Thursday, June 5, 2014

June 5, 1962: Home Run 450 Turns Out To Be One More Walk Off For The Man

     On  June 5, 1962,  Stan Musial blasted the 450th home run of his career with a walk off bomb in the bottom of the eleventh inning at Busch to lead the Cardinals to 10-9 comeback win over the visiting Reds. It was quite the week for the future Hall of Famer, as he watched his daughter Gerry graduate from Villa Duchesne High School, his son Dick graduating from Notre Dame, and he also received an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Monmouth College in Illinois. The game was an up and down battle that had every emotion in it from anger to jubilation as the Cardinals found their way to the win column.

     The club was in the midst of an eight game losing streak coming into this contest, and it looked like it was going to be a nine game streak before the day was over. They had fell in a 9-1 hole before they were set to bat in the bottom of the sixth. That is when the tide turned, as the team cut the lead to 9-4 before the inning was over. The comeback continued in the bottom of the seventh, as Bill White rocked a three run shot to cut the lead to 9-7. Musial followed White with a single, moved over to second on a wild pitch, then watched his teammate Ken Boyer hit a game tying home run. It was a whole new ballgame.

     Before the comeback began reliever Ray Sadecki got under the skin of the Cardinals skipper Johnny Keane by virtually imploding on the mound in what turned out to be a five run frame for the Reds. Sadecki began the inning by serving up a long ball, then committed two errors, before serving up his second long ball of the inning, which was a three run bomb by Frank Robinson. Keane called it the poorest performance he had ever seen on a major league diamond, and because of that he levied what was considered a heavy fine of $250 on the hurler. By today's standards that would be nearly $2,000, and this was long before the big paydays that would come to players years later. Sadecki asked to to be traded after the incident, but cooler heads would prevail, and he would be a key piece to the 1964 Championship club.

     After the Birds made it a new ballgame, Lindy McDaniel took over on the bump for the Birds in the eighth, and held court through the eleventh to give the club a chance to win. It was a chance that would not be wasted, as Musial watched Bill White groundout to start the bottom of the inning, before he stepped to the dish and connected with the walk off shot.

     The 450th bomb of Stan Musial's career was not only a walk off game winner. It was the last walk off in the career of  The Man. Musial hit a total of 12 walk off shots in the career that covered three different decades. His first walk off bomb came on July 14, 1942, and more than 20 years later when the Hall of Fame resume had been written he was doing it again. There is nothing like watching your team win a ballgame with a walk off bomb. As someone who never got to watch "The Man" play, I can only imagine how great it was to watch him do it.

Check out the box score here:

If you would like to check out some of Stan's home run stats check this out:

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