Sunday, July 17, 2016

July 17, 1974: Dizzy Dean Heads To The Great Baseball Diamond In The Sky

      While researching the fact about Bob Gibson's 3,000th strikeout, I could not help but notice that on that same day in 1974 the great Dizzy Dean passed away at the age of 63. Dean's antics, as well as his spectacular performances on the mound made him the face of the Gashouse Gang in the thirties, then he would go onto become a larger than life personality in the booth calling games in the decades that followed. His days on earth may of ended that day, however, the legend of Dizzy Dean will stand the test of time. He was truly something special when it comes to the history of the Cardinals and all of baseball as well. While we may acknowledge the day that someone passed away, I do believe it is more important to celebrate the days that they lived. Therefore, today take some time to read about the life and times of the man they called Dizzy. What a grand tale it was. Read his SABR bio here:

I like to believe when Dizzy made it to the great baseball diamond in the sky he looked at the first batter he faced and said "Son, what kind of pitch would you like to miss?" He then fired one in and sure enough there was swing and a miss.

July 17, 1974: 3,000 K's For Bob Gibson

     On July 17, 1974, Bob Gibson recorded his 3,000th career strikeout when he fanned Cesar Geronimo during the second inning of a 12 inning 6-4 loss against the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The Cardinals led 4-3 after three thanks to home runs by Joe Torre and Reggie Smith, but the lead disappeared after the Reds scored a run in the fourth, then another in the sixth. Gibby was lifted for a pinch hitter in the eighth. His final pitching line for the day was seven innings pitched, four strikeouts, and the four earned runs. The four K's put him at 3,003 for his career. The teams stayed deadlocked until that fateful twelfth, when George Foster hit a two run double that decided the contest. While the final score was not what the Cardinals and their fans had hoped for, the game was historic, as Gibson had moved behind only Walter Johnson on the all time strikeouts list. Gibson finished his career with 3,117 strikeouts.

Check out the box score here:


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

July 13, 1922: Oh So Close To A No-No For Bill Doak

     On July 13, 1922, spitballer Bill Doak bid for a no-hitter disappeared against the Phillies at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, after he failed to cover first during the seventh inning. The hurler would have to settle for a one hit victory, as the Cardinals prevailed 1-0 in the contest behind his splendid effort.  Doak's teammates needed that splendid effort because Philadelphia's John Singleton held them in check for most of the day. Singleton allowed just six hits, with three of them coming in the fifth, which led to first baseman Jack Fournier scoring the lone run on an RBI by catcher Harry McCurdy. Nearly untouchable, Doak kept rolling until the gaffe in the seventh. It came when  the Phillies right fielder Curt Walker hit a slow roller toward first. Fournier rushed to get the ball, but looked over to an empty bag when he was ready to throw out the runner. Just like that the no-hit bid was history. It was reported in The St. Louis Post Dispatch that he laughed it off though, when the Phillies pitcher hit an almost identical ball towards first, only this time Doak rushed to the bag and retired the runner, as he led the club to victory.

     If Doak had covered the bag in the seventh he would have joined the list of men that have accomplished the feat as a member of the Cardinals. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. With that said, Doak won 144 games as a member of the club, which ranks fifth on the all time wins list for the franchise and his days on the diamond will not be forgotten.

Read more about Bill Doak at:

Check out the box score here:

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

July 12, 1890: Toad Strikes Out Thirteen

     On July 12, 1890, just days after being suspended for not running hard to second base, Toad Ramsey was reinstated, and struck out thirteen batters during a 12-4 Browns win over the Syracuse Stars at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. Ramsey not only held the Syracuse batsman in check, he also came up with a single and two sacrifices in the contest.  His teammates knocked Ramsey's counterpart, John Keefe around freely. Outfielder Count Campau hit a home run and a triple, while first baseman Ed Cartwright tripled twice in the tilt. The team that would be known as the Cardinals a decade later performed like champions that day. However, they would finish that season with a 78-58 record, which was 12 games behind the first place Louisville Colonels.

     Ramsey, who was given the nickname Toad because he looked like one, had returned to dominance that season. He had been one of the finest pitchers in the game during the 1886 and 1887 season, winning 75 games over the course of those two seasons for the Louisville Colonels. During that time he was also called a magician, as he mastered the knuckleball. Some say he even invented the pitch that danced its way into the strike zone. However, after those dominant seasons, Ramsey's star seemed to dim. He went 8-30 in 1888, then continued to slide in 1889, posting a 1-16 record before being traded to St. Louis for Nat Hudson. Hudson refused to report to Louisville and his days in the majors came to an end, but that was not the case for Ramsey. He went 3-1 with the Browns the rest of that season, then looked to have a career revival during that 1890 season.

     While Ramsey's star looked to shine once again, he had not endeared himself to  Von der Ahe whatsoever. He was a heavy drinker, making his own cocktail, which consisted of a pint of whiskey poured into a full pitcher of beer (yuck!). His drinking caused Von der Ahe to lose control of his club. With less than a month left in the campaign Ramsey had kept several teammates out past midnight  and he was released. There were no takers interested in Ramsey despite the fact that he, was 25 years of age and had won 23 games that season.

     In the grand scheme of things, Ramsey's time in St. Louis did not amount to much. With that said, he did entertain the fans in The Mound City for a little more than a season, and he certainly impressed them on that day in July when he struck out thirteen men. That day the St. Louis Post Dispatch  proclaimed that the team had "played ball like they had swallowed a horseradish factory." If only they could have swallowed more horseradish factories that season Ramsey may have kept his job. However, he would not step on a major league diamond ever again after his release.

While I could not find much more about the hurler known as Toad, I did find that he passed away in 1906 due to complications from a pneumonia. A very talented athlete, Ramsey should be remembered for what he did on his best days, which was make that ball dance right passed the men who stood at the dish.

Side note: Campau led the American Association that season with nine home runs.

Monday, July 11, 2016

July 11, 1931, Martin and Company Roll Over Cincy

     On July 11, 1931, with 4,000 spectators looking on, the Cardinals beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-2. The highlights of the contest included home runs by rightfielder George Watkins, and shortstop Jake Flowers. Watkins' homer off of Ray Kolp was a solo shot came with two out in the first to start the scoring for the day. The Cardinals hurler Syl Johnson watched his early lead evaporate in the second after a walk, a double, and single led to Cincy plating what proved to be their only two runs of the day. Johnson allowed another single during that second inning, then proceeded to shut the Reds down by not allowing a hit the rest of the day. His efforts along with the efforts of a 27-year-old rookie by the name of Pepper Martin would put the Cardinals in the win column.

     The Cardinals on the other hand were just getting started. It took them awhile to do so, as the Reds carried the two run lead into the fifth, before Martin sparked a rally with a leadoff triple. Johnson then helped his own cause by doubling in Martin to tie it. Moments later, Flowers came to the dish and pounced on a Kolp pitch that landed in the left field bleachers and just like that it was 4-2 Redbirds.

     The Cardinals kept flying in the sixth, as Kolp gave up a leadoff single to Ripper Collins, then a double to Chick Hafey. That ended the day for Kolp, as the Reds skipper Dan Howley called on Larry Benton to put the fire out. Benton retired the first man he seen, Frankie Firsch with a groundout, but then came the hot hitting Martin who ripped a double into left to score Collins and Hafey. The Cardinals scored their seventh run of the day in the seventh after catcher Jimmie Wilson doubled to leadoff the inning. Wilson moved over to third on a groundout, then made the most of an error at short and scored with two outs in the inning.

     The final run of the day came in the bottom of the eighth. Biff Wysong came took over for Benton to start that inning, and he had a tough task at hand, with Pepper Martin leading things off. Martin, who ended the day 3 for 4, doubled off the reliever, making it his third extra base hit in a row. Moments later, third baseman Andy High singled into left to bring him around to score. High was picked off trying to take second, before Wysong could get back-to-back groundouts to end the inning. With that said, the damage was done. Johnson had spun a gem, and that gem would continue to spin to with a 1-2-3 ninth, that included Johnson's fifth strikeout of the day.

     The win put the Cardinals five games up in the National League. They were the cream of the crop. The club had not trailed in the standings since May 29th, and would not trail in them the rest of that season, eventually finishing 13 games up, with 101 wins and the National League title. The Birds would go onto meet the Philadelphia Athletics in the World Series, and they were a familiar foe, as those same A's beat them in the 1930 Fall Classic. Coming off a 107 win season, the A's were going to be a tough nut to crack. However, with a heroic performance by Martin and the rest of that Cardinals squad they would get the job done in seven, bringing St. Louis its second World Series title in the process.

Check out the box score here:

Thursday, July 7, 2016

July 7, 1936: Dizzy And The Boys Win It For The National League All Stars

     On July 7, 1936, Dizzy Dean led the National League All Stars to a 4-3 over the American League at Braves Field in Boston. The Cardinals ace went three innings, walking two, which included the leadoff man Luke Appling, as well as Lou Gehrig, who he walked in the third. Dean picked Gehrig off to end that inning and his day's work. His final pitching line was zero hits, three strikeouts, and the two walks. Diz faced the minimum, as the other man he walked to lead off the game was retired on a double play. His only regret was he did not get a hit in the tilt. The victory was the first for the National League in the All Star game, which began being played in 1933.

     The Cardinals were well represented in the contest, as Ripper Collins started at first. Leo Durocher started at short, and Ducky Medwick got the start in left. Medwick picked up a very important RBI single in the fifth. Collins walked twice in as a many trips to the plate and Durocher picked up a hit as well. When it came to the starting nine in the contest eight of the nine players were represented by the Cardinals or Cubs. That player being third baseman Pinky Whitney of Phillies. The Cubs had Gabby Hartnett handling catching duties, Augie Galan in center, and Frank Demaree in right.

     The true story of this day was the pitching of National League. Dizzy was the best of the bunch, but those who followed were impressive as well. Carl Hubbell of the New York Giants took over for him after the three innings of dominance, Chicago's Curt Davis took over for Hubbell in the seventh, and gave up a lead off home run to Lou Gehrig. Davis picked up an out immediately thereafter, before giving up back-to-back singles, a walk, then another single that plated two more runs. His Cubs teammate Lon Warneke took over for him and  got the job done, holding the A.L. scoreless the rest of the way.  The Southeast Missourian reported the Warneke "blushed like a school gal when Leo Durocher kissed him smack on the mouth after the final put-out."

      There were several side stories to this contest that are well worth mentioning. The game only drew a crowd of 25,556 because of the fact that most the fans in Boston believed it was sold out for over a week. It was a disappointment to the Major League Baseball as a whole, as they expected more than 40,000 in the stands. Another story was that a rookie batter named Joe DiMaggio went 0 for 5, which had some writers questioning just how great it really was. Sort of funny in hindsight. Finally, Sam Breadon and Branch Rickey's hotel room got robbed before the game. The pair had a reported $600 stolen from them, which would equate to more than $10,000 today. After the contest was played the hotel they were staying at reimbursed them for the loss. Therefore, they both left Boston all smiles.

      To date, the National League has won 43 All Star games, while the American League has won 42. They have also played to two ties.

Check out the box score here: