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Tournament of Champions, Round 3: day 3

just two games on the slate today, a pair of game 2s. the summaries are after the jump.

Game 2, 1942 v 1982
Game 2, 1888 v 1968

Game 2
(1942 leads, 1 game to 0)

summary by Pujols Shot Ya

We're back in Sportsman's park for game two of this series. 1942 won Game 1, 6-2, on the strength of Mort Cooper's complete game and an unexpected two-run homer from Whitey Kurowski. With the two best hitters in the 1942 lineup, Musial and Slaughter, both being lefty, Whitey rolls the dice and plays the matchup, giving the ball to southpaw Dave Lapoint. Lapoint split his time between the rotation and the bullpen in 1982. He started 21 games, made 21 relief appearances, and ended with a 3.42 ERA (107 ERA+).

Billy Southworth tosses out his stud rookie Johnny Beazley. As a 24-year-old that year, Beazley won 21 games with a 2.13 ERA (162 ERA+). That 2.13 ERA was second in the league behind Game 1's starter, Mort Cooper. In real life, Beazley threw two complete game wins in the World Series, giving up five runs against the Yankees' DiMaggio-led offense. Following that season, Beazley enlisted in the Air Force and served in WWII. While pitching for an armed forces team, he felt pain in his arm. His commanding officer ordered him to pitch through it, and he severely injured himself. After leaving the service in 1946, he attempted to pitch again, but never regained his old form. After throwing two innings in 1949, he was out of baseball for good at the age of 31.

The rest of the Game 2 lineups:

1982 1942
Tom Herr, 2b Jimmy Brown, 2b
Lonnie Smith, lf Terry Moore, cf
Keith Hernandez, 1b Enos Slaughter, rf
George Hendrick, rf Stan Musial, lf
Darrell Porter, c Walker Cooper, c
Willie McGee, cf Johnny Hopp, 1b
Ken Oberkfell, 3b Whitey Kurowski, 3b
Ozzie Smith, ss Marty Marion, ss
Dave Lapoint, p Johnny Beazley, p

Beazley starts the game by retiring Herr and Lonnie Smith on flyballs. He gets Hernandez to hit a fly ball too, but it drops in right-center and Hernandez cruises into second with a double. Hendrick raps a single into left field and just like that, it's 1-0. In the top of the second McGee catches Kurowski napping at third base and lays down a bunt. Kurowski charges but doesn't even make a throw; infield hit for Willie. He then takes off for second and makes it. Good time for a bunt, but Oberkfell swings away and grounds out without advancing the runner; an Ozzie lineout and a Lapoint groundout end the inning with Willie still on second.

Sim Southworth tries to show that his team can do some running, too, flashing the steal sign to Johnny Hopp after a two-out single. Hopp takes off, but Porter nails him at second for the third out. LaPoint gives up base hits in each of the first three innings, but he keeps the '42s off the board and carries the 1-0 lead into the bottom of the 4th. He gets Moore leading off, then faces the two left-handers (Slaughter and Musial) he was intended to neutralize. Slaughter grounds one past Ozzie into left field, and Musial follows with a bullet into right center field that gets all the way to the wall and ties the game. The best laid plans . . . . Musial ends up on third with a triple. With the infield in, Walker Cooper pops up to third for the second out. But then another left-handed hitter, Hopp, comes up and squeaks one through the middle of the infield for a single, scoring Musial. Kurowski chases one for the third out, but 1942 now leads 2-1.

Lapoint departs for a pinch-hitter, and Whitey brings in John Martin for the fifth inning. He retires the eight and nine hitters easily, but Jimmy Brown walks with two outs and Moore makes him pay by driving a double over Hendrick's head in right, scoring Brown. The 1942 team leads 3-1.

That's still the score in the top of the seventh, which Porter starts with a walk. McGee strikes out swinging, but then Beazley uncorks a wild pitch to send Porter to second, and Oberkfell laces one into right center. Musial charges hard but can't get there and is forced to picks it up on the dangerous short hop. Porter has to hold halfway and is only able to get to third on the play. We've got runners on the corners with one out. Ozzie grounds one to first. Hopp ranges to his right to field it and tosses it to second, but Marion has no chance to turn two and a run scores. Doug Bair comes on for the bottom of the seventh and immediately runs into trouble for the second day in a row. Kurowski singles, Marion singles, and both men score two outs later and Moore's clutch double to the left-field wall. Slaughter grounds out to third to end the inning, but the damage has been done. 1942 is up 5-2 with only six outs to get.

Beazley's looking awfully good, having yielded just 5 hits and 2 runs through seven innings. He begins to tire, though, in the eighth. Lonnie Smith starts off the inning with a walk, and Hendrick draws another after Hernandez pops up for the first out. Porter, the tying run at the plate, works the count full, then drives an outer-half fastball toward the gap in right-center. It gets down; Smith scores and Hendrick advances to third on the double. Now it's a two-run game, with the tying run in scoring position. In a déjà vu moment, McGee works the count full. Beazley looks gassed, and he's missing his location badly. But Willie's not looking for a walk, fouling off ball four twice. Finally he takes a cut at a pitch off the outside corner . . . . but this is Willie, and he shoots the pitch into the gap in right center! Two runs score, the game is tied 5-5, and McGee winds up on 2d base as the go-ahead run.

Beazley gets the hook, and Murry Dickson comes in. Dickson is a little too focused on Oberkfell, and McGee steals third without a throw. But Dickson recovers by getting a huge strikeout of Oberkfell, who's not easy to fan. With two outs, 1942 makes the curious decision of walking Ozzie Smith to bring up the #9 spot. Whitey sends up Tito Landrum to pinch-hit. Tito knocks a little humpback liner into left center, and it gets down; the '82s retake the lead as Ozzie scoots to third. Herr coaxes a walk to load the bases for Lonnie, who has a chance to do some serious damage. But he chases a pitch in the dirt for strike three. Still, the 1982 Cardinals have erased a three-run deficit and head into the bottom of the eighth leading 6-5.

With Musial due up first, six outs left to go, and future HOFer Bruce Sutter in the bullpen, Sim-Whitey calls on . . . wait for it . . . . Jim Kaat! The 43-year-old lefty sported a 4.08 ERA that year out of the pen. Might not have been my first choice, with Bruce Sutter (who frequently pitched stints of 2 or more innings in 1982) available in the bullpen. With two of the first three batters being left handed, I guess the Sim White Rat is playing the odds. Kaat starts it off by walking Musial, then gives up a single to Walker Cooper. Hopp hits into a 5-4 fielders choice to leave runners at the corners with one out for Kurowski, who hit a two run homer in Game 1.. Kaat delivers and Kurowski smashes another one deep. Lonnie Smith has a bead on it, but the ball keeps carrying. He's at the warning track now; he looks up . . . . . and the ball drops into his glove just shy of the wall. The tying run comes into score, but all the same the '82 dugout breathes a collective sigh of relief. Sim-Whitey has seen enough of Kaat, but with the score now tied he passes over Sutter again and calls for Jeff Lahti. Lahti does his job by getting Marion to ground to short, but Ozzie's throw pulls Hernandez off the bag and everybody's safe. Harry Walker and his .314 batting average come in to pinch-hit for the pitcher with the score tied, two outs, and runners at first and second. Very dangerous situation, but on a 1-0 pitch Walker hits a one-hopper right back to the pitcher and Lahti gets out of the inning.

Sim-Southworth entrusts the tie to Howie Krist, with Hernandez, Hendrick, and Porter due up in the top of the ninth. Hernandez greets him with a long fly into the great spaces of left-center. Slaughter was playing him to pull, and the ball lands just over his head, short of the warning track. It's a stand-up double for Keith. Hendrick grounds out to short for the first out, failing to advance the runner. The next batter, Porter, hit a little flare to right field. Hernandez is sticking close to the bag to see if it's caught. The ball drops right in front of Musial and Keith takes off for third. Musial picks it up cleanly and guns it to third on the run. They've got a chance at Hernandez, but Musial's throw is way off line. It kicks off of Kurowski and dribbles towards left field. Hernandez hops up and races home without a throw, and the 1982 team has its third lead of the game! Porter must have fallen down or something, because he stays at first. But after that passive display of baserunning, Darrell suddenly gets aggressive on McGee's single into right center and tries to advance to third. It's not a bad play with one out, but Slaughter pegs him with a one-hop throw. McGee then gets nailed trying to steal second, and the '82s run themselves out of a chance at any insurance runs.

Still, they're up 7-6 and Sutter (aka Engine #42) is on his way to the mound. Jimmy Brown greets Sutter with a solid single into right center. Moore squares around early and bunts him to second. There's one out with the tying run on second, and Sutter will have to face Enos Slaughter and Stan Musial: Three Hall of Famers will decide this game.

Or maybe it will only take two.

Slaughter goes up hacking and smokes a shot to left field. It looks like a line drive, but the ball keeps rising. Lonnie racies back, but there's no way he's getting there. The ball is screaming towards the wall, but is it high enough? It is! The ball disappears into the first row of seats and it's gone! Slaughter wins the game on a walk-off home run. The 1942 Cards pour out of the dugout to celebrate the 8-7 win as Slaughter hustles around the bases. The 1982 squad shuffles off, stunned. Their courageous comeback against Beazely amounts to nothing; they're now down 0-2 after a heartbreaking loss. You gotta think that they may not be long for this series.


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Game 2
(1968 leads, 1 game to 0)

summary by lboros

Back in the 1880s, the World Series was a true challenge match: the owner of one league champion would send the other a telegram (long-distance phone service didn't exist, of course) and throw down the gauntlet. In 1888, the challenge came from Chris Von der Ahe, who wrote as follows to NY Giants president John Day:

The St. Louis Browns, who have practically won the American Association championship for the fourth successive time, do hereby challenge the New York Baseball Club to a series of nine games for the championship of the world. I would suggest that the opening game in the series be played in either New York or Boston, and three games each be scheduled for St. Louis and New York. Of the remaining games, let one each be played in Boston, Brooklyn, and Philadelphia.

The greatest importance is attached to this series, in which the highest honors on the diamond are at stake, and it will unquestionably bring in contact the two leading clubs of America. This series of games will doubtless be the grandest ever played, and will attract a vast deal of interest throughout the United States. All details of the series can be arranged when we meet.

Day accepted, and the series came off; the results of the games are right here. As it turned out, they expanded the series to 10 games; the Giants clinched it in 8, but they played the last two games anyway to fatten the purse, and the Browns won both to make the final score in games a more respectable 6-4. The Giants' victory was the first world championship the city of New York had ever won, and after the clinching victory in Game 8 (by a score of 11-3) the New York Times gloated like so:
[T]hey clinched their victory by administering to the Browns one of the severest rebukes the little team ever received. It came in the form of a spanking in the 9th inning. Instead of the conventional slipper the Giants used a club, and when the smoke of battle cleared away, Chamberlain was suffering from nervous prostration, Latham was dumb, and Herr lay panting with exhaustion. It was an awful revelation to the [St. Louis] crowd. . . . [T]hese Giants are bold, bad men, and they are liable to do almost anything.
Man, but it must have been fun to be a sportswriter in the 1880s. Onward, now, to our simulated contest today. The lineups:
1968 1888
Lou Brock, lf Arlie Latham, 3b
Curt Flood, cf Yank Robinson, 2b
Roger Maris, rf Tip O'Neill, lf
Orlando Cepeda, 1b Charlie Comiskey, 1b
Tim McCarver, c Tim McCarthy, rf
Mike Shannon, 3b Harry Lyons, cf
Julian Javier, 2b Bill White, ss
Dal Maxvill, ss Jocko Milligan, c
Nelson Briles, p Nat Hudson, p

Nat Hudson went 25-10 for the 1888 Browns with a good ERA, but he hasn't fared too well in this tournament. And he gets off to a rough start again today: Flood doubles with one out in the first, Maris singles him home, and it's 1-0 just like that. With 2 outs in the 2d, Robinson kicks a groundball for the Browns' first error of the game --- they booted 6 in yesterday's contest, remember --- and Hudson loses his cool, walking Maxvill and yielding a 2-run double to the pitcher Briles, a terrible hitter. In the 3d inning Flood triples, Maris drives him in with another single, and the Browns are down 4-0 before they've even got their first hit.

They get it next half-inning --- a two-out single by Latham --- but McCarver throws him out stealing to end the inning. And he throws out Robinson trying to steal after a leadoff hit in the 4th. The gunned-down baserunners enable Briles to face just 1 batter over the minimum through 5 innings. So far in the series, the Browns have nearly as many errors (7) as hits 8; they're batting just .170, and since scoring the first run of the series (way back in the 2d inning of Game 1) they've been outscored 10-1 by the '68s.

And then it gets really ugly. Cepeda gets hit by a pitch leading off; after McCarver forces him at 2d base, Shannon and Javier deliver base hits to make it 5-0. Maxvill singles; then Briles hits one into the hole at SS and beats it out; Brock grounds into a force, but Flood walks and then --- inevitably --- the Browns make an error: Harry Lyons (who muffed 3 yesterday) botches an easy flyball off the bat of Maris, enabling 2 more runs to score. Cepeda knocks in Flood . . . . . hey, anybody know the score? I've completely lost track. Let's see . . . . . looks like it's 10-0.

The only suspense remaining is to see whether the Browns can top yesterday's error total of 6. They commit #3 in the 8th, with White making a bad throw to 1st base on Briles' grounder; that leads to a couple more runs. And in the top of the 9th O'Neill drops a flyball by Javier for miscue #4. O'Neill does hit a homer, though, for whatever that's worth. It's a 12-3 final and a 2-0 series lead for the '68 squad.

How the '88 team beat the 2004s so easily, I'll never understand . . . . .