Wednesday, December 23, 2015

December 23, 2004: Eckstein Becomes a Cardinal

     On December 23, 2004, David Eckstein signed a three year deal that made him a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. The club was in need of a shortstop after the Boston Red Sox had lured Edgar Renteria to Beantown, which opened the door for the scraptastic player who had spent his first four years in Anaheim with the Angels and helped them win the World Series in 2002. By the end of 2006, Eckstein would celebrate as a champion once again. He was part of an 83 win team that made and unlikely run as a wildcard contender. By the time it was wrapped up Eckstein was the World Series MVP. David moved on after the 2007 season, however, he will forever be revered in St. Louis, and when his name comes up in Cardinal Nation a smile will cross the face of the fans as they remember the days he wore the Birds on the Bat.

Thank you for the memories David.



   

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

December 8, 1966: Maris Joins The Birds

     On December 8, 1966, Cardinals GM Bob Howsam made a deal with Yankees GM Lee McPhail that put the Birds on the Bat across the front of Roger Maris' uniform, while a third baseman by the name of Charlie Smith would be wearing the pinstripes in New York. Maris would become a big part of a Championship club with the Redbirds in 1967, and he helped them take home the National League pennant in 1968 as well. He retired following the '68 campaign, calling his time in St. Louis the best two years of his career.

     Maris had broken Babe Ruth's longstanding home run record during in '61 with 61 big blasts. However, that historic campaign was not easy for him. He was in a head-to-head battle with fan favorite Mickey Mantle who too had visions of catching the Great Bambino in the history books. In the end Maris won the battle. however, the toll it took on him was great. The stress Maris suffered during that home run race caused him to lose his hair and sleep as well. He broke the record on the final day of the season, However, what should have been a celebrated feat ended up being something that ended with the media and fans turning on the outfielder in the years to come.

      The home run total dropped to 33 in 1962. In 1963 his home run total ended up at 23 and he was only able to play in 90 games due to injury. He bounced back with a solid season in '64. With that said, his Yankee squad ran into a team of destiny in the Cardinals who capitalized on an epic collapse by the Philadelphia Phillies, then put the Bronx Bombers to bed in the Fall Classic. The 1965 season was the worst year for Maris in New York. He played in a career low 46 games due to a misdiagnosed broken hand, and the press and fans alike turned on him completely. The team had finished in sixth place, and by Yankees standards this was not acceptable and he happened to be a scapegoat, despite the fact that other teammates also missed a great deal of time due to injury. Even Mickey Mantle missed significant time, but that did not matter because Mantle was held in much higher regard. The 1966 season was not as bad, however, Maris did play in just 119 games and hit just 13 homers. he had become a whipping boy in The Big Apple, and once that season came to a close he was ready to hang up the cleats.

     When Maris got word of the trade he was not surprised. He even said he thought the club would have moved him back in 1962. While he did intend on leaving baseball after the '66 season. He had even informed the Yankees of his intentions. With that said, once the deal went down he decided to go ahead and play another year because he did not want the same writers who raked him over the coals to say the trade was why he retired. The reason he wanted out was in large part due to a great deal of those men who put print in the newspapers daily.

     It turned out to be a great deal for Maris. He found new life in St. Louis. He found fans that appreciated him, a manager in Red Schoendienst that embraced him as a veteran who would produce when called upon, and a much more forgiving press corp who were about to enjoy a year that would end with a parade in Downtown St. Louis. In his two seasons in St. Louis Maris hit .258 with 9 homers, and 100 RBI's. Perhaps his greatest run in the Gateway City came during the run to glory in 1967 when he hit .385 and knocked in seven runs during the World Series. Unfortunately for Maris Father Time knocked at his door the next year, and he answered. However, he did put his name in the history books with the Cardinals, and right next to it says World Champion. In my view Roger Maris will forever be a Cardinal.
   
If you would like to read more about the life and times of Roger Maris you can read his SABR biography here: http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/bf4690e9

Friday, October 9, 2015

October 9, 1934: Dizzy Dominates, Ducky Causes a Riot, The Cardinals Win The World Series In Detroit

     On October 9, 1934, with Dizzy Dean leading the way on the mound, the Cardinals were crowned World Champions after beating the Detroit Tigers 11-0 in Game 7 of the Fall Classic at Navin Field in Detroit. The game was marred with controversy, as Ducky Medwick spiked the Tigers third baseman Marv Owen in the sixth inning, which nearly caused a riot. The commissioner of baseball Kennesaw Mountain Landis ordered Medwick be lifted from the game to regain order. While the incident was splashed across the headlines, the series was a great one that will forever be remembered, as the Gashouse Gang slammed the door in Detroit with a convincing victory that sent them home as Champions of the World.

     While researching this game I ran across an article that was written by the very well known Grantland Rice. It was a little too large to clip, so I am going to bring it to you in its entirety here. Such a great piece, I just had to share it. I hope you enjoy.

                                           Dizzy Wins From Six Pitchers in Shutout Final
                                                           
                                                                   By Grantland Rice

In the wake of the western dust, blown up by the two cyclonic Deans, the St. Louis Cardinals take their place on the top plateau of baseball as the new champions of the world.
Riding along on the rubbery, loose-jointed arm of the dazzling Dizzy they cut their way to the front through six Tiger pitchers and a wild and savage barrage of beer bottles, oranges and other hurtling implements, composed of fruit, wood, iron and glass, thrown from the left field bleachers, that fir 20 minutes turned the seventh game into a wooly riotthat looked like two battles of the Marne, with Verndun and Tennenburg thrown in.
                                                          Slaughters Six Pitchers
Sling-shot Dizzy slaughtered six Tiger pitchers, 11-0, in this final foray of flying spikes, as he held the enemy to six scattered hits for the closing triumph of the dukedom of the Deans. 
But it remained for Ducky-Wucky Medwick, the Cardinal Cossack, to seal a big part of the show and start one of the neatest young riots that any world series has ever known.
The Vesuvian explosion that came near blowing up the ball game took place in the sixth inning. Ducky-Wucky had just tripled and driven Pepper Martin over with the eighth Cardinal run. 
                      17,000 Lay Down Barrage
For 30 minutes, the enraged bleachers laid down a barrage that would have stopped the charge of the First division  or the Prussian Guard. The sunny autumn air was whiling mass of missiles fired from a 300-yard front, and the blue autumn skyline was almost hidden by the mass of fruit and glass, hurled by the mighty indignant arms.
After a delay of 20 minutes, Judge Landis, the mandarin of the game, heard all evidence and sent Medwick from the park under a police guard. The judge agreed with the Messrs. Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin that the day of the Cossack was over. So Medwick was shipped to the iron mines of Siberia after he had hammered out 11 hits and had been a hard rider most of the week.  
                                                       

                                                      Spotlight on Deans 
 But, after all, riot or what not, it was the two country kids from Oklahoma, aged 21 and 23, who took charge of this seven-game show with all the mastery of a Booth or a Barrett, a George M. Cohan or a Walter Huston, a Mansfield or an Arliss. 
These two friendly, likable country kids from Holdenville, Oklahoma, and border lines of Arkansas first carried the Cardinals from a second division berth to the top of the pile. 
In spite of the fines and suspensions and brother strikes, they carved their way to 49 victories. On top of this, the same two kinds from the brush and the bush, from the dust and the sage of the southwest,won all four Cardinal victories, four winning charges in five starts, for one of the most dramatic drives beneath the great white spotlight that sport has ever known and you can go back 4,000 years if you have the energy and the time. 
                                                          Dizzy Keeps Even
"I've got to keep up with Paul." Dizzy said before the game. "I'd like to win anyhow, I always like to win, but I can't let Paul down. He carried us to the seventh game. It's my time now  and, if I have to, I'll just throw my arm off to show the two Deans still move together. I wouldn't let Paul down for anything in the would. A great pitcher? Sure, I know that. But he's a great kid on the side. I wish you knew him better. They don't come along like Paul. He's the finest kid toy ever met in every way you can figure him out."
As the bulky figure of Babe Ruth fades out of the picture from the playing side, and old-fashioned three-massed schooner fading into the fog, two kids from the dust of the western trail take his place as the greatest sensations baseball has known, matching the glamour of Mathewson, Hans Wagner, Ty Cobb, and Babe Ruth. 
                                                         A Sudden Blaze 
But these two country kids have come along with a sudden blaze and flame that surpasses in its dramatic flourish the leaders of the old parade.
In one brief six months, from the dogwoods of April to the crimson and orange tints of October, they were called upon two strong right arms to write one of the greatest of all time sporting classics.
                                                   Pepper Martin's Come-Back
And, in the midst of the  Dean triumph, don't overlook Pepper Martin, who came back with a rushing, rowdy, ripping attack to regain the place he held a few years ago as one of the best ball player that ever carved and slashed and ripped his way from goat-dom to the purple toga. Except that the Pepper's interest in a purple toga would be less than nothing, with his baggy trousers, his open shirt and a front-piece that has only casual interest in a razor.
What a ball player!
And, in spite of his banishment, I'll say the same about Ducky-Wucky Medwick, the Cardinal Cossack, who plays the game up the hilt. Did Detroit ever see Ty Cobb along the two paths?
                                                           Blows Up In Third 
This  seventh game blew up with the roar of a heavy artillery and sappers at work in the third inning. 
Dizzy Dean was facing Auker, the Tiger starter at the time. In this cataleptic inning, the Cardinals ripped apart Auker, Rowe, Hogsett and Bridges fr seven hits, three passes and seven runs.
It was Dizzy Dean who started this Tiger massacre with a double to left. Not content with shutting the Tigers out, he led the big attack of the day with a double and a single in one round, two deadly thrusts that came along like a pair of poisoned harpoons. 
                                                              Others Do Part
 After this, Martin, Frisch, Collins, Delancey and others all took good aim at a parade of Tigers pitchers, who were all wild and ineffective, on the border of collapse as they marched by in order, each in turn set up before a firing squad aiming for the forehead or the heart. 
I caught the picture of Kipling's "grave of the hundred dead," where the young subaltern fell with " a big blue hole in his forehead, and the back blown out of his head." 
The backs were blown out of the heads of the last game. The Cardinals added two more in the sixth on Martin's hit and Medwick's triple. They ran up two more in the seventh on Durocher's triple, Gehringer's error, Martin's second steal and Rothrock's double. That made 11 runs. And all this while, the great Dizzy was plowing that fast one through with speed, curves, control and a change of pace that removed stripe after stripe from the Tiger hide. 
                                                   Cochrane Fights to Last 
 The game and wounded Mickey Cochrane, one of the heroes of the series, fought to the ultimate ditch. He gave everything he had, including blood, brains and heart, but he was in the road of the two Deans, and he might as well tried t break down the charge of an elephant herd, running amuck along the congo trail. 
Close to 300,000 spectators paid in more than a million dollars to see the two Deans move to greater fame amid flying spikes, blocking backs, stranglehold, head locks, riding off, smashing tackles and all the more rugged elements that make upa half dozen sports.
                                                          Drama and Color 
It was a rough and rowdy series, full of spilt blood and ragged errors, full of fine pitching and hard hitting. A series as seamy as they ball they played with, but it had fire and action, raw drama and more flaming color than any series has known in years. 
 And, down the final stretch, the better team in the series won out, the rwam that had the daredevil, smashing attack of a Martin and a Medwick and a Collins and, above all, the team happened to have the sling-shot arms, the cool heads and stout hears of Paul and Dizzy Dean, who now can take their two places among baseball's unforgotten stars, just a pair of country kids born to the greatness of a game they happened to love. 
The Tigers today know how Bill Terry's Giants and the rest of the National League must of suffered. The twin poisons of sport carried their venom to the final out.  
     Quite the tale that Mr. Rice told the day after that classic ballgame. The series did forever immortalize both Dizzy and Paul, and the rest of the gang as well. One of the most colorful teams to ever step on a St. Louis diamond, the Gashouse Gang will have their story told time and time again. They put together a special season, then topped it off by celebrating as the Champions of the World. A great celebration was had in St. Louis in the days that followed, and in the years that have passed since the celebration of their accomplishments continues.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

September 23, 1979: 938 Stolen Bases For Brock

     On September 23, 1979, Lou Brock stole the 938th base of his career during a 7-4 victory over the Mets in New York. The stolen base eclipsed the all-time mark of 937 set by Billy Hamilton who played for the Kansas City Cowboys, Philadelphia Phillies, and the team who would later become known as the Braves, the Boston Beaneaters in a career that spanned from 1888 to 1901. As mentioned in the story featured in the picture Hamilton's stolen base totals included advances on infield outs as well as advances on fly ball outs. The modern record, which has been previously held by Ty Cobb had set at 892 until Brock swiped 893 in August of 1977. He had one more mark in his sights after surpassing Cobb, which was the one held by Hamilton. Brock stepped into the box in the fifth with the Birds trailing 4-2. He drew a walk, then took the base. Number 938. He was the all time stolen base king. He then scored on an error, so it could be said that the swiped bag was a key part of a game winning rally, which took ten innings to put in the books. That stolen base was the last stolen base of Brock's legendary career. A career that ended with a statue in front of Busch and plaque in Cooperstown.

    Couple of side notes: 888 of Brock's 938 stolen bases came with the Birds on the Bat across his chest. The other 50 came in Chicago before he was traded to the club in 1964. Hamilton's 937 stolen bases has since been adjusted to 914. Brock's record has since been surpassed by Rickey Henderson who holds the all time title with 1,406 stolen bases, however, he is nor ever will be Louuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!!

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYN/NYN197909230.shtml

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

August 19, 1951: Now Batting... Eddie Gaedel

 On August 19, 1951, Bill Veeck, the owner of the St. Louis Browns staged one of the greatest publicity stunts in the history of baseball when he signed a 3 foot 7 inch Eddie Gaedel to pinch hit to lead off the second game of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. After the Browns dropped the first game by the score of 5-2, Veeck wheeled a big birthday cake onto the field to commemorate the organization's 50th years in St. Louis. To the delight of the crowd out popped the little man wearing the digits 1/8 on his back. When the little man started to head to the plate to bat, the Tigers catcher Ed Hurley immediately questioned the umpire, before Bill Veeck produced a contract, and the ump chose to let him take the historic at bat. Veeck had instructed Gaedel to crouch as low as he could, so that he could work a walk out of starter Bob Cain. The strategy worked, as Cain sailed four high ones that sent Gaedel trotting to first He was lifted for a pinch runner, and ultimately the Tigers knocked off the Browns 6-2, but the day would be a day that would not be forgotten.

     The article I included with the picture was featured in The Florence Times out of Florence, Alabama. It came out just a couple days after the historic game. I got a kick out of how Gaedel talked about dreaming of the day when he could induce a bases loaded walk. The powers that be squashed those dreams citing the best interests of baseball. However, he did appear in other promotional stunts, before passing away in 1961. If you would like to read more about Eddie Gaedel give this a look: http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/fa5574c8

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLA/SLA195108192.shtml
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Monday, August 17, 2015

An On This Day In Cardinal Nation Update

     I just wanted those of you who follow the blog to know that I am skipping some days while I attend college. For those of you who don't know me, I am on the cusp of my 38th birthday, and have decided to chase a dream that will be caught. I am actually pursuing a degree that will help me help others. It is a degree in Social Work. My long term goal is to help those who are struggling with addiction win their battle. I thought about majoring in history, but my heart kept telling me to go that direction, and I believe in following the heart.

     I am very close to finishing the first leg of the race with the Associate's, but I have a ways to go to get to where I want to be. At minimum it will be a Bachelor's, and hopefully it is a Master's. I tell you this because many of you have been loyal readers of mine, so I would like you to know who I am and what's going on.

     I realized last semester that I was putting the blog before schoolwork. Therefore, I have to prioritize, and my education has to come first. I work full time and I am going to school full time, so I hope you can understand. I enjoy writing these blogs, and will continue to do so when time permits. I do believe I will be able to squeeze in a few new facts every week, and there are more than 500 on here in the archives.

     I'll leave you with this, do not be afraid to pursue your dreams. If someone tells you that you can't, show them that you can. Always believe in yourself. The only way you will hit a home run is if you step in the box and take a swing. If you swing and miss, step back in, and take another cut. You will get a hold of one. I plan on knocking it out of the park.

I thank each and every person who has ever read one of these blogs. They have been fun, and I can guarantee you this, I am far from done when it comes to writing them.

I will be posting what I call reruns on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OnThisDayInCardinalNation and my Twitter page as well: @CardinalHistory.

Go Cards!!!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

August 16, 1964: The Floodgates Open In L.A.

     On August 16, 1964, Curt Flood picked up eight consecutive hits during a doubleheader split against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.

     Unfortunately, the Dodgers sent this guy by the name of Sandy Koufax to the mound in the first game, and Koufax was able to work his way around Flood's four hits in a row by striking out 13 men. Other than Flood, the only men who could scratch out a hit against Koufax were Bill White, Dick Groat, and Julian Javier. Those three men picked up one hit off the hurler who ended the game as a 19 game winner. It would prove to be the last win of '64 for Koufax, as he ran into elbow trouble, which derailed a shot at a 20 win campaign.

     Back to the man of the hour, Flood went out in the second game and rapped out four more hits in a row, knocked in two, and scored a run, as he helped the Cards take the second game by the score of 4-0 behind the stellar pitching of Curt Simmons, who scattered nine hits, and struck out four. The papers of the day focused on Flood falling short of the major league record for consecutive hits in a doubleheader with nine. The record had been set in by Joe Kelley of the Baltimore Orioles in 1894. Flood struck out in his last at bat against reliever Perranoski, which was a rough way to end a great day, but when that day went in the books it was great nonetheless, and that is something that Curt Flood knew very well.

     Mark over at RetroSimba wrote about this game last year. His piece includes some quotes by the star of the day, as well as a play-by-play of each of the hits. You can read that here: http://retrosimba.com/2014/08/11/the-day-curt-flood-drilled-8-straight-hits-against-dodgers/

By the way, Mark is a fantastic follow on twitter. If you do not already follow him, I urge you to do so. You can find him @retrosimba You can find me at @CardinalHistory

Here's a pair of box scores for you as well

Game 1: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/LAN/LAN196408161.shtml

Game 2: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/LAN/LAN196408162.shtml


Saturday, August 15, 2015

August 15, 1968: The Moon Man Slams The Cubbies

     On August 15, 1968, a Mike Shannon grand slam highlighted an 8-0 win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago. The big blast off of Bill Stoneman came in the second inning, with the Redbirds already leading 4-0. One swing of the Moon Man's stick made it 8-0, and there was no looking back. While the Cubs burned up their bullpen, the Cardinals starter Nelson Briles pitched a gem, scattering seven hits, while striking out five. The grand slam was the first grand slam in Mike Shannon's career, and it was also the last. He hit a total of 68 home runs, and it is safe to say that big fly at Wrigley was a memorable one.

     This series was a wild one. It was a four game set that saw the Cubs take the first two, before the Cardinals bounced back and took the last two. The Cardinals' outfielders were harassed to no end by the "bleacher bums" at Wrigley. An article that appeared in the Chicago Tribune  proclaimed  the Cardinals outfielders" had been jeered, pelted with everything from flashlight batteries to crumpled beer cups and they still smiled and praised the raucous bleacherites." Lou Brock told reporters after the game he thought those fans were great for baseball, and it was nothing more than good clean fun. In the end the Redbirds outfielders got the last laugh, Brock and Curt Flood spread a sign across the outfield in the ninth inning that read "We're still  No. 1." And they were, as they left Wrigelyville 14 games up in the standings.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CHN/CHN196808150.shtml

Friday, August 14, 2015

August 14, 1967: The Birds Rally To Beat The Cubs In The Ninth

     On August 14, 1967, the Cardinals came back from a 5-3 deficit with three run ninth to beat the Cubs 6-5 at Busch. The Redbirds came into the inning having just watched a Ron Santo home run sail over the wall in the top of the ninth to give the Baby Bears a little insurance. Apparently, it was not enough insurance though, as the Cardinals surged back into the contest.

     The winning rally started with Bob Tolan working a walk out of Cubs reliever Bob Shaw, who got a quick hook. Chuck Hartenstein took over on the bump and got Alex Johnson to groundout. It was a productive out though, as Tolan took second in the process, then was knocked in by Lou Brock who singled. The heat was on. Curt Flood ripped a single that pushed Brock to third, then came Roger Maris who singled to right. When the ball came off of Maris' bat it looked like the game would be tied, but the right fielder Ted Savage fumbled the ball, and Flood only stopped running once he touched the dish with the game winning run.

     The win put the Cardinals 9 1/2 games up in the standings. It was the 72nd win of the season for the club that was en route to 101 wins. They took the flag by 10 1/2 games, then brought home another World Series title by beating the Boston Red Sox in a seven game classic.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN196708140.shtml

Thursday, August 13, 2015

August 13, 1977: Mike Anderson Knocks In the Winner In the Tenth

     On August 13, 1977, right fielder Mike Anderson came through with a bases loaded single in the bottom of the tenth to beat the Montreal Expos 1-0 in front of more than 34,000 fans at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

     John Urrea got the start for the Redbirds, while Wayne Twitchell got the call for the Expos. Urrea worked seven innings, struck out six, walked one, and allowed just four hits. He was lifted for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the seventh, in hopes of sparking the offense, but that did not come to fruition. The man who took the ball for the Birds, Butch Metzger picked up right where Urrea left off, pitching three near perfect innings, allowing just one hit, as he set the table for the walk off win. Twitchell pitched through the ninth. He was lifted in the tenth for a pinch hitter, after allowing just five hits, and striking out four.

     Don Stanhouse took the ball for the Expos in the tenth, and quickly got into trouble when Roger Freed was sent into pinch hit for Metzger. Freed ripped a single, was lifted for a pinch runner, then Lou Brock came up with a single that put a man at first and third. The Expos skipper Dick Williams then called for Garry Templeton to be put on intentionally, to set up the double play. The move backfired, when the man who hit just .221 that season ripped one into center to win it. The game is a game full of unlikely heroes, and on that day Mike Anderson played the role quite well. Anderson spent just two seasons with the Redbirds, with the '77 campaign being his last. During that time he hit .261 and knocked in 29 runs. The run he knocked in that day was one to remember and today we do exactly that.

This was also the day a friend of mine was born, which is why I picked the date. With that said, Merry Birthmas to Chris Petit. You started off with a winner.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN197708130.shtml

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

August 12, 1927: Sunny Jim Wins It In Extras

     On August 12, 1927, Jim Bottomley ended a pitching duel in the bottom of the eleventh with a walk off blast to beat the Pirates by the score of 2-1 at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. The duel had Carmen Hill on the bump for the Bucs, while ole Jesse Haines toed the rubber for the defending World Series Champion Redbirds. Both hurlers were looked at as staff aces, and on that fine day they both fit the bill. Hill ran into trouble in the fifth when player/manager Bob O'Farrell  picked up a one out double, before Haines came through with a huge two out RBI to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead. That lead didn't last long, as the Pittsburgh club made the most of an error that brought Lloyd Waner into score the tying run in the sixth. From there the duel was on. Both pitchers worked their way into extras. Haines allowed just four hits in the contest, while Hill allowed six. It was the sixth and final hit off of the Pirates hurler that mattered the most, as Bottomley walked to the dish to lead things off in the eleventh, and with one swing of the stick he sent the Bucco's packin'.

     Sunny Jim led the club with 19 home runs that season, for a club that won 92 games. 24 of those wins were credited to the day's starting pitcher Jesse Haines. Unfortunately, those Pirates who hit a minor skid in early August would go onto win the National League Flag with 94 wins. They would run into the famed Murderer's Row in the 1927 Yankees in the Fall Classic, and quite frankly they were murdered.

     Despite the Cardinals failing to repeat as Champions in the National League the team had turned a corner in the previous season. They were legit contenders and the best was yet to come. A foundation had been laid. The Cardinal Way was born. The farm system grew talent, and the club would be a true contender for the better parts of the next two decades. They did more than contend during that time. They won titles. They became the best of the best in the National League, and at times they were the best club in all of baseball. It was new era in Cardinal Nation.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN192708120.shtml

A special thanks goes out to Retrosheet for putting together a play-by-play from that contest. You can look it over here: http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1927/B08120SLN1927.htm

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

August 11, 1960: Musial Bombs The Bucs

     On August 11, 1960, a two run blast by Stan Musial in the twelfth led the way to a 3-2 victory over Pirates in Pittsburgh.

     Ernie Broglio and Bob Friend went toe-to-toe in this one on the mound for their respective clubs, with both of them going the distance in the tilt. Broglio served up a fifth inning home run to Smokey Burgess, then found himself locked in a zone. Friend allowed a one out triple in the eighth, which led to the tying run coming across the plate moments later on an RBI knock by Carl Sawatksi.

     With the teams deadlocked at 1-1 the 34,000 fans that walked through the gates at Forbes would get to watch some free baseball, but would walk away disappointed, when Musial walked to the dish with Bill White on base, then took a swing on a Friend pitch that ended up sailing over the wall in right.While the big blast put the Birds on top, Broglio would have his work cut out for him in the bottom of the twelfth. He came into the inning having retired the last 20 men he faced, but allowed a leadoff single to Bill Virdon. Broglio picked up two outs, before the Bucs first baseman Rocky Nelson knocked in Virdon with a double. Broglio wiped his brow, went back to work, and struck out Dick Stuart to finish things off. It was a battle from beginning to end, and thanks to the work of Broglio on the slab, and the bat that was held in the hands of Stan "The Man" Musial the Cardinals walked away victorious.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/PIT/PIT196008110.shtml

Monday, August 10, 2015

August 10, 1955: 1,000 Extra Base Hits For Stan The Man

     On August 10, 1955, Stan "The Man" Musial became just the ninth player in the history Major League Baseball to record 1,000 extra base hits during a 7-2 win over the Braves at County Stadium in Milwaukee.

      The big hit came off Lew Burdette in the first, as Musial doubled off the hurler to join the elite club. Burdette got out of that inning with no damage done, but he would be handed a loss by day's end, as the Birds snapped a four game skid on their own end, and a three game winning streak on the Braves side of the diamond. The two clubs were tied 2-2 after four innings of play, which stood until the Cardinals plated three runs in the sixth.

     The three run rally was sparked by a lead off triple off the bat of Red Schoendienst. A rather funny incident followed, as the Cardinals catcher attempted to drop down a squeeze bunt, and it looked like he did make contact, as the ball flew into the air behind him and hit the net. However, the umpire Tom Gorman thought it hit Burbink and sent him trotting down to first. This led to the skipper of the Braves, Charlie Grimm out to have a heated discussion with the ump. All the while, Burbink had thought the umpire thought it hit him in the hand, so he was standing there shaking it like it pained him greatly. As it turned out, Gorman thought it hit him in the shoulder, so as soon as Burbink became aware of that fact he grabbed his shoulder. He was trying to win an Emmy award on that fine day. A frustrated Grimm gave up on the argument he could not win, and made his way back to the Milwaukee bench. Things unraveled for Milwaukee thereafter, as shorstop Alex Grammas doubled in a run, then an error led to the other two runs crossing the plate to give the Redbirds a 5-2 lead.

      The Cardinals added to their totals in the ninth with two more runs to cap things off, and the last of those two was scored by The Man of the hour Stan Musial, who singled in the inning. Musial finished the day with three hits, a walk, and the run scored. With that said, the story of the day was the 1,000th extra base hit. He was well on the way to breaking the all time record, set by Babe Ruth with 1.356. When Musial hung up the cleats in 1963, he had 1,377 extra base hits to his credit, which stood as the a record, until it was surpassed by the current record holder Hank Aaron, who finished his storied career with 1,477 extra base hits.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/MLN/MLN195508100.shtml

The Milwaukee Journal  and  Milwaukee Sentinel  provided the details about the Burbink incident. Needless to say the fans in Milwaukee were not pleased, as it was looked at as a turning point in the ballgame.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

August 9, 1961: Javier's Birthday Slam

     On August 9, 1961, Julian Javier celebrated his 28th birthday with an eighth inning grand slam that beat the Pirates 4-0 in front of more than 17,000 fans at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. The slam was delivered to him by starter Joe Gibbon, who up to that point had been locked into a head-to-head duel with Curt Simmons. Simmons was lifted for a pinch hitter in the big inning after Curt Flood and catcher Jimmie Shaffer picked up back-to-back one out singles. Simmons' replacement Don Taussig drew a walk to load'em up, then came the birthday boy grand slamarooski. Ed Bauta took over pitching duties for the Redbirds and knocked out two scoreless innings to secure a save and a Cardinals winner. Javier was not a power hitter by no means. That was the second home run of the season for him, and it happened to be his last of that campaign as well. It was also the first grand slam of his career. He hit one more in the summer of '64, as he helped the club make a run that will never be forgotten. Much like that run, Javier will never be forgotten as well. Happy Birthday Julian, and thank you for the memories from all of Cardinal Nation.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/PIT/PIT196108090.shtml

Saturday, August 8, 2015

August 8, 1949: Slaughter Slams The Redlegs

     On August 8, 1949, Enos Slaughter packed the punch it took to beat the Reds 9-3 in front of 13,053 fans at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. The man they called "Country" hit two home runs. The first was a two run shot in the third off of starter Kent Peterson, while the other was a fourth inning grand slam off of reliever Ken Burkhart. The Redbirds walked away with this one with ease, as Peterson and Burkhart piled up seven walks in a combined four innings of work. In fact, the nine runs on the Cardinals side of the scoreboard came on just five hits, as they exploited the walks, while Howie Pollett limited the damage done to the Birds, despite giving up 12 hits. The complete game effort by Pollett secured his 15th victory of the campaign; he would lead the staff that season with 20.

     Slaughter was 33 years of age in 1949, and many of the scribes of the day had written him and the Cardinals club he was on off as "too old." On that fine day the same men that said he was too old at the beginning of the season were looking at him and the Cardinals as a possible pennant winning club that sat tied atop the standings with the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Cardinals took the lead in the National League on August 20th, then held it until the final week of the season, before a four game skid sunk the proverbial ship, as they finished just one game back of those Bums from Brooklyn.

     While the club did fall short of the flag, there were many bright spots that came during that campaign, In the end, a guy named Stan Musial led in every major offensive category, but that guy named Enos Slaughter put up some pretty good numbers himself. In fact, he hit .336, which was just two points shy of Musial's average. He and Musial led the league with 13 triples. While Musial set the pace for the club in the RBI department with 123. Slaughter ranked second on the club with 96 runs batted in, The duo was quite a 1-2 punch for that squad in 1949. When looking at these seasons from yesteryear it makes me appreciate the expanded playoff format so much.  Just think if they would have even been a playoff between the two league leaders. Of course that would come in time, but it is something fun to think about. Could have made for a classic series. Just be glad we are treated to what we are treated to today.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN194908080.shtml

Friday, August 7, 2015

August 7, 1915: Miller Huggins Dupes Brooklyn

     On August 7, 1915, a trick play by Cardinals manager Miller Huggins helped the club prevail 6-4 over the Brooklyn Robins in St. Louis. The game began with the Cardinals jumping out to a 3-0 lead, as they knocked Brooklyn's starting pitcher Wheezer Dell right out of the box. Ham Hyatt got the biggest hit of the inning with a big blast that had the Birds flying high early. Both pitching staffs would have their work cut out for them, as the Robins plated two runs in the second, another in the fourth to tie it 3-3, before the Birds could answer back with a run in the bottom of that same inning to retake the lead. That only lasted so long, as Casey Stengel tied it back up with a single in the sixth that came moments after his teammate Otto Miller come up big with a triple. Then came the play that decided it all in the seventh, with Huggins coaching at third with the bases loaded, he yelled over to Brooklyn's rookie reliever Ed Appleton and told him to toss him the ball. The rookie hurler tossed it his way, and Huggins moved out of the way, then Dots Miller, who was standing at third darted down the baseline to score the go ahead run. The Birds put one more on the board moments later, and from there it was all Cardinals. A rule was put in place to prevent a trick play like the one that Huggins executed, but on that day it was totally legal, and he made the most of it. I can almost hear the laughter in the stands as I have written this. It had to be hilarious.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

August 6, 1964: Bill White and Dick Groat Put The Birds In The Win Column

     On August 6, 1964, despite being outhit 11 to 5, the Cardinals beat the Cubs 5-3 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Bob Gibson worked out of jam after jam, which included a bases loaded situation in the first. The Redbirds were helped by an error in the bottom of the first, as the Cubs' shortstop Andy Rodgers had what looked like a sure out by Curt Flood get by him. Lou Brock moved Flood to second with a sac bunt, and moments later Dick Groat came through with a single that brought Flood around to score. Ken Boyer was the next man up, and he came through a double that scored Groat and the Birds were off and flying. Ron Santo cut the 2-0 lead in half with an RBI single in the third, but the momentum shifted back to the Cardinals in the bottom of the frame, when Groat came through with a two out double, which was followed by an intentional walk to Boyer. Bill White was the next man up, and he made the Baby Bears pay for passing Boyer by ripping a double that brought both men into score. The true hero of this contest was Groat, as he added to his totals with another RBI with a two out single in the seventh. Santo was the only man that could come through when it mattered on the Chicago side of the ball, as he knocked in another run in the eighth, then drew a bases loaded walk in the ninth, before Barney Shultz was called on to face one batter. That one batter, was Ernie Banks and he struck him out to end it.

     It was a wild contest that was witnessed by just 8,258 fans. The Cardinals were seven games out after the game was put in the books, and would slide down in the standings into late August. reaching as far as eleven games back. Then came run at glory and epic collapse in Philadelphia. It could be said a perfect storm came together for the Redbirds that season, and you can honestly point at each win of the campaign and see that they were all truly important.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN196408060.shtml

I would also like to wish my friend Jame Nolde a.k.a. Captain a Merry Birthmas. He was born on that day, so he kicked things off the right way. I hope you have a great birthday my friend.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

August 5, 1974: Simba and Torre Provide a Late Punch

     On August 5, 1974, a ninth inning two run shot by Ted Simmons tied it, and a bases loaded single by Joe Torre in the 13th led the Redbirds to a 3-2 victory over the Phillies at Busch.

     The game was a duel, as Bob Gibson went head-to-head with Wayne Twitchell. Gibson allowed a run in the first, was lifted for a pinch hitter in the eighth, then watched another Philadelphia score with Al Hrabosky on the bump. Meanwhile, Twitchell was carving up batters until he allowed a single to Bake McBride in the ninth, then served up a big fly to Ted Simmons. It was a new ballgame, and even though the Philadelphia starter had let the lead slip away he pitched through the eleventh, piling up 11 strikeouts.

      Pete Richert took over in the twelfth, worked through the frame unscathed, then ran into trouble in the thirteenth when he began the frame by allowing a double to Ted Sizemore. He then put Bake McBride on with an intentional walk, which was followed by a pickoff attempt by the Philadlphia backstop Bob Boone who threw the ball into center, which put Sizemore and McBride on second and third. It was the end of the day for Richert, as he handed the ball off to Mike Garman, who wanted none of Ted Simmons, so he walked him intentionally to get to Torre, who ripped the ball into left to push in the game winner. It was a pick your poison kind of deal with that one-two punch and either way it went, Garman was going to get poisoned.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN197408050.shtml

     The victory put the Cardinals two games ahead in the N.L. East. They would contend into the final week of the season, but fell just short. While that may have been the case, that club played their hearts out and sent the fans home happy many times throughout that season. That season may have had a much different ending if not for a lunatic that threatened the lives of Lou Brock and Bake McBride. It seems that it took a toll late, and they stumbled across the line. We'll never know of that happening is the reason why they did not make it to the postseason, but I do know that it had to have a pretty harsh psychological effect on the men in that clubhouse. Especially those who were threatened. You can read about it here: www.onthisdayincardinalnation.com/2014/09/september-20-1974-lives-of-brock-and.html

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

August 4, 1937: One More Hit For The Fordham Flash

     On August 4, 1937, in a pinch hit appearance player/manager Frankie Frisch capped off a 16-hit attack with a game winning single in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Boston Bees 7-6. A pair of four hit days by Johnny Mize and Ducky Medwick put the skipper in position to win it, as Mize belted a home run, while Medwick rapped out four doubles in the tilt. The Birds were down 6-2 when the ninth rolled around, before the game winning rally began, that ended with Frisch coming to the dish with two outs, the bases loaded and the club trailing 6-5. Catcher Mickey Owen was the man due up to hit, but was called back by the Frisch who singled into right and pushed the tying and winning run into score. This was the 2,880th and final hit of Frisch's 19 year career on the big league diamond. He appeared in a game the next day, but failed to come through in one plate appearance. The man who guided the Gashouse Gang would managed the club the rest of that season, then most of the next before being replaced, and when that day came an era closed in the rich history of Cardinals baseball.

     Frisch's career in the game was far from over. In fact, he went onto manage the Pirates for seven seasons, and the Cubs for three. Forever a Cardinal, Frisch was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a player in 1947. You can read about the life and times of the man they called "The Fordham Flash" here: http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/0bbf3136

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN193708040.shtml

Monday, August 3, 2015

August 3, 1991: Zeile Burns The Jolly Roger

     On August 3, 1991, Todd Zeile burned the Jolly Roger at Busch with a walk off shot to beat the Pirates  6-5 in the tenth inning.

     The Bucs came into this one hoping to stop a seven game skid, but that would not happen on this day. Although, the effort was there to do so. They jumped on the Redbirds starter Bryn Smith early and often, scoring five runs on him through six. While Smith was getting knocked around the Pirates starter Doug Drabek was getting much of the same treatment. He surrendered 10 hits, gave up four runs, with two of the four being attributed to a pair of errors.

    Like Smith, Drabek worked six innings before handing it off to the pen. However, Drabek's pen failed him, as Bob Kipper allowed a lead off home run in the eighth to Milt Thompson to knot things up at five apiece. Thompson had been thrown out at the dish earlier in the contest, so you know that when he got a hold of that one he had to feel great. He set the table for the walk off heroics by Zeile who was the first and last batter to hit in the tenth.

     The pitcher that put it in the platter was Bob Patterson, and with one swing of the stick Zeile became a hero, as he stood at the plate and watched it fly over the wall in right. His team mobbed him after he rounded the bases, and the crowd of more than 40,000 stood, cheered, and it likely they high fived a new friend that just happened to be sitting next to them on that fine day in Cardinal Nation.

Zeile led the team in home runs with 11 in 1991. It was the lowest team leading total since 1920, when Austin McHenry led the club with 10.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN199108030.shtml

Sunday, August 2, 2015

August 2, 1970: Gibby Strikes Out 10, Then Wins It With His Bat

     On August 2, 1970, Bob Gibson struck out 10 and drove in the winning run in the ninth to beat Astros 3-2 in front of more than 23,000 fans at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas.

      Everything was workin' for Gibby who allowed a leadoff single in the first, then held the Astros hitless until the eighth, when catcher Johnny Edwards got a hold of one and sent it sailing over the wall to cut the Cardinals lead to 2-1. The Birds had scored the two runs in the fourth on back-to-back singles by Jose Cardenal and Mike Shannon in the fourth, which proved to be very important, as their starter Jack Billingham was able to work around the other trouble he faced.

     A former Cardinal, who was the then skipper for the Astros, Harry The Hat Walker called on Fred Gladding to take over pitching duties in the ninth. Gladding looked like he might get through the frame with no damage done, until he surrendered a one out single to Shannon, then put Dal Maxvill on first with a walk. All he had to do was get Gibson out, but that would not come on this fine day, as the man who wore the 45 laced one into right field to push Shannon across the dish to score the go ahead run.

      Gibson gave himself much needed insurance, as he got into trouble in the bottom of the ninth by allowing back-to-back singles, before picking up a pair of outs with a double play ball. He then walked a man, threw a wild pitch, before picking up the last out of the ballgame. It was quite the finish for the man who had won his 14th game of the season, and was on the way to a career high in wins with 23.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/HOU/HOU197008020.shtml

Saturday, August 1, 2015

August 1, 1957: Two Big Blasts For The Man Lifts The Birds To Victory

     On August 1, 1957, a four hit day that included two home runs by Stan Musial, and complete game effort by Sad Sam Jones led the Cardinals to an 8-0 victory over the New York Giants at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Jones allowed just six hits in the contest, while the number six started the scoring off with a two run blast in the first, then connected with another two run shot in the sixth. he sprinkled in a couple singles between the home run heroics, as he helped the Cardinals win their sixth game in a row. Musial hit the showers after the sixth, with Jones in cruise control.

     Musial also surpassed Ty Cobb on the all-time extra base hits list in this game, by recording his 1,140th, which made him third on the list. Only Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth sat ahead of him on that list, with Ruth's 1,356 leading the way. Musial would end his career leading the category with 1,377 extra-base hits, which stands today as third on the all-time list. Hank Aaron holds the title with exactly 100 more extra base hits than Stan The Man.

     The 1957 Cardinals were the only club in the 50's that held the league lead after August 1st. Unfortunately, they fell off the pace down the stretch, and finished with 87 wins, which was good for second in the National League, eight games behind the Milwaukee Braves. With that said, there were many great games to celebrate during that campaign, which included the one that was played on that first day of August.

Check out box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN195708010.shtml

I would like to note that according to baseball reference.com Cobb finished his career with 1,136 extra base hits, therefore, it is likely that Musial surpassed him before this contest was played. With that said, it is also likely that some numbers have been changed by official statisticians since. I am going off of what people read in the newspapers the following day, which is what I try to bring you daily. In baseball numbers are sacred, so there are many who have went to great lengths to make sure that they are correct. I tip my cap to them for that, but it also makes me want to yank my hair out when things don't line up. Luckily, I don't have much hair.

Friday, July 31, 2015

July 31, 1928: Sand's Boneheaded Play Helps Lifts The Birds To Victory

     On July 31, 1928, the Cardinals picked up 20 hits en route to an 18-5 beatdown of the Philadelphia Phillies at the Baker Bowl in Philadelphia. The two clubs were knotted up at two after three innings of play, before the Birds blew the door open with a five run frame in the fifth. That five run fifth featured a boneheaded play by Philadelphia's shortstop Heinie Sand, who thought he had picked up the third out, but as it turned out it was the second out. Sand and his teammates began trotting off the field, while Chick Hafey who was standing at first flew around the bases before they realized the err of their ways. It was like a string was pulled, and from there the Phillies began to unravel like an old sweater. The Cardinals scored a total of sixteen runs over the next four innings, as they pounded the home team into submission. Taylor Douthit led the way for the Cardinals in the 20-hit attack with five hits in six trips, and he was joined by four players who had three hits apiece, which included the pitcher Pete Alexander who went the distance. The 18 runs was the most runs the Cardinals would score in a game that season, and it was a game that ole Heinie Sand would surely never forget.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/PHI/PHI192807310.shtml

Thursday, July 30, 2015

July 30, 1959: Bob Gibson Makes His First Start

     On July 30, 1959, Bob Gibson made his ever first major league start at Crosley Field in Cincinnati. The 23-year-old beat the Reds 1-0 with an eight-hit complete game effort. Ken Boyer scored the lone run of the contest after picking up a double in the second inning, before being knocked in by Joe Cunningham. From there it was all Bob Gibson. The youngster was dominant, however, he did run into bases loaded jam in the ninth, after allowing a lead off single, then two consecutive two out walks, before he got Johnny Temple to fly out to Curt Flood in center. It was win number 1 of 251, and little did anybody know that it was just a glimpse of things to come for the hurler who was destined to be among the immortals in Cooperstown, New York. The kid was going to be a legend.

If you would like to read about Bob Gibson's life and Hall of Fame career you can check out his SABR bio here: http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/34500d95

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CIN/CIN195907300.shtml

On a side note: one of my favorite Gibby stats is he had 255 complete games. Four more complete games than he had wins. You had to pry the ball from his hands. When he took the mound the men in the pen knew they would be getting rest that day, and it was likely they would witness a gem.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July 29, 1933: Pepper Martin Walks It Off In The Tenth

     On July 29, 1933, Pepper Martin ended a ten inning affair with a three run walk off blast to beat the Cubs at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis.

     The Birds flew out of the gate early in this one, scoring four runs in the second, before the Baby Bears answered back with two of their own in the fourth on a two run home run by Babe Herman. The Birds got one of those back in the bottom of the fourth, but they would have a fight on their hands, as the Chicago squad was desperate to stop a losing streak.

     Martin knocked in a run in the sixth to make it a 6-2 ballgame, which may have seemed to be a comfortable lead, but as we all know a game does not end in the sixth, and the Cubs knew that too. It seems the man that knew it real well was Babe Herman, as he hit his second home run of the day in the seventh to make it 6-4. The heat was on, and it would get hotter in the ninth, when a single by Kiki Cuyler, a double by Frank Demaree, and a key pinch hit by Woody English pushed two runs across to tie it up at 6-6. Up to that point Tex Carleton looked like he would secure the victory for the Redbirds, but he handed the ball over to Jesse Haines, after getting one out in the ninth that unraveled in a haste. Haines was charged with the second run, but would end up getting the win, as he set the table for Martin to win it with the big blast in the tenth.

     A hero of the World Series winning club of 1931, Martin had a run of bad luck in '32, which may have had some pundits questioning if he would be able to match the production that helped lift the Cardinals to the top of the heap. He answered those questions with a career year, in which he hit .316, led the National League in runs scored with 122, and stolen bases with 26. Never known for his pop, The Wild Horse of Osage hit just eight home runs that season. One of those home runs was a walk off blast that put the Cubs to bed. It was a memorable blast indeed.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN193307290.shtml

Side note: Martin hit two walk off home runs in his career. The one that came on that day in '33 was the first. The second came during the Summer of '36. We'll save that tale for another day.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28, 1977: Urrea Shuts'em Down

     On July 28, 1977, rookie pitcher John Urrea turned in a dominating complete-game performance during a 3-0 win over the Atlanta Braves in St. Louis. The big righty set down 12 in a row before allowing a hit, as he sailed to victory while allowing just five hits total. He got the run support he needed in the first when Atlanta's starter Buzz Capra sailed one past his catcher, which brought Garry Templeton into score. Templeton came up big in the fifth with a two out triple that plated Urrea, who had drew a walk, and Lou Brock who singled right behind him. The offense could not push another run across in the contest, but they did not need to, with Urrea on the bump.

     That was the second start  and first win of Urrea's career. He had made one a week earlier, but did not get a decision. It was also the only complete game shutout of his major league career, which took place over parts of five seasons. He put up decent numbers during that '77 season, going 7-6 with a 3.16 E.R.A., but was not able to build on that success. Urrea posted a 15-16 record with the Cardinals through the 1980 season, then was sent to San Diego in 1981 as a part of a package deal. He went 2-2 with the Padres, before his days on the major league diamond came to a close. While Urrea never stood before a crowd delivering a speech in Cooperstown, New York, he did stand on that major league diamond, and on that day at Busch Stadium he achiieved what many most men can only dream of.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN197707280.shtml

Monday, July 27, 2015

July 27, 1989: Coleman's Streak Stops at 50

     On July 27, 1989, Vince Coleman's record setting streak of 50 consecutive stolen bases was snapped in Montreal during a 2-0 Cardinals win over the Expos. Coleman attempted to swipe a bag in the fourth, but was gunned down by Montreal's backstop Nelson Santovenia. It may be one of the greatest highlights of Santovenia's short career in the majors. While the streak came to an end, Coleman did figure into the victory by making a game saving play in the ninth, when he scaled the wall and robbed second baseman Damaso Garcia of a game-tying double to preserve the victory. Coleman went right back to work in the ninth by stealing a base, then scoring the second Redburd run of the day to take a little pressure off the pen. The 50 consecutive steals is a record that still stands today. The previous record holder had been Davy Lopes, who stole 38 in succession as a member of the 1975 Los Angeles Dodgers. Coleman ran right past that one, and kept on running until Santovenia gunned him down. All good things must come to an end, however, all good things should be remembered as well.

Several men have surpassed Lopes' streak, but only Ichiro Suzuki seriously threatened Coleman's 50 consecutive steals with 45 consecutive stolen bases in 2006.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/MON/MON198907280.shtml

Sunday, July 26, 2015

July 26, 1901: The Birds and Bucs Brawl In The Lou

     On July 26, 1901, the Cardinals whooped the Pirates in more than one way, as they smacked them around with their fists, then beat them 12-7 on the scoreboard. The Bucco's came out swingin', as they scored six runs in the first, and looked like they may just roll over the Cardinals, Then the Birds came flying back into the fray with a run in the second, then four more in the third. It was during the four run third that all hell broke loose.

     The Birds strung together a few hits against Deacon Phillippe, scored a couple runs, on a timely hit by player/manager Patsy Donovan, which was followed by a hotshot up the middle by third baseman Otto Kruger. The Pirates second baseman Claude Ritchey fielded the ball, but threw it away when he tried to run down Kruger at first. Now the account in the Pittsburgh Press claimed that the Cardinals players gathered around the ball, as their former teammate, who was now catching for the Pirates, Jack O'Connor scrambled toward the dugout in an attempt to retrieve the ball. An account out of the St. Louis Republic claimed the players on the Cardinals bench scattered. I guess the writers had on their home team glasses on that fine day, and saw it through them when they sided with one team or the other. The paper out of St. Louis did acknowledge that O'Connor had come into contact with several Cardinals players, before finding the ball, while another run scored.

     At that point O'Connor was enraged, so he went after the closest man to him, which was the skipper Donovan, who by all accounts was clearly assaulted. O'Connor picked the wrong battle, because every single player on the St. Louis bench had his back, and one player in particular, a 24-year-old pitcher by the name of  Eddie Murphy flew in and floored O'Connor with a knockout blow to the jaw. According the Pittsburgh Press "The catcher fell and was dead to the world." Benches began to clear, before the police got involved to break up the melee. The officers had their hands full, as they also had to contain a crowd of men who attempted to storm the field, A good five minutes later the police got it under control, but the teams were hot, and there were tense moments throughout the rest of the game.

      The Pirates maintained a 7-5 lead until the Cards blew the door open with a four runs in the seventh, then three more in the eighth to put the visitors away. In the end it was called the most exciting game that happened at League Park up to that point, for a team that would finish fourth in the standings that season. The Pirates won the National League pennant with 90 wins, but this was two seasons before the World Series would begin between the National and American leagues. While the Pirates came out on top of the standing that season, they knew when they had to face the Cardinals they would have a fight on their hands. They sure did on that day in late July.

The account of the game in the photo above was taken out of the Pittsburgh Press, while the picture of the (sort of weird) fan came out of the St. Louis Republic. If you are interested in reading the Republic's account of the game you could do that here:
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84020274/1901-07-27/ed-1/seq-4/

I would have liked to clip it completely, but quite frankly it was too large, so I went with the rather laughable piece out of Pittsburgh.


Saturday, July 25, 2015

July 25, 1962: Stan The Man Becomes The National League's RBI King

     On July 25, 1962, Stan The Man Musial set the National League RBI record by knocking in his 1,862nd run with a two run blast in the sixth inning at Busch. The bomb was all the offense the Redbirds could muster on that day against Don Drysdale's Dodgers, who put five runs on the board to take the contest 5-2. While the end result of the contest was not what the fans in the stands had hoped for, the crowd of more than 24,000 witnessed a special moment in the career of The Man. He had surpassed the legendary New York Giant Mel Ott. Musial finished his career with 1,951 ribbies, which stands as seventh on the all time list as we sit here today.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN196207250.shtml

Friday, July 24, 2015

July 24, 1979: Simba Returns To The Lineup

     On July 24, 1979, Ted Simmons made a triumphant return to the lineup, after a broken bone in his wrist had sidelined him for a month. The backstop made his presence known early, as he ripped a first inning double that gave the Cardinals a 2-1 lead, and there was no looking back, as they prevailed 7-3 over the Atlanta Braves at Busch. Garry Templeton also returned to the lineup after sitting for three days due to a leg injury, and contributed with a lead off double in the first, and RBI double in the second, a sac fly in the fourth, then tripled and scored on a Lou Brock single in the seventh. It was the 2,979th hit of Lou's career. Simmons' return was the headliner of the day. He also drew a walk, and a single in the contest, but it was his presence behind the dish that made the pitching staff rejoice. Particularly that day's starter Pete Vuckovich, who scattered six hits and struck out eight. Simmons put together a strong season despite being on the shelf for a bit. In fact, he hit a career high 26 home runs that season. His days as a Cardinal would end after the 1980 season, however, Simba would forever be a Cardinal.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN197907240.shtml

Happy Birthday to an old friend of mine Mrs. Valerie Ashcraft. She celebrated her first birthday on that fine day, and has celebrated many wins since.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

July 23, 1947: Red Caps Off The Rally

     On July 23, 1947, down 5-2 to the New York Giants in the bottom of the ninth, the Cardinals put together a four run rally to win 6-5 at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. Red Scheoendienst capped off a four run rally by knocking in the tying and winning runs.

     You can look at this game and see how different a pitcher was treated in those days, as New York's starter Dave Koslo was still on the bump when the bottom of the ninth rolled around. It was well before the days of the pitching specialists that had specific roles for the late innings, therefore this was  Koslo's game to win or lose, and luckily for Eddie Dyer's Redbirds it was the latter of the two. The game winning rally started with a single by White Kurowski to lead things off, then Ducky Medwick picked up a one out single, before Koslo walked Marty Marion. The heat was on at the ole ballpark with the bases full.

    With that said, the wheels had not come off of the Giants bus completely. Koslo picked up an out when pinch hitter Erv Dusak hit a grounder that took Marion out at second base, however, it did score Kurowski, and the Birds were in business. Del Wilber then had his number called on to pinch hit for the pitcher Al Brazle, and he came though with a RBI double to score Medwick that put the club within one run of tying it up, as Dusak was standing on third. Rather than tie it up, Red pounced on the first pitch he saw, and ripped it right through the box in center and won the ballgame. Dusak and Joffre Cross, who ran for Wilber came into score the game winner. Moments later, the boys trotted off the fields with smiles beaming across their faces, as the crowd stood and cheered. They had witnessed quite the rally.

Check out the box score here:
http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN194707230.shtml

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

July 22, 2005: Eckstein Wins It With a Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeze!!!!

     On July 22, 2005, David Eckstein led the Cardinals to victory by dropping down a perfect bunt in the to squeeze in the winning run in the bottom of the eleventh, to bear the Cubs 2-1 at Busch. The inning started with a leadoff triple by pinch hitter John Mabry. Luna took over at third, then scored uncontested when Eckstein dropped down the bunt. It was the second squeeze play winner for Eckstein that month. He had accomplished the feat on July 6th as well. At first glance, some would never guess that the man who stood 5' 6" could make it in the major leagues. However, he not only made it, he was a two champion, and the MVP of the 2006 World Series. I know that Cardinal Nation will always hold a special place in their heart for the scraptastic player who wore the 22.

     On that same day William Ashcraft celebrated the first Redbird winner of his life. He was born a fan the day before this contest was played. He started things off right with what I consider a true thriller. I actually remember that game quite well. It was a great one, and it was fun to watch Eckstein play. Happy Birthday William. I hope you had a great birthday, and I hope you get to enjoy tons and tons of great Cardinals baseball for years to come.

You can read the game account here: http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/recap/MLB_20050722_CHC@STL

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN200507220.shtml

July 22, 1934: Dazzy Strikes Out His 2,000th Victim

     On July 22, 1934, the Cardinals took two from the Braves in Boston. The Birds took the first game by the score of 5-4, then came right back and took the second one by the score of 4-2. It was a day of significance for Dazzy Vance, as the 43-year-old veteran of the diamond struck out the 2,000th batter of his career. The victim was Wally Berger in the sixth inning of the contest. Berger hit a home run in both contests, so he was more than a formidable opponent. Vance went the distance in this game, which was the last time he would accomplish that feat in his Hall of Fame career. Vance struck out 45 more batters before he hung up the cleats after appearing in 442 ballgames over a 16 year span. He only spent 47 of those 442 games with the Birds on the Bat across his chest, which obviously came during the twilight of his career. With that said, that season was a special one for the man they called Dazzy, as he would go on to celebrate as a champion at season's end. He even appeared in a game in the Fall Classic and struck out three Detroit Tigers. It had to be one of the greatest moments of his life standing on baseball's biggest stage.

     Vance spent more than a decade in the minor leagues before getting his shot at the age of 31. To say he made the most of that shot would be a vast understatement. He posted double-digits in the win column 10 times, and led the National League twice in wins as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers. His finest season came in 1924 when he led the league with 28 wins. You can read all about the life and times of Dazzy here: http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/5c1fec75

Check out the box scores below here

Game 1: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/BSN/BSN193407221.shtml

Game 2: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/BSN/BSN193407222.shtml

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

July 21, 1958: Flood Comes Up Big In The 14th

     On July 21, 1958, rookie center fielder Curt Flood removed an 0 for 5 collar with a 14th inning home run that beat the Braves 5-4 at County Stadium in Milwaukee.

     The pennant bound Braves looked like they were going to roll to victory early with a three run first that sent the Cardinals starter Lindy McDaniel packing before he could record the third out of the frame. The Cardinals started pecking at the lead in the third, when McDaniel's replacement Jim Brosnan picked up a one out double, then scored on a fly ball off the bat of Joe Cunningham. Wally Moon knocked Cunningham in with two outs in the sixth, then an error by Milwaukee's starter Lew Burdette led to the game tying run in the seventh. That lead was short-lived, as Phil Paine, served up a long ball to the Braves' first baseman Joe Adcock, in the bottom of the seventh, which may have had Burdette thinking the game was his, as he sailed into the ninth, before surrendering a game tying home run to Moon, which led to extras. Burdette was still on the bump when the rookie led the 14th off with the long ball that decided things. Bill Wight, who had taken over with one out in the eighth, then proceeded to set the side down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the fourteenth, which sent the 20-year-old Flood trotting to the locker room an extra inning hero.

     Flood hit 10 home runs and carried a .261 average during his rookie campaign. His defense would help him stick around, as he quickly became an elite defender that had his opponents holding their breath if the ball was hit anywhere within two city blocks of the man who donned the 21 on his back. He would man center for 12 seasons in Cardinal Nation, which included seven consecutive seasons in which he was awarded the Gold Glove. He will forever be known as the man who changed the landscape in baseball by challenging the reserve clause, but we must not ever forget that Curt Flood was one of the greatest players to ever step on a major league diamond.

Check out the box score here: