Friday, July 31, 2015

July 31, 1928: Sand's Boneheaded Play Helps Lifts The Birds To Victory

     On July 31, 1928, the Cardinals picked up 20 hits en route to an 18-5 beatdown of the Philadelphia Phillies at the Baker Bowl in Philadelphia. The two clubs were knotted up at two after three innings of play, before the Birds blew the door open with a five run frame in the fifth. That five run fifth featured a boneheaded play by Philadelphia's shortstop Heinie Sand, who thought he had picked up the third out, but as it turned out it was the second out. Sand and his teammates began trotting off the field, while Chick Hafey who was standing at first flew around the bases before they realized the err of their ways. It was like a string was pulled, and from there the Phillies began to unravel like an old sweater. The Cardinals scored a total of sixteen runs over the next four innings, as they pounded the home team into submission. Taylor Douthit led the way for the Cardinals in the 20-hit attack with five hits in six trips, and he was joined by four players who had three hits apiece, which included the pitcher Pete Alexander who went the distance. The 18 runs was the most runs the Cardinals would score in a game that season, and it was a game that ole Heinie Sand would surely never forget.

Check out the box score here:

Thursday, July 30, 2015

July 30, 1959: Bob Gibson Makes His First Start

     On July 30, 1959, Bob Gibson made his ever first major league start at Crosley Field in Cincinnati. The 23-year-old beat the Reds 1-0 with an eight-hit complete game effort. Ken Boyer scored the lone run of the contest after picking up a double in the second inning, before being knocked in by Joe Cunningham. From there it was all Bob Gibson. The youngster was dominant, however, he did run into bases loaded jam in the ninth, after allowing a lead off single, then two consecutive two out walks, before he got Johnny Temple to fly out to Curt Flood in center. It was win number 1 of 251, and little did anybody know that it was just a glimpse of things to come for the hurler who was destined to be among the immortals in Cooperstown, New York. The kid was going to be a legend.

If you would like to read about Bob Gibson's life and Hall of Fame career you can check out his SABR bio here:

Check out the box score here:

On a side note: one of my favorite Gibby stats is he had 255 complete games. Four more complete games than he had wins. You had to pry the ball from his hands. When he took the mound the men in the pen knew they would be getting rest that day, and it was likely they would witness a gem.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July 29, 1933: Pepper Martin Walks It Off In The Tenth

     On July 29, 1933, Pepper Martin ended a ten inning affair with a three run walk off blast to beat the Cubs at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis.

     The Birds flew out of the gate early in this one, scoring four runs in the second, before the Baby Bears answered back with two of their own in the fourth on a two run home run by Babe Herman. The Birds got one of those back in the bottom of the fourth, but they would have a fight on their hands, as the Chicago squad was desperate to stop a losing streak.

     Martin knocked in a run in the sixth to make it a 6-2 ballgame, which may have seemed to be a comfortable lead, but as we all know a game does not end in the sixth, and the Cubs knew that too. It seems the man that knew it real well was Babe Herman, as he hit his second home run of the day in the seventh to make it 6-4. The heat was on, and it would get hotter in the ninth, when a single by Kiki Cuyler, a double by Frank Demaree, and a key pinch hit by Woody English pushed two runs across to tie it up at 6-6. Up to that point Tex Carleton looked like he would secure the victory for the Redbirds, but he handed the ball over to Jesse Haines, after getting one out in the ninth that unraveled in a haste. Haines was charged with the second run, but would end up getting the win, as he set the table for Martin to win it with the big blast in the tenth.

     A hero of the World Series winning club of 1931, Martin had a run of bad luck in '32, which may have had some pundits questioning if he would be able to match the production that helped lift the Cardinals to the top of the heap. He answered those questions with a career year, in which he hit .316, led the National League in runs scored with 122, and stolen bases with 26. Never known for his pop, The Wild Horse of Osage hit just eight home runs that season. One of those home runs was a walk off blast that put the Cubs to bed. It was a memorable blast indeed.

Check out the box score here:

Side note: Martin hit two walk off home runs in his career. The one that came on that day in '33 was the first. The second came during the Summer of '36. We'll save that tale for another day.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28, 1977: Urrea Shuts'em Down

     On July 28, 1977, rookie pitcher John Urrea turned in a dominating complete-game performance during a 3-0 win over the Atlanta Braves in St. Louis. The big righty set down 12 in a row before allowing a hit, as he sailed to victory while allowing just five hits total. He got the run support he needed in the first when Atlanta's starter Buzz Capra sailed one past his catcher, which brought Garry Templeton into score. Templeton came up big in the fifth with a two out triple that plated Urrea, who had drew a walk, and Lou Brock who singled right behind him. The offense could not push another run across in the contest, but they did not need to, with Urrea on the bump.

     That was the second start  and first win of Urrea's career. He had made one a week earlier, but did not get a decision. It was also the only complete game shutout of his major league career, which took place over parts of five seasons. He put up decent numbers during that '77 season, going 7-6 with a 3.16 E.R.A., but was not able to build on that success. Urrea posted a 15-16 record with the Cardinals through the 1980 season, then was sent to San Diego in 1981 as a part of a package deal. He went 2-2 with the Padres, before his days on the major league diamond came to a close. While Urrea never stood before a crowd delivering a speech in Cooperstown, New York, he did stand on that major league diamond, and on that day at Busch Stadium he achiieved what many most men can only dream of.

Check out the box score here:

Monday, July 27, 2015

July 27, 1989: Coleman's Streak Stops at 50

     On July 27, 1989, Vince Coleman's record setting streak of 50 consecutive stolen bases was snapped in Montreal during a 2-0 Cardinals win over the Expos. Coleman attempted to swipe a bag in the fourth, but was gunned down by Montreal's backstop Nelson Santovenia. It may be one of the greatest highlights of Santovenia's short career in the majors. While the streak came to an end, Coleman did figure into the victory by making a game saving play in the ninth, when he scaled the wall and robbed second baseman Damaso Garcia of a game-tying double to preserve the victory. Coleman went right back to work in the ninth by stealing a base, then scoring the second Redburd run of the day to take a little pressure off the pen. The 50 consecutive steals is a record that still stands today. The previous record holder had been Davy Lopes, who stole 38 in succession as a member of the 1975 Los Angeles Dodgers. Coleman ran right past that one, and kept on running until Santovenia gunned him down. All good things must come to an end, however, all good things should be remembered as well.

Several men have surpassed Lopes' streak, but only Ichiro Suzuki seriously threatened Coleman's 50 consecutive steals with 45 consecutive stolen bases in 2006.

Check out the box score here:

Sunday, July 26, 2015

July 26, 1901: The Birds and Bucs Brawl In The Lou

     On July 26, 1901, the Cardinals whooped the Pirates in more than one way, as they smacked them around with their fists, then beat them 12-7 on the scoreboard. The Bucco's came out swingin', as they scored six runs in the first, and looked like they may just roll over the Cardinals, Then the Birds came flying back into the fray with a run in the second, then four more in the third. It was during the four run third that all hell broke loose.

     The Birds strung together a few hits against Deacon Phillippe, scored a couple runs, on a timely hit by player/manager Patsy Donovan, which was followed by a hotshot up the middle by third baseman Otto Kruger. The Pirates second baseman Claude Ritchey fielded the ball, but threw it away when he tried to run down Kruger at first. Now the account in the Pittsburgh Press claimed that the Cardinals players gathered around the ball, as their former teammate, who was now catching for the Pirates, Jack O'Connor scrambled toward the dugout in an attempt to retrieve the ball. An account out of the St. Louis Republic claimed the players on the Cardinals bench scattered. I guess the writers had on their home team glasses on that fine day, and saw it through them when they sided with one team or the other. The paper out of St. Louis did acknowledge that O'Connor had come into contact with several Cardinals players, before finding the ball, while another run scored.

     At that point O'Connor was enraged, so he went after the closest man to him, which was the skipper Donovan, who by all accounts was clearly assaulted. O'Connor picked the wrong battle, because every single player on the St. Louis bench had his back, and one player in particular, a 24-year-old pitcher by the name of  Eddie Murphy flew in and floored O'Connor with a knockout blow to the jaw. According the Pittsburgh Press "The catcher fell and was dead to the world." Benches began to clear, before the police got involved to break up the melee. The officers had their hands full, as they also had to contain a crowd of men who attempted to storm the field, A good five minutes later the police got it under control, but the teams were hot, and there were tense moments throughout the rest of the game.

      The Pirates maintained a 7-5 lead until the Cards blew the door open with a four runs in the seventh, then three more in the eighth to put the visitors away. In the end it was called the most exciting game that happened at League Park up to that point, for a team that would finish fourth in the standings that season. The Pirates won the National League pennant with 90 wins, but this was two seasons before the World Series would begin between the National and American leagues. While the Pirates came out on top of the standing that season, they knew when they had to face the Cardinals they would have a fight on their hands. They sure did on that day in late July.

The account of the game in the photo above was taken out of the Pittsburgh Press, while the picture of the (sort of weird) fan came out of the St. Louis Republic. If you are interested in reading the Republic's account of the game you could do that here:

I would have liked to clip it completely, but quite frankly it was too large, so I went with the rather laughable piece out of Pittsburgh.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

July 25, 1962: Stan The Man Becomes The National League's RBI King

     On July 25, 1962, Stan The Man Musial set the National League RBI record by knocking in his 1,862nd run with a two run blast in the sixth inning at Busch. The bomb was all the offense the Redbirds could muster on that day against Don Drysdale's Dodgers, who put five runs on the board to take the contest 5-2. While the end result of the contest was not what the fans in the stands had hoped for, the crowd of more than 24,000 witnessed a special moment in the career of The Man. He had surpassed the legendary New York Giant Mel Ott. Musial finished his career with 1,951 ribbies, which stands as seventh on the all time list as we sit here today.

Check out the box score here:

Friday, July 24, 2015

July 24, 1979: Simba Returns To The Lineup

     On July 24, 1979, Ted Simmons made a triumphant return to the lineup, after a broken bone in his wrist had sidelined him for a month. The backstop made his presence known early, as he ripped a first inning double that gave the Cardinals a 2-1 lead, and there was no looking back, as they prevailed 7-3 over the Atlanta Braves at Busch. Garry Templeton also returned to the lineup after sitting for three days due to a leg injury, and contributed with a lead off double in the first, and RBI double in the second, a sac fly in the fourth, then tripled and scored on a Lou Brock single in the seventh. It was the 2,979th hit of Lou's career. Simmons' return was the headliner of the day. He also drew a walk, and a single in the contest, but it was his presence behind the dish that made the pitching staff rejoice. Particularly that day's starter Pete Vuckovich, who scattered six hits and struck out eight. Simmons put together a strong season despite being on the shelf for a bit. In fact, he hit a career high 26 home runs that season. His days as a Cardinal would end after the 1980 season, however, Simba would forever be a Cardinal.

Check out the box score here:

Happy Birthday to an old friend of mine Mrs. Valerie Ashcraft. She celebrated her first birthday on that fine day, and has celebrated many wins since.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

July 23, 1947: Red Caps Off The Rally

     On July 23, 1947, down 5-2 to the New York Giants in the bottom of the ninth, the Cardinals put together a four run rally to win 6-5 at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. Red Scheoendienst capped off a four run rally by knocking in the tying and winning runs.

     You can look at this game and see how different a pitcher was treated in those days, as New York's starter Dave Koslo was still on the bump when the bottom of the ninth rolled around. It was well before the days of the pitching specialists that had specific roles for the late innings, therefore this was  Koslo's game to win or lose, and luckily for Eddie Dyer's Redbirds it was the latter of the two. The game winning rally started with a single by White Kurowski to lead things off, then Ducky Medwick picked up a one out single, before Koslo walked Marty Marion. The heat was on at the ole ballpark with the bases full.

    With that said, the wheels had not come off of the Giants bus completely. Koslo picked up an out when pinch hitter Erv Dusak hit a grounder that took Marion out at second base, however, it did score Kurowski, and the Birds were in business. Del Wilber then had his number called on to pinch hit for the pitcher Al Brazle, and he came though with a RBI double to score Medwick that put the club within one run of tying it up, as Dusak was standing on third. Rather than tie it up, Red pounced on the first pitch he saw, and ripped it right through the box in center and won the ballgame. Dusak and Joffre Cross, who ran for Wilber came into score the game winner. Moments later, the boys trotted off the fields with smiles beaming across their faces, as the crowd stood and cheered. They had witnessed quite the rally.

Check out the box score here:

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

July 22, 2005: Eckstein Wins It With a Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeze!!!!

     On July 22, 2005, David Eckstein led the Cardinals to victory by dropping down a perfect bunt in the to squeeze in the winning run in the bottom of the eleventh, to bear the Cubs 2-1 at Busch. The inning started with a leadoff triple by pinch hitter John Mabry. Luna took over at third, then scored uncontested when Eckstein dropped down the bunt. It was the second squeeze play winner for Eckstein that month. He had accomplished the feat on July 6th as well. At first glance, some would never guess that the man who stood 5' 6" could make it in the major leagues. However, he not only made it, he was a two champion, and the MVP of the 2006 World Series. I know that Cardinal Nation will always hold a special place in their heart for the scraptastic player who wore the 22.

     On that same day William Ashcraft celebrated the first Redbird winner of his life. He was born a fan the day before this contest was played. He started things off right with what I consider a true thriller. I actually remember that game quite well. It was a great one, and it was fun to watch Eckstein play. Happy Birthday William. I hope you had a great birthday, and I hope you get to enjoy tons and tons of great Cardinals baseball for years to come.

You can read the game account here:

Check out the box score here:

July 22, 1934: Dazzy Strikes Out His 2,000th Victim

     On July 22, 1934, the Cardinals took two from the Braves in Boston. The Birds took the first game by the score of 5-4, then came right back and took the second one by the score of 4-2. It was a day of significance for Dazzy Vance, as the 43-year-old veteran of the diamond struck out the 2,000th batter of his career. The victim was Wally Berger in the sixth inning of the contest. Berger hit a home run in both contests, so he was more than a formidable opponent. Vance went the distance in this game, which was the last time he would accomplish that feat in his Hall of Fame career. Vance struck out 45 more batters before he hung up the cleats after appearing in 442 ballgames over a 16 year span. He only spent 47 of those 442 games with the Birds on the Bat across his chest, which obviously came during the twilight of his career. With that said, that season was a special one for the man they called Dazzy, as he would go on to celebrate as a champion at season's end. He even appeared in a game in the Fall Classic and struck out three Detroit Tigers. It had to be one of the greatest moments of his life standing on baseball's biggest stage.

     Vance spent more than a decade in the minor leagues before getting his shot at the age of 31. To say he made the most of that shot would be a vast understatement. He posted double-digits in the win column 10 times, and led the National League twice in wins as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers. His finest season came in 1924 when he led the league with 28 wins. You can read all about the life and times of Dazzy here:

Check out the box scores below here

Game 1:

Game 2:

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

July 21, 1958: Flood Comes Up Big In The 14th

     On July 21, 1958, rookie center fielder Curt Flood removed an 0 for 5 collar with a 14th inning home run that beat the Braves 5-4 at County Stadium in Milwaukee.

     The pennant bound Braves looked like they were going to roll to victory early with a three run first that sent the Cardinals starter Lindy McDaniel packing before he could record the third out of the frame. The Cardinals started pecking at the lead in the third, when McDaniel's replacement Jim Brosnan picked up a one out double, then scored on a fly ball off the bat of Joe Cunningham. Wally Moon knocked Cunningham in with two outs in the sixth, then an error by Milwaukee's starter Lew Burdette led to the game tying run in the seventh. That lead was short-lived, as Phil Paine, served up a long ball to the Braves' first baseman Joe Adcock, in the bottom of the seventh, which may have had Burdette thinking the game was his, as he sailed into the ninth, before surrendering a game tying home run to Moon, which led to extras. Burdette was still on the bump when the rookie led the 14th off with the long ball that decided things. Bill Wight, who had taken over with one out in the eighth, then proceeded to set the side down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the fourteenth, which sent the 20-year-old Flood trotting to the locker room an extra inning hero.

     Flood hit 10 home runs and carried a .261 average during his rookie campaign. His defense would help him stick around, as he quickly became an elite defender that had his opponents holding their breath if the ball was hit anywhere within two city blocks of the man who donned the 21 on his back. He would man center for 12 seasons in Cardinal Nation, which included seven consecutive seasons in which he was awarded the Gold Glove. He will forever be known as the man who changed the landscape in baseball by challenging the reserve clause, but we must not ever forget that Curt Flood was one of the greatest players to ever step on a major league diamond.

Check out the box score here:

Monday, July 20, 2015

July 20, 1938: The Big Cat Goes Yard Three Times

     On July 20, 1938, "The Big Cat" Johnny Mize hit three home runs against the Giants in the second game of a doubleheader at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. The three home run performance helped lift the Cardinals to a 7-1 victory over the visiting Giants, with Mize being responsible for five of those runs. Mize homered off of Slick Castleman in the first and the third, then put the exclamation point on things with his third big blast off of Bill Lohrman in the eighth. Mize had hit three home runs seven days before this contest, which came in succession off of Brooklyn's Jim Turner. Unfortunately, Mize came out on the wrong end of that tilt, as the Cardinals lost 10-5 against the Dodgers. A week later he would walk away from a three home run day as a winner. The Cardinals scored seven runs in the first contest also, with Terry Moore leading the way with a three hit performance, that included a home run in what proved to be a 7-2 winner. Mize picked up two RBI's during that game, which gave him seven on the day.

     The three home runs on that July day in 1938 made Johnny Mize the first player in the history of Major League Baseball to hit three home runs in a game twice during the same season. "The Big Cat" would accomplish the feat six times during his career, which stands as a major league record. It has since been tied by Sammy Sosa, however, it has not been surpassed. Coincidentally, the only time Mize's team won on a day he hit three dingers came on that day in '38. He went 1-4-1 on those days, which may be astounding, but it also is a testament that it takes more than one man to win a ballgame.

Check out the box scores below

Game 1:

Game 2 (Mize's three home run game):

Sunday, July 19, 2015

July 19, 1922: Hornsby's Walk Off Is A Record Setter

     On July 19, 1922, Rogers Hornbsy set a National League record by hitting his 25th home run of the season. The record setter was about as clutch as they come, as the Cardinals were trailing the Boston Braves 6-4 at the time with two men on and two men out in the ninth. Frank Miller was on the mound, and Hornsby sent him to the locker room a loser with one swing of the stick. Meanwhile, Hornsby was carried off the field, as the hero of the day.

     Times were changin' in the world of baseball, as the ball began to fly like it had never flown before. There was a young slugger in New York by the name of Babe Ruth who took the baseball world by storm. In 1919, Ruth had broken the all-time record of 27, set by Ned Williamson of the Chicago White Stocking in 1884 with 29 big blasts. Ruth then went onto assault the record book with 54 homes run in 1920. Ruth continued that assault for many years, which included a career high 60 home runs in 1927. That stood as the major league record until 1961.

     Hornsby's record setting 25th surpassed Philadelphia Phillies slugger Gavvy Carath, who had hit 24 in 1915. Hornsby went onto obliterate the record by hitting 42 home runs during that 1922 season. He also hit .401 that season, and to date he is the only player to hit over .400 and hit 40 or more home runs. The 42 in '22 was a career high for the man they called Rajah. However, his career was a career that ended in Cooperstown, as well as a statue in front of the stadium in St. Louis. Chuck Klein of the Phillies hit 43 in 1929 to take over as the National League record holder.

     The "Big Cat" Johnny Mize took over as the franchise leader in 1940 with a 43 home run season. That record stood until Mark McGwire hit 70 in 1998. Other than the players previously mentioned, only Albert Pujols and Jim Edmonds hit more than 40 home runs with the Birds on the Bat across their chest. Jimmy Ballgame did it twice, and Albert did it six times. While one of the men mentioned has had their record scrutinized in recent past, each of these men thrilled fans in St. Louis. I feel lucky to have watched a few of them play, and would have loved to watch the others play as well. Especially Rogers Hornsby.

Today marks the 500th fact I have published on I see it as a milestone that I am proud of. I want to extend a sincere thank you to each of you for helping make this a success. You all give me a reason to do this. My interest in sports history began as nothing more than a hobby, however, I do believe it has evolved into something great. Again, I thank you all for that.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

July 18, 1926: Billy Southworth Walks it Off

     On July 18, 1926, Billy Southworth led the Cardinals to a 9-7 victory over the Phillies with a walk off blast at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. The Cardinals had led 6-3 in this one after four innings, before the Phillies took the lead with a four run sixth. The Cardinals answered back with a run in the seventh to tie it up, which stood until the ninth, when Wayland Dean walked Rogers Hornsby to set the table for Southworth, who parked one in the seats to win it. The 33-year-old future skipper had come over to the Cardinals in mid June as a part of a trade with the New York Giants. He went onto become a key piece to that championship puzzle by hitting .317 in 99 games for the Redbirds, before hitting .345 in the Fall Classic, which included several clutch hits that brought St. Louis their first championship title in the modern era. Many years later Southworth would guide the club to two championship titles.

You can read all about the life and times of Billy Southworth here:

Check out the box score here:

Friday, July 17, 2015

July 17, 1964: The Cardinals Win a Seesaw Battle Against the Mets In St. Louis

     On July 17, 1964, with the help of a pair of three hit days from Lou Brock and Dick Groat, the Cardinals prevailed 9-8 over the Mets at Busch in what was a true seesaw battle that had both teams fighting down to the wire.

      Both teams scored a run in the first, the Mets scored two in the second, then the Redbirds came right back with two of their own in the third when first baseman Bill White went yard. The seesaw shifted back and forth, as the Mets plated a run in the fourth, before the Cards pushed one across in the fifth. Knotted up at four headed into the sixth, the Cardinals looked to blow the door open a little with a three run inning to give them a 7-4 advantage. However, the Mets stormed right back with a three run seventh to tie it up, before Lou Brock broke up the deadlock with his third hit of the day in the bottom of the eighth with an RBI triple. Dick Groat followed that up with his third hit of the day to bring Brock into score what proved to be the game winning run, which was the third run of the day for Brock, who also stole a base. The Mets refused to go away quietly. Bob Humphreys was called upon to finish them off, but surrendered a run, before handing the ball over to Bob Gibson who recorded a one out save by retiring pinch hitter Hawk Taylor with a groundout. That was one of six saves for the man who wore the 45.

     Such a wild win, and like each and every win in 1964 it was a very important victory, as the team looked to make an improbable pennant run. They would hang around just close enough, never falling more than 11 games out of first place, before it all began to come together for the team to make a historic run. While it was all coming together for the Redbirds, it was all falling apart for the Philadelphia Phillies whose late season collapse was key in the Cardinals ride to glory. When those kind of rides happen the stars have to align perfectly. A team has to be able to come out on top in a seesaw battle such as the one that came on that July day in 1964. While wins such as that one may not be pretty, they make a team know they can win the battle as long as they keep fighting until the end. That team was full of fighters. They fought and fought some more, and eventually they celebrated as champions.

Check out the box score:

Today's fact is a special one. It is dedicated to Mrs. Jane Spavale, who celebrated her first day of life on that day in 1964 with a big win. Jane just married my friend Steve, and not only do I want to say congratulations to them both, I would also like to say Happy Birthday to Jane. Here's to many more and here's to a long and happy marriage.

Go Cards!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

July 16, 1946: Erv Dusak Comes Through In a Pinch

     On July 16, 1946, Erv Dusak led the Cardinals to a dramatic victory with a pinch-hit three run walk off home run in the ninth to beat the Dodgers 5-4 at Sportsman's Park.

      The Cardinals came into the contest looking for a four game sweep, however, the Dodgers were looking to salvage one, and they came very close to doing so, as they held a 4-2 edge headed into the final frame. The starters, Howie Pollett for the Birds, and Joe Hatten for the Dodgers, both took the mound in that final inning. Pollett may have thought he would not be winning his tenth game of the season on that fine day, however, he had a surprise in store, as Hatten did not record an out before the Rebirds were victorious.

     The wheels began to fall off the Dodgers bus when Hatten hit Marty Marion, then surrendered a single to catcher Clyde Cluttz. The Cardinals skipper, Eddie Dyer, was hardly thinking that one would find its way to the seats like it did, so he called on Joffre Cross to pinch run for Cluttz, then called on Erv Dusak to pinch hit for Pollett. Dusak fell behind 0 and 2 after fouling one off, then took a strike, before taking a swing that sent the ball sailing into the stands in left. While I was not able to find an account of how Dusak was treated as he came into score the game winner, one can imagine it was a scene that he would preserve in his mind's eye for the rest of his days on earth. He was the hero of the day.

     A versatile player, Dusak spent a great deal of time in the outfield. He also played a little bit of second, third, and one game at short as well. He was one of those guys who would trot out to whatever position was needed if he was penciled in. If he wasn't penciled in from the get go he could also come up with a big hit off the bench, as he did on that day against the Dodgers. Another phenomenal thing Dusak did later in his career was try his hand at pitching. He appeared in just 23 games from the mound, posting an 0-3 record, with a save to boot. While he was hardly successful, the fact he was able to take the ball when called upon speaks volumes about how talented of an athlete he was.

     Most of Dusak's production came over the course of a three year stretch, which started during that '46 season. In each of those three seasons he had more than 300 plate appearances for the Redbirds. He played nine seasons, and in the other six he never recorded more than 44 plate appearances. Therefore, some may look at Dusak's career numbers, and shrug him off as a mediocre player from baseball's past. He was a career .243 hitter that hit just 24 home runs. However, he was also a piece to a championship puzzle in '46, and he even played in four games in the World Series.

     Truly an example of a role player who made a difference, and on that day in mid July it was a big difference. Just goes to show that we never know who will play the hero. It could be the superstar. It could be a pitcher that may make just a handful of big league starts. It could be a bench player who will do whatever it takes to preserve his spot on a big league roster. We never know who will step up on any given day. Great teams have a wide variety of heroes. Erv Dusak surely played the role of the hero for a great team on that day in '46.

Check out the box score here:

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

July 15, 1967: Gibby Breaks His Leg

     On July 15, 1967, a line drive off of Roberto Clemente's bat broke Bob Gibson's right leg during a 6-4 loss to the Pirates at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Gibby fell to the ground writhing in pain, then cam to his feet, and after being examined he was allowed to continue. He faced three more batters, walked the first, retired the second, then walked Don Clendenon, before collapsing again.

      As the game continued an evaluation began, which led to x-rays at a local hospital where it was revealed that Gibson had broken his fibula, the smaller bone in the lower leg. It was a devastating blow to the team that had their sights set on a pennant. Gibby had won 21 games the year before, and was the anchor of a what proved to be a very talented pitching staff, who had to rally together and go on without their leader. They did exactly that.

     The Redbird ace was ruled out for 4 to 6 weeks. The man who filled the shoes of Gibson in the rotation took the loss that day against the Bucs. That man was Nelson Briles. Briles turned into a bit of an ace himself down the stretch, winning nine consecutive games to end the season. Other than Briles, a 29-year-old rookie by the name Dick Hughes stepped in while Gibson was in a cast. The two posted a combined 7-2 record while Gibby recovered. A kid named Steve Carlton also stepped up, and won five games during that stretch. The team stared adversity straight in the eye and proved that they could pass the test.

     Gibby returned to the bump on September 7th, and won three more games for the club that won 101 games and the pennant that had set their sights on when the seasoned opened in April. In a way the injury was a blessing in disguise, as Gibson came back well-rested, then went onto carry the team through the World Series, winning three games, which included the one the mattered most: Game 7. He was the World Series MVP, and the pain and agony of being injured on that day in mid July was a distant memory. He was a champion once again, and in the end he had quite the tale to tell, as a man who faced three more batters after breaking his leg. Bob Gibson was a badass... excuse me, he still is a badass.

Take this quiz to see how well you know Bob Gibson: One of the answers is a gimme, because it is included in this story.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

July 14, 1942: Stan Musial Hits His First Walk Off Home Run

     On July 14, 1942, Stan Musial hit the first walk off home run of his storied career to lift the Cardinals to a dramatic 7-5, eleven inning victory over the Boston Braves at Sportsman's Park. The big blast capped off a comeback for the never say die Redbirds. They had found themselves down 5-0 after five, before a rally started with a three run sixth, then was topped off with a two run shot off of Whitey Kurowski's bat in the eighth. The table was set for the 21-year-old rookie who had called Donora, Pennsylvania home throughout his youth, as Howie Krist put to bed the earlier pitching woes of starter Mort Cooper, who surrendered the five tallies from earlier in the contest. Krist was locked in. He pitched four and a third, after taking over for Whitey Moore and Howie Pollett who bridged the gap until he got the ball in his hands. When he did get the ball, not one Brave picked up a hit off of him, then came Musial in the bottom of the eleventh, with a runner on base. He came out of his famous corkscrew stance, and sent the ball sailing over the screen on right field. Just like that Musial was a walk off hero. He was just getting started on that fine day; Musial hit 12 walk off home runs during the regular season, which stood as a shared record until Jim Thome surpassed it with 13 in 2012.

Check out the box score here:

Monday, July 13, 2015

July 13, 1940: The Big Cat Hits For The Cycle

     On July 13, 1940, the Cardinals pulled off a pair of ninth inning walk off victories over the New York Giants in front of the fans at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. While both were exciting victories, the first of the two was something special, as the Cardinals first baseman Johnny Mize hit for the cycle in the contest. Mize capped off his history making performance with a ninth inning triple, then scored on an error to give the Redbirds a 7-6 victory. In the second game the Cardinals were up 3-0 after six, but watched it disappear, as the Giants scored one in the seventh, then another two in the eighth. That only set the table for the Cardinals center fielder Terry Moore to put the team in the win column for the second time of the day with bases loaded single in the ninth that brought Mickey Owen into score the game winning run. Owen went 3 for 4 in the tilt, and scored two of the Cardinals runs.

Check out the box scores for both contests here:

Game 1:

Game 2:

Here is the complete list of men who have hit for the cycle as a member of the National League club that calls St. Louis home. *Note: the club joined the National League in 1892, and before that they were members of the American Association.

  • Fred Dunlap, 5/24/1886
  • Tip O'Neill, 4/30/1887
  • Tip O'Neil,l 5/7/1887
  • Tommy Dowd, 8/16/1895
  • Cliff Heathcote, 6/13/1918
  • Jim Bottomley, 7/15/1927 
  • Chick Hafey, 8/21/1930
  • Pepper Martin, 5/5/1933
  • Ducky Medwick, 6/29/35
  • Johnny Mize, 7/13/1940
  • Stan Musial, 7/24/1949
  • Bill White, 8/14/1960
  • Ken Boyer, 9/14/1961
  • Ken Boyer, 6/16/1964
  • Joe Torre, 6/27/1973
  • Lou Brock, 5/27/1975
  • Willie McGee, 6/23/1984
  • Ray Lankford, 9/15/1991
  • John Mabry, 5/18/1996
  • Mark Grudzielanek, 4/27/2005

Sunday, July 12, 2015

July 12, 1966: The National League Comes Out On Top In St. Louis

     On July 12, 1966, Tim McCarver scored the game winning run, as the National League came out on top in the All Star game 2-1 at Busch Memorial Stadium in St. Louis. The mercury on the stadium thermometer sat at 100 degrees when the first pitch was thrown in this one, and it was said that it reached 102 during the contest. The field was like an oven, in fact, when "The Old Perfessor" Casey Stengel was asked about the brand new state of the art stadium he proclaimed "it certainly holds the heat well." Vice President Hubert Humphrey threw out the first pitch, and was one of many fans who decided to steer clear of the heat by finding shelter after the contest got under way. Once the midsummer classic got underway, it proved to be a classic indeed, as it took 10 innings to decide a winner.

     The two starting pitchers in this one were Denny McLain from the Tigers and the legendary Dodger Sandy Koufax. The American League put a run on the scoreboard in the second when they made the most of a wild pitch by Koufax, which came after Brooks Robinson of the Orioles tripled with one out just two batters before. The National League came back with a run in the fourth with an RBI by Cubs third baseman Ron Santo that brought Giants slugger Willie Mays into score. While there was some offense, the pitching was dominant throughout, which led to extras on that scorcher of a day at Busch.

     Then came the game winning rally, which started when the Cardinals catcher Tim McCarver, picked up a lead off single off of Washington's Pete Reichart. The Senators hurler was able to get the next man out, but McCarver moved over to second in the process, before Maury Wills of the Dodgers came up with the game winning single that brought McCarver into score the run that counted the most. The National League had laid claim to the victory in the midsummer classic for the fourth time in a row.

     Despite the loss, Brooks Robinson took home the MVP award, as he played all 10 innings at the hot corner that day, and went 3 for 4 with the lone run scored for his squad. That squad wanted to erase the National League dominance that had put them on the wrong side of the scoreboard in the previous three seasons. It was said that Robinson would have traded all of the accolades and awards to simply win the ballgame. However, it just did not work out that way, as the home crowd enjoyed watching the National Leaguers come out on top.

Note: Besides McCarver, Bob Gibson and Curt Flood represented the Cardinals during the contest. Gibson did not pitch, and Flood did not get a it in his lone plate appearance.

Check out the box score here:

Saturday, July 11, 2015

July 11, 1950: Red Calls His All Star Shot

     On July 11, 1950, Red Schoendienst led the National League to a 4-3 victory , with a 14th inning blast that sailed into the upper deck of the left field stands at at Comiskey Park in Chicago. Enos Slaughter also represented the Redbirds in the contest, and drove in the first run of the game with a second inning triple that brought Jackie Robinson into score. Slaughter then scored himself after Hank Sauer from the Chicago Cubs knocked him in with a sac fly. The American Leaguers cut the 2-0 lead in half with a run in the third, then took a 3-2 lead in the fifth on an RBI by Ted Williams. The game sailed into the ninth with the American League on top, however, Pittsburgh's Ralph Kiner led the inning off with a solo shot that would eventually send the game into extra innings. It was the first time in the history of the midsummer classic the game would go into overtime. With the score still knotted up in the 14th, Red started telling former teammate Walker Cooper that he was going to park one in the upper deck. More or less joking when he said it, Schoendienst was not known for his power, in fact he hit just seven home runs during that whole season, but on that day that joke became a reality, as Ted Gray of the Detroit Tigers served up the ball that Red was looking for, and with one swing of the stick he became an All Star hero.

Other than Schoendienst and Slaughter, Marty Marion and Stan Musial represented the Cardinals at the All Star game in 1950. If you would like to check out the roster of greats check this out:

Check out the box score here:

Note: the baseball almanac link also provides a box score, but baseball reference is far more detailed.

Friday, July 10, 2015

July 10, 1987: The Ripper Walks It Off at Busch

     On July 10, 1987, Jack Clark played the hero with a thirteenth inning walk off home run to beat the Giants in front of more than 43,000 fans at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. It was the third walk off win in a row for the Cardinals, as well as their ninth victory in a row, which proved to be a season high.  Clark drove in the first run of the contest in the first, before a seesaw battle ensued that had the clubs tied up 4-4 after seven innings. Once extra innings rolled around the Giants looked like they may take the game, as second baseman Chis Speier hit a one out solo shot in the top of the twelfth off of Pat Perry to give his club a short lived 5-4 lead. The never say die Redbirds came right back with a run in the bottom of the inning when Willie McGee knocked in Tommy Herr with a double. The eventual winner of the ballgame, Lee Tunnell, took over in the top of the thirteenth, set the side down 1-2-3, and set the table for the walk off heroics by Jack The Ripper. Momentarily it looked like the Giants may escape that thirteenth inning unscathed, as Craig Lefferts picked up two quick outs, before walking Herr. Then came Clark; then came That's a Winner!!!

Check out the box score here:

Have a great day Cardinal Nation.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

July 9, 1940: The All Star Game Comes To St. Louis

     On July 9, 1940, the All Star game was held in St. Louis for the first time, and with the help of a three run first inning home run from Boston Bees outfielder Max West the National League prevailed by the score of 4-0.

     The big blow came off of Yankees hurler Red Ruffing. From there the National League skipper, Bill McKechnie, who once called St. Louis home, trotted out pitcher after pitcher to shut down the American league lineup. McKechnie was the manager of the Reds at the time, and sent his own hurler Paul Derringer out to start the game. After two innings, Derringer's teammate Bucky Walters took the ball in the next two, then came Whit Wyatt of the Brooklyn Dodgers who pitched two innings of his own. Larry French of the Cubs followed Wyatt with two scoreless frames, then the legendary Carl Hubbell of the New York Giants picked up the save.

     The hero of the day, Max West, was put in the lineup on a hunch by Bill McKechnie. He chose West over the seasoned veteran Mel Ott, who would score the final National League run of the ballgame in the eighth after picking up a lead off walk. It was West's lone trip to the All Star game. He was just 23 years of age at the time. He spent a total of seven years on a big league diamond. That big fly at the 1940 All Star game, was perhaps his true moment in the sun, which will make his name one to be remembered as long as baseball tales are told. 32,373 souls witnessed that moment in the ole ballpark that sat at Grand and Dodier.

Check out the box score here:

Couple of side notes: There were three representatives from the clubs that called St. Louis home. Terry Moore and Johnny Mize both started for the National League, and browns first baseman George McQuinn was on the roster for the American Leaguer, however, he did not play. Simply being among the best is an honor within itself. Sportsman's Park hosted three All Star games. After the 1940 midsummer classic, the Browns played the host in 1948, then in 1957 it returned to the park for the final time. The game would return to St. Louis at the House that Gussie Built in 1966, then as many of you remember it came back to town in 2009. Last but not least, the Boston Bees were known as the Braves before 1936, then following that 1940 season they took the Braves moniker back.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

July 8, 1967: Javier's Inside-The-Park Shot Wins It In Extras

     On July 8, 1967, Julian Javier led the Cardinals to a 6-4 victory over the Phillies with a three run inside-the-park home run in the top of the twelfth inning at Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia. It was the fourth hit of the day for the Redbird second baseman, who also knocked in the first run of the day with a double in the third.

     Bob Gibson got the start in this one, and with the help of an Orlando Cepeda two run homer in the sixth was provided with a 3-1 lead. He surrendered a run in the bottom of that frame, but looked like he was going to pick up a complete game winner, until Philadelphia's right fielder Johnny Callison removed an 0 for 5 collar in the bottom of the ninth with a lead off home run to knot it up. Gibby picked up the first two outs in the bottom of the tenth, before handing the ball over to the bullpen. Joe Hoener picked up the last out of that inning, then the first two in the bottom of the eleventh, then handed the ball over to Nelson Briles, who induced Cookie Rojas into a ground out to end the inning. That was the only out Briles would pick up, however, it would be enough to get him a win, as Javier came up with the heroics in the twelfth.

     The table was set for Javier after reliever Dick Hall was victimized by an error that put Lou Brock on base, then he surrendered a single to Eddie Bressoud, who was taking his first at bat of the day after being put into the game as a defensive replacement in the tenth. Then came Hoolie. He laced one into center, then watched it get past Johnny Briggs, as he turned on the jets and flew around the bases before the outfielder could recover.

     The inside the parker looked to slam a nail in the Phillies coffin, however, there were three more outs to go. Ron Willis took the ball in the bottom of the twelfth, and was rocked right out of the game after the first batter he faced, Phil Linz, took him deep to lead off the inning. Willis handed the ball over to Al Jackson, who got the job done, although he did allow a one out single, before turning out the lights in the City of Brotherly Love.

     Javier was not known for hitting home runs. In fact, he was not really known for his bat either. Often referred to as a "light hitter" because of his .257 career average, Javier had quite the year in '67, hitting .281, which is one point shy of his career high that he reached in 1969. Javier hit 78 home runs over 12 years in the big leagues. 14 of those came during that 1967 season, which included the inside-the-park shot on that day in early July. It was the only inside-the-park shot of his career. Javier's time in St. Louis included three pennant winning ballclubs, and two of those pennant winners went onto win the World Series. One of those World Series championships came after he helped the club win 101 games during that '67 campaign.

If you would like to learn more about Julian Javier check out his SABR bio here:

Check out the box score here:

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

July 7, 1953: Repulski Provides The Punch; Staley Stops The Rally

     On July 7, 1953, Cardinals rookie center fielder Rip Repulski led the club to a 7-6 victory over the Reds at Crosley Field in Cincinnati, with two solo shots, and a three run bases clearing double. While Repulski tore it up at the plate, the Cardinals barely hung onto this one, until reliever Gerry Staley came up big to preserve the victory in the ninth.

     Repulski's first big blast opened up a 3-0 lead, just moments after Enos Slaughter parked a two run shot in the seats in the second. The lead did not stand for long, as the Reds plated a run in the bottom of the inning, then jumped on top with a three run third.  Repulski struck again with a lead off blast in the seventh that knotted things up at 4-4, then looked to bury the hometowners with the three run double in the eighth that put the Redbirds up 7-4.

     The Reds were not going away. In fact, they loaded the bases with three consecutive singles off of Hal White in the eighth, before Al Brazle was called on to clean up the mess. Brazle walked out of the jam unscathed, however, that was not the case in the bottom of the ninth. As they say, those final three outs are the toughest to get, and Brazle could not pick up one of them. He walked the leadoff man, hit the next guy, then surrendered an RBI single, before Gerry Staley took over on the mound. Staley walked the bases loaded right out of the gate, and disaster seemed imminent. Staley was able to pick up an out next man up, but it was a prductive, as it plated the sixth Reds run of the day.

     The heat was on, and Staley looked like he may be faltering under the pressure, as he walked another man to fill the bases back up. Perhaps the biggest out of the game followed, as Cincy's shortstop Roy McMillian grounded out to Pete Castiglone at third, who alertly fired the ball to home plate to take away the tying run. Staley then sat down pinch hitter Bob Marquis, wiped the sweat from his brow, and shook the hands of his teammates as the man who saved the ballgame.

     Two names from the Cardinals past, that everyone may not know, Staley and Repulski were quite interesting figures. Staley spent eight years with the Birds, and won 89 games. He won 18 that season as a starter, which was one shy of his career high that he set in 1951. Repulski, came in fourth in rookie of the year voting. He hit 15 home runs that season, then topped double digits in that department through the 1958 season. Although, his tenure with the Redbirds ended after the '56 campaign. If you would like to learn more about these men click on the links provided below to read their SABR biographies.



Check out the box score here:

Monday, July 6, 2015

July 6, 1929: The Cardinals Score A Record Setting 28 Runs At The Baker Bowl In Philly

     On July 6, 1929, after dropping the first game of a doubleheader to the Phillies by the score of 10-6, the Cardinals ended an 11 game skid by scoring 28 runs en route to a 28-6 victory at the Baker Bowl in Philadelphia. The offensive explosion set a modern major league record that stood until the Boston Red Sox put 29 runs on the board against the St. Louis Browns in June of 1950. That record was broken in August of 2007, when the Texas Rangers scored 30 runs against the Baltimore Orioles.

       It looked like those Redbirds were tired of not being in the win column right out of the gate, as they put 10 runs on the board in the first. They put another one on the board in the second, two more in the fourth, then broke out with another 10 run explosion in the fifth. Up 23-4, as they rolled into the eighth, five more Cardinals crossed the plate to cap off the day's scoring. The Phillies did plate two more of their own, but it did not matter, as the Cardinals pounded them into submission.

     Jim  Bottomley and Chick Hafey each hit grand slams in the contest. Bottomley had three homers on the day. He belted two in the first battle, then the grand slamwich in the historic beatdown. The Cardinals hurler in that beatdown was Frank Frankhouse. He not only picked up a complete game victory, he also got in on the fun with four hits and four RBI's. The record setting performance by that group of Redbirds has not been matched or surpassed by any member of the National League since. It truly was one of the greatest games to ever be played in Cardinal Nation.

Check out the box score here:

You can look over the highest scoring contests in the history of Major League Baseball here:

Sunday, July 5, 2015

July 5, 1961: Bob Gibson and Bill White Steal The Show In L.A.

     On July 5, 1961, Bob Gibson and Bill White teamed up to take down the Dodgers 9-1 in Los Angeles. Gibby allowed just four hits in the tilt, while White hit three home runs, and drove in four. Gibson also smashed a big fly of his own, which was the first of 24 home runs in his 17 year career in the big leagues. Gibson's big blast got things going in the first. It was a two run shot off of Johnny Podres, who would become White's first victim, as he took him deep with a solo shot in the second. His second victim of the day was future Cardinal Roger Craig, who along with White and Gibson would become a hero of '64. On this day however, Craig was on the wrong side of the diamond, as he served up a fourth inning two run shot to the hot hitting White, who opened up the eighth with his third home run of the game off of Jim Golden. Bill White hit 20 home runs for the first time in his career that season, which was a plateau he would reach for six consecutive years, with five of those coming with the Birds on the Bat across his chest.  That three home run day was definitely one to be remembered, and today we do exactly that.

Check out the box score here:

Saturday, July 4, 2015

July 4, 1985: 14 Wins For Andujar

     On July 4, 1985, Joaquin Andujar locked down his 14th victory of the season, with a complete game 3-2 Independence Day win over the Dodgers in front of more than 38,000 fans in downtown St. Louis. The Cardinals catcher Tom Nieto was the offensive star of the day, as he knocked in two of the Cardinals runs, which included the game winner in the eighth inning. Nieto went 2 for 4 in the tilt, which was matched by Ozzie Smith and Terry Pendleton. Both Smith and Pendleton scored a run in the ballgame, with Pendleton's coming in that eighth inning when Nieto came through with a single to right. In an article that appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Andujar proclaimed that he was so tired when he went out to pitch the ninth that he could not see home plate. However, he got the job done by retiring the side in order. The second of those three outs came when Terry Whitfield got greedy by going for second after picking up a single, only to be gunned down by Vince Coleman who came up firing from left field. Andujar then set down pinch hitter Al Oliver with a ground out and his 14th victory was in the books. Andujar went onto win 21 games for that pennant winning squad.

Check out the box score here:

On this day I would also like to extend thanks to all of the men and women in our armed forces. I often write about heroic feats on the playing field, however, the true heroes in this country are the heroes that protect our freedoms. I hope each of you have a great 4th of July, and I hope everyone is safe out there.

Friday, July 3, 2015

July 3, 1946: The Cardinals Snap a Losing Streak In Grand Fashion With a 16-0 Win Over the Reds

     On July 3, 1946, the Cardinals put a stop to a four game losing streak by pounding the Reds to the tune of 16-0 at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. 10 of the 16 runs came in the fourth inning, as  the Cardinals batted around in the inning, which was capped off with a three run blast by Whitey Kurowski. Enos Slaughter and Stan The Man both picked up two hits apiece in the big inning. The big bat of the day belonged to Slaughter, as the man they called "Country" knocked in six men by going 3 for 5 on the day.

     The Birds scored four more in the sixth, then two more in the seventh, then sat back and watched starting pitcher Kenny Burkhart pick up a complete game shutout. The dominating performance was a sign of things to come for that group of men, as they embarked on a championship season that will forever be remembered among every member of Cardinal Nation.

     The Cardinals came into this game more than ready to end that four game skid, and they proved that on the diamond in very pretty dramatic way. Those boys knew if they were going to compete with the Dodgers they would have to win, and win often. The victory on that fine day put them seven games back of those Bums from Brooklyn.

     A couple of years ago I wrote about this ballgame and referred to it as a turning point in the season. It may have been; it may not of. However, what I do know is that the team did heat up, and when Brooklyn came to town on July 14th to face off against the Birds in a four game set, they held just a four and a half game lead in the standings, and by the end of that four game set the Cardinals had swept them out of town and trailed by a half a game. The heat was on. The race was on.

     It was quite the race. Just a few days after that 16-0 beatdown was played the Redbirds took the lead in the National League, but the Dodgers would not go away. From July 24th to August 21st the Brooklynites maintained a narrow advantage, never leading by more than two and a half games. Then the tables turned, and the Cardinals held the advantage from August 28th to September 25th. Besides the 26th, when the Cardinals jumped ahead by a game, the two clubs had been locked in a tie atop the standing in that week between the 21st and 28th.

     Like the Cardinals, the Dodgers kept battling, and they finally caught the Redbirds during the final three days of the season. When the regular season came to an end they were tied. Both clubs had posted 95 wins and 68 losses, and for the first time in the history of Major League Baseball the word playoff was used. It was going to be a three game set to decide who would meet the Boston Red Sox in the Fall Classic.

     The President of the National League, Ford C. Frick flipped a coin to decide where the games would be played, which ended up going the Dodgers way, as Sam Breadon picked the wrong side of the coin, giving the Dodgers a chance to start the series in Flatbush. Rather than take that option they made the decision to start the series in St. Louis, so they would be able to play at home for the second game, and the third if need be. I guess the idea was they would surely win one, so they might as play the tiebreaker at home.

     The problem for the Dodgers is they would not win one. The Cardinals won the first game at Sportsman's Park with a 4-2 victory, then traveled to Brooklyn and won 8-4. They were the Champions of the National League, and would be facing powerhouse 104 game winning club led by Ted Williams. A formidable foe, it took the Cardinals seven games to beat Teddy's club, and when they did they forever cemented themselves into baseball history as World Champions.

     As I look back today, I have a hard time saying if that 16-0 victory over the Reds was a true turning point. However, that 16-0 win was crucial. Anytime a team hits a skid, it is important to remember that all it takes is one game to end it, and all it takes is one game to start a winning streak. While we will never know what the Cardinals manager Eddie Dyer said to his men behind closed doors, I would imagine he let them know exactly that. Let's win one, then we will win another. Just get out there and play ball like you know you can, and good things will come; great things will come.

Check out the box score here:

The picture features Whitey Kurowski, Enos Slaughter, Marty Marion, and the one and only Stan The Man Musial. It was taken after the championship game in Brooklyn. Proud to say it is hanging on my wall.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

July 2, 1965: Gibby Sets'em Down At Shea

     On July 2, 1965, Bob Gibson struck out 13 Mets batters, as he led the way to a 6-3 Cardinals win at Shea Stadium in New York. While the score was close in this one, the Cardinals had control throughout. Gibby's heater was blazing by his opponents. He was provided with run support in the second when Tito Francona hit a two run shot off of Frank Lary, then watched the boys plate two more in the third to give the Cardinals a 4-0 lead. Gibby surrendered a run in the bottom of the third, which came after a pair of walks and a wild pitch. He put the misfortune behind him and went back to work by striking out the side in the fourth. Gibby did give up a run in the fifth, before the Birds came right back with a pair of run in the bottom of that inning to make it 6-2. From there Gibson cruised. He gave up just one hit over the course of the last three innings, which came in the ninth, when Chuck Hiller parked one in the seats with just one out to go in the ballgame. Gibson then picked up that one out, and his tenth victory of the campaign.

     Gibby would win 20 games for the first time in his career that season. He accomplished that feat four more times. He also struck out 270 men during the '65 campaign, which is just four shy of his career high, that came in 1970. He struck out more than 200 men in nine of his seventeen big league seasons, as he put together a resume that would forever be celebrated at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

Check out the box score here:

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July 1, 1934: Dizzy Dean and Tony Freitas Pitch 17 Innings Before The Redbirds Take The Cake In The 18th

     On July 1, 1934, a pitching duel like no other took place during the first game of a doubleheader at Crosley Field in Cincinnati, as Dizzy Dean and Tony Freitas both pitched 17 innings in what proved to be an 18 inning 8-6 Cardinals win over the hometowns Reds.

     It was a bit of a seesaw battle once the fourth inning rolled around, as both teams plated a run.. Then in the fifth the Reds scored twto take a 3-1 lead, but the Birds tied it right back up with a pair of runs in the sixth. The momentum swing was short lived. The Cincy squad scratched a run across in the bottom of the sixth that looked like it may have been the decider, until the Cardinals plated a run in the ninth.

     From there a baseball marathon ensued. Dean and Freitas locked horns until the seventeenth when the Cincinnati hurler gave up a long ball to Ducky Medwick, which sailed over the wall in left. It looked like it was over, but the Reds came right back,. Their third baseman Tony Piet doubled, then scored on a single by by second baseman Gordon Slade. With the scored tied at 6-6 it may have seemed like the game would never come to an end.

     Both starting pitchers were finally pulled eighteenth. Freitas was replaced by Paul Derringer, while Dizzy was replaced with a pinch hitter by the name of Pat Crawford, who scored an all important run, as the Birds plated the last two runs of the ballgame on RBI's by Jack Rothrock and Frankie Frisch. Once again it looked liked it was going to be put in the books, but the man who relieved Dizzy, Jim Lindsey, got himself into a bases loaded jam, before Medwick made a spectacular play in the outfield, stealing what looked like a sure hit that essentially stole the game, after he snagged a Jim Bottomley drive to lright in front of the scoreboard  in left to put an end to the four hours and twenty-six minutes affair. Had the ball gotten by Frisch, it is very likely all three base runners would have scored, and this historic contest would have ended up with the Reds celebrating when it was put in the books.

     There really was no time to celebrate. The two teams got ready to play another ballgame in a haste. Frisch went right back to work in the second tilt, belting a two run home run in the first inning, but the Reds tied it in the second, and the sun dropped out of the sky by the end of the fifth. Six hours after the players took to the field that trotted to their respective locker rooms all tied up. The day was over, however, the day belonged to the Dizzy Dean and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Check out the box score here:
Always a little odd to see a box score with batters that had eight plate appearances.