Sunday, August 21, 2016

August 21, 1977: Lord, I was Born a Cardinals Fan

     So, this is what I am going to call an On This Day In Cardinal Nation Birthmas Special. It began with a baby boy being born at St. John's Hospital just outside of St. Louis on August 21, 1977. This baby was a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals before he was even born, as he had listened to ballgames through his mom's belly every chance he got. Then came that day, the 21st of August, and he was on his way to meet the world. It was a Sunday, and the baby's momma was catchin' a Sunday service when suddenly, she was like "POW!!! I THINK I'M HAVIN' A BABY!!!", and off to St. John's she went.

     So, I was born at 11:03 a.m. and weighed 10 1/2 pounds and named Wade Forrester. The Cardinals played at 1:20 that day, so I got one of the nurses to bring me a transistor radio to listen to the ballgame. It turned out to be a rough day at the ole ballpark. The Padres were in town and they had brought the big bat of Dave Kingman, who hit a first inning grand slam en route to a 7-0 beatdown of the Cards. I was pissed. I tried to get my Mom to drive me down to the stadium to give the team a pep talk, but you know how it is when you're born... The whole family was there talkin' about how handsome I was and I got to eatin' it up, so I just chilled and grabbed a sports the page while they doted.

     After realizing that the team had took 2 of 3 from the Friars I thought it wasn't all that bad they would just have to get things going the next day with the Dodgers in town. It turned out to be an instant classic that I will never forget. However, it looked bleak for the Cards early, as they fell behind 5-1 after three. I would have pulled my hair out, but  had a little problem... I was bald. Anyway, the Cardinals offense was held in check by Burt Hooton who looked to be poised to toss a complete game, as he rolled into the ninth with a 6-1 cushion. However, Hooton gave up a leadoff single to Jerry Mumphrey, then surrendered a triple to Garry Templeton to make it 6-2. There was life.

     As soon as the run scored a phone rang in the Dodgers bullpen, and Lance Rautzahn made his way to the bump to relieve Hotton. Rautzahn gave up a single to Ted Simmons, which brought Templeton trotting in, and moments later Keith Hernandez smacked a double and Simmons scored on a botched relay. 6-4. Rutzahn had faced just two batters, before being told to hit the showers. The Dodgers skipper, Tommy Lasorda then called on Charlie Hough to put the fire out, as it looked like it may just become an inferno. Right out the gate Hough added fuel to the fire with a passed ball that brought Hernandez into score to make it 6-5. Hough finally recorded the first out of the inning by retiring Mike Anderson, but followed it up with back-to-back singles by Kenny Reitz and Mike Tyson. With electric flowing through the air, Roger Freed came up to the plate with a chance to win it and that he did, as he fell behind 1-2 before taking the fourth pitch for a ride over the wall at Busch. The walk off blast gave the Cardinals an 8-6 win and it also taught me about the rollercoaster ride I would endure as a baseball fan. Enjoy the highs and get past the lows quickly. For something great is on the horizon.

Have a great day, folks. Go Cards!!!

Box scores for both contests

August 21, 1977:

August 22, 1977:

Monday, August 8, 2016

August 8, 1934: 21 Wins For Dizzy

     On August 8, 1934, Dizzy Dean won his 21st game of the season by pitching the last three innings of a 10-4 Cardinals victory over the Reds at Crosley Field Cincinnati. The day before the contest was played Dizzy locked down his 20th victory of the season with a complete game shutout in the first game of a doubleheader against those same Reds.

    Jesse Haines started the contest, and allowed just four hits and one run through the first seven innings. Haines ran into trouble in the eighth, allowing a leadoff double to pinch-hitter Tony Piet, who came into score moments later on an RBI single by second baseman Alex Kampouris. Frankie Frisch called on Paul Dean with Haines seemingly running out of gas, J. Roy Stockton of the Post Dispatch acknowledged that even the great Dean brothers would have moments of wildness and Paul had exactly that after having little time to warm up, which led to him walking a man, then allowing another to reach on a bunt single. Just like that the bases were loaded with no outs. A couple of sac flies later the game was tied 4-4.

     Paul settled down for out of that inning with no more damage done, then set down the side in order in the ninth, before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the top of the tenth. While the Cardinals offense could not capitalize in that inning brother Dizzy took over from there, and held the Reds in check. The Red hurler, Don Brennan, who had come on in relief in the ninth had done much of the same, until the fateful twelfth inning, which ended with six Cardinals base runners crossing the dish.

    The big rally started with a leadoff double by Ripper Collins who had not picked up a hit in his last nine trips to the plate. Spud Davis followed with a groundout, but moments later center fielder Chick Fullis singled and Collins came into score what proved to be the game winning run. Collins heard it from his captain Leo Durocher despite the fact he was able to score on the play, as he had failed to slide into home to the captain's chagrin. Collins was tagged on the ankle as he was crossing the dish by the Reds catcher, and even he was surprised by the fact because he thought he would score easily. Therefore, he took the criticism well, and apologized for his actions. No harm, no foul, and the rally continued, with a single by Dean, an error that led to another base runner,  and two walks that led to a bases loaded situation. The air had come out of the Reds at that point, and Brennan would hand the ball over to a Benny Frey, who was set to face Ducky Medwick who had already singled and doubled twice, before hitting a bases clearing triple against Frey to make the score 10-4. That was all she wrote for Cincy on that fine day in The Queen City, as Dizzy went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the frame, putting his 21st win of the season in the books in the process.

     The tales of Dizzy Dean are astounding. He was known as "The Great Man" and great he was. Especially, during that 1934 season that he finished with 30 wins. Some may not realize this, but four of those 30 wins came in relief. He actually came in as a reliever 17 times that season, and had seven saves under his belt by season's end as well. To say that he was spectacular would be quite the understatement. Dizzy Dean was phenomenal.

Check out the box score here: