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An experiment with technology went haywire for the Reds in a game against the Cardinals.

Sixty years ago, on Aug. 18, 1961, Reds manager Fred Hutchinson used a shortwave radio to communicate instructions from the bench to his third-base coach.

The innovative effort lasted an inning before Hutchinson went back to using traditional hand signals to relay signs.

Sign language

The Reds were the surprise of the National League in 1961. In addition to talents such as Frank Robinson, Vada Pinson and Wally Post, the Reds were loaded with former Cardinals. They included the manager (Fred Hutchinson), hitting coach (Dick Sisler), relief ace (Jim Brosnan) and three infield starters (second baseman Don Blasingame, shortstop Eddie Kasko and third baseman Gene Freese).

On Aug. 18, the Reds (73-46) were in first place, 13 games ahead of St. Louis (58-57) and one ahead of the second-place Dodgers (69-44), entering a weekend series with the Cardinals at Cincinnati.

Earlier that season, the Dodgers unveiled a walkie-talkie system for manager Walter Alston to communicate with base coaches, the Dayton Journal-Herald reported. The Reds were determined not to be left out of the modern communications game.

Before the series opener against the Cardinals, Hutchinson informed reporters of the new way he planned to send instructions to the third-base coach.

Hutchinson had a microphone in the dugout and coach Reggie Otero, stationed at third, was provided an earpiece.

“A blue wire, connected to an amplifier in the dugout, has been run underground to the third-base coaching box, where it forms a loop around Otero,” the Dayton Journal-Herald reported. “Otero is equipped with a receiver under his shirt and an earplug. Anything broadcast through the amplifier can be heard by Otero as long as he’s within the loop.”

Party line

In the first inning, Otero heard Hutchinson’s instructions just fine. Problem was, so did a lot of others.

Because of a snafu in the system, Hutchinson’s instructions to Otero also were coming through the loudspeaker in the press box.

Fans in seats near the press box could hear what was being said, too, United Press International reported.

“It threw the Reds’ bosses into a tizzy,” the Associated Press noted.

General manager Bill DeWitt Sr. called Hutchinson in the dugout and told him to stop using the shortwave device.

Hutchinson went back to using hand signals to send signs to Otero, who relayed them the same way to the batters and runners.

Unfazed, the Reds scored four runs in four innings against Bob Gibson. Gordy Coleman hit a three-run triple with two outs in the first. Frank Robinson stole home with two outs in the third.

Behind the complete-game pitching of American League castoff Ken Johnson, who mixed knuckleballs with sinkers, the Reds won, 6-3. Boxscore

They finished the season four games ahead of the Dodgers and became National League champions for the first time in 21 years.

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Cardinals center fielder Colby Rasmus lost his place in the starting lineup when he lost the confidence of manager Tony La Russa. Then Rasmus lost his spot on the club.

Ten years ago, on July 27, 2011, Rasmus was the marquee name in a multi-player trade the Cardinals made with the Blue Jays. The Cardinals dealt Rasmus and pitchers Trever Miller, Brian Tallet and P.J. Walters for pitchers Edwin Jackson, Octavio Dotel, Marc Rzepczynski and outfielder Corey Patterson.

Rasmus underachieved with the Blue Jays. The trio of pitchers acquired for him all earned wins in the 2011 postseason, helping the Cardinals become World Series champions.

Family feud

A left-handed batter, Rasmus was chosen by the Cardinals in the first round of the 2005 amateur draft.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, within the Cardinals’ organization, Rasmus became known as “Luhnow’s boy” because he was the first draft pick of scouting director Jeff Luhnow. Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. became enamored of Luhnow, a data-driven analyst who clashed with general manager Walt Jocketty, and put him in charge of the Cardinals’ player development group.

Rasmus was 22 when he debuted in the majors with the Cardinals in 2009. He hit .251 with 16 home runs as a rookie.

In July 2010, La Russa and Rasmus had a heated exchange in the dugout. Rasmus requested a trade on more than one occasion. The Cardinals kept him and he batted .276 with 23 home runs for the season, but with more strikeouts (148) than hits (128). No other player on the 2010 Cardinals struck out 100 times.

The relationship between Rasmus, La Russa and the coaches deteriorated in 2011. La Russa said coaches Mark McGwire and Mike Aldrete offered to help Rasmus but were rejected. Rasmus instead took instruction from his father, Tony Rasmus, a high school coach who played three seasons in the Angels’ farm system.

“It’s just a fact,” La Russa told the Post-Dispatch. “He was listening to someone else about his hitting.”

Colby Rasmus told Toronto’s National Post, “My dad coached me all the way growing up. He has a big interest in my baseball, wants me to play good and knows my swing pretty well.”

Tony Rasmus was discovered in the Busch Stadium clubhouse video room after working with his son in an indoor batting cage, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Rasmus struggled to make consistent contact. In mid-July, his batting average dropped to .241. Fed up, La Russa benched him and started Jon Jay in center.

Time to act

Concerned Rasmus was becoming what the Post-Dispatch described as “an eroding asset,” the Cardinals made him available for trade.

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak “believed he had to cash in Rasmus now or risk seeing the trade chip lose more value idling on the bench,” Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz noted.

The Blue Jays, White Sox and Rays showed the most interest.

The Cardinals talked to the White Sox about pitchers Edwin Jackson and Matt Thornton. The Rays offered pitchers Jeff Niemann, J.P. Howell and a prospect, but lost interest when Mozeliak wanted another pitcher, Jeremy Hellickson or James Shields, the Post-Dispatch reported.

The Blue Jays became front-runners for Rasmus when they acquired Edwin Jackson from the White Sox, and packaged him with Dotel, Rzepczynski and Patterson.

Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos “has long coveted Rasmus, and he moved heaven, earth and a passel of players to get him,” the National Post reported.

On the day of the trade, the Cardinals (55-48) were in first place, a half-game ahead of the Brewers (55-49) in the National League Central Division.

“The soap opera triangle between Tony La Russa, Colby Rasmus and Tony Rasmus is gone, along with whatever distractions it caused,” declared the Post-Dispatch.

In announcing the deal, Mozeliak said, “This is a window to win.”

Miklasz noted, “In dealing Rasmus, the Cardinals should have secured a No. 2 starter and an elite prospect. This deal has short-term value. It makes sense for 2011.”

In conclusion, Miklasz wrote, “The Cardinals clearly wanted to get Colby and his daddy as far away as possible.”

Anthopoulos told the National Post, “We think we’re getting a player who has a chance to be part of this core. They’re hard to add.”

In three seasons with St. Louis, Rasmus batted .259 and had 330 hits and 320 strikeouts. “I might not have done as well as some people wanted me to, but I played hard and, looking back on it, that’s all I can say,” Rasmus said. “I’m happy with what I did.”

Tony Rasmus went on Toronto radio programs and criticized La Russa and the Cardinals. In response, Miklasz advised that Colby Rasmus “already has a reputation for letting his father control him and fight battles for him. By going off on Toronto radio shows, Tony Rasmus is only reinforcing the opinion that Colby is immature and in need of protection by daddy.”

Return on investment

Rasmus batted .173 for the 2011 Blue Jays and had more strikeouts (39) than hits (23).

The 2011 Cardinals surged in September, posting an 18-8 record for the month and finishing at 90-72. Though they placed second in their division and fourth overall in the league, the Cardinals qualified for the playoffs.

In the National League Division Series, Edwin Jackson, who was 5-2 for the Cardinals in the regular season, started and won Game 4 against the Phillies. Boxscore

Octavio Dotel, who had three wins and a save for the Cardinals in September, had two wins in the playoffs. He beat the Phillies in Game 2 of the Division Series Boxscore and won Game 5 against the Brewers in the National League Championship Series. Boxscore

Marc Rzepczynski was the winning pitcher in the pennant-clinching Championship Series Game 6 versus the Brewers. Boxscore. He also pitched 2.2 scoreless innings in four appearances in the World Series against the Rangers.

Rasmus went on to play four seasons with the Blue Jays, batting .234 with far more strikeouts (447) than hits (342).

He also played for the Astros, Rays and Orioles. He was 31 when he played his last game in the majors.

Though he never played in a World Series or got named an all-star, Rasmus received $47.4 million in salary during his career in the majors, according to baseball-reference.com. In 10 seasons, he batted .241 with 891 hits and 1,106 strikeouts. Video of career highlights

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A rift between manager Solly Hemus and most of his coaches was a major factor in the Cardinals’ decision to fire him.

Sixty years ago, on July 6, 1961, Hemus was ousted and replaced by coach Johnny Keane.

Distrust between Hemus and the coaching staff, combined with a losing record, a disgruntled fan base and low team morale, all contributed to the decision to change managers.

Uneasy relationship

Hemus entered the Cardinals’ farm system as an infielder in 1946. As the second baseman for the Houston Buffaloes in 1947 and 1948, his manager was Johnny Keane. Hemus got to the majors with the Cardinals in 1949 and played for them until he was traded to the Phillies in May 1956.

In September 1958, Cardinals owner Gussie Busch decided to fire manager Fred Hutchinson and replace him with Hemus, who was the Phillies’ second baseman. Busch ignored the recommendation of general manager Bing Devine, who wanted Hutchinson to remain manager.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Hemus asked for Keane, who was managing in the Cardinals’ farm system, to be on his coaching staff and also approved the choices of coaches Howie Pollet and Harry Walker.

Keane, who was a finalist for the Cardinals’ managing job in November 1950 before Marty Marion was selected, twice had rejected offers to become a Cardinals coach because, “I wanted to go up as a manager,” he told The Sporting News.

On the advice of his friend Bing Devine, who told Keane his lack of big-league experience was preventing him from managing in the majors, Keane reconsidered his stance and accepted the offer to join Hemus’ staff.

In Hemus’ first year as manager, the Cardinals were 71-83 and finished seventh in the eight-team National League. Hemus made racist remarks and lost the respect of players such as Bob Gibson. In his book “Stranger to the Game,” Gibson said, “His treatment of black players was the result of one of the following: Either he disliked us deeply or he genuinely believed the way to motivate us was with insults.”

Hemus arranged for catcher Darrell Johnson to join the staff as player-coach in 1960 and the Cardinals improved to 86-68 and third place. According to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, Hemus credited Johnson with the development of pitchers Ernie Broglio, a 21-game winner, and rookie Ray Sadecki.

As Hemus gained confidence in Johnson, the relationship with the other coaches ruptured.

“Hemus questioned both the competence and loyalty of the veteran organization men” on the coaching staff, according to the Post-Dispatch.

Only Johnson “passed Solly’s own naive loyalty test,” columnist Bob Broeg wrote.

Hemus wanted to fire Keane after the 1960 season, but Devine blocked the attempt, the Globe-Democrat reported.

Clubhouse turmoil

Expected to contend in 1961, the Cardinals flopped, posting losing records in each of the first three months of the season.

Tension created by the defeats intensified because of the fractured leadership. With Hemus relying on Johnson for advice, “Keane and the other coaches resented the decreased responsibility,” the Post-Dispatch reported.

Keane said Hemus “had not taken advantage of his baseball experience and had bypassed him.”

“I did the only thing I could do then _ my job and no more,” Keane said.

Describing Hemus and Keane as “two fast friends who had become cool associates,” the Post-Dispatch reported Devine sought to bring them together, but couldn’t.

After a 13-1 loss to the Cubs on July 1 dropped the Cardinals’ record to 31-39, Gussie Busch declared he was “terribly discouraged and unhappy” with the team, but said Hemus would finish the season as manager, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Busch told the Globe-Democrat, “I’m a great admirer of Solly,” and added, “I’m quite sure he’ll finish the season.”

Regarding the players, Busch said, “Our boys are not playing hard enough. Something’s going on.”

The next day, July 2, the Cardinals again lost to the Cubs, 10-9. After a day off, they played at home and split a July 4 doubleheader with the last-place Phillies. After winning the opener, the Cardinals blew a 6-0 lead in the second game and lost, 10-6. Boxscore

In what had become a common occurrence, Hemus was booed throughout the doubleheader. Hemus “probably drew more boos than any pilot in the history of the Cardinals,” the Globe-Democrat noted.

Decision time

After the doubleheader, Devine informed Hemus a change might be necessary, the Globe-Democrat reported.

As the team departed for Los Angeles and a series against the Dodgers, Devine stayed behind in St. Louis. He went to Busch and said a change in managers was needed immediately.

“I took the initiative in this thing,” Devine told the Globe-Democrat.

Concerned about the discontent of Cardinals fans, Busch “relented reluctantly” to Devine’s recommendation, according to the Post-Dispatch.

On July 5, while the Cardinals were beating the Dodgers, 9-1, “Devine slipped into town and registered at another hotel,” the Post-Dispatch reported. He met with Hemus and Keane and told them of the change.

At 9 a.m. on July 6, Devine, flanked by Keane and Hemus, held a press conference and made the official announcement.

Keane was signed to manage for the remainder of the 1961 season and for 1962.

Devine also announced that Red Schoendienst and Vern Benson would join Howie Pollet and Harry Walker as coaches on Keane’s staff. Benson had been manager of the Cardinals’ Portland farm team. Schoendienst would be a player-coach.

Darrell Johnson was removed from the coaching staff. He rejected the Cardinals’ offer to be a coach at Portland and instead joined the Phillies as a reserve catcher. “I know I have no future with the Cards,” Johnson told the Globe-Democrat.

Hostile takeover

The Cardinals were 33-41 and in sixth place when Hemus was fired. His overall record with them was 190-192. “We feel a change is called for before an extended losing pattern becomes fixed and established,” Devine said.

Hemus displayed “an obvious coolness” toward Keane at the press conference, the Post-Dispatch noted.

Bob Broeg wrote, “At first, Solly declined to discuss at all his relations with Keane. Then, asked specifically if his silence meant he felt Keane had undermined him, he said, ‘No comment.’ “

Keane had been a player, manager, scout and coach in the Cardinals’ organization since 1930. Regarding the 1961 Cardinals, Keane said, “The important thing is to boost morale. The morale isn’t apparent in the mechanical effort, but some players are down.”

Pointing to his heart, Keane told the Post-Dispatch he believed some players weren’t “feeling the game here.”

Bob Burnes of the Globe-Democrat lauded Keane as “a sound baseball man” and added, “Many of us have thought for years that Keane deserved a shot at the job he now has acquired.”

Under Keane, the 1961 Cardinals were 47-33 and finished fifth at 80-74.

In his book “From Ghetto to Glory,” Gibson said, “If there is any individual who gave me the confidence in my ability to be a major-league pitcher, it was Johnny Keane.”

Keane led the Cardinals to 84 wins in 1962, 93 in 1963 and 93 again in 1964.

The 1964 Cardinals won the National League pennant on the last day of the season and prevailed against the Yankees in a seven-game World Series.

Feeling betrayed by Gussie Busch, who fired Bing Devine during the 1964 season and plotted to have Leo Durocher become manager, Keane quit a day after the World Series clincher and joined the Yankees.

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The Whitey Herzog style of baseball was capsulized in the 10th inning of a game at the Astrodome.

Forty years ago, on May 12, 1981, a squeeze bunt by Tommy Herr scored Gene Tenace with the go-ahead run, and Jim Kaat retired the side in order in the bottom half of the inning, carrying the Cardinals to a 3-2 victory over the Astros.

Baserunning, sacrificing, advancing runners and lockdown relief pitching were essential elements in the blueprint Herzog devised to make the Cardinals contenders.

Clear philosophy

Herzog became Cardinals manager in June 1980. Given the additional role of general manager soon after, he began to transform the Cardinals, who hadn’t won a pennant since 1968, into a fundamentally sound unit. Their approach became known as Whiteyball.

When Herzog was a Yankees prospect in the 1950s, manager Casey Stengel mentored him and influenced the methods Herzog brought to the Cardinals.

Though Stengel’s Yankees clubs were known for power hitting, “they based their dynasty on being the best defensive team and best baserunning team in the league,” Herzog said in his 1999 book “You’re Missin’ a Great Game.”

“Casey’s Yankees understood something our game has just about forgotten: that baseball, more than anything else, is a game of intelligence, craft and doing the little things right,” Herzog said in his book.

In describing the approach he took to rebuilding the 1980s Cardinals, Herzog said, “First, in the modern game, with all its specialization, you had to have that great stopper in the bullpen.

“Second, to shrink a huge ballpark like Busch Stadium down to size, you needed good athletes with speed. You also needed pitchers who threw strikes and let the other team make contact. Forget strikeouts. Their hitters wouldn’t be able to put many over the wall, and your track stars could run down the balls that stayed in.

“Finally, because that turf is so fast, you wanted batters who hit the upper half of the baseball, smacked it on the ground and took off. That would create new ways to get on base, stir up trouble and score runs.”

Herzog correctly concluded, “The right personnel at Busch Stadium wouldn’t look like much. They wouldn’t have to be big. They’d have to be smart.”

Fundamentally smart

One of the players who epitomized the caliber of baseball Herzog wanted was the second baseman, Tommy Herr. After trading Ken Reitz to the Cubs in the deal that brought closer Bruce Sutter to the Cardinals in December 1980, Herzog shifted Ken Oberkfell to third base to open a spot for Herr at second.

In “You’re Missin’ a Great Game,” Herzog described Herr as having “a fine mind for the game” and someone who would “make a hell of a coach.”

As a fielder, Herr “was never out of defensive position his whole time with me,” Herzog said. “Fundamentally, he was such a smart player. He never screwed up a ground ball or a play that he should have made. He never made a mental mistake.”

At the plate, Herr was “the most amazing hitter I had those years” in St. Louis, Herzog said.

“I can’t think of a better example of how having a plan, a sense of the situation you’re in, can help you succeed,” said Herzog. “If there was one guy I managed that I would want hitting for me in the stretch drive, it’d be hard to pick between (the Royals’) George Brett and Tommy.”

Whitey’s way

The 1981 Cardinals were 15-7 entering a three-game series against the Astros at Houston. The opener became a showcase for how Herzog changed the Cardinals’ culture.

In the fourth inning, Keith Hernandez singled, stole second, advanced to third on an error and scored on Sixto Lezcano’s sacrifice fly.

The Astros countered in the bottom half of the inning with a two-run home run by Jose Cruz, the former Cardinal, but those were the only runs allowed by starter Bob Forsch. In seven innings, Forsch struck out just one, but allowed no hits from the fifth through seventh.

In the eighth, the Cardinals tied the score against starter Bob Knepper. Oberkfell singled and stole second. With two outs, Garry Templeton, batting right-handed, grounded a single to the opposite field, driving in Oberkfell. “I placed it pretty good,” Templeton told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Sutter relieved Forsch and held the Astros scoreless in the eighth and ninth.

Getting it done

In the 10th, left-handed Astros closer Joe Sambito relieved Knepper. First up for the Cardinals was Gene Tenace, a right-handed batter.

Acquired from the Padres in December 1980, Tenace was adept at reaching base (.388 career on-base percentage) and played for three World Series championship Athletics clubs.

“You put my name on the lineup card and the only thing I’ll guarantee you is 100 percent,” Tenace told the Post-Dispatch.

Tenace hit a double to the base of the wall in left-center. Oberkfell moved him to third with a sacrifice bunt placed between the pitcher and third baseman.

Up next was Herr. When the count got to 2-and-1, Herzog called for the suicide squeeze.

“I wasn’t really expecting it,” Herr told Rick Hummel of the Post-Dispatch.

Tenace said, “Once you get the sign, you try to maintain your composure. If you trigger it too soon, it’s going to backfire. If you break too quick or too early, it’s not going to work. The runner makes the play. You’ve got to time the pitcher. When he puts his leg up, you break.”

Herr decided he would try to bunt the ball toward the middle of the diamond. “Usually, you try to bunt to either first base or third base, but in that situation, if you just get it on the ground, it’s going to score a run,” he said.

Herr bunted toward the mound and Tenace barreled down the line. “The ball had a little backspin,” Herr said. “The backspin deadened it enough.”

Sambito gloved the ball and flicked it to catcher Alan Ashby, but Tenace dived safely across the plate, giving the Cardinals a 3-2 lead. Ashby threw wildly to first base and Herr scurried to second on the error.

After lifting Sutter for a pinch-hitter, Herzog turned to 42-year-old Jim Kaat to protect the lead. Kaat did the job, retiring all three batters he faced. Boxscore

The 1981 Cardinals went on to achieve the best overall record in the East Division at 59-43, but didn’t get to the playoffs because of the lame decision by baseball officials to award split-season division titles _ one based on records before the players’ strike and another based on records after the strike.

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(Updated May 8, 2021)

As managers, Red Schoendienst and Dallas Green led teams to World Series championships. As players, they faced one another with the outcome of a game on the line.

Sixty years ago, on April 28, 1961, Schoendienst came up as a pinch-hitter in the 11th inning and stroked a two-run double against Green, lifting the Cardinals to a 10-9 walkoff victory versus the Phillies at St. Louis.

Schoendienst, 38, was in his first season back with the Cardinals after being traded by them in June 1956. Green, 26, was in his second season in the majors and trying to overcome persistent shoulder and arm ailments.

After their playing careers, Schoendienst managed the Cardinals to a World Series title in 1967 and Green did the same for the Phillies in 1980.

Heading home

A second baseman of Hall of Fame caliber with the Cardinals, Giants and Braves, Schoendienst was at a career crossroads in 1961. He sat out most of the 1959 season while recovering from tuberculosis and was released by the Braves in October 1960.

Angels general manager Fred Haney, who managed the Braves to a World Series championship in 1957 when Schoendienst was the second baseman, offered him a contract to play for the American League expansion team in 1961. Schoendienst almost accepted, but opted instead for an invitation to spring training with the Cardinals.

Schoendienst was issued uniform No. 16 because the No. 2 he wore for most of his first stint with the Cardinals belonged to catcher Hal Smith. Smith voluntarily gave No. 2 back to Schoendienst.

“When Red was with the Cardinals the first time, he wore No. 2 and had two children,” Smith told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “When he was with the Braves, he wore No. 4 and had four children. When he came back to the Cardinals, he was given No. 16, so ….”

Schoendienst made the Opening Day roster, accepting a role as pinch-hitter and backup to second baseman Julian Javier.

“Don’t write me off,” Schoendienst said to The Sporting News. “This is too much fun. I’m not ready to throw in the towel.”

Clutch hit

A switch-hitter, Schoendienst had a sizzling start to the 1961 season, hitting .348 in April.

Dallas Green also did well early for the Phillies. A right-hander, he earned a spot in the starting rotation and pitched a shutout against the Giants in his first appearance of the season.

“For the first time in several years, I can throw without pain,” Green told The Sporting News. “You just can’t imagine what a feeling it is to be able to let go again.”

When the Phillies and Cardinals played on April 28, a raw, chilly Friday night at Busch Stadium, the starting pitchers were Robin Roberts and Ernie Broglio. The Cardinals led 6-1 after four innings, but the Phillies rallied. The game went to extra innings and the Phillies went ahead, 9-8, in the 11th.

Green, the Phillies’ seventh pitcher of the game, was working his third inning when the Cardinals loaded the bases with one out in the 11th.

Sent to bat for pitcher Al Cicotte, Schoendienst lined a double into the right-field corner, scoring Carl Sawatski and Alex Grammas.

“A good pitch, a slider, I think,” Schoendienst said to the Post-Dispatch. Boxscore

Getting it done

Three months later, on July 6, when the Cardinals fired manager Solly Hemus and replaced him with coach Johnny Keane, Schoendienst was added to the staff as player-coach.

Schoendienst led by example, becoming “one of the best pinch-hitters in the business,” the Post-Dispatch noted.

For the season, Schoendienst hit .347 as a pinch-hitter and .300 overall. In 54 plate appearances as a pinch-hitter, his on-base percentage was .407.

In 133 plate appearances overall in 1961, Schoendienst had six strikeouts, or one out of 22 times. No other Cardinal whiffed so infrequently in 1961, The Sporting News reported. Only once did he hit into a double play during the season. 

Schoendienst continued as a player-coach for Keane in 1962, hitting .306 as a pinch-hitter and .301 overall.

He began the 1963 season in the same role, but after going hitless in six plate appearances, the Cardinals opted to remove Schoendienst from the player roster. According to Cardinals Gameday Magazine, general manager Bing Devine informed Schoendienst he could remain with the Cardinals as a coach or make his own deal to sign with another club as a player.

“I’ve talked to five clubs,” Devine told Schoendienst. “They all said they want you.”

Schoendienst chose to stay as a coach, ending his playing days. 

For his big-league career, Schoendienst had better numbers as a pinch-hitter (.305 batting average and .371 on-base percentage) than he did overall (.289 batting average and .337 on-base percentage).

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Cardinals pitcher Larry Jackson and Dodgers outfielder Duke Snider found out the hard way that bats and balls, like sticks and stones, may break bones.

Sixty years ago, on March 27, 1961, Jackson suffered a fractured jaw when Snider’s bat splintered and struck Jackson in the face during a spring training game.

Three weeks later, on April 17, 1961, Snider suffered a fractured right elbow when the Cardinals’ Bob Gibson hit him with a pitch during an at-bat in the regular season.

Gibson’s plunking of Snider had more to do with the home run Snider hit in his previous at-bat against Gibson than it did with the accident involving Jackson.

Jackson and Snider recovered from their injuries, and each went on to have a productive season.

Painful outing

Jackson was pitching in his last scheduled inning when Snider came to bat in the exhibition game between the Cardinals and Dodgers at Vero Beach, Fla.

Snider had hit a two-run home run in the first and a two-run double in the third against Jackson. In the sixth, with baserunner Tommy Davis on second, Snider was looking to drive in another run.

Jackson threw a pitch near Snider’s fists. Snider connected, shattering the bat and sending pieces of it flying. The ball hit Jackson on the hip and fell to the ground. As Jackson turned to retrieve it, the heavy end of the bat, whirling rapidly through the air, struck him in the lower left jaw.

“Bleeding from cuts inside his mouth, Jackson fell in a heap in front of the mound, but did not lose consciousness,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

In his book “The Duke of Flatbush,” Snider said, “I felt awful about it, but that’s one of the occupational hazards of pitching.”

Jackson was taken by ambulance to a Vero Beach hospital and given emergency treatment. X-rays showed he had two fractures in the jaw.

Jackson was permitted to return on a chartered flight to St. Petersburg, Fla., where the Cardinals trained. His jaw was wired that night by a surgeon at a St. Petersburg hospital.

Released from the hospital on March 31, Jackson pitched batting practice a few days later. The Cardinals targeted the end of April for his return in a game.

Purpose pitch

After the Cardinals opened the season with wins in three of their first five games, they started Gibson against the Dodgers at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

In the third, Gibson threw a pitch on the outside corner to Snider, a left-handed batter. In the book “From Ghetto to Glory,” Gibson said, “I pitched away to Snider because he was a good pull hitter.”

Snider poked the ball over the screen in left for a two-run home run and a 3-1 Dodgers lead.

The next time Snider came up, in the fifth, “I was still going to pitch him outside,” Gibson said.

Gibson changed his mind when he noticed Snider lean in. “So I threw the next pitch tight to brush him back away from the plate,” Gibson said.

Snider barely saw the fastball. “It came right at me,” Snider said. “It was headed for my ribs and I brought up my right arm instinctively to protect my body. The pitch hit my elbow and the ball dropped straight to the ground. It was no glancing blow. It hit me flush.”

Snider advanced to first and was thrown out attempting to steal second.

When he tried to bat again in the seventh, Snider “felt a sharp pain in that right elbow, like someone jabbing a needle in there” and was lifted for a pinch-hitter.

An examination revealed the elbow was fractured.

“I saw Duke after the game,” Gibson said. “I didn’t apologize to him. He knew I was sorry. He knew I wasn’t throwing at him. I was just trying to move him away from the plate, trying to get him to think and not take things for granted up there.”

In the book “We Would have Played For Nothing,” Snider told former baseball commissioner Fay Vincent, “I know that Bob Gibson has told people he never threw at a player on purpose. Bob Gibson is a nice guy, but he stretches the truth a little bit once in a while.” Boxscore

We meet again

Jackson’s absence from the starting rotation the first few weeks of the 1961 season was a significant setback for the Cardinals. The year before, he won 18 and led the National League in innings pitched (282).

A right-hander, Jackson made his first appearance of the 1961 season on April 26, a month after his injury, in a start against the Braves.

He lost his first three decisions, prompting The Sporting News to note, “After subsisting on liquids and soft foods for a month, Jackson showed he needed a few steaks to beef up his pitching.”

Meanwhile, after sitting out a month, Snider returned on May 19 as a pinch-hitter and was back in the Dodgers’ starting lineup on May 22.

Two days later, the Dodgers opened a series at St. Louis. Jackson started Game 1 and faced Snider for the first time since the spring training accident. Snider walked three times, but didn’t get a hit, and Jackson got his first win of the season. Boxscore

The next night, Gibson started and faced Snider for the first time since he suffered the fractured elbow. Snider got a single in four at-bats. Sandy Koufax pitched a three-hitter and Tommy Davis hit a home run in a 1-0 Dodgers triumph. Boxscore

Keep going

On June 26, Jackson lost to the Braves, sinking his record for the season to 3-8. Manager Solly Hemus dropped him from the starting rotation.

Two weeks later, Hemus was fired and Johnny Keane replaced him. Jackson returned to the rotation and won 11 of his next 12 decisions.

“There’s no pitcher in the league right now who’s better than Larry Jackson,” Keane said to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat.

Jackson finished the season at 14-11 with three shutouts and 211 innings pitched. He made six starts against the Dodgers and was 1-3. Snider hit .294 versus Jackson in 1961 and .219 for his career.

Snider finished the season with 16 home runs and a .296 batting mark. Against Gibson, Snider hit .300 in 1961 and .212 for his career.

 

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