Archive for the ‘Bloggers’ Category

In participation with a United Cardinal Bloggers postseason roundtable, we asked the question, “Who is your No. 1 choice to replace Tony La Russa as Cardinals manager, and why?”

The majority of respondents chose Rays manager Joe Maddon (a lifelong Cardinals fan). He received full support from 11 bloggers and partial support from four others.

Cardinals coach Jose Oquendo and former Phillies and Red Sox manager Terry Francona (whose father, Tito Francona, played for the Cardinals in 1965-66) also got prominent consideration. Oquendo got full support from four bloggers and partial support from one other. Francona got full support from three bloggers and partial support from one other.

One of the most original suggestions was former Cardinals catcher Tony Pena, who has managed the Royals and is a coach with the Yankees.

Here are the responses:


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(Updated on April 27, 2020)

The Hall of Famer who hit the most career home runs against Cardinals ace Bob Gibson was Billy Williams, with 10.

Of the 257 regular-season home runs Gibson yielded in his career, 67 were hit by fellow Hall of Famers.

Williams, an outfielder for the Cubs from 1959-74, slugged more home runs (10) and drew more walks (24) against Gibson than any other player, Hall of Famer or otherwise. Williams batted .259 (45-for-174) versus Gibson.

In the book “Sixty Feet, Six Inches,” Gibson said, “Billy Williams probably hit me better than anybody, but even so, and despite the fact that he was left-handed, I went ahead and pitched to him because he had Ron Santo and Ernie Banks behind him and I didn’t want either of them hitting two-run homers. If Williams had batted cleanup, I’d have probably pitched around him more.”

Even in the two seasons in which Gibson won the Cy Young Award _ 1968, when he posted a 1.12 ERA, and 1970, when he recorded a career-best 23 wins _ Williams hit two home runs against him in each year.

Entering the Cardinals’ game against the Cubs on Aug. 4, 1968, Gibson had given up three runs in 101 innings before the Cubs scored five times on two home runs, including one by Williams. Boxscore

One of Williams’ most memorable home runs decided a showdown between Gibson and Ferguson Jenkins: In the 1971 season opener between the Cardinals and Cubs at Wrigley Field, Williams hit a home run off a Gibson fastball in the 10th inning for a 2-1 Chicago victory. Boxscore and Video

“Gibson and Williams were good friends and formed a mutual admiration society except when they faced each other in a game,” Bob Burnes of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat wrote in the 1986 Baseball Digest.

The Hall of Famers who hit home runs against Gibson in the regular season (listed in order of number of homers hit):

_ Billy Williams, 10

_ Hank Aaron, 8

_ Willie McCovey, 7

_ Willie Stargell, 5

_ Roberto Clemente, 4

_ Eddie Mathews, 4

_ Frank Robinson, 4

_ Ernie Banks, 3

_ Johnny Bench, 3

_ Orlando Cepeda, 3

_ Willie Mays, 3

_ Joe Morgan, 3

_ Ron Santo, 3

_ Duke Snider, 3

_ Bill Mazeroski, 1

_ Tony Perez, 1

_ Mike Schmidt, 1

_ Dave Winfield, 1

NOTE: In nine World Series games, Gibson yielded one home run to a Hall of Famer _ Mickey Mantle of the Yankees in 1964.

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Ryne Duren played a key role in nearly derailing the Cardinals’ National League pennant bid in 1964.

Duren was a hard-throwing, hard-drinking pitcher with the Yankees from 1958-61. In 1964, he was 35 and a middle-innings reliever with the Reds.

On Sunday morning, Sept. 20, 1964, the Cardinals were in second place, 5.5 games behind the Phillies and a game ahead of the Reds. Most figured St. Louis needed a win that afternoon in Cincinnati to keep alive its hopes of catching the Phillies and prevent the Reds from moving into a tie for second.

Ken Boyer’s two-run triple, solo home runs from Lou Brock and Dick Groat and a successful squeeze bunt by Bill White put St. Louis ahead 5-0 after three innings. When Mike Shannon led off the fourth with a home run, Reds starter Joe Nuxhall was replaced by Duren.

With St. Louis ahead 6-0, the Reds appeared beaten.

“I looked around the dugout and everyone was really down,” Duren told author Doug Wilson in the book “Fred Hutchinson and the 1964 Cincinnati Reds.”

“I got mad and said to everyone on the bench, ‘If you don’t want to compete, let’s just go home, but if you’re out here, let’s have a little life.’ ”

Duren backed his words with action, on the mound and at the plate, and his efforts changed the momentum.

He pitched four scoreless innings and held the Cardinals to three hits.

In the fifth, with the score 6-1, Duren batted with Leo Cardenas on first and two outs. An .061 career hitter who wore thick lenses on his glasses because of poor sight in both eyes, Duren was challenged by his teammates to get on base.

“I made up my mind I would take one for the team, which I did,” Duren said.

Duren leaned across the plate as Cardinals starter Gordon Richardson delivered his pitch. The ball struck Duren on the upper thigh and he was awarded first base. The Cardinals protested vehemently to no avail.

“He didn’t even try to get out of the way,” Reds pitcher Sammy Ellis said. “And there’s no way he would have gotten a hit. He couldn’t even see.”

Inspired, the Reds rallied against the flustered Richardson. Pete Rose singled, scoring Cardenas. Duren and Rose scored on Vada Pinson’s single. When Duren got to the dugout, all the Reds were on their feet to greet him.

Cincinnati tied the score in the sixth. Ellis relieved Duren in the eighth and, in the bottom half of the inning, Cincinnati scored three runs against closer Barney Schultz and won 9-6.  Boxscore

“Frank Robinson (Reds outfielder) always gave me credit for waking the club up,” Duren said.

The Phillies beat the Dodgers that day and went into the final two weeks of the season with a 6.5-game lead over the Cardinals and Reds with 12 to play.

After that, the Phillies lost the next 10 in a row, Cincinnati won nine in a row and the Cardinals won 10 of their final 13. When the Phillies beat the Reds in the final two games, St. Louis won the title on the last day of the season.

Duren never pitched another game for the Reds after his performance against the Cardinals. He was released in April 1965 and pitched for the Phillies and Senators that season, the last of his big-league career.

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