Archive for the ‘Hitters’ Category

A kind gesture by Reds manager Sparky Anderson turned a disappointing ending into an uplifting moment.

Fifty years ago, on Oct. 15, 1970, the Reds were one out away from being eliminated in the decisive game of the World Series against the Orioles. At a time when some managers might be feeling despair, Anderson was feeling compassion.

The Reds’ Pat Corrales, a loyal, seldom-used backup catcher who had experienced personal tragedy, never had played in a World Series game. Realizing Corrales might never get another chance, and knowing how meaningful it would be to him, Anderson sent him to bat for one of the Reds’ hottest hitters, Hal McRae.

In his brief plate appearance, Corrales made the last out of the 1970 World Series, but the result didn’t matter. Unlike Hall of Famers such as George Sisler and Ernie Banks, Corrales had gotten to play in a World Series, and Anderson, in his first season as a big-league manager, had enhanced his growing reputation by being a considerate leader.

Three years earlier, Anderson and Corrales were in the Cardinals’ system _ Anderson as a manager looking to move up in rank, and Corrales as a catcher looking to show he could hit.

Cardinals connections

Anderson joined the Cardinals as a minor-league manager in March 1965. Corrales was acquired by the Cardinals in a trade with the Phillies in October 1965. Cardinals general manager Bob Howsam dealt Bill White, Dick Groat and Bob Uecker to the Phillies for Alex JohnsonArt Mahaffey and Corrales.

After managing St. Petersburg to a 91-45 record in 1966, Anderson was looking to manage the Cardinals’ top farm club, Tulsa, in 1967, but Stan Musial, who’d replaced Howsam as general manager, gave the job to Warren Spahn. Anderson was assigned to manage Modesto. After the 1967 season, Howsam, who had become general manager of the Reds, hired Anderson to manage in the Cincinnati farm system. Two years later, he became manager of the Reds.

Corrales, 25, spent the 1966 season as backup to Cardinals catcher Tim McCarver, but got into a mere 28 games and hit .181. “I’m probably the only guy in the league who has thrown out more runners than he has hits,” Corrales told The Sporting News.

Actually, it was a tie. Corrales finished the 1966 season with 13 hits and threw out 13 runners attempting to steal.

Afterward, Corrales reported to the Cardinals’ Florida Instructional League team to work on his hitting. The manager was George Kissell and Sparky Anderson was his assistant. When Corrales injured a knee, the Cardinals acquired Johnny Romano from the White Sox to be McCarver’s backup. Corrales played the 1967 season at Tulsa for Spahn, and hit .274 in 130 games.

Howsam and the Reds knew their top prospect, Johnny Bench, would be the starting catcher in 1968, replacing Johnny Edwards, and viewed Corrales as a potential backup. On Feb. 8, 1968, Howsam acquired Corrales for the second time, trading Edwards to the Cardinals for him and Jimy Williams. 

Devastating death

Corrales began the 1968 season with the Reds’ farm team at Indianapolis, managed by Don Zimmer, and hit .273 in 77 games. He got called up to the Reds in July to provide relief for Bench, who started 81 games in a row. On July 29, 1968, Corrales was the catcher when the Reds’ George Culver pitched a no-hitter against the Phillies.

Corrales impressed Reds management and was popular with teammates. Asked about Corrales, Pete Rose told The Sporting News, “There’s a man who can do it all. He knows what’s going on out there every minute. Corrales makes a pitcher think on the mound.”

Corrales stuck with the Reds in 1969.

On July 22, 1969, Corrales’ wife, Sharon, 27, gave birth to a son at 5:02 a.m. at Cincinnati’s Christ Hospital. It was the couple’s fourth child. They had three daughters, the oldest, 5, and twins, 3.

Ten hours later, Sharon died in the hospital. The cause was pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in the lungs, the Dayton Daily News reported.

Corrales returned to the Reds a week after Sharon’s funeral. Several teams raised money for an education fund for Corrales’ children, Newsday reported. Among the fund-raisers were the Orioles. According to The Sporting News, Orioles players donated money from fines collected by their clubhouse kangaroo court. Orioles wives raised funds with a bake sale and paper flower sale.

After the 1969 season, the Reds changed managers, replacing Dave Bristol with Sparky Anderson. At spring training in 1970, Anderson said, “In Corrales, I’ve got the best backup catcher in baseball.”

People skills

Corrales hit .236 in 43 games for the 1970 Reds, who finished first in the West Division. Against the Cardinals, he hit .417 (5-for-12).

In the National League Championship Series, the Reds swept the Pirates, and Corrales didn’t play. In the World Series, the Orioles won three of the first four games, and again Corrales didn’t play.

In Game 5 at Baltimore, the Orioles led, 9-3, entering the ninth. Sparky Anderson called to the bullpen, where Corrales had been catching throws from Reds relievers, and told him to come to the dugout.

According to the Dayton Daily News, Anderson approached Hal McRae, who hit .455 in the World Series, and told him, “Unless somebody gets on base before you, I’m going to have Pat hit for you. It’s not a reflection on you. I want him to have a chance to get his name in a World Series box score.”

McRae told Anderson he understood.

After starter Mike Cuellar retired the first two batters, Bench and Lee May, Anderson sent Corrales to the plate. Anderson, who played one season in the majors and 10 in the minors, appreciated a role player such as Corrales, who lived in Bench’s shadow.

“Anyone who plays his heart out for you all year deserves a chance to play in a World Series,” Anderson told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Corrales has done that for us and I wasn’t going to let this chance get away.”

To the Dayton Daily News, Anderson said, “I wasn’t being sentimental. I was being honest. I’d have let him down by not letting him bat.”

Corrales hit Cuellar’s first pitch to third. Brooks Robinson fielded it and threw to first for the final out, clinching the championship for the Orioles. Boxscore

Explaining why he swung away, Corrales told the Cincinnati Enquirer, “I wasn’t going to take nothing when I went up there. I wanted to hit.”

Regarding the move by Anderson, Corrales told Newsday, “I appreciate he thought of giving me the chance.”

Ritter Collett of the Dayton Journal Herald called Anderson’s action “a considerate gesture, like a coach getting his seniors into the final game.”

Wells Twombly wrote in The Sporting News, “It was a charming gesture, full of good, rich schmaltz. The lovely thing about Sparky is he dares to be corny in a violently cynical age.”

Said Anderson, “The World Series still is the biggest sporting event in America. That’s why I wanted to make sure Pat had a chance to get his name in a box score. It means a lot to a guy.”

Corrales never played in another World Series. He did coach in five World Series (1991, 1992, 1995, 1996 and 1999) for the Braves on the staff of manager Bobby Cox.

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In his last hurrah as a National League player, Joe Morgan helped the Phillies dethrone the Cardinals.

A second baseman who began his big-league career with the Houston Colt .45s and spent his prime years as an integral member of championship Reds teams in the 1970s, Morgan died on Oct. 11, 2020, at 77.

A two-time recipient of the National League Most Valuable Player Award as well as a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Morgan was 5 feet 7 but hit like a giant. He produced 2,517 hits and 1,133 RBI in 22 seasons in the majors. He also won five Gold Glove awards for fielding.

Morgan, a left-handed batter who flapped his left elbow as a distinctive timing mechanism before unleashing his swing, consistently clobbered the Cardinals.

A career .271 hitter, he batted .293 versus the Cardinals. His on-base percentage against them was .408. In 203 games versus the Cardinals, Morgan had 216 hits and 147 walks. He hit .313 against Bob Gibson and struck out a mere three times in 83 career at-bats versus the Cardinals’ ace.

In 1976, when Morgan was at his peak, he hit .452 versus the Cardinals, and his on-base percentage against them was an astounding .578. In 45 plate appearances against the 1976 Cardinals, Morgan had 14 hits and 12 walks.

Seven years later, with the 1983 Phillies, Morgan’s numbers against the Cardinals weren’t as great, but his performance remained devastating.

Power surge

In December 1982, after two seasons with the Giants, Morgan, 39, was traded to the Phillies, and was reunited with a prominent pair of former Big Red Machine teammates, Pete Rose and Tony Perez.

Playing in the same National League East Division as the Cardinals, who won the World Series championship in 1982, the 1983 Phillies were assembling a group of baseball royalty in the hope of overtaking the Cardinals. In addition to Morgan, Rose and Perez, the Phillies had Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton.

Early on, the Phillies fizzled. They were 9-13 in May and lost their first four games in June.

On June 9, 1983, the Phillies went into their home game against the Cardinals with a record of 22-25. Morgan was batting .193.

Before the game, Morgan worked with coaches Deron Johnson and Bobby Wine to correct a flaw in his swing. Johnson noticed Morgan was committing too soon to pitches, and suggested Morgan rely more on his hands for timing. “As soon as I did, I felt good,” Morgan told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

In the bottom of the first inning, Morgan led off with a home run against Joaquin Andujar. The Cardinals came back and led, 5-1, heading to the bottom of the eighth, but Andujar unraveled. A double and two singles produced a run, making the score 5-2, and brought Morgan to the plate with two on and none out.

With the count 1-and-0, Andujar threw a fastball and Morgan walloped it over the wall in right for his second home run of the game, tying the score at 5-5.

“I wanted to go up and get a pitch I could pull and maybe hit out of the ballpark,” Morgan said. “I knew the situation, and I knew what I’m here for. I’m here to add some power. I could go up there and try to slap a ball to right, but they brought me here to do a job.”

It was the first time Morgan hit two home runs in a game since 1977. When Andujar gave up the second home run, he threw his hands up in disgust. “I feel like I want to kill myself,” Andujar told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The Phillies got a run against Cardinals relievers in the 11th and won, 6-5. Boxscore

Repeat performance

Morgan said he thought the comeback victory would propel the Phillies into a winning streak, but it didn’t happen. Instead, the Phillies experienced a dismal July. Manager Pat Corrales was fired and replaced by Paul Owens. Morgan suffered a hamstring pull and batted .060 for July.

On Aug. 5, 1983, the Phillies were in St. Louis to play the Cardinals, and both Morgan and the club remained in a funk. The Phillies were 53-50 and trailed the first-place Pirates. Morgan was batting .192 for the season.

In the second inning, with the Phillies ahead, 2-0, Morgan faced John Stuper with two on and two outs. With the count 3-and-0, Morgan got a fat pitch and hit it over the wall in right for a three-run home run. In the seventh, Morgan hit a solo home run versus Dave Von Ohlen, giving him his second two-homer game of the season against the Cardinals. The Phillies won, 10-7. Boxscore

“I’m really glad for Joe,” Owens said. “It’s good to see him finally relax a little.”

Experience counts

Entering September, four teams were in contention for the National League East title. The Pirates (68-63) led, but the Phillies (67-64), Expos (66-64) and Cardinals (65-65) were close behind.

The Phillies took control, and Morgan played a prominent part. 

The Phillies were 22-7 in September, including 6-0 against the Cardinals, and finished atop the division at 90-72. The Cardinals were 12-18 in September and finished at 79-83.

Morgan hit .337 in September and had 18 RBI in 24 games. He had unusual numbers against the Cardinals for the season: a .181 batting average, but five doubles, four home runs and 13 RBI in 17 games.

The Phillies prevailed in the National League Championship Series versus the Dodgers and advanced to the World Series against the Orioles. Though the Orioles won four of five games, Morgan hit two home runs.

Released by the Phillies after the World Series, Morgan signed with the Athletics, who wanted him as their second baseman. After 21 seasons in the National League, Morgan, 40, completed his playing career in the American League with the 1984 Athletics.

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With his playing career at a crossroads, Jay Johnstone took advantage of a chance to go to spring training with the Cardinals and show he still had the ability to perform in the majors.

An outfielder and left-handed batter who played 20 seasons in the majors for eight teams, Johnstone died on Sept. 26, 2020, at 74.

Though he never played in the regular season for the Cardinals, his stint with them at spring training in 1974 was an important part of his career.

After flopping with the White Sox and Athletics, Johnstone’s future in the majors appeared bleak, but he regained his batting stroke in Cardinals’ spring training. Though they had no room for him on the Opening Day roster, the Cardinals liked Johnstone and spoke well of him to other clubs. The Phillies gave Johnstone a chance, and it worked out splendidly for him.

Ups and downs

Johnstone was born in Connecticut and grew up in California. His father, Jack, signed with the Cardinals but entered the Army during World War II and never got a chance to play professional baseball, according to the Society for American Baseball Research.

Jay Johnstone was 17 when he signed with the Angels in 1963 and 20 when he made his debut in the majors with them in 1966.

After the 1970 season, the Angels traded Johnstone to the White Sox. Urged to hit for power, Johnstone delivered a career-high 16 home runs for the White Sox in 1971, but messed up his swing. After he hit .188 in 1972, the White Sox wanted to reduce his salary 20 percent. Johnstone, the club’s player union representative, refused to accept the pay cut, and was released in March 1973.

“He should have been fighting for a job instead of feeling he had one,” White Sox director of player personnel Roland Hemond said to the Chicago Tribune.

Johnstone told The Sporting News, “Chicago really tried to put it to me.”

The Athletics signed Johnstone and assigned him to their Tucson farm team. He hit .347 for Tucson, but it was a different story when he got called up to the Athletics. Johnstone hit .107 in 23 games for the 1973 Athletics and was 0-for-11 as a pinch-hitter.

Tryout with Cardinals

Cardinals director of player personnel Bob Kennedy saw Johnstone play at Tucson and gave a favorable report to general manager Bing Devine. Kennedy “told me he liked him a lot and felt he could help,” Devine told The Sporting News.

After the season, Johnstone played winter baseball in Puerto Rico and led the league in RBI. Impressed, the Cardinals purchased Johnstone’s contract from the Athletics on a conditional basis in January 1974 and placed him on their 40-man big-league roster. The conditional clause meant the Cardinals had until April 1 to decide whether to keep Johnstone or offer him back to the Athletics.

“He’s got a lot of talent and he just might be at the age when he can play up to his capacity,” Devine said.

Johnstone, 28, did well at Cardinals spring training camp. He hit .296 in exhibition games. “I hit the ball hard,” Johnstone told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The Cardinals “liked his style,” The Sporting News noted, but decided they had better alternatives. Tim McCarver, in his second stint with the Cardinals, was kept as the top pinch-hitter from the left side, and other left-handed batters, Jose Cruz and Jim Dwyer, were designated as backup outfielders.

Johnstone “thought he had the team made,” The Sporting News reported. “Instead, he was released outright.”

When the defending World Series champion Athletics showed no interest in taking back Johnstone, the Cardinals offered to help him.

“Bing Devine said he’d get on the phone right away and try to get me with another club,” Johnstone told the Post-Dispatch.

Back in the bigs

The Dodgers wanted Johnstone to join them as a pinch-hitter, but he turned down the opportunity.

“I would have been strictly a left-handed pinch-hitter there,” Johnstone told the Philadelphia Daily News. “At my age, it wasn’t what I wanted. It’s the toughest job in baseball. I thought I was capable of playing every day.”

Phillies coach Bobby Wine, Johnstone’s manager in Puerto Rico, recommended him. When Phillies director of player personnel Paul Owens offered Johnstone a chance to begin the season as an outfielder with their Toledo farm club, he accepted, hoping it would lead to a promotion to the big leagues.

Toledo manager Jim Bunning, the former pitcher, future Baseball Hall of Famer and future United States senator, clashed with Johnstone, who had a reputation for being a free spirit and practical joker. Johnstone was fined by Bunning for lack of hustle and for missing signs, but he also hit .316 for Toledo.

“I think he knows he has talent, but he really hasn’t looked at himself in the mirror,” Bunning said to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “He hasn’t asked himself, ‘Why was I in the minors? Why have five organizations said I can’t do it this way?’ “

Johnstone told the Philadelphia Daily News he and Bunning just didn’t connect: “I didn’t like him. He didn’t like me.”

In July 1974, Johnstone got called up to the Phillies, and he made the most of the chance. Johnstone hit .380 for the Phillies in July and finished the season at .295. He also hit .346 versus the 1974 Cardinals.

After five seasons with the Phillies, Johnstone went on to play for the Yankees, Padres, Dodgers and Cubs. He hit .282 against the Cardinals for his career.

Johnstone’s final big-league at-bat came as a pinch-hitter against the Cardinals’ Danny Cox in Game 3 of the 1985 National League Championship Series at St. Louis. Batting for Rick Honeycutt, Johnstone grounded out to Tommy Herr.

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Hank Aaron was the recipient of a special delivery from Bob Gibson.

On July 28, 1970, Gibson threw a knuckleball in a game for the first time. The batter he threw it to was Aaron.

The unlikely pitch from a premier fastball pitcher to a premier fastball hitter occurred in a game between the Cardinals and Braves at Atlanta.

Mighty matchups

Aaron, 36, and Gibson, 34, still were at the top of their games in 1970. Aaron would finish the season with 38 home runs and 118 RBI. Gibson would finish at 23-7 and win his second National League Cy Young Award.

The two future Hall of Famers faced each other often. Aaron completed his career with 163 at-bats against Gibson. Only Billy Williams (174) batted more times versus Gibson.

Aaron batted .215 versus Gibson for his career. He had 35 hits, including eight home runs, and struck out 32 times.

In his book, “Sixty Feet, Six Inches,” Gibson said, “There are very few guys who can consistently hit that 95 mph fastball that’s up above the belt. Hank Aaron could. Aaron swung down on the ball. He’d get backspin on it and hit line drives that would start off close to the ground and just keep going unless the fence got in the way.”

“I’d avoid throwing Hank Aaron a fastball over the plate if there was any possible way I could get around it,” Gibson said. “That man did not miss a fastball.”

In Gibson’s first two starts against the 1970 Braves, Aaron tagged him for five hits in eight at-bats.

Entering their third and final matchup of the season on a hot, humid night in Georgia, Gibson had a surprise for Hammerin’ Hank.

Ready or not

Before the game, Gibson told catcher Joe Torre he wanted to throw a knuckleball.

“I’ve been fooling around with that pitch on the sidelines for what, three, four years?” Gibson said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I figured I finally had enough guts to throw it in a game. I just wanted to see what would happen.”

In the first inning, the Braves had a runner on second, one out, and Aaron at the plate. When the count got to 2-and-2, Gibson decided to unveil the knuckleball.

“I got it over and it went down pretty good,” Gibson said.

Aaron swung at it and popped out to second baseman Julian Javier.

In his book, Gibson recalled, “As he ran back to the dugout, he yelled to me, ‘What the hell was that?’ I laughed and told him, all proud, ‘That was my knuckleball.’ ”

Gibson knew Aaron sometimes could be coaxed into chasing tantalizingly slow pitches. Five years earlier, in 1965, the Cardinals’ Curt Simmons threw a high, floating changeup to Aaron, who hit the ball over the wall but was called out by the umpire for stepping out of the batter’s box.

Gibson said he tried a knuckleball as a substitute for a changeup.

“Knuckleballs, incidentally, aren’t thrown with your knuckles,” Gibson said in his book. “They’re thrown with your fingernails. The reason they call it a knuckleball is because that’s what the hitter sees when you dig your fingernails into the seam.”

Encore in ninth

Gibson retired 12 of the first 13 Braves batters, and the Cardinals built a 6-0 lead against Jim Nash and Bob Priddy.

According to the Atlanta Constitution, Braves manager Lum Harris said Gibson “was bringing it up there in a hurry. I wondered if we’d get any runs off him.”

In the sixth, Aaron drove in a run with a single and the Braves scored three times in the inning. “I pitched dumb,” Gibson said of his sixth-inning effort. “I just tried to get by on nothing but fastballs, and I was getting tired.”

The Braves added another run in the seventh, getting within two at 6-4.

In the ninth, the Braves brought in the master knuckleball specialist, 48-year-old Hoyt Wilhelm, to pitch, and he retired the Cardinals in order. “Old Hoyt was something,” Harris marveled.

After retiring Felix Millan in the bottom half of the inning, Gibson again faced Aaron, who popped out to second base for the third time in the game.

“I got Aaron on that pop-up in the ninth on a knuckler,” Gibson told the Atlanta Constitution.

Torre said to the Post-Dispatch, “In the ninth, when Henry popped up, it looked as if he had a good ball to hit, but just when Henry got the bat around to where the pitch was, the ball sailed out. Henry never had a chance. All Henry said was, ‘Son of a bitch.’ ”

Gibson struck out the next batter, Rico Carty, to complete the game and earn the win, boosting his record to 13-5. His totals for the game: 9 innings, 12 hits, 4 runs, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts. Boxscore

“Twelve hits are a lot to give up and still win, but I’m not complaining,” said Gibson.

In his book, Gibson said he rarely threw another knuckleball.

“Every time I threw a changeup, somebody would whack it over some fence, or in between the outfielders,” Gibson said. “Unfortunately, my knuckleball wasn’t much better.”

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Richie Allen provided a bat, but the Cardinals wanted a glove.

Fifty years ago, on Oct. 5, 1970, the Cardinals traded Allen to the Dodgers for second baseman Ted Sizemore and backup catcher Bob Stinson.

The deal was controversial because some thought the Cardinals gave up too soon on Allen, who spent one season with them, and didn’t get enough in return for a proven power hitter. Allen, who played first base, third base and left field, produced 34 home runs and 101 RBI in 1970, even though a hamstring injury kept him sidelined for most of the last seven weeks of the season.

Official reason for the trade was the Cardinals wanted a lineup better suited for the artificial playing surface at Busch Memorial Stadium. They liked how Sizemore fielded and hit on AstroTurf.

The unofficial reason was the Cardinals became convinced Allen was prone to injury and didn’t dedicate himself to healing quickly enough.

Looking to move Allen while his value was at a premium, the Cardinals went after players they thought filled needs.

Mix and match

In 1970, the first season grass was replaced by AstroTurf in Busch Memorial Stadium, the Cardinals finished with an overall record of 76-86, including 34-47 at home. Management determined the lineup needed to be altered with agile players who could maneuver on the artificial surface.

“Part of our problem the past season was we weren’t stable,” Cardinals general manager Bing Devine told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Devine and manager Red Schoendienst agreed the first place to start was second base. Julian Javier, the Cardinals’ second baseman since 1960, was 34, had back problems and was “undeniably slowed,” according to the Post-Dispatch.

To get a younger, proven second baseman of the quality of Sizemore, the Cardinals decided to offer Allen. Moving him would open a spot at first base for Joe Hague, who had power potential.

First base was Hague’s best position, but in 1970, when Allen shifted from third to first, Hague went to right field. Thus, the 1970 Cardinals played many games with a slowing Javier at second, a limited fielder, Allen, at first, and a right fielder, Hague, who was out of position. The defense suffered and, in turn, the liabilities had a negative impact on pitching, Cardinals management concluded.

“The club wasn’t balanced enough,” Devine told the Associated Press. “The vital aspect was defense.”

In addition, Joe Torre, who the Cardinals wanted at third base, had been doing a lot of catching when Ted Simmons wasn’t available. The Cardinals wanted Torre focused on playing third base in 1971, so acquiring Stinson to back up Simmons seemed to the Cardinals to be a solution.

Best available

The Cardinals and Dodgers completed the deal four days after the end of the regular season. The Cardinals were motivated to act because the Dodgers were talking to the Senators about acquiring slugger Frank Howard. If the Dodgers got Howard, they wouldn’t need Allen.

The Dodgers were in the market for a power hitter because they hit the fewest home runs (87) in the majors in 1970.

Devine wanted Sizemore, 25, because of his all-around play. Converted from catcher to second baseman, Sizemore won the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 1969. Though limited to 96 games in 1970 because of thigh and wrist injuries, he hit .306. In games against the 1970 Cardinals, Sizemore batted .323, including .500 (8-for-16) at St. Louis.

In 1969, Ken Boyer, in his last season as a player, was Sizemore’s teammate, and “helped me a lot,” Sizemore told The Sporting News. Boyer, who became a Cardinals coach, lobbied for the club to acquire Sizemore.

“Sizemore was the best and most desirable infielder available,” Devine told the Post-Dispatch. “Sizemore can do anything at second base. He has a chance to become one of the best second basemen in the league. He fits well in our park. He’s a spray hitter and should be helped even more by AstroTurf.”

Bob Broeg of the Post-Dispatch wrote, “Sizemore is a pesky, hustling performer who should get on base more often than Javier and contribute to the desire to get more smart hitters into the lineup, players able to make contact and hit behind the runner.”

Looking for answers

The Cardinals also needed relief pitching, and Devine tried to get the Dodgers to include Jim Brewer in the deal, but he wasn’t available, the Post-Dispatch reported. A week before the trade, the Cardinals did claim reliever Fred Norman from the Dodgers on waivers. Norman said he would have been included in the trade for Allen if he hadn’t been claimed on waivers.

Critics of the deal said the Cardinals got too little for Allen.

_ Frank Dolson of the Philadelphia Inquirer: “Baseball men knew Allen was on the trading block, but they thought the block was in a higher rent district than Ted Sizemore and Bob What’s-his-name.”

_ Melvin Durslag of The Sporting News: “Outwardly, Allen was no problem in St. Louis, which leads people in the sport to wonder why the Cards would trade a batsman of this quality for two lesser players.”

Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh said when he was told of the deal, “I thought they were kidding.”

The St. Louis Globe-Democrat suggested the trade was made because Allen wore out his welcome. “Twenty-four players followed one set of rules and Allen his own, reporting late at times to the park and generally doing as he pleased,” the Globe-Democrat reported. “He became something of a morale factor.”

Allen and Cardinals management disputed the notion he had been a problem.

“I never had rough words with any of the other players,” Allen said to the Associated Press. “We got along fine in the clubhouse, on the planes and on the buses.”

He told the Post-Dispatch, “I even kept away from the race tracks. All season on the road, I went to the track only two times.”

In remarks to The Sporting News, Devine said, “Allen did everything we could hope for and more. If there was any major problem of morale, I was not aware of it, and I’m sure I’d have been aware of it if there was. I can’t find fault with him. He was acquired to do a job, and he did it.”

In his book, “Red: A Baseball Life,” Schoendienst said Allen “played hard for me.”

Injury concerns

After Allen injured his right hamstring on Aug. 14, he appeared in only five games for the 1970 Cardinals. Schoendienst told the Philadelphia Inquirer, “Our doctor said he could have played if we were in the running for the pennant. We weren’t, so we let him rest.”

Others said the Cardinals were not enamored of Allen’s rehabilitation efforts.

Bill Conlin of the Philadelphia Daily News wrote, “Allen’s medical track record had more to do with the trade to Los Angeles than his effect on club morale. In seven big-league seasons, Allen has avoided major injuries in only three of them.”

Bob Broeg of the Post-Dispatch proclaimed, “Allen minded his ways with the Cardinals,” but “one thing he didn’t do was to tend to the pulled leg muscle as earnestly as he might have when he was in drydock.”

In the book “The Spirit of St. Louis,” author Peter Golenbock declared, “Allen had lived the season without controversy, but after the injury he insisted on getting his treatment in Philadelphia. The Cards wanted him to recuperate in St. Louis. Allen, who lived in a hotel room in St. Louis, insisted on going home.”

For his part, Allen said to The Sporting News, “I enjoyed my one year with the Cardinals, although I feel I could have done a little more for them.”

End results

Though plans went awry for the Cardinals in 1971, they did improve. Because of an injury to shortstop Dal Maxvill, the Cardinals opened the season with Javier at second and Sizemore at short. When Maxvill returned to the lineup, Sizemore shifted to second base. He batted .264 for the season.

On the strength of stellar performances from Joe Torre (.363, 137 RBI) and pitcher Steve Carlton (20-9), and steady hitting from Lou Brock (.313), Matty Alou (.315) and Ted Simmons (.304), the Cardinals finished at 90-72.

Allen, who began the 1971 season as the Dodgers’ left fielder before moving to third base to replace Steve Garvey, hit .295 and led the Dodgers in home runs (23) and RBI (90). Like the Cardinals, the Dodgers finished in second place in their division. Their record was 89-73.

After the 1971 season, Allen was on the move again. The Dodgers dealt him to the White Sox, his fourth team in four years.

Sizemore played five seasons for St. Louis, hit .260 and, as a patient No. 2 batter in the lineup, helped Lou Brock establish a record for most stolen bases in a season in 1974.

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Cardinals slugger Richie Allen gave a grand goodbye to Connie Mack Stadium.

Fifty years ago, on Sept. 8, 1970, in a game between the Cardinals and Phillies, Allen hit a home run in his final at-bat at Connie Mack Stadium, his baseball home for his first seven seasons in the major leagues.

Allen wasn’t expected to play in the game because he hadn’t fully recovered from a hamstring injury, but he didn’t want to miss the chance to appear a final time in the ballpark where he performed for the Phillies from 1963-69.

Rising to the occasion, Allen went out with flair.

Old venue

The Tuesday night game was the Cardinals’ last in Philadelphia for 1970 and their last in Connie Mack Stadium. The ballpark was named Shibe Park when it opened in 1909 as the home of the Athletics. The Phillies moved there from Baker Bowl during the 1938 season. Shibe Park was renamed Connie Mack Stadium in 1953.

The Phillies were moving to newly constructed Veterans Stadium in 1971.

Allen, acquired by the Cardinals in October 1969, was providing the run production the club sought until he injured a hamstring in his right leg during a steal of second base on Aug. 14, 1970. Boxscore

At the time of the injury, Allen, a right-handed batter, was on pace to hit 45 home runs for the season, The Sporting News calculated. The Cardinals’ franchise record was 43 by Johnny Mize in 1940. The club mark for a right-handed batter was 42 by Rogers Hornsby in 1922.

Allen sat out about a week, made two pinch-hitting appearances, and went back on the shelf.

Unexpected visitor

Allen hadn’t started a game since the day he was injured, so it was a surprise when he was listed as cleanup batter and first baseman in the lineup card Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst submitted before the start of the series finale at Philadelphia.

“Allen didn’t get to the park until 7 o’clock and how his name got onto Red Schoendienst’s lineup card is something of a mystery,” Bill Conlin reported in the Philadelphia Daily News.

Years later, in the book, “Redbirds: A Century of Cardinals Baseball,” Bob Broeg revealed “a wobbly Allen” was “full of giggle water” when he insisted on playing.

“His wife even phoned Red Schoendienst and asked the manager not to play him,” Broeg wrote. “Red concurred, but Richie was so persuasive that Red shrugged his shoulders and put him in the lineup.”

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, “Allen called Schoendienst before the game and asked to go back in the lineup.”

Phillies manager Frank Lucchesi told the Philadelphia Daily News, “I was quite frankly surprised to see his name on the lineup card. We were under the impression he was too hurt to play.”

Delightful drama 

Before a gathering of 3,995 spectators, the game matched starting pitchers Steve Carlton of the Cardinals and Rick Wise of the Phillies. Two years later, they would be traded for one another.

In his first three plate appearances, Allen walked, singled and struck out.

With the Cardinals ahead, 3-2, Allen batted with two outs and none on in the eighth. Barring a Phillies comeback, it figured to be his last at-bat at Connie Mack Stadium. In the Phillies’ bullpen, pitcher Woodie Fryman said to coach Doc Edwards, “You better believe he wants to hit one out.”

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, Fryman turned to reliever Ken Reynolds and said, “Don’t be surprised if he does it right here.”

Allen got a pitch to his liking. “It was a slider out over the plate that didn’t do anything,” Wise told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

When Allen hit the ball, Bill Conlin wrote in the Philadelphia Daily News, “it started out like a vicious zapper to left-center. Then it appeared the ball would clatter off the sign that advertises dog food. Somehow, though, the ball never changed its flat, whistling trajectory until it thudded off a fan in the lower deck.”

Said Edwards: “It hit some kid in the chest and they carried him out. That ball never was more than 10 feet high the whole 400 feet.”

Allen limped around the bases, “blew a double kiss to some fans behind the dugout and kept going right down the dugout steps,” Conlin observed.

Joe Hague replaced Allen at first base in the bottom of the eighth.

The Cardinals went on to win, 6-3, and when reporters went into the clubhouse, Allen was gone. Boxscore

“He’ll probably be sore tomorrow,” Schoendienst said, “but he wanted to give it a try.”

Power supply

The next night, at Pittsburgh, Allen was in the starting lineup against the Pirates. In the fifth inning, his right leg tightened when he swung and missed at a pitch. The Cardinals said he suffered a muscle cramp. Vic Davalillo finished the at-bat for Allen. Boxscore

Allen appeared as a pinch-hitter on Sept. 10 and never played in another game for the Cardinals. His totals for the 1970 season: 34 home runs and 101 RBI in 122 games. His on-base percentage was .377.

The 34 home runs were the most by a Cardinal since Stan Musial hit 35 in 1954, and the most by a Cardinals right-handed batter since Ken Boyer had 32 in 1960. Cardinals switch-hitter Rip Collins hit 35 in 1934.

Allen was consistent, hitting 17 home runs for the Cardinals at home and 17 on the road. He hit more home runs (six) versus the Phillies than he did against any other foe in 1970.

The Cardinals traded Allen to the Dodgers after the season.

In his book, “Stranger to the Game,” Cardinals pitcher Bob Gibson said of Allen, “He wasn’t your all-American boy, by any means, and he did some things, mainly drinking, that people frowned on, but I maintain that if he had been white, he would have been considered merely a free spirit. As a black man who did as he pleased and guarded his privacy, he was instead regarded as a troublemaker.

“As a teammate, I can honestly say that I was crazy about the guy,” Gibson said. “He swung that big, old 42-ounce bat like nobody I’d ever played with, and when he lit into a fastball, (stuff) happened. That’s all I cared about.”

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