Warren and Christy … Together at Last

 

This Week in 1960s Baseball

(September 8, 1963) Pitching a nine-hit complete game, Warren Spahn raised his season record to 20-5 as the Milwaukee Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 3-2 at Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia.

It was the thirteenth time in his career that Spahn won 20 or more games. That tied him with Christy Mathewson for the most 20-vistory seasons in the major leagues.

The 1963 season was the thirteenth 20-victory season in the career of Warren Spahn. It was the seventh straight season when Spahn led the National League in complete games.

The 1963 season was the thirteenth 20-victory season in the career of Warren Spahn. It was the seventh straight season when Spahn led the National League in complete games.

For the 42-year-old Spahn, it was his nineteenth complete game of the 1963 season. He would finish the season with 22 complete games, the most in the majors. Spahn recorded no strikeouts or walks during the game.

The Braves scored in the first inning when lead-off batter Lee Maye singled and advanced to second on an error by Phillies starter Dallas Green. Frank Bolling sacrificed Maye to third, and Maye scored on Hank Aaron’s groundout to Phillies second baseman Tony Taylor. It was Aaron’s 117th RBI of the season.

The Braves’ lead held up as Spahn pitched a shutout through six innings. Tony Gonzalez led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a triple and scored on a Roy Sievers sacrifice fly.

In the eighth inning, Green walked Eddie Mathews, who scored on Gene Oliver’s sixteenth home run. Spahn pitched a scoreless eighth inning and allowed a solo home run by Don Demeter in the ninth. Don Hoak doubled to put the potential tying run in scoring position, but Spahn retired Bob Oldis and Wes Covington to end the game.

The losing pitcher was Green (5-4).

Shown in an undated photo is Christy Christy Mathewson was the first major league pitcher to win 20 or more games 13 times. (Warren Spahn was the second.) Mathewson finished his career with 373 victories, third most in major league history (tied with Grover Cleveland Alexander) and 10 more than Spahn.

Christy Mathewson was the first major league pitcher to win 20 or more games 13 times. (Warren Spahn was the second.) Mathewson finished his career with 373 victories, third most in major league history (tied with Grover Cleveland Alexander) and 10 more than Spahn.

Spahn’s 1963 season was one of the best of his career, as he finished the season at 23-7 with a 2.60 earned run average. It was also his seventh straight season leading the National League in complete games, and he pitched seven shutouts, tying his season high and the second most in the league (behind 11 Sandy Koufax shutouts).

Though he tied Mathewson for most 20-win seasons, Spahn fell short of matching Mathewson’s 373 career wins. Spahn retired after the 1965 season with 363 victories, the most by any left-hander in baseball history.

Tiger Tough

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Earl Wilson

Earl Wilson was a solid starting pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers during the 1960s. He also played a prominent role in baseball’s transition to full integration during the 1950s.

With his major league debut in 1959, Earl Wilson became the first African-American pitcher to play for the Boston Red Sox … and in 1962 became the first black pitcher in the American League to pitch a no-hitter.

With his major league debut in 1959, Earl Wilson became the first African-American pitcher to play for the Boston Red Sox … and in 1962 became the first black pitcher in the American League to pitch a no-hitter.

A 6-foot-3, 215-pound pitcher who relied on sliders and fastballs, Wilson was signed by the Boston Red Sox in 1953. The Red Sox were the last American League team to break the color barrier when infielder Pumpsie Green made the club in 1959. Wilson made his major league debut with the Red Sox on July 31, 1959, as their first black pitcher. Wilson joined the team’s starting rotation in 1962 and averaged 11 victories per season from 1962 through 1965. Wilson threw a no-hitter against the Los Angeles Angels in 1962, the first black American League pitcher to do so.

Midway through the 1966 season, Wilson was traded (with outfielder Joe Christopher) to the Detroit Tigers for outfielder Don Demeter and pitcher Julio Navarro. Wilson enjoyed his best seasons with the Tigers, winning 13 games over the rest of the 1966 season to finish 18-11 with a 3.07 ERA (2.59 with Detroit). He followed in 1967 with a 22-11 campaign, tying him for the league lead in victories with Cy Young Award winner Jim Lonborg.

Earl Wilson won 22 games for the Detroit Tigers in 1967, tying him with Boston’s Jim Lonborg for the American League lead in victories.

Earl Wilson won 22 games for the Detroit Tigers in 1967, tying him with Boston’s Jim Lonborg for the American League lead in victories.

Wilson won 25 games for the Tigers over the next two seasons, and closed out his career after splitting the 1970 season with Detroit and the San Diego Padres. He finished his career at 121-109 with a 3.69 ERA.

Wilson started his baseball career as a catcher before switching to the pitching mound. He was one of the best hitting pitchers in baseball, swatting 35 career home runs (33 as a pitcher, fifth all time among major league pitchers). He hit more home runs during the 1960s than any other pitcher in baseball.

 

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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.

 

Hot Bat in Philly

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Don Demeter

Don Demeter’s well-traveled major league career had plenty of ups and downs. His best “ups” ranked him among the most productive hitters in baseball.

Don Demeter broke into the major leagues with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was a key player in the Dodgers’ successful 1959 pennant run, batting .256 with 18 home runs and 70 runs batted in.

Don Demeter broke into the major leagues with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was a key player in the Dodgers’ successful 1959 pennant run, batting .256 with 18 home runs and 70 runs batted in.

Demeter was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1953. He finally broke into the Dodgers’ lineup as a regular in 1959, hitting 18 home runs with 70 RBIs for that season’s World Series champions.

At the start of the 1961 season, the Dodgers traded Demeter with Charley Smith to the Philadelphia Phillies for pitcher Turk Farrell and infielder Joe Koppe. In Philadelphia, Demeter came into his prime, hitting 21 home runs with 70 RBIs for the 1961 season.

In 1962, Demeter batted .307 with 29 home runs and 107 RBIs. His power numbers slipped slightly in 1963, as Demeter finished the year with 22 home runs and 83 RBIs.

In December of 1963, the Phillies traded Demeter and pitcher Jack Hamilton to the Detroit Tigers for pitcher Jim Bunning and catcher Gus Triandos. It may be the best trade the Phillies ever made. Bunning, who had already won 100 games in the American League, went on to become the first 100-game winner in both leagues en route to a Hall of Fame career.

With the Philadelphia Phillies in 1962, Demeter hit .307 with 29 home runs and 107 RBIs. He finished 12th in the voting for National League MVP.

With the Philadelphia Phillies in 1962, Demeter hit .307 with 29 home runs and 107 RBIs. He finished 12th in the voting for National League MVP.

Demeter, the centerpiece of the trade for Detroit, went on to hit 22 home runs for the Tigers with 80 RBIs in 1964. His offensive numbers would never be that strong again. Demeter slipped to 16 home runs and 58 RBIs in 1965, and in 1966 he was involved in a trade for another starting pitcher, going to the Boston Red Sox for Earl Wilson. Wilson blossomed into a 20-game winner for the Tigers, while Demeter’s offensive stats continued to decline.

Demeter spent a little over one season with the Red Sox, and closed out his career with the Cleveland Indians in 1967, batting .207 with five home runs and 12 RBIs in 51 games.

Demeter finished his major league career with a .265 batting average and 163 home runs. From 1961-1964, Demeter averaged 24 home runs with 85 RBIs.

 

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Ringin’ Out the Wins

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Gary Bell

Gary Bell started out his career as a hard-throwing starter, relying on heat and guts while pitching for struggling Cleveland Indians teams. He gradually evolved into one of the American League’s most effective middle relievers with off-speed pitches that helped him get more out of less fastball.

Gary Bell was a versatile pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, effective as both a starter and a reliever. He led the team with 16 saves in 1965, then was oved into the starting rotation in 1966, winning 14 games with a 3.22 ERA.

Gary Bell was a versatile pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, effective as both a starter and a reliever. He led the team with 16 saves in 1965, then was moved into the starting rotation in 1966, winning 14 games with a 3.22 ERA.

Bell was signed by the Indians and was pitching in the majors three years later, going 12-10 with a 3.31 ERA as an Indians starter. In 1959, again as mostly a starter for the Tribe, Bell went 16-11 with a 4.04 ERA

His record slipped to 9-10 in 1960 and 12-16 in 1961. In 1962, he was moved back to the Indians bullpen, going 10-9 with 12 saves. During the next three seasons, working almost exclusively in relief, Bell went 22-16 with a combined 3.42 ERA. The 1965 campaign produced career highs in both appearances (60) and saves (17).

In 1966, Bell returned to the Indians’ starting rotation, posting a 14-15 record with a 3.22 ERA. He led the Indians pitching staff in games started (37), complete games (12), and finished fifth in the American League (and second on the team to league-leader Sam McDowell) with a career-best 194 strikeouts.

Bell opened the 1967 season as a starter and lost five of his first six decisions for Cleveland before being traded to the Boston Red Sox for Tony Horton and Don Demeter. He went 12-8 the rest of the way for the pennant-winning Bosox, and followed up with an 11-11 season for Boston in 1968.

Acquired by the Boston Red Sox early in the 1967 season, Gary Bell played a prominent role in the team’s successful pennant push. Bell was 12-8 for the Red Sox, and saved two critical games in September.

Acquired by the Boston Red Sox early in the 1967 season, Gary Bell played a prominent role in the team’s successful pennant push. Bell was 12-8 for the Red Sox, and saved two critical games in September.

The Seattle Pilots selected Bell in the expansion draft prior to the 1969 season, and he went 2-6 for Seattle before being traded to the Chicago White Sox for pitcher Bob Locker. He appeared in 23 games for the White Sox with no decisions before being released and retiring.

Bell ended his career with a 121-117 record with a 3.68 ERA over 12 seasons. He was a three-time All-Star: in 1960, 1966 and 1968.

 

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In the Bullpen or Out, Turk Works

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Dick Farrell

The great irony of the career of right-hander Dick Farrell is that his best pitching resulted in some of his worst seasons statistically. Those seasons came in the early 1960s when, as a member of the starting rotation for the fledgling Houston Colt .45s, Farrell posted a 46-54 records from 1962 through 1965, though his earned run average over that period was only a combined 3.20.

From 1962-1965, pitching for the second-worst team in the National League, Dick Farrell averaged 11 wins and more than 200 innings per season.

From 1962-1965, pitching for the second-worst team in the National League, Dick Farrell averaged 11 wins and more than 200 innings per season.

Much like his starting counterpart Bob Bruce (and likewise Roger Craig with the New York Mets), “Turk” Farrell pitched better than his record, but not good enough to overcome the limitations of playing for an expansion team.

Boston born and raised, Farrell was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1953 and made his major league debut in Philadelphia at the end of the 1956 season. He had an outstanding rookie season in 1957, going 10-2 out of the Phillies’ bullpen with a 2.38 ERA and 10 saves in 52 appearances. He remained a reliever in his four-plus seasons with the Phillies, going 8-9 with 11 saves and a 3.35 ERA in 1958 and then slipping to 1-6 in 1959. He bounced back in 1960 with a 10-6 record and a 2.70 ERA. That season he appeared in 59 games for the Phillies, finishing 50 and saving 11 games.

Dick Farrell broke into the major leagues with the Philadelphia Phillies, going 10-2 with a 2.38 ERA as a rookie in 1957.

Dick Farrell broke into the major leagues with the Philadelphia Phillies, going 10-2 with a 2.38 ERA as a rookie in 1957.

In 1961, Farrell was traded with Joe Koppe to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Don Demeter and Charley Smith. With the Dodgers, he appeared in 50 games going 6-6 (8-7 overall) with a 5.20 ERA. That next winter, he was selected by Houston in the expansion draft.

In his first five big league seasons, Farrell had gone 37-31 with a 3.70 ERA. He had made only one start (his major league debut in 1956), working strictly – and, generally, effectively – out of the bullpens for the Phillies and Dodgers. In Houston, his professional life would change dramatically. He was transformed into a starter who still worked occasionally in relief as needed, and Farrell was a workhorse for the Colts. He posted a 3.02 ERA in 1962 (seventh best in the National League), and pitched 11 complete games with two shutouts, but was only 10-20 on the season.

In 1963, he was 14-13 with an identical 3.02 ERA, and then was 11-10 in 1964 and 11-11 in 1965. During those four seasons, with the second-worst team in the National League, Farrell averaged 11 wins and more than 200 innings per season. In 1966 he went 6-10 for the Astros, and the next season he was sold back to Philadelphia, where he again became exclusively a reliever. Farrell went 9-6 for the Phillies in 1967 (10-6 overall) with 2.34 ERA.

He pitched in 100 games for the Phillies over the next two seasons, going 7-10 with 15 saves and a combined 3.73 ERA. He retired after the 1969 season.

Farrell lasted a total of 14 seasons in the majors, going 106-111 with a 3.45 career ERA. He was named to the National League All-Star team four times.

 

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How Jim Bunning Came to Philadelphia

 

Swap Shop: Jim Bunning for Don Demeter

Jim Bunning was the reigning ace of the Detroit Tigers’ pitching staff at the opening of the 1960s. Signed by the Tigers off the campus of Xavier University in 1950, Bunning spent six seasons in the Tigers’ minor league system, enjoying his best minor league season in 1954 with Little Rock in the AA Southern Association, where he went 13-11.

Jim Bunning won 57 games in his first 3 season with the Phillies after being traded by Detroit.

Jim Bunning won 57 games in his first three season with the Phillies after being traded by Detroit.

Bunning made his major league debut with the Tigers in 1955, going 3-5 in 15 appearances, including eight starts. He opened the 1956 season with Charleston in the American Association, and after a 9-11 start was called up to Detroit, where he finished the season 5-1 for the Tigers, used mostly in relief. He made the Tigers’ roster in 1957, and had an outstanding season, going 20-8 with a 2.69 ERA. He also led the American League with 267.1 innings pitched.

He won 14 games in 1958 and 17 games in 1959. His won-lost record slipped to 11-14 in 1960, though he posted a 2.79 earned run average. He led the American League in strikeouts with 201 in both 1959 and 1960. In 1961, while Frank Lary led the Tigers’ staff with a 23-7 season, Bunning registered another strong season at 17-11 with a 3.19 ERA. He was 19-10 in 1962, but in 1963 his record slipped to 12-13. At age 31, he was considered expendable.

The Philadelphia Phillies were interested in Bunning, and offered the Tigers Don Demeter in exchange. In the previous two seasons, Demeter had batted a combined .284 with 51 home runs and 190 RBIs. The Tigers slotted Demeter in left field, replacing the departed Rocky Colavito.

The Bunning-Demeter deal also included catcher Gus Triandos going to the Phillies and the Tigers getting relief pitcher Jack Hamilton.

The right-handed hitting Don Demeter was the key acquisition for the Tigers in the deal that sent future Hall of Famer Jim Bunning to Philadelphia.

The right-handed hitting Don Demeter was the key acquisition for the Tigers in the deal that sent future Hall of Famer Jim Bunning to Philadelphia.

Of course, the deal turned out to be lop-sided in favor of the Phillies. Demeter batted .290 for the Tigers in 1964 with 22 home runs and 80 RBIs. His power numbers slipped to 16 home runs and 58 RBIs in 1965, and he was dealt to the Boston Red Sox in 1966.

Bunning became the ace of the Phillies’ staff and teamed with left-hander Chris Short to give the Phillies a powerful 1-2 rotation punch. He won 19 games each season from 1964 through 1966, and won 17 games in 1967. In his four seasons with the Phillies, Bunning averaged 40 starts and 298 innings per season. His combined ERA over those four seasons was 2.48. He pitched a perfect game for the Phillies in 1964. It was the second no-hitter of his career, and made him the first pitcher to toss a no-hitter in both major leagues.

Bunning lasted 17 seasons in the major leagues, and pitched a full eight seasons after being traded from Detroit. He retired with a career record of 224-184 with a 3.27 ERA. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996.

 

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