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Lowell Palmer had a penchant for the fast lane. A right-handed pitcher, he mostly threw fastballs. Off the field, he drove a Corvette convertible, rode a Triumph motorcycle, worked as a private investigator, and dated the manager’s daughter.

Palmer wore shades when he pitched, not to look cool, but because his eyes were highly sensitive to light. To a batter peering from the plate to the mound, the sight of a hard thrower with erratic control in a pair of black sunglasses could be unsettling, if not intimidating.

Fifty years ago, on May 16, 1972, the Cardinals acquired Palmer from the White Sox for pitcher Santiago Guzman.

Palmer’s stint with the Cardinals was unsatisfying and brief, but not forgettable.

Born to be wild

Born and raised in Sacramento, Palmer struck out 127 batters in 67 innings as a high school senior, according to the Sacramento Bee. He also walked 21 in a game _ and won.

“I had no idea where that ball was going,” Palmer said to the Bee. “Sometimes, I didn’t give a damn. There were times I wanted to throw the ball so hard, I didn’t care where it went.”

Or, as he told The Sporting News, “I could throw it through a brick wall, but I didn’t know which wall.”

Palmer was 18 when he was signed by Eddie Bockman, a Phillies scout who also got for them another Sacramento native, shortstop Larry Bowa.

When he was 20, Palmer was with the Phillies at spring training, saw a young woman poolside at the team hotel, and asked her for a date. She accepted.

She was Leanne Mauch, daughter of Phillies manager Gene Mauch.

“All I know is that I took her out one night, and the next morning I was sent to the minors,” Palmer told The Sporting News.

Fast worker

In 1969, Mauch was managing the Expos and Palmer was with the Phillies’ farm club in Eugene, Ore. After producing an 8-1 record, he was called up to the Phillies in June. His first big-league win was a shutout of Mauch’s Expos in Montreal. Seated behind home plate and keeping score was his date for the weekend, Leanne Mauch. Boxscore

“She’s a terrific girl,” Palmer told the Philadelphia Daily News, “but don’t go starting any romance rumors, like I’m getting married or something. I don’t have the money to get married.”

Phillies officials rated Palmer’s fastball the best in the organization. According to The Sporting News, he threw fastballs “90 percent of the time.”

“He has the kind of fastball that breaks bats and rules,” Stan Hochman wrote in the Philadelphia Daily News.

Palmer said, “When my fastball is right, it moves in and out without me knowing which way it’s going. Sometimes it runs like a slider, and other times it tails off and hits the corner.”

Palmer faced the Cardinals for the first time on July, 9, 1969, at Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia. He gave up 12 hits, including home runs by Joe Torre, Vada Pinson and Lou Brock. Boxscore

Three months later, on Oct. 1, 1969, Palmer relieved in the ninth against the Cardinals. With the score tied at 5-5, two outs and none on, he walked Torre, and Ted Simmons followed with a walkoff RBI-triple to left-center. Boxscore

“He threw me a fastball, high and away, and I went with the pitch,” Simmons told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “If I’d pulled it, I probably would have popped it up.”

Undercover work

In 1970, Palmer appeared on a Topps baseball card wearing dark sunglasses.

“He has sensitive eyes, so he wears dark glasses that look as though they were carved out of chunks of bituminous coal when he pitches,” Stan Hochman wrote in the Philadelphia Daily News.

Palmer told the newspaper, “I was born missing a cover over my eyes that you’re supposed to have to help filter out light. My eyes are ultra-sensitive to light, even on cloudy days.”

On May 12, 1970, Dick Allen, facing the Phillies for the second time since they traded him to the Cardinals, walloped a Palmer pitch into the upper deck seats above the Stadium Club windows in left at Busch Memorial Stadium in St. Louis. Boxscore

“He jumped on Palmer’s fastball and pulled the stitches off it,” Bill Conlin wrote in the Philadelphia Daily News. “The ball soared over diners in the plush Stadium Club, melting their Baked Alaskas.”

After the season, Palmer joined his stepfather in forming a private investigation agency in Sacramento, The Sporting News reported. Driving a Corvette convertible, Palmer was a private eye for multiple years, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Summer in St. Louis

At spring training in 1971, Palmer had shoulder trouble, prompting the Phillies to propose surgery. Palmer credited his motorcycle for altering the plan.

“I bought a Triumph, a shaky one, though I didn’t know that at the time,” Palmer told the Post-Dispatch. “The vibrations broke up the (calcium) deposits in my shoulder. I didn’t need any surgery.”

After the season, the Phillies traded Palmer to the White Sox, who projected him as a reliever. At spring training in 1972, when reminded that Palmer had dated Gene Mauch’s daughter, White Sox manager Chuck Tanner quipped to The Sporting News, “I’d give up a daughter for a good relief pitcher anytime. Good relievers are hard to find.”

Tanner kept his daughter, and Palmer began the season in the minors. After pitching in eight games for Tucson, the White Sox dealt Palmer, 24, to the Cardinals. He was assigned to their Tulsa farm team, started two games and was called up to St. Louis.

Manager Red Schoendienst used Palmer as a reliever. On July 11, he entered in the 15th inning against the Braves and loaded the bases. With two outs, Palmer threw two fastballs for strikes to Oscar Brown, then tried a slider. “The pitch bounced into the dirt and away from catcher Ted Simmons,” the Post-Dispatch reported, enabling Gil Garrido to score from third with the winning run. Boxscore

“To be truthful, I haven’t been sharp since I’ve been here,” Palmer said.

During his summer in St. Louis, Palmer met KSD-TV’s Dianne White, the first black weathercaster in America, and they began a collaboration on a book, The Sporting News reported.

“Then somebody broke into her car and stole all the tapes and stuff, and it just kind of died,” Palmer told the Post-Dispatch.

In 16 appearances for the 1972 Cardinals, Palmer was 0-3, walking more batters (26) than he struck out (25). 

With two weeks left in the season, the Cardinals placed him on waivers and he was claimed by the Indians.

Take that!

Palmer was with the Indians’ Oklahoma City farm team, managed by former Phillies manager Frank Lucchesi, in 1973 and led American Association pitchers in strikeouts (203 in 196 innings).

“Maybe this means I’m a prospect again, not a suspect,” Palmer said to The Sporting News.

In 1974, he pitched for the Yankees’ Syracuse affiliate, managed by future Hall of Famer Bobby Cox, and was 5-1 in eight starts before returning to the majors that season with the Padres.

On Aug. 13, 1974, the Padres’ Vicente Romo, making his first start of the season, injured his pitching arm in the first inning against the Cardinals at St. Louis. Palmer relieved, pitched 8.1 innings allowed one run and got his last win in the majors, relying almost exclusively on fastballs. Boxscore

“He threw one speed all night,” Schoendienst moaned to the Post-Dispatch. “We’ve got to hit him.”

Palmer’s career mark in the majors was 5-18 with a 5.29 ERA.

In 1975, Palmer, 28, pitched in his hometown for the Sacramento Solons, a Brewers farm club, After the season, he tried out for the football team at Sacramento City College, where he studied political science, and made the squad as a defensive end and punter.

“They call me Old Man,” Palmer told the Post-Dispatch. “Most of them don’t even know my name. Just Old Man.”

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John Cumberland was a teenager from Maine who yearned to play professional baseball. A Cardinals scout took him to dinner and launched him on a path to becoming a big-league pitcher and coach.

A left-hander, Cumberland made his debut in the majors with the Yankees. He later joined Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry as a starter for the division champion Giants, and got his last win in the big leagues as a reliever with the Cardinals.

As a coach, Cumberland mentored 18-year-old Dwight Gooden in the minors, and was the first big-league pitching coach for Zack Greinke with the Royals.

Cumberland was 74 when he died on April 5, 2022. 

Bargain player

Born and raised in Westbrook, Maine, Cumberland was a high school baseball and football player. Though he wasn’t selected in the amateur baseball draft, Cumberland’s ability to throw hard impressed Cardinals scout Jeff Jones. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jones bought Cumberland a steak dinner and got him to sign with the Cardinals in 1966.

“I got 52 scholarships out of high school, mostly for football, but the opportunity came up for baseball, so I signed for a steak dinner,” Cumberland recalled to the Clearwater (Fla.) Times. “What a dummy. If I’d waited a little longer, I could have gotten $30,000 or $40,000, even back then. I was anxious, though, for the publicity and all.”

Cumberland was assigned to the Eugene (Ore.) Emeralds, a minor-league club stocked with Cardinals and Phillies prospects. According to the Post-Dispatch, his roommate at Eugene was another future big-league pitcher, Reggie Cleveland.

After posting a 4-1 record for Eugene, Cumberland was taken by the Yankees in the November 1966 minor-league draft.

Two years later, he made his big-league debut for the Yankees against the Red Sox. The first batter he faced, Carl Yastrzemski, grounded a comebacker to Cumberland, who threw to first baseman Mickey Mantle for the out. Boxscore

After making two appearances with the 1969 Yankees, Cumberland got a chance to stick with them in 1970. He got his first big-league win, pitching 6.1 innings of relief against the Senators, and also stroked his first big-league hit, a single that scored Thurman Munson, in that game. Boxscore

The performance earned him a spot in the starting rotation. A month later, in a start against the Indians at Cleveland, Cumberland became the first Yankees pitcher to give up five home runs in a game. Ray Fosse and Tony Horton hit two apiece, and Jack Heidemann slugged the other. Boxscore

In his next start, against the White Sox at Yankee Stadium, Cumberland recovered and pitched his first complete game in the majors, a 3-1 victory. Boxscore

In July 1970, the Yankees traded him to the Giants for pitcher Mike McCormick.

Wakeup call

Soon after joining the Giants, Cumberland was demoted to the minors “with instructions to lose 15 pounds and gain a new pitch,” the New York Daily News reported.

“Getting sent down was the big blow,” Cumberland told reporter Phil Pepe. “It shook me up. I was kind of complacent until that happened. It made me think about my future.”

Cumberland worked on improving his curveball. Called up by the Giants in September, he was 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in five relief appearances that month.

Pleasant surprise

In 1971, Cumberland entered spring training 15 pounds lighter than he was the previous year, and earned an Opening Day roster spot as a reliever.

When Frank Reberger got injured, Giants manager Charlie Fox chose Cumberland to start against the Cubs on June 22. He beat Ferguson Jenkins in a 2-0 duel. Boxscore

Cumberland remained in the rotation, and on July 3 he pitched a four-hitter, beating Steve Carlton and the Cardinals. Boxscore

“Cumberland is perhaps the most unartistic-looking left-handed pitcher since Hal Woodeshick went into retirement,” San Francisco columnist Wells Twombley observed.

The results, though, were effective. Cumberland was 9-6 for the 1971 Giants, who won a division title. He ranked second on the team in ERA (2.92) and third in innings pitched (185).

“He’s been the biggest surprise of the season,” Fox told United Press International. “What I like best about him is the way he battles the batters. He’s a real bulldog.”

Winding down

At spring training in 1972, teammate Juan Marichal worked with Cumberland on developing a screwball. After posting a 1.61 ERA in 28 exhibition game innings _ “My best spring training ever,” he told the Post-Dispatch _ Cumberland seemed poised to succeed in the regular season, but the opposite happened.

Cumberland was 0-4 with an 8.64 ERA for the Giants when they arrived in St. Louis on June 16, 1972, for a series with the Cardinals. Before the game that night, the Giants swapped Cumberland to the Cardinals for minor-league infielder Jeffrey Mason.

“He’s only 25 and has good control,” Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst told the Post-Dispatch. “If he can come along with that screwball, he could really help us.”

In his St. Louis debut, a start versus the Expos and former Cardinal Mike Torrez, Cumberland gave up six runs in 3.1 innings. Boxscore

After that, Schoendienst used Cumberland as a reliever.

On Aug. 19, facing the Giants in San Francisco, Cumberland pitched three innings and got the win, his last in the majors. Boxscore

“I can’t think of any club I’d rather beat,” Cumberland told the Oakland Tribune.

In 14 games with the 1972 Cardinals, Cumberland was 1-1 with a 6.65 ERA. After the season, they dealt him and outfielder Larry Hisle to the Twins for reliever Wayne Granger.

Helping hand

Cumberland’s final season in the majors was 1974. Eight years later, the Mets hired him to be a coach in the minors.

At the Lynchburg, Va., farm club in 1983, teen phenom Dwight Gooden got off to a mediocre start and was challenged by Cumberland.

“I just told him I didn’t think he wanted to win, and that he wasn’t much of a competitor,” Cumberland told the Newport News Daily Press.

According to Cumberland, Gooden responded, “You were right. I was too timid. That will never happen again.”

Gooden finished 19-4 with 300 strikeouts in 191 innings for Lynchburg.

At the Florida Instructional League after the season, Cumberland helped Gooden develop a changeup and worked with him to shorten his motion.

Cumberland coached in the Mets system from 1982-90. Others he mentored included Rick Aguilera, Randy Myers and Calvin Schiraldi.

“He was the best pitching coach we had in the minor leagues,” Mets scouting director Joe McIlvaine told the Boston Globe. “He toughened the kids up. He worked better with the mind of the player than with the body of the player. That’s a hard thing to get. When we sent a pitcher to John Cumberland in the minor leagues, he was always better for the experience.”

In addition to stints as a minor-league coach for the Padres and Brewers, Cumberland coached in the big leagues with the Red Sox and Royals.

When he was Red Sox pitching coach in 1995, the staff included Roger Clemens, and future Cardinals pitching coaches Derek Lilliquist and Mike Maddux. Derek Lowe transformed from starter to closer while Cumberland was Red Sox bullpen coach from 1999-2001.

Cumberland was Royals pitching coach for manager Tony Pena from 2002-04. When Zack Greinke, 20, made his big-league debut in 2004, he reminded Cumberland of Gooden at a similar age.

“Dwight was more of a power pitcher,” Cumberland told the Kansas City Star, “but the two have the same type of makeup: ‘Here I am. I’m not intimidated. Stand in the box. I’m going to get you out.’ That’s the way Dwight was at 18, just like this kid.”

 

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Erich Barnes was a formidable foe of the St. Louis football Cardinals. He was an intimidating, savvy defensive back who played 14 seasons in the NFL. In seven games against the Cardinals, he intercepted six passes.

Two of Barnes’ most significant clashes with the Cardinals occurred in consecutive seasons (1966 and 1967) at St. Louis. The first illustrated his fiery intensity. The second showed his smarts.

An all-pro who totaled 45 interceptions with the Chicago Bears (1958-60), New York Giants (1961-64) and Cleveland Browns (1965-71), Barnes was 86 when he died on May 6, 2022.

Rough stuff

Barnes played college football at Purdue and earned a bachelor’s degree. The Bears selected him in the fourth round of the 1958 NFL draft.

In January 1961, the Bears sent Barnes to the Los Angeles Rams for quarterback Billy Wade. The Rams then flipped Barnes to the Giants for defensive back Lindon Crow, a former Chicago Cardinal who had threatened to retire unless the Giants traded him to a team near his California home.

“We gave up a class A player in Barnes,” Bears head coach George Halas told the Chicago Tribune, “but you must give up a class A player to get one in return.”

“Often matched against the league’s best wide receivers,” the New York Times noted, Barnes helped the Giants reach the NFL title game in three consecutive seasons (1961-63).

Bobby Mitchell of the Washington Redskins said of Barnes, “When a man can hold me down playing man-to-man defense, he’s doing a tremendous job.”

Barnes developed a reputation for making hard hits “with an exuberance that drew penalties or warnings,” the Associated Press reported. In a 1963 game against the Bears, he was assessed a penalty for roughing another tough guy, tight end Mike Ditka.

“Throughout Barnes’ career, his method of operation was simple: You come across the middle, you get busted in your chops,” the Akron Beacon Journal observed.

Barnes displayed an uncanny knack for arriving at the same time a pass reached a receiver, and then whacking the ball from the recipient’s arms with a motion similar to a butcher wielding a cleaver.

“He was very intense on the field,” Barnes’ teammate, Giants offensive lineman Roosevelt Brown, told the Akron newspaper. “Off the field, he was very laid back. That’s when you wanted to meet him. You didn’t want to meet up with him on the football field.”

Barnes had 18 interceptions in four seasons with the Giants. 

Like the Bears four years earlier, the Giants were in desperate need of an experienced quarterback in August 1965, and Barnes had trade value. The Giants sent Barnes to the Browns for linebacker Mike Lucci, then swapped Lucci and guard Darrell Dess to the Detroit Lions for quarterback Earl Morrall.

Danger zone

On Dec. 17, 1966, the Browns and Cardinals played at Busch Memorial Stadium. Late in the fourth quarter, with the Browns ahead by 28, backup quarterback Jim Ninowski threw a sideline pass to pint-sized Walter “The Flea” Roberts. The pass was incomplete, but Cardinals rookie defensive back Bobby Williams followed Roberts out of bounds and knocked him toward the Browns’ bench.

Roberts got up and “wanted to fight,” Williams said to the Associated Press. “He jumped on me. Then Barnes came over. Then it seemed like the whole Browns team was around me.”

Barnes told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “I guess I was the first one to reach Williams, and I gave him a shove.”

Barnes then kicked, or attempted to kick, Williams while he was down, witnesses told United Press International.

“I swung my foot, but I’m not even sure I touched him,” Barnes said to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “It was more of a chastising gesture. I had no intention of hurting him.”

Emotions were raw. Some spectators left their seats, gathered on top of a dugout and shouted at the Browns players on the sidelines.

“Ushers were unable to control the unruly bunch,” the Jacksonville (Ill.) Daily Journal reported, “and policemen with nightsticks were rushed to the scene.”

Bruce Alford, a line judge on the officiating crew, feared the mob would storm the field. “I thought there might not be enough policemen when the trouble started,” Alford told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

During a timeout, a spectator broke loose, approached Barnes from behind and struck him in the back of the head, knocking him to the ground.

“The first thing I know, I’m flat on my back,” Barnes recalled to the Post-Dispatch, “and I see our other players pushing some fan away from me.”

The assailant was handcuffed by police and taken away. Game stats

Two plainclothes police officers were assigned to escort Barnes from the locker room to the team bus, according to the Post-Dispatch.

After reviewing film, NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle fined Barnes $250 for making “a major contribution to an inflammatory sideline incident.”

Experience matters

A year later, when the Browns returned to Busch Memorial Stadium on Dec. 10, 1967, “Barnes was booed vociferously when he was introduced” before the game, the Dayton Daily News reported.

Unfazed, Barnes responded with an outstanding performance. “Can’t play this game to win popularity contests,” Barnes told the Dayton newspaper.

In the third quarter, with the Browns ahead, 10-9, Cardinals tight end Jackie Smith took a handoff from Jim Hart on an end-around play.

“We’d studied films of that play all week,” Barnes told the Post-Dispatch.

When Barnes saw Smith take the ball, it was his responsibility to leave the receiver he was covering, Bobby Joe Conrad, and advance toward Smith, but Barnes’ instincts told him something was amiss.

“I say to myself, ‘Why is Bobby Joe Conrad running by me so hard?’ ” Barnes told the Post-Dispatch. “Most pass receivers don’t really run unless they think they’re going to get the ball.

“I say, ‘Erich, ain’t no pass receiver going to run that hard on a fake.’ That’s how I guessed Jackie Smith might plan to throw on that end-around. So I stay with Conrad.”

Sure enough, Smith stopped, looked downfield and tossed a pass toward Conrad. It was the first pass Smith attempted in a NFL game. Barnes intercepted it and ran 40 yards to the Cardinals’ 21. A few minutes later, Lou Groza kicked a field goal for a 13-9 Browns lead.

Barnes’ pickoff and return “put the Cardinals in a hole for the entire third quarter,” the Post-Dispatch reported. “The play served to turn the game in Cleveland’s direction.”

Barnes came up big again on the last play of the game.

With the Browns ahead, 20-16, Hart connected with Smith on a pass to the Cleveland 18. Six seconds remained when Smith caught the ball. Barnes blocked Smith’s path to the sideline so that he couldn’t get out of bounds and stop the clock. Forced to run down the field, Smith was tackled by middle linebacker Dale Lindsey as time expired. Game stats

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The Reds thought they beat the Cardinals on a home run that didn’t count. The Cardinals thought they won on a home run that did count. The unsatisfying result was that neither team won. A tie score was declared and a makeup game was scheduled.

The adventure began on a Saturday afternoon, May 14, 1938, when the Reds and Cardinals played at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis.

In the sixth inning, the Reds led, 3-1, and had runners on first (Billy Myers) and third (Lonny Frey), two outs, when Dusty Cooke hit a deep drive to right-center against Cardinals rookie starter Max Macon.

“The ball soared on and on,” The Sporting News reported, and still was rising as it carried over the outfield wall and the bleacher seats. It struck an iron girder just below the roof “at a point where the pavilion is not protected by screen,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch observed, and caromed back into the playing field.

Lee Ballanfant, the umpire with the closest view, ruled the ball was in play. Center fielder Enos Slaughter retrieved it and threw to third baseman Joe Stripp. Cooke, sliding, arrived just ahead of the ball.

Cooke was credited with a two-run triple, extending the Reds’ lead to 5-1, but the Reds argued that he hit a three-run home run, making it a 6-1 score.

According to the Associated Press, Sportsman’s Park had no ground rule for a ball striking a beam underneath the pavilion roof and falling back into the playing field.

Ballanfant, backed by the other two umpires, Bill Klem and Ziggy Sears, determined it was a judgment call.

Reds manager Bill McKechnie disagreed and filed a protest, saying the umpires deprived Cooke of a home run. The Reds contended it was a home run because the ball cleared the outfield wall and would have landed on the pavilion roof or in the seats if it hadn’t struck the girder.

Diamond drama

Trailing 5-1, the Cardinals rallied for four runs in the bottom of the ninth. If Cooke had been allowed a home run instead of a triple, the Reds would have held on for a 6-5 victory. Instead, the score was 5-5 and the game went to an extra inning.

In the 10th, Frank McCormick’s two-out single scored Lonny Frey from second, giving the Reds a 6-5 lead.

Joe Stripp led off the bottom of the inning with a single against Ray Benge. Gene Schott relieved and fell behind in the count, 3-and-1, to Enos Slaughter.

Given the sign to swing away, Slaughter crushed a home run above the pavilion roof in right, turning “an impending defeat into a glorious Cardinals victory,” the Post-Dispatch reported. Cardinals rushed onto the field and “mauled and hauled Slaughter from the plate to the dugout” in celebration of the 7-6 comeback triumph. Boxscore

According to the Sporting News, McKechnie called National League president Ford Frick at his New York office and was assured a hearing would be held.

“Even officials of the St. Louis team anticipate Frick will allow the protest,” The Cincinnati Post reported.

Play it again

Frick decided to visit Sportsman’s Park and see for himself the spot where Cooke’s drive struck the beam near the pavilion roof.

On June 3, two days after he made his inspection, Frick ruled Cooke’s hit was a home run, but instead of awarding the Reds a 6-5 victory, Frick declared the outcome a 7-7 tie. He ruled that all statistics from the game counted in the record book, but the outcome did not. He ordered the game replayed in its entirety.

The Reds had hoped Frick either would award them a win, or rule for play to resume in the sixth, with the Reds batting, two outs, and a 6-1 lead.

“If that was a home run, the Reds won the game, and it must be difficult for manager McKechnie to understand Frick’s ruling to replay,” J. Roy Stockton wrote in the Post-Dispatch.

McKechnie, a former Cardinals manager who led them to the 1928 National League pennant, told The Cincinnati Post, “Frick’s decision that we must replay the entire game is unjust.”

“Frick showed a distinct lack of courage,” McKechnie said to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Frick told the Associated Press that awarding the Reds a win, or resuming the game in the sixth inning, would penalize the Cardinals “for an error which was in no part its own and concerning which they had no responsibility.”

The Cardinals, though, were unhappy, too. They thought Frick should have upheld the decision of the umpires and validated the 7-6 victory.

Just peachy

The makeup was scheduled as the second game of a Saturday doubleheader on Aug. 20 at Sportsman’s Park.

The Cardinals scored four in the first, knocking out Reds starter Peaches Davis.

In the seventh, with the Cardinals ahead, 5-1, Johnny Mize hit a ball that struck near the edge of the pavilion roof atop the screened section in right. Mize stopped at second base, but umpire Dolly Stark incorrectly ruled it a home run. The Reds argued, and plate umpire George Barr overruled Stark, declaring the hit a double.

The Reds scored three in the eighth, but the Cardinals held on for a 5-4 victory. Boxscore

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Julian Javier hit only four home runs for the 1968 Cardinals, but two of those resulted in 1-0 victories.

Three times in his career, Javier hit a home run in a 1-0 Cardinals victory. The only other player to hit a home run in three 1-0 Cardinals triumphs is Ken Boyer, according to researcher Tom Orf.

Just as noteworthy is the list of Cardinals who never hit a home run in a 1-0 win. Stan Musial never did it, according to Orf. Neither did Lou Brock, Jim Edmonds, Mark McGwire, Johnny Mize, Ted Simmons or Enos Slaughter as Cardinals.

Boyer blasts

Boyer ranks third in most career home runs (255) for the Cardinals.

The first time he hit a home run in a 1-0 Cardinals victory was Sept. 7, 1956, against the Reds’ Joe Nuxhall at St. Louis.

Swinging at a Nuxhall curve with one out in the seventh, Boyer hit “a tremendous shot that cut through a strong headwind to land well up in the left field bleachers” at the original Busch Stadium, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

The home run was Boyer’s first since July 26 and helped snap Nuxhall’s six-game winning streak. Boyer hit .330 with five home runs versus Nuxhall in his career. Boxscore

Two years later, on July 19, 1958, the Reds again were the opponent when Boyer hit a home run in a 1-0 Cardinals win at Cincinnati.

Leading off the 10th, Boyer hit an Alex Kellner curve over the Crosley Field wall in left for his fifth home run against the Reds that season, helping end a seven-game Cardinals losing skid. Boxscore

The final time Boyer hit a home run in a 1-0 Cardinals win was June 25, 1960, at Philadelphia. Leading off the ninth, he lined the first pitch from Jim Owens just over a railing into the first row of seats in left at Connie Mack Stadium.

“It was a good pitch, high and inside,” Boyer told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I hit it good.”

Curt Simmons, facing the Phillies for the first time since they released him in May, earned his first Cardinals winBoxscore

Good timing

While Julian Javier was visiting children at a Pittsburgh hospital, a 6-year-old boy asked him to hit a home run that night against the Pirates. Javier delivered, connecting against Steve Blass for a 1-0 Cardinals victory at Forbes Field on May 15, 1968. Boxscore

Four months later, as the Cardinals were closing in on clinching a second consecutive National League pennant, Javier hit another improbable home run to give the Cardinals a 1-0 victory.

On Sept. 2, 1968, at Cincinnati, Javier led off the 10th against the Reds’ Ted Abernathy, who had a 2.07 ERA and hadn’t allowed a home run since July. Abernathy threw low strikes with an underhanded submarine delivery. Javier, who batted .174 versus Abernathy, called him Abernasty, the Post-Dispatch reported, “because he doesn’t give you many good pitches to hit.”

To Javier’s surprise, he got a hanging curve from Abernathy and drove the pitch into the left field screen at Crosley Field for a home run.

“I do not see many high pitches from Abernathy, so I am glad I got a good cut at the one he gave me,” Javier said to the Dayton Journal Herald.

The home run gave the Cardinals a 1-0 victory and earned the 20th win of the season for Bob Gibson, who was on his way to winning the National League Most Valuable Player and Cy Young awards. The shutout was the 12th of Gibson’s 13 that season. Boxscore

Javier, who had 76 regular-season home runs for the Cardinals, got the last of his 1-0 game-winners on Aug. 26, 1969, against the Astros at St. Louis. His home run beat Larry Dierker, who allowed two hits in seven innings. Boxscore

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Undrafted, Garland Boyette overcame the odds, earning a roster spot at a position he’d never played and becoming a starting linebacker for the NFL St. Louis Cardinals in 1962.

Two years later, the Cardinals cut him, but that wasn’t the only insult he endured. Philadelphia Chewing Gum Corporation produced a football card of Boyette that year, but fumbled the assignment. The name on the card was Garland Boyette, but the photo was of Don Gillis, a former Cardinals center who no longer was in the league. Boyette was black and Gillis was white.

Boyette went to Canada, revived his career and returned to the United States, launching a successful stint as a Houston Oilers linebacker.

A two-time Pro Bowl selection with the Oilers, Boyette died on April 19, 2022, at 82.

Awesome athlete

Boyette played college football at Grambling and primarily was a defensive lineman. His teammates included other future NFL players such as Buck Buchanan, Willie Brown, Ernie Ladd and Roosevelt Taylor. Ladd, 6 feet 9 and about 320 pounds, was Boyette’s nephew. Ladd’s mother was Boyette’s sister.

Boyette, 6 feet 1 and about 220 pounds, also was a standout track and field athlete who excelled in the decathlon.

After his senior football season at Grambling in 1961, Boyette wasn’t selected in either the AFL or NFL draft. The Cardinals signed him in February 1962 and invited him to training camp.

Ernie Ladd, who made his pro football debut with the San Diego Chargers in 1961, and a friend, Len Burnett, a defensive back for the 1961 Pittsburgh Steelers, worked out with Boyette and offered him advice before he joined the Cardinals.

“They suggested that with my speed and agility I ought to be able to play cornerback in pro football, or with more weight, maybe linebacker,” Boyette told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Ernie told me to get on the weights and get my weight up, so I did.”

Boyette firmed up to about 235 pounds, and, though he never had played linebacker in college, he “landed in an outside linebacker spot, playing behind the Cardinals’ ace outside linebacker, Bill Koman,” the Post-Dispatch reported.

On-the-job training

With the Cardinals loaded with veteran linebackers, Boyette, 22, didn’t play much early in the 1962 season. “I found it discouraging,” Boyette told the Post-Dispatch. “I’d always played first string in college, but it gave me time to learn.”

When several linebackers, including Ted Bates, Ed Henke, Dale Meinert and Marion Rushing _ “All of whom figured to give the Cardinals a tremendous ground defense and a big rush,” The Pittsburgh Press noted _ got sidelined because of injuries, Boyette got his chance.

Against the San Francisco 49ers on Nov. 25, Boyette played at left linebacker, with Koman moving to the right side, and “did a commendable job,” Cardinals head coach Wally Lemm told the St. Louis Globe-Democrat.

Boyette started at left side linebacker in the Dec. 7 game against the Steelers and played well, sacking Ed Brown for a 15-yard loss.

“I told Bill Koman I’d learned more in that one game at Pittsburgh than I’d learned in five years of football earlier,” Boyette said to the Post-Dispatch. “I’m learning more by getting to play. I’ve found nobody ever relaxes in this game.”

After the Cardinals completed the 1962 season, the Globe-Democrat declared, “Boyette came along so well.”

On the move

The Cardinals went into their 1963 exhibition game opener with Boyette, Koman and Meinert as the starting linebackers, but, a couple of weeks later, rookie Larry Stallings was named a starter, replacing Boyette, according to the Post-Dispatch.

In October, Boyette tore ligaments in a knee. He came back in late November and made a key play in a game against the New York Giants, setting up the winning touchdown by recovering Eddie Dove’s fumble on the New York 20-yard line.

As for that football card snafu, Don Gillis wore No. 50 when he played for the Cardinals from 1958-61, and Boyette wore the same uniform number for the Cardinals in 1962 and 1963.

“The card companies would ask the team who wears what numbers,” Boyette told the Monroe (La.) News-Star, “but how the hell do you get that screwed up?”

With Koman, Meinert and Stallings returning in 1964, and Dave Meggyesy pushing for playing time as well, the Cardinals deemed Boyette expendable and placed him on waivers on Sept. 2, according to the Post-Dispatch.

A few days later, Boyette was signed by the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. Montreal’s head coach was Jim Trimble. Cardinals defensive coordinator Chuck Drulis had been an assistant on Trimble’s staff when Trimble was head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles in 1954 and 1955.

Boyette played two seasons (1964-65) with the Alouettes and made a favorable impression. “He is the best athlete on my team,” Trimble told the Montreal Star. “Garland is one of the finest athletes I’ve ever known.”

After Trimble departed, Boyette signed with the AFL’s Houston Oilers, who’d hired Wally Lemm to be their head coach in 1966.

“The only reason he was cut by the Cardinals was he made too many mistakes,” Lemm told The Sporting News. “We are hoping now that he is older, and with two years of Canadian ball behind him, he will have matured.”

In 1967, Boyette became the Oilers’ middle linebacker. That same season, rookie Willie Lanier started at middle linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs. According to the Houston Chronicle, Boyette and Lanier were the first black starting middle linebackers in pro football in the U.S.

A year later, Sports Illustrated described Boyette as “an exceptional athlete who can be one of the great middle linebackers.”

Boyette was named to the Pro Bowl in 1968 and 1969, and played with the Oilers until 1972.

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