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:

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

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