September 7, 1993: Mark Whiten homers four times

In the hours before Mark Whiten made history with a four-homer, 12-RBI performance in the second game of a double-header against the Reds on September 7, 1993, he didn’t appear to be a man on the verge of the greatest performance of his major league career.

The first game of the double-header was an ugly affair, as the Cardinals and Reds set a record by utilizing 15 different pitchers in Cincinnati’s 14-13 victory.[1] St. Louis entered the bottom of the ninth inning with a 13-12 lead, but Jacob Brumfield doubled into the right-field gap, Hal Morris walked, and Reggie Sanders hit a game-winning line drive to center that Whiten misplayed, allowing Brumfield and Morris to score.

“He was buried in his locker after that first game,” Cardinals manager Joe Torre said. “Not that the ball got away from him but the fact that we lost. He takes losses as hard as anybody on this ballclub.”[2]

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound outfielder had come to St. Louis that March when the Indians, who needed pitching after Steve Olin and Tim Crews were killed and Bob Ojeda was injured in a tragic boating accident, traded him for pitcher Mark Clark and minor league shortstop Juan Andujar.

Whiten’s debut season in St. Louis proved to be the best of his career, as he posted career highs in homers (26) and RBIs (99). Both totals would be aided significantly by his performance in the second game of the double-header, and by the time the nightcap was over, Whiten’s frustrations from the first game of the twin bill were long forgotten.

Cincinnati’s Larry Luebbers struggled with his control early in the game, walking Geronimo Pena and Todd Zeile before Gerald Perry singled to load the bases for Whiten. On a 2-0 count, Luebbers challenged Whiten with a fastball. Batting left-handed, the switch-hitting Whitten, standing in the far back corner of the box, extended his arms and sent the ball over the wall in left-center field for a 4-0 Cardinal lead.

 

The Reds would cut that advantage in half in the bottom half of the first as Morris hit a sacrifice fly off Bob Tewksbury and Jacob Brumfield scored on a throwing error by Tom Pagnozzi. After a rocky first inning, Luebbers settled down, working around a walk to Tewksbury in the second inning and retiring the side in order in the third and fourth.

Finally, in the fifth inning, after Luebbers led off the inning by walking Tewksbury for the second time in the game, Lonnie Maclin hit a sacrifice fly to center field. The score remained 5-2 until the sixth inning, when Reds manager Davey Johnson replaced Luebbers with rookie right-hander Mike Anderson.

Anderson walked Zeile and Perry to lead off the inning before challenging Whiten with a first-pitch fastball. Whiten sent the pitch over the wall in right-center field for his 20th home run of the season.

In the seventh, Anderson retired the first two batters in order before Bernard Gilkey and Zeile each singled into left field. Perry scored Gilkey on an infield single, bringing Whiten to the plate once more. This time, Whiten turned on a 2-1 pitch and pulled it over the right field wall. He punctuated the blast with a casual bat flip and a few steps spent admiring his handiwork before he broke into his home run trot. By this time, with the score 12-2, even the few Reds fans still in attendance applauded Whiten.

Gilkey said after the game that he could tell Whiten was in the zone.

“I was talking to him in the outfield after he hit his third one and it was almost like he didn’t see me,” Gilkey said. “He looked straight through me.”[3]

Tewksbury, who allowed just two runs in a complete-game effort to earn his 16th win of the season, saw the same thing.

“What I saw in his face was complete emptiness – in a good sense,” he said. “There was no emotion. No highs. No lows. He was just existing. Nothing permeates that zone.”[4]

In the eighth, Cincinnati called on Rob Dibble, who allowed a solo home run to Pena to make it 13-2 headed into the ninth.

“Nobody said anything about (my home run),” Pena said. “I didn’t see my name on ESPN. I hit mine farther.”[5]

On the mound for a second inning of work, Dibble struck out Stan Royer before Perry singled to center for his third hit of the day. Despite Whiten’s already historic night, Dibble wasn’t about to pitch around the Cardinals’ center fielder, even as KMOX broadcaster Jack Buck asked his broadcast partner, Mike Shannon, “Do you think Dibble will come after him? Do you think Dibble will let him swing the bat?”[6]

“I’ve walked 30 guys in the last week,” Dibble said after the game. “I’m not going to walk him. That’s not my style.”[7]

On a 2-0 count, Dibble challenged Whiten with a fastball out over the plate and Whiten blasted it 441 feet for his longest home run of the night. All four of Whiten’s home runs came against fastballs.

 

“I was impressed with that one,” Whiten said.[8]

So were the Cincinnati fans. After celebrating with his teammates in the dugout, Whiten did something almost as rare as a four-homer game – he gave the Cincinnati fans a curtain call from the visiting dugout. Incredibly, the crowd of about 2,000 remaining fans roared their appreciation.[9]

 

“I’m happy for Mark Whiten,” said Dibble after the game. “He’s a part of history and so am I.”[10]

With the homer, Whiten became the 12th player ever – and the only switch hitter – to hit four home runs in a game, joining a list that included Hall of Famers Ed Delahanty, Lou Gehrig, Chuck Klein, Willie Mays, and Mike Schmidt, and tied Jim Bottomley’s 1924 record for the most RBIs in a game with 12.

“It’s like when Michael Jordan gets in the zone,” Whiten said. “He’s going to score 50 points. That’s kind of the way I felt. It didn’t matter. I don’t even know how to explain it. It’s just amazement, I guess.”[11]

After the game, Whiten’s teammates made him a makeshift red carpet comprised of equipment bags and greeted him in the clubhouse with an honor guard, each player raising their bats in salute, as they chanted, “Hard Hittin’ Mark Whiten.” In addition to a couple of bottles of champagne, Whiten also received each of his four home runs balls, which had been retrieved by the Cincinnati grounds crew.[12]

 “This is the top of the list for me,” Torre said. “This is the No. 1 achievement I’ve ever witnessed.”[13]

Ozzie Smith agreed. “I’ve been around the game 16 years, I’ve seen some guys do some unbelievable things, but nothing like tonight,” he said.[14]


[1] Hummel, Rick. “Whiten Marks Up Reds,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 8, 1993: Page D1.

[2] Hummel, Rick. “Whiten Marks Up Reds,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 8, 1993: Page D4.

[3] Hummel, Rick. “Whiten Marks Up Reds,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 8, 1993: Page D4.

[4] Hummel, Rick. “Historic Game ‘Kind Of A Blur,’” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 9, 1993: Page D3.

[5] Hummel, Rick. “Historic Game ‘Kind Of A Blur,’” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 9, 1993: Page D3.

[6] Caesar, Dan. “Over The Airwaves: Play-By-Play Of Whiten’s Four Blasts,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 9, 1993: Page D3.

[7] Hobson, Geoff. “Whiten has historic night,” Cincinnati Enquirer, September 8, 1993: Page E1.

[8] Hummel, Rick. “Whiten Marks Up Reds,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 8, 1993: Page D1.

[9] Hummel, Rick. “Historic Game ‘Kind Of A Blur,’” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 9, 1993: Page D3.

[10] Hobson, Geoff. “Whiten has historic night,” Cincinnati Enquirer, September 8, 1993: Page E1.

[11] Hobson, Geoff. “Whiten has historic night,” Cincinnati Enquirer, September 8, 1993: Page E5.

[12] Hummel, Rick. “Whiten Marks Up Reds,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 8, 1993: Page D4.

[13] Hummel, Rick. “Whiten Marks Up Reds,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 8, 1993: Page D1.

[14] Hobson, Geoff. “Whiten has historic night,” Cincinnati Enquirer, September 8, 1993: Page E5.

 

September 3, 2001: Rookie Bud Smith throws a no-hitter

Prior to his September 3, 2001, start against the Padres, the 11th of his major league career, Bud Smith already had experience throwing no-hitters. As a high school junior, he had thrown one. He had even thrown two the previous season while pitching for the Cardinals’ Double-A affiliate in Arkansas, though admittedly both of those were seven-inning affairs.

Nonetheless, when Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan saw Smith’s pitch count reach 70 through five innings, he doubted that his rookie left-hander had enough remaining to get through the rest of the game unscathed.

“I was almost rooting for him to give up a hit so we could get him out of there,” Duncan admitted after the game.[1]

Despite Duncan’s doubts, the graduate of St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, California, approximately 110 miles north of San Diego, completed the feat in front of 40 friends and family members[2], including his mother.[3] It took 134 pitches.

“I didn’t start thinking about it until the seventh inning when I started getting a little fatigued,” Smith said. “Then I realized I had to finish on adrenaline.”[4]

Smith pitched with a lead the entire way. Cardinals second baseman Fernando Viña led off the top of the first with a single into right field, and with two outs Albert Pujols homered to left to make it 2-0.

In the fifth inning, Placido Polanco made it 3-0 when he singled up the middle. On a full count to J.D. Drew, Polanco took off for second, swiping the bag as Drew struck out. Padres catcher Ben Davis’s throw bounced off Polanco’s foot went into the left field gap, allowing Polanco to score when left fielder Rickey Henderson couldn’t pick up the ball.

As the game went on, rather than avoiding Smith, Cardinals first baseman Mark McGwire sat beside the 21-year-old and discussed hitting. Smith said that McGwire was annoyed by a defensive shift the Padres made that had stolen a hit from him earlier in the game. Smith, who finished his major league career with seven hits, helpfully advised McGwire to hit it where there weren’t defenders.[5]

“I wasn’t even thinking about pitching,” Smith said. “Whatever he was doing worked.”[6]

As Smith grew fatigued, he relied on the Cardinals’ defense for support. In the sixth, Drew tracked down a foul ball off the bat of Ryan Klesko, climbing the bullpen mound and reaching into the stands to make the play.

“I had my eyes closed after I went across the mound,” Drew said. “I just stuck my glove out. You’ve got to watch for the mound, you’ve got to watch for the (ball)girl sitting down behind the mound. You never know who’s going to poke you in the eye. I was just making sure I came out with both eyes.”[7]

One inning later, Pujols went to the warning track in left field to catch a fly ball off the bat of Bubba Trammell.

“That ball was the biggest scare of the night,” Smith said. “I thought the only chance I had was if Albert jumped and robbed him.”[8]

Polanco added an insurance run for the Cardinals in the seventh. Viña drew a two-out walk and Polanco doubled into the left-field gap, scoring Viña from first.

In the eighth, shortstop Edgar Renteria, who already made a nice play on a line drive off the bat of D’Angelo Jimenez in the third inning, was perfectly positioned for a ground ball up the middle by Tony Gwynn, who came to the plate as a pinch hitter.

“To be honest, when Mr. Gwynn opted to pinch hit, I said to myself, ‘I didn’t go over his report’ because I didn’t expect to see him, being a lefty and all,” Smith said. “Wow. San Diego would have loved to see him break up a no-hitter. Tony Gwynn can hit everything in and out, so I said, ‘I’m going to just throw it down the middle and see what he can do with it.’ Luckily, he hit it right at somebody.”[9]

With Gwynn retired, Smith got Wiki Gonzalez out on a ground ball, leaving him just three outs away from history.

“I was almost shaking, knowing I had to get three outs to get a no-hitter,” Smith said.[10]

The left-hander led off the ninth inning by getting Henderson – who already had walked twice – to ground out to Renteria at shortstop. He then walked Jimenez, his fourth free pass of the game. With Jimenez on second base due to defensive indifference, Renteria made a back-handed stop in the ninth to throw out Klesko. Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said he considered taking Smith out of the game if he walked Klesko after falling behind in the count 3-0.[11]

“If (Klesko) was going to get a base hit, he was going to have to hit it behind second base,” Renteria said. “I got lucky he hit the ball where I was. That was a hard play to make, but I’m happy for that kid. I think he deserves it.”[12]

The game ended when Phil Nevin hit a bouncer back to Smith, who tossed the ball underhand to McGwire at first to complete the standout game of his career.

 

It was a much better result than Smith’s previous start, when the Padres had touched him up for seven runs – five earned – in 3 1/3 innings on their way to a 16-14 win. Smith had allowed 14 runs in his previous 14 innings, but the Padres saw a different pitcher this time around.

“His ball has a little movement on it,” Klesko said. “He has a good changeup. He kept a lot of right-handed batters off balance with it.

“You have to give him credit. We beat up on him pretty good last time.”[13]

Smith’s no-hitter was the ninth in Cardinals’ history and the first since another rookie, Jose Jimenez, no-hit the Diamondbacks on June 25, 1999.

Smith’s no-hitter marked the second time that season the Padres had been no-hit – the Marlins’ A.J. Burnett accomplished the feat in May.

“It’s not a lot of fun when you get no-hit,” Bochy said. “(Smith) wasn’t what we saw in St. Louis. Today he was a different pitcher. Great command, good changeup and curveball.”[14]

The win improved Smith to 4-2 on the season. He finished with a 6-3 record and 3.83 ERA, but the Cardinals had concerns about Smith’s size and stamina and shopped him around to prospective trade partners during the offseason.[15]

 In 2002, Smith struggled with his mechanics, posting a 1-5 record with a 6.94 ERA in 48 major-league innings. He was optioned to the minors three times that season before the Cardinals traded him, Polanco, and Mike Timlin to the Phillies for Scott Rolen on July 30, 2002.

Smith never appeared in the majors for the Phillies. He pitched in their minor-league system through 2004, then signed as a minor-league free agent with the Twins’ Triple-A affiliate in Rochester in 2005. He finished his professional career by pitching two seasons with the Long Beach Armada of the independent Golden Baseball League in 2006 and 2007.

Smith is now an area scout for the Toronto Blue Jays based out of Lakewood, California.[16]


[1] Rick Hummel, “No fuss, no muss, no hits,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 4, 2001: D7.

[2] Rick Hummel, “No fuss, no muss, no hits,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 4, 2001: D7.

[3] John Maffei, “This Bud makes two,” North County Times, September 4, 2001: C1.

[4] John Maffei, “This Bud makes two,” North County Times, September 4, 2001: C2.

[5] Rick Hummel, “Homecoming for Smith turns into one big party,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 5, 2001: D5.

[6] Rick Hummel, “Homecoming for Smith turns into one big party,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 5, 2001: D5.

[7] Rick Hummel. “Renteria makes key plays to benefit Smith,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 4, 2001: D7.

[8] Rick Hummel, “Homecoming for Smith turns into one big party,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 5, 2001: D5.

[9] John Maffei, “This Bud makes two,” North County Times, September 4, 2001: C2.

[10] John Maffei, “This Bud makes two,” North County Times, September 4, 2001: C1.

[11] Rick Hummel, “Homecoming for Smith turns into one big party,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 5, 2001: D1.

[12] Rick Hummel. “Renteria makes key plays to benefit Smith,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 4, 2001: D7.

[13] John Maffei, “This Bud makes two,” North County Times, September 4, 2001: C2.

[14] John Maffei, “This Bud makes two,” North County Times, September 4, 2001: C2.

[15] Joe Strauss, “Cardinals snatch Rolen,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 30, 2002: E1.

[16] Toronto Blue Jays Front Office Directory, https://www.mlb.com/bluejays/team/front-office-directory. Accessed September 6, 2020.

 

What I’m Reading: “Sixty Feet, Six Inches” by Bob Gibson and Reggie Jackson

“Sixty Feet, Six Inches: A Hall of Fame Pitcher & A Hall of Fame Hitter Talk About How the Game Is Played” is a beautifully simple concept for a baseball book. Lonnie Wheeler, who has partnered with Bob Gibson on his autobiography, “Stranger to the Game,” and “Pitch By Pitch: My View of One Unforgettable Game,” about Game 1 of the 1968 World Series, stays almost entirely out of the way and simply allows Gibson and Reggie Jackson to take center stage.

The book is broken out into different topics and records the two men’s conversation as they discuss different aspects of the game and tell stories from their playing days. Wheeler does such a good job of keeping the focus on Gibson and Jackson that even his questions don’t appear in the text. Instead, each section gets a one- or two-word headline and then Gibson and Jackson are off to the races, with the reader observing in fly-on-the-wall fashion.

Both men are thoughtful and articulate, and obviously bring a wealth of baseball knowledge to the book. They seem like a particularly well-suited pairing for this book, not only because of their respective roles as ace pitcher and slugger, but because their similarities and differences both seem to lend an interesting aspect to the book. Much of “Sixty Feet, Six Inches” is built upon the showdown between pitcher and hitter and the thought that both men bring to the confrontation. To me, that showdown is the best thing that baseball has going for it – the closest thing we have these days to the old western movie scenes where the good guy and bad guy square off in the middle of the deserted street.

Gibson played 17 years in the National League, all with the Cardinals, while Reggie Jackson played in the American League for the Athletics, Orioles, Yankees, and Angels. Gibson’s career began in 1959 and Jackson’s began in 1967, so they never faced one another and often faced different opponents, and while both men know what it was like to be a Black Major League Baseball player, Gibson came a generation earlier and had sounds like a very different experience than Jackson did.

Both men bring a sense of humor to the conversation, and seem to enjoy turning the discussion occasionally to how they would approach facing the other and how they would have handled situations differently than the other. There also is an obvious respect between the two and their approaches to the game, even as they approached the game differently.

I think my only suggestion for the book might have been some sort of an introduction covering the challenges and high points of each man’s career. Personally, I was far more familiar with Gibson’s career and less knowledgeable about Jackson’s conflicts with Billy Martin – but other than that small note, I really think Wheeler took the right approach with this material. When you have Gibson and Jackson talking baseball, there’s no need to overthink things.

The result is a book that provides a great glimpse into 1960s and 1970s Major League Baseball while providing tips about the mental side of the game that I would recommend for any young ballplayer today.

May 20, 1964: Gibson strikes out 12 Cubs in a 1-0 shutout

Heading into the Cardinals’ May 20, 1964, game against the Chicago Cubs, Bob Gibson knew he needed to do something different. So like the Karate Kid 20 years later, Gibson got to work polishing his car.

“I threw well in spring training, but my shoulder has been stiff since then,” Gibson said. “I had to warm up for 20 minutes to get loose one night, so I thought I’d try polishing the car.”[1]

Had the Cubs known what was coming, they may have paid someone to come polish Gibson’s car for him.

Gibson, who had won 13, 15, and 18 games, respectively, in the preceding three seasons, started 1964 with a pair of complete-game victories, beating the Dodgers 6-2 and the Houston Astros 6-1. On May 9, he picked up his third win of the season, scattering eight hits and two walks in a 5-1 complete-game victory, but stumbled in his next outing, lasting just three innings as the Braves scored four runs on eight hits and three walks. Though the Cardinals – who scored five runs in first inning – went on to win 10-6, Gibson was determined to return to form.

With his shoulder suitably loosened, Gibson opened the game by striking out Cubs second baseman Jimmy Stewart. Right fielder Lou Brock, who would be traded to the Cardinals less than a month later, also went down on strikes. Billy Williams and Ron Santo each singled before Gibson ended the threat by striking out Ernie Banks.

In the second, Gibson struck out Andre Rodgers, Billy Cowan, and Dick Bertell to give him six strikeouts in just two innings.

“Hoot, you ought to advertise on poles the way Satchel Paige used to,” fellow Cardinals pitcher Lew Burdette told Gibson. “Paige used to advertise that he’d guarantee to strike out the first nine batters.”[2]

Gibson retired all three Cub hitters in the third inning on ground balls before Chicago threatened again in the fourth. After Gibson retired Williams on a fly ball, Santo singled up the middle and Banks reached on an infield single. Once again, Gibson escaped damage, striking out Rodgers looking and getting Cowan to line out to Ken Boyer at third base.

Gibson wouldn’t allow another runner to reach base the remainder of the game, as he retired the final 17 batters he faced. Holding a 1-0 lead in the ninth inning, he got Brock to ground out to first base and struck out Williams and Santo.

“I never saw anyone throw a breaking pitch that exploded like that one,” said Santo, who had two of the Cubs’ four hits against Gibson but also struck out twice.[3]

Santo was asked how Gibson’s fastball measured up against that of Jim Maloney of the Cincinnati Reds.

“Maloney’s ball rises,” Santo replied. “Gibson’s ball goes this way, that way, up and down. Gibson is more deceptive and throws more easily than Maloney.”

Santo was then asked if Gibson’s fastball measured up to that of the Dodgers’ Sandy Koufax.

“Yes, for certain periods, but Gibson throws his breaking stuff as hard as he does his fastball,” Santo said.

Gibson finished the game with 12 strikeouts. He allowed just four hits and lowered his ERA on the season to 2.17.

“Bob had great control and he challenged the hitters all night,” Cardinals manager Johnny Keane said. “In the ninth he went after Billy Williams and Santo as if he were saying, ‘Hurry up, I want to get this over and go home.’”

Cardinals shortstop Dick Groat said he could recall just one game in which Gibson threw as hard as he did against the Cubs that night, and it dated back to 1962, when Groat was on the Pirates and Gibson held him and his teammates to just three hits.

“We got two hits on sliders, one on a curve, none on his fastball,” Groat said. “I felt that for one given night, Gibson was the fastest pitcher I ever faced.”[4]

Chicago’s Larry Jackson, who pitched eight seasons and appeared in three all-star games for the Cardinals before being dealt to the Cubs after the 1962 season, kept the Cardinals off the scoreboard for seven innings and pitched his 2,000th major-league inning in the sixth before finally allowing a run in the bottom of the eighth.

Groat led off the inning with a single that eluded a diving attempt by Stewart at shortstop and rolled into center field. Boyer followed with a single into left that similarly avoided a diving Santo.

“I was playing close to the line, guarding against an extra-base hit,” Santo said. “If I had been playing Boyer in the normal position, I probably would have got the ball. I missed it by just a few inches.”[5]

With runners on first and third, Bill White hit a hard ground ball back toward the mound that bounced over Jackson and into center field.

“White hit the same pitch I got him out with the time before,” Jackson said. “He didn’t try to pull the ball as he did the time before.”[6]

White was caught in a rundown between first and second, and though Jackson walked Johnny Lewis and gave an intentional pass to Tim McCarver, he escaped the inning without further damage.

Nonetheless, as Richard Dozer wrote in the Chicago Tribune, “The Cubs simply were up against another of the superior men of the major league pitching profession, and Jackson was a luckless but brilliant loser.”[7]


[1] Neal Russo, “Gibson Polishes Car, Then Cubs,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 21, 1964.

[2] “Redbird Notes: Hoot Fans 6 in First 2 Innings,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 21, 1964.

[3] Russo.

[4] Russo.

[5] Russo.

[6] Russo.

[7] Richard Dozer, “Gibson Sets Down Cubs On 4 Hits, 1-0,” Chicago Tribune, May 21, 1964.

 

June 17, 1956: Whitey Herzog steals home

More than twenty-six years before Glenn Brummer made his mad dash home on August 22, 1982, to give the Cardinals a 5-4 victory over the Giants in 12 innings, a Washington Senators rookie named Whitey Herzog swiped home for his second career stolen base.

Herzog, who engineered the Whiteyball teams that regularly stole more than 200 bases each season in the 1980s, played an eight-year major-league career with the Washington Senators, Kansas City Athletics, Baltimore Orioles, and Detroit Tigers. Primarily used as a utility outfielder, pinch hitter, and first baseman, Herzog stole 13 bases in 634 career games, including eight as a rookie with the Senators.

Managed by Chuck Dressen, the 1956 Senators were on their way to a 59-95 record and seventh-place finish in the American League. Herzog, who joined the club as the player to be named later in a deal with the Yankees, played center field between two sluggers – left fielder Roy Sievers, who hit 29 homers and drove in 95 runs, and right fielder Jim Lemon, who added 27 homers and 96 RBIs. Neither, however, was known for his defensive prowess.

They were “two of the worst outfielders in the American League, so I had my work cut out for me,” Herzog wrote in 1987. “Dressen told me to catch anything I got to because he never knew what would happen if Lemon or Sievers tried it.”[1]

On June 17, Herzog and the Senators were slated to play a double-header against the White Sox in Chicago. The first game was a 20-2 disaster for the Senators, as Bunky Stewart was charged with five runs allowed without recording an out. He was replaced by Bob Chakales, who didn’t fare much better, allowing four runs on six hits and three walks in just two innings. Connie Grob pitched the final six innings, allowing 11 runs – 10 earned – on 12 hits and a walk.

“I don’t think I had a single putout, but I still ran about 40 miles, backing up right and left, shagging balls off the walls,” Herzog recalled.[2]

Batting second in the order, Herzog went 3-for-5 with an RBI triple in the fifth inning that scored the Senators’ second run.

As Herzog relates the story in “White Rat: A Baseball Life”:

Charlie came up to me after the game and asked, “Do you think you can make another one?”

I said, “What the hell? I didn’t come to the big leagues to watch.” So I started the second game, damned near out of gas.[3]

Sievers hit his 15th home run of the season in the first inning to give the Senators a 1-0 lead, and in the second inning they broke the game open. Lemon and Lou Berberet singled to lead off the inning and Jose Valdivielso reached on a throwing error. After a sacrifice bunt and a ground out, Herzog came to the plate and hit a triple into right field that scored Valdivielso.

White Sox manager Marty Marion removed Bob Keegan in favor of Howie Pollet, and Herzog greeted Pollet by taking off for home plate, sliding in safely to make the score 6-0.

Washington went on to win 10-4 as Lemon put the game beyond reach with a three-run, ninth-inning double.

Altogether, Herzog would end the day with five hits, two triples, two runs scored, and two RBIs. Interestingly, the next day’s Chicago Tribune misreported that Herzog had scored on Pete Runnels’ ensuing double, not realizing that Herzog had stolen home earlier in the at-bat.[4] In his autobiography, Herzog misremembered a few details as well, writing that the scores were 18-4 and 2-1.[5]

Herzog’s 421 at-bats and eight stolen bases that season would mark a career high. He was never an efficient base thief, as his 13 career stolen bases came in 31 attempts. When Herzog was a manager in the 1980s, he continued to see the value in an aggressive running game. With artificial turf and spacious stadiums throughout baseball, Herzog recognized an opportunity to play an exciting, speed-oriented style of baseball.

When Brummer slid home with the game-winning run on that August day in 1982, it’s entirely possible that in some corner of his mind, Herzog was recalling the time 26 years earlier when a fresh-faced rookie looking to make a name for himself made his own mad dash for home plate.


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[1] Whitey Herzog and Kevin Horrigan (1987), White Rat: A Life in Baseball, New York: Harper & Row, 48.

[2] Herzog and Horrigan, 48.

[3] Herzog and Horrigan, 48.

[4] Edward Prell, “Washington avenges 1st game deluge,” Chicago Tribune, June 18, 1956: F1.

[5] Herzog and Horrigan, 48.