On May 21, 1970, Steve Carlton, a future Phillie, and Richie Allen, a former Phillie, delivered dramatic performances for the Cardinals against the Phillies, but it wasn’t enough to produce a win.
Carlton struck out 16 Phillies. Allen hit a ninth-inning home run that sparked a Cardinals comeback. Still, the Phillies won, 4-3, at Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia.
The unusual occurrences didn’t end with the game’s conclusion. A few hours after their loss, the Cardinals were roused from their beds when a fire broke out in their hotel. The Cardinals were unharmed and the fire quickly was brought under control.
Jaime Garcia put the spotlight back on that tumultuous night in Philadelphia when he struck out 13 Brewers on April 14, 2016, at St. Louis. Garcia recorded the most strikeouts by a Cardinals left-hander since Carlton fanned those 16 Phillies on May 21, 1970, according to the club publicity staff.
Fear strikes out
In his 13-strikeout performance, Garcia pitched a one-hitter and got the win in a 7-0 Cardinals triumph. Boxscore
In his 16-strikeout performance, Carlton got a no-decision.
It was the third time Carlton struck out 16 or more in a game for the Cardinals. Each time, he didn’t win. He struck out 19 and took the loss in a 4-3 Mets victory over the Cardinals on Sept. 15, 1969. He struck out 16 and took the loss in a 3-1 Phillies victory over the Cardinals on Sept. 20, 1967.
“It’s getting to be a phobia,” Carlton said to United Press International after his no-decision on May 21, 1970. “I get all these strikeouts, but I start thinking that one mistake can kill you.”
Before the game, the focus was Allen, not Carlton.
Seven months earlier, the Phillies had traded Allen to the Cardinals in the deal that sent Curt Flood and Tim McCarver to Philadelphia. Allen had become a controversial figure in Philadelphia and routinely was booed by Phillies fans.
The game on May 21, 1970, would be his first at Philadelphia since the trade.
Allen, the Cardinals’ first baseman, “was welcomed by a chorus of boos mingled with cheers” when he appeared on the field, the Associated Press reported.
In the sixth inning, the Phillies snapped a scoreless tie with three runs off Carlton. Larry Hisle hit a RBI-triple and Don Money produced a two-run home run.
Said Carlton of Money: “I struck him out twice with the same pitch that he hit out.”
The Phillies took a 3-0 lead into the ninth. Phil Gagliano, pinch-hitting for Carlton, led off the inning for the Cardinals with a routine groundball to Money at third base. The ball took a bad hop and struck Money in the eye. Gagliano was credited with a single.
According to The Sporting News, Money suffered “a fracture of the orbit, the thin bone around the eye” and also experienced double vision. He was taken to a hospital for treatment.
The next two Cardinals batters made outs against starter Woodie Fryman.
Then, Allen came to the plate.
Allen had gone hitless in his first three at-bats against Fryman.
This time, Fryman threw him a slider, down and in. Allen ripped it for a two-run home run into the left-field stands, turning the jeers into cheers.
“After all,” reported the Bucks County (Pa.) Courier Times, “this is what they (the fans) had paid for.”
Said Fryman: “It was a good pitch, but I think he was looking for it … He knows as much about hitting as anyone in the big leagues.”
Said Allen: “I’ve done it before. The main thing is winning.”
After Allen’s home run, Joe Torre walked and Vic Davalillo ran for him. Carl Taylor singled, moving Davalillo to second.
Bill Wilson relieved Fryman and yielded a single to Joe Hague, scoring Davalillo with the tying run. The Cardinals loaded the bases, but the threat died when Mike Shannon, facing former teammate Joe Hoerner, popped out to third.
In the bottom of the ninth, Tony Taylor hit a two-out, RBI-single off Sal Campisi, giving the Phillies the victory. Boxscore
Early on the morning of May 22, a fire erupted on the 15th floor of the hotel that housed the Cardinals. Smoke “shot up to several higher floors,” including the floors were most of the Cardinals were staying, The Sporting News reported.
Shannon and Cardinals coach Billy Muffett awakened many of their teammates “by kicking against their doors,” according to The Sporting News.
“Our floor was full of smoke,” said Muffett, “and when I tried to go out an exit door, I had to turn back because of the heavy smoke.”
Many of the Cardinals gathered in the lobby until certain the fire was put out. Others slept through it all.
It was that kind of night.
Previously: How Chase Riddle got Steve Carlton for Cardinals