NL All-Stars Turn Up the Heat; Perry Prevails

 

This Week in 1960s Baseball

(July 12, 1966) In St. Louis, the National League All-Stars edged the American League 2-1, in a game played at Busch Stadium in 105-degree weather. Continue reading

Wilson Matches Maloney No-No

 

This Week in 1960s Baseball

(May 1, 1969) Today Houston Astros right-hander Don Wilson pitched a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds – one day after the Reds’ Jim Maloney fired a no-hitter against the Astros.

The Astros beat the Reds 4-0 on a solo home run by Doug Rader, a two-run double by Denis Menke, and a sacrifice fly by Wilson, who struck out 13 Reds’ batters and walked six. The victory raised Wilson’s record to 2-3 on the season. He would finish the 1969 campaign at 16-12 with a 4.00 ERA. Wilson would strike out 235 batters in 225 innings in 1969.

Don Wilson (left) no-hit the Cincinnati Reds on May 1, 1969 … one day after the Astros were no-hit by the Reds’ Jim Maloney.

Don Wilson (left) no-hit the Cincinnati Reds on May 1, 1969 … one day after the Astros were no-hit by the Reds’ Jim Maloney.

Maloney (3-0) faced only 31 Astros batters in no-hitting Houston 10-0 the previous day. He struck out 13 batters and walked five. The Reds’ hitting star of that game was outfielder Bobby Tolan, who had three hits and four RBIs for the game.

Maloney would finish the 1969 season at 12-5 with a 2.77 ERA.

This marked the second time in major league history when opposing teams traded back-to-back no-hitters … and in less than a year. On September 17, 1968, Gaylord Perry pitched a no-hitter for the San Francisco Giants in beating the St. Louis Cardinals and Bob Gibson 1-0. The next day, Cardinals’ right-hander Ray Washburn returned the favor by no-hitting the Giants 2-0.

 

 

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Curve Ballin’ Cardinal

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Ray Washburn

Throughout most of the 1960s, Ray Washburn was the complementary starter who rounded out the St. Louis Cardinals’ rotation, and provided the day-in, day-out innings-eating consistency that every staff needs.

Ray Washburn was 68-60 for the St. Louis Cardinals in the !960s.

Ray Washburn was 68-60 for the St. Louis Cardinals in the !960s.

Washburn was signed by the Cardinals in 1960 and had worked his way into the team’s starting rotation by 1962, going 12-9 that season with a 4.10 ERA. He was off to a fine start in 1963 when a muscle tear in his pitching shoulder sidelined him for the rest of that season and for most of the Cardinals’ pennant-winning campaign in 1964. He made something of a comeback in 1965, going 9-11 with a 3.62 ERA. But he was relying more and more on breaking ball finesse since his fastball did not have its pre-injury velocity.

Washburn, despite his physical limitation, didn’t fade into also-ran status. He continued to hone his pitching skills to produce an 11-9 season in 1966 and 10-7 in 1967. He had his best season in 1968, going 14-8 with a 2.26 ERA and four shutouts. He also achieved career highs in innings pitched (215.1) and strikeouts (124).

Ray Washburn's best season came in 1968, when he was 14-8 with a 2.26 ERA and four shutouts.

Ray Washburn’s best season came in 1968, when he was 14-8 with a 2.26 ERA and four shutouts.

On September 18, Washburn no-hit the San Francisco Giants 2-0 one day after the Giants’ Gaylord Perry had pitched a no-hitter of his own against the Cardinals and Bob Gibson —the first time in major league history that back-to-back no-hitters had been pitched in the same series.

In the 1968 World Series, Washburn was the Game Three winner, beating the Detroit Tigers 7-3 on four hits (including home runs by Al Kaline and Dick McAuliffe). He was the losing pitcher in Game Six, allowing five earned runs in two innings.

Washburn was relegated to a spot starter’s role in 1969, and went 3-8 despite a respectable 3.06 ERA. Following the 1969 season, the Cardinals traded Washburn to the Cincinnati Reds for pitcher George Culver. Washburn spent the 1970 season working out of the Reds bullpen. He went 4-4 in 35 games. His only appearance in the 1970 World Series was his last. He retired with a career record of 72-64 with a 3.53 ERA.

 

 

 

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Wet Wins

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Gaylord Perry

Gaylord Perry was a great pitcher partly because he was also a great mound psychologist.

Gaylord Perry won 314 games over a 22-year major league career. He was the first pitcher to win the <a rel=

Notorious for being the last great spitball pitcher (a pitch outlawed four decades before Perry’s career began), he deftly used the uncertainty of that pitch to keep batters thinking about it rather than concentrating on his “stuff,” which was considerable … wet or dry.

Perry was signed by the San Francisco Giants in 1958 and made his debut with the team at the end of the 1962 season. He was used primarily as a long reliever and spot starter during his first three seasons with the Giants, but gradually moved into the Giants’ starting rotation and posted a 21-8 record with a 2.99 ERA in 1966.

Perry was always an “innings eater” and, from 1967 through 1975, never pitched less than 280 innings in a season. He pitched more than 300 innings six times in his career. He won 50 games for the Giants from 1967 through 1969, and led the National League in victories with a 23-13 record in 1970 (the same year that brother Jim Perry led the American League with 24 wins and won the American League Cy Young award).

Perry went 16-12 in 1971 with a 2.76 ERA, and over the winter the Giants dealt Perry and shortstop Frank Duffy to the Cleveland Indians for Sam McDowell. Perry responded with the best season of his career: a 24-16 record (one-third of the Indians’ 72 victories), a 1.92 ERA over 342.2 innings pitched, and 29 complete games, including five shutouts. He was named American League Cy Young award winner for the 1972 season.

Gaylord Perry’s breakout season came in 1966, when he went 21-8 with a 2.99 ERA for the San Francisco Giants. That season he was also named to the All-Star team for the first time.

Gaylord Perry’s breakout season came in 1966, when he went 21-8 with a 2.99 ERA for the San Francisco Giants. That season he was also named to the All-Star team for the first time.

Perry won 19 games for the Tribe in 1973 and 21 games in 1974. He pitched 57 complete games over those two seasons. During the 1975 season, he was traded to the Texas Rangers for Jim Bibby, Jackie Brown, Rick Waits and $100,000. He won a combined 18 games that season, and followed up with a pair of 15-win campaigns over the next two seasons. Then Perry was traded to the San Diego Padres, and posted a 21-6 record with a 2.73 ERA in 1978 – good enough to claim his second Cy Young award. Perry was the first pitcher to win that award in each league.

He hung on for five more years, pitching for Texas, the New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals. He closed out his 22-year career with a 314-265 record and a 3.11 ERA. He pitched 5,350 innings over his career, the sixth highest total in major league history.

A five-time All-Star, Perry was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Baseball’s Best .500 Pitcher?

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Joe Horlen

Every era of major league baseball seems to include a pitcher whose numbers are outstanding except where it matters most to pennant races: in the won-lost column. Whether it’s a Bert Blyleven (287-250) in the 1970s and 1980s or a Tim Belcher (146-140) in the 1990s, these are pitchers with great stuff who, on their best days, are absolutely unhittable – but in the end, they’re basically .500 pitchers, a fact that, more often than not, is more of an indication of the caliber of teams they played for rather than their pitching prowess.

No pitcher in the 1960s understood frustration as well as Joe Horlen. From 1964-1966, pitching for the Chicago White Sox, Horlen had a combined ERA of 2.40, yet a won-loss record of only 36-35.

No pitcher in the 1960s understood frustration as well as Joe Horlen. From 1964-1966, pitching for the Chicago White Sox, Horlen had a combined ERA of 2.40, yet a won-loss record of only 36-35.

In the pitching-rich 1960s, no one had a more impressive yet frustrating career than Joe Horlen. Signed by the Chicago White Sox off the campus of Oklahoma State University in 1959, the right-hander made his debut with the big league club at the end of 1961, going 1-3 in four starts. By 1963, Horlen was a regular in the starting rotation, posting a record of 11-7 with a 3.27 ERA.

Over the next five seasons, Horlen didn’t post an ERA above 2.88, yet during that period his won-lost record was only 67-56, with a combined ERA of 2.34. He had a winning record in only one of those seasons: 1967, when Horlen went 19-7 with a league-leading 2.06 ERA. He was tops in the major leagues with six shutouts. He pitched a no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers on September 10, 1967, and averaged less than seven hits per nine innings pitched for that season. That same year, he finished second in the Cy Young voting to Boston’s Jim Lonborg. It was Horlen’s last winning season.

Horlen pitched for the White Sox through 1971, and was released following an 8-9 campaign. He signed with the Oakland A’s and pitched mostly in relief in 1972, going 3-4 with a respectable ERA of 3.00. But Oakland released him at the end of the season, and no other team signed him. Horlen was out of baseball at age 34.

Horlen’s best season came in 1967. He was 19-7 and led the American League with a 2.06 ERA and six shutouts. It was his only All-Star season.

Horlen’s best season came in 1967. He was 19-7 and led the American League with a 2.06 ERA and six shutouts. It was his only All-Star season.

For the nine years he played during the 1960s (1961-1969), Horlen’s 2.83 ERA was better than the earned run averages of Cy Young award winners Vern Law and Denny McLain and Hall of Famers such as Jim Bunning and Gaylord Perry. But his efforts returned only a 99-88 record, with a single All-Star appearance (1967).

 

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Gaylord’s Older Bro

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Jim Perry

No pair of pitching brothers has more combined strikeouts (5,110), shutouts (85) and Cy Young awards (3) than Jim and Gaylord Perry. Their combined 519 major league victories is second only to Phil and Joe Niekro (who won 539 games between them).

In 1960, as a member of the Cleveland Indians' starting rotation, Jim Perry tied for the most wins in the American League with 18.

In 1960, as a member of the Cleveland Indians’ starting rotation, Jim Perry tied for the most wins in the American League with 18.

Older brother Jim broke into the majors in 1959 with the Cleveland Indians, going 12-10 with a 2.65 ERA as a starter and reliever. He was second in the Rookie of the Year balloting to the Washington Senators’ Bob Allison. He started the 1960s by leading the American League in victories (18, tied with the Baltimore OriolesChuck Estrada), games started (36) and shutouts (4). In the next two years, pitching for a weak Cleveland team, Perry went 22-29, and was traded to the Minnesota Twins for pitcher Jack Kralick.

Perry spent the next five years with the Twins shuttling between the bullpen and the starting rotation. Despite posting consistently solid ERAs, the most games he won for the Twins came during their pennant-winning season of 1965, when Perry went 12-7 with a 2.63 ERA. That record included a streak of seven consecutive victories – all for a team that, earlier in the year, had put him on waivers!

Jim Perry's finest season came with the Minnesota Twins in 1970, when he won the Cy Young award with a 24-12 record.

Jim Perry’s finest season came with the Minnesota Twins in 1970, when he won the Cy Young award with a 24-12 record.

His career seemed locked in mediocrity until Billy Martin was appointed as the Twins manager for 1969. Martin promptly made Perry his #1 starter. Perry responded with his first 20-victory season, going 20-6 with a 2.82 ERA and leading the Twins to a division championship. He topped that performance in 1970 with a 24-12 season that earned him the American League Cy Young award. He remained a durable starter for Minnesota, and later for Detroit and Cleveland, before retiring in 1975 with a career record of 215-174 with a 3.45 ERA.

A three-time All-Star, Perry was also a good hitting pitcher, batting .199 over his 17-year career with five home runs and 59 RBIs.  He finished his career with 32 shutouts.

 

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Regaining the Touch He Left in San Francisco

 

Swap Shop: The Giants Re-acquire Mike McCormick.

Left-hander Mike McCormick had two separate careers with the San Francisco Giants. In his first career, at the beginning of the 1960s, he was the promising young southpaw who posted the lowest ERA in the National League – 2.70 in 1960 – while winning 15 games and pitching in his first All-Star game, all by the age of 21. At age 22, he was 13-16 with a 3.20 ERA for the Giants, and a sore shoulder in 1962 produced only a 5-5 season with a 5.38 ERA.

Mike McCormick signed with the Giants at age 17. By 21 he was the National League ERA champion. By 24, the Giants had unloaded him to the Baltimore Orioles.

Mike McCormick signed with the Giants at age 17. By 21 he was the National League ERA champion. By 24, the Giants had unloaded him to the Baltimore Orioles.

By age 24, McCormick had already pitched over 1,000 major league innings, and had a soreness with every throw that x-rays could not diagnose. So in December of 1962, the Giants sent McCormick and his mysterious sore arm with Stu Miller and John Orsino to the Baltimore Orioles for Jimmie Coker, Jack Fisher and Billy Hoeft. Still pitching through the pain, McCormick was 6-8 as an occasional starter for the Orioles in 1963, and then appeared in only four games before being assigned to AAA Rochester in 1964. He was traded to the Washington Senators in 1965 and was 19-22 over two seasons in Washington.

Following the 1966 seasons, the Giants were looking for a fourth starter to complement Juan Marichal, Gaylord Perry and Ray Sadecki. The Giants parted with an outfielder (Cap Peterson) and a pitcher (Bob Priddy) to get McCormick back, but they got a different McCormick than the one they had surrendered four years earlier. He could pitch without pain, and this latest version of Mike McCormick had less of a fastball but more pitches and more control. He was still only 28, and about to embark on the best season of his career (make that, careers) as a Giant.

By the 1967 season’s end, McCormick was 22-10, leading all major league pitchers in victories. His 2.85 earned run average was the second-lowest of his career, and he pitched more innings than in any other season of his career. His five shutouts that seasons also represented a career high. He was named National League Cy Young award winner.

The Giants re-acquired McCormick to fill out the team's starting rotation. He turned out to be the team's ace, winning the National League Cy Young award in 1967 with a 22-10 record.

The Giants re-acquired McCormick to fill out the team’s starting rotation. He turned out to be the team’s ace, winning the National League Cy Young award in 1967 with a 22-10 record.

McCormick’s second tour in San Francisco would last three-plus seasons and produce 48 victories. He finished his 16-year major league career in 1971 with a record of 134-128 and a 3.72 ERA.

 

 

 

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Giants Need 21 Innings to Outlast Cincinnati, 1-0

 

This Week in 1960s Baseball …

(September 1, 1967) – Extending his scoreless innings streak to 25, San Francisco Giants starter Gaylord Perry pitched 16 scoreless innings against the Cincinnati Reds but wasn’t around at game’s end to pick up the win as the Giants edged the Reds 1-0 in 21 innings.

San Francisco Giants Starter Gaylord Perry pitched 16 shutout innings against the Cincinnati Reds ... but wasn't around when the Giants won 1-0 in 21 innings.

San Francisco Giants Starter Gaylord Perry pitched 16 shutout innings against the Cincinnati Reds … but wasn’t around when the Giants won 1-0 in 21 innings.

The victory went to reliever Frank Linzy (6-6), who pitched the last five innings for the Giants, allowing no runs on two hits.

The losing pitcher was Bob Lee (2-3).

Both starters, Perry (11-15) and Mel Queen (11-6), were dominant while they were on the mound. Queen allowed eight hits over 9.1 innings, but struck out 10 Giants batters and walked only one. He was replaced in the tenth inning by Ted Abernathy, who pitched 3.2 scoreless innings before giving way to Don Nottebart in the fourteenth inning.

Perry allowed 10 hits over 16 scoreless innings, striking out 12 and walking two.

Through the first 13 innings, Willie Mays was the only Giants batter to reach second base, but was stranded there twice.

Nottebart pitched scoreless ball through the eighteenth, allowing only three hits in five innings. In the top of the twenty-first inning, Jim Ray Hart singled and Ollie Brown doubled, sending Hart to third. Lee, the Reds’ fourth pitcher, intentionally walked Lanier to load the bases with one out, and then unintentionally walked Dick Groat, forcing in Hart with the game’s only run.

Reliever Frank Linzy pitched 5 scoreless innings to pick up the victory.

Reliever Frank Linzy pitched 5 scoreless innings to pick up the victory.

Linzy retired the Reds in order in the bottom of the twenty-first inning, striking out Pete Rose and catcher Johnny Edwards to end the game.

Perry was coming off a 7-0 shutout of the Los Angeles Dodgers four days earlier, and would follow up five days later with a 2-0 shutout of the Houston Astros. Perry would run his scoreless streak to 40 innings, and finish the 1967 season at 15-17 with a 2.61 ERA.

He would pitch three complete game shutouts in 1967, though none as grueling as the 16-inning “shutout” that didn’t count.

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