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. 

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