Archive for the ‘Opponents’ Category

Dick Scott waited a long time to reach the major leagues, and when he got there, as a 30-year-old rookie, he quickly experienced highs and lows.

A left-handed pitcher, Scott was in his eighth season in the minor leagues when he got called up to the Dodgers for the first time in May 1963.

The first team Scott faced was the Cardinals at St. Louis. His debut went splendidly. The next night was a different story.

This post is in remembrance of Scott, who died Feb. 10, 2020, at 86.

Down on the farm

Born in New Hampshire, Scott went to high school in Maine and played multiple sports. He was 20 when the Dodgers signed him as an amateur free agent in August 1953. After two years in the Army, Scott began his pro baseball career in the Dodgers’ farm system in 1956.

One of Scott’s biggest boosters was Bobby Bragan, who managed him at Spokane in 1958.

Scott “should make the majors,” Bragan said to the Spokane Chronicle.

Bragan, who managed the Pirates and Indians before taking the Spokane job, told the Spokane Review, “All that Scott needs is a little confidence, that feeling of thinking to himself, ‘Just give me the ball and let me out there. I’ll mow them down.’ ”

In 1960, Scott, 27, was 8-1 with a 2.27 ERA for the Dodgers’ farm club in Atlanta, but he had left elbow surgery in September, the Atlanta Constitution reported. Toward the end of spring training in 1961, Scott pitched 18 consecutive scoreless innings, but he remained in the minors.

While pitching for Spokane in 1962, Scott “has given up the idea of trying to overpower every batter and has become a better pitcher in the process,” according to the Spokane Chronicle.

“I’ve found out I have better control when I don’t throw too hard,” Scott said.

Meet me in St. Louis

Scott had a strong spring training in 1963 and nearly made the Dodgers’ Opening Day roster. His impressive pitching carried over to the regular season with Spokane. In his first start, he pitched a three-hit shutout at Denver in a game attended by heavyweight boxing champion Sonny Liston.

On May 7, 1963, Scott was leading the Pacific Coast League in ERA (0.77) when he was called up to the Dodgers.

Scott reported to the Dodgers at St. Louis on May 8 and made his major-league debut that night against the Cardinals.

Entering in the eighth, with the Dodgers ahead, 10-5, Scott retired Curt Flood, Dick Groat and Bill White in order.

After the Dodgers added a run in the top of the ninth, Stan Musial led off the bottom half against Scott and lined out to second. Ken Boyer doubled, but Scott got George Altman to ground out and Tim McCarver to pop out to third. Boxscore

Scott’s two scoreless innings against the star-studded Cardinals lineup made a strong impression. Scott “is ready to pitch any time the Dodgers need him,” the Los Angeles Times declared.

Tough encore

Scott didn’t have to wait long. The next night, May 9, the Dodgers led, 2-0, in the fifth when the Cardinals loaded the bases with none out against starter Pete Richert.

Manager Walter Alston called for Scott to face Bill White, a left-handed batter.

“I was looking for the fastball on the first pitch because I figured Scott would try to get ahead of me,” White told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “The ball was right down the middle.”

White hit the ball over the pavilion roof at Busch Stadium and onto Grand Avenue for a grand slam, giving the Cardinals a 4-2 lead.

After Boyer lined out to center and Musial flied out to right, Charlie James singled and Gene Oliver put the Cardinals ahead, 6-2, with a two-run home run off Scott.

Rattled, Scott gave up singles to Julian Javier and Bob Gibson before Larry Sherry relieved him. Sherry surrendered a RBI-single to Flood and the run was charged to Scott.

Scott’s line: 0.2 innings, four runs, five hits. Boxscore

Wrong place, wrong time

Scott pitched in nine games for the Dodgers before he was returned to Spokane in July 1963.

A month later, Scott was sitting on the edge of the visitors dugout at San Diego when the weighted end of a lead warmup bat swung by teammate Bart Shirley, who was in the on-deck circle, came loose and struck him above the right eye.

Scott was taken to a hospital and needed 25 stitches to close the wound, according to the Spokane newspapers.

Fortunately, Scott recovered, started against Portland on Sept. 3 and pitched 7.1 innings, allowing one run.

Scott finished with a 2.28 ERA for Spokane. In December 1963, the Dodgers traded him to the Cubs for pitcher Jim Brewer and catcher Cuno Barragan.

The 1964 season was Scott’s last as a professional player. He pitched in three games for the Cubs and spent most of the year with their Salt Lake City farm team.

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If Walt Jocketty had gotten what he wanted, Larry Walker would have spent most of his career, not just the last two seasons, with the Cardinals.

Walker, a three-time National League batting champion who was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Jan. 21, 2020, played his first six seasons in the majors with the Expos and became a free agent in October 1994, the same month Jocketty replaced Dal Maxvill as Cardinals general manager.

Jocketty was looking for opportunities to improve the Cardinals, who were 53-61 in strike-shortened 1994, and wanted to sign Walker.

The Rockies made the most lucrative offer and Walker signed with them in April 1995.

Nine years later, Jocketty finally got his man, acquiring Walker in a trade with the Rockies in August 2004. Walker finished his career with the Cardinals, helping them reach the postseason in 2004 and 2005.

Opening at first

In December 1994, Walker, who threw right and batted left, had surgery on his right shoulder. The right fielder’s agent, Jim Bronner, said Walker would wait until March 1995 or later to sign because he wanted to show teams his shoulder was healed, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Jocketty wanted Walker to be the Cardinals’ first baseman, replacing Gregg Jefferies, who became a free agent, according to the Post-Dispatch.

“Walt Jocketty says if he has time and money to sign only one free agent it would be a hitter to replace Gregg Jefferies rather than a pitcher,” the Post-Dispatch reported on Feb. 5, 1995. “His sights still are set on Larry Walker.”

A week later, as the Cardinals and all other major-league teams prepared to open spring training camps with replacement players while the big-leaguers remained on strike, Jocketty was in pursuit of Walker.

“He’s still the best player out there,” Jocketty said. “I think we’ve got as good a chance as anybody.”

Coors vs. Busch

Whatever amount Jocketty offered, it wasn’t enough to top the Rockies, who gave Walker a four-year contract for a guaranteed $22.49 million on April 8, 1995, according to the Associated Press.

The next day, with Walker out of the picture, the Cardinals acquired third baseman Scott Cooper from the Red Sox and planned to move Todd Zeile from third to first.

On April 26, 1995, Walker made his regular-season Rockies debut in the inaugural game played at Coors Field in Denver and produced three doubles and three RBI in a 14-inning victory against the Mets. Five inches of snow fell in the Denver area during the morning and the game, played at night in temperatures in the mid-30s, took 4 hours and 49 minutes to complete. Boxscore

Walker’s first game against the Cardinals since signing with the Rockies occurred on May 29, 1995, at Busch Memorial Stadium in St. Louis. The high-priced slugger went 0-for-6 and got razzed by some of the spectators after his last plate appearance. Boxscore

“One of the things about this type of deal is you get to hear a lot more imaginative things from the fans,” Walker told the Rocky Mountain News. “They were chanting, ‘Oh for six.’ They didn’t know the half of it.”

Walker’s hitless night extended his skid to 0-for-24 over his last six games.

The next night, Walker was benched by manager Don Baylor. He returned to the lineup for a day game, May 31, 1995, and snapped the slump with a two-run double and a solo home run against Cardinals starter Mark Petkovsek. The homer was a majestic shot which carried into the sixth row of the center-field bleachers, according to the Post-Dispatch. Boxscore

Petkovsek “made two bad pitches to Walker,” said Cardinals manager Joe Torre. “You’d like to make bad pitches to smaller guys, though.”

Said Walker: “I wasn’t sure if I should turn left or right the first time I got a hit because all I had been doing lately was turning to the right and going back to the dugout. That home run really messed me up, having to touch all four bases.”

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(Updated March 17, 2020)

Larry Walker, who completed his career with the Cardinals, had one of his greatest games as their opponent.

On April 28, 1999, Walker hit three home runs for the Rockies in their 9-7 victory over the Cardinals at Busch Memorial Stadium in St. Louis.

Walker was the first opposing player to hit three homers in a game at St. Louis since the Expos’ Larry Parrish did it 22 years earlier in 1977.

It was the second of three times Walker hit three home runs in a game for the Rockies. He also did it against his former club, the Expos, at Montreal in April 1997 and against the Indians at Cleveland in June 2004, two months before he was traded to the Cardinals.

On Jan. 21, 2020, Walker was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in balloting by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

An outfielder who batted left-handed, Walker began his career with the Expos and spent his prime seasons with the Rockies before finishing with the Cardinals.

In 144 regular-season games for the Cardinals, Walker batted .286 with 26 home runs and 79 RBI. He also hit six home runs in 15 postseason games for the 2004 Cardinals. In 150 regular-season games against the Cardinals, Walker hit .300 with 28 home runs and 110 RBI.

Canadian club

Born in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Walker wanted to be a professional hockey player. When a junior-level hockey team coach told him he’d be their third-string goalie, Walker, 17, switched to baseball, according to the Associated Press.

Signed by the Expos in 1984, Walker became a prized prospect in their farm system when he hit 33 home runs in 1986 and 26 in 1987.

On Jan. 16, 1988, while playing winter baseball in Mexico, Walker tore ligaments in a knee when he slipped while crossing home plate. He sat out the 1988 season and “there were times I didn’t think I’d make it” to the majors, Walker told the Montreal Gazette.

“I wondered, ‘What am I going to do now? Be a garbageman?’ ” Walker said.

Walker was with Class AAA Indianapolis when he got called up to the Expos in August 1989. He became the fifth Canadian to play for the Expos, following Claude Raymond, Larry Landreth, Bill Atkinson and Doug Frobel.

Though he grew up 2,300 miles from Montreal, Walker said, “This is one big country. We’re one big family.”

In his debut game against the Giants at Montreal, Walker had a single and three walks in four plate appearances. Boxscore

“What I liked about him is he had an idea about what he wanted to do every time he went to the plate,” Expos manager Buck Rodgers said.

According to the Montreal Gazette, when Walker reached base for the fourth time in the game, Giants first baseman Will Clark turned to him and said, “Geez, three walks. Not bad. They’re pitching you like a 10-year veteran.”

At spring training in 1990, Walker impressed the Expos with his dedication. In a four-day stretch, he took 500 swings per day in the batting cage. “I can’t believe how hard he works,” said Expos hitting coach Hal McRae.

Walker won the Expos’ right field job and never looked back. He hit .281 in six seasons (1989-1994) with the Expos before becoming a free agent and signing with the Rockies.

Powering up

Walker won the first of his three National League batting titles in 1998, but a rib injury sidelined him for the Rockies’ first seven games of the 1999 season.

When he returned to the lineup, he went homerless in his first eight games before he busted out against the Cardinals on a Wednesday night in St. Louis.

Walker had four hits, including the three home runs, and a career-best eight RBI in the game. Boxscore

The performance drew comparisons to Mark McGwire, the Cardinals’ first baseman, who witnessed it, but Walker dismissed such talk.

“My name is Larry, not Mark,” Walker told the Associated Press. “I don’t have Popeye arms. I’ve just got little tiny ones.”

In the opening inning, after the first two Rockies batters singled, Walker hit a three-run homer on a 1-and-2 pitch from right-hander Jose Jimenez.

With the Rockies ahead, 4-3, in the second, Walker batted with runners on first and third, two outs, and hit the first pitch from Jimenez for another three-run home run.

Walker had three hits, all home runs, in four career at-bats versus Jimenez. The last also was in a three-homer game for Walker in 2004 when Jimenez was with the Indians. Walker and Jimenez were Rockies teammates from 2000-2003.

Walker’s third home run of the game at St. Louis came in the seventh. Facing Scott Radinsky with a runner on first and one out, Walker hit a 1-and-2 pitch from the left-hander for a two-run homer, giving the Rockies a 9-6 lead.

All three home runs were hit over the right-field wall.

In 17 seasons in the majors, Walker batted .313 with 2,160 hits, 383 home runs, 1,311 RBI and a .400 on-base percentage. He won the Gold Glove Award for his outfield play seven times.

In an interview with the Baseball Hall of Fame magazine, “Memories and Dreams,” Jim Leyland, who managed the Rockies in 1999, said, “Barry Bonds is the best player I ever managed, but Larry Walker was the best five-tool player I ever saw. There was nobody more impactful in a game than Larry Walker. He beat you all five ways _ defense, his throwing, his base running, his hitting and his power.”

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(Updated Jan. 21, 2020)

Ozzie Smith welcomed Derek Jeter as a peer among baseball’s best shortstops.

In 2014, when Jeter came to St. Louis with the Yankees for the last time as a player, he was embraced by Smith in a pre-game ceremony near home plate at Busch Stadium.

Smith, who won 13 Gold Glove awards, including 11 with the Cardinals, was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002 in his first year on the ballot. Smith got 91.7 percent of the votes from the Baseball Writers Association of America.

On Jan. 21, 2020, Jeter was elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year on the ballot. Jeter got 99.7 percent of the votes from the baseball writers.

Parting gifts

After Jeter, 39, said 2014 would be his final season as Yankees shortstop, he was honored at each stop on the schedule.

The Yankees came to St. Louis for a three game series May 26-28 in 2014.

Jeter had played against the Cardinals in 2003 at Yankee Stadium and in 2005 at Busch Memorial Stadium in St. Louis. The 2014 visit was at the downtown ballpark that opened in 2006.

Before the Memorial Day series opener in 2014, the Cardinals presented Jeter with cuff links bearing the likeness of franchise icon Stan Musial. The Cardinals also gave Jeter a $10,000 donation to his Turn 2 Foundation. According to its Web site, the foundation “strives to create outlets that promote and reward academic excellence, leadership development and positive behavior” for young people.

Among those representing the Cardinals at the ceremony were Red Schoendienst, the Hall of Fame second baseman who wore the same uniform number (No. 2) as Jeter did, and Smith, the acrobatic fielder nicknamed The Wizard. Video

Special bond

Smith “put out his arms and embraced” Jeter, MLB.com reported.

Smith’s last two seasons in the majors (1995-96) were Jeter’s first two.

“He’s always treated me good, especially when I was a younger player,” Jeter said. “He’s a guy that I admire. I admire his career. When you’re a young player, you remember how guys treat you. Ozzie always treated me well.”

Smith told the New York Post, “He’s probably been the perfect example of what a baseball player should be. Great ambassador for the game. He’s done it the right way.”

Cardinals reliever Randy Choate, Jeter’s teammate from 2000-2003 with the Yankees, said to MLB.com, “He leads by example. When you play with him, you want to play like him.”

Showing respect

In his first at-bat after the ceremony, Jeter singled and received a standing ovation. Boxscore

Jeter “was feted at every opportunity” during the three-game series, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Jeter started the first two games but sat out the third when the Yankees went with his backup, former Cardinal Brendan Ryan. In the seventh inning, Jeter got a standing ovation when the scoreboard camera showed him in the dugout. He responded by going to the top step and doffing his cap. Boxscore

“It’s much appreciated,” Jeter said. “It’s not something that’s expected.”

Hall of Fame stats

Jeter’s best performances against the Cardinals were in 2005 when he had five hits in 13 at-bats. His career batting mark versus St. Louis was .265 (9-for-34).

In 20 seasons (1995-2014) with the Yankees, Jeter won five Gold Glove awards and was named an American League all-star 14 times. One of his all-star appearances was the 2009 game in St. Louis.

Jeter produced a career batting mark of .310 and an on-base percentage of .377. He had 3,465 hits, including 544 doubles, with 1,311 RBI and 358 stolen bases.

Jeter has the most career hits of any shortstop.

According to MLB.com, the top six players all-time in career hits are Pete Rose (4,256), Ty Cobb (4,191), Hank Aaron (3,771), Stan Musial (3,630), Tris Speaker (3,515) and Jeter (3,465). Aaron is the only right-handed batter with more career hits than Jeter.

Jeter played in seven World Series and the Yankees won five of those. He had a World Series batting average of .321, with 50 hits in 38 games, and an on-base percentage of .384.

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As a catcher for the Cardinals, Ted Simmons helped Steve Carlton achieve his first 20-win season. As an opposing hitter, Simmons hit with power against Carlton.

One reason Simmons was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in December 2019 was he could hit any kind of pitching, including the best.

Of his 248 regular-season career home runs in the majors, Simmons hit 22 against fellow future Hall of Famers.

The future Hall of Famer who Simmons hit the most home runs against was Carlton, who spent most of his career with the Phillies after being a teammate of Simmons with the Cardinals.

A switch-hitter, Simmons hit seven home runs against Carlton, a left-hander.

Here is a breakdown of the number of home runs Simmons hit versus future Hall of Famers:

_ Steve Carlton, 7 home runs against.

_ Tom Seaver, 3

_ Don Sutton, 2

_ Ferguson Jenkins, 2

_ Bert Blyleven, 2

_ Phil Niekro, 2

_ Rich Gossage, 1

_ Bruce Sutter, 1 (See story)

_ Lee Smith, 1

_ Gaylord Perry, 1

Battery mates

Carlton debuted with the Cardinals in 1965 and Simmons debuted with them three years later, in 1968.

Tim McCarver was Carlton’s primary catcher with the Cardinals from 1965-69. After McCarver got traded to the Phillies in October 1969, Simmons and Joe Torre split the catching for the Cardinals the next year. Torre caught Carlton in 20 games in 1970 and Simmons was his catcher in 15, according to baseball-reference.com.

The first time Carlton and Simmons started a regular-season game together was June 2, 1970, a 12-1 Cardinals win versus the Giants at St. Louis. Carlton pitched a four-hitter. Simmons had a single, a triple and a walk, scoring twice. Boxscore

In 1971, when Torre shifted to third base, Simmons was the Cardinals’ catcher. He caught in 33 of Carlton’s 37 games for the 1971 Cardinals.

On Sept. 28, 1971, Carlton earned his 20th win of the season, beating the Mets at New York. Simmons was the catcher and produced a single, a double and two RBI. Boxscore

It was the last time Carlton would pitch for the Cardinals. Five months later, on Feb. 25, 1972, he was traded to the Phillies on orders of Cardinals owner Gussie Busch, who was fed up with player salary demands.

Carlton and McCarver were reunited as Phillies. According to baseball-reference.com, the catchers who caught the most games pitched by Carlton were McCarver (236), Bob Boone (147), Bo Diaz (79) and Simmons (48).

Carlton had a 3.24 ERA over the 358.2 innings Simmons was his catcher.

Mighty matchup

Carlton’s career record against the Cardinals was 38-14 with five shutouts, 27 complete games and a 2.98 ERA.

Simmons batted .274 against Carlton. Of his 34 hits, 17 were for extra bases: nine doubles, seven home runs, one triple. Simmons had a .357 on-base percentage versus Carlton, drawing 16 walks and getting hit by a pitch once.

The most significant home run Simmons hit against Carlton was on June 25, 1977, at St. Louis.

In the seventh inning, with the Phillies ahead, 2-1, Hector Cruz led off for the Cardinals and pulled the ball down the third-base line. Third baseman Mike Schmidt snared it, but his throw sailed past first baseman Richie Hebner. Cruz was credited with a single and advanced to second on Schmidt’s throwing error.

Simmons, due up next, turned to teammate Mike Anderson and said, “I’m just going to look for anything inside that I can pull and hit hard,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

With McCarver catching, the first pitch Carlton threw Simmons was a slider, low and on the inside corner of the plate.

“He might have wanted to get the ball in the dirt or something because usually he doesn’t give me the ball in the strike zone unless it’s outside,” Simmons told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Simmons hit the ball into the left-field seats for a two-run home run, giving the Cardinals a 3-2 lead.

“That’s one of the hardest he’s hit right-handed,” said Cardinals manager Vern Rapp. “That was hit deep into the deck.”

Said McCarver: “Simmons is just a good hitter. He might be the purest hitter in the game outside of Rod Carew. Maybe even more than Pete Rose because Simmons has more power.”

Bob Forsch and Rawly Eastwick held the Phillies scoreless over the last two innings, preserving the win for the Cardinals. Boxscore

Three years later, on April 26, 1980, at Philadelphia, Simmons got another key hit against Carlton, but it wasn’t a home run. Carlton pitched a one-hitter versus the Cardinals. Simmons’ single in the second deprived Carlton of a no-hitter, a feat that eluded him throughout his career. Boxscore

Special deliveries

Among other noteworthy home runs by Simmons against fellow future Hall of Famers were one hit against the Braves and another hit for them.

On Aug. 23, 1975, Simmons hit a grand slam against Phil Niekro, snapping a 1-1 tie in the fifth and carrying the Cardinals to a 7-2 win over the Braves at St. Louis. Simmons said he hit a low screwball, not Niekro’s signature knuckleball.

“I just golfed it,” Simmons said. “He’s been throwing me a lot of screwballs.”

The grand slam was the fifth of Simmons’ major-league career but his first versus a right-hander. Boxscore

Simmons batted .203 against Niekro in his career. He had almost as many walks (15) as hits (16).

On Aug. 31, 1986, the Cubs played the Braves in Atlanta. The Cubs started and ended the game with two future Hall of Famers, Dennis Eckersley and Lee Smith.

Simmons, 37, and in his first season with the Braves, led off the ninth, batting for pitcher Jeff Dedmon with the score tied at 3-3.

Throwing sliders, Smith got ahead in the count 1-and-2.

“Being down 1-and-2 is not the best situation to be in against Smith,” Simmons told the Chicago Tribune. “You’re living on the edge.”

On the next pitch, “Simmons timed the slider properly and launched an electric rainbow to right field,” the Atlanta Constitution reported.

The walkoff home run gave the Braves a 4-3 triumph. Boxscore

“When they say go up there and get it done like this, it’s do or die,” Simmons said. “When you do, it’s the greatest. When you don’t, it’s the worst. I like it.”

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In one of the most unusual at-bats of his Hall of Fame career, Ted Simmons stepped in for the Cardinals’ cleanup hitter against a pitcher who didn’t expect to be used in relief and hit a grand slam, accounting for all the runs in the game.

Batting for another switch-hitter, Reggie Smith, who had to depart because of back pain, Simmons hit an 0-and-2 pitch from Jon Matlack over the left-field wall, giving the Cardinals a 4-0 victory over the Mets in the second game of a doubleheader on June 23, 1975, at New York’s Shea Stadium.

It was the first of six pinch-hit home runs Simmons had in the major leagues.

Ready or not

Simmons caught Ron Reed’s shutout in Game 1 of the Monday night doubleheader, a 1-0 Cardinals victory. Simmons, batting cleanup, contributed a single and a walk. Boxscore

In the second game, Simmons was out of the lineup and Ken Rudolph was the starting catcher.

The game was scoreless when Cardinals pitcher John Denny led off the eighth inning with a single to left for his first major-league hit. Bake McBride moved him to second with a sacrifice bunt.

After Mike Tyson drew a walk from Mets starter George Stone, putting runners on first and second with one out, Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst told Simmons, “I’m probably going to use you to pinch-hit. Get a bat.”

As Simmons started out to the plate, he saw the scheduled batter, Luis Melendez, headed there, too, the Associated Press reported.

Ted asked Red, “Don’t you want me to hit?”

“Yeah, but for Reggie Smith,” Schoendienst replied.

Melendez singled to left, loading the bases, and Simmons came up to bat for the ailing Smith, who was 0-for-3 against Stone.

Sink or swim

In the Mets’ bullpen, Matlack had gotten up to fulfill his routine of throwing between starts. After the Cardinals loaded the bases, bullpen coach Joe Pignatano turned to Matlack and said, “Are you ready?”

“Ready for what?” Matlack replied.

Pignatano said, “You’re in the game.”

“I was almost done with my workout,” Matlack said to the Passaic (N.J.) Herald-News. “I had no idea they wanted me to go in as a reliever. I had been throwing out of my full windup and was just about done working out of the stretch.”

Mets manager Yogi Berra said, “I brought him in because he makes them hit a lot of groundballs. I talked to him before the game and told him I might have to use him.”

Matlack, who hadn’t appeared in relief in three years, said, “Being thrown in a game like that is an unnatural situation for me.”

Cat and mouse

When Matlack, a left-hander, entered the game, Simmons, a switch-hitter, stood in from the right side of the plate. He swung and missed at the first two pitches.

“The first pitch was a fastball down at the knees,” said Simmons. “The second was a slider around my neck. I said to myself, ‘I wish I could have that one back.’ ”

Matlack said he noticed Simmons “was pulling out on the first two pitches” and decided to throw a curve.

“The purpose of the 0-and-2 pitch is not necessarily a waste pitch,” said Matlack. “If anything, he was supposed to hit it foul. Or, if he doesn’t swing, it sets him up for the next pitch.”

Matlack’s curve looked like a slider or cut fastball, Simmons said, and came in low and inside.

“I was on the plate, trying to protect it and hoping to at least hit a fly ball for a run,” Simmons told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Matlack said, “The pitch was a hell of a curve, I thought. It was right where I wanted it. I was surprised he even swung at it.”

Said Simmons: “I got all of it.”

After watching a television replay of the grand slam, Matlack noted, “As he hit the ball, his hands collapsed, It was almost as if he was looking for that pitch.”

Simmons’ slam enabled the Cardinals to sweep. A grateful Reggie Smith said, “We had the right man for the right job at the right time.” Boxscore

Simmons hit .377 (20-for-53) with two home runs versus Matlack in his career.

Of Simmons’ nine grand slams in the majors, seven were with the Cardinals and he hit one each with the Brewers and Braves.

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