Saturday, May 31, 2014

May 31, 1963: Stan's Pop Fly Leads To Victory

     On May 31, 1963, an unusual pop fly off the bat of Stan Musial proved be a game winning hit in a hard fought 6-5 win over the Giants at Sportsman's Park. The Birds had found themselves down 5-2, before a comeback began to mount in the bottom of the sixth, when Tim McCarver cut the deficit in half by knocking in a run. Bill White smashed a two-run shot in the seventh with a man on in the seventh to tie it, before a ninth inning that would leave the fans surprised by the turn of events that led the Cardinals to the win column. The inning started off with a walk to Curt Flood, then the Giants tried to take down the lead runner not once, but twice, and failed, which led to a bases loaded situation for the Cardinals legend. The game winning hit wasn't a hit at all, as Musial popped it up, just beyond second baseman Cap Peterson, into shallow centerfield where Willie Mays made a hard charge, and he was joined by Felipe Alou racing in from right field. The infield fly rule went into effect which meant Musial was out, but the fielders failed to make a clean catch. The moment Flood realized the ball had hit the ground, he was off to the races and home plate was his, as he scored the winning run. The RBI by Musial was the 1,921st of his career. An article that was printed in The Southeast Missourian called it the strangest RBI of his Hall of Fame career. Stan added 30 more ribbies to his totals by season's end, which was also marked the final season that The Man swung the bat as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Check out the box score here:

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