May 21, 2013
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Tuesday, July 10, 2012
80 years ago today, one of the wildest games in baseball history took place. In fact, you can make a damn good argument that it is the wildest game of them all
It was July 10, 1932 when the Indians squared off against the A’s. It was unusual even before the first pitch was thrown. The game was in the midst of an A’s-Indians series in Philadelphia, but due to Sunday laws in Pennsylvania, they teams traveled to Cleveland for this one day.
That proved to be crucial, as Connie Mack decided to bring just two pitchers with him – starting hurler Lew Krausse and veteran arm Eddie Rommel as the one-man bullpen.
Well, as it happens Krausse didn’t have it that day, so Mack pulled him for Rommel after surrendering three runs in the first inning. At that point, after one frame, the A’s trailed Cleveland, 3-2. It was up to Eddie Rommel and just Eddie Rommel for the rest of the game.
Sure enough, Rommel would win the game. Or rather, he’d be credited with the win – after surrendering 14 runs on 29 this and nine walks. Oh, and he also uncorked two wild pitches.
Well, behind Rommel’s arm, the A’s took a 5-3 lead by the middle of the fourth. Then Rommel, in what would be a theme on the day, just couldn’t get guys out. Cleveland got three runs against him in the bottom of the fourth, and then another run in the fifth, and yet another in the sixth for an 8-6 lead.
The game rally became bizarre in the seventh. First the A’s scored seven times for a seemingly insurmountable 13-8 lead. Then Rommel immediately allowed six runs to hand the game back to Cleveland, 14-13. Yeah, that’s not a normal seventh inning.
In the top of the ninth, the A’s went ahead, 15-14, but Rommel couldn’t leave well enough alone and gave up the game-tying run. It was 15-15 and headed into overtime. The Indians by this time were on their third pitcher, ace Wes Ferrell, but a third pitcher was a luxury Connie Mack could only dream of.
Improbably, after several innings of non-stop scoring, Rommel and Ferrell combined to hold the teams from the game’s 31st run for six full innings. Finally, in the top of the 16th the A’s plated a pair on a Jimmie Foxx home run for a 17-15 lead. Now they just needed Rommel to keep Cleveland from scoring twice before making three outs.
Naturally, Rommel wasn’t up to that task. Not on this day. He gave up two runs and the game stumbled on, now tied 17-17 heading into the 17th inning.
In the 18th the A’s scored one more run and then, breaking with all tradition on the day, Rommel held the lead. Philadelphia had their win, 18-17 in 17 innings over the Indians. Rommel faced 87 batters – an all-time record for a reliever – and let 38 of them reach base (also a relief record), but he had the win.
It was the 171st victory in Rommel’s career, and would prove to be the last.
Rommel wasn’t the only one with unbelievable numbers on the day. Jimmie Foxx nailed six hits – including three home runs. That’s nothing, though. On Cleveland, Johnny Burnett got a 20th century record nine hits on the day – two doubles and seven singles.
There’s never been another game quite like the one between the A’s and Indians on July 10, 1932, 80 years ago today.
Aside from that, many other events today celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something that occurred X-thousand days ago). Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d prefer to just skim things.
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Note: due to the All-Star break, we now bring you a special “Classic” version of “And That Happened.” The following originally ran on July 10, 1977
Orioles 6, Yankees 5: Reggie Jackson went 1 for 3 with an RBI double, but that wasn't good enough for manager Billy Martin, who tried to physically attack Jackson after the game was over. That keeps a seventeen-game assaulting-Reggie Jackson-streak alive for the Yankee skipper.
Indians 3, Blue Jays 2: This game was delayed for nearly an hour when the home plate umpire's CB radio malfunctioned. I suppose they could have tried to play without it, but in this day and age, modern technology is just a part of the game and those anti-citizen band people are just trying to deny progress.
Mets 7, Expos 5: This game went 17 innings and ended when Lenny Randle hit a game ending homer. It was only the second most notable hit he's had all year.
Athletics 7, Royals 1: The game was pretty dismal for Kansas City, but shortstop Freddie Patek did have a great play at short. We have no means of showing you a videotaped recreation of the play, but check out the frame-by-frame photo of it.
Brewers 3, Red Sox 2: The winning run scored when Steve Dillard booted one at second base in the eighth inning. He later explained that the "demons" in his neighbor's dog that "made him do it," and has re-christened himself "the Son of Steve."
White Sox 5, Tigers 2; Cardinals 4, Cubs 3: One Chicago team wins and the other loses, but they both remain atop their respective divisions. At this point -- exactly 81 games into the season -- I think it's safe to say that the long suffering of Chicago baseball fans is going to end this year, be it from a championship by the Cubs or the Sox.
Mariners 5, Twins 2: Dick Pole gets the win over David Goltz. Jeez, what a name. "Goltz." I mean, really.
Rangers 7, Angels 2: With the loss, the Angels fall nine and a half back of the division leading White Sox. And there is no future, In California's dreaming. No future, no future, No future for you, No future, no future, No future for me, No future, no future, No future for you, No future, no future, For youuuuuuuuu.
Reds 3, Astros 1: Tom Seaver gets the win, allowing only one run in this complete game. It's been less than a month since the Mets traded him to Cincinnati, but one can already tell that this is going to be the worst personnel move since Larry Linville left M*A*S*H.
Padres 2, Dodgers 1: A beautiful night in Southern California. From the game story:
It's so clean out here. That's because they don't throw their garbage away, they turn it into television shows. I don't want to move to a city where the only cultural advantage is being able to make a right turn on a red light.
Giants 5, Braves 4: This loss puts the Braves 25 and a half games back in the NL West. Look, I've argued this one to death, but at the risk of continuing to do it, I will simply once again note that when Ted Turner managed the team back on May 11, they were only 15 and a half back. You can't argue the numbers. Bring Ted back!
Pirates 9, Phillies 8: Davey Johnson went 3 for 5 and drove in five. He was hotter than the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire out there! Ooh, sorry. Too soon?