Deja Vu – “Chicks Dig The Long Ball”

Quite the scene in LA last night, of course I did my best Dodger fan impression and turned the game off when the Padres took a 4 run lead in the top of the ninth. The next inning and a half proved to be a slice of history that has only occurred 3 times prior in the long history of the game.

The last two times occurred in the American League in 1963 and 1964 respectively. One was the second game of a double header (Indians) and get this, the first game lasted a brief 100 minutes (the second game was 2 hours and 40 minutes) all in front of only 7000, that’s right 7000 at a double header in the middle of the summer, that was the state of the game in the mid sixties all over the place.

Indians Vs. Angels on July 31, 1963 (Woodie Held, Pedro Ramos, Tito Francona and Larry Brown)

Twins vs. Kansas City on May 2, 1964 (Tony Oliva, Bob Allison, Jimmie Hall and Harmon Killebrew).

The KC game had only 8000 at their game.

Both of those are a little more understandable when you look at the teams they occurred against. The 1963 Angels lost 90 games and the A’s in 1964 lost 105 games, chances are that Bill James listened to that game on his radio, perhaps perplexing him even more about his fate as a KC fan. The Twins winning pitcher was future Red (Gary Arrigo)

For those who have interest in this sort of thing the Park Factor at KC that season was 117 and the PF at Cleveland Stadium was 94.

Attendance note about yesterdays event: The game last night in LA had a paid attendance of 55K (Many who heard it on the 101 on their way home) The interest in the current pennant race in Southern California is at a peak the four game series was the largest drawing four game set in Dodger history (219,124). It’s events like last night and crowds like that that are good for the game.

Ok, on to the first time it EVER happened, the first time is the one that I like, it’s the one that I connect to, for it occurred against the Reds of all teams and it occurred against a good Reds team, the potential NL pennant winner in 1961

Plus the feat was accomplished by four renown sluggers from that era, two were former Reds and the Braves manager was a former Red and Reds manager (Charlie Dressen) The event was recorded in Jim Bronson’s great diary of the 1961 Reds season (Pennant Race), if you haven’t checked it out, pick it up… and Ball Four too, putting people behind the numbers that aren’t just heroes or goats helps expand your perspective on the game in my opinion, and that’s the best part about the game is that you can never know it all.

The date was June 8th, 1961 and it was a Thursday afternoon getaway game, a hot humid day, with 20 mile an hour winds whipping through Crosley Field, after the game the Reds were heading to St. Louis and the Braves to Wrigley. The Reds were in first place, just a half a game in front of the Dodgers and Jim Maloney who held the distinction of being the Reds biggest bonus baby ever was on the mound. Just a week past his 21st birthday, and on the mound for the Braves was Warren Spahn, who had celebrated his 40th birthday just 2 months prior. It must have been quite the scene, the young fireballer against the crafty vet, despite the matchup and being in first place the Reds took the field in front of only 5000 plus that day. Just another disappointing turn out in a history of disappointing turn outs.
Maloney gave a precursor to the fireworks when he allowed the 40 year old Spahn to take him deep to lead off the 3rd inning. In the 4th inning Spahn strolled to the plate again, this time Maloney drilled Spahn, letting him know what he thought of the future hall of fame pitchers batting skills. Spahn who was pitching on 3 days rest tired in the 5th and left the game for a pinch hitter the following inning, leaving the rubber match with Maloney for another day.

As the Reds started the 7th they had a comfortable 10-2 lead. Maloney walked the first batter, raising the ire of Reds skipper Fred Hutchinson. He then promptly gave up 2 home runs to Eddie Mathews and Henry Aaron he then left the game, enter reliever Marshall Bridges came in and promptly gave up home runs to two former Reds, Joe Adcock (1950-1952) and Frank Thomas (1959). By the end of the inning the Reds lead had shrunk to only three runs. The next inning Reds reliever Bill Henry allowed another home run by Braves 3rd baseman Mathews. That’s where the scoring ended and at the days end 8 home runs had cleared the fence and the Reds were still in first place.

singled to left; Mathews homered [Bolling scored]; Aaron
Thomas homered; Torre grounded out (third to first); McMillan
made an out to left; TAYLOR BATTED FOR DRABOWSKY; Taylor struck

Below are the four that achieved the feat, an impressive group.

The first number is the number that the home run in the game represented for their career and the second number is the final total they ended their career with.

Aaron       229 - 755
Mathews     352 - 512
Adcock      225 - 336
Thomas      204 - 286

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