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.

McLain Fans 14 … in Relief

 

This Week in 1960s Baseball

(June 15, 1965) – Denny McLain today set a single-game record for strikeouts by a relief pitcher as the Detroit Tigers scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to edge the Boston Red Sox 6-5.

Denny McLain shut down the Boston Red Sox first-inning rally by striking out the two batters he faced … and the next five he would face.

Denny McLain shut down the Boston Red Sox first-inning rally by striking out the two batters he faced … and the next five he would face.

McLain struck out 14 batters in 6.2 innings of relief work. He also struck out the first seven batters he faced, setting a major league record.

The Red Sox scored three runs in the first inning off Tigers starter Dave Wickersham. Wickersham lasted only one-third of an inning before giving way to McLain, who proceeded to strike out Eddie Bressoud and Bob Tillman to end the inning.

McLain fanned the Red Sox in order in the second inning, and then struck out Carl Yastrzemski and Felix Mantilla in the third inning before retiring Lee Thomas on a ground out.

Willie Horton’s 14th home run in the bottom of the eighth inning – a three-run blast – capped the Tigers’ 6-5 comeback victory over the Boston Red Sox.

McLain allowed a pair of runs in the fifth inning, which put the Red Sox ahead of the Tigers by a score of 5-2. The Tigers scored four runs in the eighth on Gates Brown’s RBI single and Willie Horton’s three-run home run off Red Sox reliever Dick Radatz (4-4). Fred Gladding (2-1) pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings for the Tigers and picked up the victory. Gladding allowed no hits and struck out four batters.

The 21-year-old McLain would finish the 1965 season at 16-6 with a 2.61 ERA. He struck out 192 batters in 220.1 innings pitched.

 

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Yaz Rides Cycle for Five-RBI Game

 

This Week in 1960s Baseball

(May 14, 1965) At Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox left fielder Carl Yastrzemski drove in five runs in a losing effort to the Detroit Tigers, 12-8.

Yastrzemski’s five-RBI game was built on a five for five batting performance – hitting for the cycle plus an extra home run (and a walk).

On May 14, 1965, <a rel=

On May 14, 1965, Carl Yastrzemski hit for the cycle plus an extra home run (and a walk). He drove in five runs.

Yastrzemski’s first hit was a two-run home run off Detroit starter Denny McLain in the bottom of the first.

In the second inning, Yastrzemski ripped a three-run homer off McLain, putting the Red Sox up 5-0. The Tigers came back with five runs in the top of the third inning to tie the game.

Yastrzemski drew a walk off Tiger reliever Ed Rakow in the fourth inning, and tripled off Rakow in the sixth. In the bottom of the eighth, Yaz singled off Larry Sherry. Then in the bottom of the tenth he doubled off Terry Fox, the game’s winner, to complete the cycle-plus.

The Tigers won the game in the top of the tenth by scoring four runs off Bosox reliever Dick Radatz. An RBI double by Don Demeter, an RBI single by Willie Horton, and Norm Cash’s two-run double gave the Tigers the 12-8 victory.

Yastrzemski would finish the 1965 season batting .312, second in the American League to Tony Oliva’s .321. He would lead the major leagues in doubles that year with 45.

 

Double-Digit Productivity

 

Lights Out: Reggie Jackson Drives in 10 Runs

When: June 14, 1969

Where: Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts

Game Time: 3:23

Attendance: 22,395

 

For one inning, it was a contest. After that, it became a showcase for the Oakland Athletics’ bats, which on that day were as productive as they were merciless against Boston Red Sox pitching.

Reggie Jackson mauled Boston Red Sox pitching for five hits – including two home runs – and 10 RBIs. He raised his season batting average by 20 points in this one game.

Reggie Jackson mauled Boston Red Sox pitching for five hits – including two home runs – and 10 RBIs. He raised his season batting average by 20 points in this one game.

Mostly, the game became an RBI showcase for a 23-year-old A’s outfielder with All-Star aspirations … and a Hall of Fame future.

Reggie Jackson came into the game batting .246 with 20 home runs and 35 runs batted in. By the end of the game, Jackson had raised his batting average by 20 points to .266. He had five hits in six at-bats, including two home runs and a double. He also walked once and scored two runs.

He single-handedly destroyed Red Sox pitching that day, and tattooed the craggy dimensions of Fenway Park, all on a day when his incredible output meant almost nothing in terms of the game’s outcome.

Jackson came to bat in the top of the first inning with one out and Bert Campaneris at second base. Jackson hit a ground-rule double for his first RBI of the day. Carl Yastrzemski tied the game in the bottom of the first with a solo home run, but a Dick Green RBI single in the second inning put the A’s back on top. Jackson hit a two-run homer in the third inning, hit a three-run home run in the fifth inning, and then struck out with the bases loaded to end the sixth inning. It was Jackson’s only out of the day.

Reggie Jackson finished the 1969 season with 47 home runs and 118 RBIs. He led the American League that season with 123 runs scored and a .608 slugging average.

Reggie Jackson finished the 1969 season with 47 home runs and 118 RBIs. He led the American League that season with 123 runs scored and a .608 slugging average.

He singled in two runs in the seventh, and then came to back in the eighth with the bases loaded. This time he launched a fly ball that cleared the wall in center field, ending the day with five hits – three for extra bases – and 10 RBIs. The Athletics really didn’t need Jackson’s production, as the team won 21-7. Jackson’s 10 RBIs didn’t account for half of his team’s runs.

The beneficiary of this firepower was John “Blue Moon” Odom, who won his eighth game of the season.

The 1969 season would be Reggie Jackson’s “breakout” year and his career season in most offensive categories. He finished the 1969 season batting .275 with what would be career-bests in home runs (47) and RBIs (118). He would lead the American League in runs scored with 123, and with a .608 slugging percentage.

 

Lonborg One-Hits Cards

 

This Week in 1960s Baseball

(October 5, 1967) The Boston Red Sox today knotted up the 1967 World Series at one game apiece behind the one-hit pitching of Jim Lonborg.

Boston Red Sox pitcher Jim  Lonborg (22-9 during the regular season) allowed only one hit by the St. Louis Cardinals in spinning a 5-0 shutout in Game Two of the 1967 World Series.

Boston Red Sox pitcher Jim Lonborg (22-9 during the regular season) allowed only one hit by the St. Louis Cardinals in spinning a 5-0 shutout in Game Two of the 1967 World Series.

The Red Sox beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-0. It was Boston’s first World Series victory since 1946.

Lonborg struck out four batters and walked one. The only hit he allowed came in the top of the eighth inning when Julian Javier doubled with two outs. Lonborg induced the next batter, Bobby Tolan, to ground out, stranding Javier at second.

Lonborg retired the Cardinals in order in the ninth inning.

The game was scoreless through the first three innings. Carl Yastrzemski led off the fourth inning with a solo home run off Cardinals’ starter Dickie Hughes. The Cardinals scored again in the sixth inning on a Rico Petrocelli sacrifice fly.

Carl  Yastrzemski was the hitting hero of Game Five, crashing two home runs with four RBIs.

Carl Yastrzemski was the hitting hero of Game Five, crashing two home runs with four RBIs.

Yastrzemski blasted a three-run homer in the seventh inning to cap the day’s scoring by the Red Sox.

Lonborg was coming off his breakout season in 1967, going 22-9 with a 3.16 ERA and leading the American League with 246 strikeouts. He also won the fifth game of the Series, and later, the American League Cy Young award.

 

 

 

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The Year Yaz and Boston Would Not Be Denied

 

Career Year: Carl Yastrzemski – 1967

In his first six seasons (1961-1966), Boston Red Sox outfielder Carl Yastrzemski was well on his way to building the kind of credentials that can land a player on a plaque in Cooperstown. He already had won a batting title (1963), had led the American League in doubles three times, and had won his first two Gold Gloves (with five more to come).

Replacing the great <a rel=

Ted Williams in left field, Carl Yastrzemski had put together a solid six seasons unfazed by the Splendid Splinter’s shadow. But his best was yet to come.

He had weathered intense  and uncompromising media and fan pressure by replacing Ted Williams in left field, and had even had an occasion when Carroll Hardy pinch hit for him (just as Hardy had once pinch hit for Williams – the only player ever to do so).

But Williams had brought an American League pennant to Boston two decades earlier, something Yastrzemski had not yet accomplished. With a Red Sox team that had been able to finish no higher than sixth in his career, it would take a super-human effort on Yastrzemski’s part to bring a World Series to Boston in 1967.

And that’s what he delivered.

He turned the 1967 season into his personal showcase, just as Frank Robinson had done the season before in winning the Triple Crown. Yastrzemski played like a man possessed, unfazed by the weight of the team on his back.

In the last 12 games of the 1967 season, Carl Yastrzemski hit five home runs, scored 14 runs and drove in 16. He had seven hits and six RBIs in the final two pennant-clinching games against the Minnesota Twins.

In the last 12 games of the 1967 season, Carl Yastrzemski hit five home runs, scored 14 runs and drove in 16. He had seven hits and six RBIs in the final two pennant-clinching games against the Minnesota Twins.

At the All-Star break, Yastrzemski was batting .324 with 19 home runs and 56 runs batted in. By the end of August, he was batting .308 with 35 home runs and 95 RBIs (already a new career high). And incredibly, the Red Sox – who had finished ninth in 1966 – were still in contention. In fact, Boston was locked in a four-team pennant race that wouldn’t be decided until the final day of the season.

Yastrzemski had a magnificent September, batting .417 with nine home runs and 26 RBIs in 27 games, almost single-handedly propelling the Red Sox to the pennant. In the last 12 games of the season, he hit five home runs, scored 14 runs and drove in 16. In the last two “must win” games against the Minnesota Twins, Yastrzemski went seven for eight with six RBIs.

During the 1967 World Series, which the St. Louis Cardinals won in seven games, Yastrzemski continued his offensive onslaught, batting .400 with three home runs.

In the last 12 games of the 1967 season, Carl Yastrzemski hit five home runs, scored 14 runs and drove in 16. He had seven hits and six RBIs in the final two pennant-clinching games against the Minnesota Twins.

Carl Yastrzemski’s performance in 1967 earned him a Triple Crown and the Most Valuable Player award.

When the regular season had ended, Yastrzemski was at the top of the league in nearly every offensive category: hits (189), runs (112), home runs (44, tied with Minnesota’s Harmon Killebrew), RBIs (121), total bases (360), slugging percentage (.622) and batting average (.326). His Triple Crown leadership in home runs, RBIs and batting average earned Yaz the league’s Most Valuable Player award.

Red Sox Announce Williams’ Replacement

 

This Week in 1960s Baseball

(March 19, 1961) The Boston Red Sox today announced that rookie Carl Yastrzemski will start the regular season in left field, succeeding the legendary Ted Williams.

The Boston Red Sox replaced one Hall of Fame player with another when Carl Yastrzemski succeeded Ted Williams as the team’s starting left fielder.

The Boston Red Sox replaced one Hall of Fame player with another when Carl Yastrzemski succeeded Ted Williams as the team’s starting left fielder.

Williams closed out his Hall of Fame career in Boston by hitting a home run in his last major league at-bat.

Yastrzemski joined the Red Sox after two seasons in the Boston farm system, hitting a combined .356 over those two seasons. As a rookie, he would hit .266 in 1961 with 11 home runs and 80 RBIs. By 1963, he would win the first of three batting titles during the 1960s.

As a rookie in 1961, Carl Yastrzemski batted .266 with 11 home runs and 80 RBIs. He would finish his 23-year career in Boston with 3,419 hits – ninth most all-time.

As a rookie in 1961, Carl Yastrzemski batted .266 with 11 home runs and 80 RBIs. He would finish his 23-year career in Boston with 3,419 hits – ninth most all-time.

Yastrzemski would remain a fixture in the Red Sox’s lineup for the next 23 years and be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989.