Gates Goes Yard in First At-Bat

 

This Week in 1960s Baseball

(June 19, 1963) The Boston Red Sox today defeated the Detroit Tigers 9-2 behind the slugging bats of Frank Malzone and Carl Yastrzemski supporting the seven-hit pitching of Bob Heffner.

Gates Brown hit a pinch home run in his first major league at-bat, and hit 15 more in his career as one of the game’s most dangerous pinch hitters.

Despite the spanking, there was one bright spot for the Tigers, as the newest Tiger gave Detroit a glimpse of better things to come.

Yastrzemski was the hitting star of the game, collecting three hits – including two home runs – and driving in four runs on the day. Malzone got two hits and drove in two runs on his tenth home run of the season.

Tigers starter Don Mossi (4-4) lasted only four innings, giving up six hits and four runs, including Malzone’s round-tripper. Phil Regan and Mickey Lolich were the victims of Yastrzemski’s home runs.

Heffner (1-0) went the distance, allowing two runs and seven hits while striking out six batters.

In the fifth inning, with the Tigers trailing 4-1, Detroit called on Gates Brown to lead off the inning, pinch-hitting for Mossi. It was Brown’s first major league at-bat, and he made the most of it, hitting a home run.

Brown would emerge as one of the most lethal pinch hitters in the American League during the 1960s. So it was appropriate that his first major league hit would be not only a pinch hit, but a pinch home run. He would hit 16 pinch home runs during a 13-year major league career – all with the Tigers.

 

 

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