Saturday, September 1, 2012


Fifty years ago this evening, the Dodgers extended their lead in the NL to 3 1/2 games over the Giants with a 5-3 win over the Milwaukee Braves. Johnny Podres (12-10) won his eighth game since July 15th, going seven innings and striking out 11. Willie Davis' two-run single in the bottom of the seventh brought in the tying and go-ahead runs for the Dodgers; Ron Perranoski picked up his 16th save (ninth in the past six weeks).

The Giants lost to the Cincinnati Reds, 10-5; the Giants' woes began when  Juan Marichal (17-10 but only 5-5 in the past six weeks) gave up four runs in the first. Vada Pinson went 5-for-5 for the Reds; Leo Cardenas and Gordy Coleman each drove in three runs.

The Dodgers were still having trouble replacing Sandy Koufax in their rotation since the flamethrowing lefty was shelved due to a mysterious finger malady. From July 15 to September 1, Koufax's rotation slot was 3-4 with a 5.95 ERA. However, as the chart shows, the Dodgers were still getting better pitching than the Giants during this time frame.

Over in the AL, the Yankees continued to snap out of a late August tailspin (eight losses in ten games from the 23rd through the 29th, including being swept in back-to-back doubleheaders by the Orioles on the 24th and 25th) with a 3-1 win over the Kansas City A's behind Ralph Terry. Elston Howard's two-run triple in the sixth inning was the decisive blow.

Despite a propensity for giving up the long ball, Terry was pitching exceptionally well for the Yankees, who played 35 games in the month of August, a pace that is literally unthinkable today. From July 15 through September 1st, they played 55 games (33-22). As the major league pitching leader chart (above) shows, about half those wins came from Terry (9-2) and Whitey Ford (7-2).

One of Terry's least impressive victories occurred on August 19th when he allowed four homers (eleven hits overall) and seven runs in another game against the A's. However, he pitched a complete game thanks to the fact that the Yankees racked up three touchdowns worth of runs against KC that day, posting a 21-7 win. Howard had two homers and a triple, dricing in eight runs that day, while Mickey Mantle had seven RBI. All in all, the Yanks were 10-for-19 with runners in scoring position that day.

Terry's workload in this seven-week stretch (just under 100 IP) is more than a bit mind-boggling. However, eight of the top twenty pitchers in this time slice had 80+ IP during this stretch.

'Twas a very different time...