Sunday, November 27, 2016

November 27, 1956: Charlie Peete Dies In A Plane Crash

     On the morning of November 27, 1956, the plane that was carrying Cardinals top prospect Charlie Peete crashed into a cloud-covered mountain outside of Venezuela, killing all 25 passengers on board. Among the dead were Peete's wife and three children. A little over a month before the tragic event Peete was a September call up that was sure to be invited to the Spring Training next season. He had won a batting title with the American Association and looked like his star was on the rise. Then it was all taken away in a blink. When it comes to his ties to the St. Louis Cardinals it seems that his story is one that is a what might of been kind of tale. Peete lived to be 27 years old, which is way too young to die, however, in those 27 years he left his mark on the world in which he lived. He may have passed away on this day, but I do believe that this day should be a day to remember the days he lived, and by doing so we pay a great tribute to him and his family.

Joe Schuster wrote a biography about Charlie Peete for The Society of American Baseball Research. You can find it here:http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/d84e326e

Rest in Peace to all of those who perished on that fateful day.
.



Saturday, October 29, 2016

October 29, 1942, Rickey Flies The Coop

     On October 29, 1942, the end of an era came to a close when Branch Rickey resigned as the Vice President of the St. Louis Cardinals, so he could take a position as President and General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Rickey had been part of the Cardinals organization for 25 years, doing everything from managing the club to building a farm system that would have a lasting impact on all of baseball.

     The split came after differences arose between him and owner Sam Breadon. During his time with the Cardinals the club won nine National league Pennants, and four World Championships, along with two more that came in 1944 and 1946 with players that Rickey had helped acquire and develop. The franchise remained contenders throughout the rest of the forties with the players that Rickey had brought into the farm system, but without him it did falter, while the Dodgers began to rise under his guidance. He signed Jackie Robinson in  Brooklyn and turned that club into a perennial contender in the years to come. In many ways the Cardinals had learned the lesson of you don't know what you got until it's gone. .

     While Rickey did return to the Cardinals as a consultant in 1962, his best days had come and gone. His days with the team came to an official close in December of 1964. Less than a year later Rickey passed away. In life and in death he will forever be a legendary figure in the history of  the Cardinals and in all of baseball as well.

If you would like to read more about the life and times of Branch Rickey check this out: http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/6d0ab8f3
   

     

Sunday, September 18, 2016

September 18, 1968: Washburn Returns The Favor

     On September 18, 1968, just 24 hours after being no-hit by the Giants hurler Gaylord Perry in San Francisco, Cardinals hurler Ray Washburn no-hit those same Giants in San Francisco. The Birds got their runs on ribbies by Curt Flood and Bobby Tolan in the seventh and eighth innings. Washburn walked five, and struck out eight as he worked his way into the history books. In the ninth he had his hands full with two future Hall of Famers in Willie Mays and Willie McCovey due up in the inning. He started off the frame by retiring second baseman Ron Hunt with a groundout.   Mays then hit a hotshot to third where Mike Shannon fielded it, then threw him out at first, before McCovey flew out to Flood in center. The no-no was the fifth in franchise history and the first back-to-back no-hitters in the history of the game. It was also the first no-no for the Cardinals since Lon Warneke accomplished the feat in 1941.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SFN/SFN196809180.shtml

Here are some interesting facts about no-hitters: http://m.mlb.com/news/article/3481250//

Saturday, September 10, 2016

September 10, 1963: Grandpa Stan Hits It Out

     On September 10, 1963, Stan Musial became the first Grandfather in the history of Major League Baseball to hit a home run. Early that morning, around 4:40 a.m., Musial's son Dick and his wife Sharon welcomed Jeffery Stanton Musial into the world. With the classic smile on his face Musial came to the ballpark, was congratulated by teammates, then got ready to face the  visiting Chicago Cubs. It did not take Stan long to become the first Grandpa to go deep in a ballgame. In fact he did it in his first at bat, in the first inning, and on the first pitch he saw,  which was delivered by Glenn Hobbie. The two-run blast set the tone for the day, as the Cardinals rode the wave to an 8-0 victory. Bob Gibson also got in on the home run action, hitting a three-run shot in the second. Musial followed Gibby's shot with a single and a ribbie in the same inning. The home run that Musial hit that night in September was the 474th of his career. He hit one more before he hung up the cleats. Number 474 was quite special, as The Man welcomed a Little Man into the world in a very unique way.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN196309100.shtml

Monday, September 5, 2016

September 5, 1935: Terry Moore Goes 6 For 6

     On September 5, 1935, Terry Moore went 6 for 6 during a Cardinals win over the Boston Braves at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. The rookie center fielder's performance was a part of a 19-hit attack that saw the hometown club walk away victorious by the score of 15-3. Moore was only the second Cardinals player to accomplish the feat of picking up six hits in a game, and to date he is the last to do so. The first was "Sunny Jim" Bottomley who did it in 1924 and then again in 1931. A recent inductee into the Cardinals Baseball Hall of Fame in Downtown St. Louis, Moore was one of the best center fielders to ever wear the Birds on the Bat. He just missed out on the Championship season of 1934, however, he would celebrate as a World Champion in 1942 and 1946 with the club. Moore not only held his own at the plate, he was also one of the best defenders in all of baseball, and it is safe to say if the Gold Glove Award existed during his time on the diamond he would have had a shelf full of them.

     When I heard that Terry Moore had made it into the Cardinals Hall of Fame it made me very happy to know that future generations of Cardinals fans will be sure to know his name. He was something special. Hats off to all of the men who have been honored within those walls.

Read more about the life and time of Terry Moore here: http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/28c4448c

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN193509050.shtml

Sunday, August 21, 2016

August 21, 1977: Lord, I was Born a Cardinals Fan

     So, this is what I am going to call an On This Day In Cardinal Nation Birthmas Special. It began with a baby boy being born at St. John's Hospital just outside of St. Louis on August 21, 1977. This baby was a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals before he was even born, as he had listened to ballgames through his mom's belly every chance he got. Then came that day, the 21st of August, and he was on his way to meet the world. It was a Sunday, and the baby's momma was catchin' a Sunday service when suddenly, she was like "POW!!! I THINK I'M HAVIN' A BABY!!!", and off to St. John's she went.

     So, I was born at 11:03 a.m. and weighed 10 1/2 pounds and named Wade Forrester. The Cardinals played at 1:20 that day, so I got one of the nurses to bring me a transistor radio to listen to the ballgame. It turned out to be a rough day at the ole ballpark. The Padres were in town and they had brought the big bat of Dave Kingman, who hit a first inning grand slam en route to a 7-0 beatdown of the Cards. I was pissed. I tried to get my Mom to drive me down to the stadium to give the team a pep talk, but you know how it is when you're born... The whole family was there talkin' about how handsome I was and I got to eatin' it up, so I just chilled and grabbed a sports the page while they doted.

     After realizing that the team had took 2 of 3 from the Friars I thought it wasn't all that bad they would just have to get things going the next day with the Dodgers in town. It turned out to be an instant classic that I will never forget. However, it looked bleak for the Cards early, as they fell behind 5-1 after three. I would have pulled my hair out, but  had a little problem... I was bald. Anyway, the Cardinals offense was held in check by Burt Hooton who looked to be poised to toss a complete game, as he rolled into the ninth with a 6-1 cushion. However, Hooton gave up a leadoff single to Jerry Mumphrey, then surrendered a triple to Garry Templeton to make it 6-2. There was life.

     As soon as the run scored a phone rang in the Dodgers bullpen, and Lance Rautzahn made his way to the bump to relieve Hotton. Rautzahn gave up a single to Ted Simmons, which brought Templeton trotting in, and moments later Keith Hernandez smacked a double and Simmons scored on a botched relay. 6-4. Rutzahn had faced just two batters, before being told to hit the showers. The Dodgers skipper, Tommy Lasorda then called on Charlie Hough to put the fire out, as it looked like it may just become an inferno. Right out the gate Hough added fuel to the fire with a passed ball that brought Hernandez into score to make it 6-5. Hough finally recorded the first out of the inning by retiring Mike Anderson, but followed it up with back-to-back singles by Kenny Reitz and Mike Tyson. With electric flowing through the air, Roger Freed came up to the plate with a chance to win it and that he did, as he fell behind 1-2 before taking the fourth pitch for a ride over the wall at Busch. The walk off blast gave the Cardinals an 8-6 win and it also taught me about the rollercoaster ride I would endure as a baseball fan. Enjoy the highs and get past the lows quickly. For something great is on the horizon.

Have a great day, folks. Go Cards!!!

Box scores for both contests

August 21, 1977: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN197708210.shtml

August 22, 1977: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN197708220.shtml

Monday, August 8, 2016

August 8, 1934: 21 Wins For Dizzy

     On August 8, 1934, Dizzy Dean won his 21st game of the season by pitching the last three innings of a 10-4 Cardinals victory over the Reds at Crosley Field Cincinnati. The day before the contest was played Dizzy locked down his 20th victory of the season with a complete game shutout in the first game of a doubleheader against those same Reds.

    Jesse Haines started the contest, and allowed just four hits and one run through the first seven innings. Haines ran into trouble in the eighth, allowing a leadoff double to pinch-hitter Tony Piet, who came into score moments later on an RBI single by second baseman Alex Kampouris. Frankie Frisch called on Paul Dean with Haines seemingly running out of gas, J. Roy Stockton of the Post Dispatch acknowledged that even the great Dean brothers would have moments of wildness and Paul had exactly that after having little time to warm up, which led to him walking a man, then allowing another to reach on a bunt single. Just like that the bases were loaded with no outs. A couple of sac flies later the game was tied 4-4.

     Paul settled down for out of that inning with no more damage done, then set down the side in order in the ninth, before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the top of the tenth. While the Cardinals offense could not capitalize in that inning brother Dizzy took over from there, and held the Reds in check. The Red hurler, Don Brennan, who had come on in relief in the ninth had done much of the same, until the fateful twelfth inning, which ended with six Cardinals base runners crossing the dish.

    The big rally started with a leadoff double by Ripper Collins who had not picked up a hit in his last nine trips to the plate. Spud Davis followed with a groundout, but moments later center fielder Chick Fullis singled and Collins came into score what proved to be the game winning run. Collins heard it from his captain Leo Durocher despite the fact he was able to score on the play, as he had failed to slide into home to the captain's chagrin. Collins was tagged on the ankle as he was crossing the dish by the Reds catcher, and even he was surprised by the fact because he thought he would score easily. Therefore, he took the criticism well, and apologized for his actions. No harm, no foul, and the rally continued, with a single by Dean, an error that led to another base runner,  and two walks that led to a bases loaded situation. The air had come out of the Reds at that point, and Brennan would hand the ball over to a Benny Frey, who was set to face Ducky Medwick who had already singled and doubled twice, before hitting a bases clearing triple against Frey to make the score 10-4. That was all she wrote for Cincy on that fine day in The Queen City, as Dizzy went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the frame, putting his 21st win of the season in the books in the process.

     The tales of Dizzy Dean are astounding. He was known as "The Great Man" and great he was. Especially, during that 1934 season that he finished with 30 wins. Some may not realize this, but four of those 30 wins came in relief. He actually came in as a reliever 17 times that season, and had seven saves under his belt by season's end as well. To say that he was spectacular would be quite the understatement. Dizzy Dean was phenomenal.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CIN/CIN193408080.shtml

Sunday, July 17, 2016

July 17, 1974: Dizzy Dean Heads To The Great Baseball Diamond In The Sky

      While researching the fact about Bob Gibson's 3,000th strikeout, I could not help but notice that on that same day in 1974 the great Dizzy Dean passed away at the age of 63. Dean's antics, as well as his spectacular performances on the mound made him the face of the Gashouse Gang in the thirties, then he would go onto become a larger than life personality in the booth calling games in the decades that followed. His days on earth may of ended that day, however, the legend of Dizzy Dean will stand the test of time. He was truly something special when it comes to the history of the Cardinals and all of baseball as well. While we may acknowledge the day that someone passed away, I do believe it is more important to celebrate the days that they lived. Therefore, today take some time to read about the life and times of the man they called Dizzy. What a grand tale it was. Read his SABR bio here: http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/40bc224d

I like to believe when Dizzy made it to the great baseball diamond in the sky he looked at the first batter he faced and said "Son, what kind of pitch would you like to miss?" He then fired one in and sure enough there was swing and a miss.

July 17, 1974: 3,000 K's For Bob Gibson

     On July 17, 1974, Bob Gibson recorded his 3,000th career strikeout when he fanned Cesar Geronimo during the second inning of a 12 inning 6-4 loss against the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The Cardinals led 4-3 after three thanks to home runs by Joe Torre and Reggie Smith, but the lead disappeared after the Reds scored a run in the fourth, then another in the sixth. Gibby was lifted for a pinch hitter in the eighth. His final pitching line for the day was seven innings pitched, four strikeouts, and the four earned runs. The four K's put him at 3,003 for his career. The teams stayed deadlocked until that fateful twelfth, when George Foster hit a two run double that decided the contest. While the final score was not what the Cardinals and their fans had hoped for, the game was historic, as Gibson had moved behind only Walter Johnson on the all time strikeouts list. Gibson finished his career with 3,117 strikeouts.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN197407170.shtml

 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

July 13, 1922: Oh So Close To A No-No For Bill Doak

     On July 13, 1922, spitballer Bill Doak bid for a no-hitter disappeared against the Phillies at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, after he failed to cover first during the seventh inning. The hurler would have to settle for a one hit victory, as the Cardinals prevailed 1-0 in the contest behind his splendid effort.  Doak's teammates needed that splendid effort because Philadelphia's John Singleton held them in check for most of the day. Singleton allowed just six hits, with three of them coming in the fifth, which led to first baseman Jack Fournier scoring the lone run on an RBI by catcher Harry McCurdy. Nearly untouchable, Doak kept rolling until the gaffe in the seventh. It came when  the Phillies right fielder Curt Walker hit a slow roller toward first. Fournier rushed to get the ball, but looked over to an empty bag when he was ready to throw out the runner. Just like that the no-hit bid was history. It was reported in The St. Louis Post Dispatch that he laughed it off though, when the Phillies pitcher hit an almost identical ball towards first, only this time Doak rushed to the bag and retired the runner, as he led the club to victory.

     If Doak had covered the bag in the seventh he would have joined the list of men that have accomplished the feat as a member of the Cardinals. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. With that said, Doak won 144 games as a member of the club, which ranks fifth on the all time wins list for the franchise and his days on the diamond will not be forgotten.

Read more about Bill Doak at: http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/1359e4e2

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN192207130.shtml

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

July 12, 1890: Toad Strikes Out Thirteen

     On July 12, 1890, just days after being suspended for not running hard to second base, Toad Ramsey was reinstated, and struck out thirteen batters during a 12-4 Browns win over the Syracuse Stars at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. Ramsey not only held the Syracuse batsman in check, he also came up with a single and two sacrifices in the contest.  His teammates knocked Ramsey's counterpart, John Keefe around freely. Outfielder Count Campau hit a home run and a triple, while first baseman Ed Cartwright tripled twice in the tilt. The team that would be known as the Cardinals a decade later performed like champions that day. However, they would finish that season with a 78-58 record, which was 12 games behind the first place Louisville Colonels.

     Ramsey, who was given the nickname Toad because he looked like one, had returned to dominance that season. He had been one of the finest pitchers in the game during the 1886 and 1887 season, winning 75 games over the course of those two seasons for the Louisville Colonels. During that time he was also called a magician, as he mastered the knuckleball. Some say he even invented the pitch that danced its way into the strike zone. However, after those dominant seasons, Ramsey's star seemed to dim. He went 8-30 in 1888, then continued to slide in 1889, posting a 1-16 record before being traded to St. Louis for Nat Hudson. Hudson refused to report to Louisville and his days in the majors came to an end, but that was not the case for Ramsey. He went 3-1 with the Browns the rest of that season, then looked to have a career revival during that 1890 season.

     While Ramsey's star looked to shine once again, he had not endeared himself to  Von der Ahe whatsoever. He was a heavy drinker, making his own cocktail, which consisted of a pint of whiskey poured into a full pitcher of beer (yuck!). His drinking caused Von der Ahe to lose control of his club. With less than a month left in the campaign Ramsey had kept several teammates out past midnight  and he was released. There were no takers interested in Ramsey despite the fact that he, was 25 years of age and had won 23 games that season.

     In the grand scheme of things, Ramsey's time in St. Louis did not amount to much. With that said, he did entertain the fans in The Mound City for a little more than a season, and he certainly impressed them on that day in July when he struck out thirteen men. That day the St. Louis Post Dispatch  proclaimed that the team had "played ball like they had swallowed a horseradish factory." If only they could have swallowed more horseradish factories that season Ramsey may have kept his job. However, he would not step on a major league diamond ever again after his release.

While I could not find much more about the hurler known as Toad, I did find that he passed away in 1906 due to complications from a pneumonia. A very talented athlete, Ramsey should be remembered for what he did on his best days, which was make that ball dance right passed the men who stood at the dish.

Side note: Campau led the American Association that season with nine home runs.
   

Monday, July 11, 2016

July 11, 1931, Martin and Company Roll Over Cincy

     On July 11, 1931, with 4,000 spectators looking on, the Cardinals beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-2. The highlights of the contest included home runs by rightfielder George Watkins, and shortstop Jake Flowers. Watkins' homer off of Ray Kolp was a solo shot came with two out in the first to start the scoring for the day. The Cardinals hurler Syl Johnson watched his early lead evaporate in the second after a walk, a double, and single led to Cincy plating what proved to be their only two runs of the day. Johnson allowed another single during that second inning, then proceeded to shut the Reds down by not allowing a hit the rest of the day. His efforts along with the efforts of a 27-year-old rookie by the name of Pepper Martin would put the Cardinals in the win column.

     The Cardinals on the other hand were just getting started. It took them awhile to do so, as the Reds carried the two run lead into the fifth, before Martin sparked a rally with a leadoff triple. Johnson then helped his own cause by doubling in Martin to tie it. Moments later, Flowers came to the dish and pounced on a Kolp pitch that landed in the left field bleachers and just like that it was 4-2 Redbirds.

     The Cardinals kept flying in the sixth, as Kolp gave up a leadoff single to Ripper Collins, then a double to Chick Hafey. That ended the day for Kolp, as the Reds skipper Dan Howley called on Larry Benton to put the fire out. Benton retired the first man he seen, Frankie Firsch with a groundout, but then came the hot hitting Martin who ripped a double into left to score Collins and Hafey. The Cardinals scored their seventh run of the day in the seventh after catcher Jimmie Wilson doubled to leadoff the inning. Wilson moved over to third on a groundout, then made the most of an error at short and scored with two outs in the inning.

     The final run of the day came in the bottom of the eighth. Biff Wysong came took over for Benton to start that inning, and he had a tough task at hand, with Pepper Martin leading things off. Martin, who ended the day 3 for 4, doubled off the reliever, making it his third extra base hit in a row. Moments later, third baseman Andy High singled into left to bring him around to score. High was picked off trying to take second, before Wysong could get back-to-back groundouts to end the inning. With that said, the damage was done. Johnson had spun a gem, and that gem would continue to spin to with a 1-2-3 ninth, that included Johnson's fifth strikeout of the day.

     The win put the Cardinals five games up in the National League. They were the cream of the crop. The club had not trailed in the standings since May 29th, and would not trail in them the rest of that season, eventually finishing 13 games up, with 101 wins and the National League title. The Birds would go onto meet the Philadelphia Athletics in the World Series, and they were a familiar foe, as those same A's beat them in the 1930 Fall Classic. Coming off a 107 win season, the A's were going to be a tough nut to crack. However, with a heroic performance by Martin and the rest of that Cardinals squad they would get the job done in seven, bringing St. Louis its second World Series title in the process.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN193107110.shtml

Thursday, July 7, 2016

July 7, 1936: Dizzy And The Boys Win It For The National League All Stars

     On July 7, 1936, Dizzy Dean led the National League All Stars to a 4-3 over the American League at Braves Field in Boston. The Cardinals ace went three innings, walking two, which included the leadoff man Luke Appling, as well as Lou Gehrig, who he walked in the third. Dean picked Gehrig off to end that inning and his day's work. His final pitching line was zero hits, three strikeouts, and the two walks. Diz faced the minimum, as the other man he walked to lead off the game was retired on a double play. His only regret was he did not get a hit in the tilt. The victory was the first for the National League in the All Star game, which began being played in 1933.

     The Cardinals were well represented in the contest, as Ripper Collins started at first. Leo Durocher started at short, and Ducky Medwick got the start in left. Medwick picked up a very important RBI single in the fifth. Collins walked twice in as a many trips to the plate and Durocher picked up a hit as well. When it came to the starting nine in the contest eight of the nine players were represented by the Cardinals or Cubs. That player being third baseman Pinky Whitney of Phillies. The Cubs had Gabby Hartnett handling catching duties, Augie Galan in center, and Frank Demaree in right.

     The true story of this day was the pitching of National League. Dizzy was the best of the bunch, but those who followed were impressive as well. Carl Hubbell of the New York Giants took over for him after the three innings of dominance, Chicago's Curt Davis took over for Hubbell in the seventh, and gave up a lead off home run to Lou Gehrig. Davis picked up an out immediately thereafter, before giving up back-to-back singles, a walk, then another single that plated two more runs. His Cubs teammate Lon Warneke took over for him and  got the job done, holding the A.L. scoreless the rest of the way.  The Southeast Missourian reported the Warneke "blushed like a school gal when Leo Durocher kissed him smack on the mouth after the final put-out."

      There were several side stories to this contest that are well worth mentioning. The game only drew a crowd of 25,556 because of the fact that most the fans in Boston believed it was sold out for over a week. It was a disappointment to the Major League Baseball as a whole, as they expected more than 40,000 in the stands. Another story was that a rookie batter named Joe DiMaggio went 0 for 5, which had some writers questioning just how great it really was. Sort of funny in hindsight. Finally, Sam Breadon and Branch Rickey's hotel room got robbed before the game. The pair had a reported $600 stolen from them, which would equate to more than $10,000 today. After the contest was played the hotel they were staying at reimbursed them for the loss. Therefore, they both left Boston all smiles.

      To date, the National League has won 43 All Star games, while the American League has won 42. They have also played to two ties.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NLS/NLS193607070.shtml

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

June 29, 1966: Cepeda Hits The First Ever Upper Deck Shot At Busch

     On June 29, 1966, Orlando Cepeda's sixth inning home run off of Juan Marichal proved to be the game winner, as it led the way to a 2-1 victory over the visiting San Francisco Giants. The big blast was a towering drive, making it the first big fly to reached the upper deck of the newly opened ballpark. The Birds were up 1-0 at the time, but needed the power surge from Cepeda, as Willie McCovey took Nelson Briles deep to lead off the seventh, before the Birds held onto the lead.

     The day before this contest was played Cepeda had Marichal over to his house for dinner. The two future hall of famers and former teammates spent the day together, and joked with each other about taking it easy on one another. They both had a great respect for one another, as Cepeda called Juan number 1 in his book. With that said, on that day in late June it was Cepeda who proved to get the best of his old pal. The Amadee cartoon appeared in the St. Louis Post Dispatch on June 30, 1966. The headline that appeared with the story called Cepeda's big blast dessert.

     Another interesting turn of events in this contest was the repeated turn of the double play by the hometown Redbirds. They turned five of the twin killings, as the Cardinal infield took care of business with ease. Briles gave the the club seven and a third before handing the ball off to Joe Hoerner who earned the save, allowing just one hit along the way to victory.

      The story of that day will forever be the shot by Cepeda. That stadium that had thousands of memories packed within its walls throughout its history only had a number of firsts, and to think about being a part of the 29,000+ that witnessed the first upper deck shot had to be something to remember. Therefore, we do exactly that today.

In closing, when you go to the ballpark, and you cheer when something great happens, take a moment and realize that you are part of something great. You are a part of the great history of St. Louis Cardinals baseball. Decades from now when someone sits downs and writes about a game account they will mention the roar of the crowd. You will have been a part of the roar. It is pretty neat when you think about it.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN196606290.shtml

The article that I have featured with the Amadee illustration appeared in the  Beaver County Times  out of Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

June 22, 1926: Ole Pete Joins The Birds

   
   
     On June 22, 1926, the Cardinals claimed Grover Cleveland Alexander off of waivers from the Cubs. The Reds and the Pirates attempted to lay claim to the embattled hurler who was at odds with the skipper of the Chicago club. However, the Cardinals were behind both of those clubs in the standings at the time, so the Redbirds were able to snatch him up for the waiver price of $4000.

     The 39-year-old hurler would go onto help the Cardinals win the pennant, going 9-7 during the regular season. What made the waiver grab so noteworthy was what "Ole Pete" did in the postseason, pitching two complete game wins in Game 2 and 6, then he came into Game 7 with the score 3-2 and the bases loaded in the seventh and struck out the Tony Lazzeri. Alexander held the Yankees in check the rest of the way, earning what may be the most important save in franchise history.

     10 days before Alexander put on a Redbirds uniform the fans in Chicago game him a car. He was an adored player who had racked up double digits in wins every single full season that he played in The Windy City.With that said, an article that appeared in the Chicago Journal claimed that Ole Pete refused to listen to his skipper, who he considered to a be nothing more than a minor league manager. That led McCarthy to suspending Alexander, then subsequently releasing him.  . With that said, the Cubs skipper, Joe McCarthy, had not been getting along with the former star who had developed a drinking problem that he believed was hurting the Cubs.

     While fan and sportswriters in Chicago were stunned by the turn of events, the writers in St. Louis were praising the move as a good investment. Rogers Hornsby was excited to bring him on board, as there were dreams of a pennant spinning through his head. Alexander had won more than 300 games at that point in his career, and despite being bothered by a sore arm, and a drinking problem, the Cardinals player/manager believed he would be able to overcome the issues,  and would help the dream of a pennant become a reality. Ole Pete did exactly that.

I urge you to read Pete's SABR bio. He won 27 or more games six times, which included a 27 win season for the Cubs in 1920. He won 30 or more three times as a member of the Phillies early in his career, before being traded with the war looming in 1918. His best season as a Cardinal came in 1927 when he won 21 games.  55 of his 373 career wins came as a member of the Cards. His life had the highest and the lowest of lows. With that said, when you think of Ole Pete, think of  one of the greatest hurlers to ever step on a diamond that helped bring a title to St. Louis. You can read his bio here: http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/79e6a2a7

You can also look over Alexander's career numbers here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/a/alexape01.shtml

Sunday, June 12, 2016

June 12, 1922: Hub Fans The Babe Three Times In St. Louis

     On June 12, 1922, St. Louis Browns rookie pitcher Hub Pruett led the way to a 7-1 Browns victory over the Yankees at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. The hurler went the distance in the contest striking out six. What makes this game so significant is three of those strikeouts came against "The Great Bambino" himself, the one and only Babe Ruth.

     As the story goes, Pruett owned Ruth like no pitcher in the game ever had, striking him out 11 times in the first thirteen times he had faced him during that '22 season. "The Sultan of Swat" hit just .190 against Pruett. He did hit two home runs against him, with the first of the two coming in September of that '22 season. Pruett went just 29-48 over seven seasons in the big leagues, and 14-18 with the Browns over three years. His career was not one that ended in Cooperstown, however, he would earn a place in baseball history as the man who could fan the mighty Babe.

     Primarily a reliever later in his career, Hub struck Babe out a total of 15 times. When his days on the diamond ended, he went back to school and finished up a degree in medicine. He had used the money from his playing days to get that degree, and when he got a chance to talk to Ruth later in life he thanked him for helping put him through medical school. Ruth looked over at him and said "If there had been more like you, no one would have ever heard of me." That is some compliment from a man of his stature.

Here is a link to an ESPN article, which is an interview with Hub's son: http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/44743/pruett-heir-remembers-ruthian-legacy

Note: through the years the numbers were skewed a bit. I do believe some of the numbers in the ESPN story may be slightly different than the numbers I used here. However, I looked though multiple newspapers and went with the most widely reported numbers from those days. With that said, the ESPN article is a great one with a family member, and that family has called St. Louis home for life, so I thought it was a good one to share.

Also, I may sprinkle in some Browns facts like this one into the mix. I view them as a lost part of St. Louis history, so I would like to find some interesting things to share. As always, I hope you enjoy all the facts that I come up with. P.S. Go Cards!!!

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLA/SLA192206120.shtml

Thursday, June 9, 2016

June 9, 1980: Herzog's First Win As The Redbird's Skipper

     On June 9, 1980, Whitey Herzog secured his first win as the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals thanks to a tenth inning three run blast by George Hendrick in Atlanta.

     The Cardinals had led 5-0 in the contest, but the Braves scored a run in the sixth, three more in the seventh, then tied the ballgame in the ninth. It all just set the table for Hendrick's heroics, which came with Keith Hernandez and Ted Simmons aboard in that fateful tenth. Gene Garber had just taken over on the mound for the Braves, and Hendricks was the first batter he faced. Hendrick's got a hold of a changeup that ended up a souvenir as it sailed over the wall at Fulton County Stadium.

     In the bottom of the tenth Herzog called on lefty Kim Seaman to get left handed hitting first baseman Chris Chambliss out, but the move did not work as Chambliss got on with a single. The White Rat then called on George Frazier to get the job done, and after allowing a walk Frazier did exactly that. He induced Bob Horner into a double play, then struck Jeff Burroughs out looking to end it. It was the first of 822 wins for Herzog, while sitting at the end of the Cardinals bench. Only Tony LaRussa (1,408 and Red Schoendienst 1,021) have more.

     While Whitey had immediate success that day, the club was still in a transitional period. Ken Boyer had started the season as the manager. He was fired the day before that contest in between a doubleheader in Montreal. Jack Krol managed the second of the two games before it was announced that Herzog would be the skipper.  It is safe to say that many of the players were not happy with the change right when it happened. Under Boyer they had posted and 18-33 record, which led to the decision to make the move.

     Herzog went 38-35 as skipper before handing the reins to Red Schoendienst on August 29th. He had taken over as General Manager and realized that he needed to focus on that role. After briefly considering hiring another field manager, Herzog made the decision that he would do both  jobs after the season ended. He did one helluva job too, building the club that won the World Series in 1982, as well as the club's that won the National League Pennant in 1985 and 1987. His accomplishments will always be held in high regard in St. Louis, and he will forever be known by baseball fans everywhere as one of the immortal bunch who has a plaque in Cooperstown, New York. That honor was bestowed upon him in 2010.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/ATL/ATL198006090.shtml

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

June 7, 1985: The Birds Breakout In Extras In New York

     On June 7, 1985, the Cardinals scored six runs in the thirteenth en route to a 7-2 victory over the Mets in New York.

The game was a pitchers duel with Kurt Kepshire on the bump for the Birds, while Ron Darling toed the rubber for the Mets. Kepshire ripped a one out double in the third, then scored when Willie McGee singled with two outs in the inning. The hurler allowed just three hits through seven and a third, striking out six along the way. Kepshire's biggest hiccup came in the fifth when outfielder Danny Heep belted a game tying solo shot to lead off the inning.

     Kepshire shook off the misfortune and went back to work picking up two strikeouts in that inning.  After handing the ball over to the bullpen, Kepshire watched Rick Horton, Jeff Lahti, Ken Dayley, and Bill Campbell hold the Mets at bay. The Mets pen did the same to the Birds with Randy McDowell and Jesse Orosco getting the job done through the twelfth. McDowell even worked his way around a bases loaded with no outs in the ninth situation, however, the Mets could not build off the momentum builder.

     The Cardinals had stranded eight runners coming into the fateful thirteenth frame, but that would soon be forgotten, as they became accustomed to crossing the dish quite often. Doug Sisk took over mound duties for the Mets and was snake-bitten from the start, as his shortstop committed an error, helping Terry Pendleton get on base to lead off the inning.  Ozzie Smith moved Pendleton over on a groundout, before catcher Tom Nieto removed an 0 for 4 collar with a single to center to give the Cardinals a 2-1 lead. Tom Lawless pinch ran for Nieto, then scored after Sisk allowed a single to the Cardinals reliever Bill Campbell, and the line was starting to move. Vince Coleman got on with an infield single, Willie McGee walked to load the bases, Tommy Herr knocked in two runs, then moments late Jack Clark did the same. The six run outburst buried locals. Although, they attempted to a comeback of their own in the bottom off the inning by scoring a run off of Campbell. However, it was all they could muster, and the Cards trotted off the field with smiles on their faces.

     That was the first of a four game set in New York for the Cardinals, with the Birds taking three of the four. The heat was on and it would only get hotter down the stretch, as the Cardinals flew towards a pennant. That '85 club will forever be remembered in St. Louis as a high flying bunch that refused to lose.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYN/NYN198506070.shtml

Monday, May 30, 2016

May 30, 1925: Rickey Out; Hornsby In As The Cardinals Skipper

     On May 30, 1925, Sam Breadon informed Branch Rickey that Rogers Hornsby would take over as a player/manager of the St. Louis Cardinals after the club stumbled out of the gate with a 13-25 record. The club had lost five in a row when Breadon made the move to his star batsman. It proved to be what was best for the team, as Hornsby led the club to a 64-51 record the rest of the way, then would go onto lead the way to a World Championship in 1926.

     The move seemingly sparked the club, as they rattled off four wins in a row under the guidance of Hornsby. While Breadon did declare that all was good with Rickey, it has been said that he considered quitting before embracing his role in the front office. The fact of the matter is, Rickey was not the best manager. He could see talent in a field on a passing train, however, his record from the end of the bench speaks for itself. He posted a 458-485 record over seven seasons, never finishing better than third in the National League. Only three of those seasons were winning seasons, and only twice was he able to guide the club to more than 80 wins.

     Not only did this decision by Breadon help the team win their first championship with Hornsby captaining the ship, it also helped Rickey find his true calling as a GM. Rickey had already started the minor league system at that point, but in this new role he would help expand the system, which would lead to sustained success for the Redbirds. Decade after successful decade would follow, as the club won nine pennants and six championships between 1926 and 1946.

     Hornsby managed the club through the end of that 1926 season, celebrated as a the hero who brought home a title, then was traded away in the offseason. The same man who he took over for would pull the trigger on the deal that sent Hornsby to New York, which proved to be quite the deal for the Cardinals as well, as Frankie Frisch was who came to St. Louis in return. Breadon and Rickey alike were not afraid to ruffle some feathers if it meant the Cardinals would be flying atop the standings, at that is exactly what they did.

     Rickey left the club in the Fall of '42, however, he forever left his mark on the team. He even made his way back in 1964. Although, his time has come and gone, and  his effectiveness as a senior consultant was less than what was expected to say the least. With that said, what Rickey did with the Cardinals will always make him an elite member from the organization's past.

     A lesson that can be taken from what was probably a bad day for Branch Rickey after being told he would no longer be managing the club: Focus on the things to come. Know that great things can spawn out of bad moments in your life. At times, those bad moments build character, give you drive, then lead you to the roads you are destined to travel on.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

May 19, 1962, Musial Becomes The National League's All-Time Hit King

     On May 19, 1962, Stan "The Man" Musial surpassed Honus Wagner's National League hit record by picking up the 3,431st hit of his career during an 8-1 win over the Dodgers in Los Angeles. The historic single came in the ninth inning, as he removed and 0 for 4 collar by lining a Ron Perranoski curveball into right. Once Musial reached first base an enormous message flashed across the scoreboard that Musial was the new hit king in the National League. The Cardinals skipper Johnny Keane let Musial soak in moment, before removing him for a pinch runner. It was quite the moment indeed, as Stan's former teammate Wally Moon handed him the ball, with the crowd of 50,000 standing on their feet cheering the National League's all-time hits leader.

     Musial had been in a bit of a slump coming into the contest. Once he reached 3,429 hits he stalled a bit, going hitless in 15 at bats, before tying the record in San Fran on the 16th of May. He then continued to struggle at the dish, then finally punched it through on that night in Los Angeles. Musial would say "I never worked for two hits so hard in my life." He acknowledged the pressure got to him a bit, and was relieved the moment he had recorded the hit.

     The record set by Wagner had stood for nearly 45 years, as the man they called "The Flying Dutchman had recorded his last hit in September of 1917. As we sit here today, only Pete Rose, Ty Cobb, and Hank Aaron have recorded more hits than Stan Musial. The Man rapped out 3,630 hits over the course 22 seasons. 1,815 at home and 1,815 on the road; a perfect split for baseball's perfect knight.  His first hit came on September 17, 1941, and his last came on September 29, 1963. So many stories and accomplishments achieved in between those days, as Musial became one of the greatest players to step onto a diamond.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/LAN/LAN196205190.shtml


Saturday, May 14, 2016

May 14, 1988: Oquendo Gets The Decison

   
     On May 14, 1988, Jose Oquendo became the first non-pitcher since 1968 to record a decision for his club. Unfortunately, that decision was a loss,as the Cardinals fell 7-5 to the Braves in 19 innings at Busch. With that said Oquendo, who was the eighth Redbird hurler of the day, pitched three scoreless innings, before Ken Griffey Sr. ripped a two-run double in the 19th that proved to be the game winning hit of the ballgame. 

     While the game did not end the way those in Cardinal Nation would have hoped for, it was certainly one to remember. Oquendo played every single position on the diamond for the Redbirds, which earned him his nickname "The Secret Weapon." Many of the headlines that followed his pitching loss against the Braves asked the question: Can he catch? The answer was yes. He caught a game later that year in September. His value to the team could never be overstated. In my opinion he deserves to be a member of the Cardinals Hall of Fame at Ballpark Village. 

     Another interesting thing to note that happened during that 19 inning affair in '88 was Whitey Herzog made the decision to have another Cardinal pitcher, Jose DeLeon, come in and play the outfield in the sixteenth. The "White Rat" didn't stop there. He alternated DeLeon with Tom Brunansky in right and left depending on the batter Oquendo was facing. It is too bad Oquendo did not walk away with a win. His final pitching line was four hits allowed, a strikeout, six walks, and the two earned runs that put an L on his pitching record. Life would go on, as Jose and the rest of his teammates would be able to look back and laugh about the day he tried his best to pitch them to a win. 

Friday, May 6, 2016

May 6, 1967, Cepeda Breaks Out The Big Stick at Wrigley

     On May 6, 1967, with the wind blowing in at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Orlando Cepeda belted two home runs, as he helped lead the way to a 5-3 Cardinals victory.

     The Cardinals had fallen in a 2-0 hole after Ron Santo and Ernie Banks knocked in a pair of runs in the first, then Cepeda went to work by leading off the second with a solo shot to cut the lead in half. Before the inning was over, Tim McCarver, Julian Javier, and Dal Maxvill picked up three successive one out singles to tie it up. The Cards jumped on top in the third when Cepeda and Mike Shannon hit a pair of solo shots back-to-back to put the club up 4-2, then in the sixth the lead was extended to 5-2 when the day's starting pitcher Al Jackson got in on the action by knocking in Javier with a single.

     Jackson pitched into the ninth, but got into a little trouble after Billy Williams led of the frame with a double. Moments later Ernie Banks struck again, knocking in the runner to make it 5-3. Red Schoendienst called on Ron Willis to finish things off and he did the job by getting Randy Hundley to strikeout looking, then retiring Lee Thomas on a foul flyball that landed in Tim McCarver's mitt behind the dish.

     Another impressive feat that happened during this game in Chi-Town was Curt Flood extended his errorless streak to 205 games, tying the National League record. That streak would reach 226 before it came to a close, which was a team record until Jon Jay went 245 games without committing an error between 2011 and 2013.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CHN/CHN196705060.shtml

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May 3, 1941, Gornicki Tosses a One-Hitter In Philly

     On May 3, 1941, rookie hurler Hank Gornicki made his first major league start at Shibe Park in Philadelphia and turned in a one-hit performance. His effort led the way to a 6-0 Cardinals victory and the team's eighth win in a row. The rookie was assisted by home runs that came off the bats of left fielder Don Padgett and second baseman Creepy Crespi. Padgett's big blast was a solo shot in the fourth that got things going for the Birds, while Crespi's long ball came in the ninth to finish the day's scoring off. The true story of the day was the rookie who stood on the bump. The only hit he had allowed was a sixth inning single to Stan Benjamin. At the end of the day not one other batter could touch him. He final line was five strikeouts, five walks, and the lone hit. He was another rabbit pulled out of the Cardinals hat, as another rookie, Howie Krist had turned in a five-hit performance against those same Phillies the day before.

     While Gornicki grabbed the headlines after the game was in the books, that start would be his only start for the Cardinals. The club was pitching rich at the time, so he never did find a spot in the rotation. He appeared in four games out of the bullpen, then was sent down to Rochester. Gornicki was sent to the Cubs for cash in September of that same season, however, the deal was vetoed by the commissioner of baseball. After it was all said and done the Pirates grabbed him off of waivers. Gornicki spent the '42, '43, and '46 seasons in Pittsburgh.He spent 1944 and 1945 in the service.

      Once the career of Hank Gornicki came to a close he had posted a 15-19 record. In the eyes of some  a guy like him may be looked at as insignificant. However, 75 years ago today Hank Gornicki came oh so close to tossing a no-no with the Birds on the Bat across his chest. That in itself is pretty significant. After his days on the diamond were over Hank Gornicki would live a long life. He passed away in 1996 at the age of 85. Usually, I am able to find quite a bit more about what former player did after their career ended, but was not able to do so in his case. I would imagine he lived a good life, and looked back at his days as a player with gleam in his eye. Every man who makes it to the big leagues, even if those days are short, should have that gleam in the eye when they look back. I certainly hope Hank did.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/PHI/PHI194105030.shtml

This article provide some more information about Hank Gornicki: http://www.baseballinwartime.com/player_biographies/gornicki_hank.htm

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

April 27, 1943: Cooper Spins a Gem

   

     On April 27, 1943, Mort Cooper tossed a gem in the home opener at Sportsman's Park, as he helped lead the way to a 7-0 victory over the Cubs. The Cubs starter, Paul Derringer was rocked, allowing four runs to cross the dish in the first, then was yanked for a reliever with two outs in the first. The Cardinals knocked in another run to make it 5-0, before Cooper even stepped on the bump. From there on out Coop was in control, allowing just five hits, while his teammates added two more runs to the totals, with a run, and a run in the sixth.

     The pitching staff in '43 started out on fire, allowing just three runs in their first five games. Mort Cooper led the National League with 21 wins, while Stan Musial led the league with a .357 average, 48 doubles, and 20 triples. Musial picked up one of those doubles in that big first inning on that day at Sportsman's Park. The club ended up winning 105 games, and the National League Flag by an astounding 18 games. They clinched on September 18th, then would go onto meet the Yankees for a rematch of the '42 Fall Classic.

     Unfortunately, the club that had dominated the National League would fall to the New Yorkers four games to one. With that said, what a year it was. The disappointment of losing that one would not take long to get past, as they took the cake in 1944, then again in 1946. Those teams from 1941 to 1946 were some of the greatest teams that the Cardinals ever put on the diamond and they will forever be remembered.

Check out the box score here; http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN194304270.shtml


Monday, April 25, 2016

April 25, 1956: Haddix Two-Hits The Cubbies at Busch

     On April 25, 1956, Harvey Haddix took care of business against the Cubs in St. Louis by allowing just two hits during a 6-0 win in front of 3,378 fans at Busch. The only hits by the Baby Bears were singles by Ernie Banks in the second, then another by Gene Baker in the sixth. Wally Moon and Rip Repulski helped the cause with a pair of 2 for 4 days, while Stan "The Man" Musial knocked in two with a double. Stan's double was the 540th of his career, which tied him with Joe Medwick on the all time doubles list. The Post Dispatch made note that the 540 doubles were "a considerable number below Honus Wagner's all time mark of 651. Stan finished his career with 725 two-baggers. Not only did Musial reach that milestone, the 35-year-old slugger also scored his 1,500th run of his career when Moon doubled in the second. Musial's final number in the runs scored department was 1,949.

     That game proved to be Haddix's last win in a Cardinals uniform, as he was dealt to Philadelphia in early May. He went 53-40 with the club over five seasons, with his best coming during his rookie season in 1953 when he won 20 games.

Check out the box score here:http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN195604250.shtml

Friday, April 22, 2016

April 22, 1926: Hafey's Tenth Inning Blast Sinks The Pirates Ship

     On April 22, 1926, Chick Hafey's tenth inning two run blast led the way to a 5-3 Cardinals win in Pittsburgh. It was a special day for the Pirates organization, as they hoisted the Championship Flag at Forbes Field with an estimated 35,000 fans witnessing the event. However, both clubs committed crucial errors, which led to extra innings, which set up Hafey's game winning home run in the tenth. Rogers Hornsby was aboard when Hafey came to the dish and the player/manager was more than happy when he watched the sphere sail over the wall to give the Cardinals the final lead of the day. Vic Keen, who started the ballgame for St. Louis, finished it has well. The hurler's stat line was not the prettiest, allowing ten hits, while striking out one. However, he kept his club in it, then finished off the defending champions, before celebrating the victory with his teammates.

     Chick Hafey hit .271 with four home runs during that '26 season. He played in just 78 games during the regular season. However, he did go onto play in each game of the World Series that followed. Of those four home runs he hit that season, it may be safe to say that the one he hit on that day in late April was the biggest blast for him during the campaign. The team won 89 games, which was good enough to secure a National League title by just two games, so that win like each and every win during that season was crucial.

     Despite battling poor eyesight and sinus problems, Hafey's best days were ahead of him. He had come up from Branch Rickey's farm system in 1924, and was still developing into a player that would find a place in Baseball's Hall of Fame. In the years to come, Hafey would find a true power stroke, hitting the double-digit mark in home runs from 1927 to 1931. When he wasn't hitting home runs, he was just flat out hitting, as he hit .329 or better six times during that same time frame. Hafey helped the Cardinals win three more National League pennants, as well as their second World Championship title in 1931. That '31 season was perhaps his greatest season, as he won the batting title with a .349 average. It was the closest batting title race in the history of the game, as Hafey took it in his last at bat of the season, beating out Jim Bottomley and Bill Terry.

     A contract dispute led to Hafey's departure from St. Louis in the Spring of '32. He ended up being shipped to Cincinnati where he finished out his career. It was said that he exited the game in 1937 because he could see night baseball on the horizon and those vision problems coupled with the sinus problems would not bode well for him, so he hung ip the ole cleats. Before doing so the man they called Chick had made a name for himself, with some calling him the second best right-handed hitter of his day, with only Rogers Hornsby ahead of him. Forever a Cardinal, Chick Hafey found his spot in Cooperstown in 1971 after being selected for enshrinement by a Veteran's Committee. His days would forever be remembered. One of those days that would be remembered came in Pittsburgh in 1926, as Hafey strolled to the dish in the tenth, took a home run cut, then trotted around the bases, before meeting Hornsby at the plate.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/PIT/PIT192604220.shtml

If you would like to know more about Chick Hafey you can read his SABR bio here: http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/96ae4951


Chick Hafey's stats: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/h/hafeych01.shtml

Thursday, April 21, 2016

April 21, 1059: Stan Breaks Up a No-No In Chicago

     On April 21, 1959, Stan Musial broke up his second no-hitter in four days, with a seventh inning double off of  Cubs hurler Glenn Hobbie during a 1-0 loss in Chicago. On the 18th of April, Stan broke up Jack Sanford's bid for a no-no by coming in as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, then ripping a single. Unfortunately for the Redbirds, the only hits in both of these games were provided by Musial. However, those hits kept the club from suffering their first no-hit game since Cincinnati's Hod Eller had acheived the feat against the Cardinals in May of 1919. The days of Musial playing the game of baseball on a diamond were coming to close much sooner than later when he broke up those no-hitters. he was 40 years old at the time, and his best days were surely behind him. However, The Man could still put the fear in a pitcher when he stepped into the box, got into his famous corkscrew stance, before taking a swing on a ball that would find its way through a hole.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CHN/CHN195904210.shtml

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

April 20, 1884: The Maroons Open The Season With a Win In St. Louis

     On April 20, 1884, the Maroons of the Union Association beat the Chicago Browns 7-2 at the Uniton Base Ball Park in St. Louis. A crowd of more than 10,000 witnessed the rain-shortened ballgame, which was called after just six innings due to the conditions. One fan who sat in the stands at that day told the Post Dispatch that it was like watching men play ball while wearing ice skates.

     Chicago's hurler, Hugh Daily, who was also known as "one arm", due to an accident he suffered as a child, won the St. Louis crowd over with what was deemed an effective delivery. The Chicago Tribune (which is where the featured article appeared) said that Daily struck out no less than 10 men. While he had his moments, the one armed hurler got knocked around by the hard hitting veterans of the St. Louis club, and was haunted by errors. That same article capped things off by saying the Maroons were not a lock to win the Union Association pennant like most had expected before the season began, That article was wrong. In fact, the Maroons were so dominant, going 94-19 on the season, that they have been attributed to the collapse of the short lived league. Not one other team in the league could hold a candle to them.

      The Union Association folded after the 1884 season. The league had aspirations of taking players away from the American Association and the National League. However, it was looked at as an inferior product overall and just could not compete with the big boys. Most historians do not consider the Union Association a true major league. Although, there were decent players sprinkled throughout, and fraction of them would find their way to big league rosters after the league disappeared into the past.  The only team in the Union Association that may have been considered anything close to a major league ballclub were the Maroons, and the only man who was considered a true star was the Maroons, Fred Dunlap. Dunlap hit an eye-popping .412 during that 1884 season, and would go onto have a decent career at the major league level.

     The Maroons joined the National League after the Union Association folded. However, they could not compete with the St. Louis Browns (who would be known as the Cardinals in less than twenty years). The Browns were poised to go on a historic run that led to four straight American Association pennants beginning in 1885. The Browns dominance ended up pushing the Maroons out of town to Indianapolis where they become known as the Hoosiers. The club competed in the National League until the end of the 1887 campaign, never coming close to the days they had during that 1884 season in St. Louis. While the team would end up being a part of baseball's forgotten past, today they are remembered.

Read about the ole ballpark here: http://sabr.org/bioproj/park/d9c10c59

Monday, April 18, 2016

April 18, 1950: The Birds Take Down the Bucs on Opening Night

     On April 18, 1950, more than 20,000 souls witnessed the first Opening Night game in the history of Major League Baseball at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, and watched the Cardinals knock off the Pirates by the score of 4-2. Red Schoendienst and Stan Musial delighted the crowd by hitting home runs in the contest, while the kid from The Hill, Joe Garagiola went 3 for 3 with an RBI.

     Red got things going early for the Redbirds by hitting a solo shot in the first, while Musial matched him with a solo shot to lead things off in the third. The Cardinals starter, Gerry Staley, ran into some trouble in the sixth after allowing a double and a walk, which led to Johnny Hopp knocking in both runners to tie the ballgame at 2-2. However, Staley stood tall through it all, and gave the Cardinals nine full innings of work, settling down the rest of the way. The hurler watched the Redbirds retake the lead in the sixth on the ribbie by Garagiola, than he watched Enos Slaughter and an insurance run with a two out single that brought Schoendienst trotting into score during the seventh. That would be the ballgame, as Staley held the Pirates at bay the rest of the night.

The artwork featured with today's fact appeared in The Post Dispatch  the following day.  It was done by Amadee Wohlschlaeger, who drew the Post's Weatherbird, along with many moments in sports around St. Louis as well. I always feel lucky to see his work, and will try to share it as often as possible. He was really something special. This piece was featured on Stltoday.com in 2014 when he passed away at the age of 102: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/obituaries/amadee-dies-at-weatherbird-artist-was-one-of-the-last/article_8ddfa9a1-eb32-555d-910b-cb6386344007.html

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN195004180.shtml

Friday, April 15, 2016

April 15,1892: The First National League Win In Club History

     On April 15, 1892, 2,600 fans witnessed the first National league win for the club that would be known as the Cardinal, as they defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-3 in St. Louis. The men of the hour were Ted Britenstein, who hurled six innings of no-hit ball, before giving up his only three hits of the day in the seventh, and outfielder Cliff Carroll, who fell a home run shy of the cycle, and recorded a sacrifice hit as well. Carroll, not only took care of business at the plate, he also was an asset in the filed, as he stopped what was deemed a sure triple by gunning  the ball into third to hold the man at second. In the grand scheme of things this win may be rather insignificant for a club that finished with a record of 56-94. However, it was the first win of many for the club that would become the cream of the crop in the National League.

The article featured with today's fact appeared in The St. Louis Post Dispatch the following day. For me, I look at it as a treasure. I see these articles as something that puts you back in the moment. I hope you enjoy and appreciate them as much as I do.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

April 13, 1932: The Birds Stun The Bucs In St. Louis

     On April 13, 1932, the Cardinals pulled off a stunner at Sportsman's Park by scoring five runs in the ninth to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-8. The historic comeback was capped off with a double by Frankie Frisch who knocked in the tying and winning runs.  It was a cold and blustery day at the ole ballpark, so the crowd was estimated to be a paltry 1,500 fans. Hard to say how many stayed until the end, as their Redbirds battled from behind throughout the contest. However, those who did witnessed an early season comeback that we can still celebrate today.
   
     The Pirates scored the first three runs of the contest in the second, and they would lead until the final at bat of the affair. The Birds scored two in the third, but watched the visiting Buc's take those run right back with a pair in the fifth. While things were not going well for the day's starter Wild Bill Hallahan, who had led the National League with 19 wins during the previous Championship season, the Cardinals refused to go away. The hurler watched his club inch closer on the scoreboard with a run in the sixth, then another in the seventh, before he was lifted for a pinch-hitter. The score was 5-4 when he was lifted, and the momentum seemed to be all  Cardinals. The wind was taken from the sails in the ninth, when  Jim Lindsey, Hallahan's replacement, allowed  three runs to cross the dish. With the score 8-4 it may have seemed that the coffin had been nailed shut on this one, however, it was far from over, and as you and I both know those last three outs are some tough outs to get. In fact, they were so tough that the visiting Pirates could not get them at all.

     The Bucs starter, Glenn Spencer was still on the bump in the ninth when the game winning rally began. He would go the distance that day, coming within an out of adding a win to his stat line. It jsut was not happening though. Spencer surrendered back-to-back singles to Ripper Collins and Pepper Martin, then fumbled Jimmie Wilson's sacrifice bunt, which led to a bases loaded, no one out situation. It may have been a cold day at the ballpark, but the heat was on Spencer. Charlie Gelbert made him pay immediately by knocking a single into center that scored both Collins and Martin, and sent Wilson over to third. It was 8-6; the Redbirds were coming. Ray Blades ended up hitting into a force play to retire Gelbert. However, Wilson scored the seventh Cardinals run of the day. gabby Street sent Joel Hunt into run for Blades, then watched the pinch runner be retired trying to take third on a single by Sparky Adams. Spencer needed one out, one more out that he would not get. George Watkins came to the dish and set the table for Frisch by knocking a single past Tony Piet at second base. Frisch then capped things off by ripping a double into right center that brought Watkins and Adams into score the runs that counted most. After trailing throughout the contest the Cardinals had comeback and won it. They had not given up. Therefore, they prevailed.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN193204130.shtml




Monday, April 11, 2016

April 11, 1912: Harmon Blanks The Bucs On Opening Day In St. Louis

     On April 11, 1912, the Cardinals opened the season at Robison Field in St. Louis with a 7-0 win over the Pittsburg Pirates. An estimated crowd of 15,000 showed up to watch this one, and by a brass band, which played a song called rag-time violin at least six times according to the Pittsburgh Press. Once the game was underway, Bob Harmon spun a four-hit gem for the Cardinals, while his teammates hit the Pirates starter Howie Camnitz early and often. the biggest highlight of the day was a home run off the bat of Steve Evans, The sixth inning blast proved to be the only home run by a Cardinals player between 1901 and 1922.  The only two men to pick up a hit for the Bucs were Honus Wagner and Mike Donlin; they both had two apiece. Other than that, this game was all St. Louis all day long.

     Overall, the 1912 season was a disappointment. The team had high hopes after going 75-74 the year before. Some thought they would have done much better had they not been involved in a train accident during that previous season, so the hopes were high on that opening day in St. Louis. However, they could not get it going early, losing 16 of their first 21 en route to a 63-90 record, which proved to be enough to cost the skipper, Roger Bresnahan, his job. With all of that said, that season like every season that came before it and every season that has followed was a season to be remembered. There were good days as well as bad, but in the end there was baseball being played on a diamond in St. Louis.

Note: I chose to spell Pittsburgh without the H at the end because that is the way it was spelled at the time in which this baseball game was played.

P.S. Go Cards!!! It's going to be a great day folks.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

April 10, 1963: Washburn Shuts'em Down In The Big Apple

    On April 10, 1963, the Cardinals shut the Mets for the second consecutive time at the Polo Grounds in New York. Ray Washburn allowed just four hits in the contest, and from the second to the eighth inning he retired 17 men in a row.

     The day before Washburn's dominant performance, Ernie Broglio had set the bar high by allowing just two hits to the New Yorkers. However, the story of this day was Washburn, who also helped score the first run of the ballgame with a sacrifice fly in the fifth that brought Curt Flood into score. The sac fly came within a foot of going over the fence.

     Dick Groat ended up getting a hold of one that cleared the fence to start off the eighth to make it 2-0. By the end of that frame the Cardinals tacked on another run when Gene Oliver ripped a single to bring Ken Boyer into score. In the ninth, Bill White knocked in the fourth and final Redbird run of the day, before Washburn finished what he had started.

     The Cardinals hopped on a plane and headed for St. Louis after the contest was played. However, the plane that they had hopped on ended up having an issue with its heating system. The pilot told the club over a speaker that if they stayed in the air the temperature in the plane would drop to zero. This led to a three-hour delay in Washington D.C., which eventually led to the club having to board another plane (The illustration to the right appeared in the Post Dispatch one day later). The club did reach home safely shortly thereafter, then got ready for the home opener. Curt Simmons got the call for that contest, which was played on April 13th, and he matched the performances of Broglio and Washburn by going the distance and helping lead the way to the third consecutive shutout to start the season.

     The Cardinals went 93-69 during that 1963 campaign. They had stormed down the stretch , going 19-1 from August 30th to September 15th. They were just one game back on that mid-September day. It seemed they were poised to make a run, and hopes were high it would happen with it being the last season that Stan Musial would lace up the cleats. Unfortunately, it did not work out that way. The club stumbled losing eight of their last ten, which led to a second place finish, six games behind the league leading Dodgers. While the club did not make the run they and everyone else had hoped for, the season was memorable, and it began in historic fashion, as the pitching staff tossed up zeroes in three consecutive ballgames.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYN/NYN196304100.shtml

Friday, April 8, 2016

April 8, 1970: Gibby and Allen Lift The Birds On Opening Day

     On April 8, 1970, the Redbirds opened up the season with a comeback win over the Expos in Montreal. The heroes of the day were Bob Gibson, who struck out nine through eight, and Dick Allen, who in his regular season debut with the club went 3 for 5, with a home run and two doubles.

     It was a cold and blustery day north of the border, as an early morning snow threatened to blanket the field at Jarry Park. By 7:30 a.m. the snow had turned to rain, and shortly thereafter the skies cleared, as a crowd of more than 20,000 prepared for a day at the ole ballgame. That crowd in Montreal knew their team would have their hands full with Gibby standing on the mound for the Redbirds. However, they had hope that Bill Stoneman would be able to get the job done, and Stoneman delivered with a nine pitch first inning to start things off. Gibson stumbled early, falling behind 2-0 in the bottom of the first, despite striking out the side. The first man he faced, Marv Staehle, reached on a single, then he walked Rusty Staub, before watching Ron Fairly knock in the first run of the day with a single. Gibson then picked up his first strikeout, before Coco LaBoy singled to bring Staub around to score. Down 2-0, Gibson struck out the next two men in succession, which was a sign of things to come for the home team.

    Gibson and company watched the tide turn in the fourth, as Dick Allen ripped a double to open the inning. Allen would come around to score on a two out single by Joe Hague, and just like that the score sat at 2-1. Stoneman proved to be a formidable foe, as he pitched his way into the eighth before serving one up to Allen that landed 420 feet from where it started. The score was 2-2, as the Redbirds began to march toward victory.

      The Expos were trying to salvage the contest with Stoneman still on the bump in the ninth, It just was not happening on that day. He gave up a single to Leron Lee to start things off, Hague moved him over with a bunt, before Julian Javier punched a single into left that brought in the go ahead run. Moments later the phone rang in the Montreal bullpen and Stoneman handed the ball off to Carroll Sembera. That is when the floodgates opened. Sembera gave up a double to every other batter he faced, starting with Dal Maxvill, followed by Lou Brock, then capped off by none other than Dick Allen. Quite the Cardinals debut for Allen. By the time Senbera handed the ball to Dan McGinn the score was 7-2. McGinn picked up the final out of that fateful ninth, before watching St. Louis' Chuck Taylor pitch a scoreless ninth. The Redbirds were victorious.

      Allen would spend just one season with the Birds, hitting .279 with 34 home runs. As a huge fan of the man, I wish his time in the Lou was much longer. Gibson was poised for another great season right out of the gate that season, and he ended up with 23 wins, which was not only a career high, he also led the league in wins. Unfortunately, no other pitcher on that staff in 1970 got the job done like Gibby did. In fact, only one other hurler cracked double digits in wins, which was Steve Carlton who posted a 10-19 record. Another aspect that hurt that club in 1970 was a shaky lineup,full of question mark, which the famous artist Amadee poked a little bit of fun at with the illustration to the right. In the end the club went 76-86. With that said, the year did have its great moments, and that opening day had quite a few great moments as well. It was one to remember.

Check out the box score here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/MON/MON197004080.shtml