When a player hits a home run to end a game, as Cardinals third baseman David Freese did in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series, it’s special. When a pitcher hits one, it’s especially unusual.
In the spring 2012 edition of The Baseball Research Journal, produced by the Society for American Baseball Research, the cover story by David Vincent lists several home run-hitting feats by big-league pitchers.
Among the most intriguing lists compiled by Vincent is one showing major-league pitchers who ended games with home runs. According to Vincent, it has happened only 33 times.
The last time it occurred was April 25, 1986, when Padres reliever Craig Lefferts hit a solo home run off Greg Minton of the Giants in the 12th inning, lifting San Diego to a 9-8 victory at home. Boxscore
Since 1900, only two Cardinals pitchers have hit walkoff home runs. It last happened 77 years ago when Dizzy Dean accomplished the feat. Before that, Ferdie Schupp did it in the rarest of ways _ an inside-the-park home run _ in 1919.
In 1935, Dean, pitching for the defending World Series champions, was an ironman, pitching 325.1 innings in 50 games (36 starts) and winning 28.
On Aug. 6, two days after he started and pitched five innings against the Pirates, Dean entered in relief in the seventh inning against the Reds at St. Louis with the score tied 3-3.
Dean, 25, held the Reds hitless for four innings. In the bottom of the 10th, Cardinals catcher Bill DeLancey led off with a fly to right field. Ival Goodman, stationed in right, failed to see the ball. Second baseman Alex Kampouris made a long run but couldn’t get to it. The ball dropped safely and DeLancey was at second with a double.
Emmett Nelson, a rookie reliever, issued an intentional walk to third baseman Charlie Gelbert, and shortstop Leo Durocher sacrificed, moving the runners to second and third.
Dean stepped to the plate and launched a home run to left, giving the Cardinals a 6-3 victory. Boxscore Dean would finish the 1935 season with a .234 batting average (30-for-128) and 21 RBI. That remains the single-season RBI record for a Cardinals pitcher.
Like Dean, who earned two wins for the Cardinals in the 1934 World Series, Ferdinand Maurice (Ferdie) Schupp was a World Series standout _ but for the Giants, not St. Louis.
In 1917, Schupp, a 5-foot-10, 150-pound left-hander, used a mix of fastballs, curves, forkballs and change-ups to post a 21-7 record and 1.95 ERA for the National League-champion Giants. On July 7, Schupp struck out 12 Cardinals in a game. He pitched a shutout in Game 4 of the 1917 World Series, a 5-0 victory for the Giants over the White Sox. Boxscore
Soon after, Schupp entered the military. When he returned to the Giants in June 1918, he wasn’t the same pitcher. An article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution archives reported:
Schupp was one of the most promising of the younger pitchers of the National League before he entered the army.
Reporting on Schupp’s first start of the 1918 season, the New York Times described him being ”as wild as the proverbial hawk.”
In 10 games for the 1918 Giants, Schupp was 0-1 with a 7.56 ERA. When his troubles continued in 1919 (1-3, 5.62 ERA, in nine games), the Giants traded him to the Cardinals for catcher Frank Snyder on July 16.
The 1919 Cardinals were terrible (they would finish 40.5 games behind the first-place Reds at 54-83) and were willing to take a chance Schupp, 28, would regain his form.
On Aug. 28, the Cardinals and Dodgers were tied 3-3 when Schupp, batting right-handed, led off the bottom of the ninth with his inside-the-park home run off starter Leon Cadore for a 4-3 St. Louis victory. Boxscore
It would be Schupp’s only hit in 20 at-bats for the Cardinals that season.
Previously: Dizzy’s dazzling RBI season