Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Hitters’ Category

Dave Pallone was a minor-league umpire who caused a major ruckus when he ejected three prominent Cardinals for arguing one call.

Forty years ago, on May 9, 1979, Pallone, substituting for major-league umpires who were on strike, tossed manager Ken Boyer, first baseman Keith Hernandez and catcher Ted Simmons in the ninth inning of a game at Houston’s Astrodome.

Pallone also ordered all of the players on the Cardinals’ bench to go inside the clubhouse and stay there until needed.

Pallone’s antics were part of a wild game in which the Astros prevailed over the Cardinals, 5-4, in 16 innings.

Questionable call

When big-league umpires went on strike in March 1979, the American League and National League brought in retired and amateur umpires and also hired eight replacement umpires, including Pallone, from the minor leagues.

Pallone was the second-base umpire in the Cardinals-Astros game.

In the ninth inning, with the score tied at 4-4, the Astros had Jimmy Sexton on first base with none out and Terry Puhl at the plate against Will McEnaney, the former Reds reliever who was making his first appearance with the Cardinals.

Puhl, looking to advance Sexton to second, bunted. McEnaney fielded the ball and threw to shortstop Garry Templeton, who was covering second. McEnaney’s throw was wide of the bag and Templeton had to reach to catch it.

Templeton said he kept his foot on the bag long enough to record the out, but Pallone disagreed and ruled Sexton safe at second.

“Bad call,” Templeton said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I couldn’t stand there all day.”

Law and order

Pallone’s call prompted multiple Cardinals to rush toward him to protest.

Hernandez arrived first. “When I ran up to him,” Hernandez said, “I couldn’t slow down. I bumped him inadvertently.”

Pallone said to Hernandez, “Don’t you bump me,” and ejected him.

When Simmons and Boyer joined the argument, Simmons called Pallone a scab for working in place of the strikers.

“That’s what he is, isn’t he?” Simmons said.

Pallone objected and ejected Simmons.

After Boyer voiced his views in language he admitted “you couldn’t print,” he was tossed, too.

When angry Cardinals flung towels, a baseball and a jacket from the dugout onto the field, Pallone ordered all the players on the bench to go into the clubhouse, though he didn’t eject them.

“Any time you throw equipment onto the field, you can’t let them sit on the bench,” Pallone told the Post-Dispatch.

Said Boyer: “I doubt very seriously if that guy knew what he was doing.”

Missed opportunities

After order was restored, the Astros had Sexton on second, Puhl on first and none out, but McEnaney worked out of the jam. Craig Reynolds grounded into a force, and after Jeffrey Leonard walked, loading the bases, ex-Cardinal Jose Cruz bounced into a double play.

Entering extra innings, Cardinals coach Red Schoendienst instructed the bench players to return to the dugout and Pallone made no attempt to send them back.

“You just can’t stop the game every time and ask them to leave,” Pallone said.

Joaquin Andujar, the future Cardinals ace, worked two innings in relief for the Astros and escaped a tight spot in the 11th. With one out and George Hendrick on third, Ken Reitz grounded to Reynolds at short and Hendrick was thrown out at home. “You’ve got to take a chance with one out,” third-base coach Jack Krol said.

The Cardinals, though, weren’t done. Lou Brock singled and Bernie Carbo walked, loading the bases, before Andujar struck out Templeton.

In the 14th, the Astros loaded the bases with none out, but Tom Bruno kept them from scoring. After Bob Watson flied out to shallow left, Julio Gonzalez was supposed to try a suicide squeeze, but he missed the sign, took the pitch and Leonard, running from third to home, was tagged out. The inning ended on Gonzalez’s fly out to right.

Bruno’s luck ran out in the 16th when Watson looped a soft liner just beyond second baseman Ken Oberkfell, scoring Leonard from third with the winning run. Boxscore

Controversial career

A few days later, after the big-league umpires ended their strike, the American League and National League formally hired the eight replacement umpires and allowed them to stay.

Pallone was treated as an outcast by the union umpires, but he remained in the National League from 1979 to 1988, and worked the 1987 League Championship Series in which the Cardinals beat the Giants despite four home runs by Leonard.

On April 30, 1988, Pallone and Reds manager Pete Rose got into an argument during a game in Cincinnati. Rose thought Pallone poked him and he shoved the umpire in retaliation. Rose was ejected and Pallone was removed from the game for his protection when fans pelted the field with debris. Video.

Rose was suspended for 30 days and fined for his actions.

Five months later, Pallone was forced to resign for what was termed unprofessional behavior. He briefly was linked to a police investigation of a male sex ring in upstate New York, but charges never were filed against him.

Pallone wrote a book, “Behind the Mask: My Double Life in Baseball,” about his umpire career and his life as a gay man, and said he had sexual relationships with players.

Read Full Post »

Much like being forced to ride in the back of a bus, African-American customers attending a National League Cardinals game or an American League Browns game at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis were restricted to seats behind the outfield walls.

Seventy-five years ago, on May 4, 1944, the Cardinals and Browns became the last big-league teams to end segregated seating.

Until then, African-Americans, or anyone defined as Negroes, could purchase tickets only in the outfield bleachers or in the outfield pavilion at Sportsman’s Park. The pavilion was a roofed section behind the right-field wall. A 25-foot screen, extending from right to right-center, was built atop the wall.

Blacks weren’t allowed to sit in Sportsman’s Park’s double-decked grandstand, meaning any seats behind home plate and along the lines, or, in other words, the seats with the best views.

African-American baseball fans in St. Louis were unable to buy tickets to seats of their choice to watch Cardinals clubs featuring Rogers Hornsby in the late 1920s, or the Gashouse Gang of the 1930s, or the Stan Musial teams of the early 1940s.

Three years after the racist restriction was lifted, Jackie Robinson of the Dodgers integrated the big leagues in 1947. Dodgers executive Branch Rickey, credited with bringing Robinson to the majors, was head of Cardinals baseball operations during the time Sportsman’s Park had segregated seating.

Bowing to racism

Located at the corner of North Grand and Dodier, Sportsman’s Park was home to both St. Louis teams from 1920-53. The Browns moved to Baltimore after the 1953 season and Sportsman’s Park was renamed Busch Stadium. The Cardinals played there until they moved into a downtown stadium in 1966.

Sportsman’s Park was owned by the Browns, but both they and the Cardinals agreed to segregated seating.

In his book, “Branch Rickey: A Biography,” author Murray Polner said Rickey approached Cardinals owner Sam Breadon in the 1930s about the possibility of ending the discriminatory seating policy.

Rickey said his proposal received “effective opposition on the part of ownership and on the part of the public, press, everybody.”

According to the book, Breadon told Rickey he personally didn’t care about segregated seating but believed removing the restrictions would be bad for business.

Rickey said the city of St. Louis had no ordinance segregating blacks from whites at Sportsman’s Park and the decision was made by the clubs. Rickey suggested Breadon end the Cardinals’ policy without making a formal announcement, but there was no interest.

Unable to generate support, Rickey “backed away, unwilling to offend Breadon or white customers.”

Right stuff

Satchel Paige had the courage to do what the Cardinals and Browns would not.

On July 4, 1941, the Kansas City Monarchs and Chicago American Giants were scheduled to play a special holiday Negro League game at Sportsman’s Park. The St. Louis Stars, a Negro National League team, had played their home games at Stars Park at the corner of Laclede and Compton before disbanding after the 1931 season.

Paige, the ace pitcher and showman, was the gate attraction for the game at Sportsman’s Park and he refused to play unless seating that day was unrestricted for all customers, according to Timothy M. Gay, author of the book “Satch, Dizzy & Rapid Robert: The Wild Saga of Interracial Baseball Before Jackie Robinson.”

Unwilling to risk playing without Paige, officials gave in to his demand.

In a March 2010 guest column for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Gay wrote, “Thanks to Satchel Paige’s gutsy stand, blacks could sit wherever their pocketbooks would allow.”

An interracial crowd of 19,178 came to see Paige and the Monarchs win, 11-2. “It was almost unheard of in the St. Louis of that era for the races to commingle at a public venue,” Gay wrote, “but they did that day.”

In its game report, the Post-Dispatch declared the crowd was “the largest ever to witness a Negro baseball game in St. Louis.”

Paige pitched four entertaining innings. In the third, he “waved in his outfielders and gave the next batter his old trouble ball,” the Post-Dispatch reported. “His trouble ball is a hard fast one, usually thrown at the handle of the bat, because Satchel says no living human can hit such a ball with the handle.”

Paige struck out the batter.

“The record crowd enjoyed every minute that the master showman worked,” the St. Louis Star-Times reported.

Keep it quiet

Following Rickey’s advice from years earlier, the 1944 decision to end the segregated seating practice of the Cardinals and Browns was done without fanfare and received brief mention in publications. There were no press conferences nor any statements made to media.

“Restrictions confining Negroes to the right field pavilion have been lifted by both the Cardinals and the Browns, with the colored fans now being allowed to purchase grandstand seats,” The Sporting News reported. “St. Louis had been the only major-league city with this discriminatory rule.”

The Associated Press reported the St. Louis teams “have discontinued their old policy of restricting Negroes to the bleachers and pavilion at Sportsman’s Park.”

Breadon couldn’t be reached for comment, the Star-Times noted, and Browns general manager Bill DeWitt Sr. declined to comment.

Pioneer players

On May 21, 1947, Robinson became the first African-American to play a big-league game at Sportsman’s Park. The largest weekday crowd of the season, 16,249, came to see Robinson and the Dodgers play the Cardinals. “About 6,000 were Negroes,” according to the Post-Dispatch.

“Robinson was cheered each time he went to bat and the Dodgers as a team received more vocal encouragement than they usually get at Sportsman’s Park,” the Post-Dispatch reported. Boxscore

Two months later, the Browns followed the Dodgers and Indians, becoming the third big-league club with African-American players.

On July 17, 1947, second baseman Hank Thompson made his major-league debut for the Browns versus the Athletics before 3,648 at Sportsman’s Park. Boxscore Another black player, outfielder Willard Brown, debuted with the Browns two days later against the Red Sox before 2,434 at Sportsman’s Park.

Paige would play three seasons (1951-53) for the Browns.

The Cardinals waited until 1954 before first baseman Tom Alston integrated the team.

As late as 1961, the Cardinals had segregated housing for their players at spring training in Florida until first baseman Bill White, with the help of civil rights activist Dr. Ralph Wimbish, led an effort to have integrated accommodations.

Read Full Post »

A change in the batting order helped the 1969 Cardinals wake up from their slumber.

Fifty years ago, on April 26, 1969, the Cardinals scored six runs on six consecutive hits in the ninth inning and beat the Phillies, 10-4, at Philadelphia.

Lou Brock and Tim McCarver, batting outside their normal spots in the order, provided the big hits in the big ninth. Brock hit a solo home run, giving him three extra-base hits in the game. He also doubled and tripled. McCarver hit a grand slam.

The last-inning outburst was a welcome change for an anemic Cardinals offense. In their previous 16 games of 1969, the Cardinals were held to three runs or less 12 times.

Good moves

With left-hander Woodie Fryman starting for the Phillies, Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst shifted his two left-handed batters, Brock and McCarver. Brock moved from leadoff to No. 2 in the order and McCarver dropped from sixth to seventh. Julian Javier batted leadoff and Vada Pinson batted sixth.

Brock, who entered the game with a .147 batting average, went 3-for-5 with a RBI and scored two runs. McCarver, batting .233 with no home runs, was 2-for-5 with four RBI and a run scored.

With the Phillies ahead, 3-1, in the eighth, the Cardinals’ Mike Shannon hit a three-run home run onto the roof at Connie Mack Stadium against rookie right-hander Randy Lersch. The Phillies tied the score at 4-4 in the bottom half of the inning on Richie Allen’s solo home run against Ron Willis.

Fright night

Lersch retired the first two Cardinals batters in the ninth.

“What happened after that makes good reading only for Phillies fans who like horror stories,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Brock homored, giving the Cardinals a 5-4 lead. “I think it was a fastball,” Brock said. “It was up and away from me. Actually, I was looking for something inside, but they say if you look for the inside pitch you can still handle the one away.”

After singles from Curt Flood and Bill White, right-hander Gary Wagner relieved Lersch.

The relief pitching, the Inquirer reported, “was bad, poor, terrible and horrendous _ all wrapped together.”

Shannon smashed a shot that caromed off Wagner’s glove for a single and scored Flood from third. Pinson followed and rolled a grounder to first. When Wagner was slow covering the bag, Pinson was safe with an infield single, loading the bases.

McCarver came up and hit a 1-and-0 pitch from Wagner over the right-field fence for his fourth career grand slam. He also hit two against left-hander Billy O’Dell and another, an inside-the-park variety, versus Larry Bearnarth of the Mets. Boxscore

Six months later, McCarver was traded to the Phillies. He hit two more grand slams _ in 1973 against Fred Gladding of the Astros and in 1977 against Rick Baldwin of the Mets _ for a career total of six in the big leagues.

Read Full Post »

Two swings in one inning assured third baseman Fernando Tatis a place in Cardinals lore.

Twenty years ago, on April 23, 1999, Tatis became the only major-league player to hit two grand slams in one inning. The Cardinals’ cleanup hitter achieved the feat against Chan Ho Park in the third inning of a Friday night game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

With his clouts, Tatis, 24, also established a major-league mark for most RBI in an inning, with eight.

Tatis is the only Cardinals player to hit two home runs in an inning.

If not for a last-minute batting order change, Tatis might not have gotten the chance.

Power vs. power

Tatis was supposed to bat fifth in manager Tony La Russa’s lineup, but when Eric Davis was a late scratch because of a bruised left hand, La Russa moved Tatis into the cleanup spot.

The Dodgers scored a run in the first and another in the second against starter Jose Jimenez and led 2-0.

In the third for the Cardinals, Darren Bragg singled, Edgar Renteria was hit by a pitch and Mark McGwire singled, loading the bases for Tatis.

With the count 2-and-0, Mike Shannon, broadcasting the game on television, predicted to viewers Tatis would be looking for a fastball.

“You’re going to see power against power here,” Shannon said.

Park threw a fastball and Tatis hit it deep over the left-field wall and into the Dodgers’ bullpen for his first grand slam in the big leagues.

“There wasn’t any doubt about that one,” Shannon said.

Said broadcast partner Joe Buck: “That was McGwire distance right there.”

Beating the odds

The Cardinals scored three more runs in the inning before reloading the bases with one out for McGwire. Park retired McGwire on a fly out to right and the runners held, bringing up Tatis again with the bases packed.

With the count 3-and-1, Park threw a hanging slider and Tatis hit it over the wall in left-center.

“Swing and a long one. There it is folks! Baseball history,” Shannon told his audience. “Wow! Get those record books out, folks.” Video

“I didn’t think the second ball would go out,” Tatis said to the Los Angeles Times. “I still can’t believe I did it.”

McGwire told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “You’ve got a better chance of winning the lottery.”

Park, 25, became the first pitcher to give up two grand slams in one inning since rookie Bill Phillips of the 1890 Pirates against the Cubs.

“This can happen to the best of us,” Park said. “It was just a bad day.”

Said Dodgers manager Davey Johnson: “Chan Ho pitched … defensive. He wasn’t really going after guys.”

After the second grand slam, Park was relieved by Carlos Perez and the Cardinals went on to a 12-5 victory. Boxscore

Exclusive club

Tatis became the second National League player to hit two grand slams in a game. The first was Braves pitcher Tony Cloninger against the Giants in 1966. Since then, one other National League player, Josh Willingham of the Nationals versus the Brewers in 2009, hit two grand slams in a game.

In the American League, 10 players have hit two grand slams in a game. They are: Tony Lazzeri (1936 Yankees), Jim Tabor (1939 Red Sox), Rudy York (1946 Red Sox), Jim Gentile (1961 Orioles), Jim Northrup (1968 Tigers), Frank Robinson (1970 Orioles), Robin Ventura (1995 White Sox), Chris Hoiles (1998 Orioles), Nomar Garciaparra (1999 Red Sox) and Bill Mueller (2003 Red Sox).

Tatis batted .438 against Park in his career, with seven hits in 16 at-bats. The grand slams were Tatis’ only home runs against him.

Park, who had 124 wins in 17 years in the majors, gave up seven career grand slams. In addition to the two by Tatis, the others were hit by Travis Lee of the Diamondbacks, Matt Walbeck of the Angels, Jim Edmonds of the 2001 Cardinals, Jacque Jones of the Twins and A.J. Pierzynski of the White Sox.

Tatis, who played 11 years in the majors, hit 113 career home runs and eight were grand slams. In addition to the two he hit versus Park, the others came against Billy Brewer of the Phillies, Russ Springer of the Diamondbacks, Daniel Garibay of the Cubs, Damian Moss of the Braves, Buddy Carlyle of the Braves and Franklin Morales of the Rockies.

Read Full Post »

Though the Cardinals were two-time defending National League champions, the American League Browns became the darlings of the St. Louis sports scene early in the 1944 season.

Seventy-five years ago, in April 1944, the Browns set an American League record by winning their first nine games.

Picked by national baseball scribes to finish fifth in the eight-team league, the Browns’ season-opening hot streak caught most people by surprise. The year before, the 1943 Browns finished 72-80 and 25 games out of first place.

On the eve of the 1944 season opener, Browns manager Luke Sewell told the Associated Press, “I can’t tell you what the Browns will do this year, but I know darned well we won’t be last. A lot depends on our pitching.”

The Browns held foes to two runs or less in six of the nine wins in the streak.

Jack Kramer, a Navy veteran who spent most of the 1943 season with the minor-league Toledo Mud Hens, was 3-0 with an 0.68 ERA during the streak. Nelson Potter and Steve Sundra each got two wins. George Caster and Sig Jakucki got one win apiece.

Vern Stephens, the Browns’ 23-year-old shortstop and cleanup hitter, batted .344 during the streak and first baseman George McQuinn hit .333.

The Browns’ stock price rose from $2.25 a share on Opening Day to $3.75 a share at the height of the streak.

The nine consecutive wins by the Browns shattered the American League record of seven consecutive wins to start a season set by the 1933 Yankees. The Browns tied the major-league mark held by two National League clubs, the 1918 Giants and 1940 Dodgers. Since then, the 1982 Braves and the 1987 Brewers each achieved the major-league record of 13 consecutive wins to start a season.

Here is a look at each of the Browns’ nine wins in the streak:

Win No. 1

The Browns opened the season on April 18 with a 2-1 victory at Detroit against the Tigers. The Browns scored in the first inning against Dizzy Trout and added another in the ninth on a home run by Stephens.

In the bottom of the ninth, Kramer struck out the first two batters before yielding a home run to Pinky Higgins. After Jimmy Outlaw singled, Caster, the Browns’ bullpen ace, relieved. Caster walked Don Ross before getting Bob Swift to ground out, ending the game. Boxscore

Win No. 2

Sundra, who five years earlier posted an 11-1 record for the 1939 Yankees, pitched a three-hitter for the Browns in their 3-1 triumph against the Tigers. Boxscore

Win No. 3

The Browns completed a three-game sweep of the Tigers with an 8-5 victory. Stephens had a RBI-single and a two-run double against Tigers ace Hal Newhouser. Boxscore

Win No. 4

The Browns beat the White Sox, 5-3, in the April 21 home opener before 2,021 at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis. Mike Kreevich, a 5-foot-7 right fielder who had no home runs in 60 games for the 1943 Browns, hit a two-run home run in the first inning against Thornton Lee and a solo homer off Lee in the sixth. Boxscore

Win No. 5

In the first game of a Sunday doubleheader against the White Sox before 7,709 at St. Louis, the Browns won, 5-2. Kramer pitched a complete game and hit a two-run home run off Bill Dietrich in the second inning. Boxscore

Win No. 6

The Browns completed the doubleheader sweep with a 4-3 win. With the White Sox ahead, 3-1, the Browns rallied for a run in the seventh and two in the eighth. Al Zarilla drove in the winning run with a single. Boxscore

The Post-Dispatch reported, “Those are strange expressions you see on the faces of followers of the Browns today as they stagger around in a daze thinking of the club’s six-game winning streak.”

In The Sporting News, Frederick G. Lieb wrote, “St. Louis is holding its breath to see how long it lasts.”

Win No. 7

In the first of a two-game series versus the Indians, the Browns won, 5-2, before 960 spectators at St. Louis. “Leaden skies and weather too chilly for grandstand comfort held down the attendance,” according to the Post-Dispatch.

The Browns broke a scoreless tie with four runs in the sixth against Allie Reynolds. The big hit was a two-run double by Stephens. Boxscore

Win No. 8

The Browns established an American League record for most wins to start a season with a 5-1 triumph over the Indians before 1,106 witnesses at St. Louis. Stephens had a two-run single in the first and Hal Epps, a light-hitting outfielder, had his first RBI of the season with a two-run single in the second. Boxscore

Asked about setting the record, Sewell replied to The Sporting News, “I still get hungry at meal time and still get sleepy at bed time. Maybe I’m pleased, but otherwise I don’t feel any different from the days before the season started.”

Win No. 9

In the opener of a series against the White Sox at Chicago, Kramer pitched a four-hitter and the Browns won, 3-1. Boxscore

The rest of the story

The streak ended on April 29 with a 4-3 loss to the White Sox at Chicago. The Browns had a 3-0 lead, but the White Sox scored two in the seventh, one in the eighth and the winning run in the ninth. Boxscore

The Browns and Tigers went into the last game of the regular season tied atop the American League standings. When the Browns beat the Yankees, 5-2, at St. Louis and the Tigers were defeated, 4-1, by the Senators at Detroit, the Browns finished 89-65, one win better than the Tigers at 88-66. The Browns were 13-9 versus the Tigers in 1944.

In the World Series, the Cardinals, National League pennant winners for the third consecutive year, won four of six against the Browns for the championship.

Read Full Post »

Bob Gibson and Jim Baxes, two rookies whose careers went in opposite directions, are connected by one swing of the bat.

Sixty years ago, on April 15, 1959, Gibson made his major-league debut for the Cardinals against the Dodgers at Los Angeles and the first batter he faced, Baxes, hit a home run.

Gibson went on to have a Hall of Fame career. Baxes played one year in the major leagues.

Who are you?

After posting a 2.84 ERA in 190 innings pitched for Cardinals farm teams in 1958, Gibson was a candidate to earn a spot on the big-league club’s 1959 Opening Day roster.

Early in spring training at the Cardinals’ camp in St. Petersburg, Fla., first-year manager Solly Hemus approached a player and asked, “Are you Olivares?”

The player replied, “No, I’m Bob Gibson.”

According to The Sporting News, Gibson turned to a teammate and said, “I must have made a hell of an impression on the manager. After a week, he doesn’t even know who I am.”

Gibson’s fastball got him the attention he desired and the 23-year-old rookie won a spot on the 1959 Cardinals’ pitching staff as a reliever.

Though the St. Louis Post-Dispatch expressed concern Gibson “needs either a better curve or a changeup to go with his blazer and his slider,” Cardinals pitching coach Howie Pollet said, “He’s fast enough to throw one quick one by them a lot of times, even when they’re looking for it. Within a few weeks, we might have him getting his breaking ball over better.”

In a column for the Post-Dispatch on the eve of the 1959 season opener, Bob Broeg, rating the Cardinals’ pitchers, said, “If there’s one who does stir the imagination a bit, though he’s green, it’s Bob Gibson.”

Waiting his turn

Meanwhile, at Dodgers spring training camp in Vero Beach, Fla., Baxes, a 30-year-old rookie, was manager Walter Alston’s surprise choice to open the regular season as the third baseman.

Baxes’ father immigrated to the United States from Greece in 1900, went to work in a San Francisco rope factory, married and started a family. His son, Dimitrios Speros Baxes, became known in the Russian Hill neighborhood of San Francisco as Jim.

Jim Baxes and his younger brother, Mike, developed into professional ballplayers. Mike made it to the majors with the Athletics in 1956, but Jim, who started his career in the Dodgers’ farm system in 1947, waited 12 years until getting his shot in the big leagues in 1959.

Baxes was a right-handed power hitter who slugged 30 home runs for Fort Worth in 1953 and 28 home runs for Spokane in 1958, but, according to the Los Angeles Times, he was a “ferocious flailer” who swung and missed too often.

“I’m confident I can cut it,” Baxes said to The Sporting News. “I’ve improved the last couple of seasons and I don’t think my age will prove any handicap.”

Temper tantrum

After losing three of their first four games of the 1959 season, the Cardinals faced Dodgers right-hander Don Drysdale at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

In the sixth inning, Stan Musial of the Cardinals tried to score from second on Joe Cunningham’s line single to center, but he was called out by umpire Dusty Boggess.

“I almost fell off the bench when Musial was called out,” Hemus told the Post-Dispatch.

Convinced he slid into the plate before catcher John Roseboro applied a high tag after fielding a throw from Don Demeter, Musial argued with Boggess, “but he was Casper Milquetoast compared to his boss,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

Hemus ran onto the field, charged at Boggess, “threw his cap to the ground and repeatedly kicked the dirt” before he was ejected, according to the Post-Dispatch.

“He took the ballgame away from us,” Hemus said. “That was the worst so-called exhibition of baseball umpiring I ever saw.”

Rude greeting

In the seventh inning, with the Dodgers ahead, 3-0, Gibson, wearing uniform No. 58, relieved starter Larry Jackson. Baxes led off and hit Gibson’s third big-league pitch into the left-center field seats for his first big-league home run.

Gibson “received a rough welcome into major-league warfare,” the Post-Dispatch reported.

Baxes gave Gibson “quite an initiation,” the Los Angeles Times wrote.

Gibson retired the next three batters in order, getting Drysdale to line out to second, Ron Fairly to fly out and Wally Moon to ground out.

In the eighth, Roseboro singled, moved to second on Demeter’s sacrifice bunt, stole third and scored on Charlie Neal’s sacrifice bunt. Gil Hodges, the last batter Gibson faced in the game, popped out to the catcher. Boxscore

Gibson made two more relief appearances for the Cardinals before he was sent back to the minor leagues on April 28, 1959.

In his book, “Stranger to the Game,” Gibson said, “Hemus had me convinced that I wasn’t any damn good and consequently I wasn’t.”

Different paths

On May 9, three weeks after his home run against Gibson, Baxes was assigned to the minors because the Dodgers decided to go with Jim Gilliam at third base. The demotion was devastating to Baxes, who batted .303 for the Dodgers. “I think that entitled me to a better chance than I received,” Baxes said to the Associated Press.

Baxes refused to report to the minors, went home to Long Beach, Calif., and got a job at a sheet metal company. The Indians, seeking a backup infielder, contacted the Dodgers and on May 22, 1959, Baxes was dealt to Cleveland.

In his first at-bat for the Indians, on May 23, 1959, Baxes slugged a pinch-hit home run against Jim Bunning of the Tigers. Boxscore

Baxes played in 77 games for the 1959 Indians and hit 15 home runs, but he wasn’t brought back. He played two more seasons in the minors, finishing in 1961 with a Cardinals farm club, the Portland Beavers.

Gibson, meanwhile, was called up to the Cardinals on July 29, 1959, and put in the starting rotation.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »