Archive for the ‘Pitchers’ Category

Every time Steve Carlton pitched against the Cardinals in 1972, it was a vivid reminder of the overbearing bungling of Gussie Busch.

Fifty years ago, Busch, the Cardinals’ owner, had a temper tantrum because Carlton wouldn’t agree to the club’s contract terms. Ordered by Busch to trade Carlton, general manager Bing Devine dealt him to the Phillies for another pitcher, Rick Wise, in February 1972.

Carlton made Busch pay for his heavy-handiness in ways greater than any salary amount he sought. In four starts against the 1972 Cardinals, Carlton was 4-0 with an 0.50 ERA. Two of those wins were shutouts. In 36 innings pitched versus the 1972 Cardinals, Carlton allowed no home runs and two runs total.

First test

On April 15, 1972, Carlton made his Phillies debut and beat the Cubs at Chicago. Boxscore

His next start, his first in Philadelphia for the Phillies, was April 19 against the Cardinals. Not only would Carlton face his former team for the first time, he also would oppose their ace, Bob Gibson.

On the eve of the showdown, Carlton told Stan Hochman of the Philadelphia Daily News, “Pitching against old teammates, that’s a new challenge. They know what you throw and how you set up hitters. You go out there with them knowing that, and you have to handle it.”

Asked what it was like having been Gibson’s teammate, Carlton replied, “I learned things, but not the mechanics of pitching. What I learned involved ideas, competitive spirit, the intense concentration he brings to the job. I admire him. I enjoyed watching him pitch.”

Told Gibson wouldn’t discuss the matchup, Carlton said, “The way he feels is that he’s pitching against the other club, not against some other pitcher.”

Cardinals outfielder Lou Brock said, “Carlton is one of the few guys who really cares. Some guys get taken out of games in late innings, even though they’ve pitched well, and they’re satisfied. Not Carlton. He feels like it’s his game. He’s got a lot of killer instinct.”

Speed game

Carlton, 27, and Gibson, 36, delivered a classic. Relying on the slider he learned on a trip to Japan with the Cardinals in 1968, Carlton pitched a three-hit shutout and the Phillies won, 1-0, in a game played in one hour, 33 minutes.

Phillies catcher Tim McCarver, another former Cardinal, told the Philadelphia Daily News that Carlton “was working quicker than he usually does. A couple of times he was winding up to pitch before I gave him the sign.”

The Cardinals’ hits were singles by Ted Sizemore, Matty Alou and Ed Crosby, who filled in at third base when Joe Torre was sidelined because of a bad back.

The Phillies scored in the sixth when former Cardinals prospect Willie Montanez hit a triple into the right field corner and Deron Johnson followed with a sharply grounded single to center.

With two outs and none on in the ninth, Ted Sizemore represented the Cardinals’ last hope.

“Tim called for a fastball and I shook him off,” Carlton told the Philadelphia Daily News. “I was thinking slider. I wanted to run it down and in on him.”

Instead, Carlton got the pitch up and in, and Sizemore drove it deep. “The ball fled Sizemore’s bat as though it had important business in a distant city,” Bruce Keidan wrote in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Center fielder Willie Montanez turned and gave chase. He leaped near the wall and caught the ball in the web of his glove. As he came down, his glove hit the wall, the ball popped out and Montanez snared it again near his knees.

Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst and his coaches said the ball touched the wall after it came out of Montanez’s glove and should have been ruled a hit, but umpire Andy Olsen, who had run into the outfield from his post near second base, called it a catch and Sizemore was out, ending the game.

“Body and glove made contact with the wall,” Olsen explained to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “but the ball did not hit the wall.”

The loss was Gibson’s first versus the Phillies since April 1969. He’d won seven in a row against them. Boxscore

Home on the road

On Aug. 5, 1972, Carlton, playing in St. Louis for the first time since the trade, pitched a five-hit shutout in a 5-0 Phillies victory against the Cardinals. The game was completed in one hour, 48 minutes.

Carlton was “received warmly by a crowd of 25,505 in the city where he still makes his home,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Asked about what it was like pitching in St. Louis as the opponent, Carlton told the Post-Dispatch, “There was a little tightness and feeling of anxiety.”

Bill Robinson and Greg Luzinski each hit a two-run home run against Cardinals starter Reggie Cleveland.

The win was Carlton’s 12th in a row. His catcher for the last 10 wins in the streak was John Bateman, who was acquired in June from the Expos for McCarver. Boxscore

On a roll

On Sept. 7, 1972, in his third appearance against the Cardinals, Carlton again made quick work of them, getting his 23rd win of the season in a 2-1 Phillies victory at Philadelphia. The game was played in one hour, 49 minutes.

Carlton displayed a moustache, a symbol of personal grooming independence that must have made Busch choke on his braunschweiger sandwich. Five months earlier, Busch demanded the trade of another talent, starting pitcher Jerry Reuss, because he dared to grow a moustache.

Carlton got his 100th career win against a Cardinals lineup that featured six rookies _ Bill Stein, Mike Tyson, Skip Jutze, Ken Reitz, Jorge Roque and Mick Kelleher.

“I had no idea how to pitch to most of those hitters,” Carlton told the Philadelphia Daily News.

The Phillies scored their runs against Cardinals starter Al Santorini. Larry Bowa and Tommy Hutton hit consecutive triples in the fifth, and Luzinski got a home run in the sixth. Boxscore

Traded foes

On Sept. 20, 1972, at St. Louis, Carlton and Rick Wise were matched against one another for the first time since the trade. The Phillies prevailed, 2-1, and Carlton got his 25th win of the season.

“So many of his former comrades have been shuffled away, Carlton feels no extra surge of adrenaline when he faces the Cardinals,” Bill Conlin wrote in the Philadelphia Daily News. “Only the sight of Gussie Busch and Bing Devine at the plate could turn him on.”

The game was played in two hours, 20 minutes before a mere 5,569, the second smallest crowd to attend a Cardinals game at Busch Memorial Stadium since it opened in May 1966.

“St. Louis fans are resigned that the trade was a blunder conceived in spite,” Conlin noted.

Asked by the Associated Press to pose for a picture before the game with Carlton, who agreed, Wise said, “Absolutely not.”

The loss gave Wise a season record of 15-16. Twelve of his losses were by one run _ six by scores of 3-2, three by 2-1, two by 4-3 and one by 1-0.

“Everybody says things even out,” Wise told the Post-Dispatch. “It will take a couple of years to even that out.” Boxscore

Special talent

Wise finished the season 16-16 with a 3.11 ERA. Carlton was 27-10 with a 1.97 ERA and received the first of his four National League Cy Young awards. Carlton had 27 wins for a team that won 59. Video

Carlton went on to have other spectacular seasons against the Cardinals, including 1980 (6-0, 1.38 ERA) and 1982 (5-1, 2.37 ERA). From May 1979 to May 1981, he had 10 consecutive wins versus the Cardinals.

Carlton’s career record against the Cardinals: 38-14, 2.98 ERA, five shutouts.

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During a stretch in the 1960s, Jim Maloney was as overpowering as National League contemporaries Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax, but by the early 1970s, when the Cardinals took a chance on him, Maloney’s pitching skill no longer was the same.

Fifty years ago, on Jan. 4, 1972, the Cardinals signed Maloney, hoping he could join a starting rotation with Gibson, Steve Carlton and Jerry Reuss.

Three months later, Maloney was gone, and so, too, were Carlton and Reuss.

Fresno fireballer

Maloney was born and raised in Fresno, Calif. For most of his youth, the Cardinals had a farm club in Fresno and Maloney attended the games. He got to see Cardinals pitching prospects such as Larry Jackson (28-4 for Fresno in 1952) and Tom Hughes (20-6 in 1955).

At Fresno High School, Maloney was the shortstop on a team that included a couple of other future big-leaguers: catcher Pat Corrales and pitcher Dick Ellsworth. (Tom Seaver, four years younger, went to Fresno High School after Maloney did.)

On the recommendation of Reds scout Bobby Mattick, Maloney converted from shortstop to pitcher at Fresno City College. The Reds signed him in April 1959 and he got to the majors with them the next year.

A right-hander, Maloney had exceptional velocity.

In his 1968 book “From Ghetto to Glory,” Gibson said, “I don’t throw as hard as Jim Maloney. Nobody throws as hard as Maloney. He’s the only guy who can simply overpower you. You know he’s going to throw the fastball, you set for it, but you still can’t catch up with it.”

Maloney had 15 wins or more for the Reds each season from 1963-68. He remains the Reds’ franchise leader in career strikeouts (1,592).

In 1963, when he turned 23, Maloney was 23-7 with a 2.77 ERA and 265 strikeouts. On May 21 against the Braves, Maloney struck out 16 batters, including eight in a row, in 8.1 innings. “He was faster than anyone else I’ve seen this season,” Hank Aaron told The Cincinnati Post. “Yes, he was faster than Sandy Koufax.” Boxscore

Three months later, after Maloney pitched a two-hit shutout against the Giants, their manager, Al Dark, called him a “right-handed Sandy Koufax,” according to the Dayton Daily News. Boxscore

In the book “We Played the Game,” Reds pitcher Jim O’Toole said, “Maloney had such a great fastball and curve that he was unhittable if he got them both over. He was as good as Koufax.”

In the 1963 season finale, Maloney gave up a pair of singles to Stan Musial, who was playing his last career game with the Cardinals. Afterward, Maloney went to the Cardinals clubhouse to congratulate Musial. When Musial saw him, he said aloud, “Here’s a real tough guy. He had me worried.” Said Maloney to reporters: “I was glad to see him go out hitting.” Boxscore

Hard to hit

In 1965, Maloney finished 20-9 with a 2.54 ERA and 244 strikeouts.

On June 14, he held the Mets hitless for 10 innings before a former Cardinal, Johnny Lewis, led off the 11th with a home run. Maloney struck out 18, but the Mets won, 1-0. Boxscore

Two months later, on Aug. 19 against the Cubs, Maloney got the first of his two no-hitters. He walked 10, hit a batter and struck out 12 in a 1-0 victory in 10 innings. The losing pitcher was Larry Jackson, the former Cardinal who Maloney used to watch pitch for minor-league Fresno. Boxscore and Video

“Basically, every time I went out I told myself I was going to throw a perfect game,” Maloney said to The Cincinnati Post.

Maloney pitched his second no-hitter in 1969 against the Astros, striking out 13. Boxscore (The next Reds pitcher to achieve a no-hitter was Tom Seaver, Maloney’s fellow Fresno High School alumnus, in 1978 against the Cardinals.)

Maloney also pitched five one-hitters in the majors.

Johnny Edwards, the Reds’ catcher before joining the Cardinals in 1968, told The Cincinnati Post, “Jim had what you’d call a light fastball, really easy to catch, because it was a rising fastball, but you’d look at your hand after the game and you’d have a bone bruise.”

Though the Cardinals won three National League pennants during Maloney’s prime years, he was 14-5 against them in his career. In 1968, Maloney was 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA versus the National League champions.

Rough time

An injury on April 16, 1970, sent Maloney’s career into a spiral. In trying to beat the throw of the Dodgers’ Maury Wills on a grounder to deep short, Maloney lunged toward first base and felt intense pain in his left foot. He’d ruptured the Achilles tendon that connects the muscles in the calf to the heel bone.

Fans at Crosley Field booed Maloney as he was carried off the field. “A sad night for Cincinnati baseball,” Bob Hertzel wrote in the Cincinnati Enquirer. Boxscore

Maloney didn’t pitch again for the Reds until September. In seven total appearances for them in 1970, he was 0-1 with an 11.34 ERA. He told The Sporting News, “When I started throwing again in September, I was within a fraction of being my old self. I’m sure I can be just as good as I was before.”

The Reds didn’t want to wait to find out. They offered Maloney to the Cardinals, who were interested “but didn’t feel they could afford what the Reds were after then _ a couple of young prospects,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

In December 1970, the Reds traded Maloney to the Angels for pitcher Greg Garrett. Angels manager Lefty Phillips was a friend and mentor to Reds manager Sparky Anderson. “I told Lefty that Maloney is capable of winning the division for them,” Anderson informed the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Instead, the 1971 Angels finished 76-86. Maloney, sidelined by a groin pull, pitched in 13 games and was 0-3 with a 5.04 ERA. Lefty Phillips and general manager Dick Walsh were fired, and Maloney was released.

Tumultuous time

Maloney, 31, contacted the Cardinals and asked for a chance. Fred Koenig, hired by the Cardinals to manage in their farm system after being an Angels coach in 1971, vouched for Maloney. In his last four appearances for the Angels, covering a total of seven innings, Maloney allowed one run. “Koenig said Maloney threw as well as he ever threw,” Cardinals general manager Bing Devine said to The Sporting News.

Admitting it was “a kind of shaking the dice,” Devine signed Maloney and projected him to compete in spring training with Al Santorini, Santiago Guzman and Jim Bibby for the fifth spot in the Cardinals’ starting rotation. The Cardinals’ top four starting spots appeared set with Bob Gibson, Steve Carlton, Jerry Reuss and Reggie Cleveland.

“I have more velocity on my pitches than three-fourths of the pitchers in the majors leagues,” Maloney told The Sporting News.

He reported two weeks early to Cardinals camp and made an effort to be in top shape, walking two to five miles daily and jogging on the beach.

The spring of 1972 turned into a time of upheaval for the Cardinals. In February, Steve Carlton was traded to the Phillies for Rick Wise after club owner Gussie Busch became upset with Carlton’s salary demands. In April, Jerry Reuss was traded to the Astros for Scipio Spinks after Busch became upset with Reuss for growing a moustache.

In four spring training games totaling 13.2 innings, Maloney was 0-3 with a 7.07 ERA and was released by the Cardinals on April 9.

Maloney signed with the Giants, who sent him to their Phoenix farm club. He was 5-1 with a 2.61 ERA in seven appearances for Phoenix, but when no team showed interest in bringing him to the big leagues, he retired in June 1972, soon after turning 32.

After leaving baseball, Maloney said he started drinking too much. “I sort of had a hard time sliding back into society,” he told The Cincinnati Post.

The Giants hired him to manage their Fresno farm team in 1982, but the club finished 50-90 and Maloney was out of baseball again. In 1985, he underwent treatment for alcoholism. He completed the program and went on to become director of Fresno’s Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Council.

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In building a bullpen for the 1982 season, the Cardinals took a look at a pitcher described as the Cy Young of Mexico.

On Dec. 9, 1981, the Cardinals signed Vicente Romo and invited him to their major-league spring training camp.

Romo hadn’t pitched in the big leagues since 1974 and was nearly 39 years old, but he was a consistent winner in the Mexican League and the Cardinals considered him a talent worth exploring.

Reaching the top

Romo was born in Santa Rosalia, a port city on Mexico’s Baja peninsula. The family moved to the fishing hub of Guaymas, on the other side of the Gulf of California in the state of Sonoma, when Romo was a youth.

Romo was 19 when he became a professional ballplayer in the Mexican League in 1962. The Cleveland Indians purchased his contract in October 1964 and he was sent into their farm system.

In 1967, Romo almost made the Indians’ Opening Day roster, but was sent back to the minors at the 11th hour. The Dodgers selected him in the November 1967 Rule 5 draft.

A right-hander, Romo began the 1968 season with the Dodgers and pitched in one game for them. When the Dodgers called up Don Sutton from the minors in April, they tried to assign Romo to a farm club, but the Indians reclaimed him.

Indians pitching coach Jack Sanford became Romo’s tutor and helped him develop into a reliable reliever. Mixing a sidearm fastball with an assortments of curves, Romo was 5-3 with 12 saves and a 1.62 ERA for the 1968 Indians.

In April 1969, the Indians traded Romo to the Red Sox. He was 6-0 with six saves and a 2.43 ERA for them as a reliever in 1970; 1-3 with a 6.10 ERA in 10 starts.

On May 30, 1970, at Boston’s Fenway Park, Romo pitched four scoreless innings of relief against the White Sox and hit a game-winning home run over the 37-foot wall in left. Boxscore

Romo also pitched for the White Sox (1971-72) and Padres (1973-74) before going back to the Mexican League.

Better with age

In Mexico, Romo thrived as a starting pitcher. According to the Society for American Baseball Research, “He is viewed as his nation’s Cy Young.” For seven consecutive seasons (1975-81), he never had an ERA higher than 2.63. In 1981, he was 16-6 with a 1.40 ERA for Coatzacoalcos.

The Cardinals were seeking depth for a bullpen projected to include Bruce Sutter, Doug Bair, Jim Kaat and Mark Littell in 1982. Scouting reports on Romo indicated he could help.

At spring training camp in St. Petersburg, Fla., in 1982, Kaat was 43 and Romo was a month away from turning 39, though speculation was he might be older. Fourteen years earlier, in 1968, they first pitched against one another when Kaat was with the Twins and Romo was with the Indians. Boxscore

Romo made a strong bid to make the Cardinals’ Opening Day roster, posting a 1.80 ERA in 15 innings in spring training games. “I thought I pitched very well,” he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The final bullpen spot on the roster apparently came down to a choice between Kaat and Romo. The Cardinals kept Kaat, a much-needed left-hander, but as the Post-Dispatch noted, “The way the gag goes, they decided to keep 43-year-old Kaat over 39-year-old Romo because Kaat was younger.”

Back where he began

The Cardinals wanted Romo to go to their Class AAA Louisville farm club, but he opted to return to the Mexican League.

Pitching for Coatzacoalcos, Romo was 7-0 with a 1.54 ERA in eight starts when the Dodgers purchased his contract on May 24, 1982.

The Dodgers’ move surprised Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog, who indicated he’d hoped Romo could come back to the Cardinals. “Herzog said his scout in Mexico, Willie Calvino, had not kept him apprised that Romo was doing so well,” the Post-Dispatch reported.

Pitching in the big leagues for the first time in eight years, Romo thrived as a Dodgers reliever. On June 18, he got a save against the Reds. Boxscore It was his first big-league save since July 9, 1974.

After posting a 1.29 ERA in nine relief appearances, Romo was moved into the Dodgers’ starting rotation. On July 19, he pitched seven scoreless innings versus the Expos and got the win, his first in the majors as a starter since April 1970. Boxscore

“He used all his pitches, and that means about seven or eight of them,” said Dodgers catcher Mike Scioscia. 

Expos manager Jim Fanning said, “He fooled us all night.”

In late July, Romo injured his left knee and was done for the season. His record for the 1982 Dodgers: 1-2 with a 3.03 ERA.

Romo returned to the Mexican League in 1983. He went to spring training with the California Angels in 1984, but was included in the first roster cut and spent the season, his last, in the Mexican League.

In eight years in the majors, Romo was 32-33 with 52 saves and a 3.36 ERA. In nine games versus the Cardinals, he was 0-1 with three saves and a 2.45 ERA.

A younger brother, Enrique Romo, pitched six years in the majors, including 1979, when he was 10-5 with five saves for the World Series champion Pirates. Against the Cardinals in his career, Enrique Romo was 6-1 with three saves.

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Jerry Johnson had the right stuff, but the wrong timing, in his short, strange stay with the Cardinals.

A right-handed pitcher who grew up rooting for the Cardinals, Johnson was acquired from the Phillies in the trade that brought slugger Dick Allen to St. Louis.

The Cardinals needed quality relief pitching and Johnson provided it, but, after making a mere seven appearances, was dealt to the Giants.

Johnson developed into the Giants’ closer and helped them win a division title. He died Nov. 15, 2021, at 77.

Position change

A son of an oil rigger, Johnson was born in Miami, lived briefly in Illinois and was raised in Odessa, Texas.

In addition to playing baseball and football in Odessa, Johnson was a Golden Gloves boxer and won 14 of 15 fights, according to the Wilmington (Del.) News Journal.

After he graduated from high school in 1962, Johnson signed with the Mets and was a third baseman in their farm system. As a hitter, he lacked power and failed to make consistent contact. “I couldn’t hit the curveball,” Johnson told The Sporting News.

According to Bob Broeg of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Mets were prepared to release Johnson in 1963 until his teammate on the Salinas, Calif., farm team, pitcher Dick Selma, spoke up to management.

“How can you release a guy, no matter how poor he looks at the plate, when he can throw harder from third base than I can from the mound?” Selma asked.

The Mets reconsidered and converted Johnson to a pitcher. but, because of subsequent military service and a shoulder injury, it was 1967 before he had a full season of pitching.

With the Class AA Williamsport, Pa., team in April 1967, Johnson, 23, got national attention when he was matched in a start against future Hall of Famer Robin Roberts, 40, who was attempting a comeback with the Phillies’ Reading, Pa., affiliate after 19 seasons in the majors. Johnson won the duel, pitching a shutout in a 1-0 Williamsport win.

Though Johnson had a 2.78 ERA in 26 starts for Williamsport, he was left off the Mets’ 40-man winter roster and picked by the Phillies in the November 1967 minor-league draft.

Living dangerously

During the baseball off-seasons, Johnson was employed as an iron worker on bridges and high rises. “I’ve worked as high as 300 feet above the ground,” he told The Sporting News.

The heavy lifting built muscle, but made it difficult for Johnson to loosen his pitching arm. When he reported to training camp “looking like he should be on muscle beach, rubbing his pectorals with baby oil,” the Phillies told him to find a different off-season job, the Philadelphia Daily News noted.

Johnson began the 1968 season at Class AAA San Diego, posted a 1.95 ERA in 10 starts and was called up to the Phillies in July.

Relying on a fastball and slider, Johnson had early success against the Cardinals. On Sept. 24, 1968, he pitched a complete game in a 2-1 Phillies victory at St. Louis. The hard-luck losing pitcher was Ray Washburn. Boxscore

In 1969, Johnson beat the Cardinals twice in six days. On April 27, he pitched a shutout in a 1-0 Phillies win at Philadelphia. Boxscore He followed with another win on May 2 in a start at St. Louis. Boxscore Washburn was the losing pitcher in each game.

Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst harrumphed to the Post-Dispatch, “A third baseman beat us. From where I watched, he looked nice to hit.”

Cardinals general manager Bing Devine, who was a Mets executive when Johnson was transforming into a pitcher in their system, was more impressed than Schoendienst. After the 1969 season, he acquired Johnson, Dick Allen and Cookie Rojas from the Phillies for Curt Flood, Tim McCarver Joe Hoerner and Byron Browne.

Family team

Johnson’s mother was from Flora, Ill., about 100 miles east of St. Louis, and Johnson lived there as an infant. When he’d return with his mom for family visits, “they indoctrinated me” with stories about the Cardinals, Johnson told The Sporting News.

“All I heard from the time I could remember was the Cardinals and Stan Musial,” Johnson said to the Post-Dispatch. “The Cardinals have been my ballclub since I was old enough to know about baseball. Later on, I became attached to Mickey Mantle, too, but the Cardinals still were the family ballclub.”

The Cardinals projected Johnson to be a spot starter and reliever, but at spring training in 1970 he was sidetracked by a “recurrence of an elbow ailment and a pulled side muscle. The latter injury occurred when he reached too abruptly for a telephone,” The Sporting News reported.

Johnson opened the 1970 season in the minors and was called up to the Cardinals on May 1. In his first game with them, he pitched three scoreless innings and earned a save against the Astros. Boxscore

Johnson followed that with a pair of wins _ one against the Braves Boxscore and the other versus the Pirates. Boxscore

In seven appearances, Johnson was 2-0 with a save and 3.18 ERA.

Sent packing

The Cardinals were in Houston on May 19 when Johnson went to a movie theater to see a western, “Barquero,” starring Lee Van Cleef and Warren Oates. When he returned to the hotel that night, coach Dick Sisler approached Johnson in the lobby and informed him he’d been traded to the Giants for reliever Frank Linzy.

“I’m shocked,” Johnson said. “I can’t believe it.”

The Cardinals wanted an experienced late-inning reliever and liked Linzy, a sinkerball specialist, for the AstroTurf at Busch Memorial Stadium. Linzy was 9-3 with 20 saves and a 1.43 ERA for the Giants in 1965 and had 17 saves and a 1.51 ERA in 1967. His ERA for the 1970 Giants was 7.01, but the Cardinals were convinced Linzy, 29, could return to form.

The next year, with Johnson as their closer, the Giants won the National League West Division title. He led the team in saves (18) and games pitched (67), and was third in wins (12).

“Jerry always had smoke on his fastball. Now he has the poise to go with it,” The Sporting News observed.

Linzy was 4-3 with six saves and a 2.12 ERA for the 1971 Cardinals.

The 1971 season was Johnson’s career highlight. In 10 years in the majors with the Phillies, Cardinals, Giants, Indians, Astros, Padres and Blue Jays, Johnson was 48-51 with 41 saves and a 4.31 ERA.

In 1975, when Johnson pitched for minor-league Hawaii, a bullpen teammate was Frank Linzy.

When the Blue Jays entered the American League as an expansion team, they selected Hawaii manager Roy Hartsfield to be their manager. Hartsfield gave Johnson a spot on the Blue Jays’ Opening Day roster. Johnson was the winning pitcher in their first regular-season game on April 7, 1977. Boxscore

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Two years after Mike Flanagan won the American League Cy Young Award, the Orioles were willing to trade him to the Cardinals.

The Orioles made Flanagan the centerpiece of a package they offered to the Cardinals in 1981. In exchange, the Orioles wanted two players the Cardinals were willing to trade, outfielder Sixto Lezcano and shortstop Garry Templeton.

The trade talks between the Cardinals and Orioles began in November 1981 and extended to the baseball winter meetings in December, but despite several attempts to structure a deal, the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement.

Neither club regretted the outcome. The Cardinals traded Templeton and Lezcano to the Padres for a future Hall of Famer, Ozzie Smith, who helped them win the World Series championship in 1982.

Rather than have Templeton at shortstop, the Orioles turned to an internal candidate, Cal Ripken, who, like Smith, developed into a Hall of Famer and helped them win the World Series championship in 1983.

Trade chip

A durable left-hander, Flanagan was 23-9 in 1979 when the Orioles won the American League pennant. Flanagan received 26 of 28 first-place votes in the Cy Young Award balloting.

In September 1981, Flanagan developed tendinitis in his left elbow and missed a turn in the rotation, ending a streak of 157 consecutive starts since 1977. “It’s just an oil change and a 30,000-inning checkup,” he told The Sporting News.

With Flanagan eligible to become a free agent after the 1982 season, the Orioles wanted to get him signed to a multiyear contract in November 1981. When he wouldn’t commit, the Orioles let it be known they were willing to deal him.

As the Baltimore Evening Sun noted, “Rather than take a chance on losing a pitcher of Flanagan’s caliber as a free agent, it is preferable to trade him.”

A player the Orioles wanted was outfielder Sixto Lezcano. Acquired by the Cardinals from the Brewers in December 1980, Lezcano asked to be traded after the 1981 season.

When he was with the Brewers, then an American League team, Lezcano had a .378 on-base percentage in games against the Orioles.

“The Orioles have coveted Lezcano almost since the day he broke in with Milwaukee,” The Sporting News reported, also noting that Orioles manager Earl Weaver “long has been a fan of Lezcano.”

Whitey Herzog, who had the dual role of Cardinals manager and general manager, wanted a pitcher in exchange for Lezcano. Orioles general manager Hank Peters “apparently is willing to part with Mike Flanagan,” according to The Sporting News.

Mix and match

A trade of Lezcano for Flanagan likely would have been made, but the Orioles opted to expand the deal to include Templeton.

Herzog wanted to trade Templeton, who was unhappy in St. Louis, and sought a shortstop in return. The shortstops the Orioles offered were veteran backup Lenn Sakata and rookie Bobby Bonner.

Jim Russo, who resided in St. Louis and scouted the National League for the Orioles, recommended Lezcano and Templeton. Russo was “instrumental in these discussions from the beginning,” the Baltimore Evening Sun reported.

In November 1981, the Baltimore Sun reported the proposed deal was Flanagan, outfielder Gary Roenicke and either Sakata or Bonner for Lezcano and Templeton.

Both sides were intrigued but agreed to suspend talks until the December baseball winter meetings in Hollywood, Fla.

At those meetings, the Baltimore Evening Sun reported, Orioles third baseman Doug DeCinces was added to the offer. The proposed trade was Flanagan, DeCinces, Roenicke and either Sakata or Bonner for Lezcano and Templeton.

The Orioles were willing to include DeCinces because they projected Cal Ripken, who debuted with them in August 1981, to be their third baseman, with either Sakata or Bonner playing shortstop.

The Cardinals, though, were not sold on having either Sakata or Bonner as their replacement for Templeton. A shortstop Herzog liked was Ivan DeJesus of the Cubs. Herzog also asked the Orioles for pitcher Sammy Stewart as a substitute for Flanagan. A right-hander who could start and relieve, Stewart had a 2.32 ERA for the 1981 Orioles. In 26 relief appearances that year, his ERA was 1.58.

“Herzog has a high regard for Flanagan,” the Baltimore Evening Sun reported, “but the pitcher he coveted most … was Sammy Stewart.”

Eager to make a deal, the Orioles tried to accommodate Herzog and the Cardinals. According to the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles, Cardinals and Cubs discussed a three-way trade. The Orioles would send Flanagan, DeCinces and Bonner to the Cubs for DeJesus and pitchers Mike Krukow and Lee Smith. Then the Orioles would swap DeJesus and Sammy Stewart to the Cardinals for Templeton, Lezcano and pitcher Bob Shirley.

“We’ve talked to the Cubs extensively, very extensively,” Hank Peters told the Baltimore Sun.

The Cubs, though, foiled the plan, trading Krukow to the Phillies on Dec. 8 for Keith Moreland, Dickie Noles and Dan Larson.

The Cardinals and Orioles continued to try to find the right combination of players to complete a deal. The Cardinals asked for outfielder John Shelby instead of Roenicke, the Baltimore Evening Sun reported, and the Orioles asked for outfielder Gene Roof.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “one possible combination would have had Templeton and Lezcano going to the Orioles for pitchers Flanagan and Steve Stone and either Bonner or DeCinces.”

“Whatever the other teams offer St. Louis, we’ll make a better offer,” Earl Weaver said to the Baltimore Sun. “I’m definitely not against overloading the deal with pitchers if we can get a shortstop who bats .300 and a man who can go get fly balls like Sixto.”

On Dec. 10, the Baltimore Evening Sun reported, “The trade has been restructured so many times that the two teams have talked nine times in the last two days.”

Change in plans

By then, the Padres had entered the picture, and the Cardinals’ interest in the Orioles cooled considerably.

Before the winter meetings ended, the Padres agreed to trade Ozzie Smith and pitchers Steve Mura and Al Olmsted to the Cardinals for Templeton, Lezcano and pitcher Luis DeLeon.

A month later, in January 1982, the Cubs traded Ivan DeJesus to the Phillies for Ryne Sandberg and Larry Bowa, and the Orioles dealt DeCinces to the Angels for outfielder Dan Ford.

Ford became the Orioles’ right fielder in 1982, filling the role the team had envisioned for Sixto Lezcano.

The Orioles opened the 1982 season with Cal Ripken at third base and Lenn Sakata at shortstop. Ripken shifted to shortstop in July.

Mike Flanagan earned 15 wins for the 1982 Orioles.

In 18 seasons in the majors with the Orioles and Blue Jays, Flanagan had a record of 167-143.

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In a move that was important to their bid for a 1982 World Series championship, the Cardinals kept the pitcher they wanted at the price they wanted.

On Nov. 13, 1981, Joaquin Andujar became a free agent after finishing the 1981 season with the Cardinals.

Though he preferred to stay with the Cardinals and they wanted him to return, a contract agreement was not a given.

The determining factor was salary, and, for a while, neither side was willing to compromise.

Good fit

Acquired from the Astros in June 1981 for outfielder Tony Scott, Andujar was 6-1 with a 3.74 ERA for the Cardinals that season.

Andujar liked playing for manager Whitey Herzog and for pitching coach Hub Kittle, who mentored him in the Dominican Republic winter league, but he also wanted to test his worth on the open market.

Represented by brothers Alan and David Hendricks, Andujar sought a contract of $2 million for three years. The Cardinals offered $1 million for the same time frame, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Andujar figured he had leverage because the Cardinals needed another starter to bolster a rotation led by Bob Forsch and including the likes of John Martin and Andy Rincon.

Agent Alan Hendricks told the Post-Dispatch he “wanted to see Joaquin wind up with the Cardinals because Whitey Herzog and the club are good for him.”

Herzog’s assistant, Joe McDonald, said, “We’re still very keen on Andujar. We like the guy and he likes it here.”

Price isn’t right

The good vibes began to fade when neither Andujar nor the Cardinals budged on their salary number. The Sporting News reported Andujar “is likely to be gone” from the Cardinals.

Herzog told the Post-Dispatch he had a financial figure he was sticking with and “I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.”

Agent David Hendricks said six teams were interested in Andujar. It soon became evident to Herzog that the interest was tepid _ at least at the salary Andujar was seeking.

The Philadelphia Daily News accused Andujar of “harboring delusions of grandeur.”

According to the Oakland Tribune, Giants second baseman Joe Morgan, who was Andujar’s teammate with the 1980 Astros, lobbied for the Giants to sign Andujar, but it didn’t work out.

Bargaining power

David Hendricks said the Cardinals remained Andujar’s first choice and “the ingredients are still right” for a signing with them.

According to the Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals could get a deal done with Andujar for $1.5 million, splitting the difference between what Andujar was asking and what the club was offering, but Herzog stuck to a lower number.

Herzog, who had the dual role of manager and general manager, sized up the soft competition for Andujar and said, “I’m not going up on my offer. Nobody is higher than us. If he doesn’t like it, he can sit in the Dominican for a year.”

A couple of days later, Herzog turned up the heat again. “His agents keep asking me to raise my offer,” he told the Post-Dispatch. “Why should I outbid myself? I’ve got the best offer out there.”

With his options dwindling, Andujar and his agents lowered their asking price.

On Dec. 30, 1981, Andujar signed with the Cardinals for $1.2 million over three years. According to the Post-Dispatch, the $1.2 million figure was the amount Herzog and the Cardinals were prepared to settle for all along.

The signing took place at Andujar’s home in the Dominican Republic. Attending for the Cardinals was assistant general manager Joe McDonald and scout Willie Calvino. In 1969, when he worked for the Reds, Calvino was the scout who signed Andujar to his first professional contract.

Andujar rewarded the Cardinals with 15 wins, including five shutouts, during the 1982 season. He was the winning pitcher in their pennant-clinching game against the Braves in the National League Championship Series. Then he earned two wins versus the Brewers in the World Series, including the title clincher in Game 7. Boxscore and Video

Though a 20-game winner in both 1984 and 1985, Andujar was traded to the Athletics after he had a confrontation with umpire Don Denkinger during Game 7 of the 1985 World Series.


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