Thursday, January 22, 2009

#13 -- Joe Grzenda

Joe Grzenda

Why does "Shaky Joe" Grzenda seem to have a little bit of a smile on his face? Perhaps he’s happy to no longer be a Senator? Perhaps he’s simply happy to have survived the final AL game at RFK. You see, the last pitch Joe threw in 1971 was the last pitch at RFK Stadium before the Senators moved to Texas. In fact, for over 30 years, it was thought he threw THE last pitch there until the Expos moved to the Capitol. In the top of the 9th, Joe induced pinch-hitter Felipe Alou to ground out for the second out of the inning with the Senators leading 7-5. Joe was in line for his 6th save of the year. The bases were empty and Bobby Murcer was coming to bat. However, upset Senator “fans” stormed the field, taking dirt and pieces of the turf as souvenirs. The game was forfeited to the Yankees.
1972 was Joe’s last season and, sadly, he didn’t get a save opportunity. The crowd at RFK deprived Joe of his 15th and final big league save. Joe was on the Cardinals roster all year, but only pitched in 30 games and 35 innings. He was a mop-up man and handled short relief when Moe Drabowsky and Diego Segui were unavailable.

1972 Feature

When I was young, Saturday night was pizza night. My mother would make a pizza on a square pan out of homemade crust and a Chef-Boyardee pizza mix (I know, that's got to be heresy to some of you). My sister and I got used to that being our Saturday night ritual.

On January 22, 1972, there was something added to our Saturday night ritual for a few years. The TV show "Emergency!" debuted on NBC. It starred Randolph Mantooth and Kevin Tighe as a couple of paramedics for the Los Angeles County Fire Department. It was a spinoff of Adam-12 and lasted until 1979. I know we must have watched it every week, but it was always the same show. Somebody had a pressing disaster (wreck, fire, etc.) and Mantooth and Tighe would have to rush in and help. They'd also have to repeat for the audience what they were doing, such as "Squad 51, start an IV with lactate ringers, STAT. Rampart out." They were "Squad 51" and the dispatcher was from fictional Rampart Hospital. Also, Randolph Mantooth was supposed to be the dreamy looking guy that all the teenie-bopper girls (and their mothers) would swoon over. Fortunately, I was too young to notice much swooning in my house.

My memory of the show is that it probably wasn't as good as I thought it was. Mantooth and Tighe have basically had bit parts since then, the most significant being Tighe's portrayal of John Locke's dastardly birth father in "Lost." Emergency! never brought in the ratings that Adam-12 did, but I think it consistently won it's time slot later on. I'm surprised it survived the first year becuase it had to go head to head with the #1 rated show, All In the Family. But Archie moved nights and Emergency! kept LA County safe. We'll come back to some great TV characters like Archie Bunker and Fred Sanford later on.


  1. I loved Emergency! My friends and I used to watch it all the time as kids.

    I was at my mother-in-laws over the summer and found Emergency on the TV. It was the first time I had seen it in 30 years. They were rescuing a teenage girl who got overheated in a bear mascot costume. Later, they treated a whole family that had gone hysterical because they thought the mother had died. It turns out she was sleeping or something like that.

    The show was frighteningly bad.

  2. Holy crap, that's a TON of stats on the back, mostly minor league.

  3. Andy, I hadn't really paid that much attention to his minor league numbers. They really weren't that good, especially 5-7 walks/9IP as a starter in the late 50's.

  4. I love Emergency! It was well before my time (I was born in 1981) but I caught it on TV Land my sophomore or junior year in college. I skipped one particular philosophy class many a day (I probably missed more than half the classes) to watch Emergency and Adam-12 in the afternoon. I still managed to get an A in the class though.

    In fact I was overjoyed to see that the first several seasons have been posted on

    Back to baseball cards... you should start a running count of photos that give a good idea of what's in the player's nose. This is the second one and it's absolutely terrifying. Ron Swoboda was the first and only slightly less scary.