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Norm Sherry, who helped Sandy Koufax and Gary Carter fulfill their Hall of Fame potential, came close to being acquired by the Cardinals.

A catcher who earned a reputation for leadership while playing for the Dodgers and Mets, Sherry became a coach and manager. He died March 8, 2021, at 89.

In 1963, the Cardinals were about to complete a multi-player deal with the Mets involving Sherry but it fell through.

Oh, brother

Sherry signed with the Dodgers in 1950 when he was 18. He spent seven years in the minors and two in the Army before he got to the big leagues for two games with the Dodgers in 1959 when he was 27.

His younger brother, Larry Sherry, made his debut in the majors with the Dodgers in 1958 and became their relief ace in 1959 when they won the pennant. In the 1959 World Series against the White Sox, Larry was 2-0 with two saves and an 0.71 ERA.

In 1960, Norm stuck with the Dodgers as a backup to Johnny Roseboro.

On May 7, Norm caught Larry for the first time in a big-league game. In the 11th inning, Larry got the win when Norm hit a walkoff home run against the Phillies’ Ruben Gomez. It was Norm’s first home run in the majors. Boxscore

“My biggest thrill,” Norm told the Los Angeles Times.

According to The Sporting News, Larry and Norm were the 10th brother battery in the big leagues since 1900. Others included two Cardinals combinations: pitcher Mike and catcher Jack O’Neill in 1902-03 and pitcher Mort and catcher Walker Cooper in 1940-45.

Big blow

A right-handed batter, Norm excelled at pulling pitches into and over the left-field screen at the Los Angeles Coliseum. He hit .302 with seven home runs at home for the 1960 Dodgers and .219 with one home run on the road.

On May 31, 1960, in a game against the Cardinals at Los Angeles, the score was tied at 3-3 when the Dodgers put runners on second and third with none out. Cardinals starter Ron Kline gave an intentional walk to Charlie Neal, loading the bases for Norm.

Norm swung at Kline’s first pitch, a high slider, and drove it over the screen for a grand slam, his first as a professional. “I felt good the minute I got hold of it,” Norm told the Los Angeles Times.

The Dodgers won, 8-3, and Larry got the save. Boxscore

In six games against the 1960 Cardinals, Norm hit .348 with three home runs.

Good tip

Norm developed a reputation as a good defensive catcher who worked well with pitchers.

In the book “We Played the Game,” Dodgers pitcher Stan Williams said, “Norm Sherry and I thought alike, so I liked having him as my catcher. It helped having a catcher who would go along with you if you didn’t want to throw a pitch. All I had to do was stare at him and he’d know what I wanted to throw instead.”

At spring training in 1961, Sandy Koufax was entering his seventh season with the Dodgers. His talent was obvious, but his performances were inconsistent. His record through six seasons was 36-41, including 8-13 in 1960.

During a spring training game, Norm urged Koufax to ease up on his fastball in order to get better command of the pitch.

In the book “Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy,” Norm told author Jane Leavy, “What I actually said was, ‘Take something off the ball and let them hit it. Nobody’s going to swing the way you’re throwing now.’ He wound up like, ‘Here, hit it,’ and struck out the side.

“I said, ‘Sandy, I got to tell you something, you just now threw harder trying not to than you did when you were trying to.’ “

Koufax threw seven hitless innings.

“It took me six years to get it through my thick skull, but I’m not taking such a big windup,” Koufax told The Sporting News in April 1961. “I’m throwing easier and I have more confidence now.”

Koufax won 18 in 1961 and embarked on a stretch of dominant seasons that led to election to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Costly collision

For Norm Sherry, the 1961 season took a painful turn on April 20 in a game against the Cardinals. In the third inning, Sherry was bowled over by the baserunner, pitcher Curt Simmons, as he awaited a throw from the outfield. Simmons’ knee struck Sherry on the left side and “he went down in a heap,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

Sherry spent a week in a hospital for treatment of kidney lacerations and internal bleeding. Boxscore

When he returned to the lineup a month later, Sherry hit a home run versus Warren Spahn. Boxscore

Trade talk

The Dodgers shipped Sherry to the Mets after the 1962 season.

In June 1963, the Cardinals, in contention, were looking to acquire a starting pitcher and targeted the Mets’ Roger Craig.

According to Bob Broeg of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals and Mets “were believed near a 5-for-3 deal.” The Mets offered Craig, Sherry and reliever Ken MacKenzie for catcher Gene Oliver, outfielder Duke Carmel, and pitchers Bob Sadowski, Harry Fanok and Ron Taylor. Because of his defensive skills, Sherry appealed to the Cardinals as a backup for 21-year-old catcher Tim McCarver.

The Cardinals didn’t want to part with Taylor, but the Mets were insistent. “I felt the Mets would ask too much for me,” Craig told broadcaster Harry Caray, “and I’m afraid they did.”

When the two sides couldn’t agree, the Cardinals changed plans, dealing Oliver and Sadowski to the Braves for Lew Burdette on June 15, 1963. After the season, the Cardinals got Craig for outfielder George Altman and pitcher Bill Wakefield.

Craig and Taylor helped the 1964 Cardinals become World Series champions.

Sherry hit .136 overall, including .056 versus the Cardinals, in 1963, his last season as a big-league player.

Teaching skills

Sherry went on to manage for 12 years in the farms systems of the Dodgers, Angels and Giants.

In the big leagues, he managed the Angels for parts of the 1976 and 1977 seasons, and coached for 16 years with the Angels, Expos, Padres and Giants.

Expos manager Dick Williams hired Sherry to tutor catcher Gary Carter, beginning in 1978 at spring training. “He will spend a lot of time getting Carter’s catching mechanics going in the right direction,” Williams told the Montreal Gazette. 

Carter accepted Sherry’s suggestions and said, “Norm is showing me how to turn my glove instead of backhanding a ball, and how to get in front of the ball better. He’s also working with me on how to be quicker and more accurate with my throws.”

The improvements helped Carter become a Hall of Fame catcher.

“Carter’s big success is mainly because of Norm Sherry,” Williams told the Gazette in August 1979. “That’s why he’s so far advanced this quickly. Sherry has done an outstanding job with him.”

Cardinals pitcher Larry Jackson and Dodgers outfielder Duke Snider found out the hard way that bats and balls, like sticks and stones, may break bones.

Sixty years ago, on March 27, 1961, Jackson suffered a fractured jaw when Snider’s bat splintered and struck Jackson in the face during a spring training game.

Three weeks later, on April 17, 1961, Snider suffered a fractured right elbow when the Cardinals’ Bob Gibson hit him with a pitch during an at-bat in the regular season.

Gibson’s plunking of Snider had more to do with the home run Snider hit in his previous at-bat against Gibson than it did with the accident involving Jackson.

Jackson and Snider recovered from their injuries, and each went on to have a productive season.

Painful outing

Jackson was pitching in his last scheduled inning when Snider came to bat in the exhibition game between the Cardinals and Dodgers at Vero Beach, Fla.

Snider had hit a two-run home run in the first and a two-run double in the third against Jackson. In the sixth, with baserunner Tommy Davis on second, Snider was looking to drive in another run.

Jackson threw a pitch near Snider’s fists. Snider connected, shattering the bat and sending pieces of it flying. The ball hit Jackson on the hip and fell to the ground. As Jackson turned to retrieve it, the heavy end of the bat, whirling rapidly through the air, struck him in the lower left jaw.

“Bleeding from cuts inside his mouth, Jackson fell in a heap in front of the mound, but did not lose consciousness,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

In his book “The Duke of Flatbush,” Snider said, “I felt awful about it, but that’s one of the occupational hazards of pitching.”

Jackson was taken by ambulance to a Vero Beach hospital and given emergency treatment. X-rays showed he had two fractures in the jaw.

Jackson was permitted to return on a chartered flight to St. Petersburg, Fla., where the Cardinals trained. His jaw was wired that night by a surgeon at a St. Petersburg hospital.

Released from the hospital on March 31, Jackson pitched batting practice a few days later. The Cardinals targeted the end of April for his return in a game.

Purpose pitch

After the Cardinals opened the season with wins in three of their first five games, they started Gibson against the Dodgers at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

In the third, Gibson threw a pitch on the outside corner to Snider, a left-handed batter. In the book “From Ghetto to Glory,” Gibson said, “I pitched away to Snider because he was a good pull hitter.”

Snider poked the ball over the screen in left for a two-run home run and a 3-1 Dodgers lead.

The next time Snider came up, in the fifth, “I was still going to pitch him outside,” Gibson said.

Gibson changed his mind when he noticed Snider lean in. “So I threw the next pitch tight to brush him back away from the plate,” Gibson said.

Snider barely saw the fastball. “It came right at me,” Snider said. “It was headed for my ribs and I brought up my right arm instinctively to protect my body. The pitch hit my elbow and the ball dropped straight to the ground. It was no glancing blow. It hit me flush.”

Snider advanced to first and was thrown out attempting to steal second.

When he tried to bat again in the seventh, Snider “felt a sharp pain in that right elbow, like someone jabbing a needle in there” and was lifted for a pinch-hitter.

An examination revealed the elbow was fractured.

“I saw Duke after the game,” Gibson said. “I didn’t apologize to him. He knew I was sorry. He knew I wasn’t throwing at him. I was just trying to move him away from the plate, trying to get him to think and not take things for granted up there.”

In the book “We Would have Played For Nothing,” Snider told former baseball commissioner Fay Vincent, “I know that Bob Gibson has told people he never threw at a player on purpose. Bob Gibson is a nice guy, but he stretches the truth a little bit once in a while.” Boxscore

We meet again

Jackson’s absence from the starting rotation the first few weeks of the 1961 season was a significant setback for the Cardinals. The year before, he won 18 and led the National League in innings pitched (282).

A right-hander, Jackson made his first appearance of the 1961 season on April 26, a month after his injury, in a start against the Braves.

He lost his first three decisions, prompting The Sporting News to note, “After subsisting on liquids and soft foods for a month, Jackson showed he needed a few steaks to beef up his pitching.”

Meanwhile, after sitting out a month, Snider returned on May 19 as a pinch-hitter and was back in the Dodgers’ starting lineup on May 22.

Two days later, the Dodgers opened a series at St. Louis. Jackson started Game 1 and faced Snider for the first time since the spring training accident. Snider walked three times, but didn’t get a hit, and Jackson got his first win of the season. Boxscore

The next night, Gibson started and faced Snider for the first time since he suffered the fractured elbow. Snider got a single in four at-bats. Sandy Koufax pitched a three-hitter and Tommy Davis hit a home run in a 1-0 Dodgers triumph. Boxscore

Keep going

On June 26, Jackson lost to the Braves, sinking his record for the season to 3-8. Manager Solly Hemus dropped him from the starting rotation.

Two weeks later, Hemus was fired and Johnny Keane replaced him. Jackson returned to the rotation and won 11 of his next 12 decisions.

“There’s no pitcher in the league right now who’s better than Larry Jackson,” Keane said to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat.

Jackson finished the season at 14-11 with three shutouts and 211 innings pitched. He made six starts against the Dodgers and was 1-3. Snider hit .294 versus Jackson in 1961 and .219 for his career.

Snider finished the season with 16 home runs and a .296 batting mark. Against Gibson, Snider hit .300 in 1961 and .212 for his career.

 

The Cardinals and Dan Duquette played a prominent role in shaping the baseball career of Rheal Cormier.

Soon after Cormier debuted in the majors with the Cardinals in 1991, Duquette, the Montreal Expos’ general manager, tried to acquire the French-Canadian.

The Cardinals wouldn’t deal Cormier then, but four years later, when Duquette was general manager of the Red Sox, he did obtain Cormier from the Cardinals. The next year, Duquette sent him to the Expos.

A left-hander, Cormier pitched in the big leagues for 16 years, including the first four with the Cardinals. He died March 8, 2021, at 53.

Northern exposure

Cormier was born in the province of New Brunswick on the east coast of Canada. His father, Ronald, was a truck driver. According to the Boston Globe, Cormier’s mother, Jeannette, was 13 when she had the first of her five children with Ronald.

“My father used to say that my mother could get pregnant from eye contact,” Cormier told reporter Gordon Edes.

When Jeannette was 19, and the mother of five, she worked as a packager for a Canadian lobster company.

The Cormier family made their home in the village of Saint-Andre, a potato farming area of New Brunswick. Their house “was little more than a shack,” the Philadelphia Daily News reported. “There was no insulation in the cracked walls. When it snowed, it wasn’t unusual to wake up in the morning to find small white drifts between the beds.”

The family eventually moved into a three-bedroom trailer.

Rheal loved to play baseball. His mother would give him flour to draw bases and foul lines on the pavement, he told the Boston Globe.

“We used to play baseball in the snow banks, sometimes when it was minus-10,” Cormier recalled.

Cormier developed his talent playing in youth leagues. The Expos wanted to sign him when he graduated high school, Cormier told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “but the money wasn’t right: $5,000.”

Cormier, whose first language was French, attended a community college in Rhode Island. He got chosen by the Cardinals in the sixth round of the 1988 amateur draft and signed for $35,000.

A few years later, when he started making major-league money, he bought his parents a new house and car.

Starting out

Cormier played for Team Canada in the 1988 Summer Olympics and entered the Cardinals’ farm system in 1989. According to the Cardinals’ media guide, he spent off-seasons working as a lumberjack.

In August 1991, the Cardinals called up Cormier, 24, from the minors. He made his debut on Aug. 15 in a start against the Mets at St. Louis and got the win. Boxscore

“After I got through the first inning, I told myself, ‘I can pitch here,’ ” Cormier said to the Post-Dispatch.

Cardinals manager Joe Torre said, “I really liked his poise.”

With the win, Cormier became:

_ The first Cardinals starting pitcher to win his debut since Joe Magrane in April 1985.

_ The first Cardinals left-handed starter to win since Magrane in September 1990.

_ The first French-Canadian to win in the National League since Claude Raymond for the Expos in April 1971.

_ The first French-Canadian to win for the Cardinals since Ron Piche in August 1966.

Oh, Canada

Cormier was 4-5 for the 1991 Cardinals but impressed with his command, striking out 38 and issuing a mere eight walks. He appealed to Duquette, the newly appointed Expos general manager, whose mandate was “to create excitement about a team with meager prospects,” Michael Farber of the Montreal Gazette noted.

The Cardinals were in the market for Expos first baseman Andres Galarraga and Duquette, attempting his first trade, was willing to deal Galarraga for Cormier, whose heritage, Farber wrote, “made him more appealing than his stats.”

Cormier “could be a huge asset to the Expos, at least to get people in Montreal talking about the team,” The Sporting News observed.

The Expos’ interest in Cormier was big news in New Brunswick. “It was the talk of the town, let me tell you,” Cormier said to the Post-Dispatch. “People were talking about it all around.”

For the Cardinals, who had a shortage of left-handed starters, Cormier was “the one guy I didn’t want to trade,” manager Joe Torre said.

Cardinals general manager Dal Maxvill said, “I know Joe thinks the world of him. He’s a little bulldog out there.”

The Expos took pitcher Ken Hill from the Cardinals in exchange for Galarraga.

“We talked long and hard about Cormier,” Duquette said. “They told me they would not give up Cormier.”

Cormier said, “I definitely didn’t want to get traded. First of all, I like St. Louis. Second of all, playing in Montreal would be a lot of pressure. There is pressure now, but just imagine how much more there would be if I was pitching in Montreal.”

Highs and lows

In January 1992, Cormier got married. Three months later, he pitched in Canada for the first time as a major-leaguer, starting for the Cardinals at Montreal in the Expos’ home opener. Cormier’s mother, two brothers and a sister were among the 40,907 in attendance.

An error by shortstop Ozzie Smith led to two unearned runs and the Expos won, 3-2. Boxscore

In four seasons (1991-94), Cormier was 24-23 for the Cardinals, but teammate Todd Zeile told the Post-Dispatch, “Ask any of the catchers and they’ll tell you he had the best stuff on the staff.”

On April 9, 1995, the Cardinals traded Cormier and outfielder Mark Whiten to the Red Sox for third baseman Scott Cooper and pitcher Cory Bailey. The Cardinals tried to convince the Red Sox to take pitcher Tom Urbani instead of Cormier, but Duquette said no deal would be made without Cormier. “They were pretty adamant about it,” Torre said.

Duquette traded Cormier to the Expos in January 1996. He pitched a three-hit shutout against the Cardinals in April. Boxscore

After making one start in 1997, Cormier hurt his left elbow and had reconstructive surgery. He sat out the 1998 season, returned to the Red Sox and became a durable reliever. He was with the Phillies from 2001-2006. His best season was 2003 when he was 8-0 with a 1.70 ERA.

In July 2006, “the Phillies had a trade for Cormier worked out with the Cardinals, but that fell apart,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Instead, Cormier was dealt to the Reds and finished his playing career with them.

In 16 seasons in the majors, Cormier was 71-64, including 2-0 against the Cardinals.

Stan Javier seemed destined to become a Cardinals player, but although he had the name, pedigree and skills, it didn’t happen.

Forty years ago, on March 26, 1981, Javier signed with the Cardinals as an amateur free agent.

Stan was the son of Julian Javier, a second baseman who helped the Cardinals to three National League pennants and two World Series championships in the 1960s.

Julian named his son in honor of Stan Musial, who was Julian’s Cardinals teammate from 1960-63.

An outfielder and first baseman who batted from both sides, Stan Javier went on to play 17 seasons in the majors for eight teams, but not the Cardinals.

As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch aptly noted, “Stan Javier would have been an ideal Cardinals player, a switch-hitter who can run and play more than one position.”

A good name

Stan Javier was born on Jan. 9, 1964, and raised in the Dominican Republic. He was one of five children of Julian and Ynez Javier. Stan’s older brother, Julian Jr., became a doctor.

Asked why he named a son Stan, Julian Sr. told the Post-Dispatch, “I wanted my son to be like Stan Musial. Stan Musial is a gentleman.”

Musial was playing in his last season in 1963 when Julian Sr. told him that Ynez was pregnant and the child would be a boy. “He said, ‘Why don’t you name him after me?’ ” Julian Sr. told the Post-Dispatch. “I said, ‘Yeah, why not?’ Stan’s a good name for him.”

In 1990, Stan Javier said of Stan Musial, “I don’t know him that well, but I knew who he was and knew all about him when I was growing up in the Dominican.”

When Stan Javier was a toddler, he spent some summers visiting his father in St. Louis and went with him to Busch Memorial Stadium. In 1988, Stan Javier told the Post-Dispatch, “I remember the stadium, the clubhouse, the players _ Lou Brock and Bob Gibson.”

Making an impression

Stan Javier developed into a talented youth baseball player in the Dominican Republic. In 1981, soon after Stan turned 17, he and his father showed up at Cardinals spring training camp in Florida. Julian Sr. wanted the Cardinals to take a look at his son and offer him a contract.

Impressed, the Cardinals signed Stan and told him to report in June to their farm team in Johnson City, Tenn., following his graduation from high school in the Dominican Republic.

Stan hit .250 in 53 games for Johnson City in 1981. At home after the season, he worked with his father to improve his game. “He pitched batting practice to me a lot and worked on my stance,” Stan said to The Sporting News.

When Stan reported to Johnson City in 1982, he hit “with authority,” said director of player development Lee Thomas.

Wearing No. 6, the same as Musial had, and playing on a Johnson City team with Vince Coleman and Terry Pendleton, Stan hit .276 in 57 games. “Stan definitely is a major-league prospect,” Johnson City manager Rich Hacker told The Sporting News.

All business 

On Jan. 24, 1983, the Cardinals and Yankees traded minor leaguers. The Cardinals sent Javier and infielder Bobby Meacham to the Yankees for outfielder Bob Helson and pitchers Steve Fincher and Marty Mason.

The Post-Dispatch reported the deal was to appease Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who held hard feelings toward the Cardinals for sending him an injured player, Bob Sykes, in exchange for Willie McGee 15 months earlier.

In 1988, looking back on the deal, Stan Javier told the Post-Dispatch, “That trade was the hardest thing for me … I really was just starting to learn how to play.”

The Yankees brought Stan to the majors in April 1984. Eight months later, he was part of a package sent by the Yankees to the Athletics for Rickey Henderson.

Be yourself

Stan became a role player for the Athletics under manager Tony La Russa.

In 1988, Julian Sr. told the Post-Dispatch, “My son has been playing good ball and he’ll be a good player, but not like Stan Musial.”

“I wish I could hit like Stan Musial and catch the ball like Julian Javier,” Stan Javier said to reporter Dave Luecking. “That would be nice. I admire those players, but there’s no way I can be those two. You have to be your own person. If you try to be like someone else, you’re in trouble. I hit like Stan Javier and catch like Stan Javier.”

Stan got to play in two World Series (1988 and 1989) with the Athletics. According to the Post-Dispatch, Julian and Stan Javier were the third father and son to get World Series hits. The others were Jim and Mike Hegan, and Bob and Terry Kennedy.

Happy homecoming

In May 1990, the Athletics traded Stan to the Dodgers for Willie Randolph. When the Dodgers went to St. Louis that month for a series against the Cardinals, Stan got to play at Busch Memorial Stadium for the first time as a major leaguer. He hadn’t been to the ballpark since he was a child.

On May 26, he entered the game as a substitute and hit a three-run triple against Scott Terry. Boxscore

The next night, Stan, starting in center field and batting second, was 4-for-6 against the Cardinals. He scored three runs and drove in one. Boxscore

For the series, Stan was 5-for-8 with four RBI.

“It felt gratifying to have a good game here,” Stan told the Post-Dispatch.

Swing and miss

After La Russa left the Athletics to manage the Cardinals, he and general manager Walt Jocketty tried to acquire Stan.

The Cardinals had “considerable interest” in making a trade with the Giants for Stan in November 1998, the Post-Dispatch reported, but the Astros got him instead.

When Stan became a free agent after the 1999 season, the Post-Dispatch predicted the Cardinals would “go hard after Stan.”

“I think he can play a lot and protect us in the outfield,” Jocketty said.

Instead, Stan signed with the Mariners and finished his playing days with them. Video

Stan produced 1,358 career hits. He batted .270 against left-handers and .269 versus right-handers.

His career numbers against the Cardinals included a .366 on-base percentage and .271 batting average.

The Cardinals tried to beat two teams in one day. Adding to the challenge, they tried to do it against a pair of aces, Sal Maglie and Warren Spahn.

On Sept. 13, 1951, at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis, the Cardinals played an afternoon game against the Giants and a night game versus the Braves.

According to The Sporting News, it was the first time since 1899 that a big-league club faced two opponents in the same day.

The Cardinals split the unusual doubleheader, beating the Giants and losing to the Braves.

Stormy weather

Thursday, Sept. 13, was supposed to be a day off for the Cardinals, but rainouts changed the schedule.

When the Braves and Cardinals were rained out of a game on June 23, it was rescheduled for the night of Sept. 13.

The Giants got involved when their Sept. 12 game with the Cardinals was rained out. Because the Giants had a day off Sept. 13 and weren’t scheduled to come back to St. Louis, it was proposed that the game be played then.

National League president Ford Frick approved the plan to have the Cardinals take on the Giants and Braves on the same day, but denied a request by Cardinals owner Fred Saigh to have both games played in the evening, the New York Daily News reported.

The start of the game against the Giants was scheduled for 2:30 p.m. and the game versus the Braves was given an 8:30 p.m. start.

“To think, this was to have been an open date, a chance to loaf or go fishing,” Cardinals manager Marty Marion said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

St. Louis spoilers

The Giants, 5.5 games behind the first-place Dodgers, were trying to tighten the pennant race. According to the Daily News, they arrived at Sportsman’s Park on Sept. 13 “full of hope” because Sal Maglie was starting for them. Maglie was 20-5 and had won his last five decisions. Cardinals starter Tom Poholsky was 5-12.

To the Giants’ dismay, when the game got under way Maglie “didn’t have control and didn’t have a thing on the ball when he did get it over,” the Daily News noted.

The Cardinals scored six runs in the second inning against Maglie and reliever Monty Kennedy, but the uprising came with a price. Poholsky, whose RBI-single knocked Maglie out of the game, was spiked near the right knee by catcher Wes Westrum when he slid home on Red Schoendienst’s hit and had to leave.

Rookie Dick Bokelmann replaced Poholsky to start the third and was tasked with protecting the 6-0 lead.

An unusual play occurred in the bottom half of the inning. Kennedy threw a pitch behind Vern Benson’s back. In trying to duck the pitch, Benson tilted his bat back. The ball struck the bat and caromed toward the mound.

“For a few seconds, everybody stood still, figuring it had to be a foul ball,” the Daily News reported.

Instead, it was ruled to be in play. Kennedy finally picked up the ball and tossed to first baseman Whitey Lockman for the out. According to the Daily News, “Benson just stood at the plate in bewilderment.”

The Giants scored twice against Bokelmann in the sixth and got two more in the eighth before Gerry Staley relieved and saved the 6-4 victory for the Cardinals. Boxscore

The loss dropped the Giants six games behind the Dodgers and gave Brooklyn a magic number of 10. Any combination of Dodgers wins or Giants losses totaling 10 would clinch the pennant for Brooklyn. “That just about does it for the Giants,” the Daily News declared.

Sensational Spahn

Between games, the Cardinals ate dinner and skipped batting practice. Braves starter Warren Spahn took advantage. He pitched a one-hitter in the night game, a 2-0 Braves victory.

“It was the best game I ever pitched,” Spahn told the Boston Globe.

The only Cardinals to reach base were Chuck Diering on a leadoff walk in the third and pitcher Al Brazle on a bloop single with one out in the sixth. Brazle’s floater fell just beyond the reach of second baseman Roy Hartsfield.

“It was a changeup,” Spahn said. “It was a good pitch, outside, just where I wanted it. He was lucky. I’d throw the same pitch to Brazle nine times in a row under the same circumstances.”

The win was Spahn’s 20th of the season and his fifth against the Cardinals in six decisions. His catcher for the game was the former Cardinal, Walker Cooper.

Spahn survived a scare in the third when he stopped a hard grounder by Del Rice with his hands. The glove and the ring finger of his pitching hand took the brunt of the shock, the Boston Globe reported. Boxscore

What a finish

The Giants recovered from their Sept. 13 loss to the Cardinals and won 12 of their final 13 regular-season games.

They finished in a first-place tie with the Dodgers, who lost nine of their last 17 regular-season games.

In a best-of-three playoff to determine the National League champion, the Giants prevailed, winning Game 3 on Bobby Thomson’s walkoff home run.

Chuck Dressen thumbed his nose at being tossed.

On June 6, 1951, at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, Dressen, the Dodgers’ manager, was ejected in the fifth inning for complaining about ball and strike calls while Peanuts Lowrey batted for the Cardinals.

After plate umpire Artie Gore motioned for Dressen to take a hike, the manager stormed out of the dugout, kicked dirt around the plate and gesticulated wildly.

The performance ended when Dressen departed down the dugout steps, but it was just the first act in an afternoon of theatrics.

Costume party

According to the New York Daily News, Dressen went “to the cubicle beneath the stands, where it is possible to do a little bootleg managing.”

Unsatisfied with that arrangement, Dressen dreamed up a different scheme. According to The Sporting News, Dressen put on a groundskeeper’s cap and jacket and slipped into a corner of the Dodgers’ dugout, hoping he wouldn’t be noticed. He was about to pick up a rake to enhance the disguise when Cardinals manager Marty Marion spotted him and informed Gore.

“Marty turned me in when I was giving out instructions from the dugout,” Dressen told The Sporting News.

After being ordered by Gore to leave the dugout, Dressen headed for the clubhouse, but he wasn’t done.

Sitting pretty

In the seventh inning, Dressen, wearing street clothes, positioned himself in a box seat next to the Dodgers’ dugout on the first-base side.

Ever vigilant, Marion detected Dressen and again informed Gore. According to Marion, Gore replied, “There is nothing wrong with that, but if you see him doing anything to run the team from there, you let me know and I’ll chase him,” the New York Daily News reported.

Marion saw shortstop Pee Wee Reese, the Dodgers’ captain, go over to Dressen’s seat.

“Dressen was giving the signs and motioned for Reese to get some pitchers warmed up,” Marion told The Sporting News. “He was making a joke of the game.”

When Marion advised Gore what he had seen, Gore told Dressen to leave. Dressen watched the rest of the game from team owner Walter O’Malley’s private perch under the mezzanine behind home plate.

Asked whether he was giving instructions to Reese, Dressen “grinned and said he wasn’t that dumb,” the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported.

“I just told Pee Wee to find out from Gore what Marion was complaining about,” Dressen said. “I wouldn’t try to relay signs right out there in the open.”

According to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, Dressen said he sat in the box seat at the request of a photographer. Dressen told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle the photos were for a shoe polish ad.

Some nerve

The Dodgers won, 3-2. Roy Campanella drove in all the Dodgers’ runs and Ralph Branca pitched a complete game. Boxscore

Marion protested the game on the grounds that Dressen broke the rules when he didn’t stay away after being ejected in the fifth inning.

National League president Ford Frick fined Dressen $100 for “failure to leave the bench when ejected and for masquerading in the dugout,” but denied the protest.

Miffed that Marion turned him in to Gore, Dressen told The Sporting News, “If I ever get the chance, you can bet I’ll pour it on him good. I don’t appreciate what he did to me.”

Nearly 50 years later, on June 9, 1999, in a night game against the Blue Jays, Mets manager Bobby Valentine returned to the dugout disguised in sunglasses and a fake moustache after being ejected. Valentine said he was fined $5,000 and suspended for two games for the prank. Video