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:

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: