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:

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