Wednesday, February 25, 2015

World Series: Did You Know?

In Jim Palmer's first Fall Classic game, he was the winning pitcher. Sandy Koufax was the losing pitcher. In his last Fall Classic game, Palmer was again the winning pitcher and Steve Carlton was the losing pitcher. Jim beat two lefty legends.

Palmer was just the youngest pitcher to throw a World Series shutout in 1966. But look who he had to do it against? Sort of like an exclaimation mark on the shutout when you're a kid and you shutout the team that The Legend pitches for! The Los Angeles Dodgers must have been coming back to the dugout, talking about Big Jim!

Palmer was nine days shy of his 21st birthday when he took the hill in game two of the 1966 World Series. His Baltimore Orioles had won game one, 5-2, and were looking to make it two straight going home. But the Dodgers had Koufax, and no intention of falling behind 2-0.

But someone forgot to tell that to Palmer!

In the bottom of the second (And following a 1-2-3 top of the frame by Koufax), Ron Fairly led off with a walk. After an out, Lou Johnson (Who'd hit the game-winning home run in game seven of the 1965 World Series) hit a double. After another out, then came another walk. Palmer then stared down, The Legend. Koufax was not going to be pinch-hit for in this situation, of course, so why wouldn't he bat. But with the amount of runs the Dodgers scored in this game, and this Fall Classic, who knows, maybe they should have. And with their fielding this game, it wouldn't matter who pitched, they were going to lose.

In any event, Sandy Koufax (Who'd gotten an RBI in the 1965 World Series), popped out to end that. Palmer seemed to settle down and got the Dodgers 1-2-3 in the next two innings. But in the top of the fifth, disaster struck Los Angeles.

Boog Powell singled. Koufax got the next batter. And then he should have gotten Paul Blair, who sent a fly ball to Willie Davis in centre. But Davis could not handle it, and Blair motored into second as Powell was on third. There was only one out.

Andy Etchebarren sent another fly to Davis, who again could not handle it. When he recovered the ball, he then threw wild to third, for his third error of the inning. Two runs scored. Koufax then fanned Palmer, but Luis Aparicio hit a double to left to make it, 3-0, Orioles. And all three runs were, of course, unearned.

Palmer surrended a single to Wes Parker, but got out of the bottom of the fifth unscathed. In the top of the sixth, the Orioles scored another run of Koufax, and this time it was earned.

Frank Robinson, who'd been acquired by the Orioles in the off-season, tripled. Brooks Robinson (No relation) fouled out to first, but Powell singled, and it was 4-0, Baltimore. Davey Johnson singled to right and took second, Robinson to third, as Ron Fairly made a throwing error. Koufax walked Paul Blair intentionally. The Dodgers made no mistake on their next fielding play, however. Etchebarren hit a grounder, and Los Angeles turned two. They were out of the inning, but now Jim Palmer had a nice lead to work with.

And he did just that. He continued the shutout over the course of the last three innings. Los Angeles did get a runner on in each, and Palmer threw a wild pitch, but he hung on. Koufax was through for the day when Ron Perranoski came in to pitch the top of the seventh. Baltimore scored two more runs. When the day was over, the Dodgers had committed six errors.



Baltimore went on to sweep the 1966 Fall Classic in four games, and Los Angeles was shutout in the third and fourth game. Palmer was a World Series winner, still only 20. But he'd be back!

Baltimore won again in 1970, and made the Fall Classic in 1969, 1970 and 1979. They came up empty in those trips, but in 1983, they were back.

Palmer was a little past it, but he was still and Oriole pitcher. The Orioles were opposed by the Philadelphia Phillies, and it was all square after two games in Baltimore. On to the City Of Brotherly Love. But there is no love among opposing pitchers, no matter how good you both are! At this stage in baseball, all the matters is who wins!

But in this game, it was Philadelphia, at home, up 2-0 and looking to go up two games to one. They even got O's started Mike Flanagan out of game, as he left for a pinch hitter. But now they'd have to deal with Palmer, who was pitching in a game played on October 14th, the day before his 38th birthday. Jim had been on quite a journey in his career! It was the bottom of the fifth.

He got the first batter to face him. Joe Morgan on a pop fly. But Sixto Lezcano singled, and now Palmer was in real trouble. The batter was Mike Schmidt, considered by many to be the best third basemen of all time. Palmer got him to pop up to the catcher. When Gary Matthews grounded out to third, the inning was over. And Baltimore was about to wake up.

Dan Ford took Steve Carlton deep for a solo job in the bottom of the frame. In the bottom of the sixth inning, it was the Phillies that looked like the better team. They got two runners on before Palmer got Carlton out to end the inning.

In the top of the seventh, Carlton got the first two batters out. It was still 2-1, Philly, and things looked good. But the coast, which looked clear, soon turned up a bunch of O's! The kind that hurt you!

Rick Dempsey doubled. Benny Ayala batted for Palmer and Charlton threw a wild pitch. Ayala singled to left to score Dempsey. When John Shelby singled and Ford reached on an error, Ayala scored. And wouldn't you know it, it ended up being the winning run! The Orioles, who'd lost the opening game of this Fall Classic, were now up, two games to one!



Palmer did not return to the hill, and Baltimore went on to win this in five games. When Palmer struggled early on the next season, the Orioles cut him. An attempted comeback in 1991 led to nothing, so his appearance in game three of '83 ended up being his last Fall Classic appearance.

The World Series is a prestigious event, that you never know how many times you'll be there. Could be never, could be only once, or it could be many times. You never know how long you'll be there for. As fans, it's impossible to predict which of the two teams (If any!) will be back again, and when that will be. Sandy Koufax was on his way out in 1966 (It ended up being his last game), Steve Charlton lasted until 1988, but never made it back. Jim Palmer was there with them as they exited the big stage for the last time!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

World Series: Did You Know?

The 1975 Fall Classic was the first that neither team had a 20-game winner. Not that there was any shortage of pitching! The excitement between Boston and Cincinnati was amazing. So amazing, you just have to forgive some of the shortcommings of each team!

Game one had Luis Tiant of the Red Sox vs. Don Gullett of the Reds. Tiant was still going strong now in his mid-thirties. He was a crowd favourite at this point and pitched Boston to a 6-0 win, right there at home. Tiant was 18-14 in 1975, but had actually won 20 games with Cleveland in 1968 and again win Boston in 1973 and 1974. With 21 wins in Boston, he missed out by two wins of reaching that magic mark four years in a row! Tiant would be back in game four and game six.

Don Gullett, who lost the game, had been injured in the regular season. But still, 15-4 is a pretty good win-loss record, eh? He may have taken the loss in the opening tilt, but came back strong to win game five of this Fall Classic. He also started game seven.



Game two was Boston's Bill Lee vs. Cincinnati's Jack Billingham. Billingham had not injuries in 1975, but won only as many games as Gullett. Actually, he was just 15-11 with a 4.11 ERA. The Reds pulled this one out in the top of the ninth. Billingham and Lee had both left the game by then. Lee, one of baseball's finest characters of that (or any) time, won exactly 17 games for the third year in a row. Lee was 17-9 in 1975. He would have to wait for a trade to Montreal to win as many as 16 games again, and that was 1979!

Billingham was a bit of a case of bad luck. The two previous years, he'd won exactly 19 games. But the 15 wins he got in 1975, were the most he'd win in any season the rest of his career.



Game three was in Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium (Which, to this day, is the only National League ballpark I've ever been to!) was Rick Wise going for Boston. He, too, never won 20 games, but like Billingham, won 19 in a season. That season you ask? 1975.

The Reds countered with Gary Nolan, who also started game six. Nolan won 15 games himself. It was actually a bit of a comeback for him that season, as he'd missed most of the 1973 season and all of 1974. Neither him nor Wise made it to the last out of the fifth. The Reds won this to go up two games to one in the Fall Classic.





Tiant won game four against Fred Norman, and this thing was tied. Norman had won 12 games for the Reds in 1975. The most games he would ever win was 14, in 1977. Norman finished his career in 1980 as a teammate of Bill Lee's on the Expos.



Gullet was back in game five, and he was amazing. He carried a two-hitter for 8 2/3 innings, before the Red Sox got three straight hits off him. But Don would finish the game and win it, 6-2. Reggie Cleveland started, and actually pitched well for five innings. The wheels came off the chariot in the bottom of the sixth, as the Red scored three times off him Reggie had a record of 13-9, and only twice won as many as 14 games in his career.





Game six was back in Boston, and the Red Sox had to win it. They did just that, 7-6, on Carlton Fisk's dramatic twelve-inning home run. Both Luis Tiant and Gary Nolan were long gone by then. Not that it mattered.



So it was down to game seven, Bill Lee vs. Don Gullett. Gullet was knocked out early, while Lee had a 3-0 lead into the top of the sixth. Tony Perez's two-run home run got Cincy back into the game, and Lee left after getting one out in the top of the next frame. The Reds completed the comeback that inning, and eventually won it in the top of the ninth on Joe Morgan's bloop single.



The 1975 World Series is a personal favourite. To me, it nudges out the 1991 Fall Classic as the best ever. All those close games, all those pitching duels. Fisk's dramatic home run, characters like Bill Lee. I could go on and on. And while it may have lacked a 20-game winner, there was no shortage of drama!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

World Series: Did You Know?

Bing Miller's double to win the 1929 Fall Classic is one-of-a-kind. It's the only time a World Series has ended with a double. Or for that matter, an extra base hit outside of Bill Mazeroski's home run and Joe Carter's. Never has a Fall Classic ended with a triple. But that was sure interesting last year to see a man hit and triple and be stranded when the last out was recorded.

The World Series of 1929 started in Chicago, but it did not return there. Philadelphia wasted no time in winning both games there! The Cubs fans had two depressions to worry about, now!



Chicago won game three in Philadelphia and for the longest of times, seemed to have the next game in the bag.

But the Philadelphia Athletics came from 8-0 down to beat the Chicago Cubs in that game four, and that gave them a 3-1 lead in the Fall Classic. One more win. But in game five, they were down again, and running out of time.

This affair at Shibe Park saw the Cubs score twice in the top of the fourth. And Pat Malone was working on a shutout for the Bears. Philadelphia came up in the bottom of the ninth down two, and three outs away from heading back to Chicago.

Malone retired the first batter. Then, the era's great moneyball player, Max Bishop, singled. Mule Haas tied the game with a dramatic home run! Good timing!

But when Mickey Cochrane grounded out, it looked like this thing was headed for extras. The great Al Simmons lashed a double to keep this thing going, however. The World Series winning run was at second. And Jimmie Foxx, perhaps the most feared slugger in the game at the time (Next to Babe Ruth, of course), stepped into the dish, with being a hero on his mind.

He did not get the chance. Chicago, knowing better then to pitch to him in this situation, walked him intentionally. So it would be all up to Bingo Miller!

Bingo hit one off the scoreboard, and Simmons trotted on home with the winning run. It had taken five games for Philly to win it, but it sure wasn't easy.

On a team full of superstars like Simmons, Cochrane and Foxx, plus an underrated player like Bishop, Miller was not going to stand out. Under today's scoring system, his hit would have actually been scored a single, even if normally it would be scored a double. No game-winning hit, other then a home run, can be scored anything but a single.

The Fall Classic is full of players who only play in one World Series. Or of players who do things we will never see again. Willie Mays' has "The Catch", Don Larsen has "The Perfect Game", etc.

But there will never be another walk-off double in the Fall Classic.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

World Series: Did You Know?

Eddie Collins hit above .400 in three Fall Classics. He was the original, Mr. October. However, he failed to hit a home run, unlike Reggie Jackson who hit 'em and hit 'em and hit 'em...

Collins was on his way to the Hall Of Fame, when he appeared in his first World Series in 1910. His team, the Philadelphia Athletics, were up against a great Chicago Cubs team. They were 104-50 that season, and looking for another Fall Classic title, having won in 1907 and 1908.

Collins and his 'mates were in the way. He had only one hit in game one, but he eventually scored after he hit it. Collins added a walk for good measure. Chicago lost the game, 4-1. Eddie was just getting started. His three hits in game two powered Philly to a 9-3 win.

But going just 2-10 in the next two games dropped his average to .375. His team, however, got a split and needed just one more win to take it all. And they'd have plenty of chances, for the Athletics were up three games to one.

Collins swatted three hits in game five, boosting his batting average to .429 and leading Philadelphia to another win. That locked up the World Series. Too bad they didn't give out MVPs back then, eh? I think we had our winner! Wait! Jack Coombs won his third game of this five-game affair, so he probably would have gotten it!

Philly won it all again in 1911, but Eddie hit "just" .286. The Boston Red Sox were too strong in 1912 (Pre-Babe Ruth) and deprived Philly of three in a row. But an injury to Smokey Joe Wood (Plus Ruth would not be there full time until 1915), opened the door for the 1913 Fall Classic. The city of Brotherly Love was in for another Fall Classic triumph!

And another .400 performance by Eddie Collins.

He just couldn't be stopped in game one. Collins was not retired in his four trips to the plate. Poor Rube Marquard. The New York Giants pitcher lasted just five inning in that game at the old Polo Grounds. Collins was one of the reasons why. But his single in the top of the first failed to score a run. Collins was stranded.

But Collins tripled and scored in the top of the fourth. He scored on a single. Two more runs scored that inning on another triple. Eddie had struck the match. He added a walk to his three total hits on the day and it was the Athletics who came away with a 6-4 win.

It was the Giants' great Christy Mathewson who squared things at one with a shutout in game two. Eddie was held to just one hit against Christy. But another three hit game by Collins led the way to an 8-2 win by Philly in game three. The Giants never recovered from this loss.

It was close the rest of the way, however. The Giants lost by just a single run in game four, and even held Collins hitless. In game five, with the Giants needing a win to stay alive, Philly eked out a 3-1 win, wrapping up the Fall Classic. Mathewson lost the game, but held Collins to just one hit.

Philadelphia had won it, Collins had struggled against a legend. But two games of three hits was enough to produce a batting average of .421. However, few noticed. It was really Frank, "Home Run" Baker's time to shine in this World Series. He hit .450, swatted a home run, and knocked in seven runs. Kinda of hard to notice Eddie in all that.

But Collins was back with Baker the next year. It was all Boston in the 1914 Fall Classic. Collins hit just .214 and Baker hit just .250. The Boston Braves needed just four games to win it all.

Eddie was on the 1917 Chicago White Sox. No, this was not the Black Sox team. But many members of this team were there two years later, including Eddie. Collins was not a part of the fix. As mentioned by me in an earlier post, this Fall Classic was interesting. Chicago was shutout in back-to-back games, and in the regular season, worse! The White Sox were no-hit back-to-back days! The New York Giants no longer had Mathewson, but the way Chicago played, it looked like they did! Were they giving it their all?

Well, enough with my suspicions. After all, they're just suspicions. Collins out-hit Shoeless Joe Jackson by a wide margin. But in game one in Chicago, despite the win, Eddie and Joe were in the same boat. The "No-hit" boat. Chicago could take solace in the fact that they had an experienced player like Collins on their team.

In game two, Chicago played much better. They won 7-2 as Collins got two hits and an RBI. Jackson was on fire, 3-3 with two RBIs. But then Joe came undone!

Chicago lost the next two games. Remember what I wrote earlier? That's right, back-to-back shutouts. Funny, that happened two years later! You think?

But Collins had two hits in game three. But Rube Benton gave up just three other hits. Shoeless Joe Jackson did not get any hits. The Polo Grounds was the backdrop to this affair. Maybe it was just the change of scenery. But really, Collins must have felt right at home!

Collins singled in the top of the first with two down. But Shoeless Joe grounded back to Benton. With the score 2-0, Giants in the top of the ninth, and with two down, Collin singled again. And again Jackson was retired. Well, so much for the sweep!

Game four, same story. A shutout by the home team. This time, it was a rout. Well, it was close until the Giants scored a run in the bottom of the seventh and two more in the top of the ninth. 5-0 was the final. Collins singled and walked. Jackson was 0-4. Series, dead even!

But in game five back in Chicago, back in Comiskey Park, Collins got three hits. Joe Jackson also got three hits, but it took him five at-bats. Collins was 3-4 and added a walk. Both scored two runs. The White Sox won this one, 8-5. One more win!

This time, Chicago went back to the Polo Grounds and beat Benton, 4-2. Collins and Jackson had only one hit each. But when it was all over, Chicago was the World Series champions for 1917. And Collins had hit .409. Jackson hit only .304.

Ironically, Collins hit just .226 in his last Fall Classic, the infamous 1919 World Series. But Collins finished his World Series career with a .328 batting average. And having hit over .400 in three Fall Classics, he'd almost single-handily helped his teams win those three. Before Reggie Jackson and Babe Ruth, their was Eddie Collins!

Like Wade Garrett from Road House, Part 2

Well, here's where Wade Davis really excels in comparison to all the others! Look at the ERA and WHIP! Not shown, of course, is the fact that he allowed 0 home runs in 2014. His hits allowed per nine inning is amazing, 4.8 and he averaged 13.6 K's per nine!

Opponents hit .151 against Davis and their on-base percentage was just .229! But with this set, we find his hold total, which isn't to bad if it were a save total, eh?


Name Year S BS S% H ERA K K/9 WHIP WAR
Konstanty 1950 22 4 0.846 0 2.66 56 3.32 1.039 4.7
Wilhelm 1952 11 1 0.917 1 2.43 108 6.11 1.155 2.7
Face 1959 10 9 0.526 1 2.70 69 6.67 1.243 3.2
McDaniel 1960 26 6 0.813 1 1.29 95 8.21 0.863 6.0
Arroyo 1961 29 10 0.744 1 2.19 87 6.58 1.109 3.3
Radatz 1963 25 3 0.893 0 1.97 162 11.00 1.096 5.7
Perranoski 1963 21 8 0.724 0 1.67 75 5.23 1.202 4.5
Miller 1965 24 1 0.960 1 1.89 104 7.80 0.997 4.3
Regan 1966 21 7 0.750 1 1.62 88 6.82 0.934 5.0
Hiller 1973 38 0 1.000 0 1.44 124 8.92 1.021 8.1
Tekulve 1979 31 6 0.838 8 2.79 75 5.00 1.176 3.2
Hernandez 1984 32 1 0.970 0 1.92 112 7.19 0.941 4.8
Eichhorn 1986 10 4 0.714 7 1.72 166 9.52 0.955 7.4
Wetteland 1993 43 1 0.977 0 1.37 113 11.95 1.008 4.2
Davis 2014 3 0 1.000 33 1.00 109 13.60 0.847 3.7