Feeds:
Posts
Comments

A playful young blonde in a flaming red dress gave an unexpected mix of sex appeal and comedy to the first regular-season night game played by the Cardinals.

kitty_burkeEighty years ago, on July 31, 1935, on a sultry evening in Cincinnati, Kitty Burke, 25, a nightclub entertainer, emerged from an overflow crowd at Crosley Field during a game between the Cardinals and Reds, grabbed a bat and stood at the plate, expecting a delivery from St. Louis pitcher Paul Dean.

Amazingly, with the approval of the plate umpire and with the commissioner of baseball watching from the stands, Dean tossed a soft pitch, Burke swung at it and connected with a groundball to the pitcher.

Satisfied, she departed back into the crowd and the game resumed.

Night baseball

Two months earlier, regular-season night baseball had debuted in the major leagues with a game between the Phillies and Reds at Crosley Field.

The Cardinals, who wouldn’t have lights at their home field, Sportsman’s Park, until 1940, were the defending World Series champions in 1935 with a lineup of colorful Gashouse Gang characters such as Dizzy Dean, Pepper Martin, Joe Medwick, Frankie Frisch and Leo Durocher. That made the Cardinals-Reds night game at Cincinnati a big draw, even on a Wednesday.

Crosley Field in 1935 seated 26,060 spectators. Thousands more than that turned out for the Cardinals-Reds game and were admitted. Many were in a partying mood.

Out of control

“A big part of the overflow came into the park shortly before game time on special trains from Dayton, Ohio _ and to say that a good many of these excursionists were feeling their oats is putting it mildly,” The Sporting News reported. “They had been hitting it up on the train and were out for a high time. When they found no seats for themselves at the park, they just leaped the field-box fences and made for the foul lines.”

Fans initially stood along both foul lines and in territory behind the plate. When some fans who were seated in box seats had their view of the playing field obstructed by those standing in foul territory, they left their seats and joined those on the grass. Eventually, the crowd swelled so much that spectators “completely encircled Crosley Field,” the Associated Press reported.

Wrote The Sporting News: “Fans were standing right against the base lines and so close behind the catcher that it was impossible for any player to catch a foul ball.”

Official attendance was listed as 30,000. The Sporting News estimated the crowd at 30,450. Among those in attendance were baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis and Reds president Powel Crosley, who stood together for most of the game “because they couldn’t see the field while seated in box seats,” The Sporting News reported.

In the fourth inning, “irate fans stormed the field, holding up the game for 10 minutes” because of mixups in the seating arrangements, according to International News Service.

Wrote the Associated Press: “Players were forced to shoulder their way through to the plate. The heat, too _ on Cincinnati’s hottest day of the year _ added to police troubles, a number of fans being ejected from the park for alleged disorderly conduct.”

Sizing up the boozy crowd, third-base umpire Cy Rigler ordered beer sales stopped in the fourth inning.

Kitty takes the stage

From her perch in a field-level seat, Kitty Burke was one of the patrons unable to see the playing field. Described by United Press as “a pretty young blonde wearing a flaming red dress,” Burke attracted attention when she left her seat and joined those standing near the field.

“I had a very good box seat and I figured I was entitled to see the game,” said Burke, “but it seems they oversold the park and about the sixth inning everybody started crowding in front of me … I just joined the crowd, which swarmed down on the field, and found places along the first-base line.”

The Cardinals had taken a 2-1 lead, with one of the runs being scored by Medwick. According to Burke, “The St. Louis players had been crowded out of their dugout by the mob and we were lined up behind them on the field.”

In the eighth inning, Burke found herself within shouting distance of Medwick and the two exchanged good-natured taunts.

Burke: “Medwick, you can’t hit anything.”

Medwick: “You can’t hit anything yourself.”

Burke: “I’d like to show you sometime.”

Medwick: “You can’t hit anything with an elephant.”

(Said Burke to United Press: “I think what he meant was you can’t hit an elephant.”)

Burke: “I’ll show you.”

Babe helps a babe

Burke looked toward the plate and saw a Reds player, Babe Herman.

Said Burke to United Press: “I yelled, ‘Hey, Babe, lend me your bat.’ ”

Herman said, “OK, Sis,” and handed the bat to the lady in red.

“Babe always is accommodating to his public,” The Sporting News slyly noted.

Said Burke: “So I took the bat up to the plate and made up my mind I was going to sock one if I had to stay there all night. (Dean) was on the mound when I came up, but was looking toward the outfield. You should have seen the dumb expression on his face when he turned around and saw me. He didn’t know what to do.”

The plate umpire, Bill Stewart, did nothing to stop Burke.

“The umpire was a good egg and yelled. ‘Play ball!’ ” Burke said.

Said The Sporting News: “How Stewart let her get away with it is beyond explanation. She would have had no chance pulling that on Bill Klem or some of the other umpires.”

Dean plays along

Dean, younger brother of Dizzy, was nicknamed Daffy. Burke yelled to him, “Hey, you hick, why don’t you go home and milk the cows?”

Said Burke: “That must have got him, because he started winding up to burn one in. I asked myself, ‘Should I get out of here?’ but just then Pepper Martin yells, ‘Take it easy, Daf.’ So, Daffy just grinned and lobbed one across.”

Dean made an underhanded toss.

Burke swung and hit a grounder to Dean.

Said Burke: “I smacked it … but Daffy was on first with the ball, waiting for me.”

Burke took a few steps up the line, then veered back toward the crowd.

“I saw that he had me beaten, so I stopped,” Burke said.

Before she departed, though, she gave a parting shot to Medwick.

“I said to Medwick, ‘I hit that one, didn’t I, big boy?” He was a good sport and said, ‘Yes.’ ”

When play resumed, the Reds scored two in the eighth to take the lead, the Cardinals rallied to tie the score, 3-3, in the ninth and the Reds rewarded their fans with a run in the 10th for a 4-3 victory. Boxscore

Previously: Why 1940 was year Cardinals saw the light

Perhaps the most significant achievement in the Cardinals career of pitcher Frank Barnes is that he was chosen to be the pinch-runner for Stan Musial after the St. Louis slugger got his 3,000th hit.

frank_barnesOtherwise, Barnes’ big-league resume consists of 15 pitching appearances over three seasons for the Cardinals, with a 1-3 record and 5.89 ERA.

Dig deeper, though, and what emerges is an intriguing story of a baseball pioneer who exceled at the highest levels of the Cardinals’ minor-league system.

The Web site, Baseball-Reference.com, reported in July 2015 that Barnes, 88, died on Oct. 19, 2014, at his home in Greenville, Miss. Like so much of his baseball career, Barnes’ passing unfortunately went largely unnoticed on the national scene.

Yankees prospect

At 21, Barnes began his professional career in 1947 with Indianapolis of the Negro American League. Three years later, in July 1950, while playing for Kansas City of the Negro American League, Barnes and teammate Elston Howard had their contracts sold to the defending World Series champion Yankees, who were slow to integrate.

Barnes and Howard, an outfielder and St. Louis native, were assigned to a Class A farm club in Muskegon, Mich.

Howard, converted to catcher, eventually became the first African-American to play for the Yankees. Barnes was dealt to the Browns organization.

In 1956, at age 30, Barnes was with Toronto, a Class AAA franchise without affiliation. Toronto loaned him to the Cardinals’ Omaha affiliate and Barnes appeared in seven games for the American Association club.

Backed by Keane

Johnny Keane, the Omaha manager, gave a positive report on Barnes to the Cardinals. On the strength of that recommendation, Cardinals general manager Frank Lane acquired Barnes from Toronto on Oct. 1, 1956, for pitcher Jim Pearce, cash and a player to be named (first baseman Rocky Nelson).

Barnes began the 1957 season with Omaha. On May 28, he struck out 17 Denver batters in 10 innings of a 1-0 Omaha victory. In a stretch from May to June, Barnes pitched 41.1 consecutive scoreless innings, breaking the American Association record of 39 by Bill Schardt of the 1915 Indianapolis team.

Keane cited “pinpoint control on everything he throws” and “much improvement on the breaking pitches” as reasons for Barnes’ success, The Sporting News reported.

Lane sent an assistant, Joe Mathes, to Omaha to scout Barnes and two other pitching prospects, Bob Mabe and Tom Cheney.

Barnes completed the 1957 American Association season with a 12-10 record, six shutouts and a league-leading 2.41 ERA.

Reaching the majors

The Cardinals rewarded him with a call-up for the final month of the season. On Sept. 22, 1957, Barnes, 31, made his big-league debut with a scoreless inning in relief of starter Lindy McDaniel against the Reds at Cincinnati. Boxscore

Two days later, Barnes pitched six scoreless innings in relief of starter Sam Jones against the Braves at Milwaukee. Boxscore

Barnes “showed speed and a good slow curve,” The Sporting News reported.

Cardinals manager Fred Hutchinson gave Barnes his first big-league start on Sept. 29, 1957, against the Cubs at St. Louis. Barnes lacked command of his pitches that day and was shelled for five runs in three innings.

In three appearances for the 1957 Cardinals, Barnes was 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA. Still, he was prominent in the Cardinals’ plans for spring training in 1958.

High hopes

On March 9, 1958, the Cardinals started Barnes against Yankees ace Whitey Ford in the second exhibition game of the spring. Barnes pitched well, yielding a run in three innings.

In his first 15 spring training exhibition innings, Barnes gave up a total of two runs, prompting The Sporting News to describe his performance as “dazzling pitching.” Impressed, the Cardinals put Barnes on their Opening Day roster.

For Barnes, two highlights of his stint with the 1958 Cardinals occurred in May.

Musial delivered his 3,000th career hit, a RBI-double to left-center off the Cubs’ Moe Drabowsky, on May 13 at Chicago.

Hutchinson lifted Musial for a pinch-runner, choosing Barnes for the honor. Barnes raced home from second on a single to left by Don Blasingame, tying the score at 3-3 in a game the Cardinals would win, 5-3. Boxscore

Five days later, on May 18, Barnes earned his only big-league win.

In the opener of a doubleheader against the Dodgers at St. Louis, Barnes, in relief of Mabe, pitched six innings and held the Dodgers to one run (a Johnny Roseboro home run) and four hits. The losing pitcher was future Hall of Famer Don Drysdale, who relieved starter Fred Kipp in the second and gave up two runs and five hits in four innings.

Billy Muffett relieved Barnes in the ninth and earned the save in a 6-5 Cardinals victory. Boxscore

Return to Omaha

Barnes was 1-1 with a 7.58 ERA in eight games for the 1958 Cardinals. He was returned to Omaha in June after St. Louis acquired pitcher Sal Maglie from the Yankees in a cash transaction. Lee MacPhail, Yankees farm director, told The Sporting News that he asked the Cardinals for Barnes in exchange for Maglie, but St. Louis refused.

On Aug. 4, 1958, Barnes pitched a no-hitter for Omaha against Louisville. He walked three and struck out 11.

Barnes completed the 1958 season with a 7-6 record and 2.58 ERA for Omaha.

He spent the entire 1959 season with Omaha, posting a 15-12 record and 2.87 ERA as the ace on a staff that included Bob Gibson and Ray Sadecki.

After opening the 1960 season with the Cardinals’ Rochester farm club, Barnes was called up to St. Louis on April 29. He went 0-1 with a 3.52 ERA in four games with the Cardinals.

On May 19, 1960, the Cardinals sold Barnes’ contract to the White Sox, who assigned him to their San Diego farm team. Barnes continued to pitch professionally in the minor leagues and Mexico until age 40 in 1967, but never got back to the big leagues.

Previously: Tragic Cardinals connections: Oscar Taveras, Charlie Peete

Forty years ago, the Cardinals established a major-league record for most intentional walks issued by one team in a nine-inning game.

john_montefuscoCardinals pitchers Lynn McGlothen and Mike Garman combined to give six intentional walks to the Giants on July 19, 1975, at San Francisco. Three of those passes were given to the No. 8 batter, catcher Dave Rader.

The strategy by Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst was driven, in large part, not by a fear of Rader but by the hitting funk being experienced by the Giants’ No. 9 batter, rookie pitcher John Montefusco.

Though the moves worked successfully for St. Louis in all but one instance, the Giants beat the Cardinals, 5-2.

Prime pitching pairing

Montefusco and McGlothen, both 25-year-old right-handers, were developing into staff aces.

Montefusco, nicknamed “The Count,” would win the 1975 National League Rookie of the Year Award, with a 15-9 record and 2.88 ERA. He also would finish second in the NL that season to the Mets’ Tom Seaver in strikeouts _ Seaver had 243 and Montefusco, 215 _ and first in the league in strikeouts per nine innings (7.9).

McGlothen, in his second St. Louis season after being acquired from the Red Sox, would tie Bob Forsch for the team lead in wins in 1975, with 15. He also would lead the 1975 Cardinals in complete games (9), innings pitched (239) and strikeouts (146).

Avoiding Rader

On a Saturday afternoon before 7,136 at Candlestick Park, the Giants struck first when Bobby Murcer hit a two-run home run off McGlothen in the opening inning.

In the second, the Giants threatened again, with Chris Speier on third and one out. Rader was at the plate, with Montefusco in the on-deck circle. The Cardinals, aware Montefusco had one hit in 36 at-bats, played the percentages and walked Rader intentionally. McGlothen then struck out Montefusco and got Von Joshua to ground out.

In the third, with the Giants ahead, 4-2, the Cardinals used the same strategy. With two outs and Giants runners on second and third, Rader was walked intentionally. Montefusco followed with a groundout, ending the inning.

Rader, a left-handed batter who hit .291 in 1975, was walked intentionally by McGlothen for a third consecutive time when he came to the plate in the fifth. With Speier on second and two outs, Rader was given the intentional pass and Montefusco struck out.

Mixing and matching

McGlothen intentionally walked two more batters in the sixth, though neither was Rader.

With Derrel Thomas on second and one out, McGlothen gave an intentional pass to Murcer. The next batter, Gary Matthews, flied out to center. Thomas and Murcer advanced to third and second on the play. That brought to the plate Willie Montanez, a left-handed batter who had driven in two runs with a third-inning single. McGlothen intentionally walked Montanez, loading the bases with two outs.

McGlothen then struck out Speier, escaping the jam.

In the seventh, Garman relieved McGlothen. With one out and no one on base, Garman walked Rader, though this time it was unintentional.

The sixth and final intentional walk occurred in the eighth. With two outs and Thomas on third, Garman intentionally walked Montanez and opted to pitch to Speier. Giants manager Wes Westrum called for a double steal attempt. Thomas stole home, extending the Giants’ lead to 5-2, and Montanez swiped second.

Count in command

Despite a combined 11 walks and 17 hits, the game was completed in a snappy 2:03.

Rader had an odd boxscore line: no at-bats, four walks.

Montefusco got the win. He walked two (none intentional) and struck out seven, including Reggie Smith four times, all on fastballs.

At the plate, Montefusco was 0-for-4, dropping his season batting average to .025 (1-for-40). Boxscore

In his next start, July 23 at San Francisco, Montefusco hit a home run off Milt Wilcox of the Cubs. Before the game, Montefusco said, the Cubs had been teasing him near the batting cage.

“That razzing bothered me and I told those guys to look out because I’m going to beat your butts today and I’m going to hit a homer as well,” Montefusco told United Press International.

In 13 seasons in the major leagues, Montefusco hit .097 (44-for-455) overall and .217 (5-for-23) vs. the Cardinals.

Previously: The night John Curtis pitched a one-hitter for Cardinals

Previously: How Ron Reed replaced Bob Gibson in Cardinals rotation

Concerned he would become forgotten in their vast minor-league system, Ted Williams rejected an offer to begin his professional career with the Cardinals.

ted_williamsIf he would have signed with the Cardinals, Williams likely would have been in their organization at the same time as Stan Musial. It would have been possible then that the 1940s Cardinals could have had two of the game’s best left-handed hitters, Musial and Williams, in the same lineup.

Instead, Williams played two years with his hometown minor-league San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League before signing with the Red Sox. In his only World Series appearance, Williams opposed Musial and the Cardinals in 1946.

Meet me in St. Louis

In 1935, Williams was in his junior year at Herbert Hoover High School in San Diego. Playing mostly outfield and first base, he hit .588 in 15 games for the Hoover baseball team that season. He also pitched, posting a 4-2 record.

Herb Benninghoven, a scout for the Cardinals in San Diego, took notice of Williams, began attending his games and befriended him.

Often, after games, Benninghoven “might drive Ted home, and they’d talk baseball, or he’d invite the boy over to his house. His wife was always cooking and baking something good,” wrote Ben Bradlee Jr. in his book “The Kid: The Immortal Life of Ted Williams.”

On Aug. 6, 1935, the San Diego Evening Tribune reported that Williams had been invited to try out for the Cardinals in St. Louis. It was the first public indication that Williams was considered a professional baseball prospect.

“Ted Williams, slim Herbert Hoover High pitcher, with whom local diamond fans are well acquainted, has received an offer to try out with the St. Louis Cardinals of the National League,” the Evening Tribune wrote. “Herb Benninghoven … tendered the offer and informed Williams his expenses would be taken care of should he care to make the trip east for the trial.”

The newspaper added, “Doubt was expressed that Ted would accept, however, since he still has one more year of high school and should he go into organized baseball he would be declared ineligible for further high school competition.”

Williams still was 16 _ he would turn 17 a few weeks later on Aug. 30, 1935 _ and speculation was his parents didn’t want him to leave home yet.

He didn’t attend the Cardinals tryout and instead returned to high school for his senior year.

In hot pursuit

Meanwhile, the Yankees joined the Cardinals in pursuing Williams. The Yankees offered Williams a chance to play for their Oakland affiliate in the Pacific Coast League and, according to the Bradlee book, Williams and his family agreed in principle that Ted would sign with New York after he graduated from high school.

Still, the suitors kept arriving, most notably the Tigers and the Pacific Coast League Los Angeles Angels. Also, Benninghoven and the Cardinals hadn’t given up either.

In January 1936, in the middle of Williams’ senior year, San Diego was granted a franchise in the Pacific Coast League. The team was named the Padres.

Soon after, Benninghoven, looking to sign Williams before he graduated, invited him to attend a Cardinals tryout camp in Fullerton, Calif. This time, Williams accepted.

Branch Rickey, general manager of the Cardinals and originator of their farm system, was overseeing the tryout camp. The night before, Williams was hit by a pitch in the thigh during a game. At the tryout camp, his sore thigh hampered his mobility and Rickey was unimpressed by Williams, according to the Bradlee book.

Still, because of a strong endorsement from Benninghoven, the Cardinals offered Williams a contract.

He spurned the offer.

In his book “My Turn at Bat,” Williams said of the Cardinals, “They would have probably sent me to Oshkosh or Peoria or someplace, because they had a huge farm system and you could get lost.”

Bound for Boston

Money also may have been a factor in Williams’ decision to reject the Cardinals.

When Benninghoven died in January 1970, an obituary by the Associated Press reported, “He once said he missed signing Ted Williams out of high school when the St. Louis Cardinals refused an extra $1,000 which Williams demanded.”

Williams also turned his back on the Yankees and instead, with his parents urging him to stay home, signed with the Pacific Coast League Padres.

After two seasons with the Padres, Williams, 19, signed with the Red Sox in December 1937. After a year with minor-league Minneapolis, Williams joined the Red Sox in 1939 and embarked on a Hall of Fame career in which he would hit .344 with 521 home runs and 1,839 RBI in 19 years with Boston. In 1941, Williams hit .406, becoming the last big-league player to achieve a .400 batting average.

Two years after Williams first appeared with the Red Sox, Musial, who had converted from pitcher to outfielder, debuted with the 1941 Cardinals and launched his own Hall of Fame career in which he would hit .331 with 475 home runs and 1,951 RBI in 22 years with St. Louis.

In his book “Stan Musial: The Man’s Own Story,” Musial said of Williams: “Ted was a once-in-a-generation hitter, the best in our time. He knew his art and he knew his (opposing) pitchers. He had a keen appreciation of the strike zone, a great eye, quick hands and power.”

Previously: How Tony Gwynn tormented Dennis Eckersley, Cardinals

When Cardinals rookie Paul Dean learned to mix his pitches, hit the corners of the strike zone and, most importantly, quit trying to emulate his larger-than-life older brother, he became an effective starter for St. Louis.

paul_deanIn 1934, Paul Dean, 21, debuted with the Cardinals, won his first eight decisions and went into the All-Star Game break with a 10-4 record.

In 2015, Carlos Martinez, 23, became the youngest Cardinals pitcher with 10 wins before the all-star break since Paul Dean. Martinez was 10-3.

Oh, brother!

Paul Dean’s brother, Dizzy, 24, had established himself as the 1934 Cardinals’ ace after winning 20 and leading the National League in strikeouts for the second consecutive year in 1933. Paul entered the Cardinals’ 1934 spring training camp as a candidate for a rotation spot after posting a 22-7 record in 1933 for the Cardinals’ Columbus (Ohio) farm club.

During that 1934 spring training, Dizzy brashly predicted he and Paul would combine for 45 wins for the Cardinals that season. Though well-intentioned, the remark put added pressure on Paul.

Some Cardinals veterans already thought Paul wasn’t ready for the big leagues and was being given preferable treatment in spring training because he was Dizzy’s brother.

Paul didn’t help matters with his combative nature. He feuded with first baseman Rip Collins and coach Mike Gonzalez and later got into a fight with outfielder Joe Medwick.

Needing a makeover

Paul made the Opening Day roster for the 1934 Cardinals. He yielded eight earned runs in six innings over his first three appearances and had an ERA of 12.00.

According to the book “Diz” by Robert Gregory, Cardinals manager Frankie Frisch told Paul, “You’ve got the speed, but it won’t matter how hard you throw. If it’s down the middle, these fellows are going to hit it.”

Said Cardinals pitcher Tex Carleton of Paul: “He doesn’t have a curve. No pitching finesse.”

Frisch and his coaches, Gonzalez and Buzzy Wares, worked with Paul to develop an off-speed pitch. Dizzy thought the instruction was a hindrance rather than a help. “There ain’t nothing wrong with Paul,” Dizzy said. “… He’ll be all right if them coaches don’t ruin him by trying to make him over. I want them to lay off that kid.”

In his next start, May 3 against the Phillies, Paul got his first big-league win, but he wasn’t sharp, yielding five runs in five innings in an 8-7 Cardinals victory.

“I was worried because he was obviously overawed by his big brother,” Frisch recalled years later. “Paul was imitating Dizzy’s style on the mound, but lacked his colossal self-confidence.”

Turning point

Paul’s next start was scheduled for May 11 against the defending World Series champion Giants and their ace, Carl Hubbell. Speculation was Paul would be sent to the minor leagues if he didn’t pitch well in that game.

“In many respects, Paul was pitching for his job,” The Sporting News reported. “He had done nothing prior to this outing and there were grave doubts about his ability to put a curve in there with his fast one that would keep the wolves away from the plate.”

A few days before the showdown, Frisch invited Paul to join him for dinner. Over porterhouse steaks, Frisch, who began his career with the Giants, explained to Paul how to pitch to each Giants batter. Frisch also told Paul to be himself, trust his talent and use the off-speed pitch he’d been learning.

Before a Ladies Day crowd at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis, Paul mixed a changeup with his fastball and delivered some pitches from a sidearm delivery that helped hide the ball from batters. He held the Giants to two runs and got the complete-game win when the Cardinals snapped a 2-2 tie with a run off Hubbell in the 10th. Boxscore

“I think Paul Dean is in a fair position to become a great pitcher,” said Frisch. “His only trouble has been control and as long as he can pitch to spots he will be OK. We have worked hard on him and he has shown us that he knows how to pitch and can grab information and make the best of it. I like him.”

Dean demands

Paul became a consistent winner. Through May 31, Paul was 5-0, Dizzy was 6-2 and the Cardinals were in first place.

On June 1, Dizzy was scheduled to start against the Pirates. Instead, he staged a strike, refusing to pitch until the Cardinals gave his brother a $2,000 pay raise. Paul’s salary was $3,000. Dizzy’s salary was $7,500.

Dizzy ended his walkout the next day.

Paul won his next three decisions, boosting his record to 8-0 with a shutout against the Phillies on June 17.

Wrote The Sporting News: “He has passed the experimental stage and today unquestionably rates as the greatest young right-hander to come into the majors since Wes Ferrell and Lon Warneke.”

Deans deliver

After beating the Giants on June 26, Paul was 10-1 with a 3.92 ERA. He lost his next three decisions before the July 10 All-Star Game.

The Dean brothers continued to win in the second half of the season, especially in the September pennant stretch. Paul was 5-3 with a 1.93 ERA in September; Dizzy was 7-1 with a 1.54 ERA that month.

The Cardinals won the pennant with a 95-58 record, finishing two games ahead of the Giants.

Dizzy was 30-7 and led the NL in strikeouts for the third consecutive season. Paul was 19-11 with 16 complete games and five shutouts. With a combined 49 wins, the brothers had exceeded Dizzy’s prediction.

In the World Series, Dizzy and Paul each won twice, leading the Cardinals to the championship over the Tigers. In Paul’s two starts, he pitched complete games, yielding two earned runs in 18 innings.

Previously: How Dizzy Dean got the best of his matchup with Babe Ruth

Previously: Pennant clincher: How Dizzy Dean got 2 shutouts in 3 days

Previously: Cardinal cool: How Dizzy Dean survived armed robbery

In a display of strength and versatility that would be unimaginable today, Bob Gibson in 1965 pitched 13 innings in a start vs. the Giants on July 7, pitched four innings of relief against the Cubs on July 11 and, two days later, earned a save with two innings of relief in the All-Star Game.

bob_gibson15Well aware of Gibson’s workload, the Phillies’ Gene Mauch, National League manager, never hesitated to call on the Cardinals ace to protect a 6-5 lead over the final two innings of the 1965 All-Star Game in Minnesota.

“Bob Gibson thinks he can get anybody in the world _ and I do, too,” Mauch told the Associated Press.

Grateful for Gibson’s save, the Dodgers’ Sandy Koufax, who got the win in that All-Star Game, good-naturedly said to Gibson, “Why don’t you quit starting? There’s a heck of a future in relieving for you.”

NL fireballers

The National League unleashed an array of hard throwers on the American League. Juan Marichal of the Giants started and was followed by the Reds’ Jim Maloney, Dodgers teammates Don Drysdale and Koufax and the Astros’ Turk Farrell before Gibson entered in the eighth. The AL scored all of its runs off Maloney.

Gibson, the Cardinals’ lone all-star representative in 1965, retired the first two batters he faced, striking out the Tigers’ Willie Horton and getting the Yankees’ Bobby Richardson on a groundout. Then he walked the Twins’ Zoilo Versalles. Bill Freehan of the Tigers followed with a single to center. When the throw from Willie Mays went to third, Freehan took second, putting two runners in scoring position for the next batter, the Twins’ Jimmie Hall.

A left-handed batter who would have his third consecutive season of 20 or more home runs in 1965, Hall hit a shot to center. Mays started for the ball, slipped and then barely recovered in time to make a leaping, backhanded catch, ending the inning.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Twins’ Tony Oliva led off with a double. Attempting a bunt, the Indians’ Max Alvis popped out to Gibson for the first out.

Gibby vs. Killer

That brought to the plate Twins slugger Harmon Killebrew. The partisan crowd at Metropolitan Stadium was abuzz at the prospect of their favorite player and prodigious home run hitter driving in his Twins teammate Oliva from second with the tying run. No doubt, many among the 46,706 hoped _ or even anticipated _ that the player nicknamed “Killer” might connect off Gibson with a walkoff, game-winning home run.

Instead, Killebrew struck out.

Killebrew told United Press International that Gibson had “a lot of mustard” on his fastball. “The ball just seemed to drop under my bat,” Killebrew said.

To the Associated Press, Killebrew added, “For a guy who said he couldn’t pitch because he worked (two days before), that Gibson fired pretty good. I missed a slider and then he just threw a fastball past me for the strikeout.”

Al Lopez, the AL manager, sent a left-handed pinch-hitter, the Yankees’ Joe Pepitone, to bat next.

Gibson struck him out, sealing the win. Boxscore

Throwing heat

In describing to the Associated Press how he pitched Pepitone, Gibson said, “The first two sliders were up and in. They aren’t going to do a darn thing with it if it goes in there. If it doesn’t get in there, that’s a different story. The last pitch was a fastball. That was in there.”

Said an impressed Lopez: “Gibson really fired the ball.”

In the clubhouse, NL catcher Joe Torre of the Braves soaked his left hand in warm water to ease the soreness from having so many fastballs slam into his mitt.

“I had some real hummers coming out of the bullpen,” Torre told The Sporting News. “The hand really hurts.”

Said Gibson: “I got to admit he was catching some sizzlers.”

Previously: As all-stars, only two hit Bob Gibson more than once

Previously: Battle of wills: Bob Gibson, Gene Mauch play hardball

Previously: Stan Musial, Harmon Killebrew visit Vietnam

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 62 other followers