Thursday, May 28, 2015

May 28, 1942: One Fan Croaks, Another Attacks an Ump, And The Cards Win In Pittsburgh

     On May 28, 1942, one fan dropped dead, another was arrested for attacking an umpire, a player was ejected, and the Cardinals beat the Pirates 3-2 in 11 innings at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. Sheesh.

     Mort Cooper started the contest for the Birds and gave them eight and a third, striking out six, while allowing nine hits. After the Corsairs got on the board with a run in the third with an RBI by Bob Elliott. However, Mort's brother Walker hit a two run clout in the fourth to make it 2-1 Cardinals in the top of the fourth, which stood until the bottom of the ninth. Mort failed to close the door though, as he walked Jim Waddell, then allowed a single to Babe Phelps that pushed Waddell over to third. One batter later Culley Rikard ripped a single into left that knotted the score up. Cooper's day ended after he loaded the bases by walking Johnny Barrett. Johnny Beazley took over in the high pressure situation and he induced the Pirates first baseman Elbie Fletcher into hitting into a double play that seen a man gunned down at home, as well as Barrett who was trying to take second base. Beazley set the next man down squashing whatever momentum the Pirates had built.

     The wheel officially fell off the Pirates bus with a little small ball in the eleventh as both Whitey Kurowski and Marty Marion got on with a pair of bunts. The latter of the two appeared to be a close play at first, and Elbie Fletcher thought he had gotten the tag on Marion, which led to an argument between him an Umpire Ziggy Sears, and after a few heated words were tossed Sears' way Fletcher got the ole heave-ho. Frustration got the best of him, and while he was making his way to the showers Creepy Crespi came up with a single that brought Kurowski to score what proved to be the game winning run. Harry Gumbert made it official with a 1-2-3 frame, which handed the Pirates their fifth straight defeat.

     The crazy storylines that went along with this game came before it, as a fan passed away at the stadium before the game began, and after it as another fan took issue with the play in which Marion was called safe. The irate fan had misguided anger as he went after umpire Tommy Dunn who was not even involved in the play that had him worked up. Police became involved quickly as the fan was rushed away from the ump who had to be stunned by the turn of events. It is only speculation on my part, but I would bet that fan may have indulged in a beverage or two that impaired his judgement a bit.

     These two clubs were headed in very different at the time, as the Cardinals were in already in midst of a heated pennant race. The Pirates won just 66 games, while the Cardinals won 106 and they needed every one of them to oust the Dodgers out of first place, which is a position they held from April 20th to September 11th. The Cardinals took over first place on September 13th and did not look back as they stormed toward a World Series title.

Check out the box score here:

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