Thursday, June 26, 2008

Clemente/Cubs Game - A new twist?

Well, how do you like that. Who said a rain-delay was good for nothing (except erasing a beating your teams starting pitcher may have taken)?

While watching the Yankees-Pirates game tonight, I stumbled across some footage that may have just further muddled the mystery from this post:

The Footage comes from theClemente bio movie put together in by Fox Sports Films.

In the original post, we had concluded that the footage was of the July 2nd, 1971 game between the Cubs and Pirates at Wrigley Field. Bob Moose had been the pitcher, Paul Popovich and J.C. Martin both played important parts in the scene we had. This also featured a fantastic catch by Clemente in right-centerfield, falling backwards.

Well, apparently Clemente bedeviled the Cubs that entire series.

On July 3rd, the Cubs and Pirates locked up for Game 2 of that Series. In the 8th inning, Billy Williams would hit a 1 out single to CF, advancing Glenn Beckert to 3rd. Joe Pepitone, the next batter, would single to RF and with Billy Williams running...the following unfolded.

Now, I'm not 100% that this is the July 3rd game. Originally I thought I had uncovered more footage from the July 2nd game until I couldn't find an instance of Williams being thrown out at 3B. I'll continue to roll through the various boxscores from the 1971 and 1972 seasons to find another instance of Williams being gunned out by The Great One but I can't imagine anyone would be silly enough to try it twice.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The 'Perfect' Father's Day Gift

It's a widely known fact that no Pond Scum Mets pitching has ever thrown a no-hitter let a perfect game. In this final year of Shea Stadium, the days are running out in which a Mets pitcher can perform such a feat in he teams stench filled storied venue.

However, that is not to say that a pitcher has never thrown a no-hitter in Shea Stadium. Bob Moose threw one in 1969 for the Pirates (I never thought Bob Moose would ever come up twice on this blog). The more important or notable no-hitter was thrown by (now Kentucky Senator) Jim Bunning.

Jim Bunning was not one of the more overpowering pitchers in baseball history but he was certainly one of the smartest. He is also known imfamously for his role in the 1964 collapse of Gene Mauch's Phillies. Bunning and Chris Short were the golden arms of that team, helping to push them to their large lead late in the '64 season. However, Mauch became consumed by the hard charging Cardinals and began to overuse (and abuse) both Bunning and Short. In fact, in the final 21 days of the season, Mauch used Bunning and Short 13 times!

In a bright spot of that 1964 season was Father Day, June 21st. Some 44 years ago today, Bunning took the mound in Shea Stadium for the first part of a double header and retired 27 straight Mets hitters. He did so in striking out 10 batters.

Philadelphia never trailed in the game and extended their lead to 6 in the 6th, leaving Bunning without the extra pressure of preserving a small lead.

As far as the kinescope goes, not much is known. From what I have gathered, only the bottom of the 9th inning and the postgame interview remains. This is common place for most 'spontaneous acheievement' games during the kinescope era. A station manager or club employee would take note of what was happening and begin to hastily record the final pitches of the game.

The kinescope of the 9th in black and white (per usual) and the transfers I've seen are in pristine condition. The broadcast is the WOR-TV broadcast with Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy. At the conclusion of the 9th inning, Ralph Kiner hosts 'Kiner's Korner' on the field, interviewing Jim Bunning about the feat.

What is remarkable is how receptive the New York fans and broadcasters are to Bunning's performance. The crowd stands and cheers his every pitch, Kiner seems giddy at what Bunning had just done.

Of note, in the second half of the DH, Rick Wise (another reference!) and Johnny Klippstein would hold the Mets to 3 hits over 9 innings (allowing 2 runs and 3 BBs). The Mets would go 11 innings over the DH before getting their first hit with 2 outs in the 3rd.

Hopefully, somewhere out there exists more footage of this game. If you had to ask me which games (known to have parts exist) from the 1960's I would wish to have a full broadcast of, this is one of them.

A truly Happy Father's Day for Senator Bunning.

Clips provided by "Unhittable" DVD.