- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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McCarver is held at third and Gibson at second by the ruling. Bob Sadowski is in trouble. As he faces Julian Javier he has only one choice with his first pitch, and he uses it. Sadowski does not truly aim at Javier's head. He throws a fast ball at the bill of Javier's cap, and Javier spins into the dirt. Good pitch. With the infield in close, Javier hits the ball to Shortstop Roy McMillan, and McCarver breaks for the plate. McCarver should be out by 20 feet, but McMillan's throw is on a short hop and scoots past Catcher Del Crandall. The breaks are back with the Cardinals. Dick Groat hits an outside pitch to second base, and Frank Bolling's weak and wild throw is not in time to get Gibson sliding into home.
In the sixth, Bill White homers to put the Cardinals in front 3-0. The Braves rally in the ninth, but a fine play by Boyer at third and some excellent relief pitching by Ron Taylor pull the Cards out of trouble.
Manager Johnny Keane sits in his office and says, "It's a great thing to see kids like McCarver and Sadowski battle one another. They were always together, kidding one another and helping one another out when I had them in St. Petersburg this spring. I guess at night they would go out together and have a few beers. Both of them are high-class boys."
Twenty-six years ago Johnny Keane, a shortstop with Houston in the Texas League, used to go out and have a couple of beers with the first baseman on his team. Both of them were high-class boys. The first baseman was Walter Alston.
SUNDAY, SEPT. 15
Ken Boyer arrives early at Busch Stadium for the doubleheader with the Braves. Three days ago he was hit by a Larry Jackson pitch, and he has been wearing a red golf glove on his right hand. The hand still hurts. Standing in front of his locker he says, "I can't get the feel of the bat. I'm going to try and get by without the glove today."
During batting practice Boyer hits for five minutes, and his swing feels more natural but not really good. In the second inning he comes to bat and lines a sharp double just an inch fair down the left-field line. Bill White promptly follows with a home run. In the fourth Boyer drives one of Bob Hendley's pitches 365 feet into the left-field bleachers. When the scoreboard puts up two runs for the Phillies, to send them ahead of the Dodgers 4-1, Gary Kolb, who is the funny man of the Chinese Bandits, walks the length of the dugout on his heels and swings his fists exuberantly through the air.
Lou Burdette pitches excellent baseball until the top of the seventh, when he gives up a two-run homer to Henry Aaron. Burdette stands on the mound and swears at himself. But his real trouble lies ahead. In the top of the ninth, protecting his 3-2 lead, Burdette quickly gets two outs. Now he must face Eddie Mathews, one of the best home-run hitters in the history of the game. Burdette walks behind the mound, turns toward center field and bows his head over the ball. As he gets ready to pitch, Mathews asks Plate Umpire Tom Gorman to examine the ball. Mathews, a teammate of Burdette's for 11 years, suspects that Lou might be throwing a spit-ball. Gorman calls for the ball, and Burdette throws it to him on a nice, short, antiseptic bounce. To Gorman the ball seems dirty, not wet. He throws the ball out of the game. Twice, as Burdette gets ready to throw two-strike pitches, Mathews backs out of the batter's box and Burdette's shoulders sag. Finally Burdette throws a perfect pitch low and away, and Mathews merely doubles it to left. Burdette gets the last out on a long fly ball to Center Fielder Curt Flood. Pass the biscuits.
What does Julian Javier think when he hears Pass the Biscuits, Mirandy? He has trouble with English, and the song must sound kind of silly to him. In the Dominican Republic, where becomes from, they never heard anything quite like it. But he knows there is magic in the music.
The second inning of the second game, Javier bats in the Cardinals' second run, and then in the fourth he makes one of the big plays of this entire, desperate chase. With a runner on third, Javier on first and one out, Dick Groat slams a hard grounder and Shortstop Roy McMillan makes a brilliant stop to set up a sure double play. McMillan throws the ball to Second Baseman Frank Boiling, but Javier slides hard into Boiling, whose throw to first pulls Joe Torre one step off the bag and toward the hustling Groat. Groat now smashes into Torre, who drops the ball as that very comforting extra run scores. Boiling has to be taken from the game. Javier walks around dizzy. Boiling has kicked Javier in the head. It is bang-bang baseball, and it is winning baseball.