Wednesday, June 15, 2022


Charlie James, the man who would swing at anything: 
a microscopic 3.2% lifetime walk rate...
Let's bury the lede, shall we? On June 15, 1962, the San Francisco Giants limped home after a long, rough road trip--18 games in all...unheard of in these "post-postmodern times"--in which their early success (7-1 against the hapless Mets and floundering Phillies) had turned around on them (2-8 in Chicago, St. Louis and Cincinnati). They were coming home at last--home, where they had thrived (23-6 thus far in the still-young 1962 season).

But future Giant Ray Sadecki, pitching for the Cardinals at this point, put the kibosh (and quite probably the kabong, too...) on SF's homecoming by bobbing & weaving his way through 37 Giants batters, stranding runners, and benefitting from superb defense (three double plays, and a spiffy relay from left fielder Bobby Gene Smith to shortstop Julio Gotay to catcher Gene Oliver that nailed future Cardinal Orlando Cepeda at the plate to end the Giants' only serious rally of the night). 

Meanwhile, right fielder Charlie James hit a three-run homer off Billy O'Dell in the first inning to give the Cardinals all they needed for another takedown of the Giants (after starting the year winning four of six from St. Louis, SF had now lost five straight to the Cardinals). 

And if you happen to have it floating in the back of your mind, you are correct in connecting the dots between those two "future" references...which allude to one of Horace Stoneham's most questionable trades, which occurred in May 1966: Cepeda for Sadecki. (Final score: Cardinals 5, Giants 2.)

IN Los Angeles, the "Golden Hour" came back to bite the Dodgers when gangly righthander Jim Golden, who'd pitched ineffectively for the Dodgers in 1961 and consequently been left unprotected in the expansion draft, came back to haunt his former team with a five-hit shutout, outdueling Don Drysdale. A month earlier, Golden had his former team on the ropes in his first start at Dodger Stadium, taking a 4-0 lead into the ninth inning before LA rallied to tie the score and eventually win the game, but on this evening, Golden lived fully up to his name, lowering his ERA to 2.52 and balancing his won-loss record (4-4). 

Of course, it was a shimmering mirage: within a month, Golden was out of the Colts' rotation and back in mop-up duty. The breakdown of his 1962 record was stark: he posted a 5-0 record against the Mets (the "other" expansion team that year--you may have heard of them...) and went 2-11 against everyone else. The concept of "replacement level" isn't always so prominent, but it's an instructive example.

(The Dodgers had blown their only real chance to score in the second, when Ron Fairly changed his mind about trying to score on Johnny Roseboro's flyout to left and was chased down by catcher Merritt Ranew as he attempted to retreat back to third. This was certainly not Fairly's "golden hour"...) 

Final score: Colts 2, Dodgers 0.