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

Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Bullpen

 

This Week in 1960s Baseball

(July 27, 1961) The San Francisco Giants today defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-0 behind the shutout pitching of Juan Marichal (7-7).

It was Marichal’s first shutout of the 1961 season, and his fifth complete game.

It had to be. The Giants had no one in the bullpen.

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With no one in the bullpen to back him up. Juan Marichal pitched a five-hit shutout of the Pittsburgh Pirates, winning 2-0 and raising his season record to 7-7.

Prior to the first pitch, Giants manager Alvin Dark announced that “Marichal will go all the way,” and backed his prediction by keeping all of his relief corps in the dugout for the entire game. Dark later explained, “I’m sick and tired of watching pitchers bow their necks for four-five innings and then look around for Stu Miller to bail them out.”

The 23-year-old Marichal lived up to his manager’s expectations, scattering five hits while striking out eight batters and walking three. The Pirates’ best scoring opportunity was snuffed out in the seventh inning, thanks to Willie Mays’ miraculous catch of a Smoky Burgess deep fly ball.

The Giants scored their runs in the fifth and sixth innings on RBIs from Jose Pagan and Matty Alou.

The losing pitcher was Vinegar Bend Mizell (4-8).

Marichal would finish the 1961 season – his second in the major leagues – at 13-10 with a 3.89 ERA and nine complete games. He would pitch 244 complete games in his career with the Giants and 52 shutouts – number two all-time to Christy Mathewson among Giants pitchers.

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His Road to Cooperstown Began in St. Louis

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Steve Carlton

Steve Carlton’s incredible 23-year career showcased an uncompromising competitor who amassed wins and strikeouts for good teams and bad ones alike. But in the 1960s, Carlton was a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, a solid starting pitcher on the verge of the greatness he would realize in another city.

Steve Carlton’s best season came in 1972, when he went 27-10 with a 1.97 ERA for a Philadelphia Phillies team that won only 59 games.

Steve Carlton’s best season came in 1972, when he went 27-10 with a 1.97 ERA for a Philadelphia Phillies team that won only 59 games.

The Cardinals signed Carlton in 1963 and he made his major league debut two years later. By 1967 Carlton was part of the St. Louis starting rotation and produced a 14-9 record with a 2.98 ERA. He followed with a 13-11 campaign in 1968 and went 17-11 in 1969 with a 2.17 ERA (second in the National League to Juan Marichal’s 2.10 average). Carlton struck out 210 batters in 1969, the first time in his career when he topped the 200-strikeout mark, and something he would accomplish seven more times in his career.

A change of decade meant a change of teams for Carlton. After slipping to 10-19 for St. Louis in 1970, he rebounded with a 20-9 season in 1971. But his contract demands convinced the Cardinals to trade him to the Philadelphia Phillies for Rick Wise. Carlton had his best season in 1972, going 27-10 with a 1.97 ERA for a Phillies team that won only 59 games during the season. He led the league in starts (41), complete games (30), innings pitched (346.1) and strikeouts (310). He pitched eight shutouts (second in the league to Don Sutton, who had none). He also won his first Cy Young award. Carlton would win three more during his career.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994, Steve Carlton’s 329 career victories and 4,136 strikeouts are both second highest among major league left-handers.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994, Steve Carlton’s 329 career victories and 4,136 strikeouts are both second highest among major league left-handers.

Carlton spent 15 seasons in Philadelphia, winning 20 or more games in a season five times. After being released by Philadelphia in 1986, Carlton played for four more teams over the next two seasons. He retired in 1988 with a career record of 329-244 and a 3.22 ERA over 5217.2 innings pitched. Carlton struck out 4,136 batters, the second-highest total among left-handers and fourth best all-time among all pitchers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994.

 

 

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Glancing Back, and Remembering John Roseboro

Rarely in baseball history has there been a righty-lefty pitching tandem to match the Los Angeles Dodgers’ dynamic duo of the 1960s: Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. Both were big-time winners. Both were capable of double-digit strikeouts in any game they started. And both pitchers had one other thing in common: their catcher.

John Roseboro was the Los Angeles Dodgers everyday catcher from 1958-1967, winning two Gold Gloves and playing for four pennant winners.

John Roseboro was the Los Angeles Dodgers everyday catcher from 1958-1967, winning two Gold Gloves and playing for four pennant winners.

John Roseboro was the player who caught those Hall of Famers. He was an excellent defensive catcher, winning the Gold Glove award twice, and being named to the National League All-Star team three times (as well as one All-Star appearance as an American Leaguer).

Roseboro was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1952 and joined the Dodgers at the end of the 1957 season. He became the Dodgers’ starting catcher for the 1958 season, replacing Roy Campanella, whose Hall of Fame career ended that winter in an automobile crash. Roseboro never approached his predecessor’s offensive prowess, but he was an able backstop who knew how to bring out the best of his pitchers … and he caught some of the best ever. Roseboro hit .271 his rookie season. His best season with a bat was 1961, when he hit 18 home runs with 59 RBIs. His highest batting average was .287 for 1964. In 11 seasons with the Dodgers, Roseboro hit a combined .251.

On August 22, 1965, Roseboro was the victim of an attack by San Francisco Giants pitcher Juan Marichal. Marichal claimed that Roseboro had thrown back to Koufax purposely close to Marichal’s face in retaliation to earlier brushback pitches by Marichal. Marichal attacked Roseboro and struck him three times with his bat, opening a two-inch gash in his head that required 14 stitches. Marichal was suspended for nine games and prohibited from traveling with the team to Dodger Stadium later in the season.

In November of 1967, the Dodgers dealt Roseboro, along with pitchers Bob Miller and Ron Perranoski, to the Minnesota Twins for Mudcat Grant and Zoilo Versalles. Roseboro’s steady performance behind the plate was instrumental in Minnesota’s finishing first in the Western Division in 1969.

The Twins released Roseboro following the 1969 season and he signed with the Washington Senators. He appeared in 46 games as a backup for Washington in 1970, retiring after being released by the club in August of 1970.

Roseboro batted .249 in 14 major league seasons. He won his Gold Gloves in 1961 and 1966.

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Mathews Reaches 500

 

This Week in 1960s Baseball

(July 14, 1967) At Candlestick Park, batting against San Francisco Giants ace Juan Marichal, Eddie Mathews hit home run number 500 as the Houston Astros beat the Giants 8-6.

After hitting 493 career home runs with the Braves, Eddie Mathews launched number 500 in 1967 with the Houston Astros.

After hitting 493 career home runs with the Braves, Eddie Mathews launched number 500 in 1967 with the Houston Astros.

Prior to the 1967 season, Mathews had been traded by the Atlanta Braves with a player to be named later and Arnold Umbach to the Houston Astros for Bob Bruce and Dave Nicholson. A nine-time All-Star in 15 seasons with the Braves, Mathews had hit 493 homers playing for the franchise in Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta. His seventh round-tripper of the 1967 season made him the seventh major leaguer to reach the 500 home run plateau.

Mathews’ home run came in the sixth inning with two runners aboard. It was not Marichal’s best day. The Giants went into the sixth inning leading 4-3, but the first two Astros batters, Jim Wynn and Rusty Staub, opened the inning with back-to-back singles. Mathews came up and homered to put the Astros on top 6-4.

Marichal then walked Norm Miller (who had hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning) and gave up a single to Bob Aspromonte before being relieved by left-hander Joe Gibbon. Marichal left the game after allowing seven earned runs in five innings. The loss brought his season record to 12-8.

As a member of the Braves, Eddie Mathews hit home runs in Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta over a 17-year career. He led the National League in home runs twice: in 1953 and 1959.

As a member of the Braves, Eddie Mathews hit home runs in Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta over a 17-year career. He led the National League in home runs twice: in 1953 and 1959.

The winning pitcher was Dave Giusti (6-8), who allowed nine hits and five earned runs in seven innings, including a two-run homer by Giants third baseman Jim Davenport. The Giants also got a solo home run from Jim Ray Hart in the eighth inning. That home run came off Larry Sherry, who picked up his second save of the season.

Mathews would end the 1967 season with the Detroit Tigers. On the season, he would hit 16 home runs with 57 runs batted in. He would retire after the 1968 season with 512 career home runs, and he would be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1978.

The Greatest Pitching Duel of Our Lifetime

 

This Week in 1960s Baseball

(July 2, 1963) In one of baseball’s most memorable pitching duels, the San Francisco GiantsJuan Marichal and the Milwaukee BravesWarren Spahn both hurled 15 scoreless innings before Willie Mays ended the marathon with a home run off Spahn in the bottom of the 16th inning, giving San Francisco a 1-0 win.

Warren Spahn

Warren Spahn

Spahn (11-4) allowed nine hits in 15.1 innings pitched, striking out two Giants batters. Giants right-hander Marichal (13-3) allowed only eight hits in pitching his 16-inning shutout. Marichal struck out 10 Braves and lowered his season ERA to 2.14.

Willie Mays’ lead-off home run in the 16th inning broke up a scoreless pitching duel between Warren Spahn and Juan Marichal.

Willie Mays’ lead-off home run in the 16th inning broke up a scoreless pitching duel between Warren Spahn and Juan Marichal.

Mays’s walk-off home run was his 15th of the season. He would finish the 1963 season with 38 round-trippers (to go with a .314 batting average and 103 RBIs). Mays still holds the major league record with 22 extra-inning home runs.

Spahn would finish the 1963 season at 23-7 with a 2.60 ERA. It would be the last winning season of his Hall of Fame Career.

Juan Marichal

Juan Marichal

Marichal, also a future Hall of Famer (this particular game featured seven different future HoFers), finished 1963 with a 25-8 record and a 2.41 ERA. He would lead the majors with 321.1 innings pitched.

 

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He Brought His Heart to San Francisco

 

Swap Shop: How Billy Pierce Became a Giant … Who Saved a Pennant

In more than one way, Billy Pierce was the difference that got the San Francisco Giants into the 1962 World Series, and he accomplished this when he was generally considered washed up and a shell of what he had been a decade before.

In his prime during the 1950s, <a rel=

Billy Pierce was regarded by many as the best pitcher in the American League. In his prime during the 1950s, Billy Pierce was regarded by many as the best pitcher in the American League.

The glory years for Pierce came in the 1950s when, as the ace of the Chicago White Sox staff, he rivaled New York Yankees southpaw Whitey Ford for recognition as the best left-hander in the American League, if not the American League’s best pitcher, period.

Pierce was signed by the Detroit Tigers and traded to the White Sox in 1949. He was a combined 27-30 in his first two seasons with the White Sox, and then won 15 games in both 1951 and 1952, followed by an 18-12 campaign in 1953. After slipping to 9-10 in 1954, he won 15 games again in 1956 (while leading the major leagues with a 1.97 ERA) and was a 20-game winner for the White Sox in 1956 and in 1957. He led the league in complete games from 1956 through 1958, and overall posted a 186-152 record in 13 seasons with the White Sox.

In November of 1961, San Francisco sent Bob Farley, Eddie Fisher and Dom Zanni to the White Sox for Pierce and Don Larsen. It was one of the most important moves made by the Giants’ front office over that winter, as Pierce, who was 10-9 in his last season with Chicago, won his first eight decisions for the Giants. He moved to the bullpen through the heat of the summer, and returned to the starting rotation in August, winning five out of six decisions.

After going 10-9 in 1961, his final season with the White Sox, Billy Pierce was 16-6 for the Giants in 1962 – including a victory in the first game of the playoff with the Dodgers.

After going 10-9 in 1961, his final season with the White Sox, Billy Pierce was 16-6 for the Giants in 1962 – including a victory in the first game of the playoff with the Dodgers.

The 1962 National League regular season ended in a dead heat between the Giants and their West Coast rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Finishing the regular season at 15-6, Pierce was selected by Giants manager Al Dark to pitch the opener of the three-game playoff and responded with a three-hit, 8-0 shutout. Game Two in Los Angeles saw the Dodgers tie the playoffs with an 8-7 victory.

On October 3, 1962, the playoff and the pennant race came down to a single game. In the top of the third, an RBI single by Harvey Kuenn and a sacrifice fly by second baseman Chuck Hiller gave the Giants a 2-0 lead. The Dodgers scored one run against Juan Marichal in the fourth inning and took the lead in the sixth inning on Tommy Davis’ two-run homer.

In the seventh inning, the Dodgers went up 4-2. In the top of the ninth, the Giants scored four runs on only two hits, and led 6-4 with the Dodgers coming up for their last at-bats.

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On two days’ rest after pitching a three-hit shutout, Billy Pierce closed out the Dodgers in the ninth inning of the third playoff game, preserving a come-from-behind victory and the National League pennant.

In the bottom of the ninth, Dark turned again to Pierce to wrap up the game and the pennant. After shutting out the Dodgers just two days before, Pierce added one more scoreless inning to his playoff ledger, retiring the Dodgers in order to give the Giants their first National League pennant since 1954.

 

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A Dilly of a Southpaw

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Billy O’Dell

Billy O’Dell was a talented left-handed pitcher who was an integral part of the superb pitching staff that helped propel the San Francisco Giants to the 1962 National League pennant.

Billy O’Dell was 19-14 for the National League champion San Francisco Giants in 1962.

Billy O’Dell was 19-14 for the National League champion San Francisco Giants in 1962.

O’Dell was a star at Clemson University when he was signed as a bonus baby by the Baltimore Orioles in 1954. He pitched in seven games for the Orioles that season, going 1-1 with a 2.76 ERA.

O’Dell’s career was temporarily derailed by two years of military service, and resumed in 1957 when he went 4-10 for the Orioles, primarily as a reliever, despite an excellent 2.69 earned run average. The next season he was 14-11 with a 2.97 ERA, and led all major league pitchers with a 2.69 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In 1959, his won-lost record slipped under .500 despite an ERA again under 3.00. Following that season, the Orioles traded O’Dell to the Giants for (along with pitcher Billy Loes) for Jackie Brandt, Gordon Jones and Roger McCardell.

With the Giants, O’Dell worked both as a starter and as a reliever, and was successful in both roles. He had a combined record of 13-18 in his first two seasons with the Giants, and in 1962 pitched primarily out of the Giants’ starting rotation that included Jack Sanford, Juan Marichal and Billy Pierce. As a starter, O’Dell had his best season in 1962, going 19-14 in 39 starts and achieving career highs by pitching 280.2 innings and striking out 195 batters. He followed up in 1964 with a 14-10 record, and then 8-7 in 1964, used primarily in short relief.

From 1964-1967, Billy O’Dell was used almost exclusively as a relief pitcher. His best season out of the bullpen came in 1965 with the Milwaukee Braves, when he went 10-6 with a 2.18 ERA and 18 saves.

From 1964-1967, Billy O’Dell was used almost exclusively as a relief pitcher. His best season out of the bullpen came in 1965 with the Milwaukee Braves, when he went 10-6 with a 2.18 ERA and 18 saves.

Following the 1964 season, O’Dell was traded to the Milwaukee Braves for catcher Ed Bailey. As the Braves’ closer in 1965, he appeared in 62 games, finishing 42 games with 18 saves. He won 10 games and lost six, with a 2.18 ERA. In 1966, he pitched for both the Braves and the Pittsburgh Pirates (traded for pitcher Don Schwall in June) and had a combined record of 5-5 with 10 saves and a 2.64 ERA. He was 5-6 for the Pirates in 1967 and retired after that season.

Twice an All-Star, O’Dell ended his 13-season career with a record of 105-100 and a 3.29 career ERA.

 

 

 

 

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Law and Order

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Vern Law

A member of the Pittsburgh Pirates for his entire 16-year major league career, Vern Law was a fixture in the Bucs’ starting rotation from the late 1950s through the mid-1960s. He was signed by the Pirates in 1948 and made the big league club in 1950, pitching for two seasons before entering the military.

Vern Law won the Cy Young award in 1960, going 20-9 with a 3.08 ERA. He also won two games against the New York Yankees in the 1960 World Series.

Vern Law won the Cy Young award in 1960, going 20-9 with a 3.08 ERA. He also won two games against the New York Yankees in the 1960 World Series.

Law rejoined the Pirates for the 1954 season and was a consistent, “innings-eating” starter. From 1954 through 1960, he averaged nearly 30 starts per season with over 200 innings pitched per year. He posted a combined 3.69 ERA during that period. Law blossomed in 1959, winning 18 games while completing 20 with a 2.98 ERA.

In 1960, Law was baseball’s best pitcher, winning the Cy Young award with a 20-9 record and a 3.08 ERA. He led the majors with 18 complete games that season, and won two games in the 1960 World Series. Injuries slowed him over the next three seasons, when he posted a combined 17-16 record and averaged only 92 innings per season. But he came back to win 12 games in 1964 and 17 games in 1965. His 2.15 ERA in 1965 was the best of his career and third best in the National League behind Sandy Koufax (2.04) and Juan Marichal (2.13).

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From 1955-1960, Vern Law was a workhorse for the Pittsburgh Pirates, averaging 218 innings per season.

In 1966, at age 36, Law was 12-8 and pitched 177.2 innings. But his 4.05 ERA was the highest of any full season in his career. He retired after the 1967 season with a career record of 162-147 and a career ERA of 3.77. For the Pirate franchise, Law ranks seventh all-time in victories and shutouts (28).

 

 

 

 

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One Giant Step Toward Pitching Immortality

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Juan Marichal

During the 1960s, he won more games (191) than Sandy Koufax (137), Bob Gibson (163) and Denny McLain (114) – but never won a Cy Young award.

Juan Marichal won more games (191) during the 1960s than any other major league pitcher.

Juan Marichal won more games (191) during the 1960s than any other major league pitcher.

During the 1960s, he struck out more batters (1,840) than Sam McDowell (1,663) and Camilo Pascual (1,391) – but never led his league in that category.

During the 1960s, he posted a combined ERA of 2.57 — lower than the decade ERAs for Bob Gibson (2.74), Dean Chance (2.77) and Whitey Ford (2.83) — but won his league’s ERA crown only once in a 16-year career.

In any other decade, Juan Marichal might have been the game’s most dominant pitcher. But in the pitching-rich 1960s, he was “simply” one of a group of truly great, Hall of Fame pitchers – and quite probably the decade’s most underrated hurler.

Marichal was a delight to watch, in terms of both style and effectiveness. One of the last of the “high kick” pitchers, Marichal’s delivery encompassed a panorama of release points, from straight over the top to sidearm and all points in-between. He utilized a vast repertoire of pitches, with variations on his fastball, curveball and change-up that constantly kept hitters off-guard.

He could throw hard. He pitched with control. Marichal was a hitter’s nightmare, and his record proved it. A native of the Dominican Republic, Marichal was signed by the New York Giants in 1957. He made his debut with the San Francisco Giants in 1960, pitching a one-hit shutout against the Philadelphia Phillies. He found a place in the starting rotation almost immediately.

In the Giants’ pennant-winning season of 1962, Marichal won 18 games, but that was only third best on the team (behind Jack Sanford’s 24-7 and Billy O’Dell’s 19-14). It was a pattern that would haunt Marichal throughout his career: consistently strong, and sometimes great, pitching performances that would be overshadowed by someone else. He went 25-8 (including a no-hitter) in 1963, the same year Sandy Koufax won the Cy Young Award with a 25-5 season. He followed that in 1964 with a 21-8 record, leading the majors with 22 complete games and posting a 2.48 ERA. However, he lost out on the Cy Young Award to the Angel’s Dean Chance, who had the most productive season of his career at 20-9 with 11 shutouts and a 1.65 ERA.

In 1965, Marichal won 22 games with a major-league best 10 shutouts and a 2.13 ERA. That same season Koufax won 26 games with a 2.04 ERA and his second Cy Young Award. Marichal followed in 1966 with a spectacular season, posting a 25-6 record with a 2.23 ERA. Again that year, Koufax topped him, going 27-9 with league-leading 1.73 ERA.

Juan Marichal recorded 20 or more victories six times between 1963 and 1969.

Juan Marichal recorded 20 or more victories six times between 1963 and 1969.

In 1968, Marichal had his best season, finishing the year 26-9 with a 2.43 ERA. He led the league in victories, innings pitched (326) and complete games (30). But that was the year Denny McLain won 31 games in the American League, and in the National League, Bob Gibson swept both the Most Valuable Player and Cy Young awards with a 22-9 record with a 1.12 ERA in leading the St. Louis Cardinals to their second consecutive pennant.

Marichal closed out the 1960s with a 21-11 record in 1969, posting a major-league best 2.10 ERA while leading the league in shutouts with eight. In the Cy Young voting that year, Marichal finished eighth, with the award going to Tom Seaver and his 25-9 season for the World Series champion “Miracle” Mets.

In all, Marichal recorded 20 or more victories in six out of seven seasons between 1963 and 1969. He finished his career with 243 wins and a 2.89 ERA. When he retired in 1975, Marichal’s 52 shutouts put him in ninth place among right-handed pitchers for career whitewashes. A nine-time All-Star (and MVP of the 1965 All-Star Game), Marichal was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983.

 

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