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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Red Sox Trade Tracy

This Week in 1960s Baseball

(December 11, 1962) The Boston Red Sox today traded Tracy Stallard, Pumpsie Green and a player to be named later (Al Moran) to the New York Mets in exchange for infielder Felix Mantilla.

Tracy Stallard struggled after being traded to the New York Mets … a frequent consequence of pitching for the Mets in the early 1960s. Stallard was 6-17 for the Mets in 1963 and 10-20 in 1964.

Tracy Stallard struggled after being traded to the New York Mets … a frequent consequence of pitching for the Mets in the early 1960s. Stallard was 6-17 for the Mets in 1963 and 10-20 in 1964.

Stallard spent most of the 1962 season pitching for Seattle, Boston’s AAA affiliate in the Pacific Coast League. He was 7-6 with a 3.49 ERA. He appeared in a single game for Boston, pitching a scoreless inning.

In 1961, Stallard was 2-7 for the Red Sox with a 4.88 earned run average. He was best known for throwing the pitch that Roger Maris hit for his record-breaking 61st home run.

Mantilla batted .275 in 1962, his only season with the Mets. He would bat .315 as a part-time infielder for the Red Sox in 1963 and then follow up with his best season in the majors, hitting .289 with 30 home runs and 64 RBIs for Boston in 1964.

Felix Mantilla blossomed as a hitter with his arrival in Boston. He batted .315 as a part-time infielder for the Red Sox in 1963 and hit 30 home runs in 1964.

Felix Mantilla blossomed as a hitter with his arrival in Boston. He batted .315 as a part-time infielder for the Red Sox in 1963 and hit 30 home runs in 1964.

Stallard will become a 20-game loser for the Mets in 1964 … despite posting a 3.79 ERA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Cat with a Quick Bat

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Felix Mantilla

Infielder Felix Mantilla came up through the Negro and minor leagues with an outfielder named Hank Aaron. Both were All-Stars who broke into the major leagues with the Milwaukee Braves.

Felix Mantilla was an All-Star in 1965, when he batted .275 with 18 home runs and 92 RBIs for the Boston Red Sox.

Felix Mantilla was an All-Star in 1965, when he batted .275 with 18 home runs and 92 RBIs for the Boston Red Sox.

Both built their reputations on home runs. Aaron hit more.

Mantilla was signed by the Braves in 1952 and was a member of the pennant-winning Braves of 1957 and 1958. After six seasons as a utility infielder with the Braves, Mantilla was selected by the New York Mets in the 1961 expansion draft. He spent the 1962 season as the Mets’ everyday third baseman, batting .275 with 11 home runs and 59 runs batted in. Following that season, he was traded to the Boston Red Sox for Pumpsie Green and Tracy Stallard.

In Boston, Mantilla’s potential and power were unleashed. He batted .315 in 1963 as the team’s utility infielder, and then became a starter at second base in 1965, batting .289 with 30 home runs and 64 RBIs. He followed in 1965, his All-Star season, with 18 home runs and 92 RBIs while batting .275.

In the off season, he was traded to the Houston Colt .45s for shortstop Eddie Kasko. For the Colts in 1966, he batted .219 as a part-time player, and then retired at age 31.

Mantilla played 11 seasons in the major leagues. He hit .261 in his career on 707 hits, with 89 home runs and 330 RBIs.