Monday, August 29, 2011

1961 Yankess Of The Day: Rollie Sheldon

Sheldon is similar to Jimmy Coates in that his contributions to the great 1961 Yankees have been forgotten. But rest assured, he helped make the Yankees of that year, that much better.

He made only two appearances in April. His second, the nightcap of a doubleheader against the Senators on April 30th, was a loss despite allowing just 5 hits in 7 innings.

Following two relief appearances in May, he got his second start on May 21st against the Orioles.

Again, he piched 7 innings.

Again, he gave up but 5 hits.

Again, he took the loss.

Another relief appearance followed a week later, and the he was back starting on the last day of May against the Red Sox. He didn't quite last 7 innings (6.2), and (here we go again!) he gave up 5 hits, plus 3 earned runs. But Sheldon and the Yankees emerged victorious, 7-6.

June was argurbly Rollie's best month as he went 3-0 with a 2.86 ERA and batters hit less than .200 against him (.197).

He pitched a total of 7 games, 4 of them starts. His first three appearances were the second game of doubleheaders.

First he went the distance and beat the Twins, 6-1 on June 5th. Then he pitched a perfect ninth in a 9-6 loss to Kansas City. Finally, he beat the expansion Los Angeles Angels 5-1 with a pitching line that consisted of 8 innings, 6 hits,6 walks, and 6 Ks!

On June 19, he started against Kansas. This time, he allowed only 2 walks and 5 hits in his 8.1 innings. It would be a no decision, however, and the Yankees eventually lost 4-3.

Then he won a wild one against Minnesota on June 24th.

Shelly lasted less than 6 innings and surrendered 6 hits and 5 (earned) runs. Yet he won the game 10-7 to lift his won-loss record to 4-2. His last appearance in June was on the 27th as he tossed a perfect 8th inning (1 strikeout) against the Angels.

July was Sheldon's busiest month as he pitched nine times, six of them starts.

Actually, he started with a fine relief appearance (5.1 innings) against the Sens on the very first day of July. He didn't get a decision, but he allowed only 2 hits and 2 walks.

Following another relief appearance 3 days later against the Tigers, he was back starting against the Indians. Despite 4 hits and 5 walks allowed, he finished with a shutout.

Four days later, he pitched another shutout, this time a 5 hitter, no walks and 7 Ks.  This dropped his ERA to 2.28.

But then he staggered in his next two starts.

First he allowed 6 runs in only 5 1/3 innings work against Chicago on July 14. Then he allowed 3 earned runs and 7 hits against Washington. His effort against the Red Sox on the 22nd was no better as Rollie was shelled for 4 earned runs in only 3.1 innings of work.

He gained a little revenge by beating the White Sox on a fine 4 hitter, but in his last July start, he was knocked out on 5 hits in only 1.1 innings work.

He waited 6 days in August before getting a start against Minnesota. 8 hits allowed but only 2 runs scored, and Roland had his 8th victory.

Chicago again had his number in his next start, but on August 20th, he won his 9th game with another 8 hitter, this time against the Tribe.

He pitched three more times that month: A good relief appearance, a bad relief appearance, and then a very short start (5 hits and 4 runs in 2 innings) for his 4th loss on the season.

Having pitched six times in August, Sheldon was destined for the same in September.

His first two September starts we nothing of note, and in his third he retired one batter and gave up 5 earned runs. His ERA was now at a season high 3.76. And it was his 5th and final loss on the year. Sheldon was destined for the bullpen for the rest of the year.

But oddly enough, once there, he pitched very well.

He didn't recieve a decision in a fine relief appearance against the Tigers on September 15th, which was the second game of a doubleheader. But three innings, no hits and five strikeouts made him a winner eleven days later against the O's.

Rollie Sheldon's last regular season game came three days later, as he pitched the eighth and ninth innings of a 2-1 win over Boston. It was Sheldon who got the win thanks to 2 shutout innings. It would be his last time he tossed a pitch on the mound that year.

Sheldon's final record of 11-5 was the same as Jim Coates. His ERA (3.66) was higher, but he managed to toss more innings (162.2) and start more games (21) then Coates.

But perhaps, dissapointing to Sheldon, was his lack of World Series play that year. Sheldon would be the "odd man out" on the mound in the fall classic against Cincinnati.


Golenbock, Peter. "1961." Dynasty: The New York Yankees, 1949-1964. Lincolnwood, IL: Contemporary, 2000. Print. pp. 405-445.

Smith, Ron. The Sporting News Presents 61*: The Story Of Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle And One Magical Summer. St. Louis: Sporting News, 2001. Print.

Sports Reference LLC. - Major League Statistics and Information. Web. 29 Aug. 2011.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

1961 Yankee Of The Day: Jim Coates

Jim Coates had an on and off 1961 season on the hill.

But when the money was on the table, so was Jim.

He started the season in the bullpen. He even pitched one inning of the season openor against Minnesota. Coates gave up 1 run and the Yankees took a spanking, 6-0.

Then he started his first game 11 days later against Baltimore, in the second game of a doubleheader. The game is notable because it was actually called after 7 innings. Coates pitched 5 innings, gave up 7 hits and 3 earned runs an left with a 5-3 lead.

He was denied his first win, however, as the Orioles scored twice in the bottom of the 7th inning of Bill Stafford.

Coates would pitch just once more in April, on the last day of the month. It was a scoreless inning in a 2-1 Yankee loss to the Senators.

In May, Jimmy would pitched 11 times, all in relief. He would be quite effective as he went 5-2 with 2 saves in those appearances. His 5th win was most impressive, as he tossed 6 innings of scoreless, 2-hit relief against the Chi Sox in a 5-3 Yankee win.

Earlier, he pitched in both games of a May 14th doubleheader against the Tigers, who would hound the Yankees all season long. In the first game, he tossed a scoreless 11th inning (using the number 11 alot, eh?) for his second win on the season. Then in the nightcap, he tossed 5 innings of 1 run, 2 hit ball for his third win.

These fine performances dropped his ERA to 2.48 by the end of the month, and a spot in the starting rotation in June.

June 5th brought in a win (against the Twins) for Coates, who was now 6-2. He allowed 8 hits and just 2 earned runs in 8 innings of work. But his next 2 starts saw him allow 11 earned runs in 7.2 innings. So it was back to the bullpen, where he would earn two more saves, but no more wins.

July was a month of exclusive relief, but Coates wasn't any more effective. Curiously, he didn't suffer any losses, nor did he pick up a win or a save.

But of the 8 games he pitched that month, he was routed in 4 of them, pushing his ERA to 4.74.

Manager Ralph Houk must have had faith in him, because in August, Jim was inexplicably back in the rotation. But it proved to be a fine move.

First, he went all the way in a 2-1 nailbitter over the Twins on the 5th (4 hits allowed). Then he shutout the expansion Angels on another complete game 4 hitter. On Auguest 13, in the second game of a doubleheader against Washington, he again went 9. This time, though, he allowed 10 hits and 4 runs. The Yankees scored 9 runs themselves, however, and Coates' record was now 9-3.

Just when he finds his grove...

The wheels then came off the chariot!

Aug 18 vs Cleveland, 2.2 IP, 7H, 5ER, 1BB, 0K

Aug 24 vs Los Angeles, 3.2 IP, 6H, 2ER, 5BB, 1K

So it was back to the bullpen, where he pitched 3 innings, 1 run, 4K against the Twins on last day of August. He did not get a decision, and the two above losses sent his record to 9-5.
In September, Coates was back in the starting rotation and this time he really came through.

Another 4 hitter, this time against Minny on September 5th, brought him to double digits in wins. Then his next start, a 6 inning, 5 hitter against the Indians, put him to 11-5, and that would be his last decision of the season.

His next start was his last on the season. Against the Chicago White Sox on September 14, again the second game of a doubleheader, Coates pitched 7.1 innings, gave up 8 hits, but just one run. The Yankees eventually lost the game 4-3. Coates, though, he brought down his ERA to 3.66.

And it continued to drop despite just pitching out the 'pen. He was credited with a hold on September 23 against the Red Sox, pitching 3 fine innings. Then against Baltimore four days later, he tossed 3 innings of 1 hit ball. Finally, on the 30th, he went 2 innings, gave up 2 hits, no runs and had 3 strikeouts for the save, his 5th of the season.

Coates' final numbers for 1961 were: 11-5, 5 saves, 1 hold, and an ERA of 3.44 for 141 1/3 innings pitched.

In the World Series, Coates came to the mound in the 6th inning in game four after starter Whitey Ford hurt himself by fouling a ball of his foot in the sixth. Ford had just broken Babe Ruth's record for consecutive shutout innings in a World Series (32).

Ford actually started the inning. Right off the back, Elio Chacon singled. That was it for Ford. 

So it was Coates pitching in the 6th inning, harnessing a 4-0 lead, a runner on first and no one out. Eddie Kasko flied out, Vada Pinson grounded out. Chacon was now on second, but Wally Post flied out to end the inning.

The Yankees added three runs in the top of the 7th to extend their lead to 7-0 and Coates continued his fine outing by retiring Gene Freese, Gordy Coleman and pinch hitter Gus Bell in order.

Pitcher (and later, writer) Jim Brosnan, who had given up the three runs in the seventh, settled down, and did likewise to the Yankees in the top of the eighth. Coates had to face another pinch hitter, Jerry Lynch in the bottom of the frame, but Jim struck him out. Chacon this time could only pop out, and Kasko grounded out to Tony Kubek.

The Reds third pitcher of the game Bill Henry easily retired the Yankees on two strikeouts and a pop-up in the top of the ninth. Now Coates was just three outs away from preserving the shutout.

Pinson popped out to Skowron at first. But then Frank Robinson walked and then Post singled to left. Coates was going to have to earn it.

He bore down to strikeout Freese.

Then Coleman flied out to Hector Lopez in right. The Yankees had won 7-0, Coates had gotten then save. They would win game 5, 13-5 to win the series 4-1.


The World Series Of 1961. Dir. Lew Fonseca. Prod. Dick Borden. Perf. Mel Allen. Major League Baseball Productions., 1961. DVD. 

Golenbock, Peter. "1961." Dynasty: The New York Yankees, 1949-1964. Lincolnwood, IL: Contemporary, 2000. Print. pp. 405-445.

Mantle, Mickey and Herskowitz, Mickey. All My Octobers. Harper Collins, 1994, pp. 129-145.

Smith, Ron. The Sporting News Presents 61*: The Story Of Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle And One Magical Summer. St. Louis: Sporting News, 2001. Print.

Sports Reference LLC. - Major League Statistics and Information. Web. 16 Aug. 2011.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How Jim Maloney Almost Had 4 No-No's in 1965, Part 2: Jim Never Met John Lewis

On June 14, 1965, Jim Maloney took the hill to take on the lowly Mets.

The Mets had a histoy of being no-hit. Sandy Koufax threw one against them in their inaugural campaign back in 1962. Then Jim Bunning threw a perfect game against them in 1964. Now it was 1965, and the Mets were 21-39, in 10th place again.

Maloney got Billy Cowan to bunt foul for strike three, then he fielded Chuck Hiller's ground ball for the second out. Charlie Smith flied out to end the inning.

Ed Kranepool broke up the perfect game bid by leading off the second with a walk, but Maloney got the next three batters in order, two via the K.

The third inning was easy as Maloney K'd the side. He now had 6 strikeouts.

Smith was the 7th strikeout with one out in 4th. The ball got away from Johhny Edwards and it was scored a wild pitch. Jimmy beared down and got Kranepool to hit into a double play.

In the fifth, Johnny Lewis took a called strike three, and then Ron Swoboda also fanned. His bid for anothing inning of strikeouts ended when Roy McMillan flied out. The sixth would bring no strikeouts. However, a pair of infield outs and a lineout to center brought Maloney to within nine outs of a no-hitter.

Gord Coleman took Chuck Hiller's grounded for an unassisted putout to open the top of the seventh. After Smith became Maloney's 10th strikeout victim, Kranepool ended the frame by flying out to Tommy Harper in left.

Lewis, Swoboda and McMillan went down swinging in the 8th, as Maloney still had the no-no, not to mention 13 strikeouts. It was still only the eighth inning, but now only 3 more outs remained.

The ninth inning started with a pinch hitter. Catcher Chris Cannizzaro had no luck with Maloney, so Jesse Gonder was sent in to bat for him. But all he could do was fly out to Frank Robinson in right.

Joe Christopher batted for pitcher Frank Lary and struck out swinging. One out to go!

The batter was Cowan.

Strike three called!

Alas, this didn't end the game. The Reds had their own hands full all night with Lary, managing 5 hits but no runs. Maloney must have felt like Harvey Haddix.

The Reds could get a run off of reliver Larry Bearnarth in the bottom of the ninth. Robinson walked, and that was all the Reds could muster.

In the top of the 10th, Maloney continued his mastery by getting Hiller to line out to right. Smith and Kranepool both fanned. 17 strikeouts and a no-no through 10!

Could the Reds finally put this one on ice?

Edwards opened with a single, and Chico Ruiz came in to pinch run. Leo Cardenas laid down a bunt to advance Ruiz to second. Jim Maloney then batted himself and grounded out to shortstop McMillan, but Ruiz
still made it to third. The inning ended however, as Harper grounded out to Smith at third.

The top of the 11th saw Lewis lead off with...a homerun. There goes the no-no. After Swoboda went down on strikes for K #18 of the day for Jim, McMillan kept the inning going with a single to center. Maloney beared down and got Gonder (who had stayed in the game as the catcher) to ground out. The Reds needed a run.

But Bearnarth retired Pete Rose on fly to left. Vada Pinson swung and missed for strike three. Frank Robinson singled to keep Maloney off the hook. The game would end, however, as Coleman grounded out to McMillan.

Worst thing about all this? At the time the game was still considered a no-hitter, since Maloney had not given up a hit through 9 (and 10 for that matter). But in 1991 this game, among others, was removed from the no-hit list when a new ruling on no-hitters was created. For it to be considered a no-no a pitcher had to give up no hits, even if the game went past nine innings.


Buckley, James Jr. Unhittable: Reliving The Magic And Drama Of Baseballs Best-Pitched Games. Triumph Books, 2004. (DVD Insert).

Sports Reference LLC. - Major League Statistics and Information. Web. 3 Aug. 2011.

Baseball Playing Card Of The Day: Lefty Grove

Lefty Grove

Lefty Grove, what a season he had in 1931!

Grove, whose given first name was Robert, was looking for his 17th straight win. One more win and Walter Johnson's and Smokey Joe Wood's name would be erased from the record books for most consecutive wins in one season. 

Then, on August 23, in the first game of a doubleheader, the Athletics faced the lowly St. Louis Browns. Easy pickings!

 But Al Simmons would miss his third straight game in which Grove started. The A's managed only three hits off Dick Coffman and lost 1-0, even though Grove gave up just seven hits himself.

Just a momentary setback as it turns out. Lefty would be around a while, and he had no intentions of one loss hurt him.

But just to add an exclamation to that, he would win his next six straight games before dropping his last start to the Yankees, to finish an astonishing 31-4!

But that was just another great season for Grove, who would finish his career with exactly 300 wins (As later would Early Wynn).

Look at his years from 1929 to 1931, and you find his W-L is 79-15. His team, the Philadelphia A's, won pennants in each of those three seasons. Twice in those years, Philly won the World Series. Their 1930 one was the last time the Athletics would win while playing for the city of Philadelphia.

Later, Lefty was sold by Connie Mack to the Boston Red Sox for $125,000. His winning ways continued, however, as he would post season win totals of between 20 and 31 over the course of the next seven seasons.

Lefty Grove was once almost hit by a ball that was lashed back through the box at batting practice while still with the Red Sox. Grove made sure that the next pitch sent the batter scrawling to the ground!

He twice won the pitcher's Triple Crown (leading the league in Wins, ERA and Strikeouts), which were back to back (1930-31) and his World Series record was 4-2 with a 1.75 ERA in 8 games, 5 starts and 51.1 innings.

As for his career ERA of 3.06, that might not rank up there with the other immortals, but he led the league in ERA an impressive nine times.

Grove was elected to the Hall Of Fame in 1947.

He would die on May 22, 1975 at the age of 75.


Sports Reference LLC. - Major League Statistics and Information. Web. 03 Aug. 2011.

Thorn, John, and Pete Palmer. Total Baseball. Vers. 1994. Portland, OR: Creative Multimedia Corp., 1994. Computer software. CD-ROM.

1961 Yankee Of The Day: Bud Daley

Bud Daley

Bud Daley came to the Yankees on June 14th, 1961 in a deal that sent a pitcher (Art Ditmar) and a catcher (Deron Johnson) to Kansas.

Daley's record at the time of the trade was 4-8. His career record was 39-39. But Bud really came through for the Yankees that year, a team he'd be with through the 1964 season. He was with a team that wouldn't hesitate to turn to him, even in the biggest game of the year.

His record would be 4-9 after his first Yankee outing. He surrendered 6 earned runs in just 1.1 innings of work against the Tigers.

But from there he settled down and soon brought his record to 8-10 by making three fine starts against the Senators, Red Sox and Orioles in July.

Then the wheels came off the chariot.

He lost five straight games and saw his ERA shoot up to 5.19 at one point. His W-L record wasn't much better, 8-15.

But then it clicked again, for the last two months and in that year's World Series.

He defeated Los Angeles on a fine six hitter, got routed by Washington, then he was used in mop up duty as August ended.

September brought in Daley's finest month. First he beat Washington again with a fine 6 hitter. Then another complete game victory over Cleveland (5-hitter). Finally, he closed the month with a loss to Detroit, another five hit complete game gem against the Orioles, a 6 inning, six-hitter against Baltimore, and a scoreless inning against the Red Sox on the second last game of the season for the hold.

Daley's final numbers, broken down:

Total: 12-17, 4.28 ERA, 193.1 IP

KC: 4-8, 4.95 ERA, 63.2 IP

NY: 8-9, 3.96 ERA, 129.2 IP

In the World Series that year, Bud got into two games. Bud no doubt welcomed the opportunity. Great as the Yankees were that year, they'd really need him in those two games to contribute!

In game three, he pitched to one batter in the seventh inning. With two down, and the Reds just having scored a run against Bill Stafford to make it 2-1 Cincy, Daley retired Vada Pinson on a fly to right to end the inning. New York came back in no time, don't you worry!

In the top of the eighth, Johhny Blanchard batted for Daley with the Yankees still behind, 2-1. On Mickey Mantle's advice, he swung on the first pitch by Bob Purkey, and sent it into the right field stands to tie the game. The Yankees went on to win 3-2.

Daley didn't get credit for the win in that game (Luis Arroyo did), but in game 5, with starter Ralph Terry knocked out early with the Yankees ahead 6-3, Daley took over with one out in the bottom of the third.

He allowed a single and double in that inning, but escaped without further harm. Then he pitched a 1-2-3 fourth.

But in the fifth, with the Yankees now up 11-3, Daley faced Pinson again, who was leading off the inning. He singled, but was thrown out trying for a double by Roger Maris. After Frank Robinson (who had hit a three run homerun earlier) fouled out, Gordon Coleman reached first when Bud dropped a throw by Moose Skowron while covering first on a grounder to the first baseman. This proved to be costly as not only did the inning continue, but Wally Post then smacked a home run to deep left field.

This proved to be but a temporary lapse in concentration, however. Daley got it together, the Yankees added two more runs to offset Post's home run, going on to win 13-5 And this time our Buddy got credit for the win (6.2 IP 5H 0BB 3K). That game won the World Series for the Yankees, 4 games to 1.

The most amazing thing about Daley the lefty?

He pitched his entire career with a withered right hand.


Gallagher, Mark. Explosion! Mickey Mantle's Legendary Home Runs. New York: Arbor House, 1987. Print, pp. 160-177, 345-353.

Golenbock, Peter. "1961." Dynasty: The New York Yankees, 1949-1964. Lincolnwood, IL: Contemporary, 2000. Print, pp. 405-445.

Mantle, Mickey and Herskowitz, Mickey. "The M&M Boys." All My Octobers. Harper Collins, 1994. Print, pp. 129-145.

Nemec, David, and Scott Flatow. "Handicapped Players."Great Baseball Feats, Facts, Firsts (2010). New York, NY: Signet, 2010. Print, pp. 200.

Smith, Ron. 61* The Story Of  Roger Maris And Mickey Mantle And One Magical Summer. The Sporting News, 2001. Print.

Sports Reference LLC. - Major League Statistics and Information. Web. 03 Aug. 2011.

The World Series Of 1961. Dir. Lew Fonseca. Prod. Dick Borden. Perf. Mel Allen. Major League Baseball Productions., 1961. DVD.