Art Shamsky’s Hat Trick


Lights Out: Art Shamsky

When: August 12, 1966

Where:  Crosley Field, Cincinnati, Ohio

Game Time: 4:22

Attendance: 25,477

Slender Art Shamsky didn’t look like a slugger. Throughout his minor league career in the Cincinnati Reds’ farm system, that’s what he was. But he wasn’t enough of a slugger to break into the Reds’ everyday lineup when he joined the team for keeps in 1965. By 1966, he was the spare bat and glove for a Reds outfield that featured Vada Pinson, Deron Johnson and Tommy Harper. Continue reading

Is Don’s Record in Danger?


This Week in 1960s Baseball

(June 26, 1968) On June 4, 1968, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Don Drysdale set a major league record with his sixth consecutive shutout. Four days later, Drysdale finally allowed a run after more than a month of shutout pitching. Continue reading

Four in a Row


Glancing Back, and Remembering Art Shamsky

Art Shamsky played eight seasons in the major leagues for four different teams. While most of his success as a hitter came while he was playing with the New York Mets, his shining moment as a major leaguer occurred during his second season, when he was a member of the Cincinnati Reds. Continue reading

Gunning Down Batters


Glancing Back, and Remembering Tommie Sisk

Tommie Sisk signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1960. He won 14 games in the Pirates’ minor league system in 1961, and won 10 in 1962 when he was called up to the Pirates. After being rocked by the lowly New York Mets in his major league debut, Sisk settled down as a rookie reliever in 1963, going 1-3 with a 2.92 ERA in 57 appearances. Continue reading

Battle of the Titans


Lights Out! – 4-3 Thriller Is a Showcase for Aaron and Clemente

When: August 28, 1967

Where:  Atlanta Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia

Game Time: 2:38

Attendance: 8,725

Not even Hollywood could have devised a more dramatic, twisting scenario than the one that actually played out in this game.

Any discussion about the great National League outfielders of the 1960s has to begin with the mention of Willie Mays and the opposing superstars in this late-August contest: Hank Aaron of the Braves and Roberto Clemente of the Pirates. All three were multi-tool threats, complete ballplayers who excelled at every aspect of the game. 1967 proved to be another banner season for both Aaron and Clemente.

Hank Aaron His run-saving catch sent the game into extra innings.

Hank Aaron
His run-saving catch sent the game into extra innings.

At age 33, Aaron was still in the prime of his career. He led the National League in home runs (44) and runs batted in (127) in 1966. He came into this game batting .319 with 31 home runs and 87 RBIs. (He would lead the league with 39 home runs at season’s end.)

Clemente was the reigning National League MVP, having hit .317 with 29 home runs and 119 RBIs in 1966. Coming into this game, he was leading the league with a .345 batting average. (He would win his fourth batting title with a .357 average.) Clemente also had 18 home runs and 84 RBIs.

Braves catcher Joe Torre scored the game’s first run when Woody Woodward singled off Pirates starter Al McBean in the bottom of the second inning. Braves starter Pat Jarvis held the Pirates scoreless through the fourth inning. In the Pirates’ half of the fifth inning, catcher Jerry May singled and scored on Matty Alou’s triple. Jarvis balked, scoring Alou.

In the top of the sixth inning, Clemente led off with a solo home run that put the Pirates ahead 3-1. The score stayed that way until the bottom of the eighth. Rico Carty doubled with one out, and Gary Geiger went in to run for Carty. Felipe Alou singled to right field, scoring Geiger. Then back-to-back singles by Tito Francona and Aaron brought Alou home and tied the game at 3-3.

In the top of the ninth, with Jay Ritchie pitching for the Braves, Jose Pagan stroked a two-out single to right field and May walked, putting runners at first and second. With Manny Jimenez pinch hitting for Roy Face, Aaron made a circus catch of Jimenez’s liner to right to end the inning with the score still tied.

Roberto Clemente His two home runs put the Pirates ahead twice. His tenth-inning homer proved to be the game winner.

Roberto Clemente
His two home runs put the Pirates ahead twice. His tenth-inning homer proved to be the game winner.

Aaron’s saving catch went for naught. In the top of the tenth, Matty Alou led off by bunting for a base hit. Shortstop Gene Alley struck out, and with Clemente at the plate, Alou was thrown out trying to steal second. Clemente created his own go-ahead run by lining a home run over the wall in left-center field.

With two outs in the bottom of the tenth, Felipe Alou singled to left. But with the tying run at first and Aaron on deck, Francona struck out to end the game.

Bean There, Done That


Oh, What a Relief: Al McBean

Al McBean was the first native of the Virgin Islands to play in the major leagues. He was effective as either a starter or reliever. While never overpowering, he kept batters off-balance with a variety of delivery styles, and at his peak was practically unbeatable.

From August 22, 1963 through August 15, 1964, Al McBean appeared in 51 consecutive games without a loss.

From August 22, 1963 through August 15, 1964, Al McBean appeared in 51 consecutive games without a loss.

McBean was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1958 and made his major league debut with the Bucs in 1961. He was a member of the Pirates’ starting rotation in 1962, going 15-10 with a 3.70 ERA. He opened the 1963 season as a starter but was moved to the bullpen, where he complemented long-time Pirate relief ace Roy Face. McBean finished the 1963 season at 13-3 with a 2.57 ERA and 11 saves. From August 22, 1963 through August 15, 1964, McBean appeared in 51 consecutive games without a loss.

With Face struggling from a shoulder problem in 1964, McBean became the Pirates’ bullpen ace and responded with an 8-3 season, with a 1.91 ERA and 22 saves. He was selected as National League Fireman of the Year.

Face returned to form in 1965, limiting McBean’s appearances and save opportunities. He finished the 1965 season at 6-6 with a 2.29 ERA and 18 saves. In 1966 he made only 47 relief appearances, going 4-3 with a 3.22 ERA and only three saves. In 1967 he returned to the dual role of reliever and spot starter, going 7-4 with a 2.54 ERA and five complete games in eight starts. In 1968 he made 28 starts, finishing 9-12 with a 3.58 ERA.

In 1968 McBean was tabbed by the San Diego Padres as the fiftieth selection in the expansion draft. He pitched only one game for the Padres in 1969 before being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, going 2-7 working strictly as a reliever. He was released by the Dodgers after a single appearance in 1970 and was signed by the Pirates. He made seven appearances for the Pirates with no decisions before being released and retiring.

McBean finished his 10-season big league career with a 67-50 record and a 3.13 ERA.





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