Archive for the ‘Pitchers’ Category

Matched against an elite big-game pitcher in an electric atmosphere overloaded with emotion from toxic comments by teammate Brandon Phillips and the surprise arrival of Jim Edmonds, Reds rookie Mike Leake unraveled versus the Cardinals.

mike_leakeOn Aug. 9, 2010, Reds manager Dusty Baker gave Leake the start in the opener of a showdown series against the Cardinals at Cincinnati. St. Louis manager Tony La Russa countered with an ace, Chris Carpenter.

After a scoreless duel for three innings, Leake cracked. He yielded seven runs in the fourth and became unnerved, losing track of the number of outs and heading toward the dugout before being sent back to the mound.

Emboldened, the Cardinals won the game, swept the series and overtook the Reds for first place in the National League Central Division.

Leake rebounded from that embarrassment. He posted a 64-52 record and 3.88 ERA in six years with the Reds and Giants. On Dec. 22, 2015, Leake, a free agent, signed with the Cardinals.

Queen City drama

In 2010, the Reds were seeking their first NL Central title in 15 years. On the morning of Aug. 9, they held a two-game lead over the second-place Cardinals entering a three-game series against them.

The tension between the division rivals, already high, was intensified that day by two developments:

_ Reds general manager Walt Jocketty acquired Edmonds from the Brewers for outfielder Chris Dickerson.

Jocketty had won two NL pennants and a World Series title as Cardinals general manager before he was fired after the 2007 season. Edmonds had been the Cardinals’ center fielder and a slugger on those championship clubs, then was traded after Jocketty departed.

Edmonds joined four other former Cardinals _ third baseman Scott Rolen, infielder Miguel Cairo and pitchers Russ Springer and Mike Lincoln _ on the Reds.

_ In an interview with Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News, Phillips lit into the Cardinals. McCoy posted the comments online before the game and the Cardinals read the remarks.

Said Phillips of the Cardinals: “All they do is bitch and moan about everything, all of them. They’re little bitches … I really hate the Cardinals. Compared to the Cardinals, I love the Chicago Cubs. Let me make this clear: I hate the Cardinals.”

Schumaker slam

Baker started a lineup that night with Phillips in the leadoff spot, Rolen at cleanup and Edmonds, in his Reds debut, batting fifth.

The Cardinals focused on trying to lay off Leake’s sinker and get him to deliver pitches up in the strike zone.

In the fourth, that strategy paid dividends.

The first six Cardinals batters that inning produced six hits and six runs on 12 pitches.

Jon Jay doubled and Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, Colby Rasmus and Yadier Molina each singled. The hits by Holliday and Rasmus each drove in a run. Molina’s single loaded the bases for Skip Schumaker, who was playing his first game since spraining his left wrist Aug. 3.

Leake’s first pitch to Schumaker was on the outside corner. Schumaker swung and drove the ball 408 feet over the wall in left-center field for his first career grand slam, giving St. Louis a 6-0 lead. Video

Dazed and confused

“They got six in a span of 12 pitches,” Baker said to the Associated Press. “It happened so quickly that I didn’t have time to get anybody warmed up.”

After Schumaker’s slam, Leake struck out Carpenter and Brendan Ryan, then jogged off the mound and was at the foul line before he realized there were two outs, not three.

Leake returned to the mound and pitched to Felipe Lopez, who singled. That’s when Baker lifted Leake. Reliever Carlos Fisher walked Jay and yielded a single to Pujols, scoring Lopez. That run was charged to Leake, whose final line showed seven runs allowed in 3.2 innings.

Good plan

In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Joe Strauss wrote, “The Cards perfectly executed an early attack against Leake … They noticed a flattening of Leake’s assortment in his previous start and adopted a very aggressive tact.”

Said Schumaker: “That was the game plan from the very beginning. He’s a strike thrower. He gets a lot of groundballs. He’s very effective and he knows how to pitch.”

The Cardinals won, 7-3, and moved within a game of the Reds. Boxscore

Phillips was 0-for-5. Edmonds and Rolen also were hitless.

“I’m guessing Phillips really hated seeing Schumaker hit the grand slam, a massive hit that wasn’t very Cubs-like,” wrote Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz.

Said Schumaker: “I didn’t know we had bad blood. They can talk. We’ll leave our comments to ourselves.”

Tempers flare

The next night, Aug. 10, Phillips sparked a brawl between the teams when, in the batter’s box, he used his bat to tap Molina’s shin guards. Molina responded angrily, both benches emptied and the fight carried to the backstop.

Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto kicked Cardinals catcher Jason LaRue in the head and he also kicked Carpenter in the back. Baker and La Russa were ejected.

The Cardinals won that game, 8-4, and moved into a tie with the Reds for first place. Boxscore

On Aug. 11, the Cardinals completed the sweep with a 6-1 triumph. Rasmus hit a grand slam off Bronson Arroyo, Adam Wainwright pitched seven shutout innings and the Cardinals had first place to themselves.

The Reds, though, recovered and went on to win the division title, finishing five games ahead of the runner-up Cardinals.

Previously: Cardinals classic: Skip Schumaker bests Roy Halladay

Previously: Carlos Beltran like Will Clark with fast start for Cards

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Needing a closer, the 1996 Cardinals wanted Dennis Eckersley. What they didn’t want was the obligation to pay his entire salary.

dennis_eckersley3When the Athletics agreed to pay part of the sum and Eckersley agreed to defer much of the rest, the Cardinals agreed to a deal.

Twenty years ago, on Feb. 13, 1996, the Cardinals acquired Eckersley from the Athletics for reliever Steve Montgomery.

Eckerlsey, 41, was under contract to receive $2.2 million in 1996.

To make the trade, all sides agreed to this arrangement: The Athletics would pay him $700,000, the Cardinals would pay him $500,000 and Eckersley would defer $1 million to another year, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Sticking together

Looking to rebuild after finishing in last place in 1995, the Athletics were eager to grant Eckersley’s request to be traded to St. Louis. Eckersley sought to be reunited with manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan.

Eckersley had been transformed from a starter to a closer by La Russa and Duncan after he was traded to the Athletics by the Cubs in April 1987. With Eckersley reliably sealing wins, the Athletics won three consecutive American League pennants and a World Series title from 1988-90.

Asked about La Russa by Chicago Tribune columnist Jerome Holtzman, Eckersley said, “I respect everything about him.”

Because he had pitched in the big leagues for at least 10 years, including the last five in a row with one club, Eckersley could veto a trade.

“If he goes elsewhere, it’ll be St. Louis,” Athletics general manager Sandy Alderson told columnist Bob Nightengale of The Sporting News. “It won’t be anywhere else.”

Experience wanted

La Russa, who left the Athletics after the 1995 season to become manager of the Cardinals, told Rick Hummel of the Post-Dispatch he was “hoping” Eckersley could be acquired by the time training camp opened at St. Petersburg, Fla. Acknowledging that negotiations were held up, La Russa added, “I don’t know if it can happen.”

Eckersley had one of his worst seasons in 1995. Though he earned 29 saves in 38 chances, Eckersley had a 4.83 ERA in 52 appearances. It was his third consecutive season with an ERA above 4.00. From 1988 through 1992, Eckersley had posted ERAs below 3.00 each year.

“Eck has got plenty left physically,” La Russa said. “Mentally and emotionally, he’s still at the top of his game.”

Tom Henke, who had 36 saves and a 1.82 ERA for the 1995 Cardinals, had retired, leaving St. Louis without an established closer.

The Cardinals envisioned Eckersley as a fit for the role while a pair of potential successors, T.J. Mathews and John Frascatore, continued to develop.

Oakland connections

After the deal was made, La Russa said, “We’re getting a guy who will be anywhere from good to great as a closer this year.”

Said Eckersley: “To be an effective closer, you have to have a manager who knows how to use you.”

The Athletics reportedly wanted Mathews _ who would be dealt to Oakland a year later for slugger Mark McGwire _ but settled for Montgomery, 25, a prospect who earned 36 saves for manager Mike Ramsey at Class AA Arkansas in 1995.

“This was more to accommodate Dennis than acquire Steve,” Alderson told the San Francisco Chronicle. “… This is what Dennis wanted and, given where we are, this is probably best for us, too.”

Eckersley joined Rick Honeycutt, Mike Gallego and Todd Stottlemyre as the fourth former Athletics player the Cardinals had acquired since La Russa became St. Louis manager.

Eckersley went on to pitch two seasons for the Cardinals. He had 30 saves in 38 chances (0-6 record, 3.30 ERA) in 1996. He followed that with 36 saves in 44 chances (1-5 record, 3.91 ERA) in 1997.

In two years with the Athletics, Montgomery was a combined 1-1 with a 9.45 ERA. He also pitched for the 1999 Phillies and 2000 Padres.

Previously: How Tony Gwynn tormented Dennis Eckersley, Cardinals

Previously: Dennis Eckersley is oldest to lead Cardinals in saves

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Weakened while treating a bleeding ulcer, Cardinals pitcher Brooks Lawrence was ineffective in 1955. He went from being the Opening Day starter to getting demoted to the minor leagues that season.

brooks_lawrenceThough the Cardinals needed pitching, they decided Lawrence wouldn’t regain the effectiveness he showed as a rookie in 1954.

Sixty years ago, on Jan. 31, 1956, St. Louis traded Lawrence and minor-league pitcher Sonny Senerchia to the Reds for reliever Jackie Collum.

It turned out the Cardinals gave up on Lawrence too soon.

With his strength back and his ulcer under control, Lawrence pitched for the Reds in 1956 the way he had as a Cardinals rookie.

It was yet another example of Lawrence’s ability to persevere.

Long road to majors

Lawrence served in the Pacific with the Army during World War II and was awarded a Bronze Star for using a machine gun to fight off an enemy plane that was firing on U.S. soldiers. He attended Miami University in Ohio and began his professional pitching career in the Indians organization in 1949.

By 1953, he was discouraged still to be at the Class B level.

Mickey Owen, the former Cardinals catcher, had managed Lawrence in the winter league at Puerto Rico and suggested to the Reds that they acquire Lawrence. They did, but they left him exposed in the December 1953 minor-league draft and the Cardinals claimed him.

Lawrence opened the 1954 season with the Cardinals’ Class AAA club at Columbus, Ohio. He was 6-4 with a 5.53 ERA when the Cardinals, desperate for pitching, promoted him to the big leagues in June 1954.

Milestone performance

In his debut against the Pirates at Pittsburgh, Lawrence, 29, started and pitched a four-hitter. He became the first African-American pitcher to earn a win for the Cardinals. Boxscore

From there, Lawrence established himself as a valuable, versatile pitcher. In 35 appearances, including 18 starts, he was 15-6 with a 3.74 ERA for the 1954 Cardinals. He ranked second on the club in wins and complete games (eight).

Lawrence was adept at starting (9-2, 3.85 ERA) and relieving (6-4, 3.25 ERA) for the 1954 Cardinals.

Against the Cubs that season, Lawrence was 3-0 with a 1.82 ERA.

Medical emergency

Shortly after the 1954 season, Lawrence was home in Springfield, Ohio, when he collapsed.

“I was coming out of the bathroom and passed out from loss of blood,” he told The Sporting News.

Lawrence was diagnosed with a bleeding ulcer. He needed eight transfusions and spent 10 days in a hospital. “The doctor told me that if they had waited a half hour longer to bring me to the hospital it would have been too late,” Lawrence said.

According to The Sporting News, Lawrence was placed on a strict diet of milk, cream and baby food.

“I reported for spring training in 1955 weighing 217 pounds,” Lawrence said. “That’s about 12 pounds more than I usually weigh. I was healthy and looked it, but I wasn’t strong.”

Shaky season

Lawrence was the choice of manager Eddie Stanky to be the 1955 Cardinals’ Opening Day starter at Chicago against the Cubs. He was shelled for five runs and lifted before he could complete the first inning. Boxscore

The poor start foreshadowed his season. In 46 games, including 10 starts, for the 1955 Cardinals, Lawrence was 3-8 with a 6.56 ERA.

He was equally bad as a starter (2-5, 6.58 ERA) as he was a reliever (1-3, 6.55 ERA).

Against the Cubs that season, Lawrence was 0-3 with an 11.37 ERA.

After Lawrence was demoted to Class AAA Oakland in August, Cardinals manager Harry Walker said, “He’s a good man and I hope he proves again that he’s a good pitcher.”

In less than three weeks with Oakland, Lawrence was 5-1 with a 2.37 ERA.

Change environment

Frank Lane became Cardinals general manager after the 1955 season and was tasked with rebuilding a club that had finished 68-86.

Lane contacted his Reds counterpart, Gabe Paul, and inquired about a pair of former Cardinals, Collum and third baseman Ray Jablonski. “When I heard what he wanted in return,” Lane said, “I told him he must have been the key man in the Brink’s holdup.”

Paul countered by saying Lane “was too much in love with St. Louis major and minor leaguers” to strike a deal.

Columnist Dick Young reported that Paul called Lawrence “to ascertain that the pitcher’s ulcers have not been kicking up.”

Cardinals doctors declared Lawrence cured of ulcers, The Sporting News reported.

Said Lawrence: “There was nothing wrong with my arm last year. That ulcer was the trouble.”

Make a deal

The trade was made when Lane agreed to take only Collum and package a minor leaguer of the Reds’ choice with Lawrence.

“It’s not earth-shaking,” Lane said to United Press about the trade, “but it’s a start.”

Surprised, Lawrence said he thought the Cardinals “would have at least given me a good look” in spring training.

Lawrence said he had worked for the water department in Springfield that winter. “I operated an air hammer,” he said. “That takes the fat off you.”

Collum, who had pitched for the Cardinals from 1951-53 and was 9-8 with a 3.63 ERA for the 1955 Reds, “is not a great pitcher, but he’s a great competitor,” Lane said.

Used mostly in relief with the 1956 Cardinals, Collum was 6-2 with seven saves and a 4.20 ERA.

Lawrence won his first 13 decisions with the 1956 Reds and finished the season 19-10 with a 3.99 ERA.

Previously: The debut of Bill Greason, first black Cardinals pitcher

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Deemed too expensive to be a reserve and not enough of a power hitter to remain the everyday left fielder, Bernard Gilkey no longer fit into the Cardinals’ plans.

bernard_gilkey3Looking to restock their farm system, the Cardinals were offered packages of prospects by the Mets, White Sox and Royals for Gilkey.

Twenty years ago, on Jan. 22, 1996, the Cardinals traded Gilkey, 29, to the Mets for three minor-league players: right-handed pitchers Eric Ludwick and Erik Hiljus and outfielder Yudith Ozorio.

In the short term, the deal had little impact on the Cardinals, even though Gilkey had a career year with the 1996 Mets. The Cardinals won the 1996 National League Central Division championship and qualified for the postseason for the first time since 1987.

In the long term, the trade hurt the Cardinals because they didn’t get the pitching help they needed. Neither Ludwick nor Hiljus could help a staff whose team ERA increased each year from 1997 through 1999, contributing to the Cardinals missing the playoffs in those seasons.

Hometown regular

Gilkey, a St. Louis native, debuted with the Cardinals in 1990, replaced Vince Coleman as the starting left fielder in 1991 and held the position through 1995.

For those six years, he batted .282 with 602 hits in 593 games, with an on-base percentage of .354. In 1993, his best Cardinals season, Gilkey batted .305 with 170 hits in 137 games, including 40 doubles, 16 home runs, 15 stolen bases and a .370 on-base percentage.

However, Gilkey never hit more than 17 home runs or produced more than 70 RBI in a season with St. Louis.

In December 1995, the Cardinals signed free-agent Ron Gant, 30, to a contract for five years and $25 million. Gant had three times hit 32 or more home runs with the Braves and twice had topped 100 RBI. He had driven in at least 80 in five consecutive seasons.

Money ball

Gilkey was paid $1.6 million in 1995, when he led NL left fielders in fielding percentage (.986) and batted .298 with 17 home runs, 69 RBI and a .358 on-base percentage.

Eligible for salary arbitration, Gilkey was seeking $3 million in 1996. The Cardinals offered $2.5 million. A settlement likely could be reached for $2.8 million, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Still, the Cardinals were looking to acquire a closer, either Dennis Eckersley of the Athletics or free-agent Gregg Olson. Trading Gilkey would help free up the money to make such a deal.

“The only reason we’d have to move Gilkey is because of money,” Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty said to Rick Hummel of the Post-Dispatch.

It’s business

Projecting a 1996 outfield of Gant in left, Ray Lankford in center and Brian Jordan in right, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa discussed the possibility of moving Gilkey to first base. “We were saying that, but I didn’t see that as an alternative,” Jocketty said. “That probably would have hurt us defensively.”

On the day he was traded, Gilkey said, “I’m not bitter. I understand business.”

He was, however, hurt by the rejection.

“Once they signed Ron Gant, I knew the opportunity for me playing in St. Louis was slim,” Gilkey said. “It’s kind of shocking to know that you’ve played with the St. Louis Cardinals through all the down times and you did whatever you could to help. All of a sudden, they turn into contenders and they send me on my way.”

Of the players acquired by the Cardinals, Ludwick, 24, projected to be the most promising. He had a 13-6 record and 3.31 ERA in 27 games for Mets farm teams in 1995. “We have excellent reports on him,” Jocketty said.

Hiljus, 23, was 10-8 with a 3.94 ERA in the minors in 1995. Ozorio, 21, batted .217 with 40 stolen bases in Class A.

The aftermath

Joining a revamped Mets outfield that included another former Cardinal, Lance Johnson, in center, Gilkey had a sensational 1996 season. He batted .317 with 181 hits in 153 games, including 44 doubles, 30 home runs, 117 RBI, 17 stolen bases and a .393 on-base percentage.

Gant hit .246 with 103 hits in 122 games, including 14 doubles, 30 home runs, 82 RBI, 13 stolen bases and a .359 on-base percentage for the 1996 Cardinals.

Though Gilkey outperformed Gant in 1996, the Cardinals finished 88-74 and reached the NL Championship Series. The Mets finished 71-91.

Neither Hiljus nor Ozorio would ever play for St. Louis. Both were out of the Cardinals’ organization after the 1997 season.

Ludwick, older brother of outfielder Ryan Ludwick, pitched well at Class AAA Louisville _ 2.83 ERA in 11 starts in 1996 and 2.92 ERA in 24 games in 1997 _ but flopped in two stints with the Cardinals. He was 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in six games for the 1996 Cardinals and 0-1 with a 9.45 ERA in five appearances for the 1997 Cardinals.

On July 31, 1997, the Cardinals traded Ludwick and pitchers T.J. Mathews and Blake Stein to the Athletics for first baseman Mark McGwire.

Previously: How Bernard Gilkey foiled an opponent’s masterpiece

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

Previously: How Cardinals struck it rich with 1995 free-agent haul

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Valuing a mentor who could help him develop into a consistently productive starting pitcher, Todd Stottlemyre sought a trade from the Athletics to either the Yankees or the Cardinals.

todd_stottlemyre2His father, Mel, was pitching coach of the Yankees. Dave Duncan, who had served as somewhat of a surrogate father to Todd with the Athletics, was pitching coach of the Cardinals.

Twenty years ago, on Jan. 9, 1996, the Athletics honored his request, trading Stottlemyre to the Cardinals for outfielder Allen Battle and minor-league pitchers Carl Dale, Bret Wagner and Jay Witasick.

Stottlemyre, 30, joined free-agent acquisition Andy Benes as right-handers who bolstered a 1996 Cardinals rotation that included holdovers Donovan Osborne, Alan Benes and Mike Morgan.

Bernie Miklasz, columnist of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, wrote, “This winter, the Cardinals have actually recruited starting pitchers who can throw fastballs by hitters.”

Stottlemyre certainly could do that. In 1995, he ranked first among American League right-handers in strikeouts. One reason he wanted to join the Cardinals, though, is that Duncan was helping him learn to throw more than a fastball.

Bound for Blue Jays

Todd Stottlemyre, whose father started in three games against the Cardinals’ Bob Gibson in the 1964 World Series (he won Game 2 and lost Game 7), was drafted by St. Louis in 1985, but didn’t sign. Instead, he was chosen in a later draft by the Blue Jays and signed with them.

Stottlemyre debuted in the big leagues with the 1988 Blue Jays. He helped Toronto win consecutive World Series championships in 1992-93 and achieved double-digit win totals in four consecutive seasons (1990-93). However, he produced winning records in just two of seven years with the Blue Jays and overall was 69-70 with a 4.39 ERA for them.

After the 1994 season, Stottlemyre became a free agent and signed with the Athletics. Tony La Russa was the manager and Duncan was the pitching coach. Stottlemyre posted a 14-7 record and 4.55 ERA for them. He struck out 205 in 209.2 innings. Among AL pitchers in 1995, only left-hander Randy Johnson of the Mariners struck out more batters.

Stottlemyre credited Duncan and La Russa with his development.

“I felt that last year I took another step toward being able to pitch to my capability,” Stottlemyre said to the Post-Dispatch about his season in Oakland. “I felt I was more in control of myself throughout more ballgames … I’ve been able to get control of my curveball and changeup and off-speed pitches instead of just being a fastball, slideball pitcher.”

Meet me in St. Louis

After the 1995 season, La Russa left the Athletics to become Cardinals manager. Duncan joined him as pitching coach. That’s when St. Louis became an attractive destination point for Stottlemyre.

“We feel his best years are ahead of him,” Duncan said. “Last year, he made tremendous progress as a pitcher. Consistency was the key with him.”

The Athletics, looking to rebuild after finishing in last place in the AL West in 1995, were willing to trade Stottlemyre to restock their roster.

“He wanted to be elsewhere and it made sense for him to be elsewhere if we could get some value in return,” Sandy Alderson, Athletics general manager, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Mike Jorgensen, Cardinals director of player development, said all three pitchers dealt to the Athletics were big-league prospects. “When you go shopping in the high-rent district, you know it’s going to be expensive,” Jorgensen said to the Post-Dispatch.

Consistent Cardinal

The trade benefitted the Cardinals more than it did the Athletics.

Stottlemyre was 14-11 with a 3.87 ERA in helping the 1996 Cardinals win the NL Central Division title. He led the 1996 Cardinals in strikeouts (194), complete games (five) and shutouts (two) and was second in wins.

Stottlemyre was 12-9 with a 3.88 ERA for the 1997 Cardinals and 9-9 with a 3.51 ERA for the 1998 Cardinals before he was traded with shortstop Royce Clayton to the Rangers for third baseman Fernando Tatis, pitcher Darren Oliver and outfielder Mark Little on July 31, 1998.

Overall, Stottlemyre was 35-29 with a 3.77 ERA for St. Louis and had three consecutive seasons with ERAs below 4.00 for the only time in his big-league career.

Of the four players traded by the Cardinals for Stottlemyre, only Witasick contributed much to the Athletics. In two stints with Oakland, Witasick was 5-5 with a 5.26 ERA. He pitched 12 years in the big leagues, appearing in the 2001 World Series with the Yankees and the 2002 World Series with the Giants.

Battle hit .192 in 47 games for the 1996 Athletics. It was his only season with Oakland.

Neither Dale nor Wagner pitched for the Athletics. Dale appeared in four games in the majors with the 1999 Brewers. Wagner, a 1994 No. 1 draft choice of the Cardinals, never appeared in the big leagues.

Previously: How Cardinals struck it rich with 1995 free-agent haul

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Of the many duels the Reds’ Jim O’Toole had with the Cardinals, none was more bizarre than his performance in the first game of a 1963 doubleheader. Even without his nemesis, Ken Boyer, in the lineup, O’Toole was pummeled by the Cardinals, but still won.

jim_otooleAn all-star starter in 1963, O’Toole, 78, died on Dec. 26, 2015.

A left-hander, O’Toole posted double-digit wins for the Reds in five consecutive seasons (1960-64). In nine years with Cincinnati, O’Toole was 10-14 with a 4.17 ERA in 38 appearances, including 32 starts, against the Cardinals.

His best game versus St. Louis was on May 6, 1960, when he pitched a four-hitter in a 1-0 Reds triumph. Boxscore

His worst game against St. Louis was on June 7, 1962, when he was rocked for six runs and 10 hits in 4.1 innings in an 8-2 Cardinals victory. Boxscore

Perhaps the most memorable was the escape act he performed on May 5, 1963, at Cincinnati.

Grim work

Though he yielded 12 hits, walked two, had two batters reach base on errors and threw a wild pitch before he was lifted with two on and none out in the seventh, O’Toole got his major league-leading sixth win of the season in a 5-4 Reds victory.

The Cardinals had two runners thrown out at home, two runners caught attempting to steal second, grounded into a double play and stranded nine.

In addition, “several Redbird smashes were kept in the ballpark by a treacherous wind,” The Sporting News reported.

“There’ll be games like that all season because the league is so well balanced,” said Cardinals general manager Bing Devine.

The Reds never trailed. Or, as the Associated Press noted, “The Reds scored three runs in the opening inning and held on grimly.”

O’Toole did the bulk of that grim work.

Unconventional script

Among the twists and turns:

_ O’Toole retired the first four batters he faced.

_ In the second inning, with the Reds ahead, 3-1, the Cardinals had Leo Burke on second and Gene Oliver on first with one out. Julian Javier grounded to shortstop Leo Cardenas, who booted the ball. Javier reached first safely on the error. Burke rounded third and headed for home. Cardenas recovered in time and threw to catcher Johnny Edwards, who tagged out Burke.

_ With two outs in the fourth and the Reds ahead, 4-2, the Cardinals had Javier on third and Ray Sadecki on first. O’Toole uncorked a wild pitch, enabling Sadecki to reach second. Dick Groat singled, scoring Javier but left fielder Frank Robinson’s throw to Edwards nailed Sadecki at the plate for the third out.

_ In the seventh, Curt Flood doubled and Groat followed with a RBI-single, knocking O’Toole from the game and cutting the Reds’ lead to 5-4. Al Worthington relieved. Bill White singled, with Groat moving to third. The rally unraveled when George Altman struck out, White was caught attempting to steal and Charlie James flied out. Boxscore

Perhaps the outcome would have been different if Boyer had played.

O’Toole tormentor

Two nights earlier, in the series opener, Boyer was injured when Edwards spiked him while sliding into third. Boyer needed 13 stiches to close two wounds. He wouldn’t return to the lineup until after the Cardinals left Cincinnati.

Boyer had the most career hits (36) against O’Toole of any batter. He hit .468 (36-for-77) with five doubles, four home runs, 10 walks and 22 RBI versus O’Toole. Boyer’s career on-base percentage against him was .529.

In O’Toole’s first three full seasons with the Reds, Boyer haunted him, hitting .636 (7-for-11) in 1959, .462 (6-for-13) in 1960 and .750 (6-for-8) in 1961 (when O’Toole earned 19 wins and was second in the National League in ERA), according to Baseball-Reference.com.

O’Toole was the starting pitcher in the 1963 All-Star Game at Cleveland when the NL started an all-Cardinals infield of White at first, Javier at second, Groat at shortstop and Boyer at third.

In the second inning of that game, the American League had Leon Wagner on second, Zolio Versalles on first, two outs and pitcher Ken McBride at the plate.

McBride hit a grounder to Boyer’s left. He dived for the ball, but it deflected off his glove and into left field for a RBI-single, tying the score. Boxscore

Previously: 1963 NL all-stars started all-Cardinals infield

Previously: Why John Tsitouris forever will be linked to Cardinals

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