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THE DESPERATE CHASE
William Leggett
September 23, 1963
One of baseball's famed clichés is the cry of the team that is almost out of the race: "We've got to win 'em all." This is what the Cardinals were saying three weeks ago when they trailed the Dodgers by seven games. Since then, in the hottest pennant drive in memory, St. Louis has climbed upward—crucial day by crucial day. Last week, true to the cliché, they won 'em all. Here, game by game, is an intimate look at the Cards' dramatic pursuit
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September 23, 1963

The Desperate Chase

One of baseball's famed clichés is the cry of the team that is almost out of the race: "We've got to win 'em all." This is what the Cardinals were saying three weeks ago when they trailed the Dodgers by seven games. Since then, in the hottest pennant drive in memory, St. Louis has climbed upward—crucial day by crucial day. Last week, true to the cliché, they won 'em all. Here, game by game, is an intimate look at the Cards' dramatic pursuit

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Late in the afternoon the New York Yankees ask for 50 rooms in the DeVille Motor Hotel for October 4 to 7. At night the Dodgers beat the Pirates 5-3.

FRIDAY, SEPT. 13

This morning a man went out to the St. Louis zoo at Forest Park. It is a wonderful zoo, known the world over. There is a great act at the St. Louis zoo. Mr. Moke is on display there, and Mr. Moke is the only talking chimpanzee in the world. Mr. Moke says two words: "no" and "mama." The man asked Mr. Moke a simple question, "Mr. Moke, are the Dodgers going to win the National League pennant?" Mr. Moke scratched his head and thought a lot, and what he finally said wasn't "mama."

Curt Flood thought a lot about Warren Spahn of the Milwaukee Braves this morning. "He's been jazzing me for a long time," he said. "He wastes his fast ball and gets me to swing at his off-speed stuff. Musial's the guy. Musial murders Spahnie. He always has."

At lunchtime Warren Spahn talks about Musial. "We've battled over the years," he says. "I'm going to miss Musial when he retires, for two reasons. The first one is that he is great for baseball. The second is that in 23 years he is the guy that I haven't been able to find a way to pitch to." In the bottom of the first, with two men out, Musial digs in against Spahn. They will never face each other again. Musial pumps Spahn's first pitch toward the right-field pavilion. A double, it misses being a home run by inches. Spahn kicks the mound. He tries to jam Ken Boyer, but Boyer is out in front of the pitch and hits it into the left-field bleachers. Musial waits for Boyer at the plate and shakes his hand. In the second, Spahn comes over the outside of the plate with a fast ball, and Flood lines a single to right. He cruises into second when Henry Aaron bobbles the ball. The rally does not die until the Cardinals have a 7-0 lead. "All through the game," Flood says later, "I kept hollering at the pitcher [Curt Simmons]. I know he can't hear me from center field, but I yell to keep myself on my toes. I'm really yelling at myself."

Mirandy plays louder than ever and over and over in the dressing room. The Cardinals have won their 16th game in their last 17. Flood has now hit in 14 straight games. Musial is hitting .571 since Monday. Curt Simmons has pitched three consecutive shutouts for the first time in his long career. The Dodgers split a pair of tight, tough games in Philadelphia.

SATURDAY, SEPT. 14

Last night Tim McCarver, the catcher, went out with Ann McDaniel. She is from Memphis, and so is he. She is on her way to the University of Oklahoma, where McCarver is a sophomore, and he has invited her to spend the weekend in St. Louis. She is also going to drive McCarver's car back to school, and this makes her the best-looking chauffeur of all time. They will not allow their pictures to be taken, though. They are not quite that serious yet.

Early this afternoon McCarver watches the Milwaukee pitcher, Bob Sadowski, warm up. Sadowski is about the best friend that Tim McCarver has in the world. In 1960 they played together in Memphis; in 1961 in Charleston; in 1962 in Atlanta. Next December, when Bob Sadowski's wife has her first child, Tim McCarver is going to be the godfather. "Bob," says McCarver, "is a great pitcher." The Cardinals traded Sadowski to the Braves this spring along with Gene Oliver in exchange for Lou Burdette. "Bob," says McCarver, "is an unlucky pitcher." Sadowski has won his last four decisions and carries the best earned run average (2.34) on the Brave pitching staff, though his record is only 5-5. In five games this year in which he has lost or not figured in a decision, the Braves have provided him with a total of only three runs.

In the second inning McCarver gets the first hit off Sadowski, a fruitless single. Leading off in the fifth, however, he lines a sharp single off Sadowski's ankle. Sadowski is hurt, and the Braves rush to his side. He tries a few pitches and says he can continue. After George Altman flies out, Pitcher Bob Gibson comes to bat. Gibson belts one to left that is in the bleachers, but an anxious fan reaches out and touches the ball before it can reach the home run level. Umpire Stan Landes rules interference. The fans boo, but the call is correct. For the first time in a week a critical break has gone against the Cardinals.

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