Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Predictably, a brawl involving two of the most temperamental characters in the major leagues, “The Mad Hungarian” and “One Tough Dominican,” was both intense and cartoonish.

Forty years ago, on May 6, 1977, a melee among the Astros and Cardinals occurred in the ninth inning of a game at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

Astros batter Cesar Cedeno took issue with being drilled by a pitch from Cardinals reliever Al Hrabosky, the self-psyching showman known as “The Mad Hungarian.”

When Cedeno charged the mound, both dugouts emptied and fights erupted across the field, lasting 10 minutes before the game could resume.

Besides Hrabosky and Cedeno, the most prominent combatants included:

_ Joaquin Andujar, the Astros pitcher and self-proclaimed “One Tough Dominican,” who, like Cedeno, would play for the Cardinals in the 1980s.

_ Ted Simmons, the strong-willed Cardinals catcher and on-field leader.

_ Roger Freed, the burly and popular Cardinals pinch-hitter.

_ Dave Rader, a Cardinals backup catcher and former all-league high school football linebacker.

_ Cliff Johnson, a strapping 6-foot-4 Astros power hitter.

Asked by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to summarize the histrionics, Astros player Enos Cabell aptly declared: “It was a goodie.”

Slap happy

Tensions began to build in the seventh inning. With the Cardinals ahead, 2-0, Johnson was grazed by a pitch from starter Pete Falcone.

Simmons, crouched behind the plate, and Johnson exchanged words.

“He didn’t think I got hit,” Johnson told the Post-Dispatch.

In what he said was a playful gesture, Johnson slapped Simmons in the head.

“I told him, ‘Clifford, relax,’ ” Simmons said. “He told me, ‘Take it easy.’ ”

Said Johnson: “I was just trying to get his attention.”

In the eighth, Hrabosky relieved Falcone and retired the Astros in order. The Cardinals scored twice in the bottom half of the inning and took a 4-0 lead into the ninth.

Mind games

As Cedeno approached the plate to lead off the ninth, Hrabosky went behind the mound, turned his back on the batter and went into his self-motivating meditation act.

Miffed, Cedeno left the batter’s box, went to the on-deck circle, used a rag to apply pine tar to his bat handle and waited for Hrabosky to get onto the mound.

Bob Engel, home plate umpire, “waved in disgust” for Hrabosky to pitch, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Hrabosky “threw up his hands in seeming protest,” wrote Rick Hummel.

The first pitch, a fastball, plunked Cedeno in the left arm.

Cedeno dropped his bat and advanced toward the mound. Hrabosky dropped his glove and waited.

As they neared, Cedeno threw a punch. Hrabosky ducked, avoiding the blow.

“If I get knocked down, I’m in a world of trouble,” Hrabosky said.

Simmons stormed toward Cedeno and jumped on his back.

Bedlam reigns

Battles broke out all over.

Andujar, at the center of a fight near the third-base line, swung wildly in every direction. One of his swipes nearly clipped umpire Bill Williams in the jaw.

After Williams ejected Andujar, the pitcher desperately tried to get at the umpire and had to be restrained by coach Deacon Jones and teammate Bob Watson. Colleague John McSherry prevented Williams from going after Andujar, according to United Press International.

Cedeno was involved in multiple skirmishes, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Simmons, after rescuing Hrabosky, dived “into a pileup in an attempt at peacemaking” and then shed “his catching equipment, with the exception of one shin guard, and motioned the Astros to come after him if they wished,” Hummel reported.

Though some Astros moved toward him, none dared take on Simmons.

“They were doing a lot of woofing,” Simmons said.

Johnson, the Astros outfielder, tried to lighten the mood by shadow boxing some of the Cardinals, comically tugging at an umpire’s jacket and pretending to kick another umpire in the rear.

As the field began to clear, Cedeno and Freed got into a fight near the first-base line. While the two threw punches, Rader bolted toward Cedeno, tackled him around the midsection and drove him back 15 yards, Hummel wrote. Video

Show goes on

Andujar and Freed were the only players ejected.

When the game resumed, Hrabosky and Simmons still were the St. Louis battery and Cedeno was the base runner at first.

Cedeno swiped second and Watson drew a walk.

Hrabosky got Joe Ferguson to hit into a third-to-first double play, with Watson advancing to second. Johnson doubled, driving in Watson and making the score 4-1.

Art Howe walked, bringing the potential tying run to the plate. Hrabosky finally ended the drama by getting Cabell to line out to shortstop Garry Templeton. Boxscore

Lighten up

Hrabosky claimed the pitch that struck Cedeno wasn’t intentional. “I just thought it was an inside pitch,” he told the Associated Press. “I’ve been told there are certain people I’m supposed to pitch up and in. I know there’s a certain way I have to pitch him and I’m going to do it.”

Said Simmons: “I didn’t call for it (a brushback pitch). I think you have to assume it was an accident.”

The Astros weren’t buying that explanation. “There should have been more punches thrown,” said Watson. “You don’t hit a man and get away with it. It was flagrant. The umpire should have kicked Hrabosky out.”

In the clubhouse, after tempers cooled, Johnson, the prankster, waited for Cedeno to head to the showers, then placed an autographed photo of Hrabosky on his teammate’s chair. The picture was inscribed, “Next time, it’ll be two.”

When Cedeno returned to his locker and saw the photo, he looked around the clubhouse, yelled, “Damn you, Johnson,” and laughed.

Previously: Cesar Cedeno and his amazing month with Cardinals

Seeking a power bat for a lineup struggling to score, the Cardinals got the slugger they wanted but paid a hefty price, dealing a player who would win the National League batting title.

When the Cardinals traded outfielder Harry Walker, 28, and pitcher Freddy Schmidt, 31, to the Phillies for outfielder Ron Northey 70 years ago on May 3, 1947, the swap appeared to favor them.

Northey, 27, was an established left-handed pull hitter whose swing appeared tailored to take advantage of the short distance (310 feet) down the line from home plate to the right field wall at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis.

Walker, also a left-handed batter, lacked Northey’s power.

“Walker, a great fielder and fast man, wasn’t hitting far enough or long enough to suit” the Cardinals, The Sporting News reported.

The Cardinals, though, didn’t know Walker was close to mastering a revamped swing that would lead to a breakthrough.

Seeking a groove

After winning the 1946 World Series championship, the Cardinals had a dreadful start to the 1947 season. The Cardinals lost 10 of their first 12 games, including the last eight in a row. They scored two runs or less in five of those 10 losses.

St. Louis began the season with a starting outfield of Dick Sisler in left, Walker in center and Enos Slaughter in right, with Stan Musial at first base.

Walker had debuted in the big leagues with the 1940 Cardinals. He had his best year for St. Louis in 1943, batting .294 with 166 hits.

After that season, Walker joined the Army, serving with General George Patton’s unit in Europe, and was awarded the Bronze Star for valor and the Purple Heart, according to a biography by the Society for American Baseball Research.

When Walker returned to the Cardinals in 1946, he platooned with Terry Moore in center field. Trying to hit for power, Walker became a pull hitter but was unsuccessful. He batted .237 with 27 RBI.

During that season, Walker sought the advice of his brother, Dodgers outfielder Dixie Walker, who urged his sibling to close his batting stance and spray the ball to all fields.

During the 1946 World Series against the Red Sox, Walker began to see positive results from the change. He batted .412 (7-for-17) with six RBI, including the double that drove in Slaughter from first base with the winning run in Game 7.

However, when Walker started slowly in 1947, batting .200 with no RBI in 10 games, the Cardinals stepped up efforts to acquire Northey.

Rough on righties

Northey had debuted in the big leagues with the 1942 Phillies. The stocky outfielder had a strong throwing arm and a power stroke.

He also had an ear problem. In his freshman year at Duke University, Northey was beaned by a pitch and experienced a buzzing in his ears ever since, according to The Sporting News.

“It is so annoying that Northey often is forced to rattle papers to keep his mind off the buzz,” The Sporting News reported. “When he goes to bed, he falls asleep with his radio on.”

Northey had his best year with the Phillies in 1944 when he batted .288 with 35 doubles, 22 home runs and 104 RBI.

He pounded right-handed pitchers and was vulnerable against left-handers. In 1946, Northey batted .266 with 16 home runs versus right-handers and .159 with no home runs against left-handers.

In 1947, Northey reported late to spring training after unsuccessfully holding out for more pay. He also clashed with Phillies manager Ben Chapman.

Walker was in New York with the Cardinals and about to board a train for their trip to Boston when he was informed he and Schmidt had been dealt to the Phillies for Northey.

Schmidt, a right-hander, had experienced a breakout season with the 1944 Cardinals, posting a 7-3 record and 3.15 ERA in 37 appearances. He was 1-0 with a 3.29 ERA in 1946.

Let ‘er rip

In reporting the trade, The Sporting News described Northey as a “robust Pennsylvanian who swings from his heels.”

Cardinals owner Sam Breadon told the St. Louis Star-Times, “Harry Walker is a fine defensive outfielder, but what we need right now is punch and I think Northey has it.”

Northey joined the Cardinals in Boston for their series with the Braves and was placed in the lineup for a Sunday doubleheader on May 4. He singled and scored in the opener, a 4-3 Braves victory that extended the St. Louis losing streak to nine.

In the second game, Northey went 3-for-4 with four RBI and three runs scored, sparking St. Louis to a 9-0 triumph. He produced a two-run home run off starter Mort Cooper, the former Cardinal ace, in the fourth, a solo home run against Glenn Elliott in the sixth and a RBI-single off Dick Mulligan in the seventh. Boxscore

Hot hitting

Walker went on a tear as soon as he joined the Phillies, getting 10 hits in his first 24 at-bats. He had perfected the batting style his brother had suggested.

In 130 games for the 1947 Phillies, Walker batted .371 with 181 hits, including 28 doubles and a league-leading 16 triples.

Even with his 5-for-25 effort for the Cardinals added to his season total, Walker easily won the NL batting crown at .363. The runner-up, Bob Elliott of the Braves, hit .317.

Walker also placed second in the NL in on-base percentage at .436. Only the Reds’ Augie Galan (.449) did better.

Northey batted .293 with 15 home runs and 63 RBI in 110 games for the 1947 Cardinals. True to form, he hit .313 versus right-handers and .154 against left-handers.

The Cardinals ended the 1947 season in second place at 89-65, five behind the Dodgers.

Northey played two more seasons for St. Louis, batting .321 with 13 home runs in 1948 and .260 with seven home runs in 1949.

Walker batted .292 for the 1948 Phillies, was traded to the Cubs and then shipped to the Reds.

After the 1949 season, in a classic example of what goes around comes around, the Cardinals sent Northey and infielder Lou Klein to the Reds to reacquire Walker.

Previously: Tribute to Freddy Schmidt, star rookie for 1944 Cards

Six months after experiencing the euphoria of winning a World Series championship, the Cardinals plunged into despair when relief pitcher Josh Hancock was killed in a highway accident.

The contributing factors _ Hancock was driving while intoxicated _ raised questions about the club’s substance abuse awareness and led to the Cardinals changing policies regarding alcohol in the clubhouse and on charter flights.

Ten years ago, on April 29, 2007, Hancock, 29, was killed when his sports utility vehicle crashed into a parked tow truck on a St. Louis road.

As details emerged, the shaken Cardinals struggled to come to grips with the emotional loss of a teammate and the circumstances that led to his death.

Versatile reliever

Hancock debuted in the big leagues with the 2002 Red Sox and also pitched for the Phillies (2003-04) and Reds (2004-05). After being released by the Reds _ they said he was overweight, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported _ Hancock signed with the Cardinals and got a non-roster invitation to spring training in 2006.

Showing an ability to perform multiple bullpen roles, Hancock earned a spot with the 2006 Cardinals. He appeared in 62 regular-season games that year, posting a 3-3 record with one save and a 4.09 ERA.

Hancock didn’t appear in the 2006 World Series _ the Cardinals won four of five against the Tigers to claim the title _ but he earned the respect of manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan, clinching a spot on the 2007 club.

In eight appearances for the 2007 Cardinals, Hancock was 0-1 with a 3.55 ERA. His final appearance was on Saturday afternoon, April 28, when he pitched three innings against the Cubs at St. Louis. Boxscore

After the game, Hancock met friends at Mike Shannon’s Steaks and Seafood restaurant in downtown St. Louis.

When Hancock got ready to leave, restaurant manager Pat Shannon, daughter of Mike Shannon, the Cardinals broadcaster who operated the establishment, told the Post-Dispatch she offered to call a cab for Hancock, but he declined, saying he would walk to the Westin Hotel.

Fatal decisions

At about 12.30 a.m. on Sunday, April 29, Hancock got into his rented 2007 Ford Explorer, left downtown and headed to suburban Clayton, where he was planning to meet teammates Jim Edmonds, Ryan Franklin, Gary Bennett and Adam Kennedy at a cafe, according to the Post-Dispatch.

Hancock, driving on Highway 40, was speeding at 68 mph in a 55 mph zone, according to St. Louis police, and he was talking on a cell phone to a woman who was seeking game tickets. Hancock’s blood alcohol level was 0.157 percent _ nearly twice the legal limit, police said.

As Hancock got near the Forest Park/Grand exit, he came upon a flatbed tow truck that was parked in the left lane. The tow truck, responding to an earlier accident, was flashing its emergency lights.

The driver, Jacob Hargrove, was inside the cab of the tow truck. When he saw Hancock’s vehicle in his rearview mirror, he honked the truck’s horn as a warning. Hancock kept barreling forward. At the last second, police said, Hancock tried to veer right, but was too late.

The Ford Explorer slammed into the right rear of the tow truck. Hargrove wasn’t hurt. Hancock, who wasn’t wearing a seat belt, died instantly of massive head trauma, police said.

Joe Walsh, Cardinals director of security, who was called to the scene to provide positive identification, told the Post-Dispatch, “If I hadn’t known him, I would have had a very tough time” identifying Hancock.

A tin of marijuana was found inside Hancock’s vehicle, police said.

“Evidently, whether it was the cell phone usage, the impairment of the alcohol, or the speed, he didn’t try to change lanes” in time, said St. Louis police chief Joe Mokwa.

Shock in St. Louis

At about 4 a.m., Walsh informed Cardinals president Mark Lamping and general manager Walt Jocketty of Hancock’s death. La Russa called Hancock’s father in Mississippi and delivered the news.

“The pain our organization feels today is unspeakable,” said Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt.

The Cubs agreed to the Cardinals’ request to call off their April 29 game that Sunday afternoon at Busch Stadium.

Hancock, single, was survived by his parents, a sister and a brother. A memorial service was scheduled for Thursday, May 3, in Tupelo, Miss. DeWitt arranged for a charter flight to take the team to the service after they played a three-game series against the Brewers at Milwaukee.

Signs of trouble

While the Cardinals were in Milwaukee, the Post-Dispatch reported that Hancock had been involved in another accident three days before his death.

At 5:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 26, Hancock was driving a GMC Denali when, according to a police report, he edged the vehicle into an intersection in Sauget, Ill., and was struck by a tractor-trailer truck. The front bumper of Hancock’s vehicle was torn off.

Hancock, uninjured, arrived late in the Cardinals clubhouse for that afternoon’s game against the Reds at Busch Stadium. La Russa later said he reprimanded Hancock for being late, but didn’t know about the accident.

In Milwaukee, as reporters dug for details, a defensive La Russa said he would swing a fungo bat at any journalist he believed was asking questions with “insincerity.”

A month earlier, La Russa had been arrested in Jupiter, Fla., the Cardinals’ spring training home, and charged with driving under the influence. His situation was drawing media scrutiny about his ability to effectively deal with players regarding alcohol issues.

The Post-Dispatch revealed that some of Hancock’s teammates had spoken to the pitcher about his drinking.

Rest in peace

The shell-shocked Cardinals lost all three of their games in Milwaukee and returned to St. Louis on May 2. The next morning, the Cardinals flew to Mississippi for Hancock’s memorial service.

DeWitt gave the Hancock family a framed photo of the pitcher, a replica of the 2006 World Series ring and an American flag that flew over Busch Stadium during Hancock’s final game, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Relief pitcher Randy Flores was the only member of the Cardinals to speak during the service.

A day later, May 4, Cardinals management said the club would ban alcohol from their Busch Stadium clubhouse and on charter flights returning to St. Louis.

Previously: Aaron Miles keyed Cardinals’ comebacks of 2006

Given a pair of assignments that took him outside his customary role, Bob Tewksbury delivered on both and produced an intriguing victory for the Cardinals.

Twenty-five years ago, on April 25, 1992, Tewksbury, a starting pitcher, was brought into a game against the Expos as an emergency reliever for a depleted Cardinals bullpen.

He also was tasked with making a plate appearance with two outs and the potential winning run at third base, a situation which usually would have called for a pinch-hitter.

Defying the odds, Tewksbury pitched two innings of scoreless relief and got the hit that brought St. Louis a walkoff win.

April drama

Looking to jump-start their season after losing nine of their first 15, the Cardinals opened a three-game series against the Expos at St. Louis on April 24, 1992. Trailing 3-2 with two outs and none on in the ninth, the Cardinals scored two runs off closer John Wetteland and won, 4-3. Boxscore

The next night, the starting pitching matchup was Ken Hill, the former Cardinal, for the Expos against Jose DeLeon. The Cardinals tied the score, 1-1, in the eighth on a Ray Lankford home run off Hill.

Relief pitching for both teams was sharp and the score remained tied through 15 innings.

In the 16th, after having used all six pitchers in his bullpen, Cardinals manager Joe Torre called on Tewksbury, who hadn’t made a relief appearance since May 5, 1990.

Tewksbury held the Expos scoreless in the 16th and 17th, allowing one base runner, Marquis Grissom, who singled.

Batter up

In the bottom half of the 17th, with Mel Rojas in his fourth inning of relief for the Expos, Rex Hudler and Gerald Perry opened with consecutive singles, but Brian Jordan grounded into a double play.

With Hudler on third and two outs, Torre, out of position players on the bench, let Tewksbury bat.

Tewksbury had produced nine hits and two RBI for the 1991 Cardinals and seven hits and two RBI for the 1990 Cardinals. He got his first big-league RBI in 1989 with a single for the Cardinals at Montreal against the Expos’ Andy McGaffigan.

In 1992, Tewksbury was hitless in six at-bats before facing the Expos.

Confident swing

Tewksbury took the first pitch from Rojas for ball one.

On the next delivery, Tewksbury swung and lined the ball over the head of left fielder John Vander Wal for a game-winning single.

“That’s the hardest ball I’ve ever hit,” Tewksbury told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I felt confident going to the plate. I went to the batting cage three times today to hit.”

The RBI was Tewksbury’s sixth in 120 career at-bats in the big leagues. He would finish his career with a .132 batting average and 19 RBI. To put into perspective the rarity of his hitting feat, consider that Tewksbury batted .073 (3-for-41) in his career against the Expos.

For his effort, Tewksbury also earned the win, the first and only one he would get in relief in his 13 years in the major leagues. His other 109 big-league wins all came as a starter. Boxscore

Previously: Cards turned from skeptics to supporters of Bob Tewksbury

Proving he was recovered from major surgery and still possessed the ability to alter the outcome of a game, Ray Lankford dazzled the Dodgers in an epic ninth-inning performance that delivered a victory for the Cardinals against one of their former standouts.

In his first game since undergoing an off-season rotator cuff operation on his left shoulder, Lankford sparked a Cardinals comeback against the Dodgers and their closer, Todd Worrell, 20 years ago on April 22, 1997.

The Cardinals trailed by a run with two outs and none on in the ninth when Lankford performed his magic.

Help wanted

The Cardinals went to Los Angeles to complete a road trip that began with three games in Miami against the Marlins and continued with three versus the Padres in Honolulu.

Lankford, working his way back to form on an injury rehabilitation assignment with the Class A minor-league affiliate at Prince William, Va., initially wasn’t expected to rejoin the Cardinals until May 1.

However, when the Cardinals struggled to score five total runs over four games _ a pair of 2-1 losses to the Marlins and wins of 1-0 and 2-1 over the Padres _ general manager Walt Jocketty sent Jerry Walker, vice president for player personnel, to watch Lankford at Prince William.

When Jocketty received a glowing report _ “Jerry said he was swinging the bat well and throwing well,” Jocketty told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch _ the Cardinals brought Lankford to Los Angeles for the series opener against the Dodgers.

Call the closer

La Russa put Lankford in center field and batted him third in the order, behind Ron Gant and ahead of Brian Jordan, against Dodgers starter Pedro Astacio. Lankford drew a walk in the first inning, grounded out in the third, doubled in the fifth and flied out in the seventh.

In the ninth, Dodgers manager Bill Russell brought in Worrell to protect a 4-3 lead.

Worrell, 37, had pitched six seasons (1985-89 and 1992) for the Cardinals, amassing 129 saves and a 2.56 ERA. He was a key member of their 1985 and 1987 pennant-winning clubs.

The former Cardinal had gotten off to a good start for the 1997 Dodgers, with five saves and a 1.12 ERA.

Speed burns

Worrell appeared on his way to a routine save against the Cardinals. He retired Delino DeShields on a groundout and struck out Gant.

Lankford came up next and reached first safely on an infield single.

With Jordan at the plate, Lankford swiped second. Then he stole third.

“When we let catchers know that we’re running, that can kind of mess them up a little,” Lankford said.

A rattled Worrell walked Jordan.

“The prevailing theory is that when Lankford got to third with the tying run Worrell was reluctant to throw his slider for fear he would bounce it in the dirt,” wrote Rick Hummel of the Post-Dispatch.

The next batter, Gary Gaetti, was 2-for-19 on the season with runners in scoring position. With Jordan running on the pitch, Worrell grooved a fastball that Gaetti pulled into the left-field corner, scoring Lankford and Jordan and giving the Cardinals a 5-4 lead.

John Mabry followed with a double to right-center, scoring Gaetti.

“You don’t see that happen very often when Todd can’t hold the lead,” Russell told the Los Angeles Times.

Said Worrell: “Some nights you have it, some nights you don’t. I can’t get the third out. It makes it hard to swallow.”

Cardinals closer Dennis Eckersley set down the Dodgers in order in the bottom of the ninth, sealing the 6-4 St. Louis victory. Boxscore

Pressure points

“I figured (Lankford) would provide a spark,” said Jocketty. “I think he put some life into the team.”

Said La Russa: “Could it be any better than that? It was just the way he did it. He got base hits, he walked, he stole bases, he played good defense. Wow.”

The next night, April 23, the Dodgers led the Cardinals, 2-1, with one out and the bases empty in the ninth when Russell brought in Worrell. Gaetti greeted him with an infield single and was lifted for a pinch-runner, Steve Scarsone.

Mabry struck out and Scarsone swiped second.

Up next was Gant. He hit a towering fly into a 25-mph wind to left that was caught for the final out. “If the wind hadn’t been blowing in,” said Worrell, “that ball might have gone out.” Boxscore

Worrell, in the last year of an 11-season major-league career, posted 35 saves for the 1997 Dodgers, but had a 2-6 record and 5.28 ERA.

Lankford had one of his best Cardinals seasons in 1997. He batted .295 with 36 doubles, 31 home runs, 98 RBI and 21 stolen bases in 133 games. His on-base percentage of .411 was his single-season career high.

Previously: Ray Lankford found redemption in 5-strikeout game

Embracing the aloha spirit, the Cardinals accepted an opportunity for a Hawaiian adventure and avoided trouble in paradise.

Agreeing to a request by the Padres, the Cardinals participated in the first regular-season major-league games played in Hawaii 20 years ago in April 1997.

The three games against the Padres in Honolulu were part of a 10,200-mile Cardinals road trip that included stops in Miami and Los Angeles.

“There is a special challenge every season. This will be one of them,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The risk was worth the reward. The Cardinals won two of the three games played in Hawaii, drew large crowds to Aloha Stadium and enjoyed the visit.

“If this isn’t heaven, it’s close to it,” Cardinals outfielder Ron Gant said.

Player approval

The Padres, who in 1996 played the Mets in Monterrey, Mexico, in the first big-league regular-season series outside the United States or Canada, were seeking to expand their fan base and marketing reach by scheduling a 1997 series in Hawaii.

Initially, the Padres asked the Astros to move a series from San Diego to Honolulu, but the Houston club declined.

The Padres then turned to the Cardinals.

Cardinals management approached catcher Tom Pagnozzi, the club’s players union representative, and asked him to put the idea to a vote of his teammates. Pagnozzi said Cardinals players voted almost unanimously to play the Padres in Honolulu rather than San Diego.

“It was not a close vote,” Pagnozzi told the Post-Dispatch. “It was completely one-sided. That surprised me a lot.”

Said Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty: “We gave the players the right to say yes or no. We wouldn’t have done it if the players hadn’t agreed to it.”

Jocketty said the Padres “are paying our expenses over what they would have been if we had played in San Diego.”

While in Hawaii, Cardinals players were to get double the usual amount of meal money _ $125 per day.

“Another 100 beans and I’m going to be styling in Hawaii,” Cardinals reliever Dennis Eckersley said.

Cross country trip

After finishing a homestand in St. Louis on Monday, April 14, the Cardinals went to Miami to play three games with the Marlins. After losing the series finale on Thursday afternoon, April 17, the Cardinals boarded a plane in Fort Lauderdale for a 12-hour trip to Honolulu.

The Padres, who finished a road trip in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, April 16, got to Hawaii on Thursday, April 17, a day ahead of the Cardinals.

“Maybe they’re already drinking Mai Tais,” Cardinals pitcher Todd Stottlemyre said.

The Cardinals arrived in Honolulu at 2 a.m. on Friday, April 18. The Padres scheduled a workout at Aloha Stadium for their players that day. The Cardinals told their players to take the day off.

La Russa told the Post-Dispatch he probably would use the off day to visit the U.S.S. Arizona. Players John Mabry, Mark Sweeney and T.J. Mathews went surfing. Third baseman Gary Gaetti tried snorkeling.

Pitching prowess

The Cardinals and Padres were scheduled to play a doubleheader on Saturday, April 19, starting at 4:05 pm on the artificial surface of Aloha Stadium.

In the opener, Cardinals starting pitcher Matt Morris was struck on his right hand by a Tony Gwynn line drive in the first inning.

Morris completed a scoreless first and batted in the second, then departed when he couldn’t grip the ball.

Mark Petkovsek relieved and pitched six scoreless innings. Mathews and Eckersley finished with a scoreless inning apiece and the Cardinals won, 1-0. The run was scored in the sixth when, with two outs, Brian Jordan doubled, swiped third and went home on catcher John Flaherty’s wild throw. Boxscore

“I had a good fastball down in the zone,” Petkovsek told the Honolulu Advertiser. “As we progressed into the game, I used my changeup and curve a little more.”

The Cardinals won the second game, 2-1, behind the three-hit pitching of Alan Benes and a RBI apiece by Sweeney and Mabry. Boxscore

Attendance for the doubleheader was 37,382.

The Cardinals became the first team to sweep a doubleheader with three total runs since the Indians beat the Blue Jays by the same scores on May 17, 1981.

Second bananas

In the 2:05 pm series finale on Sunday, April 20, the Padres won, 8-2, before a crowd of 40,050. The Cardinals’ highlight was Gant’s inside-the-park home run.

Gant circled the bases and belly-flopped across home plate after center fielder Rickey Henderson crashed into the wall while pursuing the drive. “I thought I had a pretty good jump on it, but when you get out toward the wall it seems like you’re going downhill _ and then I stumbled a little bit,” Henderson told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Boxscore

Reaction from the Cardinals to the Hawaii experience largely was positive.

“The trip wasn’t really a problem,” La Russa said. “We had plenty of time with the day off. The toughest part of this was playing a doubleheader and then coming back the next day to play when it’s really warm.”

La Russa was surprised the Padres organized the Hawaii weekend, not Major League Baseball (which did endorse it). Thus, the Padres were promoted more heavily and more favorably than the Cardinals.

In his column for the Star-Bulletin, Dave Reardon wrote, “La Russa didn’t like his team being billed as the Washington Capitals to the Padres’ Harlem Globetrotters. Can’t blame him.”

After the finale, the Cardinals went to Los Angeles, had an off day on Monday, April 21, and opened a series against the Dodgers with a 6-4 victory on Tuesday, April 22.

Previously: Before Kolten Wong, Joe DeSa gave Cards Hawaiian punch