here we go with the round of 16. we'll do this in 2 segments of 4 series each. two Game 1s today, 1885 v 2006 (the last La Russa-managed team in the tournament) and 1946 v 1967. bob gibson and chris carpenter both start today; read on after the jump.
I was born just in time for the fourth Cardinal epoch, which historians now refer to as "The Whitey Years." I have fuzzy memories of the 1982 World Series, recall vividly the 1985 Series, and was completely invested in, and heartbroken over, the 1987 loss to the Twins. Vindication in 2006 felt all the sweeter because my fan disappointments had been mounting since I was eight.
Epochs measure the transition from one distinctive period of time to another. In my mind, the Cardinals have had five major epochs: The Gas House Gang Epoch, the 1940's dynasty, the 1960's dynasty, the 1980's dynasty, and the 2000's dynasty. Out of those five major epochs rise the vast majority of our heroes, the retired numbers that fly above Busch. They cover all of our 20th-century championships.
Those epochs also produce serious fan interest and lifelong Cardinal fans. Many of us are Cardinal fans because of those people in our lives who lived through those earlier epochs. While we lived our team's success, Ozzie and Willie, we heard the stories and tales of the previous generations. "Yeah, Willie is pretty good, but he's no Stan Musial. Did I ever tell you about the time . . . . "
This is matchup of two of those Cardinal epochs, my grandparents' generation versus my parents' generation. These teams are as responsible for me being a Cardinal fan as the 1980s teams are. Musial, Red, Lou, Gibby. Their exploits, their success, were the reason that my family, and the families of many readers, became Cardinal fans.
The 1946 team would be end of a dynasty assembled under the dictatorial watch of Branch Rickey. His Coolie system would turn out many Hall of Famers, winning teams, and championships. But after the 1946 Series win, the Cardinals would enter a period of mediocrity. They would not return to the World Series until 1964, when a different generation would rise.
It is easy to point out the difference between the all-white team of the 1946 and the integrated team of the 1967. Much better writers than me have tackled that issue. But aside from that difference, the similarities of the teams are quite striking.
- Both teams marked the end or near end of Cardinal dynasties. The 1967 team would reach the World Series again the next year, losing to the Tigers. But after that defeat, the Cardinal fans would wait fourteen years, until 1982, for another World Series appearance.
- Both teams featured important names in Cardinal history. Of the 10 uniform numbers the Cardinals have retired, five of them belonged to players on one of these two teams. Musial, Schoendienst, and Slaughter anchoring the 1946 team. Brock and Gibson staring for the 1967, managed by Red. Throw in Hall of Famer Steve Carlton, should be Hall of Famers Curt Flood and Roger Maris, and Cardinal favorites Mike Shannon, Joe Garagiola, and Tim McCarver, and this series has major star power.
- Both teams played to identical Pythagorean wins totals: 97-64 for the 1967 club, 97-59 for the 1946 team.
- Both teams made their names, and their history, on running: the fleet-footed outfield of the '67 team, Brock and Flood, versus the famous mad dash of Enos Slaughter.
- Both teams beat the Boston Red Sox in the World Series.
- Both teams prominently featured Red Schoendienst: the '46 team as a leadoff man / 2b, the '67 team as manager.
We cannot answer those questions, but we can bend the space-time continuum and not worry about changing the future. Sit back, crack open an ice cold Bud or Falstaff. Harry and Jack are in the booth and it is a nice, crisp October afternoon in St. Louis; here are the lineups:
|Lou Brock, lf||Red Schoendienst, 2b|
|Curt Flood, cf||Terry Moore, cf|
|Roger Maris, rf||Stan Musial, 1b|
|Orlando Cepeda, 1b||Enos Slaughter, rf|
|Mike Shannon, 3b||Whitey Kurowski, 3b|
|Tim McCarver, c||Joe Garagiola, c|
|Julian Javier, 2b||Harry Walker, lf|
|Dal Maxvill, ss||Marty Marion, ss|
|Bob Gibson, p||Howie Pollett, p|
Howie Pollet takes the hill in the first inning, fresh off a 21-win season and a fourth-place MVP finish. The speed of the '67 team becomes immediately apparent as Lou Brock turns an error by left fielder Harry Walker into two bases. Flood pokes one through the hole, and Brock scores to put El Birdos ahead, 1-0. Roger Maris fails in a sacrifice attempt when he lines out to the pitcher, but Pollet worsens the jam, walking Cepeda and Shannon in quick order. But McCarver kills the rally with a 6-4-3 double play, Schoendienst to Marion to Musial. Up in the broadcast booth, Harry Caray lays into McCarver.
To start the bottom half of the first, McCarver walks out to the mound to discuss the batting order with Gibson. Gibson informs him to, "Get behind the plate. The only thing you know about pitching is you can't hit it!" (Swear words omitted for our younger readers.) Red starts off the inning with a well-hit ball to center field for a single. He is quickly erased as Terry Moore hits into a 3-6 fielder choice. Gibson makes quick work of the reigning MVP and third-place finisher as he gets The Man and Enos "Country " Slaughter to line out and ground out (respectively) to Julian Javier. Harry complains he should have struck them out.
Top of the second and the bottom half of the order for the 67 club. Javier hits a weak fly out to Terry Moore, the centerfielder. Maxville follows up with a single, but is erased on a fielder's choice when Gibson fails in the sac. Lou grounds out to the pitcher to end the inning.
In the second half of the second, Shannon misplays a Kurowski grounder, allow his hot-corner compadre to reach. The mistake is erased in short order as Gibby gets Joe Gargagiola swinging, Walker to fly out to center, and Marion to ground out to second. Still 1-0, El Birdos. Harry calms down a bit.
The third inning goes quickly and quietly for both sides, and Javier singles in an otherwise uneventful top of the 4th. Musial starts the bottom of the inning with a bang, lining one to center field for a leadoff double. After Slaughter lines out to first baseman Cepeda, Kurowski nails a single between Flood and Brock. The '46 team has runners at the corners with one out, but Gibson bears down and gets Joe Garagiola to ground into a 6-4-3 DP to end the inning.
The game zips right along, still 1-0. The '67 team has good chance to widen the lead against Pollet in the top of the sixth, which begins with singles by Maris and Cepeda. But Shannon lines out to Marion at short, and McCarver and Javier hit into force outs. They threaten again in the seventh when Dal Maxvill, possessor of a .297 OBP, draws the leadoff walk. Gibson grounds into a 5-4 fielder's choice to ruin Maxie's moment of glory, but Brock crushes a line-drive single to left field, and the Hall of Famers are at first and second with one out. The should-be Hall of Famers, Flood and Maris, both fly out to end the inning. Maris is robbed by Harry Walker, who atones for his error in the first that resulted in the game's only score.
Dizzy Dean and Hary Carry lead the fans in "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" for the seventh-inning stretch.
The '46 club goes one-two-three in the seventh, and El Birdos go likewise in the eighth. Manager Red makes an fateful call in the 8th: he yanks Gibson after only 85 pitches. Hoot surrenders the ball, but not without some choice words of protest over the decision. In comes Ron Willis, a 23-year-old rookie who appeared in 65 games for the club, amassing ten saves and a 2.67 ERA despite a 1.47 WHIP. Not to be outmaneuvered, Eddie Dyer pinch-hits for Pollet with a rookie of his own, Erv Dusak, just back from 3 years overseas. Dusak responds to the call, grounding a single through the hole to right field. Red the Player follows with a single, his 4th of the game --- he's 4 for 4 --- which puts Red the Manager at the mercy of the second-guessers; his call to the bullpen looks pretty dumb at the moment. But Sim Red's faith in Willis is rewarded as he induces a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Terry Moore, which takes pesky Player Red off the bases and moves Dusak to third. Pulling levers madly, Sim Red now issues the free pass to Stan, bringing up Slaughter. He repeats his World Series heroics and grounds a single to left field to push across the tying run. That's it for Willis; five batters faced, for men aboard. Sim Red goes to Al Jackson, who gets Whitey Kurowski to ground to first. End of eight, and we have a tie ballgame, 1-1.
Both teams are now into their bullpens; Sim Dyer hands the ball to 30-year-old Ted "Cork" Wilks, coming off a season in which he pitched in 40 games with 1.32 WHIP. Cork quickly induces the light hitting Javier and Maxvill to ground out to the third baseman. Dave Ricketts pinch-hits for Jackson and singles to left center, and Sim Red immediately sends in the speedy Bobby Tolan to pinch-run. Brock singles to left-center and Tolan attempts to advance to third on the single. Centerfielder Terry Moore comes up firing....a close play at third...the umpire calls Tolan safe. Sim Dyer comes out to argue the call but loses; when play resumes. Flood flies out weakly to Moore to end the inning.
Bottom of the ninth.... Sim Red calls upon Jack Lamabe, passing up his closer, Joe Hoerner. The Cardinals are Lamabe's third stop in the majors this year, having come over for a player to be named in later in a deal with the New York Mets. After the conclusion of the 1967 Series, the PTBNL was announced: Al Jackson, the pitcher Lamabe is relieving. You cannot make this stuff up. . . . Lamabe pitches a 1-2-3 ninth inning, getting Garagiola to fly out to deep right center, Walker to strike out swinging, and Marion to ground out to third.
We are going to extra innings . . . .
Not much doing for either side in the tenth: the heart of El Birdos' order goes 1-2-3, and the '46 Cards manage only a two-out single against Hal Woodshick. In the eleventh Ken Burkhart replaces Wilks for the '46s. The first batter he faces, Tim McCarver, pops out to Musial, but then Javier doubles sharply to left, giving El Birdos a man in scoring position with one out. After Maxvill flies out to left, Sim Red pinch hits for Woodeshick, but Ed Spiezio grounds out meekly to second, and the 67 squad's scoring opportunity is squandered.
Nelson Briles becomes the sixth pitcher of the day for the '67 champs. Briles, who finished 15th in the MVP balloting in 1967, is coming off a career year. He threw 159 innings at a 1.15 WHIP. In the '67 Series, he threw a complete game in Game #3, surrendering two earned runs and scattering seven hits. He's on his game in the eleventh, retiring the fourth, fifth, and sixth batters in order. 12th inning, here we come . . . . . fortunately the game is not on Fox. It's an early afternoon start.
Burkhart works an efficient 12th: Brock flies out to Moore, Flood grounds out to Marion, Maris grounds out to Kurowski. Pitch-to-contact must date all the way back to the post-World War II era. Briles goes back out for a second inning and again sets 'em down in order: Walker flies out to Flood, Marion lines out to Maxvill, and Sisler, pinch hitting for the pitcher Burkhart strikes out swinging. Lucky number 13, here we come...
According to Baseball Reference, Freddy Schmidt, the '46 squad's fourth pitcher, pitched in only sixteen games during the 1946 season. He has no statistics for the 1945 season, so I'm going to assume that like so many other players, Schmidt left baseball for the war. We'll see if any rust from the time off will affect his sim self. . . . maybe so, because he immediately gives up a single to Cepeda and El Birdos are in business. But Shannon goes quietly on a weak fly out to left, and coaxes a ground ball by McCarver --- Marion to Red to Musial, a double play. That's the third twin-killing by the 1946 team in this game.
Sim Red runs Briles out for a third inning to face his Sim Player self; he flies out to center for the first out. Terry Moore grounds out to Maxvill; that's eight up and eight down for Briles. Not surprisingly it's Musial who breaks the spell, singling to right field with two out. Slaughter follows up with a line drive single to center. Flood charges and comes up throwing, trying to catch The Man as he digs for third. The throw to Shannon is slightly late, and the 1946 squad has men at first and third with two outs and Garagiola at the plate. Joe is wearing the collar on the day 0 for 5. The runners take their leads. Crack! both Musial and Slaughter are off running on contact. The ball drops between Maris and Flood. . . .THE CARDINALS (1946 version) WIN!!!! THE CARDINALS WIN!!!
Totals in a moment . . . .
Others in this tournament have made comments about the irregular decisions the sim managers make. In hindsight, the only decision I question is Sim Red's decision not to run out Joe Joerner in the 8th for a two-inning save. There is enough blame to go around in the visitor's locker room. El Birdos wasted a great performance by Gibson and a good one by the bullpen. The lineup's one through six hitters left sixteen runners on base. McCarver grounded into two double plays and barely beat out a third. If they are going to play like a 100-win team, they need to start hitting.
* * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * *1885 BROWNS v. 2000 CARDINALS
summary by Zubin
Last week I wrote a bit about the 1885 Browns and how Comiskey, in his first full year as captain and manager, implemented strategies that would become very familiar to St Louis baseball fans: speed, defense and very good young pitching. However, there was one more component to his baseball philosophy that is probably as foreign as foreign can be to the modern Cardinals franchise: Comiskey and his players would curse and heckle their opponents into blind anger.
Comiskey's chief antagonist was a scrappy yet handsome third baseman, Arlie Latham, who would jockey and taunt opposing players not only from the bench but also from the third-base line as a coach. At that time there was no box that the third base coach was supposed to stay in, and Arlie took full advantage. He would run up and down the third base line while cursing at the opposing pitcher in mid-windup. Eventually baseball's rule makers took notice of Arlie and implemented a coaching box.
The Browns' abuses were not limited to speech alone. It was reported that they would cut the corners around the base paths, sometimes even running straight from 1st to 3rd if the umpire (there was only one back then) wasn't looking. The Browns reportedly hindered opposing players from running the base paths by pulling at their shirts. The Sporting Life wrote of the Browns in June 1883, "About the toughest and roughest gang that ever struck this city is the nine of the St. Louis Club. Vile of speech, insolent in bearing . . . they set at defiance all rules, grossly insulting the umpire and exciting the wrath of the spectators."
And there were the fans. From what I have read, the St Louis fans in the 1880s were the equivalent of English soccer hooligans today. Loud, obnoxious, and drunk (remember, the whole point of baseball in the `Lou was to sell beer), they made life miserable for opposing teams. That stands in stark contrast to St Louis fans today that are seen as almost obnoxiously polite. (Which other fans would give their new right fielder a standing ovation for striking out?)
And that comparison kind of sums up this contest: In practically every way possible, these teams are opposites. The 1885 were the first of St. Louis's 12 Championships (Read the plaque), 2006 was our latest. 1885 was a dynasty on the ascent; 2006 was on the descent. The 1885 Browns were fast; the 2006 Cardinals were slow (59 SB). The 1885 Browns played in the deadball era (149 league hrs); the 2006 Cardinals played in the steroid era (2840 league home runs). The Browns had great starting pitching and no bullpen. The Cardinals had poor starting pitching and a great bullpen (at least by the season's end).
Obviously, 1885 has to be the favorite here. The 1888 v. 2004 series and the 1885 v. 2000 series already showed us how steroid-era pitching can transform deadball slap hitters into sluggers. But aside from that, the Browns were simply a much better team for their respective league and era. They were 2nd of 8 in runs scored and 1st in (fewest) runs allowed in 1885. The 2006 Cardinals were, respectively, 6th and 9th in those categories among 16 teams.
If being cast as legitimate underdogs isn't enough for 2006, they will also have to overcome their in-season rotation inadequacies. Their #1 and #2 starters are the same as in real life: Chris Carpenter and Jeff Suppan. But the simulator doesn't have Jeff Weaver available to start, so that means for #3 and #4 I will have to choose from among Anthony Reyes (5.06 era), Jason Marquis (6.02 era), and Mark Mulder (7.14 era). That might be tempered just a slight bit by giving the Browns' #3 starter (Jumbo McGinnis, 3.38 era) a single start, but it still makes 2006 as big of an underdog as they were in real life.
Lineups for today's opener are below. In an usual but not unprecedented move, Sim-Owner Chris Von der Ahe will take on the on-field management of the Browns. Sim-Bill DeWitt, however, will stay in his press box. The pitching pairing pits Chris Carpenter against Bob Caruthers. If you recall, Chris Carpenter- 2004 lost both his starts against Silver King-1888, and Chris Carpenter-2005 took a loss and a no-decision against Mort Cooper-1942. Let's see if this Chris Carpenter can finally get that W.
|David Eckstein, ss||Arlie Latham, 3b|
|Chris Duncan, lf||Bill Gleason, ss|
|Albert Pujols, 1b||Tip O'Neill, lf|
|Jim Edmonds, cf||Sam Barkley, 2b|
|Scott Rolen, 3b||Charlie Comiskey, 1b|
|Juan Encarnacion, rf||Curt Welch, cf|
|Ronnie Belliard, 2b||Yank Robinson, rf|
|Yadier Molina, c||Doc Bushong, c|
|Chris Carpenter, p||Bob Caruthers, p|
The two teams seem altogether evenly matched through the first six innings. Caruthers pitches around a 2-out Pujols single in the first by striking out J'Ed on a ball out of the zone. Carpenter pitches around a 1-out single via pitch-to-contact (PTC), getting O'Neill on a 6-4 FC and Barkley on a grounder to the very same spot. In the second Sco'Ro get things rollin' with a blast out of the yard in center, putting the Cards up 1-0. The Browns, not to be outdone, get even as Yank Robinson goes deep (a towering blast to left) in the bottom of the second to tie the game at 1 each.
After that, Carpenter settles in and records 11 straight putouts through the 5th inning. Caruthers has a more tumultuous time: He pitches around an E9 and an Edmonds single in the 3rd, and in the 5th he sidesteps an Eckstein single and a Chris Duncan walk --- the latter of which is disputed and results in the ejection of Sim-Von der Ahe.
In the 6th the Browns threaten as Caruthers starts the inning with an IF single and Latham bunts him to 2d. But Gleason fouls out, and after an IBB to O'Neill, Barkley grounds in to a 6-4 FC to end the inning. Perhaps running the bases tires Caruthers a bit, because in the 7th he loses command. With one out he falls behind 3-1 on Carpenter and gives up a single. Then he plunks Eckstein on the arm . He gets the free-swinging Duncan on a shallow fly, but he then faces Albert Pujols. Bob pitches Pujols away, but the Cardinal slugger won't chase and again Bob falls behind 3-1. The next pitch is inside and Albert rips it down the left-field line. In come Carp and Eck, and the Cardinals go up 3-1. Edmonds then steps to the plate, and Bob delivers. J'Ed swings and gives the ball a ride, but well short of the wall in center. Welsh camps under it for out number 3.
Carp gets the first 2 to start the Browns'half of the inning but runs into trouble as Welch and Bushong stroke singles to give Caruthers a chance to help his own cause. Bob in 1885 is a good hitter for a pitcher (82 ops+), though nothing like his 1886 version waiting for play later in this round (200ops+). Still, Carpenter pitches carefully. He throws the first couple up an in before going low and away to induce an easy fly out and end the inning.
After a perfect eight by both pitchers, the game heads to the ninth. Molina opens the frame with a flyout, but then Scott Spiezio (batting for Carpenter) grounds one into left. In a virtual replay of the 7th, Caruthers again hits Eckstein and retires Duncan to bring up A'Pu with 2 on and 2 out. Caruthers changes his approach and pitches Albert down in the zone, but the results are only slightly different: Albert guides one past Gleason to plate an insurance run.
Izzy, shredded hip and all, comes on to close things out in the ninth. He gets Barley on a flyout but then gives up an IF single to Comiskey; not really his fault. Yank Robinson grounds to short and Commey scoots to second. That brings up Curt Welch, who promptly turns on a fastball and deposits one in seats. It is his second homer of the tourney (compared to 3 in the 1885 season), and it puts the Browns within a run. Izzy haters squirm and groan and curse in their seats. But it turns out to be little more than a footnote: Doc Bushong grounds out to end the game, and the 2006 Cards take Game 1 in an upset, 4-3.
Carpenter gets that W that eluded his 2004 and 2005 incarnations, while Albert goes 3 for 5 and drives in 3 runs, including the critical 8th inning tally; for that, he is the player of the game. Enjoy it while it lasts, 2006 fans! I'll be back tomorrow with Game 2.