boyer (5) v flood (12)
the tournament's lack of a defense component is nowhere more glaring than in this matchup, which pits two of the best glovemen in franchise history. both were infielders in the minors whom the cardinals shifted to centerfield as young major leaguers. boyer made the transition in 1957, but it didn't take; he returned to 3d bag the next year and newly acquired curt flood, age 20, took over in center. the modest, even-keeled boyer (a missouri native) embodied the midwestern mystique, if there is such a thing --- very high substance-to-style ratio. flood, the first player bing devine ever traded for, was big on substance too, a transformational figure long before he challenged the reserve clause: he was, unless i'm mistaken, the first african-american to play on an everyday basis in st louis, the city that had given jackie robinson so much grief 10 years earlier. the year after flood joined the cardinals, bill white arrived, and julio gotay and lou brock and the latin american julian javier soon followed (along with a pitcher named gibson).
i got to see flood play in his last season as a cardinal (i was 6 years old); boyer i knew as the guy who preceded whitey herzog as the st louis manager. these two players were teammates for eight years and won a world championship together; both of them died too young. the lineups:
|flood '61||boyer '61|
|flood '65||boyer '59|
|flood '69||boyer '62|
|flood '62||boyer '60|
|flood '67||boyer '64|
|flood '59||boyer '56|
|flood '63||boyer '58|
|flood '68||boyer '57|
|flood '64||boyer '63|
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flood plates one in the first, but boyer follows a one-out error with four hits in a row and moves ahead 3-1. flood shakes off the blow, opening the 2d with his own four-hit skein; his guys bat around and put four across to take a 5-3 lead. it's 7-3 when the kens come to bat in the bottom of the 4th; once again an error opens the (pun!) floodgates. a single knocks in one run, a triple another; but when boyer '62 strikes out with a man on third and one out, the rally seems stalled. boyer '60 bails him out with a three-run bomb that puts his team back in front, 8-7. another three-run job an inning later (boyer '63) makes it 11-7 through five innings. flood, ever the competitor, bounces right back: two runs in the 6th close the gap to 11-9, and a two-run single by flood '65 in the top of the 7th knots it at 11s. this from a 12-seed, folks. and flood isn't through: a two-run double follows and he's back out in front, 13-11. the game has the feel of an epic 1-on-1 basketball match between old friends on somebody's driveway --- a real tussle, each guy damned if he'll lose to the other. when the boyers load 'em up with two down in the bottom of the 8th, you know there's another act to come; sure enough, boyer '56 delivers the tying single, and the combatants head into extra innings locked in a 13-13 tie. in the bottom of the 10th, the boyers load 'em with nobody out; you wanna just call it? he asks flood. shut up and play, comes the reply. boyer '58 grounds into a force at the plate; '57 strikes out; and boyer '63 bounces out to send the game on to the 11th.
flood: you wanna just---?
boyer: shut up.
the curts waste a golden opportunity in the 11th, failing to advance '59 after a leadoff double. in the bottom half the boyers jam the sacks with nobody out again --- and this time, finally, end the game on a single. let the bragging begin; boyer leads the series, 1-0.
H/AB: flood 16/46, boyer 17/47
2B: flood 4, boyer 1 3B: boyer 1 HR: boyer 2
BB: flood 6, boyer 11 SO: flood 6, boyer 5
here we go again; the floods go up 2-0 with single tallies in the first two innings, and the boyers push right back with a pair in the bottom of the 2d and a single tally in the 3d. it's 4-2 after the boyers open the 4th with four straight singles; then boyer '62 parks one for a grand slam --- 8-2 game, and there's still nobody out. the next eight batters crank out six more hits, including a double and a triple; it doesn't end until 10 men have scored. now it's 13-2; let's see you come back from that, boyer says. two innings later he bats around again and put five more runs on the board; there'll be no reversals this time. the boyers win this one 20-2 and go up 2-0 in the series.
H/AB: flood 8/34, boyer 25/49
2B: boyer 6 3B: boyer 1 HR: flood 1, boyer 2
BB: flood 4, boyer 5 SO: flood 2, boyer 8
the boyers, apparently still burned over their close call in game 1, continue to play like men possessed. they take a 2-0 lead in the top of the 1st and blow it open to 8-0 in the 3d, 10-0 in the 4th, and 12-0 in the 5th. flood gets a run in the bottom of the 6th; the boyers answer with six in the next half-inning. in the 9th they parlay three walks and a single into three more, crossing the 20-run threshold for the 2d game in a row. 21-5's the final; the boyers lead the series 3-0.
H/AB: boyer 23/48, flood 14/38
2B: boyer 2, flood 4 3B: boyer 1 HR: boyer 3, flood 1
BB: boyer 11, flood 4 SO: boyer 3, flood 3
curt flood is nothing if not proud; he might get beaten, but he won't lose. for the third time in four games he breaks on top, with single runs in the 1st and 2d; another in the 3d makes it 3-0. the boyers pull within 3-2 in the 6th inning on a sac fly and a two-out knock; flood responds with a leadoff hit, a stolen base, and a sacrifice to put a man on 3d with one out. when the top of flood's order strands the runner, all parties know what's destined to follow. it does, without further delay: two singles and a homer to begin the 7th, putting boyer ahead 5-3; one out later, a double and another homer make it 7-3. it's 9-3 in the top of the 9th, and boyer's 10th run stands at 3d base with two outs --- but he never crosses the plate. for the first and only time in the four-game sweep, the boyers fail to reach double digits in runs.
H/AB: boyer 16/42, flood 10/35
2B: boyer 2, flood 1 3B: boyer 1 HR: boyer 2, flood 1
BB: boyer 5, flood 3 SO: boyer 6, flood 5
SF: boyer, flood S: flood 2
the boyers average 20 hits a game and bat .435 for the series (81 / 186), overshadowing a rather heroic offensive effort by the 12 seed (flood posts a line of .314 / .382/ .431). so much for each player's legacy being all about dominating glovework. boyer may wish he had saved some of the many surplus runs from this round for application in the next round; he faces sunny jim bottomley.