Sunday, October 6, 2013

October 6, 1968: The Cardinals Go Up 3 Games To 1 In The '68 Fall Classic

On October 6, 1968, the Cardinals moved within one game of winning their second consecutive title with a 10-1 win over the Tigers in Detroit. In a rematch of Game 1, Bob Gibson took on Denny Mclain, Gibby went the distance once again, just days after setting the World Series record by fanning 17 men. The game was delayed by 35 minutes by rain, it had everyone worrying about how the pitchers would do with the conditions and the extended wait to start the ballgame. One guy that wasn't worried was Gibby, he said "I sat in the clubhouse and ate some ice cream." Even after the game was underway the rain continued, it was something that Gibson was able to deal with, while it looked like it had really hurt McLain. The Detroit starter lasted just two and a third before he was sent to the showers. Lou Brock got things going as he led the game off with a home run. Mike Shannon extended the first inning lead to 2-0 with an RBI double that brought Roger Maris into score. In the third the Birds added two more in RBIs by Tim McCarver and Mike Shannon, they were in full control of the game as Gibson was working his way through the Detroit lineup with ease. The Cardinals hurler helped pad the lead with a solo shot to lead off the fourth, then Brock followed Gibson with his second hit of the day, it was a triple that would lead to a run after Maris knocked him in with a single. Gibson had his only hiccup of the game in the bottom of the fourth, he served up a long ball to Jim Northrup that cut the Cardinals lead to 6-1. The score stayed the same until the eighth, reliever John Hiller loaded the bases, then he walked Gibby who picked up an RBI on the free pass. The next man up was Mr. Lou Brock and once again he delivered with his third hit of the day, it was a double that brought all three runners into score. After the Tigers yanked Hiller, Pat Dobson came into put the fire out, he was able to get the job done but not before Brock swiped third base. Only one more Tigers batter reached base, it was in the ninth and he was quickly erased on a double play. To date, Brock is the only man to hit a homer, a triple, a double, and steal a base in a World Series game. The win marked the seventh consecutive complete game World Series victory for Gibson, which is a World Series record.  The records don't stop there for Gibson, his home run on that day in '68 was the second blast he had hit in the World Series. He blasted one in Game 7 of the '67 Fall Classic that led to a championship parade in downtown St. Louis. He struck out ten men in that game in '67 which not only makes him the only pitcher to strikeout 10 men and hit a homer in one World Series game, he's also the only man to do it twice.

Here's the box score:

Unfortunately for the Cardinals and the fans in St. Louis, the Tigers won the next day then forced the series back to St. Louis. After they smoked them in Game 6, it set up a classic battle between Gibson and Mickey Lolich. The two pitchers hung zeroes on the board until the seventh when Jim Northrup picked up a two run triple after Curt Flood misjudged a ball in center. One batter later Northrup came into score. The three run inning dashed the hopes of a repeat. Both teams scored a run in the ninth and the game ended with the Tigers winning 4-1. While the series didn't have a storybook ending for the Cardinals it had quite a few great pages in the book along the way. I think that diving into the history of the club makes me appreciate all seasons, no matter how they end. Granted, there is nothing that I love more than the championship years, but in the end I can appreciate them all.

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