Wednesday, June 1, 2022


As has happened several times previously during our recap of the Giants-Dodgers melee in 1962, the teams swapped opponents on June 1, with SF going to the Polo Grounds and the Dodgers invading Philadelphia. 

This likely created a certain lingering dread for the Mets and the Phillies, whose combined record against the west coast behemoths in 1962 was 15-57--which works out to a WPCT of .208, even lower than the Mets' stultifying .250 mark (40-120) in their--well, amazin'--inaugural year.

DREAD may have been spreading all across Roger Craig's face on that Friday evening, when he found out that Willie McCovey was starting against him and playing left field. As a result, Craig suffered from what his manager called "odd inning fever" after the game--which referred to the fact that Roger the ex-Dodger served up homers in the first, third and fifth innings before departing with another of his 24 losses in '62. 

McCovey hit two of them. (Surprisingly, these are the only HRs McCovey hit off Craig, but the second one was hit over 450 feet to right center, which may have been why Roger started walking Willie at an accelerated pace from that point on.) 

Willie Mays--you may have heard of him--hit the other one. And another ex-Dodger, Willard Hunter (but whose tenure on the Dodgers had lasted about two one-thousandths of Craig's) followed on the mound for the Mets, and served up another homer--a grand slam, no less, to Jim Davenport.

Hunter's poor performance (five runs in three innings) pushed the Giants to a 9-1 lead, which they wound up needing when Billy Pierce faltered in the eighth. Al Dark, who knew he had a shaky bullpen, did his Stengel imitation in the Giants' dugout, awakening only after the Mets had scored three runs. His pick to replace Pierce, righty Bobby Bolin, immediately served up a gopher ball to Felix Mantilla, but the shower of hits then passed suddenly like a capricious summer squall. 

In the ninth, Bolin and Stu Miller managed to put two runners on and get the Mets' HR leader, Frank Thomas, to the plate representing the tying run, but Frank's bid for a base hit was snapped up at third by a lunging Davenport, who threw to second for the game-ending out. 

It was another premonitory post-neo-sabe game, with six homers. (Though we should not always tromp down so hard on our semi-brethren: this is the Polo Grounds, after all--you may remember our 1962 ballpark chart that showed us that the Giants' old stomping grounds allowed the most homers of any park that year--213, to be exact.) Final score: Giants 9, Mets 6.

DOWN in Philly, the Dodgers had already played a day game (on Friday!) and had enjoyed the natural sunlight immensely, taking Paul Brown downtown and knocking him out in the fourth inning. (Brown, by the way, was on his way to a lifetime 0-8 record in the major leagues, so he wasn't around long enough to gain the nickname "Downtown" that was assigned later in the decade to the Giants' Ollie Brown.) The Phillies probably swallowed hard, knowing that there was another game to play after this one.

Stan Williams was, of course, semi-feckless as usual, serving up homers in the fourth and fifth--the latter to banjo-hitting shortstop Bobby Wine. This prompted Walt Alston to bring in his closer, Ron Perranoski, in the sixth inning. Having ridden Ed Roebuck for five innings the day before, Alston saddled up his lefty and let him run free for four innings. It was a bit of a bumpy ride--Perranoski gave up six hits, but only one run; and the Dodgers put the game away in the eighth when the man who replaced Brown, lefty Chris Short, suddenly went wild, walking four men in the inning. A couple of well-timed hits brought in five runs, and that (as they say) was that. Larry Burright's supernova lived to shine for one more day, as he smacked two triples (be still my heart...) and every starter in the LA lineup had at least one hit. Final score: Dodgers 11, Phillies 4 (first game).

And then they went out and did it all over again, with the Dodgers putting their other lanky righthander, Don Drysdale on the mound. Phillies starter Jim Owens, pitching his way off the team, came up lame in the second inning, and was replaced by future Phils manager Dallas Green, who was roughed up for 10 hits and seven runs in what amount to an emergency start. Drysdale had a three-run double off Green in the sixth, putting the game away for LA. Big D would weaken in the eighth, but Larry Sherry came in and locked things down with 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. The Dodgers had finally drawn even with the Giants (at least for now). Final score: Dodgers 8, Phillies 5 (second game).