Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July 1, 1979: Terry Kennedy Delivers Big In a Doubleheader Sweep

     On July 1, 1979, after being forced into action because of an injury to Ted Simmons, rookie catcher Terry Kennedy played the hero during both games of a doubleheader against the Phillies at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Kennedy hit his first major league home run, which just happened to be a grand slam during the first contest that had the Cardinals come out on top 13-7. Then he knocked in the game winner during the second game, with a pinch hit walk off single in the ninth that was won by the score of 2-1. Reliever Mark Littell recorded the win  in both contests.

       The first game was a true seesaw battle, with the Phillies scoring four runs in the first, before the Birds could knot things up with three runs in the third, and another in the sixth. The seesaw battle continued with the Phillies taking a 6-4 lead with two runs scored in the seventh, before the Cardinals grabbed their first lead of the day with three runs in the bottom of that frame. Philadelphia's shortstop, Larry Bowa led the eighth off with a triple, then scored on a groundout. The score was 7-7, and Philadelphia's skipper called on Tug McGraw to preserve the tie. However, the wheels fell off of the bus for the hurler.

     McGraw recorded one out, hit a batter, gave up a double, then issued an intentional walk to load them up for centerfielder Tony Scott. While McGraw was able to retire Scott with a popup that was caught in foul territory, he followed it up with back-to-back walks. The first one was issued to the hard hitting Keith Hernandez which pushed in the go ahead run, then McGraw walked the Cardinals hurler Mark Littell, to give the Birds a 9-7 lead. While the wheels had loosened in rapid fashion, they had still not fallen completely off the bus. Then came Terry Kennedy, who with one swing of the bat, sent the wheels flying, with the grand slam that gave the Birds the 13-7 lead, that Littell held onto in the ninth.

     The tale of the second game was far different than that of the first. Both starters were strong. The Cardinals hurler, Roy Thomas scattered three hits through seven innings. The Phillies plated a run against him in the sixth, on a Mike Schmidt RBI single that brought Pete Rose trotting in from second. On the other side of the diamond Randy Lerch was tossing a gem of his own for the Phils. He allowed just five hits through eight, but one of those five hits was an eighth inning solo shot off the bat of Kenny Reitz that made it a whole new ballgame with the score tied up at one.

      Littell got the call in the pen after Will McEnaney recorded two outs in the eighth. McEnaney served up back-to-back singles to lead off the frame. He did induce Bowa into a double play, but he walked Pete Rose which was enough for Ken Boyer to make the call. For the second time that day Littell did not disappoint, as he got the job done by retiring Schmidt to end the threat.

      After the Cardinals failed to score in the bottom of the eighth, Lerch trotted back out to the mound for the Phillies in the ninth. He only faced a batter, which ended up being a free pass to Hernandez, before the Phillies made a call to the pen for Ron Reed. The reliever walked George Hendrick, then recorded two quick outs. One more out and this one would be going into extras. That out wasn't gonna happen, as Boyer pulled back Steve Swisher, who had got the start behind the dish, and he put the bat in the hands of Terry Kennedy who dropped one into center that brought Hernandez into score the winning run.

     It was quite the day for the 23-year-old catcher who just wanted to find a permanent spot on the big league roster. The organization recognized his talent, however, Simmons owned the backstop, which left the team with a decision to make. They tried him in the outfield during the 1980 season, before trading him in December of the same year. Kennedy went onto have a decent career at the major league level, which included four All Star appearances. His road through the big leagues began in St. Louis, took him through San Diego, Baltimore, and San Francisco. He appeared in two different World Series, with the first coming in 1984 with the Padres, and the second coming in 1989 with the Giants. His playing career came to an end in 1991. Long before that day came, Kennedy played the hero not once, but twice on the same day in Cardinal Nation. It was quite the day indeed.

Check out the box scores here:
Game 1: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN197907011.shtml
Game 2: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN197907012.shtml

Terry Kennedy's career numbers: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/k/kennete02.shtml

No comments:

Post a Comment