Archive for the ‘Opponents’ Category

Called up from the minors to substitute for an injured Ted Simmons at catcher, Cardinals rookie Terry Kennedy contributed a bloop and a blast in a doubleheader sweep of the Phillies.

Forty years ago, on July 1, 1979, Kennedy hit his first major-league home run, a grand slam, in Game 1 of the Sunday doubleheader at St. Louis and delivered a walkoff RBI-single on a broken-bat pop fly in Game 2.

Though Kennedy impressed the Cardinals, they eventually decided to trade both he and Simmons, opting instead for Darrell Porter as their catcher.

Stepping up

Kennedy’s father, Bob Kennedy, was a big-league player and manager who worked for the Cardinals from 1969-76 as a scout and front-office executive.

In 1977, when Bob Kennedy became general manager of the Cubs, the Cardinals chose Terry Kennedy, a Florida State standout, in the first round of the amateur draft.

A left-handed batter, Kennedy made his major-league debut with the Cardinals in 1978, appearing in 10 September games, after hitting .309 with 100 RBI in the minors.

The 1979 Cardinals began the season with Simmons and Steve Swisher as their catchers and returned Kennedy to the minors. Kennedy, hitting .287 with 50 RBI for Class AAA Springfield, was called back by the Cardinals after Simmons broke his left wrist on June 24, 1979. Simmons was injured when struck by a foul ball off the bat of Mets pitcher Andy Hassler, who was attempting to bunt.

Simmons said he would work with Kennedy “every day, helping him any way I can,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Kennedy, who referred to Simmons as “the best hitter in the National League,” said he was “a little bit nervous” about substituting for the Cardinals’ catcher, but added, “I can do it.”

Mistake pitch

Kennedy’s breakout game occurred in the opener of the doubleheader versus the Phillies.

In the eighth inning, with the bases loaded and the Cardinals ahead, 9-7, Kennedy batted against left-hander Tug McGraw. With the count 0-and-2, McGraw hung a screwball and Kennedy hit it over the right-field wall.

“My thinking was ass-backwards out there for some reason,” McGraw said to Bill Conlin of the Philadelphia Daily News. “I’ve never, ever thrown an 0-2 waste pitch screwball to a left-handed hitter, but I did today and don’t ask me why. The pitch was against all logic and I hung it. Maybe it was in the back of my mind that he’s a rookie and would be vulnerable to a screwball.”

Kennedy’s home run propelled the Cardinals to a 13-7 victory. He was 2-for-4 with a walk and threw out Bake McBride attempting to steal third. Boxscore

“He has to work on his defensive skills, but he’s going to create some thunder,” Cardinals manager Ken Boyer told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Dumb luck

Swisher was the Cardinals’ catcher in Game 2, but Kennedy batted for him in the ninth inning with runners on first and second, two outs and the score tied at 1-1.

The first delivery from former Cardinal Ron Reed was “a killer pitch, a fastball that could have started a Midwest heat wave,” according to Jayson Stark of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Kennedy swung and “his bat shattered with a splintering sound so loud they probably heard it in Kansas City,” the Inquirer reported.

“I got jammed,” Kennedy said to the Post-Dispatch.

The ball floated softly into shallow center.

“I was so embarrassed,” Kennedy said. “I started running to first base with my head down.”

Shortstop Larry Bowa and second baseman Manny Trillo converged on the ball.

“We both started to call it and we both looked at each other,” Bowa said, “and we both took a step away.”

With Bowa and Trillo standing like statues, the ball plopped onto the ground for a single and Keith Hernandez dashed home from second with the winning run. Boxscore

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Kennedy. “It was just dumb luck. The ball should have been caught.”

Reliever Mark Littell was the winning pitcher in each game of the doubleheader and got his first major-league RBI with a bases-loaded walk in the opener.

“When I was a kid, I read that book, ‘Baseball is A Funny Game,’ by Joe Garagiola,” Littell said. “Now I know what he meant.”

Multiple all-star

Kennedy hit .284 in 33 games for the Cardinals in 1979 and .254 in 84 games for them in 1980. Simmons, who returned to the lineup on July 24, hit 26 home runs for the 1979 Cardinals. He had 21 homers and 98 RBI for the Cardinals in 1980.

After the 1980 season, the Cardinals, who turned over their baseball operations to Whitey Herzog, traded Simmons to the Brewers and Kennedy to the Padres. Porter, a free agent, was signed to be their catcher and was backed by Gene Tenace, one of the players acquired for Kennedy.

In 14 seasons with the Cardinals (1978-80), Padres (1981-86), Orioles (1987-88) and Giants (1989-91), Kennedy was a four-time all-star who produced 1,313 career hits and played in two World Series.

In addition to his first big-league home run, Kennedy hit one other grand slam. It occurred on May 15, 1990, for the Giants against the Mets’ Ron Darling.

Read Full Post »

In a game against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field, Ernie Banks and the Cubs gave new meaning to the term, “Let’s play two.”

Banks, the Cubs’ sunny slugger, always wanted to play as much baseball as possible and his desire for doubleheaders led to his catchphrase.

Sixty years ago, on June 30, 1959, only one game was played between the Cardinals and Cubs, but “let’s play two” aptly described the madcap antics when two baseballs simultaneously were put into play.

Follow the bouncing ball

The Tuesday afternoon game matched starting pitchers Larry Jackson of the Cardinals against Bob Anderson of the Cubs.

In the fourth inning, the Cardinals led, 2-1, when Stan Musial faced Anderson with one out and none on.

With the count at 3-and-1, Anderson threw a pitch high and inside to Musial. The ball grazed Cubs catcher Sammy Taylor and plate umpire Vic Delmore, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and rolled to the backstop.

Musial headed to first base on what was called ball four.

Taylor, thinking the ball glanced off Musial’s bat and was foul, argued with Delmore and didn’t pursue the ball. Anderson left the mound and went to the plate to join in the discussion.

Cubs third baseman Al Dark, realizing the ball was in play, ran to get it, but a batboy, high school freshman Bobby Schoenfeldt, thought the play was dead. He picked up the ball and tossed it to the field announcer, Pat Pieper.

“I saw Dark flying toward me, but I already had thrown the ball away,” Schoenfeldt said to the Chicago Tribune.

Cardinals manager Solly Hemus said Pieper had the ball in his hand, but “dropped it like a hot potato” as Dark approached.

Pieper said, “Dark yelled at me, ‘Give me the ball.’ I told him to pick it up.”

First-base umpire Al Barlick said, “When Dark charged in from third base, I thought he was joining in the argument.”

Double trouble

As Dark reached for the ball, Delmore, unaware of what was happening behind him, absent-mindedly handed a new baseball to Anderson.

After arriving at first base, Musial said, “I heard our bench yelling for me to run,” and he took off toward second.

Dark and Anderson saw Musial attempting to advance.

Anderson hurriedly threw his ball and it sailed into center field.

At the same time, Dark threw his ball, which Banks, the shortstop, fielded on one bounce on the third-base side of second.

As Musial slid safely into second base, he looked up and saw second baseman Tony Taylor jump for a ball over his head.

“I didn’t even know there was a second ball,” Musial said.

Musial got up, started toward third, got tagged by Banks with the original ball and was called out by second-base umpire Bill Jackowski. Boxscore

Nonsense factor

The Cardinals argued Musial was entitled to second base because the batboy interfered with a ball in play. Barlick, the crew chief, disagreed, saying it was unintentional interference and Musial tried to advance at his own risk.

Hemus contended Musial “should have been safe because he was confused and deceived by the second ball, which went into center field,” but the umpires refused to reverse their decision.

The Cardinals played the game under protest, but it didn’t matter because they added a run in the seventh and another in the eighth and won, 4-1. Jackson pitched a four-hitter and retired 18 of the last 19 Cubs batters.

The Chicago Tribune concluded the game set a new standard for “baseball daffiness” and “not even Bill Veeck of the White Sox could have conjured up such a zany episode.”

Read Full Post »

Dave Marshall got a big hit against the Cardinals and took some painful hits from them as well.

Marshall died June 6, 2019, at 76. He played in the major leagues from 1967-73 as an outfielder for the Giants, Mets and Padres.

A left-handed batter, Marshall hit his first big-league home run against the Cardinals’ Ray Washburn after the Giants benefitted from a controversy involving Willie Mays and Willie McCovey.

A year later, Marshall took his lumps, getting hit by pitches from the Cardinals’ Bob Gibson three times, including twice in one game.

Pro potential

Marshall was a standout football player at Lakewood High School in California and at Long Beach City College. After a coach suggested he try baseball, Marshall excelled and impressed a scout for the Angels, who signed him to a professional contract at age 20 in 1963.

On April 6, 1966, after three seasons in their minor-league system, the Angels traded Marshall to the Giants for infielder Hector Torres. Marshall continued to progress in the minors and hit .294 for Phoenix in 1967.

Marshall made his major-league debut on Sept. 7, 1967, as a pinch-runner. After hitting .444 in 20 exhibition games at training camp the following spring, Marshall made the Giants’ 1968 Opening Day roster.

“He possesses a classic swing at the plate and throws with strength and accuracy,” The Sporting News reported.

The Giants began the 1968 season with an outfield of Mays in center, Jim Ray Hart in left and Jesus Alou in right. Hart and Alou batted right-handed, so manager Herman Franks used Marshall to fill in for them against some right-handers.

Odd start

On May 5, 1968, Marshall got the start in left field and batted sixth against the Cardinals at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

After the Cardinals loaded the bases with one out in the first inning against Mike McCormick, Mike Shannon hit a drive to deep left.

“I thought it was going to land 15 rows up in the stands, but the wind pulled the ball back,” Marshall said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Marshall caught the ball near the fence for the second out.

Lou Brock, the runner on third, should have scored, but he “started for the plate, then went back to third, feeling he had broken from the bag before the ball was caught,” the San Francisco Examiner reported.

Marshall’s throw caught Brock in a rundown and he was tagged for the third out. What started out looking like a grand slam turned into a double play.

New rules

The unusual play foreshadowed more bizarreness.

In the fourth, Mays led off with a single. As the next batter, McCovey, swung and missed a third strike, Mays attempted to steal second. Catcher Tim McCarver made a throw, but the ball struck McCovey’s bat and Mays reached second.

In taking a mighty cut at Washburn’s pitch, McCovey’s bat “circled over his head and he finished up with it across the plate,” the San Francisco Examiner reported.

McCarver told the Post-Dispatch he threw the ball in the proper direction, but McCovey’s bat got in the way.

Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst said Mays “would have been out easily” if McCarver had made an unimpeded throw.

Plate umpire Bill Jackowski called interference on McCovey and ruled Mays out. After Franks objected, the four umpires met and reversed Jackowski’s call, allowing Mays to take second base.

According to the Post-Dispatch, “Schoendienst said the umpires admitted there had been interference, but they said also that the interference was not intentional.”

Schoendienst called the decision “a crime” and pointed out “the rule doesn’t say a thing about the interference having to be intentional.”

Said McCarver: “The umpires butchered the call and we’re expected to swallow it.”

First homer

When play resumed, Mays advanced to third on Jim Davenport’s groundout.

If the umpire’s interference call had stood, Davenport’s out would have been the third of the inning. Instead, it was the second, and Marhsall got to bat.

Washburn threw a low slider and Marshall drove it to right.

“He tried to get the pitch inside, I think, but it was out away,” Marshall told the Oakland Tribune.

The ball carried over the right-field fence for Marshall’s first major-league home run, giving the Giants a 2-0 lead.

“I got it up in the wind and I watched it all the way over the fence,” Marshall said to the San Francisco Examiner. “It sure felt good to make contact.”

An inning later, Marshall made a diving catch of Brock’s sinking liner.

The Giants won, 8-4, giving Washburn his first loss of the season and leaving him dispirited about dusty, wind-blown Candlestick Park. Boxscore

“It’s all right with me if I don’t see the place again,” Washburn said.

Four months later, Washburn pitched a no-hitter against the Giants at Candlestick Park.


On July 25, 1969, Marshall was involved in another Giants-Cardinals classic. Bob Gibson pitched 13 innings and scored the winning run in a 2-1 victory at St. Louis.

Marshall scored the lone Giants run. He led off the game with a single, advanced to third on Ron Hunt’s hit and scored on a groundout.

In the sixth, Gibson hit Marshall with a pitch and Marshall was thrown out attempting to steal second.

In the ninth, Marshall was hit again by a Gibson pitch. He advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, but was stranded.

Marshall suffered “painful bruises on his right hand and right shoulder” from being hit by Gibson’s pitches, the Oakland Tribune reported. Boxscore

A month later, on Aug. 10, 1969, Gibson hit Marshall with a pitch in the third inning at Candlestick Park in a game won by the Cardinals, 7-4. Boxscore

Marshall batted .179 (7-for-39) in his career versus Gibson and .204 against the Cardinals. Overall, he batted .246 in the majors, with 16 home runs and was hit by pitches 10 times.


In 1984, Marshall began working security for the operators of the Queen Mary ocean liner, according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram. He married his wife, Carol, aboard the Queen Mary, the newspaper reported. In 2002, Marshall took a job with the Long Beach Convention Center.

On June 4, 2019, Carol, 82, who had multiple sclerosis, died with her husband at her side. He died two days later.

“I think he may have died of a broken heart,” Charlie Beirne, general manager of the Long Beach Convention Center, said to the Press-Telegram.

Read Full Post »

In their two matchups against one another, Randy Johnson, as expected, pitched like a Hall of Famer, but Jose Jimenez unexpectedly was better.

Twenty years ago, on June 25, 1999, Jimenez pitched a no-hitter for the Cardinals, beating Johnson and the Diamondbacks, 1-0, at Phoenix.

Two weeks later, on July 5, 1999, Jimenez pitched a two-hitter, beating Johnson and the Diamondbacks, 1-0, at St. Louis.

The outcomes were surprising because the Diamondbacks led the National League in runs scored in 1999 and Jimenez was battered by nearly every other opponent.

Prized prospect

Jimenez, a right-hander from the Dominican Republic, signed as an amateur free agent with the Cardinals in October 1991 when he was 18. He spent his first three seasons as a professional in the Dominican Summer League before the Cardinals brought him to the United States in 1995 to pitch in their minor-league system.

His breakout season in the minors occurred with Class AA Arkansas in 1998 when he was 15-6 in 26 starts. Jimenez credited Arkansas pitching coach Rich Folkers, a former Cardinals reliever, with helping him develop an effective sinker, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The Cardinals rewarded Jimenez by bringing him to the big leagues in September 1998. After making his major-league debut in relief against the Reds, Jimenez made three starts and was the winning pitcher in each, beating the Pirates and Brewers on the road and the Expos at home.

With his 3-0 record and 2.95 ERA in four appearances for the 1998 Cardinals, Jimenez was regarded a special prospect. When the Cardinals tried to acquire second baseman Fernando Vina from the Brewers after the 1998 season, they were told they’d have to give up Jimenez and pitcher Manny Aybar, according to the Post-Dispatch. The Cardinals declined.

Mix and match

Jimenez, 25, opened the 1999 season as a Cardinals starter, but the success he experienced in 1998 didn’t carry over.

He entered his June start at Phoenix with a 3-7 record and 6.69 ERA. Matched against Johnson, the left-hander who was at the peak of his Hall of Fame career, the game figured to be lopsided in favor of the Diamondbacks.

The Diamondbacks led the National League in hitting at .287 coming into the game.

Relying on a mix of pitches, Jimenez was in command from the start.

“I was throwing very well,” he said to the Arizona Republic. “I was hitting my spots. I’ve been working on my mechanics, my sinker.”

Said Diamondbacks outfielder Luis Gonzalez: “His fastball was moving really well. His changeup was effective. He was nasty.”

Jimenez yielded a one-out walk to Steve Finley in the second, but the next batter grounded into a double play. In the third, Jimenez hit Andy Fox with a pitch, but retired the next two batters to end the inning.

“All his pitches were working to all parts of the plate,” said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa.

Dueling shutouts

In the sixth, Fox hit a drive to right-center, but right fielder Eric Davis reached down, snared the sinking liner and held onto the ball as he rolled onto the ground.

The Diamondbacks got their last baserunner in the seventh when Gonzalez drew a one-out walk, but Jimenez coaxed the next batter to ground into a double play.

“His ball was moving all over the place,” Johnson said. “He was in control. He made a lot of our hitters frustrated.”

Johnson was tough on the Cardinals as well. He retired the first nine batters in a row before Joe McEwing led off the fourth with a double. The Cardinals got doubles from Edgar Renteria in the fifth and David Howard in the sixth, but couldn’t score.

In the ninth, with the game scoreless, Johnson issued one-out walks to Darren Bragg and Mark McGwire. After Davis struck out, Thomas Howard hit a broken-bat single to left, scoring Bragg.

Flying high

In the bottom of the ninth, Fox led off and struck out. David Dellucci, a left-handed batter, stepped in for Johnson and looped a liner toward right-center.

“I thought it would drop in,” Dellucci said.

Davis darted toward the ball, caught it near his shoe tops, tumbled and held on for the out.

“I know he’s a good outfielder,” said Dellucci, a teammate of Davis in 1997 with the Orioles. “Anybody else, it might have been in there.”

Jimenez completed the no-hitter by getting Tony Womack to ground out to second. [Boxscore and video of last out]

“This is something special,” Jimenez said. “I feel great. I feel like I want to fly.”

The no-hitter was the first by a Cardinal since Bob Forsch accomplished the feat against the Expos on Sept. 26, 1983.

Jimenez struck out eight. Johnson, who yielded five hits and two walks, struck out 14. Video of entire game

Snake bit

Jimenez got one more win for the Cardinals. When the Diamondbacks came to St. Louis, he retired the first 13 batters in order before Finley doubled with one out in the fifth. The only other hit Jimenez allowed was a single by Fox leading off the sixth.

Once again, Thomas Howard drove in the lone run. His single against Johnson scored McGwire from second with two outs in the fourth.

Jimenez walked one and struck out nine. Johnson gave up four hits and four walks, striking out 12. Boxscore

Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan said Jimenez “was relaxed and let it all flow. When he has pitched good, that’s the way he has looked.”

Jimenez never found the groove again with the Cardinals. He finished the 1999 season with a 5-14 record and 5.85 ERA. He was 2-0 versus the Diamondbacks and 3-14 against everyone else.

On Nov. 16, 1999, the Cardinals traded three pitchers _ Jimenez, Aybar and Rich Croushore _ and infielder Brent Butler to the Rockies for pitchers Darryl Kile, Dave Veres and Luther Hackman.

The Rockies made Jimenez a reliever and in four seasons with them he was 15-23 with 102 saves and a 4.13 ERA. He had 41 saves for the 2002 Rockies.

Jimenez became a free agent after the 2003 season, signed with the Indians and finished his big-league career with them in 2004.

In seven big-league seasons, Jimenez was 24-44 with 110 saves and a 4.92 ERA.

Read Full Post »

Phillies manager Frank Lucchesi staged a sit-in at Busch Memorial Stadium in St. Louis to protest an umpire’s call favorable to the Cardinals.

Lucchesi, who managed the Phillies (1970-72), Rangers (1975-77) and Cubs (1987), died on June 8, 2019, at 92.

After managing in the minor leagues for 19 years, Lucchesi (pronounced Lou-Kay-See) got his first chance in the majors with the 1970 Phillies, a team in a rebuilding phase.

Lucchesi was promoted from the minors “for one reason: Win back the hearts and minds of fans who abandoned the Phillies in droves,” Philadelphia columnist Bill Conlin wrote.

After a 10-9 record in April, the 1970 Phillies were 10-18 in May.

In seeking help for his team from a higher power, “I even lit a candle in church in Pittsburgh, and it blew out,” Lucchesi said to Sports Illustrated.

Dividing line

On June 27, 1970, the Phillies entered their Saturday afternoon game at St. Louis with a 31-37 record and were in fifth place in the six-team National League East.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, with the score tied at 8-8, Jim Beauchamp, starting in center field in place of injured Jose Cardenal, led off and lined a drive to deep right-center against Joe Hoerner, a former Cardinal.

As the ball reached the wall at the 386-foot mark, “two fans reached out and one of them touched the ball, which fell to the ground,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The Phillies thought Beauchamp’s hit should be declared a ground-rule double because of fan interference, but second-base umpire Tony Venzon signaled a home run, giving the Cardinals a 9-8 lead.

Luchessi ran out of the dugout to argue with Venzon and was joined by six other Phillies, who circled the umpire near second base. Venzon explained to them the ball hit above the yellow line at the top of the wall and therefore was a home run.

The Phillies disagreed, saying the fan touched the ball as it hit the wall below the yellow line.

Call stands

According to the Inquirer, a television replay supported the Phillies’ argument, and Cardinals broadcasters “said they thought the ball hit the arm of a fan reaching downward from the first row of the bleachers,” the Philadelphia Daily News reported.

“He reached below the yellow line,” said Phillies right fielder Byron Browne, a former Cardinal.

Said Phillies shortstop Larry Bowa: “There was no way that could be a home run.”

The Phillies claimed Venzon hadn’t run into the outfield to get a close look at the play. Lucchesi asked him to consult with the other umpires.

“Tony, getting it right is the most important thing,” Lucchesi said to him.

Venzon replied, “No, that’s it.”

“What got me so hot at Venzon was him refusing to ask the umpires for help,” Lucchesi said.

Temper tantrum

Outraged, Lucchesi “kicked clouds of dirt and gestured wildly,” the Philadelphia Daily News reported. According to the Inquirer, “a wild argument continued for several minutes,” and Lucchesi was ejected.

Lucchesi said he wanted to run out to the outfield wall and ask the fan to show Venzon where he touched the ball, “but I got so hot at jawing with Venzon I forgot what I really was going to do.”

Instead, Lucchesi plopped down on the second-base bag. Venzon ordered him to leave the field, but Lucchesi refused to budge.

“When I sat down on the base, I told him I was staying put until he asked his buddies,” Lucchesi said.

“He knew he was wrong and he didn’t hustle on the play.”

Magic word

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, “Park police were ready to remove Frank off the base.”

Phillies coach George Myatt arrived, looked Lucchesi in the eye and said, “Luke.”

The word got Lucchesi’s attention and he got up and left the field.

Myatt rescued Lucchesi with a pre-arranged code.

“I know myself well enough to know that when I get that hot, I’m not responsible,” Lucchesi said to the Philadelphia Daily News. “I reach a point where I don’t realize what I’m doing. Before the season, I gave the coaches a code word to holler at me in case I blew my top.”

The code word was “Luke,” a shortened variation of Lucchesi.

“”When I hear that, I know I’m going to get myself in trouble,” Lucchesi said.

The Cardinals held on for a 9-8 victory. Boxscore

The next day Lucchesi learned what kind of trouble he’d gotten into. He was fined $150 by National League president Chub Feeney, who said in a telegram, “Any repetition of this type of action will merit a suspension.”

Read Full Post »

On a sultry Sunday in St. Louis, Bill Buckner handled the high heat of Al Hrabosky.

Buckner, 69, died May 27, 2019. He played 22 seasons in the major leagues, primarily as a first baseman, and was a premier hitter, winning a National League batting title in 1980 and generating a career total of 2,715 hits. A left-handed batter with a .289 career average, Buckner never struck out more than 39 times in a season.

Though widely known for an error at first base in the 10th inning of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series that enabled the Mets to score the winning run against the Red Sox, Buckner played his first 16 seasons in the National League, with the Dodgers and Cubs, and produced 172 hits in 173 career games against the Cardinals.

Perhaps his most prominent at-bat versus the Cardinals came on July 3, 1977, against Hrabosky, the left-handed reliever known as the “Mad Hungarian.”

Pitchers prevail

The game between the Cubs and Cardinals was played on what the Chicago Tribune described as a “hot, humid Mississippi River afternoon” on the steamy artifical turf surface at Busch Memorial Stadium.

Starting pitchers Rick Reuschel of the Cubs and Eric Rasmussen of the Cardinals were in top form.

The game was scoreless when Reuschel was forced to depart with two outs in the seventh inning because of a blister on his pitching hand. Bruce Sutter relieved, walked the first batter he faced, Ken Reitz, loading the bases, and struck out Jerry Mumphrey to end the threat.

In the eighth, Sutter, batting with one out and the bases empty, singled against Rasmussen for his first major-league hit.

“Now that I’ve got my hitting stroke down, anything can happen,” Sutter said.

After Ivan De Jesus popped out to first baseman Keith Hernandez for the second out, Greg Gross singled to right, advancing Sutter to third. According to the Chicago Tribune, Sutter barely beat Reitz’s tag at third and was jolted so hard “the spikes were knocked out of his shoes.”

With Buckner up next, Cardinals manager Vern Rapp called for Hrabosky to relieve Rasmussen.

Fastball hitter

Before delivering a pitch to Buckner, Hrabosky went into his “Mad Hungarian” routine, turning his back on the batter and doing a self-psyching meditation before pounding the ball into his mitt and whirling around to face his foe.

Herman Franks, in his first season as Cubs manager, said to the Associated Press, “I’d never seen that ‘Mad Russian’ act before. That’s got to be embarrasing when it doesn’t work.”

After Hrabosky got ahead on the count, 1-and-2, catcher Ted Simmons went to the mound and urged him to throw a pitch down and away to Buckner, hoping he’d chase it and strike out, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Instead, the ball bounced to the plate and Simmons blocked it to keep Sutter from scoring from third.

Buckner looked for a fastball on the next pitch, got it and lined it into the right-field seats for a three-run home run. The Cubs added a run in the ninth against Rawly Eastwick and won, 4-0. Boxscore

The home run was Buckner’s second of the season.

“Most of my homers this season have gone foul,” he said, “but I was ready for this fastball and got it just right.”

Buckner’s two best seasons against the Cardinals were in 1980 and 1983 with the Cubs. In 1980, he batted .313 versus the Cardinals, with 21 hits in 17 games, and in 1983 his batting average against them was .359, with 28 hits in 18 games.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »