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Archive for the ‘Pitchers’ Category

During a season in which the Cardinals won a National League pennant and World Series championship, Don Lock found the key to success against their formidable pitching.

In 1967, Lock, in his first NL season as a center fielder for the Phillies, batted .382 (13-for-34) with 12 RBI in 11 games against the Cardinals.

A right-handed batter, Lock was especially effective against Cardinals left-handers. He hit four home runs against them in 1967.

Lock, a Kansas native who as an amateur had attracted the attention of the Cardinals, died Oct. 8, 2017, at 81.

Hit or miss

As a teen, Lock was a standout athlete in multiple sports. “The Cardinals were interested in signing Lock when he was playing American Legion baseball back home in Kingman, Kan.,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Instead, Lock attended Wichita State on a basketball scholarship and played for coach Ralph Miller, who would be enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Lock earned varsity letters in baseball, basketball and track.

By then, other big-league organizations, including the Yankees, Red Sox, Athletics and Dodgers, had joined the Cardinals in pursuit of Lock. According to his obituary, Lock accepted a $22,500 bonus to sign with the Yankees in 1958.

The Yankees’ deal “was $2,500 more than the next best, the one Boston offered. So I took it,” Lock told the Post-Dispatch. “I was just a kid out of college who had a wife and a kid and car payments to meet. I needed money.”

Lock played in the Yankees’ minor league system from 1958-62. He had 35 home runs in 1960 for the Class A Binghamton (N.Y.) Triplets and 29 home runs in 1961 for the Class AAA Richmond Virginians. Though he had established himself as a power prospect, Lock couldn’t find a spot on a Yankees roster that included sluggers such as Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Bill Skowron.

In July 1962, the Yankees traded Lock to the Senators. He became one of the American League’s premier power hitters, ranking among the top 10 in home runs in 1963 (27) and 1964 (28), but he also had more strikeouts than hits each year he played for Washington. He was second in the league in strikeouts in both 1963 (151) and 1964 (137).

Second chance

After the 1966 season, the Senators dealt Lock to the Phillies for pitcher Darold Knowles and cash. “Lock came to the Phillies with a reputation as one of baseball’s most inconsistent hitters,” wrote Bill Conlin of the Philadelphia Daily News. “His pattern was a short rash of homers followed by a long rash of strikeouts.”

Phillies manager Gene Mauch decided to utilize Lock and Johnny Briggs in a center field platoon in 1967.

On May 26 at Philadelphia, Lock hit a home run that beat the Cardinals.

In the eighth inning, with the score tied at 4-4, the Phillies had runners on second and third, two outs, with Lock at the plate against left-handed reliever Joe Hoerner. Cookie Rojas was on deck.

“The strategy with the score tied and the winning run on base would normally be to intentionally walk Lock and pitch to Rojas,” Conlin wrote.

Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst thought otherwise. He remembered that 10 days earlier, at St. Louis, Rojas had hit a home run against the Cardinals and Hoerner had struck out Lock.

Schoendienst wanted Hoerner to pitch to Lock rather than to Rojas.

If not for a misplay, it would have been the right decision.

Hoerner got Lock to hit a pop fly into foul territory, just beyond first base. Second baseman Phil Gagliano, who had the best angle for a catch, called off first baseman Orlando Cepeda, but misjudged the ball and it fell to the ground.

Given another chance, Lock swung at a low fastball and sent a laser over the left-field wall. “The ball was still rising when it ticked the front slope of the roof and bounced off a sign,” Conlin wrote.

Said Lock: “That’s as good as I can hit a ball, I guess.”

The three-run home run was the difference in a 7-4 Phillies victory. Boxscore

Special day

A month later, on June 25, the Phillies were in St. Louis for a doubleheader against the Cardinals.

Lock had what he called his best day in the major leagues. He produced six hits in eight at-bats and drove in six runs, leading the Phillies to a sweep.

Lock was 4-for-5 with three RBI in the first game and 2-for-3 with three RBI in the second game.

In the opener, Lock had a two-run home run and two singles in three at-bats against the Cardinals’ starter, left-hander Larry Jaster, helping the Phillies to a 6-4 victory. Boxscore

(A month earlier, Lock also was 3-for-3 _ two doubles and a single _ against Jaster. So, in two games against Jaster, Lock was 6-for-6.)

In the doubleheader nightcap, Lock hit a two-run home run against left-hander Al Jackson, propelling the Phillies to a 10-4 triumph. Boxscore

“I’ve shortened my stroke a little,” Lock said. “I’m not taking the bat back as far and I’m choking up about an inch-and-a-half.”

Lock also hit two home runs _ one in 1967 and the other in 1968 _ against Cardinals left-hander Steve Carlton.

Lock finished the 1967 season with 14 home runs in 112 games.

He was with the Phillies again in 1968 and ended his big-league career playing for both the Phillies and Red Sox in 1969.

Lock’s overall batting mark in eight major-league seasons is .238. His career batting average versus the Cardinals is .359 (23-for-64) with five home runs and 17 RBI in 22 games.

Previously: Epic showdowns: Jim Bunning vs. Bob Gibson

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A month into his first season as Cardinals manager, Solly Hemus behaved in a way that damaged his reputation and diminished his stature among some players.

Desperate and disgusted when the Cardinals lost 15 of their first 20 games in 1959, Hemus resorted to insults and intimidation in an effort to rattle the opposition and motivate his team.

Using racist remarks, Hemus lost respect and created resentment.

Two years later, he was fired during the 1961 season and never managed in the major leagues again.

A successful oil businessman in Houston, Hemus, 94, died Oct. 3, 2017. In his obituary, he was remembered as a caring man and a philanthropist.

Managing up

Hemus, an infielder, played for the Cardinals from 1949 until he was traded to the Phillies in May 1956. Skilled at reaching base, Hemus scored 105 runs in 1952 and 110 in 1953.

After he was traded, Hemus, a prolific letter writer, wrote to Cardinals owner Gussie Busch, expressing gratitude for his playing career in St. Louis and indicating a desire to return to the organization.

Busch and Hemus continued to correspond. When the Cardinals fired Fred Hutchinson in September 1958, Hemus was Busch’s choice _ not general manager Bing Devine’s _ to become player-manager.

The 1959 Cardinals started sluggishly under Hemus. After losing the first game of a doubleheader to the Pirates on May 3 at Pittsburgh, the Cardinals’ record was 5-15. The Pirates won in the 10th when a fly ball by Bill Mazeroski was misjudged by right fielder Gino Cimoli and sailed over his head for a RBI-single.

An instigator

Furious and determined to shake the Cardinals from their slumber, Hemus put himself into the starting lineup at second base for Game 2.

In the first inning, Hemus faced Bennie Daniels, making his first start of the season for the Pirates.

A pitch from Daniels to Hemus “nicked him on the right pants leg,” according to The Pittsburgh Press.

“Hemus just stuck his leg out to be hit on purpose as usual,” Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Daniels’ pitch “wasn’t a brushback pitch, but Hemus tried to make a federal case out of it,” said Pittsburgh writer Les Biederman.

As Hemus went to first base, he “tossed a few choice phrases in Daniels’ direction,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

In his book “The Long Season,” Cardinals reliever Jim Brosnan said, “(Hemus) yelled at Daniels, ‘You black bastard.’ ”

Cardinals pitcher Bob Gibson, in his book “Stranger to the Game,” said, “I can understand that Hemus wanted to light a fire under us, but that was no excuse for calling Daniels a black bastard.”

As Daniels and Hemus exchanged words, Pirates first baseman Dick Stuart “blocked Solly’s path in case he might be thinking of pursuing Daniels,” the Post-Dispatch reported.

Players poured onto the field, but there was no fighting.

In his book, “Uppity,” Cardinals first baseman Bill White said, “After that, Daniels always called Hemus ‘Little Faubus,’ a reference to Arkansas governor Orval Faubus, who tried to block school desegregation in Little Rock in 1957.”

Tempers flare

In the third inning, Hemus blooped a run-scoring double to left against Daniels, giving the Cardinals a 2-0 lead.

When Hemus batted again in the sixth, Daniels’ first pitch “just missed” Hemus’ chin, according to the Post-Dispatch.

“I didn’t think that pitch was too close,” Daniels told the Post-Gazette. “I guess Hemus did.”

On the next delivery, Hemus moved up in the batter’s box and “threw his bat toward Daniels before the pitch reached the plate,” The Pittsburgh Press said.

“What was I supposed to do, turn the other cheek?” Hemus told the Post-Dispatch. “The bat slipped out of my hand just like the ball slipped out of Daniels’ hand.”

The bat landed several feet from Daniels. Again, players rushed onto the field. This time, there were scuffles.

Murtaugh “got a short punch at Hemus during the fighting and drew a little blood,” according to The Pittsburgh Press.

Hemus, who told The Sporting News he “was clipped a few times,” grappled with Pirates coach Len Levy.

“I told Solly it was silly to be throwing a bat because somebody could be killed,” Levy said. “Hemus challenged me, so I had to protect myself.”

Fans booed and threw beer cans onto the field.

After order was restored, play resumed with no ejections. “They didn’t have anything to throw me out for,” Hemus said.

Daniels retired Hemus on a groundout to short. After the Cardinals completed their half of the inning, Hemus removed himself from the game.

(Because of a curfew, the game was suspended in the seventh and resumed on the Cardinals’ next trip to Pittsburgh in June. The Cardinals won, 3-1.) Boxscore

Bad example

Noting that Hemus claimed he had tried to put a spark into the Cardinals, Brosnan said, “If that truly was his intention, he did it as awkwardly as he could. All he proved to me was that little men _ or boys _ shouldn’t play with sparks, as well as with matches.”

Wrote the Post-Gazette: “Hemus’ behavior seemed something less than expected from a major league manager.”

The Pittsburgh Press concluded Hemus “went to great lengths to set what turned out to be a bad example.”

After the second game was suspended, Hemus held a closed-door meeting with his team.

During the session, Gibson said, “Hemus referred to Daniels as a nigger … It was hard to believe our manager could be so thickheaded and it was even harder to play for a guy who unapologetically regarded black players as niggers.”

In his book “The Way It Is,” Cardinals outfielder Curt Flood said Hemus told the team, “I want you to be the first to know what I said to Daniels. I called him a black son of a bitch.”

Flood said he and teammates “sat with our jaws open, eyeing each other” as Hemus spoke.

“We had been wondering how the manager really felt about us,” Flood said. “Now we knew. Black sons of bitches.”

Said Gibson: “Hemus’ treatment of black players was the result of one of the following: Either he disliked us deeply or he genuinely believed that the way to motivate us was with insults.”

White said of Hemus, “I never had a problem with him, but some of the other players, especially Curt Flood and Bob Gibson, absolutely despised him, partly because he didn’t play them as much as they would have liked but also because they thought he was a racist.”

In 1992, Gibson recalled, Hemus approached him at a Cardinals reunion and said he wasn’t a racist. Gibson reminded Hemus of the incident with Daniels. According to Gibson, Hemus defended himself as “a master motivator doing what he could to fire up the ball club.”

Said Gibson: “My response was ‘Bullshit.’ ”

In his book “October 1964,” author David Halberstam said Hemus “was saddened that years later Gibson and Flood still thought of him as a racist. He accepted the blame for what had happened. The world had been changing, but he had not, he later decided.”

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In a season that started spectacularly before shattering into shambles, the low point for Cardinals pitcher John Denny occurred when he was ejected from a game before it began.

Forty years ago, on Sept. 27, 1977, Denny was ejected before the start of a game at St. Louis because he ignored an umpire’s directive to stop talking with people in or near the stands.

It was that kind of season for Denny. He won his first seven decisions for the 1977 Cardinals and then lost his next eight in a row. During the skid, he was injured and sat out for more than a month.

A year after leading the National League in earned run average, Denny was an underachiever for the 1977 Cardinals.

Up and down

Denny debuted in the big leagues with the Cardinals in September 1974. He earned 10 wins for St. Louis in 1975 and followed that with 11 wins and a league-leading 2.52 ERA in 1976. Denny was especially strong in the second half of the 1976 season, posting ERAs of 1.93 in July, 1.88 in August and 1.15 in September.

He carried over his effective pitching into the start of the 1977 season. Denny was 5-0 with a 2.94 ERA in April and his record stood at 7-0 after a shutout victory over the Cubs on May 31.

Then his season began to unravel. In June, Denny was 0-2 with a 4.91 ERA. He was ejected on June 6 for bumping an umpire and he got tossed again on June 11 for fighting with Reggie Smith of the Dodgers.

On June 21, Denny suffered a hamstring injury and didn’t pitch from June 22 until July 30. After he came back, Denny lost six decisions in a row, dropping his record to 7-8 with a 4.67 ERA.

“That was the worst stretch I’ve ever been through,” Denny said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It really bothered me.”

Social hour

In their final homestand of the 1977 season, the Cardinals had games with the Expos and Mets.

On Sept. 27, the night before he was scheduled to make a start against the Expos on Sept. 28, Denny was talking with people in or near the stands before the game.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Edwardsville (Ill.) Intelligencer offered slightly different versions of what transpired between Denny and umpire Paul Runge.

_ Post-Dispatch: “Before the game, Runge noticed Denny leaning across the rail, talking to fans in violation of a league rule. When the umpire ordered Denny to return to the dugout, the pitcher got testy and was ejected.”

_ Intelligencer: “Runge objected to Denny talking to photographers in their booth by the dugout after he had asked that players move away from the stands.”

Cardinals management complained that Runge had overstepped his authority because the game hadn’t started, the Intelligencer reported.

Happy ending

Because Runge was scheduled to work home plate in the Expos-Cardinals game on Sept. 28, Denny was scratched from his start that night by manager Vern Rapp, who wanted to avoid a potential conflict between pitcher and umpire. Rapp moved Denny’s start to Sept. 30 in Game 1 of a Friday night doubleheader against the Mets.

Denny, 25, ended the tumultuous season on a high note. He pitched a complete game in a 7-2 Cardinals victory against the Mets. The win _ his first since May _ evened his record at 8-8.

Denny, who yielded eight hits and issued three walks, was helped by a defense that turned three double plays.

“That was one of the hardest games for me because I had to wait so long to win one,” Denny said. Boxscore

Denny credited pitching coach Claude Osteen with finding and fixing a flaw. “Claude noticed in some films that I had been hurrying too much with my pitches,” said Denny. “That made me erratic with my curve and with my changeup.”

Previously: Larry Dierker and his unsatisfying stint with Cardinals

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Delivering pitches with a motion that resembled someone cracking a whip, Jim Donohue was a top prospect in the Cardinals’ system.

In 1960, Donohue, a St. Louis native and graduate of Christian Brothers College High School, made a strong bid for a spot on the Cardinals’ Opening Day roster, but fell short of achieving the goal.

Instead, two months later, the Cardinals traded him.

Though he never pitched for the Cardinals in the regular season, Donohue did play two years in the major leagues with three American League teams.

Donohue died in St. Louis on Sept. 9, 2017, at 78.

Career choice

Donohue, son of a policeman, was a teammate of Mike Shannon, future Cardinals player and broadcaster, at Christian Brothers.

In June 1956, Donohue graduated from high school and signed with the Cardinals for $4,000.

Asked years later by reporter Jack Herman about the decision to pursue a baseball career rather than follow his father into law enforcement, Donohue replied, “I’d rather pitch than get shot at.”

Donohue, 17, made his professional debut with the 1960 Gainesville (Fla.) G-Men, a Class D club in the Cardinals’ system.

His breakout season _ the one that put him in the top tier of prospects _ occurred two years later, 1958, with the York (Pa.) White Roses, a Class A club managed by Joe Schultz.

Donohue was 7-0 with a 1.48 ERA for York.

Moving up

Impressed, the Cardinals promoted Donohue to their Class AA team, the Houston Buffaloes, in June 1958. In his debut game for Houston, Donohue pitched a two-hitter in a 4-0 shutout win over the Dallas Rangers. He struck out 11.

In October 1958, Donohue was invited to join other top Cardinals prospects in the Florida Instructional League. Donohue and Gordon Richardson were cited by The Sporting News as “fledgling Cards pitchers from whom much is expected.”

Donohue opened the 1959 season with the Rochester Red Wings, but soon after was sent to St. Louis’ other Class AAA club, the Omaha Cardinals, where he was reunited with manager Joe Schultz. Donohue joined a staff that included other elite pitching prospects such as Bob Gibson and Ray Sadecki.

In July 1959, Donohue pitched a two-hitter for Omaha in a 4-0 triumph over the Minneapolis Millers. Donohue retired 18 consecutive batters until Chuck Tanner singled.

“Manager Joe Schultz’s faith in young Jim Donohue is reaping rich rewards for Omaha,” The Sporting News wrote.

Said Schultz of Donohue: “He’s got quite a future.”

Donohue had a 2.39 ERA in 28 appearances for Omaha. After the season, St. Louis placed Donohue on its big-league winter roster.

The Whip

During that off-season, Donohue participated in workouts at the St. Louis University gym with fellow area residents Stan Musial, Ken Boyer and Joe Cunningham of the Cardinals.

Donohue reported to 1960 spring training at St. Petersburg, Fla., determined to earn a spot on the big-league pitching staff.

At 6 feet 4 and 175 pounds, Donohue had a “buggy whip” delivery that reminded many of another right-hander, Ewell Blackwell, who had been an all-star with the Reds in the 1940s.

“Jim is rough on right-handed swingers,” Sadecki said. “He throws everything downstairs. They call him The Whip and I guess he is the closest thing to Blackwell in both physique and delivery to come along in several years.”

Sal Maglie, who had ended his pitching career with the 1958 Cardinals and had stayed with the organization as a scout and instructor in 1959, had worked with Donohue to develop a slider to use against left-handed batters.

After Donohue had several effective outings early in 1960 spring training, Cardinals general manager Bing Devine called him the “sleeper” of training camp.

However, in April, just before the Cardinals opened the season, they sent Donohue to Rochester.

“I thought I was going to make it with the Cardinals,” Donohue said.

Big time

Donohue was 4-2 with a 4.03 ERA for Rochester. On June 15, 1960, 30 minutes before the trade deadline, the Cardinals dealt Donohue and outfielder Duke Carmel to the Dodgers for outfielder John Glenn.

In reporting the trade, the Post-Dispatch described Donohue as a “highly regarded pitching prospect who almost stuck with the varsity in the spring” and “rated among the top Cardinals farmhands.”

The Dodgers assigned Donohue to their Class AAA club, the St. Paul Saints, and he spent the rest of the 1960 season there.

In December 1960, the Tigers took Donohue in the minor-league draft. He pitched well at training camp the following spring and opened the 1961 season on the Tigers’ Opening Day roster.

Donohue made his big-league debut in the Tigers’ season opener on April 11, 1961. He pitched two scoreless innings of relief against the Indians. Boxscore

On April 23, the Tigers and Angels played a doubleheader at Detroit. Donohue got his first big-league save in the opener and his first big-league win in the second game.

In the ninth inning of the first game, the Angels had the bases loaded, one out, when Tigers manager Bob Scheffing turned to Donohue to protect a 3-1 lead. Donohue retired pinch-hitters Ken Hunt and Leo Burke on pop-outs. Boxscore

In Game 2, Donohue relieved Jim Bunning in the 11th, pitched a scoreless inning and got the win when the Tigers scored in the bottom half of the inning. Boxscore

“Donohue looked good in Florida near the end (of camp),” Scheffing said. “We had a feeling he would be a big help.”

Baseball man

Donohue was 1-1 with one save and a 3.54 ERA when the Tigers traded him to the Angels in June 1961. He got into 38 games with the 1961 Angels and was 4-6 with five saves and a 4.31 ERA.

In 1962, his last season in the majors, Donohue pitched for the Angels and Twins. His combined record for those two teams was 1-1 with one save and a 4.67 ERA in 18 appearances.

Fifty-five years later, Donohue’s obituary in the Post-Dispatch noted, “His love for baseball continued throughout his lifetime.”

Previously: Clyde King mentored young Cardinals of 1960s

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Consistently confrontational, Al Hrabosky was involved in controversy right down to his very last homestand as a Cardinals pitcher.

In 1977, Hrabosky, the so-called “Mad Hungarian,” was involved in a series of incidents, including feuding publicly with manager Vern Rapp, getting suspended by the club for refusing to meet with the manager and incurring the wrath of team owner Gussie Busch by defying a ban on facial hair.

Hrabosky also sparked an on-field brawl in May that year when he hit Cesar Cedeno of the Astros with a pitch.

Forty years ago, on Sept. 26, 1977, Hrabosky capped his tumultuous season by throwing a pitch at the head of Warren Cromartie of the Expos in the opening game of the Cardinals’ final homestand.

An Expos pitcher, Wayne Twitchell, peeved by what he perceived to be an intentional assault of his teammate, waited outside the Cardinals’ clubhouse to confront Hrabosky after the game.

Tough ninth

The Expos and Cardinals entered the ninth inning of the Monday night game at St. Louis with the score tied at 5-5. Among the highlights to that point were Garry Templeton’s two-run inside-the-park home run against Twitchell in the sixth and Gary Carter’s three-run home run for the Expos in the seventh against Eric Rasmussen.

Rawly Eastwick yielded singles to the first four Expos batters in the ninth. The last of those consecutive hits, by Ellis Valentine, drove in a run and put the Expos ahead, 6-5.

With the bases loaded and none out, Hrabosky relieved Eastwick.

The first batter he faced, Carter, pulled a curveball to left for a single, scoring two and giving the Expos an 8-5 lead.

“The count was 2-and-2 and he had just blown one by me,” Carter said to the Associated Press. “I consider myself a fastball hitter and I was surprised to get the curve. He got it up some and I waited for it.”

Danger zone

Next up was Cromartie. Hrabosky threw a fastball that sailed directly toward Cromartie’s head. Cromartie raised his arm to protect his face and the ball struck his right wrist.

“If he hadn’t got his hand up, it would have hit him right here,” Expos manager Dick Williams, pointing to his temple, said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Valentine tried to charge from the dugout to the mound to get at Hrabosky, but he was restrained by teammates. Players from both clubs gathered on the field but no fights erupted and no one was ejected.

“He threw at him,” Valentine said. “Everybody on the ball club knew it.”

Hrabosky stayed in the game and completed the inning. The Expos added a run on a sacrifice fly by pitcher Don Stanhouse. The Cardinals failed to score in their half of the ninth and the Expos won, 9-5. Boxscore

Face to face

Hrabosky exited the dugout through a hallway to the clubhouse. As he approached the clubhouse door, he was surprised to see Twitchell there.

Twitchell, 6 feet 6, 215 pounds, pointedly told Hrabosky, 5 feet 11, 185 pounds, that hitting Cromartie with a pitch right after yielding a two-run single to Carter “was very poor timing.”

“I asked what the hell he thought he was doing,” Twitchell said. “He said it was unintentional.”

Several Cardinals had gathered in the hallway on their way to the clubhouse. “I was drastically outnumbered,” Twitchell said.

Asked whether he was seeking a fight, Twitchell said, “If that’s what it came to, but he wouldn’t swing.”

Twitchell departed and went to the Expos clubhouse.

“He hung a pitch and Carter gets a hit,” Twitchell said of Hrabosky. “Now he’s going to take it out on the next hitter? If you are going to brush back a hitter, there’s no worse place you can put the ball.”

Hrabosky declined to comment to reporters.

Said Cardinals manager Vern Rapp: “There was no intent. What does a guy want to hit him for with two men on and nobody out?”

Hrabosky pitched in three more games for the Cardinals. After the season, he was traded to the Royals.

Previously: Bake McBride was a menace against Wayne Twitchell

Previously: Gary Carter and his two 5-RBI games against Cardinals

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Facing a collection of arms ranging from a 15-year-old making his big-league debut to a 36-year-old batting practice pitcher, the 1944 Cardinals became the first team in the majors to achieve two shutout wins by margins of 16 runs or more in the same month.

On June 10, 1944, the Cardinals beat the Reds, 18-0. Two weeks later, on June 24, the Cardinals beat the Pirates, 16-0.

Only one other major-league club, the 2017 Twins, earned two shutout wins by margins of at least 16 runs in the same month, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. On Sept. 2, 2017, the Twins beat the Royals, 17-0. Ten days later, on Sept. 12, the Twins beat the Padres, 16-0.

Fun facts

Both of the lopsided June shutout victories by the 1944 Cardinals occurred on Saturday afternoons and in road games _ at Cincinnati and at Pittsburgh.

The Cardinals had a total of 43 hits _ one home run _ in the two games.

Stan Musial contributed seven hits in nine at-bats with four walks.

Mort Cooper pitched the shutouts: a five-hitter and a three-hitter.

Reaching base

The Cardinals’ game against the Reds took place at Crosley Field four days after the Allies launched the D-Day invasion in France. The game attracted 3,510 cash customers, 318 servicemen and 1,641 youths from the Knothole baseball program.

Though the Cardinals had 21 hits and received 14 walks, the game was completed in a relatively brisk 2:23.

Musial had three singles, three walks, three RBI and scored four times.

The Cardinals had 19 singles and two extra-base hits. George Fallon, the eighth-place batter, and Johnny Hopp, the leadoff man, each doubled.

St. Louis stranded 18 base runners, tying a major-league record.

The 18-0 score was the most lopsided shutout win in the National League since 1906 when the Cubs beat the Giants, 19-0, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Hey, Joe

With the Cardinals ahead, 13-0, Reds manager Bill McKechnie decided to have Joe Nuxhall, 15, make his major-league debut in the ninth inning.

With their pitching staff depleted because of military service during World War II, the Reds had signed Nuxhall that year. His parents agreed to let him join the club for home games. Because he wasn’t old enough to drive, Nuxhall took a 30-minute bus ride from his home in Hamilton, Ohio, to Crosley Field for the games, according to the Washington Post.

Nuxhall, in the dugout while the Reds prepared to bat in their half of the eighth inning, heard McKechnie call out, “Joe!”

“I said to myself, ‘He can’t be talking to me,’ ” Nuxhall told Cincinnati TV station WCET in 2005. “We had a couple of Joes on the ball club. And he says ‘Joe!’ a little louder. I looked and he said, ‘Go warm up.’ ”

Nuxhall, wearing borrowed cleats, grabbed a glove and started up the dugout steps to head to the bullpen.

“I was scared to death,” Nuxhall recalled in a 1994 interview with the Associated Press. “I got all shook up and tripped over the top step and fell flat on my face in the dirt. It was embarrassing.”

After the Reds batted in the eighth, Nuxhall took the mound to pitch the ninth, becoming the youngest player to appear in a major-league game.

“I was kind of in awe of these guys, the way they were hitting line drives,” Nuxhall said of the Cardinals.

Wild thing

Admitting to being “scared out of my wits,” Nuxhall threw wildly but was managing his way through the inning. Of the first four batters he faced, Nuxhall walked two and retired two on infield outs.

Runners were on first and second when Musial stepped to the plate.

“Probably two weeks prior to that, I was pitching against seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders, kids 13 and 14 years old,” Nuxhall said. “All of a sudden, I look up and there’s Stan Musial … It was a very scary situation.

“By that time, I was all over the place (with my pitches). It wasn’t two inches outside. It was high and inside, high and outside, bouncing pitches. When (Musial) walked up there, I guess he thought I was a needle threader. My first pitch, he just lined to right. Hit it hard.”

Musial’s single loaded the bases.

Unnerved, Nuxhall walked the next three batters, leading to three runs, and then yielded a two-run single to Emil Verban.

McKechnie went to the mound _ “I believe he said, ‘Joe, that’s enough,’ ” Nuxhall recalled _ and took the teen out of the game after he had yielded five runs in two-thirds of an inning. Boxscore

“What the cash customers saw in the ninth didn’t exactly meet with their hearty approval,” the Cincinnati Enquirer wrote of Nuxhall’s debut.

Said Nuxhall: “Those people that were at Crosley Field that afternoon probably said, ‘Well, that’s the last we’ll see of that kid.’ ”

(After his debut, Nuxhall wouldn’t pitch in the big leagues again until 1952 at age 23. He went on to play 16 seasons in the majors, earning 135 wins, and later became a beloved broadcaster for the Reds.)

Hit parade

Two weeks later at Forbes Field, Ray Sanders led the Cardinals’ attack against the Pirates. Sanders had a single, double, home run and walked twice. He drove in three and scored twice.

Musial had four hits _ three singles and a double _ and a walk. He scored twice and had a RBI.

The Cardinals used 22 hits and seven walks for their 16 runs. They stranded 14. The game, played the day after a tornado swept through Pittsburgh, was completed in a snappy 2:02 before 4,899 paying spectators.

Cooper limited the Pirates to three singles.

Xavier Rescigno, who relieved Pirates starter Fritz Ostermueller with none out in the second, gave up 17 hits and 10 runs in seven innings.

With the score 15-0, “it finally reached such a stage that (Pirates) manager Frankie Frisch sent Joe Vitelli, his batting practice pitcher, to the mound to hurl the ninth,” the Post-Dispatch reported.

Vitelli, 36, yielded back-to-back doubles to pinch-hitter Pepper Martin, 40, and Sanders for the final run. Boxscore

Previously: How Giants beat John Tudor, Cardinals, 21-2

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