Tuesday, June 24, 2014

June 24, 1977: The Cardinals Get To Lonborg and The Phils

     On June 24, 1977, the Cardinals pounced on Phillies starter Jim Lonborg early with a five run first inning, which was a precursor to a 7-1 win in front of more than 17,000 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Lou Brock led off the big inning with a walk, before he stole second, and was knocked in by Garry Templeton on an RBI single. Keith Hernandez and Mike Tyson both knocked in two runs before the inning came to a close, as the club went into cruise control with Eric Rasmussen going strong on the mound. The Birds added another run in the second and another in the fourth, as they continued to pound Lonborg. The Philadelphia hurler was yanked for a pinch hitter in the top of the sixth, but the damage had been done. On the Cardinals side of the diamond Rasmussen scattered five hits, and went the distance for the club. The lone run scored by the Phillies was unearned, as an error led to the tally in the ninth.

     The '77 club went 83-79, which was an eleven game improvement over the '76 club. However, there was dissention in the clubhouse that was caused by Vern Rapp, who took over for Red Schoendienst following the '76 campaign. Rapp was a hard nosed disciplinarian, which is what Gussie Busch thought he needed leading his club. The move backfired, as Rapp ended up alienating his own players with his approach, which led to his dismissal early in the '78 season. After Rapp was given his walking papers Jack Krol was named interim manager for two games, before Ken Boyer was hired on as the new pilot.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN197706240.shtml

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