Johnny Lindell faced the Cardinals in a World Series as a Yankees outfielder and in a regular season as a pitcher for the Pirates and Phillies. He also played for the Cardinals for a couple of months when they sought power for their lineup.

Seventy years ago, on May 15, 1950, the Cardinals purchased the contract of Lindell from the Yankees for the $10,000 waiver price.

Lindell was an intriguing player because of the multiple roles he performed. He began his professional career as a pitcher, moved to outfielder and went back to pitching again.

A strapping 6 feet 4 and 225 pounds, Lindell batted and threw right-handed. Talented as well as versatile, he pitched for one pennant-winning Yankees team and played outfield for another. As a hitter, he twice led the American League in triples and as a pitcher he once led the National League in most walks issued.

Pitching prospect

Lindell developed his athletic skills in high school at Monrovia, Calif., near Pasadena. He was offered a chance to play football at the University of Southern California but signed with the Yankees when he was 19 in 1936. The Yankees sent him to their farm club in Joplin, Mo., and he posted a 17-8 record.

Working his way through the minor leagues, Lindell became a prominent pitching prospect. He was 18-7 with a 2.70 ERA for the Kansas City Blues in 1940.

Lindell began the 1941 season with the Yankees, made his major-league debut in a pinch-hitting appearance on April 18 and was sent to their farm club in Newark, N.J. Lindell was 23-4 with a 2.05 ERA for Newark in 1941 and the Yankees made plans to have him on their pitching staff in 1942.

Though he pitched in 23 games for the 1942 Yankees and was 2-1 with a 3.76 ERA, Lindell’s fastball and curve no longer were effective and manager Joe McCarthy lost confidence in him. Lindell didn’t pitch in the 1942 World Series versus the Cardinals.

According to The Sporting News, McCarthy told Lindell after the season, “Johnny, it does not look as if you ever will be a really good pitcher. However, you have the makings of a hitter.”

Lindell worked on his hitting in winter ball in California and reported to spring training in 1943 as an outfield candidate.

New role

The Yankees’ center fielder, Joe DiMaggio, and right fielder, Tommy Henrich, entered military service in 1943 and the club needed outfielders. Lindell was the Yankees’ 1943 Opening Day right fielder and remained in the lineup throughout the season. Lindell started 64 games in right, 52 in center and four in left for the American League champions. He led the league in triples (12) and was named to the all-star team.

In the 1943 World Series against the Cardinals, Lindell hit .111 but was involved in a critical play.

After the teams split the first two games, the Cardinals led, 2-1, in Game 3. Lindell led off the eighth inning with a single and advanced to second when center fielder Harry Walker bobbled the ball. George Stirnweiss bunted to first baseman Ray Sanders, whose throw to third arrived ahead of Lindell.

As third baseman Whitey Kurowski went to apply the tag, Lindell “came into the bag like a 10-ton truck,” crashing into Kurowski and knocking the ball loose, The Sporting News reported. The impact snapped Kurowski’s head back.

Lindell said the collision was unavoidable because Kurowski positioned himself in front of the base. “What was I to do? Beg his pardon?” Lindell asked.

Said Cardinals manager Billy Southworth: “Lindell played ball the way I like to see it played.”

The play woke up the Yankees, who scored five runs in the inning and won, 6-2.  Boxscore

Lindell had his best season in 1944. As the Yankees’ center fielder, he hit .300 with 33 doubles, 18 home runs and 103 RBI. He led the league in triples (16), extra-base hits (67) and total bases (297).

After spending part of 1945 in military service, Lindell returned to the Yankees in 1946 and was their Opening Day left fielder. In 1947, Lindell batted .500 in the World Series against the Dodgers, collecting nine hits in 18 at-bats and driving in seven runs in six games, despite cracking a rib in Game 5.

Right fit

Lindell’s playing time decreased when Casey Stengel became Yankees manager in 1949. After starting in left field on Opening Day in 1950, Lindell struggled, hitting .190 in 21 at-bats.

The 1950 Cardinals were stocked with left-handed hitters, led by Stan Musial and Enos Slaughter, and were looking for a power bat from the right side. Lindell, 33, was an available candidate.

“He’s a good competitor, a clutch player,” Cardinals manager Eddie Dyer told The Sporting News.

Though he had spent 15 years in the Yankees’ organization, Lindell welcomed the move to St. Louis. “I wanted to be traded because I didn’t fit Casey Stengel’s idea of a ballplayer,” Lindell told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Not enough obvious spark, I guess.”

Lindell reported to the Cardinals 15 pounds over his regular weight of 225, the Post-Dispatch noted, but Dyer played him immediately in left field.

In his Cardinals debut, Lindell went 0-for-4 against the Dodgers’ Preacher Roe, but in his next game he hit a two-run home run into the upper deck in left at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn against rookie Billy Loes. Boxscore

A month later, on June 24, 1950, Lindell’s 10th-inning home run against Bob Chipman gave the Cardinals a 7-6 triumph over the Braves at Boston. Boxscore

Though 12 of Lindell’s 21 hits for the Cardinals were for extra bases, including five home runs, he batted .186 in 36 games and “his fielding had slipped along with his hitting,” the Post-Dispatch reported.

On July 17, 1950, the Cardinals sent Lindell to their farm team at Columbus, Ohio. After playing in five games there, the Cardinals accommodated his request to be sent to a Pacific Coast League club closer to his California home and traded him to the Hollywood Stars, a farm team of the Dodgers.

On the mound again

In 1951, Lindell went back to pitching and was 12-9 with a 3.03 ERA for Hollywood. Relying on a knuckleball, Lindell was dominant in 1952, posting a 24-9 record and 2.52 ERA for Hollywood, which had become a Pirates affiliate.

Lindell returned to the big leagues in 1953 as a member of the Pirates’ starting rotation. On May 3, 1953, he earned his first National League win, a four-hitter against the Cardinals at Pittsburgh. Boxscore

After posting a 5-16 record and 4.71 ERA for the Pirates, Lindell’s contract was sold to the Phillies on Aug. 31, 1953. He earned one win for the Phillies and it came against the Cardinals at St. Louis. Lindell struck out 11, walked eight and ignited the winning rally in the ninth with a run-scoring single. Boxscore

Lindell “would have had a far easier time if his catchers had been able to hold” the knuckleball, the Post-Dispatch reported.

The win was Lindell’s last as a pitcher. He was 1-1 with a 4.24 ERA for the Phillies. His combined record for the Pirates and Phillies in 1953 was 6-17 with a 4.66 ERA, and in six starts versus the Cardinals he was 2-4 with a 3.64 ERA. Lindell led National League pitchers in allowing the most walks (139) and wild pitches (11).

In 1954, Lindell didn’t pitch, made seven plate appearances, all as a pinch-hitter, for the Phillies and was released on May 10.

In 12 big-league seasons, Lindell hit .273 and had a pitching record of 8-18.

As a youth in his hometown of Winston-Salem, N.C., where the Cardinals had a farm club, Don Cardwell rooted for a promising prospect, Joe Cunningham. A few years later, Cunningham made the dramatic final out in the best game Cardwell pitched in the major leagues.

Sixty years ago, on May 15, 1960, Cardwell pitched a no-hitter for the Cubs against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field in Chicago. It was Cardwell’s first appearance for the Cubs since being acquired from the Phillies, and it was the first no-hitter pitched against the Cardinals in 41 years. Before Cardwell, Hod Eller of the Reds was the last to do it on May 11, 1919.

Needing one more out to complete the no-hitter, Cardwell faced his boyhood favorite, Cunningham, who laced a sinking line drive. The ball seemed destined to drop for a single until left fielder Walt Moryn came in and made a catch near his shoetops.

Cardinals connections

While in high school, Cardwell got a job at the Winston-Salem ballpark. “I used to hang up the score for each inning on the board and get $2.50 a night for doing it,” Cardwell told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I went to the park often to watch Harvey Haddix, Vinegar Bend Mizell, Joe Cunningham and Don Blasingame.”

In his senior season of prep baseball, Cardwell pitched a pair of no-hitters. The first was a perfect game and the second occurred in the state title game.

Cardwell was 18 when the Phillies signed him in 1954. He made his big-league debut with them three years later. A 6-foot-4 right-hander, Cardwell threw hard from a sidearm delivery but had losing records with the Phillies.

On May 13, 1960, the Phillies traded Cardwell and first baseman Ed Bouchee to the Cubs for second baseman Tony Taylor and catcher Cal Neeman. Cardwell wasn’t surprised to be traded, but expected it would be to the Cardinals, whose manager, Solly Hemus, had been his Phillies teammate.

“I thought I’d be with your ball club by now,” Cardwell told the Post-Dispatch.

Hello, Chicago

Two days after the trade, Cardwell was the starting pitcher for the Cubs in Game 2 of a Sunday doubleheader against the Cardinals at Chicago.

In Game 1, Larry Jackson pitched a four-hitter in a 6-1 victory, ending the Cardinals’ eight-game losing streak. It was their first road win of the season in 13 attempts. Boxscore

Entering Game 2, Cardwell was an unlikely candidate to pitch a no-hitter versus the Cardinals. He had an 0-3 record against them since reaching the majors.

The Cardinals’ batting order was Cunningham, right field; Alex Grammas, shortstop; Bill White, first base; Ken Boyer, third base; Daryl Spencer, second base; Leon Wagner, left field; Curt Flood, center field; Hal Smith, catcher; Lindy McDaniel pitcher.

With one out in the first inning, Cardwell issued a walk to Grammas before retiring the next 26 batters in a row.

“His fastball was his best pitch,” Cubs catcher Del Rice told The Sporting News. “We used some breaking stuff early in the game, but from the fifth inning on I called fastballs almost entirely.”

Cardwell credited Rice and an unusual pitching delivery with making a difference in his performance.

Rice, 37, debuted with the Cardinals in 1945 and played for them the first 11 years of his major-league career. “I never had to shake Del off once,” Cardwell said. “He called the pitches perfectly.”

As for his pitching motion, Cardwell explained he developed a way to go into his windup with the ball in his glove instead of his hand because he suspected batters were detecting his pitches. “I was determined to hide my pitches better,” he said.

Cardwell “doesn’t have the ball in his right hand when he starts his windup,” The Sporting News observed. “The ball is in his glove. Cardwell pumps once with both arms going above his head, but with his right hand empty. Then he repeats the pumping action and at the top of the windup he takes the ball out of the glove and comes through with the pitch.”

Tough outs

The biggest threats to Cardwell’s no-hitter came in the last two innings.

In the eighth, Spencer led off “with a sizzling smash” to second baseman Jerry Kindall, who ranged to his right, “got in front of it, gloved it on a wicked first hop” and threw to first in time, The Sporting News reported.

After Wagner grounded out, Stan Musial batted for Flood. Cardwell threw sinking fastballs and Musial struck out. “I was swinging at the sound,” Musial told the Post-Dispatch.

Said Rice: “He was really humming at the finish.”

In the ninth, Cardwell’s former Phillies teammate, Carl Sawatski, batting for Hal Smith, led off and sent a drive to right. Bob Will, who stood 5 feet 10, usually played right field for the 1960 Cubs, but after Will went hitless in Game 1, manager Lou Boudreau put George Altman, who stood 6 feet 4, in right for Game 2. “Altman went back and grabbed the ball with a one-handed, leaping catch in front of the wall,” The Sporting News noted.

“When George Altman reached high to get Carl Sawatski’s drive, I went up three feet with him,” Cardwell told the Post-Dispatch.

Several Cubs told the St. Louis Globe-Democrat that Bob Will never would have reached Sawatski’s drive.

After George Crowe, batting for McDaniel, flied out to center, Cunningham came to the plate. The drama intensified with each pitch as Cunningham worked the count to 3-and-2.

Cunningham hit a low liner to left. Walt Moryn, nicknamed “Moose,” loped forward and reached down at the last moment to catch the ball before it landed.

“For this once,” wrote The Sporting News, “the Moose turned gazelle.”

Moryn told the Chicago Tribune, “If I’d have missed that last catch, I’d have been begging for an error.”

Said Cardwell: “When Walt Moryn came in and grabbed that low liner by Cunningham, I sank to the ground with him.” Video

“Thousands of fans poured onto the field and surrounded their new hero,” the Associated Press reported. “A score of ushers and police officers needed something like a half hour to get Cardwell safely into the Cubs dressing room.”

The Cubs won, 4-0, in a game played in 1:46. Boxscore

Changing places

On June 15, 1960, exactly one month after his big catch, Moryn was traded by the Cubs to the Cardinals.

Cardwell was 8-14 for the 1960 Cubs. He was 15-14 in 1961 and 7-16 in 1962.

On Oct. 17, 1962, the Cubs traded Cardwell, Altman and catcher Moe Thacker to the Cardinals for pitchers Jackson and McDaniel, plus catcher Jimmie Schaffer.

Cardwell never pitched for the Cardinals. A month after they acquired him, the Cardinals dealt Cardwell and shortstop Julio Gotay to the Pirates for shortstop Dick Groat and pitcher Diomedes Olivo. Groat played a key role in helping the Cardinals become World Series champions in 1964.

Cardwell twice was a 13-game winner for the Pirates. In 1969, he pitched for the World Series champion Mets.

In 40 appearances, including 32 starts, versus the Cardinals in his career, Cardwell was 5-19 with a 4.55 ERA.

Lon Warneke threw balls and strikes, and wanted to call those pitches, too.

Eighty years ago, on May 13, 1940, Warneke, a Cardinals pitcher, and Jimmie Wilson, a Reds coach, served as umpires in a game between the teams at Crosley Field in Cincinnati.

When National League umpires didn’t show for the game because of a scheduling snafu, one member of each team was chosen to fill in as arbiters.

The Cardinals, given their choice of a Reds representative, selected Wilson, their former catcher who played in three World Series for them. The Reds, asked to pick a member of the Cardinals, chose Warneke, who viewed umpiring as a dream assignment.

“I had a hankering for it even before I started playing baseball,” Warneke told The Sporting News. “Some kids want to become conductors, engineers, policemen, firemen. I wanted to be an umpire.”

Nine years later, Warneke became a full-time National League umpire.

“I like it better than pitching,” Warneke said. “I get just as much satisfaction out of umpiring a good game as I did out of pitching one.”

Failure to communicate

A communication breakdown between Reds management and National League officials created the need for Warneke and Wilson to fill in as umpires for a game.

After the Ohio River flooded and caused the postponement of the Cardinals-Reds game at Cincinnati on April 23, 1940, the teams agreed to a makeup game on Monday, May 13, at 3 p.m.

The date of the rescheduled game made sense. The Reds played the Cardinals in a Sunday doubleheader on May 12 in St. Louis and both clubs were scheduled to use May 13 as an off day before embarking on road trips to the East Coast.

There was only one problem: Reds officials “failed to notify us that the game, postponed from April 23, was to be played,” National League president Ford Frick told the Associated Press.

Therefore, no umpires were assigned.

Help wanted

As game time neared on May 13 and no umpires appeared, Reds officials frantically began making phone calls. One was to Larry Goetz, a National League umpire who lived in Cincinnati.

Goetz, Babe Pinelli and Beans Reardon were the umpires who worked the May 12 Reds-Cardinals doubleheader at St. Louis. The crew’s next scheduled game was May 14, Pirates vs. Giants, at the Polo Grounds in New York. On his way from St. Louis to New York, Goetz stopped home in Cincinnati.

“Goetz was at the railroad station ready to board a 3 o’clock train for New York when they located him,” the St. Louis Globe-Democrat reported.

The start of the game was delayed 29 minutes as the clubs waited for Goetz. During the delay, Warneke and Wilson were recruited to round out the umpiring crew.

Fair and square

It was determined Goetz would work the plate, Wilson would be the umpire at first base and Warneke would be stationed at third.

“Wilson wore an umpire’s cap and a black windbreaker over his uniform shirt,” the Globe-Democrat reported. “Warneke had on his regular uniform topped by a red windbreaker, which he soon discarded for a black one.”

Warneke and Wilson “had numerous close plays to decide on the bases and they turned in a good day’s work,” the Globe-Democrat reported. “Each called plays in critical moments against their own mates.”

For instance, in the second inning the Cardinals had the bases loaded with two outs when Stu Martin hit a line drive to center. Harry Craft raced in, dived headlong, rolled over and thrust his arm above his head to show he had the ball.

Some thought Craft trapped it, but Warneke “majestically called it an out,” the Dayton Daily News reported. “The Cardinals couldn’t plead with their own Honest Lon, and thus the side was retired.”

In the eighth inning, the Cardinals’ Joe Medwick “registered a mild beef against Wilson when he was called out on a close play at first,” the Globe-Democrat reported. Three innings later, when Medwick was called out by Warneke on another close play at second, he showed “his disgust by scooping a handful of dust and throwing it back to the ground. However, Medwick said nothing to Warneke.”

Fit to be tied

The game was noteworthy for more than the unusual umpiring setup. Johnny Mize hit three home runs for the Cardinals and Reds leadoff batter Bill Werber hit four doubles.

Mize’s third home run, a solo shot versus Milt Shoffner with two outs in the top of the 13th, gave the Cardinals an 8-7 lead.

In the bottom half of the inning, backup catcher Williard Hershberger, batting for shortstop Eddie Joost with two outs and none on against Clyde Shoun, doubled. Lee Gamble ran for Hershberger.

Pitcher Bucky Walters, batting for Shoffner, was up next. Walters struck out swinging for what should have been the game-ending out, but catcher Bill DeLancey allowed the ball “to squirt out of his hands and roll into the Cardinals dugout,” the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

The error enabled Walters to reach first and Gamble to get to third. Jack Russell relieved Shoun and Werber smacked his first pitch for a single, his fifth hit of the game, scoring Gamble with the tying run.

After neither team scored in the 14th, Goetz stopped play at 7 p.m. because of darkness with the score tied at 8-8. Although Crosley Field had lights, a National League rule prohibited lights from being turned on to finish a day game. Boxscore

“It was a game that had everything but a decision at the end of it,” wrote Si Burick of the Dayton Daily News.

All statistics counted, but the tie didn’t count in the standings and the game was scheduled to be replayed as part of an Aug. 11 doubleheader at Cincinnati.

The Cardinals won both games of the Aug. 11 doubleheader, 3-2 and 3-1. Warneke was the winning pitcher in Game 2. The umpires for both games were the three who were supposed to officiate the May 13 game: Goetz, Pinelli and Reardon.

Career change

In July 1942, the Cardinals sold Warneke’s contract to the Cubs, whose manager was his one-time umpiring partner, Jimmie Wilson. Warneke pitched for Wilson in 1942 and 1943.

After finishing his playing career with the 1945 Cubs, Warneke became an umpire in the Pacific Coast League in 1946. He joined the umpiring staff of the National League in 1949 and remained on the job through the 1955 season.

“Hustling, being in the right position to see the plays, and calling them quickly is half the battle in good umpiring,” Warneke told The Sporting News.

“The first and hardest thing I had to learn when I became an umpire was to forget I played ball. As a pitcher, I anticipated where I would throw the ball and what I would do the minute it was hit to me. When I first started umpiring, I did the same thing, anticipating plays, but I soon learned everybody didn’t think like I did. When the play was made, I was often leaning or starting the wrong way. I decided to treat every play, every pitch, as a separate and distinct challenge and handle it accordingly.”

In his first game against the Phillies after being traded to the Cardinals, Richie Allen savored sweet satisfaction.

Fifty years ago, on May 11, 1970, Allen hit a three-run walkoff home run in the bottom of the ninth inning, ending a scoreless duel between future Hall of Famers Jim Bunning and Steve Carlton and carrying the Cardinals to a 3-0 triumph.

Seven months earlier, in October 1969, Allen was traded by the Phillies to the Cardinals in a multi-player deal involving Curt Flood, Tim McCarver and others. Allen’s relationship with Phillies management deteriorated when they suspended him for part of the 1969 season because of insubordination.

Given his first chance for revenge, Allen delivered a spectacular result.

Masters on the mound

The Monday night matchup between Bunning, 38, and Carlton, 25, was a classic. Bunning was in his second stint with the Phillies. He and Allen were Phillies teammates from 1964-67. Carlton was two years away from being traded to the Phillies and becoming their ace.

Carlton gave up two hits in the first inning and two more over the last eight. He retired 15 batters in a row until Tony Taylor hit a double with one out in the ninth.

Bunning held the Cardinals hitless until the sixth. With one out, Carlton singled to center and Jose Cardenal followed with an infield hit on a slow bouncer to short. After Leron Lee struck out, Lou Brock sliced a shot toward third. Don Money, the third baseman, lunged for the ball, knocked it down and held Brock to a single, loading the bases for Allen.

Working carefully, Bunning got the count to 1-and-2 to Allen and threw a low, inside pitch. Allen swung and missed.

Surprise sign

After Carlton worked out of a tight spot in the top of the ninth, getting former teammate Byron Browne to ground out with two on and two outs, the Cardinals went to work against Bunning in the bottom half of the inning.

Leron Lee led off and drilled a high pitch against the wall in right-center for a double. Looking to set up a force play and avoid facing a left-handed batter, Bunning gave an intentional walk to Brock, preferring to face Allen.

“It was a situation Rich must have been dreaming about,” wrote Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Frank Dolson.

Allen stepped into the batter’s box and looked for a sign from George Kissell, the third-base coach. Kissell signaled for Allen to bunt.

“Rich stared at him, seemingly unable, or perhaps unwilling, to comprehend the signal,” the Inquirer reported.

Allen asked for the sign again. Kissell walked up to Allen and told him to bunt.

Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he ordered the bunt because “the third baseman was playing back.”

Allen squared around and took the first pitch from Bunning for strike one.

“No way he wanted to bunt,” said Phillies pitcher Chris Short, who was watching the drama from the dugout.

Allen again looked toward Kissell and got the sign to swing away. Schoendienst said he switched gears because the Phillies’ corner infielders “were coming in” to play for a bunt.

Allen fouled the pitch back, making the count 0-and-2.

Wrong pitch

Bunning wanted the next pitch to be a fastball inside. “I wanted to get it in because he likes the ball out over the plate,” Bunning told the Inquirer.

Bunning hoped to drive Allen off the plate and come back with a pitch away. “I was trying to set him up for a curveball,” Bunning explained.

Instead, Bunning’s third pitch to Allen was “way up and over the middle of the plate,” Bunning said. “It was over his head, in fact.”

Allen swung his 40-ounce bat and drove the ball into the “fourth or fifth row of the bleachers in right-center,” the Post-Dispatch reported.

As Bunning walked slowly off the mound, “Allen trotted around the bases to be mobbed at home plate by his teammates,” the Inquirer reported. He was “the center of attention in the raucous Cardinals clubhouse, as noisy as if a team had just won a pennant.”

“Rich Allen wanted to hit that ball out of here something bad and he did it,” Carlton told the Philadelphia Daily News.

Said Allen: “I’m happy I helped Steve Carlton win a game the way he pitched.” Boxscore

Gene Mauch, who had issues with Allen when he managed him with the Phillies before going to the Expos, told The Sporting News, “I wouldn’t give him a high fastball or a fast highball.”

Allen had a career batting average of .478 versus Bunning. Of Allen’s 11 hits against him, three were home runs and three were doubles.

In December 2014, Bunning was a member of a Baseball Hall of Fame committee and lobbied for Allen to be elected to the shrine. Allen needed 12 of 16 votes from the committee and got 11. The close miss upset Bunning, who absolutely had firsthand knowledge of Allen’s qualifications.

The Cardinals gave Terry Francona a chance to finish his playing career as part of a Louisville outfield with Ray Lankford and Bernard Gilkey.

Thirty years ago, on May 5, 1990, the Cardinals signed Francona, 31, after he was released by the Brewers and assigned him to their Class AAA farm club at Louisville.

The Cardinals made the move because Francona provided insurance in case their left-handed pinch-hitter, Denny Walling, faltered, and because he brought experience to a Louisville lineup featuring prospects Lankford, Gilkey and first baseman Rod Brewer.

Francona’s lone season in the Cardinals’ system was his last as a player, but hardly the end of his baseball career.

In 2004, Francona managed the Red Sox to a World Series sweep of the Cardinals, and in 2011 he was a candidate to replace Tony La Russa as St. Louis manager.

All in the family

Tito Francona, Terry’s father, was an outfielder and first baseman in the majors for 15 years with nine teams, including the 1965-66 Cardinals.

Terry Francona followed his father into baseball. He batted .769 as a high school senior in New Brighton, Pa., and went on to play at the University of Arizona for coach Jerry Kindall, a teammate of Tito Francona with the 1962-64 Indians.

In 1980, Arizona won the College World Series championship. Terry Francona was named outstanding player of the tournament and he won the Golden Spikes Award as the top college baseball player of the year.

The Expos selected Francona in the first round of the 1980 amateur draft and he made his major-league debut with them a year later in August 1981. Like his father, Terry Francona batted left-handed and played outfield and first base.

On Sept. 16, 1981, Francona hit his first major-league home run and it came against Cardinals closer Bruce Sutter at Montreal. Francona said “Mr. Fanning,” Expos manager Jim Fanning, told him to take the first pitch from Sutter, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Francona did and it was called a ball. He swung at the second and hit it over the right-field wall.

“We felt that wasn’t a bad pitch,” said Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog.

Said Sutter: “The kid hit a home run. It couldn’t have been a good pitch.” Boxscore

Francona went on to hit .274 in a big-league career with the Expos (1981-85), Cubs (1986), Reds (1987), Indians (1988) and Brewers (1989-90). He batted .311 versus the Cardinals and had more career hits (46) against them than he did any other team.

Kentucky home

Francona’s last appearance in a big-league game was April 19, 1990, when he ran for Dave Parker. The Brewers released him April 27 and the Cardinals signed him a week later.

On May 5, 1990, in his first game for Louisville, Francona had a double and triple against Buffalo. Louisville’s outfield was Francona in right, Lankford in center and Gilkey in left.

Four days later, on May 9, 1990, those three played central roles in a wild inning.

Louisville scored 16 runs in the third inning of an 18-4 win at home against Nashville. Gilkey had two singles, a home run and four RBI in the inning. Francona and Lankford also hit home runs in the inning. Francona’s was a two-run shot and Lankford’s was his first grand slam as a professional.

Francona’s home run came against starter Rodney Imes, the first of three Nashville pitchers in the inning. The others were Bobby Moore and Neil Allen, the former Cardinal. Francona pitched the eighth and ninth innings of the blowout for Louisville and allowed one run on one hit, a home run by Keith Lockhart.

The next day, Louisville, naturally, was held to three hits, but one was a two-run home run by Francona, in a 4-1 win versus Indianapolis.

Francona played mostly against right-handers and finished the season with a .263 batting average, six home runs and 30 RBI. “We thought he’d hit better and for more power,” manager Gaylen Pitts told the Louisville Courier-Journal.

A left-handed thrower, Francona was an effective mopup reliever for Louisville. In five appearances as a pitcher, he had a 1.17 ERA, allowing one earned run in 7.2 innings and striking out six.

New career

After the 1990 season, Francona had reconstructive knee surgery. Receiving no offers to play again, he tried selling real estate but didn’t like it. He got back into baseball when his former Reds teammate, Buddy Bell, who was in the White Sox front office, offered him a job to coach in the minors. In 1992, Francona became manager of a White Sox farm team in South Bend, Ind.

Francona managed the Phillies from 1997-2000 and Red Sox from 2004-2011 before becoming Indians manager in 2013. He led the Red Sox to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007. The 2004 World Series championship was their first since 1918. He also managed the Indians to the 2016 American League pennant.

When Tony La Russa retired after managing the Cardinals to the 2011 World Series title, Francona was a candidate to replace him. Others were Mike Matheny, Ryne Sandberg, Jose Oquendo, Joe McEwing and Chris Maloney, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

A search committee interviewed Francona on Nov. 8, 2011, in Cincinnati where Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. resided and operated a private equity firm.

“We discussed pretty basic philosophy,” Francona told the Post-Dispatch. “I’d call it an enjoyable, casual conversation.”

A week later, on Nov. 14, 2011, Matheny was named manager of the Cardinals.

Pete Retzlaff was a Philadelphia Eagles receiver who was difficult to defend because of the precise pass patterns he ran and his reliable hands. Initially a flanker and split end, Retzlaff became a tight end and was instrumental in transforming the position.

During his 11 NFL seasons (1956-66), all with the Eagles, Retzlaff developed a respect for St. Louis Cardinals safeties Jerry Stovall and Larry Wilson. In 1965, Retzlaff told The Sporting News, “St. Louis has the toughest defensive backs. Larry Wilson was real tough when he played me, but now I find Jerry Stovall even tougher to shake. Jerry has to be the most improved player at his position in the league.”

Retzlaff later told the Akron Beacon Journal, “Once, after we’d played in the Pro Bowl, Larry Wilson told me he always said I was the toughest tight end he ever tried to cover.”

Retzlaff had multiple impressive performances versus the Cardinals, but the best was the day Stovall and Wilson were out of the lineup because of injuries.

Thinking game

Retzlaff died on April 10, 2020, at 88. He was born Palmer Edward Retzlaff in Ellendale, North Dakota. His father was a grain farmer and his mother was a German immigrant. As a high school student, Retzlaff was working a construction job when the foreman kept referring to him as Pete. The name stuck, Retzlaff told the Philadelphia Daily News.

A halfback at South Dakota State, Retzlaff was selected by the Detroit Lions in the 22nd round of the 1953 NFL draft and spent the next two years in the Army.

Lions offensive coordinator George Wilson determined Retzlaff would be better at split end than at running back, but they had no room for him, so Retzlaff was sent to the Eagles for the waiver price of $100.

Retzlaff, 25, earned a spot as a flanker with the 1956 Eagles. Two years later, Retzlaff and Raymond Berry of the Baltimore Colts tied for the NFL lead in receptions. Each had 56 in a 12-game season.

In 1960, with Norm Van Brocklin at quarterback, Retzlaff at split end and Tommy McDonald at flanker, the Eagles won the NFL championship. Retzlaff led the 1960 Eagles in receptions (46) and averaged 18 yards per catch.

“I learned more from Van Brocklin while he was quarterback than any one single individual,” Retzlaff told The Sporting News. “Van Brocklin gave me the basic philosophy that enabled me to go from there. He impressed upon me why it was necessary to do certain things and to think about them. He initiated an education that hasn’t stopped. He taught me how to think.

“You must constantly make adjustments and make your moves according to what your opponent does and according to the way a situation actually develops.”

Championship season

Two of Retzlaff’s best performances in 1960 came against the Cardinals. On Oct. 9, he had seven catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns in a win at Philadelphia. On Dec. 4, when the Eagles won their ninth in a row and clinched the Eastern Division title, Retzlaff made five receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown at St. Louis.

Retzlaff should have had a third touchdown in the Oct. 9 game, but the officials blew the call.

Van Brocklin connected with Retzlaff on a 36-yard pass. Retzlaff caught the ball at the St. Louis 1-yard line, fell backwards, “hit the ground on his rump and bounced into the end zone” untouched, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The officials, who ruled the ball down at the 1, “obviously goofed because pro rules permit a player to move on the ground with the ball provided he’s not in the grasp of a tackler or had not been thrown by one,” the Inquirer noted.

Big move

In 1963, the Eagles moved Retzlaff from split end to tight end. Retzlaff resisted the shift initially because the position traditionally focused on blocking, not receiving. Like Jackie Smith of the Cardinals, Retzlaff helped make it an integral part of the air attack.

“To his pleasant surprise, Retzlaff found he could handle his blocking assignments, fight off linebackers and still run patterns and catch passes even more effectively than he did playing on the outside,” The Sporting News reported.

Washington Redskins head coach Bill McPeak called Retzlaff “the best tight end in the league.”

Baltimore Colts head coach Don Shula said, “He’s fantastic. No other tight end has the moves of Retzlaff and no one else at his position can go as deep as he does.”

The Sporting News concluded, “Retzlaff has been helped to stardom with the aid of good hands, tricky moves and the ability to run like a halfback, but his greatness stems from the perfect execution of his patterns.” Video

Said Cleveland Browns head coach Blanton Collier: “No one runs patterns better than Retzlaff.”

Retzlaff was a success off the field, too. He was a radio and television broadcaster in Philadelphia and he and Cardinals baseball pitcher Curt Simmons were owners of a resort motel in the seaside town of Wildwood, N.J.

Mighty mismatch

Nursing a bruised heel and sore ribs, Retzlaff didn’t practice the week before the Eagles played the Cardinals at St. Louis on Nov. 28, 1965, but there was no way he’d miss the game. His adversaries, Stovall and Wilson, were sidelined because of injuries, so the Cardinals were starting Monk Bailey, a second-year pro, and rookie Carl Silvestri as the safeties.

“Stovall is the best strong safety in the league,” Retzlaff told the Philadelphia Daily News. “I was glad to see him out.”

With his heel numbed by novocaine, Retzlaff, 34, made nine catches for 148 yards and three touchdowns. He leaped or dived for several grabs and most were “as spectacular as Jayne Mansfield doing the frug,” the Philadelphia Daily News noted.

For the beleaguered Monk Bailey, the experience was embarrassing.

“It would be easier playing golf for a living than trying to cover Retzlaff,” Bailey said to the Post-Dispatch. “If Carl Silvestri, Jim Burson and Pat Fischer hadn’t helped out at times, I’d have been beaten even more often. Retzlaff’s moves are in-out-in, yet always forward. If you let him get close to you, you’re dead.”

Bailey told the Philadelphia Daily News, “I felt like I was doing the twist on one play. I actually spun around three times on one of his patterns. When I was done spinning, I fell on my face in a patch of mud. My hand and nose guard stuck in it.”

On his first touchdown catch, a 23-yard pass from Norm Snead in the first quarter, Retzlaff “zigzagged against Bailey,” driving him deep, before turning and making the grab, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Retzlaff’s second touchdown was controversial. Snead rolled to his right and fired a five-yard pass to Retzlaff, who was inches from the goal post. The ball hit Retzlaff’s chest, caromed off the goal post and back into Retzlaff’s hands. The officials signaled a touchdown, but the pass should have been ruled incomplete because the ball becomes dead immediately if it strikes the goal post or crossbar.

After the Cardinals took a 24-21 lead, the Eagles drove downfield. When they got to the Cardinals’ 37, Snead connected with Retzlaff on four consecutive passes, concluding with the 11-yard touchdown strike for a 28-24 victory. Game stats

Retzlaff “outfought Bailey and (Jimmy) Burson for the pass that won the game,” the Philadelphia Daily News reported. “He fell in the end zone with the ball as Bailey and Burson collided and fell on him.”

In the huddle, Snead had called for Ollie Matson to be the primary target on the play. Retzlaff, who was supposed to be a decoy, ran to the corner of the end zone, started back and Snead found him.

“I looked for the old son of a gun all the way,” Snead said. “He’s the man to hit.”