December 6, 2013
Get It Now!Hardball Times Annual is now available. It's got 300 pages of articles, commentary and even a crossword puzzle. You can buy the Annual at Amazon, for your Kindle or on our own page (which helps us the most financially). However you buy it, enjoy!
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Saturday, July 13, 2013
50 years ago today, one of baseball’s most prestigious clubs gained a new member. On July 13, 1963, Indians pitcher Early Wynn finally notched his 300th win.
Finally indeed, as he’d been stuck on No. 299 for a little over 10 months.
On Sept. 8, 1962, then-White Sox Early Wynn defeated the Senators for his 299th career win, putting him on the verge of this massive milestone. But things stalled from there.
Wynn had three more starts in 1962, and he couldn’t get that elusive big win. He didn’t start for 10 days after Sept. 9, and when he did he was terrible, allowing eight runs (six earned) on a dozen hits in just five innings.
But the next time it looked like Wynn had a chance. On Sept. 23, 1962, he held the Yankees to one run in nine innings—but unfortunately the Yankees held Wynn’s Sox teammates to one run as well. Wynn stayed in the game as it hit extra innings, only to allow four runs in the 10th to get the loss.
Five days later, Wynn faced the Yankees again, and this time got killed. New York jumped on him for seven in eight innings. So Wynn couldn’t get over the hill before the season ended. Then the Sox cut him in the off-season, making it possible he’d never get that last legacy triumph.
And there wasn’t much demand for the aged pitcher. In the off-season, no one signed. In spring training, no one signed him. In April and May, no one signed him. Finally, with the season approach its midpoint, the Indians signed Wynn on June 21, 1963.
And the Indians gave him the start that very day. Making it even better, it was against the team that just dumped him: Chicago. Wynn pitched great—allowing just two runs. But Chicago shutout Cleveland. So it was another loss.
Wynn’s next two starts were six inning outings. He allowed three runs the first time and got a no decision. On July 4, 1963, Wynn pitched six shutout innings and left the game leading, 1-0. But a one-run lead isn’t much and sure enough the bullpen blew it. Cleveland won the game, but Wynn wasn’t the pitcher of record.
Wynn pitched two innings in relief at the end of a game a few days later, but had no chance to get the win.
So Wynn had seven outings since his 299th win and still was looking for No. 300. Enter July 13, 1963.
Early on, it was a close affair as Wynn faced the A’s in Kansas City. But in the top of the fifth, Wynn finally got his break, as the Indians scored four runs to break the game opened. Wynn played a key role, leading the inning off with a single and then scoring the go-ahead run.
Wynn nearly blew it in the bottom of the fifth, though, giving three runs right back. (Two of the players scoring runs were men with long futures ahead of them: White Sox announcer Ken Harrelson, and legendary manager Tony LaRussa).
But Wynn held on, and the bullpen came on, blanking the A’s for the last four innings. It was over—Wynn had done it, win No. 300. And it was 50 years ago today.
Aside from that, many other baseball events today celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something that happened X-thousand days ago). Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d rather just skim.
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