game cup of coffee. He did not taste coffee in the big leagues again until 1943 when he was recalled by the Cardinals. The stay in St. Louis ended just eight games later when he was shipped to the Phillies. It took Adams a year of settling in at the big league level to find his footing, as he batted just .256 for the Philadelphia squad. However, he found some pop in his bat in '44 by hitting 17 home runs, and raising his average to .283. Eight games into the '45 season he was traded to the Birds for John Antonelli and Glen Crawford.

     Adams was plugged into center where the Cardinals had been shuffling the deck since Terry Moore left to fight for the country after the '42 season. The Phillie most likely looked back and wished they had not made the deal, as the '45 campaign turned out to be a career year for 30-year-old who hit .292, with 101 ribbies, and 20 home runs for the club who went onto win the National League Pennant. Moore returned to the team in '46, and after playing in 140 games in '45, Adams played in just 81 games or the Birds during the Championship campaign of 1946. Although, he did not get to bat in the World Series. With that said, he did hit .312 during those 81 games, and when he was on the field I would imagine he gave it his all.

    The Cardinals sold Adams back to the Phillies before the '47 campaign began. That season would mark his last season at  the big league level, as he moved onto the Pacific Coast League, where he spent four seasons before hanging up the cleats for good. Buster Adams' time in Cardinal Nation might have been short, but once you're a member, you're always a member, and today is a fine example of that as we look back on that great 5 for 6 performance that happened oh so long ago.

Check out the box score here:

Interesting fact about the Phillies: in 1944, the team's new owner Bob Carpenter Jr. tried to rebrand the team by changing their nickname to the Blue Jays. The new nickname was picked by the fans in Philly through a poll, but those same fans never did adopt it. Before the 1950 season began it was announced that the nickname was headed to the scrap heap.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

June 7, 1970: Simba's First Home Run Sparks A Cardinals Rally

     On June 7, 1970, down 7-1 to the San Diego Padres at Busch Stadium after four innings, the Cardinals began an epic comeback that ended with the Birds on top by the score of 10-7. The comeback began in the sixth inning when a 20-year-old catcher by the name of Ted Simmons belted the first home run of his career. The two run shot off of Roberto Rodriguez closed the gap to 7-3, but the San Diego hurler looked to settle down quickly as retired the next three men. However, the seventh inning proved to be the difference maker, as the Cardinals exploded for seven runs in the frame to turn the tables on the team from the West Coast.

     Pinch hitting for Bob Gibson, Vic Davalillo led the frame off with a single. Lou Brock followed him with a single to right, that moved Davalillo over to third, before Jose Cardenal picked up the third single in a row. The single by Cardenal scored Davalillo, moved Brock to third, and ended the day for Roberto Rodriguez. With the score sitting at 7-4 San Diego, Ron Herbal took over pitching duties for the Friars, and he would end up being charged with the loss, as he walked the bases full, gave up a two RBI double to Joe Torre, then watched Ted Simmons knock in the game tying run.

     That all came before there was even an out recorded in the inning, which came in the form of a double play ball. With the score knotted at seven all the visitors needed was one out to get out of the frame tied, but that one out did not come soon enough to the delight of the crowd at Busch. Herbal put Julian Javier on with an intentional pass before hitting the showers, and handing the ball off to Dave Roberts. Red Schoendienst called his shortstop Dal Maxvill back from the batters box, and sent Leron Lee into hit for him . The move paid off as he broke the deadlock with a two RBI double to give the Birds a 9-7 lead. One of the runs scored off of that double was charged to Herbal, which led to him adding a loss to his stats totals. Although, no Padres pitcher could get the job done in that frame.

     Before the seventh run outburst concluded the Cardinals batting order had come full circle, and Davalillo had another chance to inflict damage to the efforts of the opponent. And that he did, by rapping a single that scored Lee and gave the Cardinals a three run cushion. Roberts gave up another single to Lou Brock, before handing it over to the fourth Padres pitcher of the inning, Al Santorini who was able to pick up the third Cardinals out. Frank Linzy took over on the mound for the Cards in the eighth, and got the job done until he put himself into a jam in the ninth with two men on and one out. Ted Abernathy bailed Linzy out by coming in and locking down a save in what was a truly wild game in St. Louis.

Check out the box score here:

Friday, June 6, 2014

June 6, 1933: Another Riot In The Grand Ole Tale of Dizzy Dean

     On June 6, 1933, the Cardinals and the Reds celebrated "Ladies Day" in Cincinnati with a near riot before the ballgame, which included a fight with none other than good ole Dizzy Dean. The Cardinals hurler apparently got under the skin of Reds pitcher Paul Derringer so much that fists began to fly. One of the funnier accounts of the story said "The big Cincinnati pitcher then uncorked a right hand swing that may or may not have landed on Dean's eye." Before the game was in the books there were ejections, bottles flying, and police escorts for the umpires who were calling what turned out to be a 6-2 victory for the boys who wore the Birds on the Bat.

     Derringer had worn those same Birds on the Bat on Opening Day, but was shipped to Cincy as part of a package deal that brought Leo Durocher to the club. Before that trade was made, he had an outstanding 18-8 rookie season in '31, and was a huge part of the club that won a the National League Pennant, before winning the World Series. Dizzy Dean arrived in '32, and put together an 18 win season of his own, while Derringer's record fell to 11-14. It was said that the two players never did get along, and after the trade happened it that became very evident, as the two clubs were set to meet on that day in early June.  Derringer had said that Dean had been "riding the life out of me," and he could not take it anymore. The two players met midfield as the  two teams practiced before the game where Derringer asked Dean if he meant everything he was saying about him, and when Dean said he meant every word, Derringer swung. As mentioned before some said a fist landed on Dean's eye, while Dean himself refuted the claim, and he even asked the reporters if they seen any damage. The two pitchers were ejected before the game began, as the show went on, and quite a show it was.

     Wild Bill Hallahan, and Sylvester Johnson allowed just four hits to the Reds batters, while the Cardinals offense exploded for 16 hits as they rolled to victory. The offensive outburst was led by Ducky Medwick who went 4 for 5, with a home run, and three ribbies. With that said, the game was hardly the news of the day, as "Ladies Day" turned into an absolute raucous blast. The Cardinals rightfielder George Watkins was tossed in the fifth after arguing a call, then things seemed to settle down until the ninth when the acting manager of the Reds, Jewel Ens was tossed for arguing a call. Once he was tossed, bottles began to be tossed. One bottle hit Cardinals second baseman Burgess Whitehead, and fans in the stands began to duck for cover as they came pouring out of the upper deck at Redland Field. After Johnson recorded the last out that locked down a Cardinals win, the crowd continued to throw things, and berate the umpires as police escorted them off the field. Ladies Day had been a complete success.

Check out the box score:

Thursday, June 5, 2014

June 5, 1962: Home Run 450 Turns Out To Be One More Walk Off For The Man

     On  June 5, 1962,  Stan Musial blasted the 450th home run of his career with a walk off bomb in the bottom of the eleventh inning at Busch to lead the Cardinals to 10-9 comeback win over the visiting Reds. It was quite the week for the future Hall of Famer, as he watched his daughter Gerry graduate from Villa Duchesne High School, his son Dick graduating from Notre Dame, and he also received an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Monmouth College in Illinois. The game was an up and down battle that had every emotion in it from anger to jubilation as the Cardinals found their way to the win column.

     The club was in the midst of an eight game losing streak coming into this contest, and it looked like it was going to be a nine game streak before the day was over. They had fell in a 9-1 hole before they were set to bat in the bottom of the sixth. That is when the tide turned, as the team cut the lead to 9-4 before the inning was over. The comeback continued in the bottom of the seventh, as Bill White rocked a three run shot to cut the lead to 9-7. Musial followed White with a single, moved over to second on a wild pitch, then watched his teammate Ken Boyer hit a game tying home run. It was a whole new ballgame.

     Before the comeback began reliever Ray Sadecki got under the skin of the Cardinals skipper Johnny Keane by virtually imploding on the mound in what turned out to be a five run frame for the Reds. Sadecki began the inning by serving up a long ball, then committed two errors, before serving up his second long ball of the inning, which was a three run bomb by Frank Robinson. Keane called it the poorest performance he had ever seen on a major league diamond, and because of that he levied what was considered a heavy fine of $250 on the hurler. By today's standards that would be nearly $2,000, and this was long before the big paydays that would come to players years later. Sadecki asked to to be traded after the incident, but cooler heads would prevail, and he would be a key piece to the 1964 Championship club.

     After the Birds made it a new ballgame, Lindy McDaniel took over on the bump for the Birds in the eighth, and held court through the eleventh to give the club a chance to win. It was a chance that would not be wasted, as Musial watched Bill White groundout to start the bottom of the inning, before he stepped to the dish and connected with the walk off shot.

     The 450th bomb of Stan Musial's career was not only a walk off game winner. It was the last walk off in the career of  The Man. Musial hit a total of 12 walk off shots in the career that covered three different decades. His first walk off bomb came on July 14, 1942, and more than 20 years later when the Hall of Fame resume had been written he was doing it again. There is nothing like watching your team win a ballgame with a walk off bomb. As someone who never got to watch "The Man" play, I can only imagine how great it was to watch him do it.

Check out the box score here:

If you would like to check out some of Stan's home run stats check this out:

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

June 4,1924: Howard Freigau Lights Up The Phillies

     On June 4, 1924, Howard Freigau led the way in a 12-5 Cardinals win over the  Phillies at the Baker Bowl in Philadelphia. The Redbirds third baseman rapped out 4 hits in 5 trips to the plate, stole four bases, and knocked in five of the Cardinals runs, while crossing the dish once himself. The '24 season is not a celebrated season, as the club posted a 65-89 record. However, there were days like this one when the sun shined bright for the boys who wore the Birds on the Bat.

      Freigau made his debut with the Birds in September of 1922. He played in just three games that season, before taking over at shortstop in 1923. He hit .269 that season, then flirted with .300 in '24, as he fell just one point short of the mark. Freigau was traded to the Cubs after just appearing in nine games in 1925. That '25 season proved to be his best as he hit .307 and knocked in 71 runs. However, what the Cardinals got in return for the young utility player was a 30 year old catcher by the name of Bob O'Farrell who put together an MVP season in 1926 and was key in bringing St. Louis its first World Series title in the modern era.

     Freigau could play any of the infield positions, which made him a valuable member of a major league roster. After three seasons in The Windy City, Freigau spent time in a  Brooklyn Robins uniform, as well as the uniform of the Boston Braves. The last time he held a bat at the major league level was for the Braves at the end of the '28 season. That did not mean his days on the diamond were over though. He spent time in the American Association, as well as the Southern Association where he was able to play the game until he was tragically killed in 1932.

     The incident that took Freigau's life was one that will make you shake your head in disbelief. According to Bury My Heart at Cooperstown, Salacious, Sad,  and Surreal Deaths in The History of Baseball by Frank Russo and Gene Racz, Freigau was was playing for the Knoxville Smokies in '32, and after a long hot day he decided to take a late night swim. It was a decision that would cost him his life, as he unknowingly dove into the shallow end of a pool head first and broke his neck and drowned. He was only 29 at the time.

     Before that fateful day came Freigau had hit .272 in a big league career that stretched over seven seasons, and before that part of his life as a professional baseball player began he had been an all around athlete that excelled in basketball at Ohio State. The way is life ended is unfortunate, but everything that came before it is what matters the most, and 90 years ago today was a great day in the life of Howard Freigau. In the end, it is much more important to remember how a person lived their life, rather than how their life came to a close.

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