04 February 2016
03 February 2016
|Life Magazine 1964 - via Flickriver.com|
One of the players he managed would become his replacement as Cardinals manager after the 1964 season. Red Schoendienst turns 93 today and the Hall of Fame second baseman has the distinction of having five World Series rings. Schoendienst won his first as a player with the Cardinals in 1946, then with the Milwaukee Braves in 1957. The third World Series Championship Schoendienst would be part of was in 1964. The final month of the 1964 season would go down as one of the most interesting in the history of the sport.
Keane was the manager of the Cardinals that season, the team’s first in 18 years without winning a National League Pennant. It was also the team’s first in years without their franchise icon Stan Musial, who had retired following the 1963 season. Outside of the 1945 season that Musial did not play in due to his service in the US Navy, the Cardinals were losing their franchise player for the past 23 seasons. With Musial retiring, it meant saying good-bye to the last remaining player to appear in each of the Cardinals’ last four World Series (1942-1944, 1946).
Though the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers were the cream of the National League, the Cincinnati Reds were expected to give them some competition. The Cardinals had finished in second place the season before, so it was expected to be a four team race. However, the surprise of the National League came from the city of Philadelphia, where the Phillies seemed to be a team of destiny. An underwhelming offensive team, the Phillies relied on strong starting pitching and small ball- a trait of manager Gene Mauch. The Phillies did have the MVP of the All Star Game in Johnny Callison, known for his walk-off three-run home run that won it for the NL at Shea Stadium that season. Third baseman Richard “Dick ” Allen was on his way to winning the NL Rookie of the Year Award for the season. The Phillies led the National League by 6 1/2 games with 12 games to play on the 20th of September.
Meanwhile, it St Louis, it was the Cardinals who were looking to go in a different direction. Branch Rickey had been hired as a consultant to owner August Busch. His recommendation was to replace just about the entire front office, led by General Manager Bing Devine. Though nothing was official, it was expected that Keane himself was going to be replaced after the season. New GM Bob Howsam was in contact with Dodger third base coach Leo Durocher about the possibility of managing the team.
Though no team should ever give up, it was obvious the Cardinals were planning for 1965. Looking at their second straight winning season and second place finish, the organization needed to figure out how to take their game to the next level. They did add outfielder Lou Brock from the Cubs and he responded by hitting .348 the rest of the way. Bob Gibson gave them an ace that could compete with anybody’s number one pitcher. Even so, if it was not for the Phillies epic collapse, the Cardinals may have been in for some dramatic changes going into the next season.
The Phillies lost their next ten games, including the last three to the Cardinals. This put St Louis in first place with three games to go. Though they lost the next two games against the pitiful New York Mets, the Cardinals managed to clinch the pennant on the last game of the season. The Cardinals came into the World Series as underdogs against the New York Yankees. The series went seven games even though the Cardinals had lost their last two home games. The Cardinals won games four and five in New York before losing game six in St Louis. Gibson out pitched Mel Stottlemyre as the Cardinals took their seventh World Series Championship 7-5, winning the series four games to three.
In one of the most bizarre press conferences the game has ever seen, Keane would announce his resignation after the World Series victory. He handed Howsam over a letter he had written while the season was going on, long before the Cardinals won the Pennant and the World Series. In New York, first year manager and baseball icon Yogi Berra was fired after just one season- one in which he led the Yankees to the World Series. His replacement… Johnny Keane, hired just after he announced his resignation from the Cardinals. Schoendienst was named Cardinals manager for the 1965 season after serving as one of Keane’s coaches in 1964.
Keane never got much out of the Yankees in 1965. His distant demeanor did not seem to work well with the players and the Yankees finished in 6th place in 1965, well off the pace of the first place Minnesota Twins. After a 4-16 start in 1966, Keane was fired by GM Ralph Houk, who would take over as manager himself. While Keane took a lot of the heat for the Yankees performance, it is well understood that the Yankees were not the same team that had owned baseball for the past 20 seasons. The Cardinals, however, sustained some success winning the World Series in 1967 over the Boston Red Sox and the National League Pennant in 1968, dropping a seven game World Series to the Detroit Tigers. Ironically, the Cardinals had by that time acquired outfielder Roger Maris from the Yankees, a team that was headed in the opposite direction.
Keane would not be around to see the Cardinals win another World Series. Sadly, Johnny Keane died on January 6, 1967 of a heart attack at the age of 55. Just a month prior to his death, he had accepted a scouting position with the California Angels. In Jim Bouton‘s book, “I managed good but boy did they play bad,” Jim claims that the pressure of winning in New York and the expectation to sustain success as the manager of the Yankees could have led to Keane’s death.
Johnny Keane remains an interesting figure and should be given credit for his place in returning the Cardinals to prominence. During his four seasons in St Louis, Keane compiled a 317-247 record as manager and never had a losing season. The Cardinals had previously suffered through losing seasons in five of the past seven years. Keane had a rapport with a lot of the players that had come through the system because of his time in the organization as a manager. In hindsight, he probably should have stayed in St Louis. It is understood that the Cardinals were going through a change in front office and there was a chance that Keane’s days were numbered. He certainly left his comfort zone to enter his danger zone. That is the best way to describe Johnny Keane’s six seasons as a big league manager.
30 January 2016
03 January 2016
OK, it was much more than that. But TCU overcame a 31-0 deficit in the second half of Saturday night's game vs. Oregon to win 47-41 in three overtimes. It ties the largest comeback in bowl history and is the largest completed comeback in the 2015 season.
After another devastating loss in the previous year's Classic, a different New York Yankees team returned to represent the American League in 1964. Yogi Berra had replaced Ralph Houk at the helm and under his guidance, the Yanks managed to barely win the American League pennant by a single game over the Chicago White Sox. It was the fifteenth World Series for the former Yankee catcher as Berra had first appeared in the contest in 1947 and went on play in a record seventy-five games before his last outing in 1963. Many of his former teammates had remained in New York as Mickey Mantle prepared to play in his twelfth postseason exhibition, Whitey Ford entered his eleventh and Bobby Richardson posted his ninth appearance. Roger Maris, who was only in his fifth season as a Yankee, had never missed the World Series since donning the blue pinstripes. Their opponents, the St. Louis Cardinals had just missed the previous year's contest by finishing six games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers (who had dethroned the once-mighty Yankees in a four game sweep) and were determined to follow suite. Much like their American League rivals though, the Cards had a lot of luck to thank for their latest post-season opportunity. First the Nationals lost their General Manager in mid-August, but managed to climb from fifth to first (with considerable help from the Philadelphia Phillies, who blew a 6½ game league lead with twelve games to play).
Whitey Ford, always a postseason standout, held onto a 4-2 lead going into the sixth inning of the opener, but St. Louis right fielder Mike Shannon hammered a long two run homer off the veteran lefty and when catcher Tim McCarver followed with a double, the thirty-five year-old Ford was through for
the day, and (because of arm problems) the Series. The 9-5 loss of Game 1 as well as their #1 ace should have been a sign for what was to come as the Yanks were now experiencing a new kind of streak… a losing one. The opening fiasco was their fifth consecutive loss in World Series play and for the first time (in a long time) the Yankees were the underdogs.
In an attempt to jumpstart his team, Berra gave the Game 2 ball to an up-and-coming rookie named Mel Stottlemyre who went against Cardinal ace Bob Gibson. Stottlemyre had thrown strong down the home stretch (after getting called up from Richmond in August) and was a deciding factor for New York in the close American League pennant race. Both pitchers stood firm until Gibson left the game and his relief surrendered four ninth inning runs for an 8-3 loss that put the "Bombers" back in the race. Game 3 followed the same script as veteran Curt Simmons and the Yankees' Jim Bouton were locked in a 1-1 tie through eight innings. Manager Johnny Keane used a pinch-hitter for Simmons in the ninth as the Cards threatened, but failed, to score. Barney Schultz, a clutch reliever for St. Louis, entered the game in the bottom of the ninth and threw one pitch, which Mantle promptly launched into the right-field stands for the 2-1 win. Ray Sadecki started Game 4 against the Yanks Al Downing, but was taken for three quick first inning runs. Downing faired better and protected the lead going into the fifth, but the lefty was nailed by Ken Boyer for a grand-slam in the following inning. With relievers Roger Craig and Ron Taylor combining for 8 2/3 innings of two hit, scoreless relief, St. Louis went on to even the Series with a 4-3 victory.
Bob Gibson returned for Game 5 and was one out away from a 2-0 victory when the Yanks' Tom Tresh ripped a two run homer that tied it up. Gibson prevailed however, after Tim McCarver came up huge with a three run blast off of Yanks reliever Pete Mikkelsen for the 5-3 victory. Game 6 witnessed yet another nail-biter as the contest remained tied 1-1 going into the sixth. This time it was the Yankees coming up big with two consecutive home runs by Mantle and Maris and a grand slam by Joe Pepitone off reliever Gordon Richardson in the eighth. When it was over, New York had won 8-3 while staying alive and forcing a final Game 7.
Stottlemyre and Gibson both returned for the climatic finale and held each other scoreless through three innings. Then the Cardinals broke loose for three runs in the fourth and three more in the fifth, touched off by a home run by Lou Brock. Brock (a mid-June acquisition from the Cubs) proved to be a brilliant investment during the regular season after stealing thirty-three bases and batting .348 in one-hundred three games. Mantle responded with a three run homer in the sixth and Clete Boyer and Phil Linz both followed "The Mick's" lead in the ninth. Despite their efforts, Gibson stood tall and finished the complete-game with a 7-5 Cardinal triumph.
The Boyer brothers had both come up big for their respective teams and set a record as the first set of brothers to hit home runs in the same Series. Ken had contributed two for St. Louis and Clete added one for New York (with one for each coming in the same game). For the Cardinals, it was the end of a long postseason drought as they had not appeared in the Fall Classic since 1946. For the Yankees, it was the end of an era as the perennial champions were about to start a drought of their own. Within two years, the American League dynasty would fall from first to last and it would be several years before returning to their former glory (twelve years). It was the last World Series appearance for many regulars including Mantle (who set the all-time Series home run record at eighteen), Ford, Richardson, Kubek and Boyer. Howard would appear in the Classic once more (with the Boston Red Sox) and Maris was destined to play in two more with the Cardinals. Both managers were no longer at the helm after the Series (Berra was fired & Keane resigned), but in a strange twist, it would be the unemployed Cardinals skipper Johnny Keane who resurfaced in a Yankees uniform as Yogi Berra's replacement.