Catch, Play, Laugh


Glancing Back, and Remembering Bob Uecker

Before he was a play-by-play announcer, hilarious talk show guest, and beer commercial icon, Bob Uecker really was a professional catcher, playing at a level that relatively few ever achieve: the major leagues. Continue reading

How Dick Groat Got His Wings


Swap Shop: Cardinals Trade Don Cardwell for Dick Groat

Dick Groat was a fine all-around shortstop – one of the best in the majors at the beginning of the 1960s. Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1952, he had been the Bucs’ everyday shortstop since 1955. He had a career season in 1960, hitting .325 to win the National League batting title and being named National League Most Valuable Player.

Groat’s batting average fell 50 points to .275 in 1961, but he rebounded in 1962, batting .294. After nine seasons with the Pirates, the 31-year-old Groat fully expected to finish his playing career in Pittsburgh.

It was not to be. Continue reading

The Miracle Is Just Getting Started


This Week in 1960s Baseball

(September 24, 1969) In the inaugural season of divisional play, the New York Mets tonight clinched the first-ever National League East title behind Gary Gentry’s four-hit pitching and the slugging of Donn Clendenon and Ed Charles.

Gary Gentry (12-12) pitched a four-hit shutout as the New York Mets defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 6-0 to clinch the East Division title.

The Mets defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 6-0 as Gentry (12-12) went the distance for the shutout victory. Gentry struck out five and walked two in pitching his third shutout of the season.

The losing pitcher was Steve Carlton (17-11).

Mets first baseman Donn Clendenon homered twice with four RBIs. Since being acquired from the Montreal Expos in June, Clendenon has hit 11 home runs with 35 RBIs in 68 games.

Mets third baseman Ed Charles added a two-run home run in the third inning.

The Mets clinched the East Division title in front of 54,298 frenzied Shea Stadium fans. After the game, the crowd spilled onto the field en masse to celebrate.



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You Only No-Hit Twice


Lights Out: Jim Maloney Pitches a 10-Inning No-Hitter for the Second Time this Year

When: August 19, 1965

Where:  Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois

Game Time: 2:51

Attendance: 11,342


Cincinnati Reds pitcher Jim Maloney had the kind of stuff that made every start a potential no-hitter. Continue reading

From Goat to Great


Career Year: Ralph Terry – 1962

Ralph Terry was probably the most under-appreciated New York Yankees pitcher of the 1960s.

Despite his numbers, he was never considered the ace of the Yankee staff. That acknowledgement always belonged to Whitey Ford while Terry was a Yankee. And even in 1962, when Terry was clearly the best starting pitcher in the American League, he was completely ignored by the baseball writers in the voting for the Cy Young Award.

In that season, he was baseball’s Rodney Dangerfield: he won everything but respect. Continue reading

A Wealth of Hitting


Glancing Back, and Remembering Rich Rollins

Seemingly coming out of nowhere in 1962, Rich Rollins claimed the Minnesota Twins’ third base job and established himself as one of the American League’s best all-around hitters – batting in a Twins lineup that featured proven hitters like Harmon Killebrew, Bob Allison, Earl Battey and, later, Tony Oliva and Jimmie Hall. While he never matched the MVP-caliber offensive numbers of his rookie season (when he finished eighth in the American League MVP voting), Rollins was a productive hitter for the Twins for nearly a decade, a perfect complement to the fence-busting machines that surrounded him in the Twins’ potent lineups of the 1960s. Continue reading

Can-Do Catcher


Glancing Back, and Remembering Chris Cannizzaro

Chris Cannizzaro played for six different National League teams in his 13-season major league career. Actually, make that seven different National League teams, as he was a member of the NL All-Star team in 1969, the first player from the San Diego Padres franchise to achieve that distinction. Continue reading