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Archive for the ‘Pitchers’ Category

The 1970 Cardinals found the closer they needed, but, following a familiar pattern, gave up on him too soon.

Fifty years ago, on May 29, 1970, the Cardinals acquired reliever Ted Abernathy from the Cubs for infielder Phil Gagliano.

A right-hander, Abernathy, 37, threw underhanded with a delivery described as submarine style.

At 6 feet 4, he was a formidable presence when he whipped his right arm down low to the ground and sent the ball zipping toward the plate.

The Cardinals needed quality relief and Abernathy provided it. He made 11 appearances for them and was 1-0 with a save and 2.95 ERA.

Inexplicably, a month after the Cardinals acquired Abernathy, general manager Bing Devine dealt him to the Royals for pitcher Chris Zachary, who was assigned to the minor leagues.

Abernathy went on to pitch in 36 games for the 1970 Royals and was 9-3 with 12 saves and a 2.59 ERA for them. He joined Wayne Granger (Reds), Dave Giusti (Pirates), Joe Hoerner (Phillies) and Mudcat Grant (Athletics and Pirates) as premier relievers dealt by Devine during his second stint with the Cardinals.

In 1970, when the Cardinals ranked last in the league in saves (20) and their team leader was Chuck Taylor (eight), Granger, Giusti, Hoerner and Grant had a combined record of 32-16 with 94 saves.

Adapt and adjust

Abernathy threw overhand until he injured his right shoulder as a high school freshman and switched to a sidearm delivery.

After signing with the Senators in 1952, Abernathy made his major-league debut with them in 1955.

Near the end of the 1956 season, Abernathy hurt his right elbow. Trying to compensate for the pain, he put pressure on his shoulder and damaged it again. Weakened, Abernathy was 2-10 with a 6.78 ERA for the Senators in 1957.

Except for two appearances for the Senators in 1960, Abernathy spent the next five seasons (1958-62) in the minors. After undergoing shoulder surgery in 1959, he adopted the submarine delivery.

In 1963, Abernathy, 30, made it back to the majors with the Indians and experienced a career rebirth. With his arm strength restored and his submarine delivery perfected, Abernathy became a durable, effective big-league reliever.

“His delivery was sweeping so low it swept him to the top as a relief pitcher,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted.

Late bloomer

Abernathy was the National League leader in saves twice (31 for 1965 Cubs and 28 for 1967 Reds). He also led the league in games pitched three times (84 for 1965 Cubs, 70 for 1967 Reds and 78 for 1968 Reds).

Reliyng on a sinking fastball, curve and knuckleball he used as a changeup, Abernathy thrived on work. The more often he pitched, the better the results.

“If I don’t have to work more than a couple of innings, I can go for seven or eight days in a row, take a rest, and do it again,’ Abernathy told The Sporting News.

In 1970, during his second stint with the Cubs, Abernathy began the season as the setup reliever to closer Phil Regan.

On May 16, 1970, Abernathy relieved Cubs starter Ken Holtzman in the ninth inning of a game at St. Louis. With the Cubs ahead, 3-1, Abernathy was brought in to face slugger Richie Allen with the bases loaded and two outs.

With the count at 2-and-1, Abernathy needed to throw a strike, but his pitch sailed toward Allen. Though he tried to turn away, the ball struck Allen in the back of the head.

“I was surprised Allen didn’t get out of the way,” Abernathy told the Post-Dispatch. “I yelled to him, but I guess he didn’t hear me.”

Allen’s advancement to first allowed the runner from third to score, carrying the Cardinals to within a run at 3-2, but Regan came in and got Joe Torre to line out to center, ending the game. Boxscore

Come and gone

Two weeks later, the Cubs traded Abernathy to the Cardinals. Though Abernathy had a 2.00 ERA and a save in 11 games for the 1970 Cubs, manager Leo Durocher had lost confidence in him.

“The Cardinals were the only team who wanted Abernathy,” Durocher told the Chicago Tribune. “They needed relief pitching and were willing to take the chance. Maybe he’ll help them. I don’t know. All I know is that every time I put him in a game this year he was getting bombed.”

Before the Cardinals acquired Abernathy, five pitchers, Chuck Taylor, Tom Hilgendorf, Jerry Johnson, Sal Campisi and Billy McCool, earned saves for them in 1970. A week before Abernathy arrived, the Cardinals got another closer candidate, Frank Linzy, from the Giants.

“What they’re doing, of course, is indulging in a bit of wishful thinking when they claim anything in sight with a toeplate,” Bob Broeg wrote in the Post-Dispatch.

On May 30, 1970, Abernathy made his Cardinals debut at St. Louis against the Dodgers and pitched 3.1 innings in relief of starter Santiago Guzman. Boxscore

Abernathy got a save a week later in a game Bob Gibson won against the Padres at St. Louis. Boxscore

On June 27, 1970, in his last Cardinals appearance, Abernathy worked out of a bases-loaded jam he inherited and got the win versus the Phillies at St. Louis. Boxscore

Four days later, he was traded to the Royals.

Royal gift

“I was pitching well for the Cardinals,” Abernathy said. “At least I thought I was pitching pretty well. I asked Bing Devine (about the trade) and he told me, ‘That’s baseball. You move around.’ ”

When Abernathy reported to the Royals, he said to manager Bob Lemon, “I need work.” Lemon replied, “You came to the right place.”

Abernathy pitched five times in his first six days with the Royals and was 3-0 with a save and 0.96 ERA. In his first 9.1 innings, he allowed a run and struck out 13.

“Christmas has come a little early,” Lemon said.

Lemon, an ace for the Indians when Abernathy debuted in the American League 15 years earlier, knew how to utilize his reliever. Abernathy was 5-3 with four saves in July, 2-0 with four saves in August and 2-0 with four saves in September. Right-handed batters hit .202 against him.

Abernathy’s combined 1970 record with the Cubs, Cardinals and Royals was 10-3 with 14 saves and a 2.60 ERA.

Abernathy pitched for the Royals again in 1971 and 1972, ending his 14 years in the majors with a 63-69 record and 149 saves.

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A stint with the Cardinals enabled Matt Keough to share a championship season with his father.

Keough died May 1, 2020, at 64. A right-hander who pitched in the majors for nine years, he endured an epic losing streak and survived being struck in the temple by a foul ball.

His father, Marty Keough, was a big-league outfielder who became a scout for the Cardinals. Marty scouted for the Cardinals from 1980 to 2018. Matt’s uncle, Joe Keough, also was an outfielder in the majors.

In September 1985, Matt Keough returned to the big leagues with the Cardinals after two seasons in the minors. The move put Matt and Marty in the same organization for the first time. While Marty was looking for talent to keep the Cardinals successful, Matt was looking to help them win a division title.

Changing positions

Matt Keough was a baseball standout at Corona del Mar High School near Newport Beach, Calif., just as his father Marty was years earlier in Pomona, Calif. A prized prospect of the Red Sox, Marty played 11 years in the majors.

In 1973, Matt, 18, signed with the Athletics after he was chosen in the seventh round of the amateur baseball draft. In his first three seasons (1974-76) in the minors, he played shortstop and third base. His manager in each of those years was Rene Lachemann, a future Cardinals coach.

Lachemann was a Keough booster. Though Keough threw well, he was an inconsistent hitter. When he struggled to hit at spring training in 1977, the Athletics made him a pitcher. “To me, it was make or break,” Keough told The Sporting News.

At Class AA Chattanooga in 1977, Keough led Southern League pitchers in strikeouts (153). He made the jump from Class AA to the majors in September.

Hitting the skids

The next year, Keough was named to the 1978 American League all-star team managed by the Yankees’ Billy Martin. In the All-Star Game at San Diego, Keough relieved Jim Palmer in the third inning and gave up a single to the Cardinals’ Ted Simmons, loading the bases with two outs, before escaping the jam by getting Rick Monday to fly out. Boxscore

A season of promise ended badly when Keough lost his last four decisions and finished at 8-15.

His personal losing streak carried over to the 1979 season. Keough lost his first 14 decisions, giving him 18 consecutive losses over two seasons. His 0-14 record in 1979 tied Joe Harris of the 1906 Red Sox for most losses to start a season. Keough’s 18 consecutive losses were one short of the league record of 19 in a row by Bob Groom of the 1909 Senators and John Nabors of the 1916 Athletics.

The skid ended on Sept. 5, 1979, when Keough got the win against the Brewers at Oakland, pitching a five-hitter before 1,772 spectators, including his uncle Joe. Boxscore

“I’m 1-0 now,” Keough said. “That’s how I’m looking at it. Everything else is behind me.”

Keough finished the 1979 season at 2-17.

Different approach

In the winter after the 1979 season, Keough played in Puerto Rico for a team managed by his former minor-league mentor, Rene Lachemann, who worked to restore the pitcher’s confidence.

Another positive development for Keough was a management change in Oakland. Two years after managing Keough in the All-Star Game, Billy Martin was named Athletics manager in 1980 and his sidekick, Art Fowler, became pitching coach.

“The main thing with Martin and Fowler is the confidence they give you,” Keough told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “They make you believe.”

According to some American League hitters, including Reggie Jackson and Jim Rice, Martin and Fowler also taught Keough to throw a banned pitch, the spitball.

Keough called the accusations “sour grapes.” Fowler said, “It’s nothing but a little sinker. They just turn the fastball over a little and throw strikes.”

In explaining the pitch to Gannett News Service, Keough said, “Fowler can take you down to that bullpen and show you how to throw the fastball without seams.”

Keough was 16-13, with 20 complete games, for the 1980s Athletics, and the starting staff made the cover of Sports Illustrated the following spring.

Going backward

Keough won his first six decisions of 1981 before feeling pain in his right shoulder. Some suggested Martin overworked him, but Keough said he hurt the shoulder when he slipped on the mound in Baltimore. Keough was 10-6 in 1981 and 11-18 in 1982.

In 1983, Martin returned to New York to manage the Yankees, who made a deal to acquire Keough. Experiencing persistent shoulder pain, Keough was 3-4 with a 5.17 ERA for them.

After the season, Keough agreed to go to the minor leagues in 1984 to try to develop a knuckleball. He was assigned to the Class AA Nashville team because the pitching coach was knuckleball master Hoyt Wilhelm.

After posting a 6.75 ERA in seven starts for Nashville, Keough was diagnosed with a partial tear of the rotator cuff and put on the disabled list. He underwent arthroscopic surgery in October 1984 and the Yankees released him.

Comeback trail

On April 23, 1985, the Cardinals signed Keough to a minor-league contract and sent him to extended spring training in Florida. In 19 innings, Keough had a 1.93 ERA and the Cardinals assigned him to Class AAA Louisville.

Keough, 30, had a 3.35 ERA in 19 starts for Louisville manager Jim Fregosi. “He’s gotten better and better since he’s been with us,” Fregosi told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “I really think he can pitch in the big leagues again.”

Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog said, “He always had a good spitball at Oakland.”

On Sept. 9, 1985, the Cardinals, in first place by a half game ahead of the Mets, called up Keough from Louisville. He made his Cardinals debut that night, pitching four scoreless innings in relief of Kurt Kepshire in a 3-1 win over the Cubs at St. Louis. Boxscore

Five days later, Keough relieved Kepshire again and pitched two scoreless innings against the Cubs in a 5-4 Cardinals win at Chicago. Boxscore

Herzog yanked Kepshire from the rotation and gave Keough a start on Sept. 19 against the Phillies, but he gave up five runs before being lifted in the third inning and the Phillies won, 6-3. Boxscore

“I was pitching 2-and-1 and 2-and-0 on everybody and I usually don’t do that,” Keough told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Keough’s last appearance for the Cardinals came Sept. 24 when he worked two scoreless innings in relief of Ricky Horton in a game the Cardinals won, 5-4, versus the Pirates. Boxscore

Keough was 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA as a Cardinal, but in three relief stints he allowed no runs and struck out eight in eight innings.

Checkered past

The 1985 Cardinals went on to win the National League pennant. Keough was ineligible to pitch in the postseason because he joined the club too late, but the Cardinals gave him a championship ring. Granted free agency, he signed with the Cubs and split the 1986 season, his last in the majors, with them and the Astros.

Keough made one appearance against the Cardinals. Filling in for scheduled starter Dennis Eckersley, who developed back spasms, Keough pitched four innings, gave up a two-run single to Ozzie Smith and took the loss in a 4-3 Cardinals win over the Cubs at St. Louis on June 5, 1986. Boxscore

Like his father Marty, who finished his playing career in Japan in 1968, Matt went to Japan and pitched for four years (1987-90) with the Hanshin Tigers.

Keough, who had a big-league career record of 58-84, tried a comeback with the Angels at spring training in 1992. While seated in the dugout during a game at Scottsdale, Ariz., Keough was hit in the temple by a foul ball off the bat of the Giants’ John Patterson. Marty Keough, scouting the game for the Cardinals, watched as medical personnel attended to his son. Matt developed a blood clot in his brain and needed surgery.

Keough recovered and went on to scout for the Angels and Rays. He also served as special assistant to the general manager of the Athletics.

In April 2005, Keough was involved in a car accident in California, injuring a pedestrian. He pleaded guilty to felony charges of driving under the influence after he crashed his vehicle into another at a red light, pushing the vehicle into a man walking his bike across the street, police said to the Orange County Register. The injured man was admitted to a hospital.

In December 2007, Keough was arraigned on charges he was binge drinking at a bar in violation of his probation, authorities told the Orange County Register. The arrest came less than a week after Keough was released from the Newport Beach lockup, where he spent seven weeks as a jail trustee washing patrol cars and cleaning the facility after he was caught violating parole.

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The Phillies gave up on Curt Simmons and the Cardinals benefited.

Sixty years ago, on May 19, 1960, the Cardinals signed Simmons on his 31st birthday. A left-handed pitcher, Simmons was released a week earlier by the Phillies after he played in 13 seasons for them and won 115 games.

Determined to show the Phillies he wasn’t done, Simmons became a dependable Cardinals starter and did some of his best work against his former team.

Simmons was 4-0 against the Phillies in 1960 and 4-0 versus them again in 1964 when they finished a game behind the National League champion Cardinals.

Prized pitcher

Simmons was a standout pitcher for high school and American Legion teams in his hometown of Egypt, Pa., near Allentown. The Phillies signed him for $65,000 in 1947 when he was 18 and sent him to their farm team in Wilmington, Del.

Simmons had “a face like a B-picture villain,” the Sporting News noted, and threw with a herky-jerky motion. He was 13-5 for Wilmington and got called up to the Phillies near the end of the season. He made his major-league debut in a start against the Giants on Sept. 28, 1947, at Philadelphia and pitched a five-hitter in a 3-1 win. Boxscore

“I wouldn’t trade Curt Simmons for an entire ball club,” Phillies manager Ben Chapman told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I mean every word of it.”

In 1950, the Phillies, managed by Eddie Sawyer, won the National League pennant behind the pitching of Robin Roberts (20-11), Simmons (17-8) and Jim Konstanty (16-7, 22 saves), but Simmons was called into the Army before the World Series against the Yankees.

Simmons “was a better pitcher than Roberts in 1950 and it looked as if he’d stay that way,” Sawyer told The Sporting News. “He had more natural stuff than Robbie. He was a bonus kid trying to grow into a major leaguer and in 1950 he suddenly arrived. For the first time, he had control. He could throw a strike whenever he wanted.”

After serving in the Army through 1951, Simmons returned to the Phillies in 1952 and picked up where he left off, posting a 14-8 record with six shutouts.

In June 1953, Simmons was mowing his lawn when he accidently sliced off part of the big toe on his left foot. He pitched again a month later and remained a mainstay in the starting rotation, finishing 16-13, but Phillies owner Bob Carpenter said, “To me, his fastball lost that strikeout zip after the accident.”

Under repair

In April 1959, Simmons underwent surgery to remove bone chips in the left elbow. He returned to the Phillies in late May and made seven relief appearances, but Simmons wanted to test his elbow in a series of starts. He agreed to go to the Phillies’ farm team at Williamsport, Pa., “to find out for myself if I could still pitch, if my arm could take the strain,” he told the Inquirer.

Simmons was 4-1 in six starts at Williamsport and declared himself ready to return to the Phillies in 1960. At spring training, Simmons had a 1.97 ERA in 32 innings and Sawyer picked him to start the Phillies’ second game of the season, their home opener against the Braves.

The good vibes of spring training disappeared as soon as the season began. The Phillies lost the season opener to the Reds at Cincinnati on April 12 and Sawyer resigned the morning of the home opener on April 14, saying he no longer wanted to manage.

Gene Mauch, named to replace Sawyer, couldn’t arrive in Philadelphia in time for the home opener, so coach Andy Cohen filled in. Simmons started, gave up home runs to Hank Aaron and Joe Adcock in the first inning and was lifted after the first two batters reached base in the second.

In his next start, his first for Mauch, Simmons faced five Pirates batters, retired none and was taken out.

Simmons made two relief appearances and was released on May 11. His totals for the 1960 Phillies: four innings, eight runs, 13 hits, six walks.

“I don’t think I would have been released if Sawyer had been there,” Simmons told the Philadelphia Daily News. “When he quit, my stock went down to zero.”

Good move

The Cubs, Pirates and Orioles showed interest in Simmons, but the Cardinals were the first to make a firm offer with no conditions.

Solly Hemus, who played for the Phillies before becoming Cardinals manager, called his ex-teammate and asked simply, “Arm OK?”

“Yeah,” said Simmons.

“Then I want you,” Hemus replied.

After four relief appearances for the Cardinals, Simmons went into the starting rotation. In his first start, June 19 versus the Braves at Milwaukee, Simmons pitched six innings, allowed two runs and impressed, though he didn’t factor in the decision, a 4-3 Cardinals win. Boxscore

“I liked Curt’s fastball,” Cardinals pitching coach Howie Pollet told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He proved his arm was sound again.”

Take that!

Simmons’ first win for the Cardinals was extra satisfying because it came in his next start, June 25, versus the Phillies at Philadelphia. Simmons pitched 8.2 innings in the 1-0 triumph. It was his first win in the majors since Sept. 1, 1958.

“I knew I could pitch somewhere this year,” Simmons told the Inquirer.

Simmons and Phillies starter Jim Owens were locked in a scoreless duel until Ken Boyer led off the top of the ninth with a home run.

In the bottom half of the ninth, Lee Walls, batting with one out and none on, hit a drive deep to left. “I was afraid Walls’ ball might go for a home run,” Simmons told the Post-Dispatch.

Rookie John Glenn, who entered the inning as a defensive replacement for Stan Musial, leaped and got the web of his glove on the ball, but it fell out as he came down against the wall. Walls stopped at second with a double.

The next batter, rookie Ken Walters, hit a liner to right-center. Right fielder Joe Cunningham rumbled over, dived, slid on his belly and caught the ball inches from the grass for the second out.

Up next was Pancho Herrera, who had three singles in three at-bats against Simmons in the game. Hemus lifted Simmons for Lindy McDaniel, who got the save when center fielder Curt Flood made a running catch of Herrera’s shot to right-center. Boxscore

What a gift

The Cardinals won each of Simmons’ first six starts for them, though he was 2-0 with four no-decisions.

On July 31, 1960, he faced the Phillies for the second time, gave up 13 hits, all singles, but no walks and got the win as the Cardinals prevailed, 9-2, at St. Louis. Boxscore

A week later, on Aug. 9, 1960, Simmons pitched a five-hit shutout against the Phillies at Philadelphia. Afterward, Cardinals outfielder Walt Moryn asked Philadelphia reporters, “You guys got any more players you want to give away over there?”

Simmons told the Philadelphia Daily News, “I think I’m throwing at times as hard as I’ve thrown in the last five years, but the big thing is I’m keeping the ball down and I’ve been working on a half-baked screwball I use as a changeup. The fastball is the bread and butter though. If my fastball is no good, I can throw all the junk I want to and it won’t help.” Boxscore

On Sept, 11, 1960, Simmons got his seventh win of the season, and his fourth versus the Phillies, in a 7-3 Cardinals triumph at Philadelphia. “I wish we had him pitching for us the way he’s been pitching,” said Mauch. Boxscore

Simmons finished 7-4 with a 2.66 ERA for the 1960 Cardinals. Against the Phillies, he was 4-0 with a 1.02 ERA.

Simmons pitched for the Cardinals from 1960-66 and was 69-58 with 16 shutouts. In 1964, when the Cardinals were World Series champions, Simmons was 18-9.

In June 1966, the Cardinals sold Simmons’ contract to the Cubs. His 20th and final season in the majors was 1967 with the Angels. Simmons posted a career mark of 193-183 with 36 shutouts. His career record versus the Phillies was 19-6.

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Johnny Lindell faced the Cardinals in a World Series as a Yankees outfielder and in a regular season as a pitcher for the Pirates and Phillies. He also played for the Cardinals for a couple of months when they sought power for their lineup.

Seventy years ago, on May 15, 1950, the Cardinals purchased the contract of Lindell from the Yankees for the $10,000 waiver price.

Lindell was an intriguing player because of the multiple roles he performed. He began his professional career as a pitcher, moved to outfielder and went back to pitching again.

A strapping 6 feet 4 and 225 pounds, Lindell batted and threw right-handed. Talented as well as versatile, he pitched for one pennant-winning Yankees team and played outfield for another. As a hitter, he twice led the American League in triples and as a pitcher he once led the National League in most walks issued.

Pitching prospect

Lindell developed his athletic skills in high school at Monrovia, Calif., near Pasadena. He was offered a chance to play football at the University of Southern California but signed with the Yankees when he was 19 in 1936. The Yankees sent him to their farm club in Joplin, Mo., and he posted a 17-8 record.

Working his way through the minor leagues, Lindell became a prominent pitching prospect. He was 18-7 with a 2.70 ERA for the Kansas City Blues in 1940.

Lindell began the 1941 season with the Yankees, made his major-league debut in a pinch-hitting appearance on April 18 and was sent to their farm club in Newark, N.J. Lindell was 23-4 with a 2.05 ERA for Newark in 1941 and the Yankees made plans to have him on their pitching staff in 1942.

Though he pitched in 23 games for the 1942 Yankees and was 2-1 with a 3.76 ERA, Lindell’s fastball and curve no longer were effective and manager Joe McCarthy lost confidence in him. Lindell didn’t pitch in the 1942 World Series versus the Cardinals.

According to The Sporting News, McCarthy told Lindell after the season, “Johnny, it does not look as if you ever will be a really good pitcher. However, you have the makings of a hitter.”

Lindell worked on his hitting in winter ball in California and reported to spring training in 1943 as an outfield candidate.

New role

The Yankees’ center fielder, Joe DiMaggio, and right fielder, Tommy Henrich, entered military service in 1943 and the club needed outfielders. Lindell was the Yankees’ 1943 Opening Day right fielder and remained in the lineup throughout the season. Lindell started 64 games in right, 52 in center and four in left for the American League champions. He led the league in triples (12) and was named to the all-star team.

In the 1943 World Series against the Cardinals, Lindell hit .111 but was involved in a critical play.

After the teams split the first two games, the Cardinals led, 2-1, in Game 3. Lindell led off the eighth inning with a single and advanced to second when center fielder Harry Walker bobbled the ball. George Stirnweiss bunted to first baseman Ray Sanders, whose throw to third arrived ahead of Lindell.

As third baseman Whitey Kurowski went to apply the tag, Lindell “came into the bag like a 10-ton truck,” crashing into Kurowski and knocking the ball loose, The Sporting News reported. The impact snapped Kurowski’s head back.

Lindell said the collision was unavoidable because Kurowski positioned himself in front of the base. “What was I to do? Beg his pardon?” Lindell asked.

Said Cardinals manager Billy Southworth: “Lindell played ball the way I like to see it played.”

The play woke up the Yankees, who scored five runs in the inning and won, 6-2.  Boxscore

Lindell had his best season in 1944. As the Yankees’ center fielder, he hit .300 with 33 doubles, 18 home runs and 103 RBI. He led the league in triples (16), extra-base hits (67) and total bases (297).

After spending part of 1945 in military service, Lindell returned to the Yankees in 1946 and was their Opening Day left fielder. In 1947, Lindell batted .500 in the World Series against the Dodgers, collecting nine hits in 18 at-bats and driving in seven runs in six games, despite cracking a rib in Game 5.

Right fit

Lindell’s playing time decreased when Casey Stengel became Yankees manager in 1949. After starting in left field on Opening Day in 1950, Lindell struggled, hitting .190 in 21 at-bats.

The 1950 Cardinals were stocked with left-handed hitters, led by Stan Musial and Enos Slaughter, and were looking for a power bat from the right side. Lindell, 33, was an available candidate.

“He’s a good competitor, a clutch player,” Cardinals manager Eddie Dyer told The Sporting News.

Though he had spent 15 years in the Yankees’ organization, Lindell welcomed the move to St. Louis. “I wanted to be traded because I didn’t fit Casey Stengel’s idea of a ballplayer,” Lindell told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Not enough obvious spark, I guess.”

Lindell reported to the Cardinals 15 pounds over his regular weight of 225, the Post-Dispatch noted, but Dyer played him immediately in left field.

In his Cardinals debut, Lindell went 0-for-4 against the Dodgers’ Preacher Roe, but in his next game he hit a two-run home run into the upper deck in left at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn against rookie Billy Loes. Boxscore

A month later, on June 24, 1950, Lindell’s 10th-inning home run against Bob Chipman gave the Cardinals a 7-6 triumph over the Braves at Boston. Boxscore

Though 12 of Lindell’s 21 hits for the Cardinals were for extra bases, including five home runs, he batted .186 in 36 games and “his fielding had slipped along with his hitting,” the Post-Dispatch reported.

On July 17, 1950, the Cardinals sent Lindell to their farm team at Columbus, Ohio. After playing in five games there, the Cardinals accommodated his request to be sent to a Pacific Coast League club closer to his California home and traded him to the Hollywood Stars, a farm team of the Dodgers.

On the mound again

In 1951, Lindell went back to pitching and was 12-9 with a 3.03 ERA for Hollywood. Relying on a knuckleball, Lindell was dominant in 1952, posting a 24-9 record and 2.52 ERA for Hollywood, which had become a Pirates affiliate.

Lindell returned to the big leagues in 1953 as a member of the Pirates’ starting rotation. On May 3, 1953, he earned his first National League win, a four-hitter against the Cardinals at Pittsburgh. Boxscore

After posting a 5-16 record and 4.71 ERA for the Pirates, Lindell’s contract was sold to the Phillies on Aug. 31, 1953. He earned one win for the Phillies and it came against the Cardinals at St. Louis. Lindell struck out 11, walked eight and ignited the winning rally in the ninth with a run-scoring single. Boxscore

Lindell “would have had a far easier time if his catchers had been able to hold” the knuckleball, the Post-Dispatch reported.

The win was Lindell’s last as a pitcher. He was 1-1 with a 4.24 ERA for the Phillies. His combined record for the Pirates and Phillies in 1953 was 6-17 with a 4.66 ERA, and in six starts versus the Cardinals he was 2-4 with a 3.64 ERA. Lindell led National League pitchers in allowing the most walks (139) and wild pitches (11).

In 1954, Lindell didn’t pitch, made seven plate appearances, all as a pinch-hitter, for the Phillies and was released on May 10.

In 12 big-league seasons, Lindell hit .273 and had a pitching record of 8-18.

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As a youth in his hometown of Winston-Salem, N.C., where the Cardinals had a farm club, Don Cardwell rooted for a promising prospect, Joe Cunningham. A few years later, Cunningham made the dramatic final out in the best game Cardwell pitched in the major leagues.

Sixty years ago, on May 15, 1960, Cardwell pitched a no-hitter for the Cubs against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field in Chicago. It was Cardwell’s first appearance for the Cubs since being acquired from the Phillies, and it was the first no-hitter pitched against the Cardinals in 41 years. Before Cardwell, Hod Eller of the Reds was the last to do it on May 11, 1919.

Needing one more out to complete the no-hitter, Cardwell faced his boyhood favorite, Cunningham, who laced a sinking line drive. The ball seemed destined to drop for a single until left fielder Walt Moryn came in and made a catch near his shoetops.

Cardinals connections

While in high school, Cardwell got a job at the Winston-Salem ballpark. “I used to hang up the score for each inning on the board and get $2.50 a night for doing it,” Cardwell told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I went to the park often to watch Harvey Haddix, Vinegar Bend Mizell, Joe Cunningham and Don Blasingame.”

In his senior season of prep baseball, Cardwell pitched a pair of no-hitters. The first was a perfect game and the second occurred in the state title game.

Cardwell was 18 when the Phillies signed him in 1954. He made his big-league debut with them three years later. A 6-foot-4 right-hander, Cardwell threw hard from a sidearm delivery but had losing records with the Phillies.

On May 13, 1960, the Phillies traded Cardwell and first baseman Ed Bouchee to the Cubs for second baseman Tony Taylor and catcher Cal Neeman. Cardwell wasn’t surprised to be traded, but expected it would be to the Cardinals, whose manager, Solly Hemus, had been his Phillies teammate.

“I thought I’d be with your ball club by now,” Cardwell told the Post-Dispatch.

Hello, Chicago

Two days after the trade, Cardwell was the starting pitcher for the Cubs in Game 2 of a Sunday doubleheader against the Cardinals at Chicago.

In Game 1, Larry Jackson pitched a four-hitter in a 6-1 victory, ending the Cardinals’ eight-game losing streak. It was their first road win of the season in 13 attempts. Boxscore

Entering Game 2, Cardwell was an unlikely candidate to pitch a no-hitter versus the Cardinals. He had an 0-3 record against them since reaching the majors.

The Cardinals’ batting order was Cunningham, right field; Alex Grammas, shortstop; Bill White, first base; Ken Boyer, third base; Daryl Spencer, second base; Leon Wagner, left field; Curt Flood, center field; Hal Smith, catcher; Lindy McDaniel pitcher.

With one out in the first inning, Cardwell issued a walk to Grammas before retiring the next 26 batters in a row.

“His fastball was his best pitch,” Cubs catcher Del Rice told The Sporting News. “We used some breaking stuff early in the game, but from the fifth inning on I called fastballs almost entirely.”

Cardwell credited Rice and an unusual pitching delivery with making a difference in his performance.

Rice, 37, debuted with the Cardinals in 1945 and played for them the first 11 years of his major-league career. “I never had to shake Del off once,” Cardwell said. “He called the pitches perfectly.”

As for his pitching motion, Cardwell explained he developed a way to go into his windup with the ball in his glove instead of his hand because he suspected batters were detecting his pitches. “I was determined to hide my pitches better,” he said.

Cardwell “doesn’t have the ball in his right hand when he starts his windup,” The Sporting News observed. “The ball is in his glove. Cardwell pumps once with both arms going above his head, but with his right hand empty. Then he repeats the pumping action and at the top of the windup he takes the ball out of the glove and comes through with the pitch.”

Tough outs

The biggest threats to Cardwell’s no-hitter came in the last two innings.

In the eighth, Spencer led off “with a sizzling smash” to second baseman Jerry Kindall, who ranged to his right, “got in front of it, gloved it on a wicked first hop” and threw to first in time, The Sporting News reported.

After Wagner grounded out, Stan Musial batted for Flood. Cardwell threw sinking fastballs and Musial struck out. “I was swinging at the sound,” Musial told the Post-Dispatch.

Said Rice: “He was really humming at the finish.”

In the ninth, Cardwell’s former Phillies teammate, Carl Sawatski, batting for Hal Smith, led off and sent a drive to right. Bob Will, who stood 5 feet 10, usually played right field for the 1960 Cubs, but after Will went hitless in Game 1, manager Lou Boudreau put George Altman, who stood 6 feet 4, in right for Game 2. “Altman went back and grabbed the ball with a one-handed, leaping catch in front of the wall,” The Sporting News noted.

“When George Altman reached high to get Carl Sawatski’s drive, I went up three feet with him,” Cardwell told the Post-Dispatch.

Several Cubs told the St. Louis Globe-Democrat that Bob Will never would have reached Sawatski’s drive.

After George Crowe, batting for McDaniel, flied out to center, Cunningham came to the plate. The drama intensified with each pitch as Cunningham worked the count to 3-and-2.

Cunningham hit a low liner to left. Walt Moryn, nicknamed “Moose,” loped forward and reached down at the last moment to catch the ball before it landed.

“For this once,” wrote The Sporting News, “the Moose turned gazelle.”

Moryn told the Chicago Tribune, “If I’d have missed that last catch, I’d have been begging for an error.”

Said Cardwell: “When Walt Moryn came in and grabbed that low liner by Cunningham, I sank to the ground with him.” Video

“Thousands of fans poured onto the field and surrounded their new hero,” the Associated Press reported. “A score of ushers and police officers needed something like a half hour to get Cardwell safely into the Cubs dressing room.”

The Cubs won, 4-0, in a game played in 1:46. Boxscore

Changing places

On June 15, 1960, exactly one month after his big catch, Moryn was traded by the Cubs to the Cardinals.

Cardwell was 8-14 for the 1960 Cubs. He was 15-14 in 1961 and 7-16 in 1962.

On Oct. 17, 1962, the Cubs traded Cardwell, Altman and catcher Moe Thacker to the Cardinals for pitchers Jackson and McDaniel, plus catcher Jimmie Schaffer.

Cardwell never pitched for the Cardinals. A month after they acquired him, the Cardinals dealt Cardwell and shortstop Julio Gotay to the Pirates for shortstop Dick Groat and pitcher Diomedes Olivo. Groat played a key role in helping the Cardinals become World Series champions in 1964.

Cardwell twice was a 13-game winner for the Pirates. In 1969, he pitched for the World Series champion Mets.

In 40 appearances, including 32 starts, versus the Cardinals in his career, Cardwell was 5-19 with a 4.55 ERA.

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In his first game against the Phillies after being traded to the Cardinals, Richie Allen savored sweet satisfaction.

Fifty years ago, on May 11, 1970, Allen hit a three-run walkoff home run in the bottom of the ninth inning, ending a scoreless duel between future Hall of Famers Jim Bunning and Steve Carlton and carrying the Cardinals to a 3-0 triumph.

Seven months earlier, in October 1969, Allen was traded by the Phillies to the Cardinals in a multi-player deal involving Curt Flood, Tim McCarver and others. Allen’s relationship with Phillies management deteriorated when they suspended him for part of the 1969 season because of insubordination.

Given his first chance for revenge, Allen delivered a spectacular result.

Masters on the mound

The Monday night matchup between Bunning, 38, and Carlton, 25, was a classic. Bunning was in his second stint with the Phillies. He and Allen were Phillies teammates from 1964-67. Carlton was two years away from being traded to the Phillies and becoming their ace.

Carlton gave up two hits in the first inning and two more over the last eight. He retired 15 batters in a row until Tony Taylor hit a double with one out in the ninth.

Bunning held the Cardinals hitless until the sixth. With one out, Carlton singled to center and Jose Cardenal followed with an infield hit on a slow bouncer to short. After Leron Lee struck out, Lou Brock sliced a shot toward third. Don Money, the third baseman, lunged for the ball, knocked it down and held Brock to a single, loading the bases for Allen.

Working carefully, Bunning got the count to 1-and-2 to Allen and threw a low, inside pitch. Allen swung and missed.

Surprise sign

After Carlton worked out of a tight spot in the top of the ninth, getting former teammate Byron Browne to ground out with two on and two outs, the Cardinals went to work against Bunning in the bottom half of the inning.

Leron Lee led off and drilled a high pitch against the wall in right-center for a double. Looking to set up a force play and avoid facing a left-handed batter, Bunning gave an intentional walk to Brock, preferring to face Allen.

“It was a situation Rich must have been dreaming about,” wrote Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Frank Dolson.

Allen stepped into the batter’s box and looked for a sign from George Kissell, the third-base coach. Kissell signaled for Allen to bunt.

“Rich stared at him, seemingly unable, or perhaps unwilling, to comprehend the signal,” the Inquirer reported.

Allen asked for the sign again. Kissell walked up to Allen and told him to bunt.

Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he ordered the bunt because “the third baseman was playing back.”

Allen squared around and took the first pitch from Bunning for strike one.

“No way he wanted to bunt,” said Phillies pitcher Chris Short, who was watching the drama from the dugout.

Allen again looked toward Kissell and got the sign to swing away. Schoendienst said he switched gears because the Phillies’ corner infielders “were coming in” to play for a bunt.

Allen fouled the pitch back, making the count 0-and-2.

Wrong pitch

Bunning wanted the next pitch to be a fastball inside. “I wanted to get it in because he likes the ball out over the plate,” Bunning told the Inquirer.

Bunning hoped to drive Allen off the plate and come back with a pitch away. “I was trying to set him up for a curveball,” Bunning explained.

Instead, Bunning’s third pitch to Allen was “way up and over the middle of the plate,” Bunning said. “It was over his head, in fact.”

Allen swung his 40-ounce bat and drove the ball into the “fourth or fifth row of the bleachers in right-center,” the Post-Dispatch reported.

As Bunning walked slowly off the mound, “Allen trotted around the bases to be mobbed at home plate by his teammates,” the Inquirer reported. He was “the center of attention in the raucous Cardinals clubhouse, as noisy as if a team had just won a pennant.”

“Rich Allen wanted to hit that ball out of here something bad and he did it,” Carlton told the Philadelphia Daily News.

Said Allen: “I’m happy I helped Steve Carlton win a game the way he pitched.” Boxscore

Gene Mauch, who had issues with Allen when he managed him with the Phillies before going to the Expos, told The Sporting News, “I wouldn’t give him a high fastball or a fast highball.”

Allen had a career batting average of .478 versus Bunning. Of Allen’s 11 hits against him, three were home runs and three were doubles.

In December 2014, Bunning was a member of a Baseball Hall of Fame committee and lobbied for Allen to be elected to the shrine. Allen needed 12 of 16 votes from the committee and got 11. The close miss upset Bunning, who absolutely had firsthand knowledge of Allen’s qualifications.

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