Great Moments in Strat – August 2013

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‘38 Reds: Take Two and Tell Me About it in the Morning
            I just had to share this one from my 1938 replay.
            Wally Berger broke up a no-hit bid by Brooklyn’s Tot Pressnell’s with a two-out solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning, giving Johnny Vander Meer a 1-0 victory by the Reds, in the first game of a doubleheader at Crosley Field. The only other Cincy safety was a one-out single by Lew Riggs in the eighth. The Brooks loaded the bases with one out in the top of the eighth against Vander Meer. But the young southpaw fanned Leo Durocher, then coaxed pinch-hitter Gibby Brack into a ground ball to shortstop Billy Myers, which ended the Dodgers’ most serious threat.
            In the nightcap, Billy Myers drove in six runs with an eighth-inning grand slam and a two-run, game-winning, double with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, propelling the Reds to a stunning, 8-7 victory. The Reds survived a disastrous start by newly-acquired hurler Bucky Walters, whose wildness resulted in four wild pitches, and a passed ball, which was charged to catcher Willard Hershberger. Walters was lifted for a pinch hitter, with the Reds trailing, 7-1 after five innings.
            Stout relief work by the Cincinnati bullpen held the visitors at bay, while the Reds’ offense went to work on Dodger starter Luke Hamlin. A two-bagger by Harry Craft with two outs in the fifth narrowed the divide to five runs, 7-2. Myers’ grand slam in the eighth made it 7-6.
            The Reds’ last chance began meekly, as Craft tapped out to Leo Durocher at shortstop. Berger, the hero of the first game, bounced a grounder wide of second baseman Johnny Hudson, who dived to stop the ball, then foolishly threw it away. By the time it was recovered, Berger had made third. In stepped the Reds’ best all-around threat, Mike McCormick, with one out, and two hits in the game already. Frankhouse and catcher Babe Phelps decided to pass McCormick for a shot at a possible double play with the much-slower Hershberger on deck.
            Now, we all know that putting the winning run on base is highly inadvisable, but McCormick posed such a threat with the tying run a mere fly ball away at third, that the move made sense in the moment. Hershberger nearly did what they feared McCormick might, as it turned out. But the fly ball delivered to left fielder Kiki Cuyler (possessor of a strong right arm) was deemed too shallow to attempt to score Berger.
            Now with two outs, all Frankhouse needed to do was retire Lew Riggs, who managed to finagle a pass to pack the sacks. Up walked Myers, to a hero’s welcome.
            Frankhouse took his measure of the smallish Myers, who sent a rocket deep to left field. Though not as powerful a jolt as his earlier blast, this one hit high off the wall, allowing Berger and McCormick to race home for the sweep.
Jeff Woodhouse, Seattle, WA

‘61 Bombers and Their Replayer Have a Blast
            Just finished replaying the 1961 season and had a blast! Took me three months. The Yankees ran away with the AL pennant, winning 139 games and finishing a “mere” 44 games ahead of 2nd place Baltimore. Maris hit 77 HR, Mantle 64 HR. As a team New York hit 295 HR. Ford won 30 and tossed a no- hitter at Detroit. Arroyo had 31 saves. Mantle hit 4 HR in a game. He also had 22 SB, only 1 CS.
            Ellie Howard won the batting crown at .385. The Yanks were just awesome! I didn’t sit back and wait for HR. I used the hit-and-run with Richardson a lot. And used the safety squeeze with Richardson and Kubek when the opponent conceded the run on 3B. The Yanks blew away the Reds 4-0 in the Series. I used the actual lineups for every game as extracted from The Cinderella team was the expansion LA Angels playing in quaint Wrigley Field, finishing in 4th place. Their “bandbox” ballpark saw 250 HR fly out. Am now replaying the 1957 season where Ted Williams, the “Splendid Splinter” hit .388 at the age of 39 and the “Mick” hit .365. At the 25% mark, both are over .400 and the Yanks are 36-6. Will then move on to the 1958 season. The color renditions of the old ballparks are just gorgeous! SOM rocks! Aloha from beautiful Haleiwa, Hawaii.
Jon Pitko, Haleiwa, HI