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Needing to win one of three games against the Mets to block them from taking a share of first place in the National League East, the Cardinals finally achieved the goal in the finale of an intense October series at St. Louis.

jeff_lahtiThirty years ago, on Oct. 1, 1985, the Mets trailed the first-place Cardinals by three games entering a weeknight series at Busch Stadium II.

With the tension building after Mets wins in each of the first two games, the Cardinals got a one-run victory and held on to first place alone. Two days later, on Oct. 5, they clinched the division title with a win against the Cubs.

Here is a look at that critical Mets-Cardinals series:

Game 1

The Oct. 1 game was scoreless through 10 innings. John Tudor, the Cardinals’ starter, pitched 10 shutout innings. Mets starter Ron Darling went nine innings and Jesse Orosco pitched the 10th.

In the 11th, Ken Dayley relieved Tudor and struck out the first two batters, Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter.

Darryl Strawberry batted next.

With the count 1-and-1, Dayley delivered a breaking pitch. Strawberry hit a towering drive that slammed into the scoreboard clock for a home run.

“He hit a curveball _ a hanging curveball,” Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog told Larry Harnly of The State Journal-Register of Springfield, Ill. Video

In the Cardinals’ half of the 11th, Orosco struck out Willie McGee. The next batter, Tommy Herr, lofted a fly ball to shallow center. Mookie Wilson got a late jump and attempted a basket catch, but dropped the ball for a two-base error.

Brian Harper, pinch-hitting for Darrell Porter, grounded out to second, advancing Herr to third with two outs.

Orosco ended the drama by getting Ivan De Jesus, pinch-hitting for Andy Van Slyke, to fly out to Wilson, giving the Mets a 1-0 victory.

“Tell me,” Mets manager Davey Johnson asked reporters in discussing the Strawberry home run, “is the clock still working?” Boxscore

Game 2

The pressure still was on the Mets, who trailed the Cardinals by two with five games remaining on Oct. 2.

The Mets responded to the challenge.

Starter Dwight Gooden went the distance. He allowed nine hits and issued four walks, but he struck out 10 and the Cardinals stranded 10.

The Mets scored five runs off Cardinals starter Joaquin Andujar and won, 5-2, slicing the St. Louis lead to one with four games to play.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Cardinals nearly rallied. Trailing 5-1, they scored a run and loaded the bases with two outs against Gooden.

“I knew he was tired and I knew it was draining him,” Johnson told reporters. “At the same time, I thought Gooden was our best bet. He bends a little, but he doesn’t break.”

The move nearly backfired.

Herr laced a line drive that was caught by second baseman Wally Backman, ending the game. Video

“When Herr first hit the ball, I thought it was going to be over Wally’s head,” Gooden said. “It was panic time.” Boxscore

Game 3

After the Mets won Game 2 of the series, Davey Johnson said, “We’ve done what we had to do so far. We’ve got two-thirds of the job done. The pressure is on them now.”

If the Mets won the Oct. 3 series finale, completing the sweep, they’d be tied with the Cardinals and would have the momentum.

Instead, the Cardinals won, 4-3. Vince Coleman was 3-for-4 with two RBI. Ozzie Smith contributed two hits, two runs and a RBI. Starter Danny Cox held the Mets to two runs in six innings and the bullpen, especially Ricky Horton and Jeff Lahti, preserved the lead.

Horton retired the last two batters of the eighth and the first two batters of the ninth before Hernandez singled, representing the tying run. It was Hernandez’s fifth hit of the game.

“He broke his bat on the hit,” Horton told Harnly. “It was a fastball down and in. He makes a living on hitting good pitches.”

Lahti relieved and faced Carter. “We figured Carter might be looking for a slider,” Lahti said. “I asked (catcher) Darrell Porter what he wanted and he wanted a fastball. I go along with his suggestions.”

Lahti’s first pitch was a fastball away. Carter swung and drove a fly ball to right. Said Lahti: “When Carter hit it, I was screaming, ‘Catch it. Catch it.’ He’s beaten me to right field before.”

The ball carried to Van Slyke, who made the catch, ending the game and giving the first-place Cardinals a two-game lead with three to play. Boxscore

Said Herr of the Mets to the San Diego Union-Tribune: “They’re like the bowler who needed three strikes in the 10th (frame) to win. They got the first two, but they left the 10-pin standing on the third.”

On Oct. 4, the Cardinals beat the Cubs (Bob Forsch over Dennis Eckersley) and the Mets defeated the Expos, leaving St. Louis two ahead with two to play.

The Cardinals clinched on Oct. 5, beating the Cubs Boxscore while the Mets lost to the Expos.

Previously: Cesar Cedeno and his amazing month with Cardinals

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Bob Gibson capped one of his best seasons as a hitter by slugging a grand slam against a fellow future Hall of Famer.

gaylord_perryFifty years ago, on Sept. 29, 1965, Gibson hit his first career grand slam. It came against Gaylord Perry at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, lifting the Cardinals to a victory that severely damaged the National League pennant hopes of the Giants.

The home run was the fifth of the season for Gibson, who batted .240 with 19 RBI in 1965. The year before, when the Cardinals won the pennant and World Series crown, Gibson had batted .156 with no home runs.

In his book “Stranger to the Game,” Gibson said, “I was pleased that my stroke had returned after an off year in 1964.”

During his Cardinals career, Gibson hit 26 home runs _ 24 in the regular reason and two in the World Series. Each came against a different pitcher. Perry was the only one who, like Gibson, would be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Doing it all

The Giants entered their Wednesday afternoon game against the Cardinals in second place, a game behind the Dodgers, with five remaining.

It was their misfortune to be matched against Gibson. He dominated the Giants for eight innings that day with his pitching and hitting.

Gibson singled twice and scored the Cardinals’ first two runs.

In the eighth, with the Cardinals ahead, 4-0, runners on second and third and one out, Perry relieved starter Bob Shaw.

With Gibson on deck, Giants manager Herman Franks instructed Perry to issue an intentional walk to Bob Skinner, pinch-hitting for Julian Javier.

Perry, 27, hadn’t yet mastered the spitball that would transform him into an ace. He would yield a team-high 105 runs with the 1965 Giants, posting an 8-12 record and 4.19 ERA.

The first pitch from Perry to Gibson was a strike. The next was a high slider. Gibson lined it over the fence in left-center, giving the Cardinals an 8-0 lead.

“I’m not going to find fault with my pitchers at this late stage,” Franks said to the Associated Press. “Maybe they haven’t been going so well lately, but they’ve been good all year. I’ve got no complaints.”

Unhappy exit

Gibson took a two-hit shutout into the ninth.

Seeing their pennant chances slipping away, the Giants rallied. They scored five runs off Gibson on three singles, a walk and Jim Davenport’s three-run home run.

With one out and the bases empty, rookie pinch-hitter Bob Schroder was sent by Franks to face Gibson. The first pitch to the left-handed batter was a ball.

Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst decided to make a pitching change, bringing in left-hander Curt Simmons. Gibson was “seething” as he walked off the mound, the Oakland Tribune reported.

Simmons retired the first batter he faced, Bob Barton, who had replaced Schroder, for the second out of the inning.

The Giants, though, weren’t done. Cap Peterson reached second on an error by shortstop Dick Groat and scored on Jesus Alou’s single, cutting the Cardinals’ lead to 8-6.

That brought Willie Mays to the plate, representing the potential tying run.

High drama

Schoendienst removed Simmons and brought in the closer, Hal Woodeshick, a left-hander. Schoendienst told him to throw only fastballs at Mays’ fists. Explained Gibson: “He’d murder the ball if he could straighten his arms.”

Mays turned on one of the inside deliveries and pulled a single off the glove of third baseman Ken Boyer.

With Alou on second and Mays on first, slugger Willie McCovey was up next. A double likely would bring home both runners, tying the score. A home run would give the Giants a victory after being eight runs down entering the ninth.

The tension built with each pitch. McCovey slashed one long, but foul.

With the count 3-and-2, Woodeshick threw a curve. It broke down and away from the left-handed batter.

“The pitch was bad,” said Woodeshick. “I thought it was ball four.”

Said McCovey: “Everybody in the park could see it was a ball. I knew it, too _ too late.”

McCovey swung and missed.

“When you’re tensed up and excited like those guys are, that kind of thing happens,” Woodeshick said.

The Giants’ loss combined with a Dodgers victory over the Reds dropped San Francisco two behind with four to play. The Dodgers would go on to win the pennant. Boxscore

Previously: Cardinals pitchers enjoy grand slam streak

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As a Cardinals rookie who had been in the major leagues for less than a month, Bernard Gilkey prevented perfection by delivering a nearly flawless performance of his own against the Phillies.

bernard_gilkey2Twenty-five years ago, on Sept. 25, 1990, at Philadelphia, Gilkey led the Cardinals to an unlikely 1-0 triumph.

Playing on the day after his 24th birthday, Gilkey tripled to lead off the first inning and doubled with two outs in the ninth. In between those two hits, Phillies starter Terry Mulholland retired 26 Cardinals in a row.

“That was as close to being perfect as anyone can be without being perfect,” Phillies manager Nick Leyva said to Calkins Newspapers.

Said Cardinals manager Joe Torre to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “You can’t pitch any better than that.”

Game of inches

Gilkey, a St. Louis native, had made his big-league debut with the Cardinals on Sept. 4, 1990, in his hometown against the Mets. With Class AAA Louisville in 1990, Gilkey had hit .295 with 147 hits in 132 games and 45 stolen bases.

He struggled early after his call-up to the Cardinals, hitting .212 entering the game against Mulholland and the Phillies.

Playing left field and batting in the leadoff spot, Gilkey opened the game by drilling a 2-and-2 pitch from Mulholland toward the right side of the second base bag. The second baseman, Randy Ready, dived to his right.

“The second baseman came within a whisker of catching the ball,” Torre told the Post-Dispatch.

The ball eluded Ready, skidding across the artificial turf and into the outfield. Center fielder Sil Campusano had shaded Gilkey to hit toward left field. The ball took a path into the gap between Campusano and right fielder Dale Murphy, rolling to the wall.

Gilkey raced to third with a triple.

“If (Gilkey) hits the ball two inches the other way, Randy Ready probably gets it,” Leyva said to the Philadelphia Daily News.

The next batter, Geronimo Pena, lifted a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Gilkey.

Terrific throw

After stinging the Phillies with his speed and hitting, Gilkey hurt them with his throwing.

In the bottom half of the first, Campusano was on second base when Murphy hit a single to left field. Gilkey fielded the ball and fired a strike to catcher Ray Stephens, whose sweep tag nailed Campusano before he could reach home plate.

“I have a pretty good arm and I charge the ball well,” Gilkey said to the Associated Press. “I figured I had a shot at him.”

Special pitching

Relying on a mix of sliders, sinkers and fastballs, Mulholland retired the Cardinals in order until Gilkey hit a double to right-center with two outs in the ninth.

“We only hit two balls hard,” said Torre.

The Phillies, though, couldn’t produce a run off starter Joe Magrane and relievers Mike Perez and Ken Dayley.

Magrane scattered eight hits over seven innings before he tired.

“Mulholland was cruising along so easily I didn’t have a chance to even get a drink of water,” Magrane said to the Post-Dispatch.

Perez and Dayley each worked an inning and each yielded a hit.

The Phillies had 10 hits and two walks, but stranded 11 base runners.

Several Phillies said Mulholland pitched better that night against the Cardinals than he had a month earlier, on Aug. 15, 1990, when he had a no-hitter versus the Giants.

“I pitched well enough to lose,” Mulholland said. “Gilkey hit the ball where we didn’t have anybody.”

Said Gilkey: “Mulholland is a real good pitcher. He spots the ball well and is always around the plate. I know I have to be ready, so I’m up there to hack.” Boxscore

Previously: How Bernard Gilkey spoiled Frank Castillo’s big moment

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With complete-game wins in his first three big-league starts, Larry Jaster transformed from a perceived disappointment to a promising starter for the Cardinals.

larry_jaster2Fifty years ago, in September 1965, Jaster was called up to the Cardinals from Class AA Tulsa. The defending World Series champions were out of pennant contention and assessing how to reshape the roster for 1966.

Jaster, a left-hander, impressed the Cardinals and their opponents by showing command of his pitches, stamina, adaptability and the know-how to win.

Jaster, 21, had progressed significantly from spring training, when the Cardinals questioned his commitment to becoming a complete pitcher.

Bonus baby

In 1962, Jaster was a high school senior in Midland, Mich., with a reputation as a talented baseball pitcher and football quarterback. The Tigers were keen on signing him to a professional baseball contract. Duffy Daugherty, football coach at Michigan State, wanted Jaster for his program.

The Cardinals, on the recommendation of scout Mo Mozzali, made the best financial offer: a $50,000 signing bonus. Jaster accepted.

Jaster was underwhelming in his first three seasons in the Cardinals’ system, though he did reach the Class AAA level with Jacksonville in 1964.

At spring training in 1965, Jaster arrived 10 pounds overweight and didn’t pitch effectively enough. When the Cardinals reassigned him to the minor-league camp, Jaster was told by farm director Chief Bender to report to Class AA Tulsa rather than Class AAA Jacksonville.

Jaster objected angrily. “We really had it out,” Bender said to The Sporting News.

According to Bender, the argument included this exchange:

Jaster: “I might as well quit. Give me my release.”

Bender: “Give us back that big bonus and you can have your release.”

After conferring with his wife, Jaster reported to Tulsa. He started poorly, though, and his future with the Cardinals appeared shaky.

Career changer

Desperate to reverse his career spiral, Jaster accepted the guidance of Tulsa manager Vern Rapp and pitching coach Billy Muffett.

“I was told to concentrate on getting the off-speed pitches over the plate and I even surprised myself,” said Jaster, who developed consistent command of a curve and change-up.

When Bender visited Jaster at Tulsa in June 1965, “Larry admitted to me then that being sent to Tulsa was the best thing that ever happened to him,” the farm director said.

Jaster struck out 219 in 210 innings with Tulsa, earning 11 wins and posting a 3.09 ERA. That got him a September look from the Cardinals.

September sensation

On Sept. 17, 1965, Jaster made his big-league debut, pitching an inning of shutout relief for the Cardinals against the Dodgers at St. Louis. Boxscore

Five days later, on Sept. 22, manager Red Schoendienst started Jaster against the Astros in the Cardinals’ 1965 home finale. Jaster responded by pitching a complete-game four-hitter for his first big-league win in a 4-1 Cardinals victory. Boxscore

The Cardinals then embarked on a season-ending road trip to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston.

Pennant pressure

Jaster’s next start came on Sept. 28 against the Giants at Candlestick Park. The Giants and Dodgers entered the day tied for first place in the National League at 92-64, with six games remaining.

Admitting he was nervous to be starting a game with pennant implications, Jaster struck out the first two batters he faced, Jim Davenport and Willie McCovey, and that “helped my confidence,” he told the Associated Press.

Though he wasn’t as sharp as he was in his first start _ Jaster told the Oakland Tribune he was having trouble that night with his curve and change-up _ the rookie frustrated the Giants.

Jaster yielded 10 hits and walked two, but the Giants stranded 11 and the Cardinals prevailed, 9-1, on a complete-game win from the left-hander. Jaster also contributed a two-run single off reliever Dick Estelle, scoring Julian Javier and Tim McCarver.

Praise from Mays

The Giants’ run came on a home run by Willie Mays, his 51st of the season. It was a 410-foot blast to straightaway center field. It barely eluded a leaping Curt Flood, who got a hand on the ball as it sailed over the fence.

Jaster described the pitch hit by Mays as “a high fastball that I got too far over the plate.”

In the ninth, the Giants had two runners on base with two outs and Mays at the plate. Jaster retired Mays on a pop out to third baseman Ken Boyer.

“He’s going to be a good pitcher,” Mays said of Jaster. “He throws strikes and isn’t afraid to get the ball over.”

Said McCarver: “Larry wasn’t hitting the spots like he will, but that good, sneaky fastball was right where he wanted it.” Boxscore

The loss dropped the Giants a game behind the Dodgers, who beat the Reds, 2-1, in 12 innings that day. The Dodgers went on to clinch the pennant, finishing two games ahead of the Giants.

Good command

In his final start, on Oct. 2, in the Cardinals’ penultimate game of 1965, Jaster pitched a complete-game seven-hitter versus the Astros in a 6-3 St. Louis triumph. Houston led, 3-0, after three, but Jaster shut out the Astros over the final six innings. Boxscore

“I used to be a thrower,” said Jaster. “Now I can get the ball where I want it.”

Said Schoendienst: “He’s not overpowering, but he has a pretty good fastball and curve. Most important, he throws strikes. Any time you throw strikes, you have a chance.”

Jaster finished 3-0 with a 1.61 ERA for the 1965 Cardinals.

With the 1966 Cardinals, Jaster had his best season, posting an 11-5 record and 3.26 ERA, including five shutouts against the NL champion Dodgers.

In four years with the Cardinals, Jaster was 32-25 with a 3.17 ERA. He departed the Cardinals when chosen by the Expos in the expansion draft after the 1968 season.

Previously: Hot starts by Kyle Lohse remind Cards of Larry Jaster


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Randy Flores was the winning pitcher in one of the most dramatic postseason games played by the Cardinals.

randy_floresOn Oct. 19, 2006, Flores pitched a flawless eighth inning, setting the stage for Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright to lift the Cardinals to a 3-1 victory in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series against the Mets at New York.

Nine years later, Flores, 40, was playing another prominent role for the Cardinals. He was chosen by general manager John Mozeliak to be Cardinals scouting director, starting the job on Sept. 1, 2015.

Flores, who earned both an undergraduate degree in finance and a master’s degree in administration from the University of Southern California, was hired for the front-office role, in part, for his leadership and management skills, Mozeliak said to Dan McLaughlin in an interview for radio station KMOX.

Flores’ skills in performing under pressure on the field passed the test in the epic pennant-clinching 2006 game at Shea Stadium.

Trusted by Tony

In the eighth inning, with the score tied at 1-1 and most of the 56,357 spectators howling for the Mets to take the lead, Cardinals starter Jeff Suppan walked the leadoff batter, Carlos Beltran.

Next up for the Mets was cleanup batter Carlos Delgado. A left-handed slugger, Delgado had been walked three times in the game by Suppan.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa replaced Suppan with Flores, a left-handed reliever.

Flores had posted a 5.62 ERA in 65 appearances during the regular season. He’d been much better during the postseason, though. Flores had pitched twice in the NL Division Series against the Padres and three times versus the Mets in the Championship Series and hadn’t yielded a run.

Now, with a berth in the World Series at stake, La Russa was entrusting the Cardinals’ fate to Flores.

Delgado had hit three home runs against the Cardinals in the series and 38 overall during the regular season, with 114 RBI.

Flores struck him out on a slider in the dirt.

Rough vs. righties

Another power hitter, David Wright, was up next. A right-handed batter, Wright had driven in the Mets’ run in the first with one of their two hits in the game against Suppan. During the season, Wright had hit 27 home runs with 102 RBI.

The matchup with Flores favored Wright. Right-handed batters had hit .329 versus Flores during the season.

La Russa could have brought in a right-hander to face Wright. He didn’t because Shawn Green, a left-handed batter, was on deck. Tyler Johnson, a rookie, was the lone remaining left-hander in the bullpen.

Preferring to stick with his veteran, La Russa gambled and let Flores face Wright.

Flores struck him out on a slider.

Complete the job

Beltran, who had 18 stolen bases during the season and one during the series, hadn’t budged off first base.

Like Delgado and Wright, Green had the proven ability to drive in Beltran with an extra-base hit. Acquired by the Mets from the Diamondbacks in August, Green had produced 31 doubles and 15 home runs during the season.

Flores induced him to ground out to first baseman Albert Pujols, ending the inning and emboldening the Cardinals with his shutdown performance.

In the ninth, Molina slammed a two-run home run off reliever Aaron Heilman, giving the Cardinals a 3-1 lead and positioning Flores for the win.

Facing Adam Wainwright, the Mets loaded bases with two out in the bottom half of the inning before the rookie struck out Beltran on three pitches, the final one a jaw-dropping curve. Boxscore and Video at about 30-second mark

Said Flores to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about earning the win: “The best moment possible, winning Game 7 of the NLCS _ unless you’re talking about Game 7 of the World Series.”

The win was the personal highlight of an outstanding 2006 postseason for Flores. Overall, he pitched 5.2 scoreless innings against the Padres, Mets and Tigers.

Signed by the Cardinals as a free agent in November 2003 after spending the season in the Rockies minor-league system, Flores played five years (2004-08) with St. Louis and was 9-2 with a 4.35 ERA and three saves in 237 appearances.

Previously: Bob Gibson was nearly unbeatable against Mets

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In a span of three days, Bob Gibson experienced the emotional swing of being honored for his Cardinals achievements and then ending his career on a downturn. bob_gibson20

Forty years ago, the Cardinals designated Sept. 1, 1975, as Bob Gibson Day. Gibson, 39, was feted in an hour-long ceremony before the Cubs played the Cardinals in front of 48,435 spectators on a Labor Day afternoon at St. Louis.

Two days later, Sept. 3, Gibson yielded a grand slam and took the loss in his final Cardinals appearance.

Nervous ace

Before reporting to spring training, Gibson had said 1975 would be his last year as a player. He began the season in the starting rotation but was shifted to the bullpen during the summer.

The Gibson Day event was an opportunity to salute the Cardinals’ all-time best pitcher. Gibson was the ace on 1960s Cardinals clubs that won three National League pennants and two World Series titles. He is the franchise’s career leader in wins (251), shutouts (56), strikeouts (3,117), complete games (255), innings pitched (3,884.1) and games started (482).

In a ceremony at home plate, the Cardinals declared that Gibson’s uniform No. 45 would join the No. 6 of Stan Musial and the No. 17 of Dizzy Dean as the only numbers retired by the franchise. Club owner Gussie Busch presented Gibson with a $32,250 luxury motor home.

Gibson told onlookers, including former teammates Musial and Bill White, “I’m more nervous than I was before a World Series game.”

Then it was Gibson’s turn to address the crowd.

In the book “Gibson’s Last Stand,” author Doug Feldmann wrote, “At first, Gibson was too moved to speak when he approached the microphone down on the field. Several times he stepped toward it again, but had to pause with every attempt, as each standing ovation was louder than the one a moment earlier.”

When he was ready, Gibson, true to self, told the crowd, “One thing that I’ve always been proud of is the fact that I’ve never intentionally cheated anyone out of what they paid their money to come and see. Most of all, I’m proud of the fact that whatever I did, I did it my way.”

Reflecting on his future as a retired player, Gibson said, “It’s going to be a new life, a strange life for me. I just hope I can be half as successful as I have been in baseball.”

To cap the festivities, Busch got behind the wheel of the motor home and drove Gibson, his mother and his two daughters around the perimeter of the field as the stadium organist played “Auld Lang Syne.” Said Busch to Gibson: “I bet you never had a chauffeur like this before.”

Inspired, the Cardinals went out and beat the Cubs, 6-3, behind Lou Brock (three hits, three steals, two runs) and the pitching of Bob Forsch and Al Hrabosky. The victory moved the second-place Cardinals to within three games of the Pirates in the NL East Division. Boxscore

Tough to take

On Sept. 3, in the finale of the series, the Cubs led, 6-1, before the Cardinals rallied for five runs in the sixth, tying the score at 6-6.

Sensing an opportunity to give his fading star another shot at glory, Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst called on Gibson to relieve starter Ron Reed and hold the Cubs in the seventh.

The move backfired.

The Cubs loaded the bases on a Champ Summers infield single and walks to Jose Cardenal and Andre Thornton. With two outs, Gibson uncorked a wild pitch and Gene Hiser, running for Summers, raced home from third, giving the Cubs a 7-6 lead. Gibson issued an intentional walk to Jerry Morales, reloading the bases.

Pete LaCock, a pinch-hitter, batted next. LaCock, who had lost the starting first base job to Thornton, was best-known as the son of game-show host Peter Marshall of “Hollywood Squares.”

With the count 3-and-2, LaCock stunned Gibson by drilling a fastball over the right-field wall for a home run _ the lone grand slam of his big-league career.

Dejected, Gibson retired the next batter, Don Kessinger, on a groundout and then walked off the mound for the final time. Boxscore

“I had reached my absolute limit in humiliation,” Gibson said in his book “Stranger to the Game.” “I said to myself, ‘That’s it. I’m out of here.’ ”

Gibson remained idle while the Cardinals fell out of contention.

On Sept. 15, two weeks after his special day, Gibson said goodbye to his teammates and headed home with 10 games remaining in the season, knowing he’d never pitch again.

Previously: Bob Gibson and his final Opening Day with Cardinals

Previously: How Ron Reed replaced Bob Gibson in Cards rotation

Previously: How Bob Gibson achieved career win No. 250

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