Friday, September 1, 2017

September 1, 1963: Curt Simmons Steals Home

     On September 1, 1963, Curt Simmons drove in two runs and stole home during a 7-3 win over the Phillies in Philadelphia. To date, Simmons is the last hurler to steal home plate. The theft of the dish came after he tripled in the second inning, then made the historic dash to home after Chris Short sailed one a little wide on an aborted squeeze play.

    The Phillies honored Stan Musial before the game, as it was going to be his last time that he appeared as a player in the City of Brotherly Love. Stan went 2 for 3 with a double. Other offensive stars included George Altman who went 3 for 4 with a double, a triple and a ribbie, Tim McCarver who went two for four with two ribbies, and Ken Boyer who hit one over the fence.

      Out of all the things that happened during this game the theft of home plate stands out the most. According to the Society of American Baseball Research only 40 pitchers, which includes Simmons, have stolen home plate. More than 50 years later the feat has not been accomplished again by a moundsman. Quite astounding.

Here's a great piece by the aforementioned Society of American Baseball Research about pitcher that have stole home: http://research.sabr.org/journals/pitchers-stealing-home

Check out the box score here: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/PHI/PHI196309010.shtml

Side note: Despite the article in the photo saying that the double was Musial's 732nd of his career, it was actually his 723rd, which put him one behind Ty Cobb on the all time doubles list. Musial hit two doubles in his career to finish with 725 two baggers, which one more than Cobb. Musial ranks third on the all time list. Only Pete Rose (746) and  Tris Speaker (792) reached second base more than Stan.

   

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

August 23, 1963: Gibby Takes Care of Business In Houston; Happy Birthday Kenny Wallace

     On August 23, 1963, Bob Gibson led the way to a 4-1 victory over the Colt .45's at Colt Stadium in Houston. The hurler watched his club score all four runs in the top of the first after Curt Flood led the inning off with a walk. After a quick out, Bill White beat out an infield single. Flood and White then attempted a double steal that turned into disaster for the Houston club, as their catcher John Bateman sailed one wide of second base. Flood scored on the miscue, and White was standing on third. Houston's pitcher Turk Farrell followed that with a walk to Ken Boyer, retired Charlie James on a flyout, then served up a two run double to George Altman, scoring White and Boyer. Farrell's hard luck was not over, as Julian Javier tacked on another one with an RBI single to bring Altman trotting across the dish to give the Redbirds the early 4-0 lead.Once Gibby got on the mound he was in control, as he sailed to a five hit complete game that included 12 strikeouts along the way. His only hiccup came in the eighth when Al Spangler knocked in Bob Aspromonte with a two out single.  The win was Gibson's 14th of the season. He was en route to an 18-9 record.

     On that same day Kenny Wallace was born in St. Louis. The future race car driver was born a Cardinals fan and started things off right with a win. His career has taken him many places, however, his allegiance to his hometown Cardinals has always remained true. As a fan of Kenny's I put this together today as a birthday gift of sorts. I sincerely appreciate the way he interacts with fans on Twitter, and he has a great sense of humor as well. I truly do believe he is a great guy. Happy Birthday Kenny. I hope it's a great one. #GoCards

Check out the box score here: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/HOU/HOU196308230.shtml

Give Kenny a follow on Twitter and shoot him a Happy Birthday: https://twitter.com/Kenny_Wallace

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

April 18, 1925: The Cardinals Obliterate The Cubs In Chi Town; A Near Riot In The Lou

     On April 18, 1925, in a game that saw a total of 36 hits and seven home runs, the Cardinals took down the Cubs by the score of 20-5 in Chicago.  Five of the seven big flies came off the bats of Cardinals sluggers, while the Baby Bears knocked the other two over the wall. The home run barrage was led by third baseman Les Bell who hit two big blasts. Bell went 5 for 6, doubling twice, scoring four times and knocking in six on the day. His happy go lucky teammate, Sunny Jim Bottomley also recorded six ribbies and parked one in the seats as well. The other Redbird  homers came off the bats of Ray Blades and Taylor Douthit.

     Every single Cardinals batter besides Heinie Mueller got in on the hit parade including starting pitcher Pea Ridge Day. It is likely that Mueller would have joined in on the action, but he got himself ejected in the third during his only at bat of the game. Douthit took over for him and got the job done in his place. One other guy that should be mentioned was Rogers Hornsby who scored five times with a 3 for 5 day that included two doubles. It was one of those days at the ballpark where everything went right for the team that called St. Louis home.

     Meanwhile, in St. Louis, the other team that called the city home, the Browns took on the White Sox and lost 14-5. The story of that day for the Browns was a near riot at Sportsman's Park, as the fans were agitated by owner Phil Ball's refusal to settle a contract dispute with fan favorite and star player Baby Doll Jacobson,. The club had suffered its fourth straight loss and tension was on the rise. The President of the American League Ban Johnson was in attendance and accompanied Ball until things began to escalate. While Johnson found safety, Ball faced the angry crowd that threw handfuls of dirt at him while chanting "We want Jake!" Ball stood his ground as a crowd that was estimated to be at least a couple thousand gathered. However, the police did intervene as it became apparent that pot was going to boil over. The officers quickly dispersed the crowd while Ball was escorted away by several of St. Louis' finest. Less than a week later, on April 22nd, Ban Johnson helped end the holdout by getting a deal done, which led to Jacobson reporting for duty.

     The Browns outplayed their National League brethren Cardinals during that 1925 season by going 82-71, which was good for third in the American League. The Cardinals finished one game over .500 with a 77-76 record. With that said, the National Leaguers were one year away from turning the page and becoming World Champions.

Source: The Chicago Tribune  for details about the incident involving Ball and the near riot at Sportsman's Park.

If you would like to look over a play-by-play of the Cardinals contest check this out: http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1925/B04180CHN1925.htm

Here is a link for the box score: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CHN/CHN192504180.shtml

Last, but not least, here is a link to a bio for Baby Doll Jacobson. He spent a lot of time in St. Louis entertaining fans, so many of you may find it to be interesting: https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/a2668210
   

Sunday, January 29, 2017

January 29, 1958: Stan The Six Figure Man

     On January 29, 1958, Stan The Man Musial became the National League's first six figure man after inking a $100,000 deal with the St. Louis Cardinals. The reward for the 37-year-old three time MVP came after a '57 season in which he hit a league leading .351 along with 29 home runs and 102 RBI. With inflation a $100,000 today would be roughly $830,000.

     The only other player to sign such a lucrative deal before Stan was the A.L.'s Splendid Splinter himself Ted Williams. Stan would go onto play until the end of the '63 season. He earned every single penny he was paid along the way.  .

     Musial's major league career began in the Fall of '41. According to http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/musiast01.shtml Stan earned $1,800 during his first stint with the Redbirds, then took home $4,500 in his first full season in '42. Baseballreference.com's final numbers have Stan's final earnings total at $980,050, which would be roughly $8 million today. Quite the steal for a player that will forever be the face of the franchise.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

November 27, 1956: Charlie Peete Dies In A Plane Crash

     On the morning of November 27, 1956, the plane that was carrying Cardinals top prospect Charlie Peete crashed into a cloud-covered mountain outside of Venezuela, killing all 25 passengers on board. Among the dead were Peete's wife and three children. A little over a month before the tragic event Peete was a September call up that was sure to be invited to the Spring Training next season. He had won a batting title with the American Association and looked like his star was on the rise. Then it was all taken away in a blink. When it comes to his ties to the St. Louis Cardinals it seems that his story is one that is a what might of been kind of tale. Peete lived to be 27 years old, which is way too young to die, however, in those 27 years he left his mark on the world in which he lived. He may have passed away on this day, but I do believe that this day should be a day to remember the days he lived, and by doing so we pay a great tribute to him and his family.

Joe Schuster wrote a biography about Charlie Peete for The Society of American Baseball Research. You can find it here:http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/d84e326e

Rest in Peace to all of those who perished on that fateful day.
.



Saturday, October 29, 2016

October 29, 1942, Rickey Flies The Coop

     On October 29, 1942, the end of an era came to a close when Branch Rickey resigned as the Vice President of the St. Louis Cardinals, so he could take a position as President and General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Rickey had been part of the Cardinals organization for 25 years, doing everything from managing the club to building a farm system that would have a lasting impact on all of baseball.

     The split came after differences arose between him and owner Sam Breadon. During his time with the Cardinals the club won nine National league Pennants, and four World Championships, along with two more that came in 1944 and 1946 with players that Rickey had helped acquire and develop. The franchise remained contenders throughout the rest of the forties with the players that Rickey had brought into the farm system, but without him it did falter, while the Dodgers began to rise under his guidance. He signed Jackie Robinson in  Brooklyn and turned that club into a perennial contender in the years to come. In many ways the Cardinals had learned the lesson of you don't know what you got until it's gone. .

     While Rickey did return to the Cardinals as a consultant in 1962, his best days had come and gone. His days with the team came to an official close in December of 1964. Less than a year later Rickey passed away. In life and in death he will forever be a legendary figure in the history of  the Cardinals and in all of baseball as well.

If you would like to read more about the life and times of Branch Rickey check this out: http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/6d0ab8f3
   

     

Sunday, September 18, 2016

September 18, 1968: Washburn Returns The Favor

     On September 18, 1968, just 24 hours after being no-hit by the Giants hurler Gaylord Perry in San Francisco, Cardinals hurler Ray Washburn no-hit those same Giants in San Francisco. The Birds got their runs on ribbies by Curt Flood and Bobby Tolan in the seventh and eighth innings. Washburn walked five, and struck out eight as he worked his way into the history books. In the ninth he had his hands full with two future Hall of Famers in Willie Mays and Willie McCovey due up in the inning. He started off the frame by retiring second baseman Ron Hunt with a groundout.   Mays then hit a hotshot to third where Mike Shannon fielded it, then threw him out at first, before McCovey flew out to Flood in center. The no-no was the fifth in franchise history and the first back-to-back no-hitters in the history of the game. It was also the first no-no for the Cardinals since Lon Warneke accomplished the feat in 1941.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SFN/SFN196809180.shtml

Here are some interesting facts about no-hitters: http://m.mlb.com/news/article/3481250//