No-Hit Catcher

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Jim Pagliaroni

Jim Pagliaroni was strictly a 1960s catcher. All but one game of his decade-long career was played in the 1960s, where he toiled for four teams with defensive prowess, occasional pop in his bat, and a cool head that helped two pitchers toss no-hitters, and one do so perfectly. Continue reading

Monbo A-Go-Go

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Bill Monbouquette

Bill Monbouquette was clearly the best starting pitcher in the Boston Red Sox rotation when the Red Sox were at their worst: during the first half of the 1960s. Then, as Red Sox fortunes turned suddenly to produce a pennant in 1967, Monbouquette had faded into the pitched-out twilight of his too-brief career, and had moved on to other teams. Continue reading

A Paige of History

 

This Week in 1960s Baseball

(September 25, 1965) The Boston Red Sox tonight defeated the Kansas City Athletics 5-2 on the slugging of first baseman Lee Thomas and outfielder Tony Conigliaro.

What made this game memorable was the debut of the Athletics’ new pitcher … who was also the oldest player on the field.

25 Sep 1965, Kansas City, Missouri, USA --- Satchel Paige Pitching for Kansas City Athletics --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

At age 59, Satchel Paige was the starting pitcher for the Kansas City Athletics on September 25, 1965. He pitched three scoreless innings, but didn’t figure in the decision.

The A’s starter was none other than the legendary Satchel Paige, making his first major league appearance in more than a dozen years. At age 59, Paige was the oldest player ever at the major league level. And tonight he pitched as if he still belonged. In three innings, Paige faced 10 batters and retired all but one, allowing a first-inning double to Carl Yastrzemski. Paige registered one strikeout, fanning Red Sox pitcher Bill Monbouquette in the third inning.

Monbouquette (10-18) was the game’s winner with a seven-hit complete game.

The Red Sox got Monbouquette all the runs he would need on two-run homers by Thomas (his twenty-first) and Conigliaro (his thirty-first). The Red Sox scored another run in the eighth inning on a John Wyatt wild pitch.

Kansas City scored its runs on RBI singles by Bill Bryan and Dick Green. The losing pitcher was Don Mossi (5-7).

Paige was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971 after a professional career that spanned 29 seasons over five decades.

Lasting Relief

 

Oh, What a Relief: Lindy McDaniel

The 1960s were the baseball decade that witnessed the emergence of the relief specialist. And among the outstanding relief pitchers who toiled during the 1960s, few could claim a more brilliantly consistent career than that of Lindy McDaniel.

Lindy McDaniel led the National League in saves in 1959, 1960 and 1963.

Lindy McDaniel led the National League in saves in 1959, 1960 and 1963.

He pitched for 21 seasons, from 1955 to 1975. Among relievers, only Hoyt Wilhelm could match his record for longevity.

The St. Louis Cardinals signed McDaniel as a free agent in 1955. His minor league career lasted only six games (4-1 with a 3.64 ERA) as he joined the big league club at the end of 1955. He took turns as both a starter and reliever for the Cardinals in 1957, going 15-9 with a 3.49 ERA.

Gradually, McDaniel did less starting and more relieving for the Cards. In 1959 he went 14-12 and led the major leagues with 15 saves (in the days when starters were expected to pitch complete games). McDaniel had an outstanding season in 1960, with a 12-4 record and a 2.09 ERA. His 26 saves that season were again best in the majors, and earned McDaniel the first Fireman of the Year award as baseball’s best reliever. (He would win that award again in 1963.)

Lindy  McDaniel and <a rel=

Following the 1962 season, McDaniel was traded with pitcher Larry Jackson and catcher Jimmie Schaffer to the Chicago Cubs for outfielder George Altman, pitcher Don Cardwell and catcher Moe Thacker. For the Cubs in 1963, he won 13 games (all in relief) and saved 22 more (NL best). In his three seasons in Chicago, McDaniel averaged 64 relief appearances per season with a 3.06 ERA.

McDaniel spent two seasons with the San Francisco Giants, and then was traded to the New York Yankees in 1968 for pitcher Bill Monbouquette. In six seasons with the Yankees, McDaniel appeared in 265 games with a combined ERA of 2.89. His best season in New York was 1970, when his record was 9-5 in 62 appearances, with 29 saves and an ERA of 2.01. He closed out his career with the Kansas City Royals, retiring after the 1975 season.

In 21 major league seasons, McDaniel won 141 games and saved 174 with a 3.45 career earned run average. He was an All-Star in 1960.

 

 

 

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Mel Goes Yard Without Leaving It

 

Lights Out – Mel Stottlemyre’s Inside-the-Park Grand Slam Beats the Red Sox

When: July 20, 1965

Where:  Yankee Stadium, New York, New York

Game Time: 1:59

Attendance: 24,594

It was becoming the summer of denial for the New York Yankees. And denial wasn’t working.

Mel Stottlemyre not only pitched a complete game against the Red Sox (his tenth of the season) but also hit an inside-the-park grand slam home run on his way to a 6-3 victory.

Mel Stottlemyre not only pitched a complete game against the Red Sox (his ninth of the season), but also hit an inside-the-park grand slam home run on his way to a 6-3 victory.

The defending American League champions were reeling from lineup-altering injuries and age that were catching up with the team just as Johnny Keane had assumed the managerial reins. The team’s record was 19-26 by the end of May, with the Yankees (and, probably, the rest of the league) holding their collective breaths, waiting for lightning to strike and the Yankees to jump back into pennant contention.

It wasn’t to be. A 17-12 June brought the team close to the .500 mark, but an 8-9 start to July left the team in sixth place, 12.5 games behind the league-leading Minnesota Twins and six games behind the fifth-place Detroit Tigers.

The sole bright spot in the season came from the same arm that practically willed the Yankees into the 1964 World Series. After being called up to New York on August 12, 1964, right-hander Mel Stottlemyre went 9-3 down the stretch with a 2.06 earned run average. He showed the same effectiveness in the first half of 1965, going 9-5 with a 2.81 ERA when he faced the visiting Boston Red Sox on July 20.

When the Yankees were stumbling to a sixth-place finish in 1965, Stottlemyre picked up where he left off in 1964. He finished the 1965 season at 20-9 with a 2.63 ERA and a league-leading 18 complete games.

When the Yankees were stumbling to a sixth-place finish in 1965, Stottlemyre picked up where he left off in 1964. He finished the 1965 season at 20-9 with a 2.63 ERA and a league-leading 18 complete games.

Only Stottlemyre’s performance in that game exceeded his own standards for excellence – both from the mound and from the batter’s box.

That evening Stottlemyre pitched a complete game against the Red Sox. (His 18 complete games in 1965 would lead the American League, as would his 291 innings pitched on his way to winning 20 games.) Stottlemyre allowed a run in the first inning off Jim Gosger’s lead-off home run.  And he allowed two more runs in the eighth inning on two hits, a fielder’s choice and a sacrifice fly.

Between the first and eighth innings, Stottlemyre allowed no runs, but collected four RBIs of his own.

Gosger’s home run held up as the Boston lead until the fourth inning, when a Bobby Richardson single and a Tony Kubek home run off Boston starter Bill Monbouquette gave the Yankees the lead at 2-1.

In the bottom of the fifth, Joe Pepitone led off with a walk, followed by Clete Boyer’s single. Monbouquette walked Roger Repoz, loading the bases for Stottlemyre. He lined the ball to deep center field, clearing the bases and scoring himself for an inside-the-park grand slam.

That one swing resulted in half the home runs and RBIs that Stottlemyre would have that season. And the victory, his tenth, represented half the games Stottlemyre would win as the Yankees stumbled to a sixth-place finish, the team’s worst showing in 40 years.