Wednesday, August 31, 2022


In our posts about the '62 pennant chase between the Giants and Dodgers, we've sometimes focused on the days when both teams lose. That number is, as you'd expect, rather low--17 days--but what say you regarding the opposite occurrence: days when both teams win? How many days when that happens? And is there a mathematical formula that might predict what that relationship would be like for any combination of two teams? 

Of course, this is just a side issue that is unlikely to be relevant to overall outcome or any interpretive meaning within the set of events we've been chronicling. But let's stay with it as a kind of puzzle while we watch the '62 season wind down to its chaotic conclusion. Think about how many times two teams might win on the same day if they both won 100+ games (as was the case for our two teams here). If two teams each lost 61 games (what the Dodgers and Giants did prior to the playoff series...) and they lost on the same day 17 times, is there something in that ratio that might predict how many times they won games on the same day?

More on that shortly. What the table at right will show you is that our two teams won on the same day during August 1962 a total of ten times (as opposed to losing on the same day four times). On 8/31, the Dodgers had a hit-fest against the Braves in Dodger Stadium: a total of nineteen, all without benefit of the long ball. It was a vipers' nest of line drives, including four hits from Frank Howard and three each for Willie Davis and Maury Wills. LA smacked around six Braves pitchers and broke the game open with a four-run fifth. Starter Pete Richert was a bit shaky in his five innings of work, but Ed Roebuck had another stellar stint in long relief, holding Milwaukee scoreless over the final four frames. Final score: Dodgers 8, Braves 3.

UP in San Francisco, the Reds' pitching, which had sustained them so well during their three-week hot streak earlier in the month, took it on the chin again as Cincy continued to fall out of the pennant race. Willie Mays broke a 1-1 tie in the third with a two-run double, and scored on a sacrifice fly from Willie McCovey that came within a couple feet of clearing the fence. Willie Mac did hit a homer later, off Johnny Klippstein, capping a stretch in the game where the Giants scored ten unanswered runs. Billy Pierce, still pitching strongly since his return from the injury list, gave up two solo homers (to Eddie Kasko and Leo Cardenas) but nothing else, upping his season record to 13-4. Final score: Giants 10, Reds 2.

Back to that ratio of dual losses and total losses: 17 double-loss days out of 61 total losses is a ratio of around 27.5%. If we presume that the ratio doubles for days when both teams win, we calculate a "double-win days to wins" ratio at 55%, or 56 such days. The actual total of "double-win" days for the Giants and Dodgers in 1962 is: 54.


[REST OF THE YEAR: LAD 13-14, SFG 16-12]

Tuesday, August 30, 2022


The games on 8/30/62 wound up closer than they were for most of the time they were being played...does that make sense? We need another way to quantify the actual closeness of a game beyond what we see in the final score...for example, a 1-0 game decided on a walkoff hit is as close a game as you'll possibly see. 

We'll quantify this with an addendum to this post a bit later on. For now, the Giants' and Dodgers's games of 8/30/62 (a Thursday):

The Dodgers trailed 4-0 after the top of the first, and 5-0 after five innings, but nearly pulled things out with a furious four-run rally in the bottom of the ninth. Jim O'Toole carried a shutout into that inning, but it took two relievers (Bill Henry and Jim Brosnan) to hold off LA. It was also a game in which there was only one extra-base hit (a double by Jerry Lynch): how many such games occur during the average season? (Stay tuned for that answer as well.) Final score: Reds 5, Dodgers 4.

The Giants hit three solo homers off Warren Spahn--Willie Mays (#40), Orlando Cepeda (#32) and Jim Davenport (#13)--and it was just enough, because Jack Sanford allowed only two solo HRs (back-to-back in the seventh, which knocked him from the game): how many such games where five or more runs are scored in a game that all came on solo homers? You are doubtless very intrigued to know the result...but we don't know what the answer is. (So many mysteries, so little time.) Final score: Giants 3, Braves 2.


Monday, August 29, 2022


The Milwaukee Braves drove Giants' lefties Billy O'Dell and Bob Garibaldi from the mound on 8/29 with nine unanswered runs in the second through fourth innings as SF fell back a game in the NL standings. Hank Aaron and future Dodger star Lou Johnson each hit homers for the Braves. The Giants' lone bright spots: homers from Orlando Cepeda and pinch-hitter Bob Nieman. It was too little, too late. Final score: Braves 10, Giants 3.

Joey Jay went 12 2/3 IP for the Reds vs. the Dodgers, but three LA pitchers (Don Drysdale, Ron Perranoski, and Ed Roebuck) matched him pitch-for-pitch. Duke Snider's triple with two out in the ninth got the Dodgers even, and Roebuck went four scoreless innings before Johnny Roseboro singled home the winning run in the thirteenth inning. Roebuck got the win, improving his season record to 9-0. Final score: Dodgers 2, Reds 1 (13 innings).

SEASON RECORDS: LAD 87-46, SFG 83-49, CIN 81-53

Sunday, August 28, 2022


After a day off to return home, the Dodgers and Giants readied themselves to swap series with the Reds and Braves before the two teams would meet for (what was supposed to be) the final time in '62 at Dodger Stadium (beginning on Labor Day, which was September 3 that year).

The Reds came into LA flat after a mortifying doubleheader loss to the Houston Colts, and they had no traction at all on that Tuesday evening (August 28). Bob Purkey, the ace of Cincy's staff, served up homers to Tommy Davis and Duke Snider (making his first start at home since May). Johnny Roseboro and Jim Gilliam pulled off a double steal in the eighth that marked the second time in '62 that the Dodgers' catcher stole home. (His career total: five.) Johnny Podres scattered eight hits and struck out six in going all the way for the Dodgers, improving his record to 11-10. Final score: Dodgers 8, Reds 1.

IN San Francisco, Juan Marichal was cruising along with a shutout in the seventh when he served up a game-tying three-run homer to Braves' catcher Del Crandall, but Felipe Alou's eighth-inning grounder to short was hit just slowly enough for him to beat the relay to first and permit Chuck Hiller to score the tie-breaking run. Willie Mays (#39) and Harvey Kuenn (#9) had homered earlier for the Giants. Marichal struck out Joe Torre in the top of the ninth with the tying and go-ahead runs on base to nail down his 17th win. Final score: Giants 4, Braves 3.

SEASON RECORDS: LAD 86-46, SFG 83-48, CIN 81-52

Friday, August 26, 2022


We'll bury the lede to permit Dodger fans to revel in yet another rout of the New York Mets at the Polo Grounds in 1962. After the 16-5 laugher was over, Willie Davis (who'd hit yet another homer in the game) was heard to say: "We should schedule these guys more often."

Pete Richert was the beneficiary of a ferocious Dodger attack, which used all of the offensive weapons (two homers, the second by backup first baseman Tim Harkness, who'd be a Met in '63; four stolen bases--three of them by Maury Wills, who upped his season total to 72) and a good bit of defensive fortune as well (five errors by the Mets resulted in twelve of the sixteen Dodger runs scored on 8/26 to be categorized as unearned). Of the starters for LA, only Richert and the recently de-mothballed Duke Snider failed to get a hit.

Richert pitched seven strong innings, but gave ground in the eighth, allowing three runs, two of them scoring on Joe Christopher's homer. Up by thirteen at the time, it hardly mattered. Phil Ortega stumbled around in the ninth, but his wildness (three walks) didn't amount to much. Final score: Dodgers 16, Mets 5.

IN Philadelphia, Willie Mays got (most of) the day off: he was in a mini-slump. The Giants went to work early without him: Orlando Cepeda hit his 30th homer with a man on in the top of the first, and before you knew it, SF had a 6-1 lead after four. Jack Sanford, continuing to pitch on the days when his teammates' hitting was lusty, faded in the sixth, but the Giants got an insurance run in the eighth when Mays came off the bench to draw a walk, take second on a grounder, and score on Tom Haller's single to center. 

Bobby Bolin took over the closer's role for Stu Miller and blanked the Phils for two innings to earn his fourth save of the year. Final score: Giants 7, Phillies 4.

OVER in Cincinnati, Reds manager Fred Hutchinson was feeling confident as his team faced the lowly Colts. His Reds had won 19 of 21 games at home against teams with less than a .500 record, the best figure in the league. 

Which is why he tore up the Reds' locker room a few hours later, when his team had dropped both games of their doubleheader to the first-year "wonders." Lefty George Brunet, just beginning his wayward travels through the major leagues, outdueled Jim Maloney, limiting the Reds to just five hits as the Colts won the opener, 2-1. Rookie catcher Jim Campbell, like Brunet recalled from the minors a month earlier, slapped a two-run homer off Jim O'Toole in the second inning of the nightcap and scored again in the seventh to give the Colts a 4-2 lead.

The Reds rallied in the bottom of the inning to tie, but their ex-teammate Johnny Temple singled in two runs off reliever Ted Wills in the top of the ninth to seal the double-dip of doom for Cincy and their clubhouse (which the wrath of Hutchinson hit like a typhoon). Final score: Colts 6, Reds 4 (game two). The Reds had been just three games out of first when the day began; a week later they'd find themselves seven and a half back. 

SEASON RECORDS: LAD 85-46, SFG 82-48, CIN 81-51

Thursday, August 25, 2022


8/25/62 kept all of the NL leaders in the same position as the day before, as all three teams in the race kept pace with victories over teams in the second division.

For the Dodgers, Jim Gilliam (4-for-4, HR, 2 RBI) and Ron Perranoski (4 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of a wild Stan Williams) were the key players in LA's latest win over the New York Mets. The Dodgers hit four homers in the game, proving that the most famously transplanted team in baseball history could have enjoyed great success if they'd moved to the Polo Grounds. Final score: Dodgers 8, Mets 2.

For the Giants, Billy Pierce (12-4) scattered seven hits and Orlando Cepeda (#29) and Felipe Alou (#20) each hit homers to help SF keep pace with the ever-elusive Dodgers. Final score: Giants 6, Phillies 1.

For the Reds (playing the Houston Colts at home), it was a game they nearly let get away after building a 6-2 lead. Joey Jay got roughed up in the seventh and eighth innings and had to be bailed out by Jim Brosnan, but he held his ground just enough to notch his 20th win of the year. Frank Robinson pushed past Tommy Davis in the race for the batting title; his 2-for-4 bumped him to .345, three percentage points ahead of Tommy. Final score: Reds 7, Colts 6.

SEASON RECORDS: LAD 84-46, SFG 81-48, CIN 81-49

Wednesday, August 24, 2022


The Dodgers and the Giants switched places on 8/24/62, with LA moving to the Polo Grounds to "meet the Mets" and SF sliding into Philadelphia.

The Dodgers faced the enigmatic Jay Hook, who was in the portion of '62 where he was at his best--but still managed to lose five of six decisions despite a 2.40 ERA from August 6 through September 7. 

On this night, however, his teammates remembered how to aim their fly balls at the Polo Grounds' short porches, which made things quite problematic for Dodger starter Don Drysdale (who was looking for his 23rd win).

Choo-Choo Coleman (one of the great names in baseball history...) got the Mets on the board in the second inning, with a homer off Big D that hugged the right field foul pole (approximately 260 feet from home plate). 

The Dodgers took the lead in the fourth thanks in large part to Hook turning wild (two walks, two wild pitches). A sacrifice fly from Frank Howard and a hot grounder from Johnny Roseboro each brought in a run, giving LA a 2-1 lead. 

But in the bottom of the inning, Drysdale served up two more homers--one to "Marvelous" Marv Throneberry, and the other to "Hot" Rod Kanehl, the Mets' colorful but none-too-competent players--both of which were hit down the left field line...and both of which traveled less than 300 feet. 

Willie Davis hit his sixth homer of the year at the Polo Grounds in the top of the fifth to tie the game 3-3; it stayed that way until Drysdale weakened in the bottom of the eighth, thanks in part to a throwing error by Maury Wills. Ron Perranoski, who'd pitched so well the day before, gave up a couple of key hits (including a bunt single by Hook) to give the Mets what proved to be an unassailable lead. Final score: Mets 6, Dodgers 3.

DOWN in Philly, Orlando Cepeda (aka "the Baby Bull") went 5-for-5 with two HRs and four RBI to spark the Giants offense, and Billy O'Dell blanked the Phillies on five hits as SF picked up a cruclal game in the standings. Final score: Giants 6, Phillies 0.

SEASONAL RECORDS: LAD 83-46, SFG 80-48, CIN 80-49.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022


Two different types of "eighths" propelled the Dodgers and Giants (suddenly being pressed by the hard-charging Cincinnati Reds) into road wins on 8/23 while making their final East Coast road trip...

--In Philadelphia, the Dodgers broke up a southpaw pitching duel between Johnny Podres and the Phillies' Dennis Bennett with four runs in the eighth inning--with lefty batters providing key contributions in the rally. Johnny Roseboro led off with a triple, and scored the tying run when Maury Wills (switch-hitter batting right-handed) singled. After Jim Gilliam (same orientation as Wills) walked, Willie Davis singled to right, scoring Wills with the go-ahead run. Righty Jack Baldschun came in for Bennett and struck out Tommy Davis (righty batter), but Frank Howard (an even bigger right-handed menace) doubled to bring home the third and fourth runs in the inning.

Ex-Dodger Don Demeter continued to plague his former mates with a homer in the bottom of the eighth, but Ron Perranoski bailed out Ed Roebuck with two strikeouts with the tying runs on base in the ninth. Final score: Dodgers 4, Phillies, 2.

--In New York, reserve infielder Ernie Bowman got a rare start when the Mets put lefty Al Jackson on the mound. The light-hitting Bowman batted eighth in place of Chuck Hiller, and proved to be the key to a close win for the Giants, who amassed thirteen hits in the game but stranded nearly all of those baserunners due to a 1-for-12 performance with RISP. Bowman hit his only homer of the '62 season in the fifth, then singled in the go-ahead run in the tenth (the first and only Giant hit with RISP that day). Juan Marichal went all ten innings to pick up the win and improve his season record to 16-9. Final score: Giants 2, Mets 1 (ten innings)

SEASON RECORDS: LAD 83-45, SFG 79-48, CIN 79-49

Monday, August 22, 2022


As we watch the roller-coaster ride that the 2022 Yankees are providing us for what seems like baseball's strange new twist on post-postmodern entertainment, we find ourselves wondering if two teams in a pennant race who each won 100+ times (or the WPCT equivalent for seasons with < 162 games) ever dropped both games of a doubleheader on the same day. 

We leave it as an open question, since it is really beyond our scope of coverage here. But we'd love it if someone provided us with the we remain transfixed at what might occur with this year's edition of the Bronx Bombers ("the Bronx bomb-outs"?).

The Dodgers and Giants in '62 did the closest thing--losing on the same day twice in a row (we specified the dates in our most recent previous post) by adding losses on 8/22/62 to match their mutual double clutch two days earlier. The eyebrow-raising aspect of it was that they lost to teams that were (at least at the time) under .500. 

At the Polo Grounds, the Mets surprised Jack Sanford with a couple runs in the first when left fielder  Matty Alou misjudged "Marvelous" Marv Throneberry fly ball , allowing it to fall in for a double. (Marv made up for such a transgression, however, by doing what he often did: run the bases badly--he rounded second too recklessly and was thrown out.)

The Mets built a 4-1 lead on Sanford and held it until the eighth, when Bob Miller (the righty Bob, still looking for his first win) weakened. Bob wasn't helped by reliever Ken McKenzie, who allowed both inherited runners to score, tying up the game--and then got credit for the increasingly rare Met victory when Chuck Hiller's error set up the winning run, victimizing Don Larsen. Final score: Mets 5, Giants 4.

DOWN in Philadelphia, Pete Richert had electric-but-erratic stuff for the Dodgers (allowing just three hits in seven innings, six walks, five strikeouts), but the Phillies' Chris Short was on fire (three hits allowed in nine innings) and LA went quietly in the so-called City of Brotherly Love. Larry Sherry was most generous to his brothers on the opposition during his relief stint, allowing homers to Johnny Callison and Don Demeter. Final score: Phillies 5, Dodgers 1.

SEASON RECORDS: LAD 82-45, SFG 78-48, CIN 78-49

Saturday, August 20, 2022


August 20 and August 22 are two schedule-adjacent days where both the Dodgers and the Giants lost; they'd done the same thing on June 20 and June 22. (The only time the two teams lost on two actual consecutive days in '62: June 14 and June 15.)

LA, still playing the increasingly dangerous Reds, suffered a blown lead loss on this day. Stan Williams pitched solidly for seven innings (August was his best month) and left with a 3-2 lead.  But Ron Perranoski gave up a two-out RBI single to Gene Freese--the only RBI that Freese had in the entire '62 season due to injuries--that permitted the game to go into extra innings.

And in the tenth, the league's real MVP, Frank Robinson, came to the plate with the bases loaded and one out, facing Larry Sherry. After Robby had hit Sherry's first delivery for a very loud foul, the count proceeded to 1-and-2. Frank then hit the next pitch over the left field wall for a walk-off grand slam. Final score: Reds 7, Dodgers 3 (ten innings).

(The Reds began a six-game winning streak with this game, continuing an August hot streak that would get them to within three games of the Dodgers on the morning of August 26, when they'd drop a doubleheader to the Houston Colts and slide back in the standings. )

AT County Stadium (Milwaukee), the Monday "getaway" night game was a see-saw affair that continued some of the homer antics of the day before. Braves starter Warren Spahn allowed four solo homers in the game, the final two in the seventh inning coming back-to-back by Orlando Cepeda and Felipe Alou to tie the game, 4-4.

But Don Larsen proved to be as eminently hittable as he'd not been back in the '56 World Series, and coughed up a tie-breaking homer to Hank Aaron's younger brother Tommie--the fifth hit in a single inning's worth of work. Bobby Bolin came in and poured more gas on Larsen's bonfire; before the inning was over, the Braves had five runs and the Giants were burnt to a crisp. Final score: Braves 9, Giants 4.

SEASON RECORDS: LAD 82-44, SFG 78-47, CIN 76-49

Friday, August 19, 2022


One of the stranger aspects of the Dodger-Giant pennant race in 1962 was the presence in the Dodger third base coaching box of a man who'd previously managed both teams and had worn out his welcome in both places.

That would be the one and only Leo Durocher, a fine defensive shortstop whose lack of offensive skills at home plate had been overcompensated for by a superabundance of offensive personality characteristics. As a manager, Durocher could make his bluster work for him, and he was a capable, intuitive helmsman--just not quite as visionary as he preferred to believe. He would manage again--in Chicago and Houston--but he would not add to the three pennants he won with the Dodgers (1941) and the Giants (1951, 1954).

Hired by the Dodger ownership as a way to bring him back into the game, Durocher was not a loyal underling. He began second-guessing Walt Alston's managerial decisions, sometimes within earshot of the local press. In late June, when the Dodger offense sputtered and the team suffered through a stretch where they lost eight of twelve, Leo popped off about how the team needed their veteran outfielders back in the lineup. ("Where's the Duke?" was the headline of a squid in the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner).

Fortunately, without full-blown social media in place, Leo's rash words did not go viral. In fact, the Duke was undergoing treatments on his banged-up legs while remaining on the roster as a pinch-hitter; meanwhile, the Dodger youth movement proved that it was on track in July when Frank Howard had a month for the ages (covered here).

But after the Dodgers' five-game slide in early August, Leo returned to his rant about veterans. A quote from Pittsburgh got picked up back in LA, without mentioning Leo by name as its source. The gist of it was that the way things were being managed in the Dodger clubhouse, the team would squander its lead. The solution: more playing time for veterans like Snider and Wally Moon (who, after all, had hit .328 the previous season).

Walt Alston, a particularly taciturn man, was aware of the quotes; he decided to let them roll off his back. But he also knew that he had a hole at third base that was often affecting his offense, which was worrisome because he was now without his best pitcher (Sandy Koufax) for an indefinite period of time. So in mid-August, after there was some distance from the "anonymous" quotes, he switched Tommy Davis to third and began to give his veteran outfielders more playing time. On August 19, 1962, he brought back Duke Snider, an event that Snider himself likened to "raising the dead."

In fact, the Duke had appeared in the outfield earlier in August, after a pinch-hitting appearance, to test his legs. What was more relevant, however (and what Alston had noticed) was that pinch-hitting was not enough to keep the aging Hall of Famer's bat sufficiently ready for in-game action; since his last start in the outfield on June 3rd, Snider was hitting just 143 (3-for-21). 

With Joey Jay on the mound for the Reds, Alston decided to double his veteran pleasure and start Wally Moon at first in place of Ron Fairly, who'd started 75 consecutive games. 

The veteran duo was still a little rusty: they went a combined 0-for-8 in the game. Snider had trouble making his usual solid contact, hitting grounders and pop-ups in his five at-bats. 

Fortunately for LA, Don Drysdale was on his game that night, allowing just a single run in the fourth inning. But Jay had the Dodgers shut out through eight innings, extricating himself from several tricky situations (including a bases loaded, one out opportunity).

The ninth would change all that: Frank Howard led off with a homer to tie the score. Bunt singles by Maury Wills and Jim Gilliam got in the go-ahead run and left two men on; Willie Davis then proceeded to hit a wickedly hard ground ball that skeetered up the Crosley Field embankment in right field and took a sudden, violent hop over Frank Robinson's head. Before the Reds' superstar could retrieve the ball, the man who would soon be known as "3-Dog" was in high gear: he beat the throw to the plate for a three-run, inside-the-park homer. Final score: Dodgers 5, Reds 1.

IN Milwaukee, Hank Aaron dropped the hammer on the Giants and Billy O'Dell: his 32nd and 33rd homers, hit in consecutive innings, knocked the Giants' struggling lefty out of the game and helped the Braves build a 10-3 lead. The Giants made a valiant attempt at a rally, with Willie McCovey hitting two homers to cut into the Braves' lead, but Stu Miller served up a three-run homer to Lee Maye to give Milwaukee some crucial breathing room in the bottom of the eighth. Final score: Braves 13, Giants 8.

(It was a hitting day around the major leagues on that Sunday: this was also the day that the NewYork Yankees beat the Kansas City A's, 21-7. MLB hit 34 homers in 12 games that day--seven of them hit in Milwaukee.)


Thursday, August 18, 2022


"It's...WILLIE!" (Not in a Kintetsu uniform, folks!) 
Carl Boles replaced Manny Mota on the Giants roster on August 2. The 27-year-old rookie bore a striking resemblance to Willie Mays, which led to a series of amusing misidentifications once he was part of the team. (We'll relate several of those stories as they occur during the final seven weeks of the 1962 season.)

August 18, 1962 was a very special day for Boles, however. For one thing, it was one of four games in his brief major league career where his name appeared in the starting lineup. More precious than that, however, was the fact that Carl's RBI single in the fourth inning was the only one of his career.

It should have been two RBIs as the Giants rallied from a 2-0 deficit, but Felipe Alou stumbled coming around third base and Lee Maye's throw beat him to home plate. Carl took second base on the throw, however, and then made it to third when Tom Haller slapped a one-hopper to first. He then scored when Jose Pagan sliced a triple just over Hank Aaron's glove in right, putting the Giants in front, 3-2, and knocking the Milwaukee Braves' starter, lefty Bob Hendley, from the game.

Sanford had to be relieved in the bottom of the sixth, but the Giants never relinquished the lead, so Jack picked up another "cheap win" (as they are defined at Forman et fils) when the Braves' ninth-inning rally against Bobby Bolin fizzled. Final score: Giants 6, Braves 4.

IN Cincinnati, more joy from the return of prodigal son Joe Nuxhall burst forth for the Reds: the lanky lefty, who'd been dealt away after an abysmal year in 1960, returned to the team he'd first pitched for as a 15-year-old in 1944 on July 22, and continued his skein of brilliant pitching, striking out 11 Dodgers and limiting them to just four hits. (After this game, Nuxhall's ERA since returning to the Reds dropped to 0.88.)

Phil Ortega was roughed up in relief for the Dodgers, continuing his "year of suffering" as LA's mopup man (3 IP, 6 R, 5 BB). The Reds had already scored twice in the first and three times in the third, but Ortega's sixth inning (four hits, three walks) was one he and the Dodgers certainly wanted to forget. Final score: Reds 12, Dodgers 1.

SEASON RECORDS: LAD 81-43, SFG 78-45, CIN 75-48

Wednesday, August 17, 2022


The NL in 1962 was certaonly a bouncy pennant race--and August 17, 1962 added another variation to the already boisterous mix. The Dodgers attempted to continue a rebound from a five-game losing streak, while the Giants looked for some consistent momentum.

Sandy Koufax' "replacement under duress," Pete Richert, got the call on this evening in Cincinnati, where the Reds had been making slow but steady gains on the top two teams for the past ten days. Tommy Davis returned to the outfield as Lee Walls was inserted into a lineup mostly geared to take advantage of the Reds' lefty starter Jim O'Toole.

The game was scoreless into the fourth, when the Dodgers pushed over an unearned run. Richert was doing a passable Koufax imitation into the sixth, by which time LA had added two more runs. But Cincy had the top of its order up in the bottom of the inning, and they finally started to get to the Dodger rookie; Walt Alston decided to come get him when Frank Robinson (by now giving Tommy Davis a serious chase in the BA and RBI departments) came to the plate representing the tying run. Larry Sherry kept Robinson from tying the game, but he did single in a run before the Reds were retired.

Sherry would (as was often the case) made things interesting in the seventh, but he managed to escape a two-on, one-out situation without allowing the typing run to score. In the eighth, Ron Fairly gave the Dodgers some breathing room with a three-run homer off Bill Henry.

Ron Perranoski, brought in during the seventh to stamp out the burgeoning blaze started by Sherry, shut down the Reds in the eighth and ninth to keep LA in the win column. Final score: Dodgers 6, Reds 2.

OVER in Milwaukee, the Giants got solo homers from Willie Mays (#38) and Orlando Cepeda (#24) but Juan Marichal weakened in the fourth and fifth innings; the game spiraled out of reach in the seventh when Juan allowed a two-run homer to Lee Maye (who been hitting .220 two weeks previously, but was now as hot as any hitter in the NL). Claude Raymond bailed out Bob Shaw in the eighth and continued his fine relief pitching for the Braves, striking out Felipe Alou with the tying runs in the ninth. Final score: Braves 6, Giants 4.


Tuesday, August 16, 2022


Not seen since June 24th, Dodgers' reserve catcher Doug Camilli finally resurfaced more than fifty days later when the Pittsburgh Pirates put lefty Joe Gibbon on the mound at Forbes Field. Things didn't get off to an auspicious start for LA when the ever-erratic Stan Williams gave up hits to the first three batters he faced in the game (August 16, 1962), resulting in a 3-0 lead for the Bucs.

But Williams settled down after that, and the Dodgers closed ground in the third when Walt Alston got gutsy and called for a double steal from Maury Wills and Jim Gilliam, which put both men in scoring position--where they were promptly cashed in on a clutch single by Willie Davis.

Then Camilli went to work: his sacrifice fly tied the game in the fourth, and then he singled in two go-ahead runs in the sixth. He capped his evening with a solo homer off Jack Lamabe leading off in the top of the eighth. All in all, a four RBI night from a forgotten man at just the moment when the team needed a boost; Camilli's big game was instrumental in the Dodgers snapping their five-game losing streak. Final score: Dodgers 7, Pirates 3.

AND they got help from the Cubs at Wrigley Field earlier that day, when Chicago's lineup caught Billy Pierce on an off-day, banging out fifteen hits (including three each from George Altman, backup catcher Dick Bertell--on his way to his lone .300+ season--and the star-crossed second-sacker Ken Hubbs).

Don Cardwell continued to rebound from a terrible first half in '62 by hurling a six-hit shutout at the Giants, who managed no extra-base hits off the lanky right-hander. Final score: Cubs 6, Giants 0. (The loss dropped SF 2 1/2 games behind the Dodgers as the two team's see-saw battle continued.)

SEASON RECORDS: LAD 80-42, SF 77-44 

Monday, August 15, 2022


The Dodgers, still reeling, lost their fifth straight game on August 15, 1962, when Don Drysdale came up empty in the second and third innings. To be fair to Big D, it wasn't all his fault: the third run in the second inning came when Willie Davis and Johnny Roseboro each air-mailed throws intended to nab Bill Mazeroski, but only succeeded in letting the Pirates' slick second baseman score on his own two-run single. 

Bob Friend was not overpowering for Pittsburgh, allowing eleven hits in 8 2/3 innings, but the Bucs turned two double plays behind him and the Dodgers were not able to muster any hits with runners in scoring position. Roberto Clemente had three RBI for the Pirates on two singles, raising his seasonal BA to .333. Final score: Pirates 6, Dodgers 3.

AT Wrigley Field, the Giants built a 5-2 lead after four and a half innings, thanks to back-to-back homers from an unlikely duo: Willie Mays (#37) and Matty Alou (#2), who connected in the third inning. (Matty was a last-minute replacement for Willie McCovey, who turned up gimpy this day after straining a hamstring attempting to take the extra base the day before.)

But Billy O'Dell ran into some bad luck in the sixth, when Cubs leadoff man Don Landrum reached safely thanks to first baseman Orlando Cepeda throwing the ball behind the Giants' lefty as he covered the bag for the ostensible 3-1 putout. A baserunner later, Ernie Banks hit a three-run homer to tie the game. In the eighth, Stu Miller was wild (two walks) and Dick Bertell slapped a two-run single off Don Larsen as the Cubs handed the Giants a blown lead loss, nixing their chance to gain more gain on the Dodgers. Final score: Cubs 7, Giants 5.


Sunday, August 14, 2022


After their three games in SF, the Giants and Dodgers both received a day off to travel east. They both resumed play on Tuesday, August 14--and the pattern established in the previous series stayed in place.

The Dodgers' offense sputtered at Forbes Field; the only run they scored in their opening game vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates came on a homer by pitcher Johnny Podres. They had other opportunities against Al McBean, but they hit into three double plays (two from their NL RBI leader Tommy Davis).

In response to some locker-room hubbub about certain veterans being disgruntled about finding themselves spending protracted time on the bench (a semi-mutinous allegation whose source would soon out himself to the press...), manager Walt Alston decided to move Tommy Davis back to third base, where he'd been shaky in past seasons, and reinstalled Wally Moon in left. (Wally went 1-for-4, but it turned out he wasn't the veteran being lobbied for--that shoe would drop soon enough.)

The Bucs put together back-to-back doubles from Roberto Clemente and Donn Clendenon in the first inning to score their initial run, and Dick Groat doubled in Bill Virdon in the bottom of the third to put them back in the lead after Podres' homer had tied the score in the top of the inning. 

Maury Wills, who'd just stolen his 60th base a few days previously (he would go on to steal 44 more bases in the next 45 games), was caught stealing in the seventh by McBean and catcher Smoky Burgess. It was only the eighth time all year that Wills had been caught, but it brought an end to another potential Dodger rally. Final score: Pirates 2, Dodgers 1.

IN Chicago, the Giants had a much easier time with the woeful Cubs; they knocked out starter Glen Hobbie (4-12 on the year in the third) to take a 5-1 lead after three innings; Willie Mays gave them some extra cushion in the seventh with his 36th homer, a three-run shot. Jack Sanford scattered eight hits en route to his 16th win. Final score: Giants 9, Cubs 2. (In the space of four days, the Giants had knocked four games off the Dodgers' lead and now trailed by only a game and a half.)


Friday, August 12, 2022


The Dodgers would stay flat after their deflating loss on August 11, entering into the roughest patch of play they would experience until their September swan dive. They would lose nine of thirteen games, giving back most of the lead they'd built up at the end of July. They would rally from a similar setback early in September, winning seven games in a row in what might well be the most riveting portion of the '62 season, where they and the Giants, separated by just a half-game in the standings, match wins for four days until SF blinked and LA was able to regain a more sizable lead (only to squander it in the last week of the season).

Sunday, August 12, 1962 was barely a contest. The Dodgers tied the score at 1-1 in the top of the fourth when Ron Fairly homered off Juan Marichal, but that was all the offense they could muster that day. Felipe Alou triggered three Giant rallies and scored three runs as the bottom of the SF batting order (sans Jim Davenport--Harvey Kuenn was moved to third base and Felipe's brother Matty took over in left)--came through with run-scoring hits.

Stan Williams pitched reasonably well for the Dodgers, but he (and they) were no match for Marichal, who struck out eight and was dominant throughout. Juan's Game Score for this game was a very solid 82, and QMAX grades the start at 1, 1--a game with excellent hit and walk prevention. Final score: Giants 5, Dodgers 1.


Thursday, August 11, 2022


Don Drysdale (1936-1993) is in the Hall of Fame in part due to his pitching accomplishments--209 wins, a Cy Young Award season in '62 (the very year we're profiling), a strikeout pitcher (six years with 200+, three years leading the league)--and in part due to the afterglow of the Koufax Dodgers and their three NL pennants in four years (1963, 1965, 1966). 

It should be noted that "second-generation" sabermetricians (the ones we've called neo-sabes...) were mostly united in their hostility to Koufax, whose short career didn't accumulate enough of the type of counting stats they fetishized, while many were partial to Drysdale, in part because Big D was an excellent hitting pitcher, which fed into their predilections.

A look at the Hall of Fame voting history shows that Don also benefitted from a lull in strong candidates at the time he was on the ballot (beginning in 1975). Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford had gone in together the year before, and the only other strong candidates on the ballot that year were Robin Roberts (third year, just missing induction with 73% of the vote, enshrined in '76) and Eddie Mathews (second year, with 41%, elected in '78 after Ernie Banks had gone in on the first try in '77).

In 1977 Don reached 51% of the vote, and he would plateau in the 50s-low 60s for the next five years, as players with more juice (Willie Mays in '79, Al Kaline in '80, Bob Gibson in '81, Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson in '82, and Brooks Robinson and Juan Marichal in '83) pushed past him into the Hall. (All of these player were first-year inductees save for Marichal, who went in on the third try.) In '83 Don's percentage went up to 65%, placing him behind Harmon Killebrew (72%) and Luis Aparicio (67%), and dead even with Hoyt Wilhelm, the first relief pitcher to gain serious consideration for enshrinement. 

And, in 1984, there were no new candidates at all for the Hall of Fame. There was no shiny new face to distract the voters, so they cleared the decks and inducted Killebrew, Aparicio and Drysdale, with Wilhelm and Lou Brock (first time on the ballot) following them in 1985. 

It's odd to note that Drysdale got the fewest votes of the three '84 inductees--and odder to note that it was Aparicio who got the highest percentage. All of which suggests some tidal pull from the mid-60s Dodger mythos: after all, who else was there to put into the Hall from that team? (Some folks now have the idea that Willie Davis is a viable candidate; he did amass a lot of hits. But to paraphrase Bill James, if Willie is a Hall of Famer, then we are all bags of Purina Dog Chow.) The "Koufax and Drysdale" tandem clearly was first and foremost in the team's success...and Drysdale looked like a Hall of Famer out there, big and affable--but also surly when he needed to be, and--now we will unbury our lede--willing to knock as many guys down as necessary to claim home plate for himself. (The voters may have been slightly worried that if they snubbed him for fifteen years, he might round them all up, push them into the batters box and then knock them down, one by one.)

So--finally--we slip out of the Hall and out into the jungle, where the headhunters live. Just how much of a headhunter was Big D, anyway? He and Jim Bunning were the prime hunters of the 60s, far ahead of anyone else: Don led the league in his first four years in Los Angeles (possibly showing off a bit for his hometown fans) and reached double figures in hit batsmen ten times out of his twelve full seasons. 

But we need another type of measure to zero in on intent: some pitchers hit pitchers because they're just wild. So we've devised a new ratio from pitcher stats to help us measure that--it involves taking hit batsmen and walks and putting them into the same statistical continuum. We do that by adjusting them to the rate of 100 IP--so, instead of looking at walks per nine innings, we look at walks (and hit batsmen) per 100 IP.

Then we have them in the same proportion, and we can divide one ratio by the other ratio. The higher the percentage of HBP/100 IP to BB/100 IP we find, the more fierce the headhunter is, because the guy with better control is clearly capable of putting the ball exactly where he wants to go--or, at least, is able to do so with a lot more precision. Which doesn't prove intent, but it brings it right into the same zip code.

This "headhunter" list (above right) lists the pitchers with the highest HBP 100/BB 100 ratios (a minimum of 1500 lifetime IP required--we want headhunters with staying power). It's an intriguing list, because it includes pitchers from the deadball era up to the present, including the possibly astonishing discovery that Chris Sale and Charlie Morton could've been a deadly duo for a franchise overly imbued with machismo. (It's also interesting to see Pedro Martinez high on this list.)

By this measure, Big D comes in at #14, a fact that is not surprising but might be disappointing for some, such as Don himself, and good old Joe P., who just finished mythologizing about Drysdale's penchant for the brushback/knockdown in yet another glibber-than-glib blog post. (While Joe can prowl through the records at Forman et fils with the best of 'em, the question still boils down to intent--are we educating, or titillating? For reasons that he probably can't quite explain even in full faux-confessional mode, Joe just can't quite figure out where one leaves off and the other begins.)

What's educational about this, in fact, actually applies to an actual game that actually mattered in an actual pennant race--and that actually happened in (you guessed it...) 1962. And actually happened on August 11, 1962, in San Francisco, when the Dodgers (with Big D on the mound) were embroiled in a showdown game with a team chasing them for the pennant.

In the first inning, the Dodgers scored three runs on a homer from Tommy Davis that followed a HBP (little Billy Pierce hitting Willie Davis). The Dodgers and Drysdale worked hard to hold that lead, but the Giants were a relentless bunch at the plate; in the fourth, Willie Mays doubled to lead off the inning. Drysdale went to throwing heat, with intermittent results: he fanned Orlando Cepeda, but he left a 1-1 pitch to Felipe Alou out over the plate; Alou singled in Mays. Big D then struck out Tom Haller, but his 2-2-2 pitch to Jim Davenport was too fat and the Giants' third baseman smacked it up the right-center gap to the wall for a double, scoring Alou. Drysdale stomped around on the mound a bit, walked Jose Pagan on four pitches, and then fanned Pierce to end the inning--but the Giants had cut the lead to 3-2.

Fast forward to the bottom of the sixth (a deadly inning for the Dodgers the night before) with the score unchanged. Felipe Alou doubled to lead off the inning. After fanning Haller again, Drysdale's 0-1 pitch hits Davenport. (Was Big D paying back Davenport for his double in the fourth? Did he figure that putting him on base that way simply created a force at any base?) 

Davenport was injured seriously enough that he not only left the game at that point, but missed the next couple of weeks as a result. When he came back later in the month, he wasn't the same hitter he'd been up to that point. He never had another season even close to what he'd been doing up that point in 1962. Of course, we'll never really know if Drysdale intended to hit Davenport, but a headhunter does what a headhunter must. (Contrast this, though, to Sandy Koufax, a pitcher notoriously wild in his early days, who hit 18 batters in his career, as opposed to Drysdale's total of 154.)

But actions--and hit batsmen--have consequences. That extra man on base permitted Giants manager Al Dark to bat for his pitcher in the inning with two on and two out. The man that came up to the plate, after Jose Pagan had struck out, was Willie McCovey--who hit a 3-2 pitch from Drysdale over the right-field fence for a three-run homer. (Final score: Giants 5, Dodgers 4.)


Wednesday, August 10, 2022


The final series in San Francisco between the Giants and the Dodgers began on August 10th in Candlestick Park. While the Giants would visit Dodger Stadium again for a three-game series in early September, not having a full September home-and-home showdown seems simply sub-optimal. 

As noted previously, however, a 10-team schedule is problematic even before one deals with the fact that there are only two teams in the NL on the West Coast. The result: a series of long road trips, particularly for the two West Coast teams, with the Dodgers getting the worst of it. 

40,000+ fans in San Francisco saw the Dodgers jump all over Billy O'Dell (four hits and two runs) in the first inning--not an encouraging sign for the Giants, who came into the game trailing by 5 1/2 games and needing to "make a statement."

SF got the runs back quickly, though, thanks to Willie Mays' 35th homer in the first and an unearned run in the second set up by a wild throw by Dodgers' third baseman Daryl Spencer

O'Dell just as quickly turned things around, mowing down the Dodgers over the next five innings; Johnny Podres matched him through five, but the sixth inning proved to be his complete undoing. The Giants sent ten men to the plate in that inning, scoring six of them (two on a single by O'Dell himself) as they drove Podres to the showers and slapped around Ed Roebuck to boot. Phil Ortega was roughed up for three more runs in the seventh, making the rout complete. Tom Haller drove in four runs, and the Giants' 7-8-9 hitters combined for eight RBI. O'Dell wound up with a nifty five hitter, and the Giants had indeed "made a statement." Final score: Giants 11, Dodgers 2.


Tuesday, August 9, 2022


With a big weekend rematch in San Francisco looming the next day, the Dodgers and Giants kept pace with each other while experiencing the type of oddities that continued to cluster around the two teams as they continued to hurtle through a roller-coaster pennant race. 

In LA, two young wild lefties--the Dodgers' Pete Richert, making his first start since being recalled from AAA--and the Phillies' Dennis Bennett (about to embark upon the best skein of pitching in his mercurial career) faced off and kept things tight for six innings (a 2-2 tie). In the seventh, Richert issued his fifth walk and then nearly had his head torn off by a line drive back through the box off the bat of Roy Sievers. The ball barely missed Pete and sizzled its way into center, sending Ted Savage to third. Walt Alston decided that Richert had been through enough and brought in Ed Roebuck, who promptly served up a double-play grounder off the bat of Don Demeter.

Except that--Dodger third sacker Darryl Spencer had trouble getting the ball out of his glove, giving Demeter enough time to beat Jim Gilliam's relay to first...allowing Savage to score the go-ahead run.

In the Dodger half of the inning, Bennett allowed a leadoff single to Ron Fairly but struck out Spencer and Johnny Roseboro and seemed to be sailing along. But then the walls closed in--literally. As in Lee Walls, who'd played with the Phillies in '61 and found his way to the Dodgers in a roundabout trade over the off-season. The big (6'3) lumbering (215 lb.) Walls was not the biggest Dodger, but he might have been at the second most unlikely Dodger to hit a triple...but that's just what he did--with some help from left fielder Savage, who backpedaled awkwardly on Walls' fly ball and was seemingly pulled to the ground by alien forces as the ball one-hopped the fence. After he retrieved the ball, he then threw wildly to third, where the ball escaped as if in the grip of (see previous sentence), allowing Walls to score.

Having witnessed this, Bennett suddenly became possessed as well--and not in a divine way, surrendering three straight singles. Gene Mauch brought in his all-purpose reliever Jack Baldschun in an attempt to keep the game close (at this point it was 4-3 Dodgers, with two out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh). 

But Jack was wild, walking the notoriously free-swinging Tommy Davis force in a run.

Then it was Hondo time--Frank Howard, who made Lee Walls look like a tree stump. Baldschun went 3-2 on Frank, delivered his payoff pitch, and promptly fell down in front of the mound. Which was unfortunate, because he didn't see just how Howard rifled the ball over the head of Johnny Callison in right field, the ball hitting the wall with an audible crack. By the time Callison had retrieved the ball and the dust had settled. Baldschun had managed to get up in order to back up third base, and got a great view of Big Frank lumbering into third base with a triple.

Yes, two triples in one inning, from two guys who weighed nearly a quarter ton. Two three-baggers in an inning must be relatively common, at least in the context of triples--but hit by Lee Walls and Frank Howard? Something seriously strange was afoot in Chavez Ravine that night...but Ed Roebuck wasn't fazed: he pitched a third of an inning and got credit for his eighth win of the year without a loss. Final score: Dodgers 8, Phillies 3.

THINGS were not quite so strange in SF, as Jack Sanford had one of his best games of the year, shutting down the Mets on just three hits. The Giants chased Mets' starter Bob Miller (who would become the Dodgers' fourth starter in '63) in the sixth when Orlando Cepeda and Tom Haller hit homers. 

Two innings later, however, they found themselves facing Bob Miller again. Not the same Bob Miller, of course (though we shouldn't put anything past the Mets, a team in one of the most desperate situations ever foisted off on a baseball franchise) but a weird mirror-image, a left-handed Bob Miller, who'd been acquired from the Washington Senators (who gotten him on waivers from the Reds earlier in the year, where "Lefty" Miller had posted a 10.17 ERA in 25 April innings).

You may be disappointed to discover that this wasn't the first time it was "double Miller time" for Mets' opponents. It was actually the third time that it occurred after lefty Miller had joined the team in late July. It would happen three more times before lefty Miller's ERA for the Mets began to approach the ERA he'd had for the Reds. Casey Stengel had the best take on the whole thing, as you might suspect. "It was good that they didn't throw with the same hand, because if they had I would've had to force one of 'em to change hands. And maybe they should've switched hands."

Casey would have to find something else to be confused about in '63, as GM George Weiss got rid of both Bob Millers over the off-season. Final score: Giants 6, Mets 1.


Monday, August 8, 2022


We can't quite escape discussing Stan Williams, whose role in the Dodgers' successful-but-vexed 1962 campaign was magnified by events not of his making. By the end of the year, however, Williams had worn out his welcome; his off-season trade sent him almost as far away as possible.

Stan actually pitched well on August 8, 1962: that was because he was facing the Phillies, a team that he routinely dominated during his tenure with the Dodgers. (Williams' lifetime record against Philadelphia was 10-4, with an ERA of 2.82; the only other team with whom he had comparable success was the Chicago Cubs, against whom he posted a 10-2 record with an ERA of 3.20.)

In '62, Stan was 4-0 against the Phillies, including his very solid, Drysdale-like performance against them on 8/8: allowing seven hits and one run in a complete game win, with just two walks and seven strikeouts. His teammates only managed three hits off Jack Hamilton (four overall in the game), but one of the hits Jack surrendered was a two-run homer to Johnny Roseboro in the second inning, which was enough for Stan on this evening. Final score: Dodgers 3, Phillies 1.

The "ugly pattern" in Stan's "carpet" was laid bare in '62: good teams could beat him like a drum. The Phillies actually qualify as a "good team" in 1962, by virtue of winning 34 more games than the previous year, fashioning an 81-80 record. But they were the seventh place team in a league with two teams losing in excess of 100 games and the eighth-place team losing 96, so we aren't ill-advised to separate them from the "good team" category.

When we do that, Stan's record against the teams that won at least 84 games downgrades from 9-10 to 5-10, with an ERA of 6.07. That is the opposite of "pretty." 

Stan would pull things together a bit in '63, but he'd hit a wall in '65 and have to spend some more time in the minors before he successfully reinvented himself as a swing man and, ultimately, a relief pitcher. In 1960, the Dodgers thought they might have a sensational Big Three if only Sandy Koufax could turn things around; three years later, they couldn't wait to get Stan out of town.

UP at Candlestick, Bobby Bolin started fast but spun out in the fifth inning, surrendering two-run homers to Frank Thomas and Felix Mantilla as the lowly Mets plopped a four on the scoreboard. Roger Craig held off the Giants' hitters, allowing only two solo homers (Harvey Kuenn and Orlando Cepeda--on his way to 11 for the month). Final score: Mets 5, Giants 2. The loss pushed the Giants 5 1/2 games behind the Dodgers--which would be the furthest they'd be behind during the year. But another big Dodger-Giant showdown was looming--and this one would be at the Stick...


Sunday, August 7, 2022


Now for the Giants' side of the long, simmering August. After a long bout of mix-and-match, manager Al Dark was able to finally implement his original plan for a four-man starting rotation and those four (Juan Marichal, Billy Pierce, Jack Sanford and Billy O'Dell) gave him solid if not brilliant work during the month.

The Giants' bats stayed steady, buoyed by the strong month turned in by the previously struggling Orlando Cepeda, and they provided excellent run support during August, assisting Jack Sanford to a 6-0 mark. Pierce was better overall, with pinpoint control (5 walks in 50 2/3 IP): he went 5-1. All in all, the Giants recovered from their late July shellacking in Dodger Stadium and gained back a game and a half in the standings. 

On this day (August 7) Juan Marichal pitched his way out of several jams thanks to excellent control (no walks), scattering nine hits in out-finessing the Phillies' Art Mahaffey. SF put the game away with three runs in the sixth, keyed by Harvey Kuenn's homer leading off the inning; Cepeda previewed his strong month with a run-scoring double. Final score: Giants 4, Phillies 2.

DOWN in LA, Don Drysdale was a busy man fending off the upstart Mets, who took a 3-0 lead early in the game before the Dodgers chased Craig Anderson with four in the fourth, adding two more in the sixth to take a 6-3 lead (with the last two runs coming on Drysdale's triple, one of seven that Don hit during his career). The Mets kept coming, however, eventually amassing eleven hits off Drysdale, but Big D buckled down in the late innings, getting some help in the ninth from a base-running blunder by Felix Mantilla. Final score: Dodgers 7, Mets 5.


Saturday, August 6, 2022


Johnny Podres, more important than ever to the Dodgers due to the ongoing absence of Sandy Koufax (three weeks and counting), did not flub his chance on August 6, 1962 when he drew an assignment against the New York Mets, who were still in search of their 30th win of the year.

But it was close: LA's batters had a devil of a time against Jay Hook, who'd come into the game with an ERA of 5.79. (Hook would have by far his best stretch of pitching in '62 during the five weeks between August 6 and September 8--a 2.40 ERA: despite this, he would go 1-5 and the Mets would lose seven of his eight starts during this time frame.) 

The Dodgers' first run came in on a double play ball (second inning), and their other run scored only because Mets' catcher Chris Cannizzaro bounced a throw when he had Maury Wills picked off second. Willie Davis then hit a bad-hop grounder to second that eluded ex-Dodger Charlie Neal to get what proved to be the winning run home. Final score: Dodgers 2, Mets 1.

(The Dodgers had a relatively high number of such low-scoring games at home in '62--a total of 23, third-highest in the league, despite a reasonably solid offense. It was a preview of what was coming in the wake of the impending strike zone change: from 1963-66, they would average just under 40 games at home where both teams totaled five runs or less, about 15 more per year than the Giants.)

But what stands out more to us today is the number of pitchers the Dodgers were employing. Teams today sometimes have fourteen pitchers on their roster at a time; during August 1962, the Dodgers used a total of eight pitchers. (That is not a misprint.) Pete Richert took Koufax' slot in the rotation, the relief troika kept burning the candle at both ends, and Phil Ortega brought gasoline with him to the mound. As the numbers (above right) indicate, it was Ron Perranoski's month.

AT Candlestick against SF did not have any trouble scoring runs, thanks to Willie Mays, who went 5-for-5, hit two homers and drove in five runs. Billy Pierce, recovered from his lingering injuries, kept the Philadelphia Phillies off balance, scattering six hits as he improved his season record to 10-3. Final score: Giants 9, Phillies 2.


Friday, August 5, 2022


August 5, 1962 (a Sunday) marked the third time in as many months that Dodger manager Walt Alston gave Phil Ortega a start. He literally had no choice: with Sandy Koufax on the shelf with his finger injury, and with teenage monster Joe Moeller dispatched to Omaha, the Dodgers had only three starting pitchers (and some folks weren't so sure about Stan Williams, anyway.) 

Given all that, it made sense: the Dodgers were playing the Cubs, a team almost at the opposite end of the standings (40-69 as play got underway that day). Alston could be seen by the fans seated on the first base side of the field standing motionless at the near end of the Dodger dugout, flexing his right hand as he rotated it on the railing. 

Ortega retired the side in order in the first, but disaster seemed to loom up like a thunderhead in the second, when he loaded the bases with none out (two singles and his own throwing error). He managed to escape with only one run scoring, however, and trailed just 1-0. 

The Dodgers loaded the bases themselves in the the bottom of the third, but they did it with two outs, and Ron Fairly fouled out to squander that opportunity. Ernie Banks then took Ortega deep to lead off the fourth, but Phil regrouped and got through that inning and the fifth as well: the problem was that his mates weren't solving the Cubs' veteran starter Bob Buhl. Frank Howard and Johnny Roseboro finally got LA on the board in the bottom of the fifth, though, and Alston's grip on the railing finally relaxed. But he had a man warming up in the Dodger bullpen when Ortega took the mound in the sixth.

And a good thing it was, too, for Phil gave up a homer to the fierce lefty hitter George Altman, followed by a triple by Banks that hit the top of the right field wall. It was now 3-1 Cubs with none out in the sixth, and the sand had spilled out from Ortega's hourglass.

Ed Roebuck replaced him, and with a drawn-in infield, managed to get Ron Santo to hit the ball right at Maury Wills, who held Banks at third before recording the out at first. Then the Cubs gambled and lost when Frank Howard threw Banks out at home trying to score on André Rodgers' short fly to right field. Big Frank would get the Dodgers closer when he singled home Ron Fairly in the bottom of the sixth, but he returned the favor with Chicago by deciding that Johnny Roseboro's pop fly to short left was going to drop in for a hit. It didn't, and he was doubled off first.

The Cubs were blanked by Roebuck in the seventh, and Tommy Davis finally got the Dodgers even with a bases-loaded infield single in the bottom of the inning, chasing Buhl. Fairly had another bases-loaded chance, but his hard grounder to first was backhanded by Banks.

And then there was Larry Sherry, arriving on the mound for the Dodgers in the eighth, who then proceeded to throw seven scoreless innings in relief; he and two Cubs relievers--Barney Schultz and Dave Gerard--dodged a few threats, the most serious of which occurred in the bottom of the tenth, when Schultz induced pinch-hitter Duke Snider (remember him?) to hit into a 3-2-3 double play with the bases loaded and one out.

Finally, in the bottom of the fourteenth, Alston batted for Larry--not with his brother Norm, which never happened during their time together on the Dodgers, by the way--but with Tim Harkness, who singled. Then the chess moves: Wills bunted Harkness to second, the Cubs then walked Willie Davis intentionally.

Wh-a-a-t? An intentional walk to bring the NL RBI leader? That piece of unconventional strategy (hoping to repeat the "Snider scenario") prompty backfired when Tommy smacked Gerard's 0-1 pitch into right field, scoring Harkness with the winning run. Seven innings of heroism was rewarded after all. Final score: Dodgers 4, Cubs 3 (14 innings).

But there was--surprise!--a second game to play in LA that day, and the Dodgers had in fact brought up another pitcher from the minors: Pete Richert, last seen with LA in St. Louis in mid-May. Richert would make ten starts for the Dodgers down the stretch, pitching serviceably for them over that span (4-3, 3.43 ERA).

But the Dodgers were spent after their extra-inning win, and they were shut down by Don Cardwell, who allowed just three hits in a complete game victory. Ron Fairly's two-run homer off him in the seventh wasn't enough to get LA back in the game, for the Cubs had reached Richert for four hits and three runs in the sixth. Final score: Cubs 4, Dodgers 2 (second game).

IN San Francisco, Billy O'Dell outdueled Bob Friend and knocked in the winning run in the bottom of the seventh as the Giants kept the Pirates heading in the opposite direction of first place. Final score: Giants 2, Pirates 1.

SEASON RECORDS: LAD 75-37, SFG 70-41, CIN 64-46, PIT 63-47, STL 62-50, MIL 58-53, PHI 51-61, HOU 40-68, CHC 41-70, NYM 29-80


Batting Average Musial STL .357, Burgess PIT .357, T. Davis LAD .348, Robinson CIN .338, Aaron MIL .333, Clemente PIT .332, Altman CHC .324, Skinner PIT .323, Cepeda SFG .319

On-Base Percentage Ashburn NYM. 437, Musial STL .434, Dalrymple PHI .419, Robinson CIN .412, Fairly LAD .410, Skinner PIT .409, Burgess PIT .405, Altman CHC .400

Slugging Average Aaron MIL .619, Mays SFG .507, Howard LAD .599, Robinson CIN .589 Burgess PIT .556, Musial STL .546, Thomas NYM .544 T. Davis LAD .532

Home Runs Mays SFG 32, Aaron MIL, 29, Banks CHC 27, Thomas NYM 26, Mathews MIL 22, Coleman CIN 22, Adcock MIL 22, Robinson CIN 21, Cepeda SFG 21 Mejias HOU 21

Runs Batted In T. Davis LAD 112, Mays SFG 95, Aaron MIL 93, Robinson CIN 91, Cepeda SFG 80, Howard LAD 80, Boyer STL 75, White STL 74, Banks CHC 73, Thomas NYM 73

Runs Scored Wills LAD 96, Mays SFG 88, Robinson CIN 87, Aaron MIL 87, T. Davis LAD 83, W. Davis LAD 82, Callison PHI 74, Javier STL 74, Mathews MIL 74, Cepeda SFG 74, Pinson CIN 72

Doubles Robinson CIN 39, Mays SFG 26, Virdon PIT 2t5, Skinner PIT 25, Davenport SFG 23, Pinson CIN 22, White STL 21, Callison PHI 21

Triples W. Davis LAD 10, Virdon PIT 9, Wills LAD 8, T. Davis LAD 8, Ranew CHC 8, Williams CHC 8, Hubbs CHC 7, Mazeroski PIT 7, Fairly LAD 7, Hoak PIT 7, Spangler HOU 7

Thursday, August 4, 2022


Jack Sanford won 24 games for the San Francisco Giants in 1962, and finished second in the Cy Young Award voting. A number of those wins, however, were achieved via run support and not quality pitching. Consider this chart of the 1962 starting pitchers who had wins despite allowing four or more runs in the games the won (chart at right). 

Sanford is very close to the top of the group--one in which pitchers from the Dodgers are conspicuously absent. (Don Drysdale had four such games in 1962; Sandy Koufax had one.)

And the game of August 4, 1962 was one of those six games in which Sanford didn't pitch particularly well (7 IP, 10 H, 5 R, a Game Score of 40) but received a win because his team scored enough runs--as we'll see, just enough--to win. 

Sanford was hit hard in the second, allowing five hits and three runs as his opponents, the Pittsburgh Pirates, took a 3-1 lead. The Giants stole a run in the fourth that proved to be crucial to the game's outcome--or, should we say, Willie Mays stole it. After reaching on a single, Mays pulled one of his patented base-running coups: running on the pitch, he forced Bill Mazeroski to throw to first on Orlando Cepeda's grounder--but then he just kept on going to third, beating Jim Marshall's throw. Shortly thereafter, Pirates starter Harvey Haddix threw a wild pitch, and Mays scored. (In the sixth, however, Mays would be cut down trying to take the extra base, attempting to advance from first to third on Cepeda's single to left. The Giants still managed to take a 4-3 lead in that inning, however.)

But not for long, as Sanford allowed a two-run homer to Bob Skinner in the top of the seventh. When Jack left the game for a pinch-hitter, his team was trailing, 5-4--in order to receive a win, he'd need the Giants to score twice in the inning and never again relinquish the lead.

And that's just what they did: Harvey Kuenn singled in the go-ahead run, Bobby Bolin pitched two scoreless innings in relief, and Sanford got what the folks at Forman et fils call a "cheap win." Final score: Giants 6, Pirates 5.

DOWN in LA, Stan Williams, who'd been knocked out early three days earlier, made it through six fraught innings on short rest thanks to the Chicago Cubs' epic inability to hit with RISP on that evening (1-for-15). Willie Davis, moved up to the #2 slot for this game, homered, drove in two runs, and stole two bases as the primary catalyst for the Dodgers' offense. Ron Perranoski held off the Cubs in the final three innings to cement the win for Los Angeles. Final score: Dodgers 5, Cubs 3.