Getting Through The Winter (Replay Zone – Feb. 2013)

By Jeff Polman
February ruminations from your trusty Strat-O-Matic replay addict. Follow the winding-down days of my current mystery blog at Mystery Ball ’58.
How I Get Through the Winter
Living in California always helps my months without real baseball speed along, but for those shuttered inside from the cold, ice and snow, a serious Strat-O-Matic hobby is really all you need.
1938 and 1961 should be great additions to our past season libraries, but don’t overlook last year’s 1958 release. My ’58 season replay is almost finished, with the Yanks and Braves hanging on by similar threads, and the mystery story wrapped around the field action is also about to resolve.
Of course, the Fifties are not everyone’s favorite decade for baseball, with very little speed and one-dimensional power offenses. But with my ’55 replay a few years back and now this one, I’ve found many of the games very dramatic and entertaining. It’s basically Earl Weaver ball—walks and 3-run homers—minus the great pitching.
Need evidence? This ’58 game actually happened on my dice table about a month ago:
PHILLIES (60-65) at REDS (65-65)
Crosley Field, Cincinnati, 8/30/58
Curt Simmons vs. Bob Purkey
A Frank Robinson double and singles by Jerry Lynch, Walt Dropo and Pete Whisenant spot the Redlegs a 2-0 lead in the 1st. Simmons and Purkey pitch shutout ball for the rest of the first three innings…
PHI 000 0-2-0
CIN 200 2-6-0
Then Purkey begins to fall apart. A Harry Anderson walk, double by Granny Hamner and single by Ed Bouchee tie it 2-2 in the 4th. Anderson socks a three-run homer into the Crosley bleachers in the 5th. A Hamner single and Bouchee double begins the 6th and finishes Purkey for the day, but Hal Jeffcoat comes on and gives Stan Lopata a two-run single. Curt Simmons is now throwing beautifully…
PHI 000 232 7-9-0
CIN 200 000 2-7-0
And then we have the seventh inning. Anderson singles, Anderson triples, and it’s goodbye Jeffcoat, hello washed-up Don Newcombe. A double by Willie Jones and four straight singles and the Phils have an insurmountable 12-2 lead.
That’s what you think. The Reds greet Simmons after the 7th inning stretch with a Roy McMillan triple, Smoky Burgess single, Newcombe single, Robinson single, and Johnny Temple single. Jack Meyer? Try your luck out there, buddy! Jerry Lynch hits an infield single and second-sacker Solly Hemus throws it away. Vada Pinson pinch-hits a one-out walk to load the bases. Don Hoak whiffs but McMillan and Burgess single AGAIN to plate six Cincinnati runs and just about put them back in the game…
PHI 000 232 5   12-18-1
CIN 200 000 6     8-15-1
Alex Kellner takes the mound for Cincy and no Phillie can hit him. Robinson singles and Temple doubles him home to start the Reds’ 8th but Meyer gets them out with no further damage. Bottom of the 9th now. McMillan and Burgess open with hits for the third straight time. George Crowe pinch-hits a deep drive that carries over the right field fence for a three-run homer and tie game! Robinson singles (his fourth hit in the leadoff spot). The Phils have a very thin pen, but Turk Farrell finally relieves Meyer. Temple singles Robby to second. With a chance to win the game, Lynch raps into a 3-6-3 DP. Dropo grounds out and we go extra innings…
PHI 000 232 500   12-20-1
CIN 200 000 613   12-22-1
Pinson drops a Bob Bowman fly for a two-base error to start the 10th, but new reliever Tom Acker gets Anderson, Jones, and Hamner, whiffing two of them. Bottom of the 10th now, and Pinson waits on a Farrell curve and slams it over the wall in center for a leadoff, game-winning homer!!
PHI 000 232 500 0   12-20-1
CIN 200 000 613 1   13-23-2
W-Acker L-Farrell
Then there was this one the very next day…
K.C. 000 000 000 – 0 4 0
CLE 000 000 001 – 1 7 0
W-Score L-Urban
Herb Score whiffs eleven Athletics, walks ten and wins the game himself with a two-out single in the bottom of the 9th.
And then these happened last week, just one day apart:
STL 000 003 101 000 000 000 00 – 5 22 1
MIL 100 030 100 000 000 000 01 – 6 19 1
W-McMahon L-Paine
Musial ties it up with a single in the top of the 9th and they go ten scoreless innings until Frank Torre slides home with the winner in the 20th inning on a short Pakfo sac fly, despite Torre’s 1-8 running rating.
STL 001 000 000 – 1 5 3
MIL 010 000 02x – 3 2 1
W-Burdette L-Mabe
Facing Bob Mabe, a guy with a 5.64 ERA and 178 hits allowed in 148 innings, the Braves manage just two hits, but one is a two-run homer by Lew Burdette in the 8th that puts the Braves up by two in the loss column with only twelve to play.
Getting through a winter with 1958 ballgames? What winter?