Wednesday, August 27, 2014

August 27, 1960: Stan The Man Walks Off Against The Buccos

     On August 27, 1960, with the score knotted at 4-4 with  two out in the bottom of the ninth at Busch Stadium, Stan Musial ended the game with a walk off blast off of Pittsburgh's Roy Face to give the Cardinals a 5-4 victory in front of a crowd of more than 30,000.

     The Cardinals looked like they were going to grab victory early as the offense plated two runs in the first, another in the third, then one more in the fifth. While the Cardinals offense was feasting on Pittsburgh's starter Tom Cheney, Bob Gibson was dominating their lineup. He had allowed just two hits entering the seventh, then in the blink of an eye the spectacular performance turned south. He opened up that seventh with a leadoff double to Bob Skinner, then walked Roberto Clemente after retiring a man, before Smokey Burgess came up with a single that scored Skinner. Solly Hemus pulled the plug on Gibson's day, and called on Lindy McDaniel to put the fire out, but McDaniel could not put it out quick enough. The reliever watched the second Pirates run of the day score on a sac fly, and moments later pinch hitter Dick Stuart laced a double into left that scored two, and tied things up. Whole new ballgame.

     McDaniel was able to work past the hard luck, and kept the Pirates off the board in the eighth, while Face who had come on in relief for the Pirates worked around an eighth inning jam. The Cardinals called on Ron Kline to pitch the ninth, and he did not disappoint, as he set down the Pirates in order. Face came back to the mound in search of his third scoreless inning of work, and he damn near came up with it, as he retired Curt Flood and Joe Cunningham in quick succession, but he had to face one more man, and it was not just any man it was The Man. Stan came to the plate, fell behind 1-2, before unleashing his corkscrew stance on one that sent the ball flying onto the roof of the right field pavillion.

     The game winning blast was the 11th walk off  home run in the storied career of Stan Musial. That crowd that watched it was the largest crowd the ballpark had seen since the Summer of '56. The house was packed because the Pirates had a stranglehold on the National League, and those fans were hoping to see their Birds make it a race. The Birds tried. The next day they swept the Bucs out of town with a 5-4 win that closed the gap to 5 1/2 games. It was as close as the Cardinals would get, as the club from Pittsburgh ran away with it down the stretch. With that said, there were some great days for the fans in St. Louis that season, and one of them came on this day, in the bottom of the ninth, with two out, and Stan "The Man" Musial swinging the stick.

Check out the box score here:

The art featured with today's fact was done by Ebbets Sports Art. If you are interested in purchasing the piece you can contact them here: The page features a lot of great art other than this one as well. Be sure to check it out.

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