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tournament diary: round 1, simmons v mcgee

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simmons (7) v mcgee (10)
what did willie mcgee have that ted simmons lacked? look, i love e.t. as much as any of you --- i witnessed his first, painfully bad at-bat in the big leagues, as well as his last big-league homer. i'm a huge supporter, a longstanding rider on the "retire 51" bandwagon; but where's the campaign to retire simmons' 23? no, he didn't win an mvp award, and he never played a postseason game for st louis; but he did represent the cards in 6 all-star games and was their best player in a lean decade. perhaps more to the point, he was without question the greatest catcher in franchise history --- played 400 more games at the position than his next closest rival, and was the best hitter at the position by a long shot. to this day he ranks among the franchise's all-time top 10 in hits, doubles, home runs, rbi, and walks.

i loved both these players; hope it's a good series.

lineups and game summaries after the jump.

mcgee '90 simmons '77
mcgee '85 simmons '80
mcgee '96 simmons '73
mcgee '87 simmons '78
mcgee '97 simmons '75
mcgee '82 simmons '72
mcgee '84 simmons '79
mcgee '83 simmons '74
mcgee '88 simmons '76

GAME 1
simmons '77 makes his presence immediately felt: doubles leading off the bottom of the first (he never advances), then whacks a 3-run job with two out in the 2d. mcgee, nervous as ever, manages only two hits through five innings --- and loses his first two baserunners on steal attempts. he gets on the scoreboard in the 6th (walk, steal, single, sac fly), but simmons answers with a pair and cruises to an easy 6-1 win and 1-0 series advantage.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
mcgee 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 6 0
simmons 0 4 0 0 0 2 0 0 x 6 11 0

H/AB: mcgee 6/31, simmons 11/33
2B: simmons 2 HR: simmons
BB: mcgee 5, simmons 3 SO: mcgee 3
SB: mcgee 1 CS: mcgee 2

GAME 2
after manging only 6 singles in game 1, mcgee comes out pumping: a triple and two doubles in the first inning give him his first lead of the series, 2-0. in the bottom half of the inning he guns down simmons '80 huff-puffing around third base toward the plate; the teds, undaunted, tie it up in the next frame. mcgee retakes the lead on a two-out single by '88; he keeps chipping away, poking at least one hit in each of the first 8 frames, but fails to do any further damage. simmons, meanwhile, isn't seeing the ball very well; from the 5th inning on he scarcely gets the ball out of the infield. the players keep grinding away and, at length, discover that 9 full innings have elapsed; mcgee's 3-2 lead is still intact, and he is declared the winner. it's a 1-1 series.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
mcgee 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 13 0
simmons 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 7 0

H/AB: mcgee 13/38, simmons 7/33
2B: mcgee 4, simmons 3 3B: mcgee 1
BB: mcgee 1, simmons 5 SO: mcgee 4, simmons 1
SB: mcgee 5 CS: mcgee 2

GAME 3
mcgee's supposed to be the slap-hit specialist in this series, but the teds show they know how to peck away, too --- four singles and a walk in the first, netting three quick runs. the mcgees don't amass four hits until the 6th inning, and by then they trail 4-0. it's 6-1 when they finally get untracked, and despite some late extra-base clouts they never quite manage to bring the tying run to the plate. another snoozefest; simmons goes up 2-1 in the series.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
simmons 3 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 6 15 0
mcgee 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 3 9 0

H/AB: simmons 15/40, mcgee 9/36
2B: simmons 5, mcgee 3 3B: mcgee 1
BB: simmons 1, mcgee 1 SO: simmons 2, mcgee 4
SB: mcgee 1

simmons' early leads in games 1 and 3 have neutralized mcgee's biggest weapon, speed: he has only 12 sb attempts in 3 games, and 5 of those were unsuccessful. willie's hitting just .267 / .313 / .343 and has only 7 runs so far in the series. simba has 33 hits against only 3 strikeouts; his aggregate line so far is .311 / .365 / .434.

series conclusion to come soon.