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Tournament of Champions, Round 3: day 14

slight delay in the 1886 v 1934 series; the other three are in action. summaries after the jump, and full results at Cardinal70's tourney tracker page.

Game 4, 1926 v 1943
Game 3, 1944 v 1964
Game 3, 1931 v 1985

Game 4
(1926 leads, 2 games to 1)

summary by cardsfanunion

With the 26ers up 2 games to 1, Sim-Southworth will turn to Mort Cooper on three days' rest to square the series here in 1926's version of Sportsman's Park. He'll face Jesse Haines. Lineups are as follows:

1943 1926
Lou Klein, 2b Taylor Douthit, cf
Harry Walker, cf Billy Southworth, rf
Stan Musial, rf Rogers Hornsby, 2b
Walker Cooper, c Jim Bottomley, 1b
Whitey Kurowski, 3b Les Bell, 3b
Ray Sanders, 1b Chick Hafey, lf
Danny Litwhiler, lf Bob O'Farrell, c
Marty Marion, ss Tommy Thevenow, ss
Mort Cooper, p Jesse Haines, p

Trouble finds 1926 right away when Hornsby boots a grounder by Walker with one out in the first. After Musial flies out, Cooper singles, and Kurowski follows with a bloop single to score the game's first run. They add another in the top of the third when Kurowski smashes a two-out double and scores on a single by Sanders. Meanwhile, Cooper is cruising, retiring the first 9 men in order through three innings. A perfect game in the making?

Apparently the jinx works in summary-writing as well --- seconds after the words "perfect game" are typed out on the keyboard, Douthit breaks it up with a single leading off the fourth. Then he steals second and scores on a single by young Southworth, cutting the 1943 lead in half. Hornsby and Bell single to load the bases with one out, but Hafey's flyball to left is too shallow to score Hornsby. O'Farrell flies out to left center to end the frame with all those runners stranded.

Walker doubles to lead off the fifth, but two outs later, he's still on second. Up comes Kurowski, whom Esquire once named the greatest Polish third baseman in the history of baseball. (No really; it's true. You can't make this stuff up.) Whitey drives one to deep center . . . . . very deep center. All the way over the wall. It's gone for a two-run dinger, making it 4-1 in favor of the '43 Cards after five.

Player Southworth leads off the bottom of the 6th with a double, and one out later Bottomley follows with an infield single to put runners on the corners and bring the tying run to the plate. Bell singles to plate Southworth, closing the lead is 4-2 and bringing Hafey to the plate. In his 1926 incarnation, this future Hall of Famer is just a raw 23-year old with a career OPS+ well below average. He strikes out. O'Farrell walks to load the bases for Thevenow, who can tie the game up with a mere single. But Cooper's having none of it; Thevenow flies out to end the threat.

Hornsby goes to his pen to start the 7th and waves in Art Reinhart, making his third appearance in this series. Fatigue is evident as Klein leads off with a double. One out later, player Southworth misplays a drive off Musial's bat for a two-base error. Klein scores on the play; that's all for Reinhart, and Syl Johnson comes on. He's greeted by the plundering Pole Kurowski, who singles home his fellow Pole Mr. Musial. Then Sanders doubles, and this game is busted open, as the '43 Cards lead it 7-2.

The '26ers add one run in garbage time, but they never mount a serious challenge. 1943 wins it 7-3, and once again this series is tied up, now at two games a piece. The '26 Cards had their opportunities tonight but couldn't seem to get the big hit. Kurowski had four hits and four RBI to take star of the game honors.


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Game 3
(1964 leads, 2 games to 0)

summary by giveml

Billy Southworth's 1944 World Champions have their backs against the proverbial wall as they try to regroup and rally from a 2-0 deficit. It hasn't been a pretty picture so far for the `44s, as they have only scored a single run in each of the first two games and have only one extra base hit. Southworth can't be happy with how his managerial moves worked out in Game 2 and is rumored to be very upset at his treatment in Bob Broeg's column.

He will try to regain some momentum behind Harry "The Cat" Brecheen, who went 16-5 in his 21 starts in 1944. The 1964 World Champions will counter with Ray Sadecki, who managed to reach the twenty-win plateau in spite of a relatively high 3.68 ERA and a barely better than league average ERA+ of 104. The `64s hope to jump on Brecheen early and romp to a 3-0 series lead, with Gibson looming as the Game 4 starter. Sadecki is looking forward to facing the '44 lineup that only has two players batting better than .250 so far. Despite the lax hitting, Southworth sticks with the same lineup he's used in losing the first two games of the series. Johnny Keane fills out the same card that raked the '44 bullpen for seven runs in Game 2.

1944 1964
Danny Litwhiler, lf Curt Flood, cf
Johnny Hopp, cf Lou Brock, lf
Stan Musial, rf Dick Groat, ss
Walker Cooper, c Ken Boyer, 3b
Ray Sanders, 1b Bill White, 1b
Whitey Kurowski, 3b Mike Shannon, rf
Marty Marion, ss Julian Javier, 2b
Emil Verban, 2b Tim McCarver, c
Harry Brecheen, p Ray Sadecki, p

The `64s take the field to the cheers of the home crowd. Sadecki signals that he is ready, McCarver whips the ball to second, and Danny Litwhiler steps up to the plate. Like the rest of the `44s, Litwhiler has a very determined look about him today, and he really battles Sadecki. The crafty left-hander is pounding the outside corner with good sinking action, and Litwhiler keeps spoiling good pitches by slapping them foul down the first base line until, on the ninth pitch of the at-bat, he draws a leadoff walk. Johnny Hopp steps in and bounces a ball to the right of Bill White that looks like it is headed for right, but White makes an outstanding play to nip the hard-sliding Litwhiler at second. Sadecki takes advantage of the open base at first and pitches around Musial to bring up Walker Cooper. Sadecki continues to work the righties away, and Cooper spanks a one-hopper right at White, who easily converts it into an inning-ending double play.

Brecheen takes the mound and the little lefty is able to keep the '64s hitters off balance. He surrenders a leadoff single to Curt Flood in the bottom of the first but then retires the next nine batters, with only two balls leaving the infield. He even manages a one-out single in the third but is stranded. The score is 0-0 after three innings, as Sadecki has only allowed two hits himself.

Musial pulls a 2-0 fastball through the hole for a base hit leading off the 4th. Cooper has been watching Sadecki hammer the right-handed hitters down and away, so he crowds the plate ever so slightly and looks for something he can take to the opposite field. Sadecki leaves an off-speed pitch up, and the big catcher doesn't miss it as he lofts a well-placed drive into the right-field alley just out of Shannon's reach. Somehow Musial knew all along the ball was going to plug the gap and scores all the way from first on Cooper's double for a 1-0 lead. The next batter, Ray Sanders, slaps one down the third-base line, but Boyer spears it and throws him out from foul territory as Cooper holds at second. Kurowski is up next and he finds the hole on the left side for a single, but Cooper is held at third with only one out, leaving it up to Marty Marion. Marion is game, but Sadecki wants no part of the MVP and walks him to get to the even lighter-hitting Emil Verban and his .293 slugging percentage. On a 2-1 count Southworth calls for the hit and run, but Verban grounds it up the middle right to the covering Groat, who converts it into a pretty 6-4-3 double play to end the threat and keep the score at 1-0.

The `64s try to get the run back in the bottom half of the inning as Brock fists a Texas Leaguer into short right in front of Musial. The rally fizzles as Cooper cuts down Brock stealing and Groat pops one into shallow CF for out number two. Boyer gets his fifth hit of the series, but White is punched out on a spectacular sweeping curveball to end the threat.

After an uneventful fifth inning, Cooper leads off the sixth by poking another outside offering into right field. The left-handed Sanders works the count to 2-2 before chasing a high fastball and popping it into short center. Sadecki is still pounding the righties away, and Kurowski lofts a fly ball down the right field line over Shannon's head and just over the wall at the 309 mark. Kurowski circles the bases and is mobbed by his teammates as he returns to the dugout. Shannon says to no one if particular, "they're really giving him the glad hand over there." Slats Marion drills the first pitch right over Sadecki's head, and Verban turns on an inside fastball and drills it on the ground down the third-base line, but Boyer turns in the fielding play of the series by backhanding the ball and firing to Hoolie, who pirouettes and retires Verban in a bang-bang play for a rally-killing double play. The `64s trail by only 3-0 going in to the bottom of the sixth.

The '64 fans get things revved up for their team in the bottom half, looking for Johnny Lewis to get something started. Brecheen will have none of it and befuddles the overmatched Lewis, who strikes out on three pitches without ever swinging the bat. The Cat easily retires Flood and Brock and the `44s race into the dugout looking for more runs.

Ron Taylor is in to pitch for the third game in a row, but looks impressive as he retires the side without allowing a hit. Brecheen bounces back out to the mound and starts off the bottom of the seventh by striking out Groat and looks like he could close this one out. Wary of Boyer's home-run power, he pitches him carefully and ends up walking him. As Brecheen focuses on how he is going to attack the left-handed hitting White, Southworth pops out of the dugout for a visit. The conversation gets pretty animated and Southworth signals for the right hander warming up in the pen. White has grounded out and struck out against the lefty Brecheen and Southworth is bringing in.....Al Jurisich!! Jurisich is the same pitcher who absorbed the loss in both of the previous games of the series, and the murmurs spread to the press box. Surely Southworth has lost his mind. The rookie righthander walks calmly to the mound, Southworth offers some words of encouragement, and Jurisch responds by getting White to hit a can of corn to left and jamming Shannon for a soft line drive to Kurowski to end the inning.

The `44s come out swinging in the top of the 8th. Taylor is still in the game and pitching for the third straight game. It finally starts to show as Musial and Cooper both hit first-pitch singles to put runners on first and second for the pride of Bonne Terre, Missouri --- Ray Sanders. Gordie Richardson is warming up in the bullpen and it looks like Sanders may be the last batter Taylor is allowed to face. Sanders removes all doubt by clubbing the first pitch deep into the right field alley just over the Post-Dispatch ad. He circles the bases with the Budweiser eagle flapping its wings in approval and the crowd going wild. Gordie Richardson comes in and finishes the inning with the `44s leading 6-0.

Jurisich returns to the mound to face the bottom of the `64s order with a six-run cushion, but to no avail. The toll of three straight days on the mound has worn him down just like it has Taylor. The first batter, Javier, jumps on a hanging breaking ball and drives it into the right-field corner for a double and some hope for the '64 fans. McCarver gets in on the fun by cracking a line-drive single right up the middle, and Javier scampers home with the first run of the game for the '64s. Southworth decides to get Freddy Schmidt up to get warm, and none too soon. Bob Skinner, pinch-hitting for Richardson, spanks a single to the right of Marion before Schmidt can even get his jacket off. McCarver races to third on the play. Cooper goes out to talk to his pitcher, and whatever he says works as Jurisich strikes out Flood swinging. Brock is up next and slaps a ball right at Marion for an apparent inning-ending twin killing, but the speedy Brock legs it out and is safe at first as McCarver scores to make it 6-2.

The failure to get the double play seems to have taken away what little remaining steam Jurisich could muster. He quickly falls behind Groat and walks him on a 3-1 pitch to bring up Boyer with runners on first and second and two outs. Boyer's first series homer would pull the `64s back to within one. Jurisich seems to realize that as well and can't throw Boyer a single strike as Kenny walks to load the bases for Bill White. The bullpen signals that Schmidt is ready and Southworth makes the long walk to the mound to take the ball from the exhausted Jurisich. Schmidt manages to settle his teammates nerves by getting White to hit a routine ground ball to Verban to end the inning and preserve the four-run lead.

Mike Cuellar enters the game in the ninth to pitch for the `64s and retires the side without a runner getting past first base to give his teammates one last chance in the bottom of the ninth. Freddy Schmidt has other ideas and gets Shannon and Javier to ground out to Kurowski before McCarver manages a single to right. Carl Warwick makes his series debut pinch-hitting for Cuellar, but he also grounds to third and the game is over.

Ray Sandersis named Star of the Game as his three-run homer put the game out of reach. He looks forward to admiring his picture on the right field wall tomorrow in the P-D ad.


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Game 3
(1985 leads, 2 game to 0)

summary by lboros

Surprisingly uncompetitive series so far; the 1985s have a couple of blowout wins, 16-0 and 8-3. That makes 6 wins in a row for them; they won the last four games of their round 1 series after falling behind 2 games to 0. The 1931 team will hope to begin a similar reversal today behind Burleigh Grimes. In case you were wondering, no other player named "Burleigh" ever donned a major-league uniform . . . . but Grimes represented the handle well, winning 270 games and earning a place in the Hall of Fame. He was 37 years old in 1931, which was his last good season. Sim-Whitey trots out Danny Cox, who threw 10 complete games and 4 shutouts in 1985. Do that today and you make $18m a year. . . . .

Sim-Gabby (Street) replaces Sparky Adams with Andy High today in the leadoff spot, hoping to change the dynamic. The usual order for the Heat Is Ons:

1931 1985
Andy High, 3b Vince Coleman, lf
George Watkins, rf Willie McGee, cf
Frank Frisch, 2b Tom Herr, 2b
Jim Bottomley, 1b Jack Clark, 1b
Chick Hafey, lf Andy Van Slyke, rf
Pepper Martin, cf Darrell Porter, c
Jimmie Wilson, c Terry Pendleton, 3b
Charlie Gelbert, ss Ozzie Smith, ss
Paul Derringer, p Joaquin Andujar, p

Different day, same story as Game 3 gets underway. The '31s waste an opportunity in the first, leaving two guys on base, and fall behind 2-0 in the 2d on a walk and three hits from the bottom of the '85 order. It might have been worse, as Pendleton reached 3d with one out but was stranded there by Cox and Coleman. No big deal, though: the '85s pile on another 4 runs in the next inning, three of them scoring on a bomb to right-center by Van Slyke. That's the coup de grace for ol' Grimes; he leaves, trailing 5-0, and Jesse Haines comes in and promptly gives up another run (albeit unearned). The aggregate score in the series is now 30 to 3; maybe we should just invoke the mercy rule and call the rest of the thing off.

The '31s plate a run in the 4th on a two-out hit by Jimmie Wilson. It follows a stolen base by Pepper Martin; questionable call with his team down 6-0, but give the kid credit for not giving up. Sim-Street apparently has, allowing Haines to lead off in the 5th (and make an easy out); but High follows up with a triple and Watkins hits a long homer to right-center, making the score 6-3. Cox steadies himself, inducing a flyout to right and an inning-ending groundball to Herr --- but wait a second, Tommy boots it. The inning continues. Hafey rips a single to bring the tying run to the plate, and Martin follows with a drive to left over Coleman's head; it leapfrogs the wall for a ground-rule double. The score's now 6-5, and the go-ahead run's down at 2d base; Sim-Whitey, where are you? Cox pitches around Wilson to get to light-hitting Charlie Gelbert, who skies one to left-center. McGee, Coleman, and Ozzie all converge on the ball . . . . who wants it. Anybody? No, make that nobody --- it falls in between them, and the tying and go-ahead runs speed across. The 1931s have a lead for the first time all series, 7 to 6. Cox finally pitches out of it; Herr hangs his head trotting off the field.

Whatever; the '85s can score at will anyway, right? Van Slyke singles and steals second and scores on a single, and it's 7-7. The 1931s leave men in scoring position in the 6th and 7th, and Street's frustration boils over in the bottom of the inning when a call on a close 3-2 pitch to Porter goes against his team. He comes out and kicks dirt all over the sim ump, earning the thumb; the walk moves the go-ahead run into scoring position for Pendleton, who is 8 for 13 in the series so far. No, make that 9 for 14 --- he rips a single. The '85s go back in front, 8-7.

The flesh-n-blood Whitey Herzog never gave his opponents any quarter, but the sim version does --- he brings in Neil Allen to protect a 1-run lead in the 8th inning. Allen was supposed to replace Bruce Sutter in 1985, but he wasn't up to challenge; he blew a bunch of games late, forcing Whitey to invent the bullpen-by-committee (Allen got sold to the Yankees later that summer). He's in perfect form here --- yields a walk to High and a double to Frisch and gets a quick hook, bequeathing the mess to Rick Horton. He retires Bottomley on a grounder to first while High holds at 3d, then intentionally walks Hafey to set up a two-out confrontation with Martin. The Wild Horse wins: base knock to center. High scores, Frisch scores, and the 1931s retake the lead 9 to 8.

Allyn Stout is on the mound for the 1931s at this point; not an ideal choice, but the bullpen's fairly well exhausted by now. He gives up a leadoff single to Lonnie Smith (????) ---- that's right, Lonnie started 1985 with the Cards and got off to a pretty good start (.377 obp, 12 steals) before Vince Coleman forced him to the bench. He singles here, then swipes 2d to get into scoring position, but can't move up as Coleman fans and McGee flies out. That brings up Herr, whose two-out error way back in the 5th created this whole mess to begin with. He rips a single --- tie game, 9-9. He steals second, the 3d theft of the game for the '85s. And ---- to nobody's surprise --- he trots home on Jack Clark's double. Whitey's gang is back out in front, 10-9. They've scored 34 runs in 3 games and are batting .392 as a team in this series.

You can't blame the 1931s for lying down in the face of that, can you? They do muster a baserunner with two outs in the 9th --- High, reaching base for the 4th time in the game. But Watkins strikes out to end the threat and the game. That's 7 straight for Whitey's guys, and Tudor goes back to the mound tomorrow in Game 4 with a chance to close this one out in a rush.