Whitey’s Last Loss for More than a Month


This Week in 1960s Baseball

(May 29, 1961) At Fenway Park in Boston, the Red Sox tonight defeated the New York Yankees 2-1 behind the five-hit pitching of left-hander Ike Delock (3-1).

Ike Delock pitched a five-hit complete game to beat the New York Yankees and Whitey Ford 2-1. Delock would finish the 1961 season at 6-9 with a 4.90 ERA.

Delock struck out seven Yankee batters and walked none in out-dueling Yankee Starter Whitey Ford (6-2). The loss snapped Ford’s personal six-game winning streak.

The Red Sox scored the game’s first run when Jackie Jensen led off the bottom of the second inning with a solo home run. It was Jensen’s fourth home run of the season.

Delock shut out the Yankees for the first six innings, allowing just two hits. With one out in the top of the seventh inning, Mickey Mantle launched a home run to the right field seats with the bases empty, tying the game. It was Mantle’s eleventh home run of the season.

Jensen walked to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning and moved to second on Frank Malzone’s ground out. Ford walked Jim Pagliaroni and then gave up a single to Vic Wertz. Yankee left fielder Bob Cerv snared the line drive on the first hop and fired the ball to Clete Boyer, who relayed the ball to second baseman Bobby Richardson to force Pagliaroni out at second.

However, the out at second allowed Jensen to score and put the Red Sox ahead 2-1. It would be the last run scored by either team.

Delock allowed lead-off singles in both the eighth and ninth innings. But a double play in the eighth and two strikeouts in the ninth kept the Yankees from scoring.

Delock would win two more games in June and then win only one more decision to finish the 1961 season at 6-9.

Whitey lost the last game he pitched in May of 1961 and wouldn’t lose again for two-and-a-half months. Ford won the 1961 Cy Young Award with a 25-4 season.

Ford wouldn’t lose another decision until the middle of August. He would win all eight of his starts in June, a record that has never been matched. He would go 5-0 in July and win his twentieth game in August before finally losing to the Chicago White Sox 2-1 on August 15.

The 1961 season would be the finest in Ford’s Hall of Fame career. The Yankee southpaw would finish the season at 25-4 with a 3.21 ERA, leading the major leagues in victories, starts (39), innings pitched (283) and winning percentage (.862). He would also take the Cy Young Award as baseball’s best pitcher.



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Essegian Chucked


This Week in 1960s Baseball

(February 27, 1963) The Cleveland Indians today traded outfielder Chuck Essegian to the Kansas City Athletics for pitcher Jerry Walker.

The Indians had purchased Essegian from the A’s in 1961. He hit .289 for the Tribe in 60 games over the rest of that season. In 1962, Essegian hit .274 with 21 home runs with 50 RBIs.

Chuck Essegian hit 21 home runs with 50 RBIs for the Cleveland Indians in 1962.

In 1959, as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Essegian became the first major league player to hit two pinch home runs in a single World Series. He was also the second major league player to participate in both the Rose Bowl (as a member of the Stanford University football team in 1952) and in the World Series. Jackie Jensen preceded him in that distinction.

In exchange for Essegian, the Indians received right-handed pitcher Jerry Walker, who had posted an 8-9 record with a 5.90 ERA for Kansas City in 1962. Walker was signed by the Baltimore Orioles in 1957 and had his best year in the majors in 1959, when he posted an 11-10 record for the Orioles with a 2.92 ERA. He was the American League’s starting pitcher in the 1959 All-Star game at age 20.

Walker would post a 6-6 record as a relief pitcher for Cleveland in 1963. He would be out of baseball before the end of the 1964 season.

Jerry Walker was an All-Star in 1959 at age 20. He was 11-10 for the Baltimore Orioles that season. As a member of the Cleveland Indians in 1963, his only save was in Early Wynn’s 300th career victory.

Essegian would hit .225 for Kansas City in 1963, his final season as a major leaguer. He played in Japan in 1964.

This deal was actually the second trade that Essegian and Walker were involved in. Just prior to the 1961 season, they were traded together by the Orioles to the Kansas City A’s for pitcher Dick Hall and outfielder Dick Williams, the future manager of the Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics.



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Jackie Jensen Retires


This Week in 1960s Baseball

(January 26, 1960) In a surprise move, Boston Red Sox outfielder Jackie Jensen announced his retirement from baseball at age 33.

The American League MVP in 1958, Jackie Jensen led the league in RBIs that season. He would lead in runs batted in three times.

Jensen suffered from an intense fear of flying. Baseball’s expansion west only compounded his problem. In addition, Jensen wanted to spend more time with his family, telling reporters that “Being away from home with a baseball team for seven months a year doesn’t represent the kind of life I want or the kind of life my wife and children want.”

Despite his persistent problems with air travel, Jensen had become one of the most productive hitters in the late 1950s. He started his career with the New York Yankees and Washington Senators. Traded to the Red Sox prior to the 1954 season, Jensen averaged 111 RBIs per season from 1954 to 1959, leading the American League in runs batted in three times (1955, 1958 and 1959). He was the American League MVP for 1958.

After sitting out the 1960 season, Jensen tried to make a comeback in 1961. But his disappointment in his hitting that season (.263, 13 HRs, 66 RBIs) and his continuing fear of flying compelled Jensen to retirement for good after the 1961 campaign.