Baseball

A Fall Non-classic

Featured image The 2014 World Series begins in a few hours. Both teams competing in it — the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals — failed to win 90 games. This therefore will be the first World Series in baseball history (other than in the shortened seasons of 1918 and 1919, and in 1981, the year of the strike) to lack at least one 90 game (or more) winner. Both »

This day in baseball history — take this job and shove it

Featured image On October 16, 1964, during a post-World Series press conference, Cardinals manager Johnny Keane announced that he was resigning. On the same day, the New York Yankees, whom the Cards had just bested in the World Series, fired their manager, Yogi Berra. Four days later, the Yankees hired Keane to replace Berra. The Yankees had been talking to Keane for some time. Keane’s move to the Yankees may already have »

This day in baseball history — The Cardinals are champions

Featured image When last we looked in on the 1964 World Series, the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Yankees were knotted at two games apiece. Ken Boyer’s grand slam had kept St. Louis in the thick of it. The clubs split the next two games. Game 5 was another dramatic affair, the third in a row. Both teams went with their ace — Bob Gibson for the Cardinals and (with »

This day in baseball history — Ken Boyer’s clutch grand slam

Featured image On October 11, 1964, the New York Yankees hosted the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 4 of the World Series. The Yankees led the Series by two games to one. St. Louis called on Game 1 starter, Ray Sadecki. New York’s Game 1 starter, Whitey Ford, was unavailable due to injury. In fact, he was out for the remainder of the World Series. However, the Yankees’ fourth starter, lefthander Al »

This day in baseball history — Mantle’s walk-off homer gives Yanks series lead

Featured image The St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Yankees both entered the 1964 World Series in red-hot form. The Yankees had gone 24-9 since the end of August; the Cards had gone 22-10. New York looked like the better team, though. They had won six more games than St. Louis (99 compared to 93). Their run differential was +153; St. Louis’ was only +63. That’s a large disparity, even taking »

This day in baseball history — Phils pave way for Cards pennant

Featured image Sunday, October 4, 1964 was the final day of the regular baseball season. The New York Yankees had finally clinched the American League pennant the day before with an 8-3 victory over Cleveland at Yankee Stadium. A five-run eighth inning did the deed. Reliever Pete Mikkelsen picked up the win in relief of Al Downing. Pete Ramos got the save, his eighth since coming to the Yankees on September 5 »

This day in baseball — Post-season begins for the Nats

Featured image In a few hours, the Washington Nationals will begin their post-season with a home game against the San Francisco Giants. Unfortunately, I won’t be there due to the Jewish religious holiday. I don’t follow baseball very closely any more, so take the following statement for what it’s worth: The Nationals are the best team in baseball. This doesn’t mean they will win, or even make it to, the World Series. »

This day in baseball history — Tigers spoil the party in New York

Featured image The 1964 baseball season is best remembered for the collapse of the Philadelphia Phillies — the result of an 10 game losing streak to close out September. But it should also be remembered for three remarkable surges: (1) the Cincinnati Reds’ nine game winning streak during the same period, which pushed them into first place, (2) the St. Louis Cardinals’ eight game winning streak, also in the same period, which »

This day in baseball history — Cards move into first place

Featured image On September 30, 1964, the St. Louis Cardinals completed a three-game sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies. By doing so, they moved into sole possession of first place, as the Cincinnati Reds lost 1-0 to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 16 innings. The Reds-Pirates game was a classic. Jim Maloney pitched 11 innings of three-hit, shutout ball for Cincinnati. Bob Veale held the Reds in check for twelve and a third. Alvin »

This day in baseball — Phillies overtaken

Featured image On September 27, 1964, the Milwaukee Braves completed a four-game sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies, extending the Phils’ losing streak to seven games. Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Reds took a double-header from the New York Mets to extend their winning steak to nine. As a result, the Reds leap-frogged the Phillies, moving into first place by one game. The St. Louis Cardinals lurked just a game and a half behind Cincinnati. »

This day in baseball history — Reds sweep Phils; Yanks pull away

Featured image On September 23, 1964, the Cincinnati Reds completed a three game sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies. They thus pulled to within three and half games of Philadelphia. St. Louis and San Francisco were both five games back. The most exciting game of the Reds-Phillies series (played at Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia) was the opener. The Reds won that contest 1-0 behind the shutout pitching of journeyman John Tsitouris (9-13 »

This day in baseball history

Featured image On September 17, 1964, the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers to stretch their lead over the idle St. Louis Cardinals to six and a half games. The Cincinnati Reds, 7-5 winners over the Chicago Cubs, remained seven and a half games behind. The Phillies won the game in the ninth inning when Ruben Amaro scored from third as the Dodgers tried unsuccessfully to complete a double play on »

This day in baseball history: Phillies take 6 game lead with 22 left to play

Featured image On September 10, 1964, the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 5-1 behind the pitching of Chris Short, who pitched his 11th complete game of the season. With the victory, Philadelphia moved 6 games ahead of St. Louis. Cincinnati, which beat Pittsburgh 3-0 on a shutout by ex-Pirate Bob Purkey, and San Francisco, 5-1 winner over Los Angeles, also trailed the Phillies by 6 games. With their loss to »

Last week in baseball history — harmonics

Featured image In August 1964, the New York Yankees’ bid to win five straight pennants (and nine in ten years) was foundering. On August 20, the Chicago White Sox shut out the Bombers to complete a four game series sweep. The loss pushed the Yankees 4.5 games behind Chicago. New York also trailed Baltimore by 4 games. After the game, on the bus to the airport, infielder Phil Linz broke out his »

A baseball star is born, I hope

Featured image Michael Taylor had a major league debut to remember for the Washington Nationals last night. In his first major league at-bat, he singled. Later on, he belted a two-run homer, as the Nats routed the New York Mets, 7-1. My interest in Taylor stems from a visit earlier this year to Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Virginia. That’s the home of the Potomac Nationals, the Nats “High A” farm club. Taylor »

Managers take center stage at Cooperstown

Featured image The baseball Hall of Fame inducted six new members today. Among the inductees were managers Tony La Russa, Joe Torre, and Bobby Cox (the others were Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, and Tom Glavine). One thing about inducting managers: you don’t have to worry about whether their performance was enhanced by drugs. There was a time, though, when it seemed like La Russa was managing on steroids. That time was the »

This day in baseball history — Callison’s walk-off all star game homer

Featured image The Major League All Star Game has produced come from behind wins and walk-off home runs. The 1964 All Star Game, played on July 7, 1964 at Shea Stadium in New York, produced both. The National League had won six of the previous eight contests and featured the stronger team in 1964. For example the starting NL outfielders — Billy Williams, Willie Mays, and Roberto Clemente — all ended up »