Sunday, July 12, 2015

July 12, 1966: The National League Comes Out On Top In St. Louis

     On July 12, 1966, Tim McCarver scored the game winning run, as the National League came out on top in the All Star game 2-1 at Busch Memorial Stadium in St. Louis. The mercury on the stadium thermometer sat at 100 degrees when the first pitch was thrown in this one, and it was said that it reached 102 during the contest. The field was like an oven, in fact, when "The Old Perfessor" Casey Stengel was asked about the brand new state of the art stadium he proclaimed "it certainly holds the heat well." Vice President Hubert Humphrey threw out the first pitch, and was one of many fans who decided to steer clear of the heat by finding shelter after the contest got under way. Once the midsummer classic got underway, it proved to be a classic indeed, as it took 10 innings to decide a winner.

     The two starting pitchers in this one were Denny McLain from the Tigers and the legendary Dodger Sandy Koufax. The American League put a run on the scoreboard in the second when they made the most of a wild pitch by Koufax, which came after Brooks Robinson of the Orioles tripled with one out just two batters before. The National League came back with a run in the fourth with an RBI by Cubs third baseman Ron Santo that brought Giants slugger Willie Mays into score. While there was some offense, the pitching was dominant throughout, which led to extras on that scorcher of a day at Busch.

     Then came the game winning rally, which started when the Cardinals catcher Tim McCarver, picked up a lead off single off of Washington's Pete Reichart. The Senators hurler was able to get the next man out, but McCarver moved over to second in the process, before Maury Wills of the Dodgers came up with the game winning single that brought McCarver into score the run that counted the most. The National League had laid claim to the victory in the midsummer classic for the fourth time in a row.

     Despite the loss, Brooks Robinson took home the MVP award, as he played all 10 innings at the hot corner that day, and went 3 for 4 with the lone run scored for his squad. That squad wanted to erase the National League dominance that had put them on the wrong side of the scoreboard in the previous three seasons. It was said that Robinson would have traded all of the accolades and awards to simply win the ballgame. However, it just did not work out that way, as the home crowd enjoyed watching the National Leaguers come out on top.

Note: Besides McCarver, Bob Gibson and Curt Flood represented the Cardinals during the contest. Gibson did not pitch, and Flood did not get a it in his lone plate appearance.

Check out the box score here:

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