Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pops "pops" #400

I know this one is outside the range I traditionally write about, but this clip involved both a historic milestone and the St. Louis Cardinals, so I couldn't pass it up.

Willie Stargell, it is said, had atleast 100 career homeruns suppressed by spending his early career in Forbes Field.  With a 20 foot high chainlink fence protecting RF and a 457 fence in left-centerfield, many believe that he would have at the very least reached the 500 Homerun plateau should he have played in a more neutral park.

Whether or not this is all true, Stargell was well regarded as one of the most prolific power hitters of the late 60's and entire 70's.

 On June 29, 1977, Stargell hit his 400th career homerun off of Eric Rasmussen of the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

The blast came in the 5th inning with the Pirates leading 3-0.  Stargell had gone a week without hitting a homerun.  On Monday of that week, ABC's Monday Night Baseball had featured Stargell vs the Cardinals, I'm sure hoping to catch the historic blast.  


The person who did catch the historic blast, however, was a local St. Louis nun.  She retrieved the ball from the rightfield seats and returned it to Mr. Stargell in exchange for a different ball.

The clip itself comes from a retrospective on Stargell's life produced by Root Sports.  There is no audio on it however it is clearly from a videotaped broadcast.  In newspaper quotes following the game, Stargell said that he hoped to wind down his career soon to spend time with his young son.  At the time, he thought he "would play one more year [...], maybe two," That second year made all the difference, as Pops lead the 1979 We Are Family Pirates to the franchises last World Series title.  In fact, Stargell would play until 1982, although in a diminished role.

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