Saturday, June 6, 2009

#108 -- Gary Waslewski

Gary Waslewski

Before the 2004 post-season the Boston Red Sox were most known for 6th games. Carlton Fisk’s 1975 Game 6 homer is still one of the most dramatic moments in World Series history. The collapse in the 1986 Series (I attribute that to Schiraldi and Stanley as much as the first baseman) was in Game 6 and was the most defining moment of that franchise until 2004. However, back in 1967 a Red Sox team that had been underdogs all year found themselves at the precipice after 5 games of the World Series. They trailed the Cardinals 3 games to 2. It was Gary Bell’s turn to start, but he’d been rocked in Game 3 and relieved in Game 4.

Manager Dick Williams turned to a rookie that had a record of 2-2 for this elimination game. I’m sure Sox fans were thinking “Gary Who”? Gary didn’t get the win, but he pitched into the 6th and only gave 2 runs. The Sox went on to win Game 6, but fell to Bob Gibson’s hitting and pitching in Game 7. Nobody has ever started a World Series game with fewer career wins that Gary Waslewski. Only Hong-Chi Kuo, with 1 career win for the Dodgers before starting against the Mets in 2006, had fewer career wins to start a playoff game.

Things didn’t go well for Gary after that. He never had a winning season. He didn’t pitch in the World Series again, although he was on the A’s in 1972. He only pitched 8 games in relief for Dick Williams, but, despite a 2.04 ERA that was it for him in the big leagues. He pitched well in AAA for the A’s and Red Sox in 1973-74, but it seems there wasn’t a big market for a reliever in his 30’s that hadn’t done all that well in the big leagues. Gary packed it in and raised a namesake who is a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon in the Phoenix area.

What’s cool about this card is that it shows some of the old scoreboard in Yankee Stadium before the 1974 remodeling. I don’t remember the scoreboard having that shape. At first I thought it might be old Comiskey until I saw Gary in his home whites and figured out that was the Yankee logo on top of the scoreboard.

1972 feature

June 6 is D-Day. It’s a day we kind of remember because there was a big battle that day, but I think we have no idea what a tipping point in history that day was and how the Good Hand of God was upon us. All you have to do is watch the documentaries from how the odds were against us (bad weather, steep cliffs, PT boats not able to get to shore, soldiers very seasick), but we caught some breaks with the Germans not taking the initial reports of the landing seriously. I think we would have still won World War II eventually, but it would have taken longer and cost more. There aren’t many that stormed Normandy that day still alive. If you’re fortunate enough to know one, tell them thanks.

Although there as a 15-inning game in Baltimore, won by the Twins 5-4, I’m going to pick a Mets-Reds game as the Game of the Day. The Mets were a surprising first place team with a 4 game lead over the Pirates. The Reds were only 1.5 game back of the Dodgers. Johnny Bench hit a 2-run homer off Jim McAndrew in the 4th, but the Mets answered with runs in the 4th and 6th to tie it up. Tommie Agee singled in Jim Beauchamp with 2 out in the 7th off Don Gullett to put the Mets ahead. Tug McGraw came in and faced 7 batters to close the door in the 8th and 9th. The only runner to reach off Faith Hill’s father-in-law was when he hit Johnny Bench.

June 6 was also the 1972 draft. First rounders included overall #1 Dave Roberts (who went straight to the Padres), Rick Manning, Larry Christenson, Roy Howell, Dick Ruthven (who didn’t sign), Dave Chalk, Scott McGregor, Jamie Quirk, Jerry Manuel and Chet Lemon. Further down the draft were Dennis Eckersley (3rd round), Gary Carter (3rd round), Willie Randolph (7th round) and Lyman Bostock (26th round). No real big names here and I think Eckersley and Carter are the only future Hall of Famers in this draft.

Friday, June 5, 2009

#107 -- Jose Cruz

Jose Cruz

Guys don't put tape on tehir bats much anymore. However, in the days before everyone used 2 batting gloves, that was the way to keep your hands on the bat. I remember doing this some as a kid. I also remember callouses from swinging a bat a lot in the vacant lot next door. Jose looks like he's not needing the batting gloves here.

A lot of people forget that Jose came up with the Cardinals and that he finished with the Yankees. After the 1974 season he was sold to the Astros. The Cardinals were so-so at the time, but with an outfield of Lou Brock, Reggie Smith and Bake McBride there wasn't any room for Jose. That deal sure didn't work out for the Cardinals, because he went on to have 14 good years with the Astros.

In 1972, Jose was platooning with Luis Melendez in the outfield. The Cards were trying to find playing time in center and right for Jose, Melendez, Bernie Carbo and Matty Alou. Jose still got to play about half the time. But with the emergence of Bake McBride, he was out.

What I remember most about Jose was the Cardinal organization was ga-ga about the prospect of 3 Cruz brothers in the majors, kind of like the Alous. However, his brothers -- Tommy and Hector -- never really made it big. Hector lasted a few years (after failing miserably to replace Ken Reitz at 3rd) and Tommy bounced around.

Jose is still coaching with the Astros. He'll never make the Hall of Fame, but he was a solid player for a very long time.

1972 Feature
There were only 2 games on June 5, 1972. Both ended with 3-2 scores. My Game of the Day will be the A's over the Indians in 10 innings. They scored 2 early runs on Gaylor Perry, who then shut the A's down until the Indians scored in the 7th and 8th to send it to extra innings. Bert Campaneris hit a 2 out homer in the top of the 10th. Blue Moon Odom and Darold Knowles put down the Indians in the 10th to close out the win.

June 5, 1972 was also the day Mike Coolbaugh was born. He died on the field in Little Rock almost 2 years ago after being hit by a batted ball. Now, all field coaches wear batting helmets. It was a horrible loss of what everyone has said is a great guy.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

#106 -- Brewers Team

Milwaukee Brewers

(Apologies to Matt. I was out of town when this posted and didn't realize I hadn't uploaded scans of the cards.)

The first thing that jumps out at you are the records on the back of the card. This team only had 3 years to compile records, so they're not going to be terribly impressive. For one thing, you can tell that Tommy Harper had a good year in 1970. Of the 11 club records, Tommy set 8 of them in 1970. The only batting record that fell in 1972 was that George Scott knocked in 88 runs to take the club record.

On the pitching side, Marty Pattin had a pretty good 1971, but things were a little more spread around. No pitching records fell in 1972, but Jim Lonborg tied Pattin's 14 wins in 1970 and 1971. Interesting that Pattin and Harper (and others) were traded to the Red Sox for Scott and Lonborg (and others) and they're all over the leader board on this franchise as of 1972.

The Brewers still sucked in 1972. They were last in the AL in attendance with 600,000. That's right. The Yankees or Dodgers can pull that in on a long homestand now. It didn't matter whether Dave Bristol or Del Crandall was managing, they still lost. Heck, you could have Whitey Herzog, Billy Martin, Tommy Lasorda and Earl Weaver on the bench and this team wasn't going to win. George Scott was 4th in the league in RBI and 9th in hits and Johnny Briggs was 9th in homers and slugging percentage and that was it for Brewers on the hitting leaderboards. Oh, Rick Auerbach was 4th in outs made. The pitching side was even leaner with Ken Sanders being 4th in saves and 5th in games pitched, unless you want to consider Billy Parsons being 3rd in earned runs allowed.

George Scott won a Gold Glove at first base. I would have thought he would be the Brewer All-Star, but that honor went to Ellie Rodriguez, who had 2 homers, 16 RBI and hitting .281 at the break. Boomer was only hitting .238 at the break and there are usually a lot of deserving first basemen.

I do like the guy wearing the letterman's jacket on the left side of the picture.

1972 Feature
Being a Sunday, June 4, 1972 was a big day for doubleheaders. The A's swept the Orioles in identical 2-0 games. The White Sox came back from yesterday's 13-inning loss to sweep the Yankees, including a 3-run walk-0ff homer by 1972 MVP Dick Allen in the 2nd game. The Pirates swept the Giants. The Red Sox and Royals split. The 2nd game of the Yankees-White Sox doubleheader would have to be the Game of the Day. The Yanks took a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the 9th. Wife Swapper Mike Kekich was cruising along, having allowed 2 runs on 3 hits, but had walked 6. Rick Reichardt flied out, but after Bill Melton walked and Mike Andrews singled, Sparky Lyle came in. Lyle was a stud, but he went 5 innings the day before. Weak hitting Rich Morales was due up, but Chuck Tanner sent up Dick Allen, who'd had the day off. As Ralph Cramden would say, "Bang Zoom" and the game was over.

Cy Acosta made his major league debut in this game (no doubt because of the way the Sox bullpen had been shredded), pitched a scoreless 9th and got the win.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

#105 -- Gary Gentry

Gary Gentry

Sometimes, when you do well in the post-season, it really doesn't matter what else you do, you're remembered for that, good or bad. Just ask Cardinal fans about Tom Lawless. He did absolutely nothing, but he homered off Frank Viola in the 1987 Series and he would be enshrined in the Cardinal Hall of Fame if they'd won the Series that year. I suppose you can also ask Tom Niedenfuer (sorry Night Owl) who was a pretty good reliever that just happened to give up kind of important homers in Games 5 and 6 of the NLCS.

Gary Gentry won a game in the 1969 World Series and the regular season pennant clincher for the Miracle Mets. For Mets fans, he'll always be beloved, even though he was pretty much a .500/league average pitcher. He and Nolan Ryan emerged at about the same time, although Ryan was in the bullpen more while Gentry and Jim McAndrew held down rotation spots behind Seaver and Koosman.

He fell off some in 1972. It turned out he had an arm injury he'd been pitching through. The Mets traded him and Danny Frisella to the Braves for Felix Millan and George Stone. Looked like a pretty even trade at the time, but Stone went on to win 12 games for the '73 Mets and Millan was a regular 2nd baseman through most of the 70's. Gentry never recovered from his arm injury and Dan Frisella was a mediocre reliever until his death on New Years' Day 1977. While the Mets made a good trade here, they should have dealt Gentry a year earlier. Supposedly, when the Mets were picking up Jim Fregosi to be their regular third baseman, the Angels wanted the guy they got or Gentry, didn't matter to them. I think the Mets exercised some emotion and the rest is history.

Looks like Gary got picked off for his photo while the pitchers were warming up at the beginning of 1971 Spring Training. Hard to tell who's behind him. They look like black right-handed pitchers, but the Mets didn't have anybody like that on their 1971 roster. I suppose it could be position players (Cleon Jones, Tommie Agee, Donn Clendenon), but the guy on the far right definitely looks like he's in a pitching pose.

1972 Feature
The Game of the Day for June 3, 1972 is going to have to be the wild, 13-inning game won by the Yankees over the White Sox at Comiskey by an 18-10 score. The Sox scored 10 in the first 6 innings against Yankee starter Fred Beene and a couple of relievers. The Yankees had put up 8 runs in the 4th and 5th innings against Stan Bahnsen and Phil Regan. The Yanks tied the score at 10-10 in the top of the 9th with 2 runs off Rich Gossage. It was then a bullpen game and the Yanks had Sparky Lyle while the Sox (who had a thin bullpen anyway) only had Steve Kealey and Bart Johnson. I think they were out of pitchers because Johnson faced 13 hitters giving up 8 runs in the 13th. He got hit for homers by Thurman Munson and Bobby Murcer, gave up a double to Sparky Lyle, walked 4 and threw a wild pitch. That was Johnson's last game of the season, but in an interview he admitted to an off-season right knee injury (he reported it immediately to the Sox) that had been bothering and caused him to have surgery after 1972. I get interested in situations like this where, in a close game, the manager leaves the pitcher out there to absorb a beating.

There were a couple of other games I'd normally pick. Don Sutton improved to 8-0 with a 1-0, 7-hitter over the Cardinals. Bill Stoneman threw a 10-inning 1-0 shutout over the Astros.

The Number One song for the week ending June 3 was "I'll Take You There" by the gospel group The Staple Singers. I have a feeling they may have had a different idea of where "there" was than many of the hippies listenting on the radio. This is from the Flip Wilson Show (No, the Devil didn't make me do it.)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

# 104 -- Toby Harrah

Toby Harrah

Toby Harrah. Dick Nen. Robb Nen. I know there are more ballplayers with palindromes for last names, but Harrah would have to be the longest. He had a long career. I didn't realize he broke in as a 20-year old in 1969. He pinch ran in 7 games and pinch hit in 1. Amazing year in 1969: starts the season in A ball ends the season in the big leagues playing for Ted Williams.

Even though he was an All-Star 4 times, I never thought of him among the best shortstops in the league at the time. However, he would have fit today's game very well. He was a solid, but not exceptional fielder. He had pop in his bat, hitting over 20 homers 5 times and had 5 years drawing over 90 walks. However, the typical shortstop in the 70's had good range in the field and if he did anything at the plate, it was hit for average and steal bases. That wasn't Toby's game. He hit over .270 only 3 times, but could steal bases.

Toby took the shortstop job in 1971 and didn't look back. He was the Ranger All-Star representative in 1972, but that was kind of like saying someone "runs fast for a catcher." Toby is staring off into space on the card, not because he's wondering how it would be to share a locker room with Bobby Murcer, Rod Carew, Carl Yastrzemski, Reggie Jackson, et. al. (he didn't play in the All-Star Game because of injury. Bobby Grich played the whole game because Earl Weaver was the manager, although Campaneris and Patek appeared to be available), but because he's wearing a Washington Senators cap that's not allowed in the 1972 set. I personally don't care much for this card because it just doesn't do anything.

Toby's career had a few oddities:
1. June 25, 1976. Played doubleheader at shortstop with no fielding chances. (He went 6-8, 2 HR, 8 RBI and 2 BB's offensively.)
2. September 17, 1977. Played 17 innings at 3rd without an assist (he had 1 putout, catching a throw from SS Bert Campaneris and tagging Rod Carew, who was trying to advance from 2nd to 3rd on a grounder to short, which we're taught not to try to do).
3. August 27, 1977. Along with Bump Wills, hit back-to-back jacks in Yankee Stadium. Big deal you say? Would you be impressed with the oddity if I told you they were both inside-the-parkers?

The question on the back of the card about circling the bases held too much intrigue for me to let pass. They didn't time guys hitting inside the park homers in the 20's. Apparently between games of doubleheaders (for all of you under the age of 38, a "doubleheader" is something where baseball teams used to schedule 2 games in 1 day, usually on Sunday, but also sometimes during the week, especially if there had been a rainout) they would hold contests. One of these was to have an around the bases race. Evar Swanson was an outfielder for the Reds and White Sox who'd also played in the NFL and ran track in college. Apparently he set the "record" in a September doubleheader at 13.3 seconds. Later, during his final year in 1934, he was timed at 14.8 seconds. I guess he slowed enough that he was out of the league. During that doubleheader, Al Simmons of the A's hit a fungo (throw it up and hit it) 428' and Hal Trosky threw a ball 376 feet. These contests alone make me wish they had doubleheaders now.

1972 Feature
Sorry, ladies, this is for all the guys out there. This was the cover of Life Magazine on June 2, 1972. I have to post it:

A couple of months later the movie "Kansas City Bomber" was released. I didn't see it at the theater when I was 8, but I remember seeing it several times on TV in later years. Can you imagine why Raquel Welch in a roller derby movie would stay ingrained in my pre-pubescent mind? I don't remember much of the plot, but I remember thinking "She's pretty," or something like that. She was certainly more interesting than George McGovern (I liked Nixon).

# 103 -- Checklist


There's just not much for me to say about a checklist. At least nothing to say about a checklist that doesn't have a picture of Juan Marichal or Bob Gibson on it like they did in the late 60's. I'll go by the teaching of the Bible that if you can't find something nice to say, say something nice (Ephesians 4:29):

This checklist is very yellow.

There. Post complete.

1972 Feature
June 2, 1972 was a Friday night. There was an early season matchup of the 1971 ALCS with Baltimore beating the A's 5-1. It might have been a great pitching matchup of Jim Palmer against Vida Blue, except Blue was still getting himself in shape after he held out until May 24. The 1971 NLCS teams also had a matchup in San Francisco with Juan Marichal raising his record to 2-8 (ouch) with a win over the Pirates.

Raul Ibanez was born on June 2, 1972. A guy that needs a little recognition, however, is Tim Plodinec. Who the heck is that? He was a Cardinal pitcher who played his only game on this date. He pitched 1/3 of an inning in Dodger Stadium, coming in with runners at 2nd and 3rd and 2 outs facing Manny Mota (RBI single), Steve Garvey (RBI single after wild pitch let another in), Duke Sims (single) and Bill Russell (lineout). Unfortunately, he turned a 5-1 game into an 8-1 game, was pinch-hit for and never seen in the big leagues again.

However, my Game of the Day would be between the East leading Tigers (22-17) getting past the surprising Twins (23-14) in 11 innings by a 5-4 score. Mickey Lolich was dominating the Twins until weak-hitting Danny Thompson hit a 2-run dinger in the 8th and the Twins pushed another across in the 9th. Gates Brown got an RBI double in the 11th to end it.

Raul Ibanez was born on June 2, 1972. A guy that needs a little recognition, however, is Tim Plodinec. Who the heck is that? He was a Cardinal pitcher who played his only game on this date. He pitched 1/3 of an inning in Dodger Stadium, coming in with runners on 2nd and 3rd and 2 outs of a game the Dodgers led 5-1. He faced Manny Mota (RBI single), Steve Garvey (RBI single after a wild pitch let another in), Duke Sims (single) and Bill Russell (lineout). Unfortunately, he turned a 5-1 game into an 8-1 game, was pinch-hit for and never seen in the big leagues again.

Monday, June 1, 2009

#102 -- Lloyd Allen

Lloyd Allen

(Exchange between player and GM underling in California Angels spring training camp, circa 1971)
GM Underling: Hey, Rook. Yeah, you. Get over here for your baseball card picture.
Player: Here?
GM Underling: Of course here. Where did you think you were going to have your photo taken, Cooperstown?
Player: Why aren't you getting Cowan and Wright's pictures taken?
GM Underling: You don't understand the hierarchy, son. We know they're going to be with the team and Topps said they want to get their photos at the Stadium in Anaheim. Either that or they'll get some game action shots. You? Well, just in case you finally make the team they want to get something in their library so they can put you on a card next year.
Player: Oh. I see. But what will I wear?
GM Underling: Rook, you ain't funny. Just get over here.
Player: Against that temporary outfield fence? I hope Cowan and Wright get better backgrounds.

Lloyd Allen made the Angels in 1971. He was a 1968 1st round draft choice, made his major league debut in 1969 and had another cup of coffee in 1970. He broke through in 1971 and not only made the team, but, according to the Topps copy writer, was "one of the AL's top firemen..." He had an impressive year, with an ERA of 2.49 and 15 saves. He even hit a solo home run for his only career RBI off Dave Boswell of the Orioles in July.

Lloyd's 21 and has a promising future in Anaheim, right? Think again. The life of a reliever is a roller coaster. He gets off to a great start in 1972. By June 26, he's got a 2.11 ERA, saved 5/6 chances and pitching well. Well enough that the brass decides to put their 1st round draft pick into the rotation. He gets 6 starts, going 0-4, 4.97 (pretty bad in those days). He goes back to the bullpen. The last 14 games he pitched that year he went 1-0, 4.00 ERA. He blew saves in his first 2 games back in the bullpen (winning the 2nd) and didn't get another shot to save a game the rest of the year.

The win he got in relief was his last big league win. He was traded to the Rangers in early 1973, where he went 0-6. He was 0-2 in 1974 and 1975 with the Rangers and White Sox and that was it. What had been such a promising start ends with 3 years of 0-10, 8.89 ERA. He bounced around the minors through 1979 without getting back to the big leagues and then gave it up.

He also didn't get a cool background for his card like Billy Cowan and Clyde Wright did, either.

One more thing about the card. I love the cartoon. The Angels moved all the way from Los Angeles to Anaheim. However, Mr. Autry (if he was the owner at the time) could have at least let the players sit in the front of the moving van instead of sticking them in the back!

1972 Feature
On this day (June 1) in 1972, the Game of the Day was in Cleveland, where the surprising Indians (19-17) beat the Tigers 1-0 to draw them within 1 game of the lead. Gaylord Perry pitched a 7 hit shutout for his 9th victory. Cleveland scored its run with good fundamental baseball in the 3rd. Eddie Leon drew a 1 out walk, was bunted to 2nd by Perry and scored on a base hit by Tommy McCraw. Gaylord did the rest.

Also on this day in 1972, Stan Williams was released by the Angels. That was it for him.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

#101 -- Astros Rookies (Greif, Richard, Busse)

Bill Greif

None of these 3 guys provided any production for the Astros in 1972. Therefore, we should just consider this an example of Topps getting it wrong for its Rookie Prospects. The Astros went with a very set lineup of vets in 1972 and didn't have room for any rookies to break in. The Astros lineup was so set in 1972 it's a little difficult to play Strat-O-Matic because they just didn't have very many at bats to bench players. If somebody gets injured, the only infield replacements you've got are Bobby Fenwick and Jimmy Stewart.

Back to the Rookies on this card. I misspell Bill Greif's name all the time. I give myself a lot of "grief" over that. I guess perhaps I'll use that to learn to spell it properly. Bill's most known as a losing pitcher with the Padres. The Astros got more out of Bill in 1972 than anyone else on this card, as he and Derrel Thomas were the big parts of a trade to the Padres for Dave Roberts (the lefty pitcher). Bill proceded to go 5-16, 10-17 and 9-19 before the Padres decided to turn him into a reliever. Bill didn't do much better as a reliever. His 1977 card has achieved some fame as he never played with the Expos, despite what Topps made us believe.

J.R. Richard is the centerpiece of this card. I loved J. R. Richard in the late 70's and into 1980. He was big and fierce and looked it in the Astro rainbow uniforms. He threw hard and for several years didn't really know where it was going. In 1971 he pitched at Oklahoma City and averaged 10.5 K/9IP. Unfortunately, he also walked 105, which was almost 5.5/9IP. He wasn't a regular in the big leagues until 1975. His career really was only from 1975-1980 and in those 6 years he went 96-65 with 1339 strikeouts. That's in 5 1/2 years.

I remember 1980 very well. I was rooting for the Astros because of a good pitching staff, Bill Virdon was the manager (he lives in the same area I do), the cool uniforms, and the Cardinals were still kind of sucking. The Astros had picked up Nolan Ryan, so they had 2 guys who'd been striking out 300/year and a 20-game winning knuckleballer to sandwich between the two. J.R. got off to a great start and looked like a Cy Young for sure until he started complaining of a dead arm. Nobody believed him until he collapsed with a stroke in July. I remember a "Sporting News" cover with him and "Who Shot JR's Arm?" on the cover. He tried to come back through the minors, but he couldn't do it. He ended up losing a lot of money to an oil scheme and a couple of divorces and was living under a bridge in the mid-90's. He's got things back together now, thanks in large part to friends in baseball and his faith. One of my favorite autographed cards is a 1977 J.R. Richard. I don't know if it's real or not, but it's good enough for me.

I'd like to know what would happen if J.R. hadn't had a stroke end his career at age 30. If he had another 5 1/2 years like the preceeding 5 1/2 years, he'd be looking at roughly 200 wins, 3000 strikeouts and a Cy Young or 2. I think the Astros would have pushed by the Phils in the 1980 NLCS (the best LCS in history) if he was there, so he might have even had a World Series ring. I don't think he would have retired voluntarily at age 36, so he might have hung around to rack up stats like a lot of guys do, but for the prime 10-11 years, he'd have a great start on Cooperstown numbers. What a shame.

I actually knew who Ray Busse was without having to look him up. That's because the Cardinal announcers in the 1970's made every young player out to be the next great Cardinal Hall of Famer. Therefore, I have memories of guys like Ray Busse, Tom Heintzelman, Hector Cruz, Skip Jutze, Stan Papi, and so on. What I remember about Ray was, "at 6'4", he's a little tall to be a good shortstop." I think it was Mike Shannon who said that. A guy named Ripken came along about 10 years later..... However, Busse wasn't going to be the great 6'4" shortstop. He had a career batting average of .148 over 155 at bats. (The record for lowest career batting average by a non-pitcher with 155 at bats or more is Dick Smith's .134.) Ray did hit 2 homers in his 70 Cardinal at bats. They came off Rich Reuschel and Sam McDowell, who were a couple of pretty good pitchers. Perhaps Mike Shannon's comment about 6'4" shortstops had some basis in reality: Ray had a lifetime fielding percentage of .898 in his 23 games for the Cardinals in 1973. That's really bad. What's even worse is that the Cards trotted him out there as their starting shortstop 20 times in 1973, a year they finished only 1 1/2 games out of first. Man, if only Mike Tyson had been available more.

1972 Feature

On this date (May 31) in 1972, there were 10 games played in the big leagues and 8 of them were 1-run games. That would have been an exciting night on Baseball Tonight if such a thing existed then. The Angels came back with 1 in the 8th and 1 in the 9th to beat the White Sox (2nd major league win for Lloyd Allen, who's coming up next). Detroit beat the Indians 5-4 in 10, but not before the Indians tied the game in the 9th when Jim Northrup dropped a fly ball that would have been a sac fly. Dodgers beat the Giants 5-4 in 10 on a Manny Mota triple (he was then caught stealing home). In the pitching duel of the day, Bob Gibson and the Cardinals beat Ferguson Jenkins and the Cubs 1-0.

Also on May 31, 1972, Red Sox fans everywhere rejoiced (at least those who had been in 2004 and then got in Dr. Brown's DeLorean) as Dave Roberts was born. This is for all of Chowd Nation.