Saturday, May 23, 2015

May 23, 1970: Dick Allen's Bat + Bob Gibson's Arm = Cardinals Win

     On May 23, 1970, Bob Gibson's arm and Dick Allen's bat led the Cardinals to a 3-1 victory over the Phillies at Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia. Gibson was a strikeout machine in the contest, as he fanned sixteen men, while Allen belted two home runs, which accounted for all three of the Cardinals runs.

     Both of Allen's home runs came with two outs against him, and both of them came against a future Hall of Famer in Jim Bunning who was in the twilight of his career. Allen's first home run came in the third with a man on, then he gave Gibby a little insurance with his second of the day in the fifth. The Phillies made the most of an eighth inning lead off walk, as Ron Stone followed it up with a triple, which led to Philly's lone run in the contest. In the ninth, Gibson struck out the first man he faced for his 15th K of the ballgame. He then surrendered his fourth and final hit of the contest before retiring the next man on a fly ball. Byron Browne came into pinch hit as the Phillies last hope, however, all hope was dashed as Browne was caught looking, giving Gibson sixteen K's on the day.

     Gibson led the National League with 23 wins in 1970, which was also a career high for the hurler. His impeccable record along with a 3.12 earned run average and 274 strikeouts helped Gibby bring home his second  and final Cy Young Award of his career. Unfortunately, Bob Gibson was the only man on that club who posted a winning record and the team finished 10 games under .500.

     While the club's overall record in 1970 was a disappointment, Dick Allen was far from it. He belted a grand total of 34 home runs and knocked in 101 runs. Allen had come to the Cardinals in a now famous trade that was supposed to have Curt Flood going to Philly. While Flood refused to accept the deal, the Cardinals were able to come up with ample compensation to complete the deal, which led to a big year for Allen with the Birds on the Bat across his chest. With that said, it was the only year he wore those Birds on the Bat, as he was moved in the following offseason.

     Allen would go onto prove that he had a lot left in the tank in the years to come and that may have been one deal that the front office wish they had back. I know that I have studied the career of Dick Allen and as a fan of his I wish they had it back. However, that is not the way it went. Allen's overall career is worthy of being recognized at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Although, he fell just one vote shy of being inducted in 2014. Hopefully, Mr. Allen sees the day when he stand before a crowd and gives an acceptance speech. And while I know that his time in Cardinal Nation was brief, I hope he reflects on his days in St. Louis. Those that remember those days remember watching one of the greatest players of the era swing the stick in the Gateway City. You know if and when that day comes his former teammate Bob Gibson will be one of many men to welcome Allen into the elite fraternity. The two may reminisce about the day Gibby fanned 16 while the slugger known as The Wampum Walloper put two over the fence as they led the way to a Redbirds victory.

Check out the box score here:

Best known for his days in Philly, Allen also made his mark with the Dodgers, White Sox, and A's, as well as the Cardinals during his 15 years in the big leagues. His baseball tale is unique, as he battled through controversial times while putting together quite the resume. You can read all about the life and times of Dick Allen here:

The legendary Bob Gibson's tale is one that every Cardinals fan should know as well. A talented athlete, Gibson was a basketball star who stepped on the hardwood as a member of the Harlem Globetrotters before turning his attention to the game that is played on the diamond. The decision to play baseball was decision that formed a legacy as one of the most fierce competitors in the sport. You can read all about him here:

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