Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Pitchers’ Category

Chuck Taylor patiently persevered in the minor leagues for most of a decade before getting a chance to pitch for the Cardinals. Joining Cardinals staffs featuring Bob Gibson and Steve Carlton, Taylor emerged as a versatile contributor.

Taylor, who died June 5, 2018, at 76, was utilized as a starter as well as a reliever by the Cardinals. In three seasons (1969-71) with St. Louis, Taylor pitched in 126 games, 21 as a starter, and compiled a 16-13 record with 11 saves and a 2.99 ERA.

After the 1971 season, Taylor was traded by the Cardinals and pitched for the Mets (1972), Brewers (1972) and Expos (1973-76) in an eight-year major-league career.

Valuable lesson

Taylor was enrolled at Middle Tennessee State University when he was signed by Cardinals scout Buddy Lewis for $4,000 in 1961.

On Feb. 17, 1964, after three seasons in their minor-league system, Taylor was traded by the Cardinals, along with outfielder Jim Beauchamp, to the Houston Colt .45s for outfielder Carl Warwick.

A year later, on June 15, 1965, the Cardinals reacquired Taylor. In a trade of four pitchers, the Cardinals sent Ron Taylor and Mike Cuellar to Houston for Hal Woodeshick and Chuck Taylor.

Taylor’s return to the Cardinals didn’t appear to help him. The Cardinals assigned him to the minor leagues and he wasn’t prominent in their plans.

The Cardinals loaned Taylor to Indianapolis, a White Sox farm club, in 1967 and that’s when he turned around his career. Eli Grba, a former pitcher for the Yankees and Angels, was with Indianapolis and he showed Taylor how he threw a slider.

“I’d been in pro ball since 1961, but it wasn’t until Grba showed me the right way to throw a slider in 1967 that I began to make much progress,” Taylor said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I had thrown it as early as 1963, but the elbow got awfully sore and I gave up on the slider. Grba, though, taught me the right way.”

In 1968, pitching for manager Warren Spahn with the Cardinals’ Tulsa farm team, Taylor was 18-7 with a 2.35 ERA. He pitched 16 complete games, five shutouts and issued 38 walks in 230 innings. Still, the Cardinals, on their way to a second consecutive National League pennant, didn’t bring him to the big leagues.

Taylor went to spring training with the Cardinals in 1969 and pitched well, but didn’t make the Opening Day roster. Before Taylor went back to Tulsa, Cardinals general manager Bing Devine promised him he’d be called up to the big leagues “in four or five weeks” if the pitcher did well with the minor-league club.

Hitting his spots

Taylor did his part. Selected to start Tulsa’s 1969 season opener on April 18, his 27th birthday, Taylor earned a complete-game win against Denver. On May 9, Taylor, with Ted Simmons catching, pitched 11 innings and got the win against Oklahoma City.

After beating Indianapolis with a four-hitter on May 22 and improving his record to 5-1, Taylor was called up to the Cardinals to replace injured pitcher Dave Giusti.

In his first 13 appearances for the 1969 Cardinals, all in relief, Taylor posted a 1.59 ERA. He got his first big-league win on July 6 with 6.1 scoreless innings in relief of Mike Torrez in a 6-3 Cardinals victory over the Cubs at St. Louis. Boxscore

“Taylor made it easy for me to catch because he was able to get both his fastball and his slider over the plate almost any time he wanted to,” said Cardinals catcher Joe Torre.

About a month after Taylor was promoted to the Cardinals, another Chuck Taylor, a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and a goodwill ambassador for Converse for more than 40 years, died at 68 on June 22, 1969. No relation to the Cardinals pitcher, basketball’s Chuck Taylor remains prominent as the brand name of the iconic Converse All-Star sneakers.

The Cardinals gave their Chuck Taylor his first major-league start on July 15, 1969, against the Phillies and he earned a complete-game win, striking out nine in an 8-2 St. Louis victory. Taylor also got his first big-league hit and drove in two runs. Boxscore

Taylor continued to produce strong starts for the 1969 Cardinals. On July 28, he yielded no earned runs in a complete-game win against the Padres and on Aug. 13 he pitched his first major-league shutout, a six-hitter against the Dodgers. Boxscore Taylor improved his record to 6-1 with a two-hitter against the Reds on Aug. 20. Boxscore

“Chuck upsets the hitters’ rhythm,” said Cardinals catcher Tim McCarver. “He threads the corners so well that the batters always have to reach for the ball. Chuck doesn’t even know where the middle of the plate is.”

Tailoring his role

In 27 appearances, including 13 starts, for the 1969 Cardinals, Taylor was 7-5 with a 2.56 ERA. Only Gibson (2.17) and Carlton (2.18) had better earned run averages for the club.

Taylor followed that with a 6-7 record and 3.11 ERA for the Cardinals in 1970. He led the team in saves (eight) and games pitched (56).

In 1971, the Cardinals mostly used Taylor in relief and he produced a 3-1 record with three saves and a 3.53 ERA.

On Oct. 18, 1971, seven years after the Cardinals traded Taylor and Beauchamp to Houston, they again packaged those two in a deal. In addition to Taylor and Beauchamp, the Cardinals sent pitcher Harry Parker and infielder Chip Coulter to the Mets for outfielder Art Shamsky and pitchers Jim Bibby, Rich Folkers and Charlie Hudson.

Mets manager Gil Hodges said he intended to use Taylor in long-inning relief, the New York Daily News reported.

After pitching for the Mets and Brewers in 1972, Taylor joined the Expos in 1973. He was their closer in 1974, posting a 6-2 record and 2.17 ERA and leading the Expos in saves (11) and games pitched (61).

Read Full Post »

Keith Hernandez provided the biggest challenge to Tom Seaver in his bid to pitch a no-hitter against the Cardinals.

Forty years ago, on June 16, 1978, Seaver produced the lone no-hitter of his 20-year major-league career in a 4-0 Reds victory over the Cardinals at Cincinnati.

Hernandez twice came close to generating singles with sharp shots requiring skillful plays from second baseman Joe Morgan and shortstop Dave Concepcion.

Hernandez also almost ruined Seaver’s shutout, drawing a walk and advancing to third with one out before being left stranded.

Early jam

In 1978, Seaver, 33, was in his second season with the Reds. He’d pitched five one-hitters in 11 seasons with the Mets before they traded him to Cincinnati in June 1977.

Facing the Cardinals for the second time in 1978, Seaver retired the first four batters before Hernandez walked with one out in the second. When Hernandez stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Don Werner, the Cardinals were positioned to score, but Jerry Morales struck out and, after Ken Reitz walked, Mike Phillips grounded out, ending the threat.

In the fourth, Hernandez hit a one-hop smash between first and second. Morgan moved to his left, snared the ball and threw out Hernandez.

“It wasn’t a tough play if I get to it,” Morgan said to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “The only question was if I’d get to it on the AstroTurf.”

Said Seaver: “Joe has a lot of smarts. He knows how to play the hitters. That was a case of intelligence getting you an out rather than raw ability.”

The Reds scored three runs in the fifth against John Denny on a two-run double by Pete Rose and a RBI-double by Morgan. A home run by Dan Driessen leading off the sixth gave the Reds a 4-0 lead.

Bearing down

In the seventh, Hernandez hit a low rocket that caromed off Seaver’s glove and deflected to Concepcion, who fielded the ball and threw out Hernandez.

“Even if Seaver doesn’t touch the ball, I think I make the play at first,” Concepcion said to The Sporting News.

Seaver survived another scare in the eighth when Morales hit a high chopper off the plate. Third baseman Ray Knight, who’d entered the game as a defensive replacement for Rose, fielded the ball cleanly and fired a throw to first to nip Morales.

Seaver retired 19 in a row before walking Jerry Mumphrey to open the ninth. “After that walk, I told myself, ‘Wait a minute, pal, you can lose this game,’ ” Seaver said.

Up next for the Cardinals were Lou Brock, Garry Templeton and George Hendrick. Ted Simmons and Hernandez awaited after that. “If I had to get down to Simmons and Hernandez, I knew the game would be in jeopardy,” Seaver said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Savvy Seaver

Brock worked the count to 2-and-1, fouled off four pitches and flied out to left. Templeton followed with a ground ball to Concepcion, who tossed to Morgan at second for the forceout of Mumphrey.

Seaver got ahead of the count, 1-and-2, on Hendrick before getting him to ground out to Driessen at first, securing the no-hitter and giving the Reds a 4-0 victory. Video of last out

“I did have a good sinker most of the way and my fastball came along later,” said Seaver. “I had my best stuff at the end.”

The no-hitter “was more a matter of skill over power,” wrote Bob Hertzel of the Enquirer.

Werner, catching in place of Johnny Bench, who had an ailing back, said Seaver called all the pitches. “Tom runs the show out there,” Werner said. “I was more of a spectator.” Boxscore

The no-hitter was the first by a Reds pitcher at Riverfront Stadium and the first by a Reds pitcher since Jim Maloney versus the Astros in April 1969.

Seaver’s no-hitter also was the first pitched against the Cardinals since Gaylord Perry of the Giants did it in September 1968.

“If it has to happen,” said Cardinals manager Ken Boyer, “at least it happened to a real pro.”

In 51 career starts against the Cardinals, Seaver was 25-13 with a 2.69 ERA, 21 complete games and four shutouts.

Here is a link to a game video of Seaver’s no-hitter.

Read Full Post »

The Cardinals became a bridge for Sal Maglie, enabling him to transition from being a pitcher to a coach.

Sixty years ago, on June 14, 1958, the Cardinals acquired Maglie from the Yankees for minor-league pitcher Joe McClain and $20,000.

Maglie was nicknamed The Barber “for the close shaves he gave hitters with high and tight pitches designed to intimidate,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explained.

With a scowl and heavy, dark stubble, the sight of Maglie glaring at batters from the mound “resembles Jack Dempsey stepping into the ring,” Bob Broeg wrote.

“When I throw at a guy, I put it right here,” Maglie said, swiping his hand under his chin, “so he can’t hit it, but I never throw to hit a man.”

Maglie, 41, was past his prime when the Cardinals got him to be a spot starter, but he still was a prominent name and his acquisition attracted attention.

Traveling man

Maglie reached the major leagues in 1945 with the Giants and was mentored by pitching coach Dolf Luque. The next year, Maglie jumped to the Mexican League, even though it meant he would be banned from returning to the major leagues.

In Mexico, Maglie’s manager with the Puebla Parrots was Luque, who taught him a variety of curveballs. Described by Broeg as “chorus girl curves,” Maglie’s assortment of off-speed pitches ranged from slow and sweeping to sharp and darting.

After pitching in Mexico in 1946 and 1947, Maglie returned to the United States and played in 1948 for a barnstorming team of former major-leaguers against semipro clubs. In 1949, Maglie pitched in an independent professional league in Canada.

When baseball commissioner Happy Chandler lifted the ban on players who defected to the Mexican League, Maglie, 33, rejoined the Giants and thrived, compiling records of 18-4 in 1950, 23-6 in 1951 and 18-8 in 1952.

Maglie pitched in three World Series and was the hard-luck Dodgers starter who opposed Don Larsen when he pitched a perfect game for the Yankees in 1956.

Maglie pitched for the Giants (1945 and 1950-55), Indians (1955-56), Dodgers (1956-57) and Yankees (1957-58) before joining the Cardinals. He was the last player to appear with the Giants, Dodgers and Yankees while all three were based in New York.

When the Cardinals acquired him, Maglie had a career record of 117-56 and his winning percentage of .678 was the best among active pitchers.

Good start

Maglie was 1-1 with a 4.63 ERA when Yankees manager Casey Stengel summoned him into his office and informed him he was being sent to St. Louis.

“I told him it was my fault because I didn’t produce for him when he gave me the chance,” Maglie told The Sporting News. “I’m the kind of fellow who has to work regularly to make the ball break the way I want it to and also to have control.”

Said Cardinals general manager Bing Devine: “We expect to be able to give him more work than the Yankees could.”

Maglie was dealing with dental issues and an income tax problem when the trade was made. The Cardinals approved his request to resolve those situations and to drive his family from New York to their home in Niagara Falls before reporting to the team.

Maglie made his first appearance for the Cardinals in a June 22 start against the Braves at Milwaukee. He pitched seven innings and earned the win in a 2-1 Cardinals victory. Boxscore

“He showed me what I really wanted to see, that his arm is OK,” said Cardinals broadcaster Joe Garagiola, a Giants catcher in 1954 when Maglie pitched for them.

In his second start, on June 28 at Philadelphia, Maglie won again, pitching a complete game against the Phillies in an 8-1 Cardinals triumph. Maglie had a shutout until Carl Sawatski hit a home run with one out in the ninth. Boxscore

Barber trimmed

Maglie left the Cardinals in July to be with his wife, who had surgery for cancer. When he returned, he wasn’t the same. After posting a 2-0 record and 1.12 ERA for the Cardinals in June, Maglie was 0-3 with a 6.48 ERA in July and 0-3 with a 6.20 ERA in August.

“First, my teeth bothered me. Then my wife became desperately ill,” Maglie said. “It wasn’t the physical or mental environment in which to win.”

Maglie finished with a 2-6 record and 4.75 ERA in 10 starts for the Cardinals.

“I feel I have another year of big-league pitching in me,” Maglie told columnist Dick Young.

Maglie reported to spring training with the Cardinals in 1959, hoping to impress manager Solly Hemus, but he yielded seven runs in the eighth inning of an exhibition game against the Phillies.

Maglie was released, but the Cardinals weren’t done with him.

Teaching role

On April 13, 1959, the Cardinals hired Maglie to be their minor-league pitching instructor. Asked which Cardinals prospects impressed him, Maglie cited Bob Gibson. “All he needs is to improve his changeup to go with his speed,” Maglie said.

In June, Cal Browning, a minor-league left-hander, credited Maglie with correcting a flaw in his leg motion. In August, Bob Miller was called up to the Cardinals and said Maglie “helped me a lot with my breaking stuff.”

Reflecting on his season as Cardinals minor-league instructor, Maglie said, “I couldn’t concentrate on a player or a problem for more than three or four days at a time. No sooner would I get into a town than I’d have to leave for another. The kids did what I told them to do as long as I watched them, but slipped into their old ways as soon as I left.”

Maglie became Red Sox pitching coach in 1960 and was in that role in 1967 when Boston produced the American League Cy Young Award winner, Jim Lonborg, won the pennant and advanced to the World Series against the Cardinals. However, Maglie and manager Dick Williams clashed, and Maglie was fired after the World Series.

In 1969, Joe Schultz, who’d been a minor-league manager in the Cardinals system when Maglie was minor-league pitching instructor, became manager of the Seattle Pilots and hired Maglie to be pitching coach.

Read Full Post »

In the Year of the Pitcher, Steve Carlton showed he could hit as well as pitch for the Cardinals.

Fifty years ago, on June 13, 1968, Carlton hit his first major-league home run in the Cardinals’ 3-1 victory over the Braves at Atlanta.

Carlton’s home run was the first by a Cardinals pitcher since Bob Gibson hit one against Jim Lonborg of the Red Sox in Game 7 of the 1967 World Series and the first by a St. Louis pitcher in the regular season since Larry Jaster accomplished the feat on Sept. 23, 1966, against Larry Jackson of the Phillies.

Mistake pitch

The 1968 season became known as the Year of the Pitcher because only six major-league players batted .300 or better and the sport was dominated by the likes of Gibson (1.12 ERA, 13 shutouts, 268 strikeouts), the Giants’ Juan Marichal (26 wins, 30 complete games), the Tigers’ Denny McLain (31 wins, 28 complete games) and the Indians’ Luis Tiant (1.60 ERA, nine shutouts).

Carlton, 23, was developing into a premier pitcher. The left-hander would finish the 1968 season with a 13-11 record, 2.99 ERA and five shutouts.

He also was showing an ability to handle the bat.

Carlton, a left-handed batter, had three hits in his last three at-bats entering his start against the Braves and his batting average was .233.

In the third inning, in his first at-bat of the game, Carlton hit an 0-and-2 fastball from Braves starter Ken Johnson over the wall in right-center.

“The pitch was right down the middle with nothing on it,” Johnson said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I tried to go inside with that pitch and I figured on coming back with a knuckleball. Carlton hit a pitch that my two sons, both pitchers, wouldn’t make in Little League.”

Carlton said he never hit a home run in the minor leagues, but hit some in winter league games.

Knuckle under

Carlton’s home run gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead. The Braves tied the score in the sixth on Joe Torre’s RBI-single with two outs.

Carlton pitched eight innings, allowing four singles and a walk and striking out seven, and departed with the score still tied at 1-1.

In the 12th inning, shortstop Dick Schofield led off for the Cardinals with a home run against Phil Niekro. “A lousy, lousy knuckler,” Niekro told the Atlanta Constitution.

Said Schofield: “It wasn’t one of Niekro’s better knucklers because nobody hits those.”

The home run was Schofield’s 17th in 16 major-league seasons and his only one in 1968.

Phil Gagliano, who batted after Schofield, walked and scored on Lou Brock’s double, extending the Cardinals’ lead to 3-1.

In the Braves’ half of the 12th, Wayne Granger struck out Torre, walked Deron Johnson and yielded a single to Tommie Aaron. Hal Gilson relieved and retired Clete Boyer and Marty Martinez on ground outs, stranding the runners and sealing the win. Boxscore

Power pitchers

Carlton hit two more home runs for the Cardinals _ on July 27, 1968, against the Pirates’ Bob Moose and on Sept. 1, 1969, against the Astros’ Don Wilson _ before he was traded to the Phillies after the 1971 season.

Carlton hit 13 regular-season home runs in his major-league career and one in the postseason. In Game 3 of the 1978 National League Championship Series, Carlton hit a three-run home run against the Dodgers’ Don Sutton.

Bob Gibson holds the Cardinals record for regular-season career home runs by a pitcher, with 24. Gibson also holds the Cardinals single-season record for regular-season home runs by a pitcher, with five.

The all-time major-league leader for regular-season career home runs by a pitcher is Wes Ferrell. He hit 38 in a big-league career from 1927-41 with the Indians, Red Sox, Senators, Yankees, Dodgers and Braves.

After Ferrell, the next best in regular-season career home runs by a pitcher are Bob Lemon (37) and Warren Spahn (35).

Read Full Post »

In his brief stint with the Cardinals, Mark Worrell provided a lasting impression with his hitting instead of his pitching.

Ten years ago, on June 5, 2008, in the second game of a doubleheader between the Cardinals and Nationals in Washington, D.C., Worrell hit a three-run home run in his first major-league plate appearance.

Worrell, no relation to Cardinals reliever Todd Worrell, was regarded as a premier pitching prospect, but didn’t last long with St. Louis.

After four relief appearances for the 2008 Cardinals, Worrell was returned to the minor leagues, got traded after the season and hurt his arm.

His place in franchise lore, though, was secured as one of nine Cardinals to hit a home run in his first plate appearance in the major leagues.

The list:

_ Eddie Morgan, pinch-hitter, April 14, 1936, vs. Cubs.

_ Wally Moon, center fielder, April 13, 1954, vs. Cubs.

_ Keith McDonald, pinch-hitter, July 4, 2000, vs. Reds.

_ Chris Richard, left fielder, July 17, 2000, vs. Twins.

_ Gene Stechschulte, pinch-hitter, April 17, 2001, vs. Diamondbacks.

_ Hector Luna, second baseman, April 8, 2004, vs. Brewers.

_ Adam Wainwright, pitcher, May 24, 2006, vs. Giants.

_ Mark Worrell, pitcher, June 5, 2008, vs. Nationals.

_ Paul DeJong, pinch-hitter, May 28, 2017, vs. Rockies.

Climbing the ladder

Worrell, a starting pitcher at Florida International University, was selected by the Cardinals in the 12th round of the 2004 amateur baseball draft and quickly established himself as a quality reliever. In 2005, Worrell played for Class A Palm Beach, led all minor leagues in saves with 35 and was named Cardinals minor-league pitcher of the year.

Worrell led the Texas League in saves, with 27 for Class AA Springfield in 2006, and he struck 66 batters in 67 innings for Class AAA Memphis in 2007.

In 21 games for Memphis in 2008, Worrell had a 1.88 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 24 innings before he was called up to the Cardinals.

Worrell had an unorthodox pitching motion. “As he begins his delivery, Worrell bends over and then springs up to throw sidearm while stepping almost toward first base,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

“In the end, his success is the ball on the edge and not the middle of the plate,” said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa.

Power pitcher

Worrell made his major-league debut on June 3, 2008, in the Cardinals’ first visit to Nationals Park and pitched a scoreless ninth inning in a 6-1 St. Louis victory. Boxscore

Two nights. later, Worrell made his second appearance when he relieved rookie starter Mike Parisi in the fifth. Parisi allowed eight runs in four innings and also got his first major-league hit, a two-run double against Nationals starter Tim Redding.

After Worrell pitched a scoreless fifth, the Cardinals batted in the sixth against Redding, looking to chip away at an 8-3 deficit. With runners on first and third, two outs, Worrell made his first major-league plate appearance and hit a 3-and-2 fastball from Redding into the left field stands for a three-run home run.

“Look at these pitchers! That’s a home run,” Nationals television broadcaster Bob Carpenter exclaimed as the ball carried over the fence. Video

“I let two different pitchers drive in five runs and a guy that had never swung a bat in the big leagues hit a three-run homer off me,” Redding said to the Washington Times. “Other than those two outcomes, I felt good.”

Worrell pitched a scoreless sixth and exited with the Nationals ahead, 8-6. The Cardinals rallied with two runs in the ninth to tie the score at 8-8 and went ahead, 9-8, with a run in the 10th, but the Nationals got a two-run home run from Elijah Dukes against Ryan Franklin in the bottom half of the inning and won, 10-9. Boxscore

Arm ailment

Worrell made his third appearance for the Cardinals on June 12 against the Reds and was the losing pitcher, yielding two runs in two-thirds of an inning. Boxscore

After one more appearance, in which he gave up three runs to the Phillies, Worrell was sent back to Memphis. His record in four games with the Cardinals was 0-1 with a 7.94 ERA, but his slugging percentage was 2.000.

On Dec. 4, 2008, the Cardinals traded Worrell and a player to be named to the Padres for shortstop Khalil Greene. Three months later, the Cardinals sent the Padres pitcher Luke Gregerson to complete the deal.

At spring training with the Padres in 2009, Worrell injured his right elbow and needed reconstructive surgery, sidelining him for the season.

Two years later, Worrell returned to the major leagues with the 2011 Orioles and yielded eight earned runs in two innings over four relief appearances for a 36.00 ERA.

In his final major-league appearance, on July 24, 2011, Worrell gave up a three-run home run to Mike Trout, the first in the big leagues for the Angels rookie. Trout, 19, became the first teen to hit a home run in the major leagues since 2007, according to the Los Angeles Times. Boxscore

Read Full Post »

A closer for a rotation that often completed what it started, Joe Hoerner still served a valuable role for the 1968 National League champion Cardinals and supported the staff with a stellar season.

Fifty years ago, on June 1, 1968, Hoerner struck out six Mets in a row, tying the National League record for consecutive strikeouts by a reliever.

Hoerner went on to post an 8-2 record with 17 saves and a 1.47 ERA for the 1968 Cardinals. The left-hander ranked second in the National League in saves to the 25 by Phil Regan of the Cubs and his ERA was second on the club to the 1.12 achieved by Bob Gibson.

Led by Gibson’s 28, Cardinals starters pitched 63 complete games in 1968. Hoerner only was needed for 49 innings and he usually was effective, allowing no earned runs in 40 of his 47 appearances.

“Joe is almost as much of a machine out there as Bob Gibson,” Cardinals reliever Wayne Granger said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He just goes out there and does the job time after time.”

Overcoming adversity

Hoerner, son of an Iowa farmer, made his professional baseball debut in the White Sox minor-league system in 1957. A year later, Hoerner was diagnosed with muscle weakness near his heart. Because any strain on the muscle impaired Hoerner’s circulation, doctors advised him to change his pitching delivery from overhand to sidearm.

“I took four pills a day for a long time to strengthen the muscle, but I haven’t been bothered since then,” Hoerner told the Post-Dispatch in 1968.

Hoerner, 26, made his major-league debut in September 1963 with the Houston Colt .45s. The Cardinals acquired him in November 1965 and he pitched for them in 1966 (5-1 record, 13 saves,1.54 ERA) and 1967 (4-4, 14 saves, 2.59 ERA).

After the Cardinals won Game 7 of the 1967 World Series against the Red Sox, Hoerner was celebrating with his teammates in the locker room at Boston’s Fenway Park when a champagne bottle he was holding exploded, severing a tendon in the middle finger of his pitching hand.

“If we win many more pennants, my fingers won’t stand it,” Hoerner said.

Tough to hit

Hoerner recovered from the injury and yielded no runs in his first nine appearances in 1968.

On June 1, the Cardinals played the Mets at Shea Stadium in New York. The Mets led, 4-1, before the Cardinals rallied for three runs in the seventh against Nolan Ryan, tying the score at 4-4.

Hoerner, the third Cardinals pitcher of the game, was brought in to pitch the seventh and retired the Mets in order. The Cardinals took the lead, 5-4, with a run in the eighth, but the Mets tied the score on Ed Charles’ pinch-hit home run in the bottom half of the inning.

In the ninth, Hoerner struck out Al Weis, Ron Swoboda and Don Bosch. After Mike Shannon hit a home run against Cal Koonce in the 10th, putting the Cardinals ahead, 6-5, Hoerner struck out Greg Goossen, Jerry Buchek and Jerry Grote, sealing the win. Boxscore

Hoerner’s six consecutive strikeouts came against right-handed batters.

Hoerner was effectively consistent during the 1968 season. He was 4-1 with a 1.05 ERA in home games and 4-1 with a 1.93 ERA in away games. Left-handed batters hit .189 against him and right-handed batters hit .194.

In the 1968 World Series against the Tigers, Hoerner earned a save in Game 3 with 3.2 scoreless innings in relief of Ray Washburn boxscore and was the losing pitcher in Game 5 when he faced four batters, retired none and was charged with two runs. Boxscore

Hoerner and Cardinals teammate Dal Maxvill owned a successful travel agency in St. Louis for several years.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »