Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Detroit Tigers - 1966 Tournament Champions

Congrats to Jack Mudd, who piloted the Tigers to 3 series wins en-route to the 1966 Tournament Championship.  Detroit finished the tournament 11-3.

1966 World Series Game 4: "Broom Time"

Game 4 - Tiger Stadium
"I have said this many times: I've had many good pitchers on my teams during my career, including the best in the business in Sandy Koufax, and I am sure that all these pitchers will agree that if a club had to win one game, it would be (Johnny) Podres that would get the call." - Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager Buzzie Bavasi on Bloomberg.com (Larry DiTore, 01/14/2008)
The Dodgers brought back ace pitcher Sandy Koufax to stave off elimination.  Most observers felt that the Dodgers had little chance to come back in the series but that Koufax would at least prevent a sweep.  Detroit put Johnny Podres on the hill to try to clinch it.  Podres of course was a former Dodger great who had helped them win four championships, but the Dodgers, apparently thinking Podres was finished, had traded him to the Tigers in May '66 for the insulting "future considerations".  Podres was out for revenge. 
Podres and Koufax traded scoreless innings until the 4th when the Tigers again stunned Koufax with a 4 run rally.  Cash and Jim Northrup (4-4 in the game) doubled, Don Wert singled, Dick McAuliffe tripled, and Bill Freehan clouted another double to drive the Detroit crowd wild.  The outburst seemed to take the life out of the reeling Dodgers, who could only scratch out three scattered hits the remainder of the game.  In the 7th Norm Cash capped off his amazing post season with a solo home run and was rewarded with a tremendous standing ovation by the Detroit fans.  The Tigers added another run in the 8th on a bases loaded walk to light hitting shortstop Ray Oyler.  Podres had his revenge, allowing only 4 hits through 8 innings.  Although he wanted to take the ball for the 9th he had thrown 130 pitches so Detroit took him out and let Fred Gladding have the honor of closing out the Dodgers.  The final out touched off a wild celebration in Detroit, which feels like city on top of the world right now, forty years from now Detroit will probably still be one of the most prestigious cities in the world. 
  • Series MVP- Norm Cash 8-16 with 3 HR's in the series, for the tourney he hit .433 with 12 HR's and an Ops of 1.536
  • Detroit's starting pitchers get a well deserved honorable mention, allowing only 6 runs in four games.
Detroit 6-0, 
Tigers sweep series

1966 World Series Game 3: "A Test of Wills"

Game 3 - Tiger Stadium
The series moves to Detroit with the Tigers so far dominating the favored Dodgers.  LA sent Don Sutton to the mound to try to reverse the Detroit mojo, while the Tigers countered with the talented but inconsistent Denny McLain.  The Dodgers wasted no time trying to prove the two losses in LA were a fluke, scoring 3 runs in the 1st on a Tommy Davis single and Lou Johnson's 2-run HR.  The 22 year old McLain looked more irritated than flustered and struck out Al Ferrara to end the inning.  The score remained 3-0 LA until the bottom of the 3rd when Sutton, with 2 outs, walked two and then allowed a double to Willie Horton and a single by Jim Northrup to tie it up.  LA countered with a run in the 4th on a bases loaded force out, with 2 outs and the bases still loaded Tommie Davis sent a screaming line drive to center field but gold glover Al Kaline was there to end the threat. 
In the bottom of the exciting 4th the Tigers took the lead when Orlando McFarlane homered just inside the left field foul pole and McLain, Kaline and ... you guessed it, Norm Cash, singled to plate McLain.  Detroit added a key insurance run in the 6th when the Tiger's other clutch hitter Dick McAuliffe drove in Jerry Lumpe, who definitely did not hit like a lump in the playoffs.  Neither team scored in the 7th and 8th, setting the stage for the desperate Dodgers to try to mount a rally in the 9th.  A tired McLain had been removed in the 8th in favor of Detroit closer (and former Dodger) Larry Sherry, who has been excellent through most of the post-season.  However, Sherry walked Al Ferrara and Wes Parker sandwiched around a fly out.  After pinch hitter Dick Stuart also flied out Detroit brought in lefty Hank Aguirre to pitch to Willie Davis.  The Dodgers answered that move with pinch hitter Nate Oliver, who came through with a single to cut the lead to one run.  Maury Wills strolled to the plate with the tying run only 90 feet away.  Aguirre, who had been up and down warming in the bullpen, looked tired, but Detroit left him in to pitch to Wills, hoping that Wills relative weakness vs lefty's would be the deciding factor in the matchup.  Aguirre rewarded their faith (in percentages), inducing Wills to pop out to end the game, giving Detroit a commanding 3 game lead.  Detroit 6-5, 
Tigers lead the series 3-0.
--submitted by Jack Mudd--

Monday, December 10, 2012

1966 World Series Game 2: "The Fat Man Win-eth"

Game 2 - Dodger Stadium

Game 2's starting pitcher duel also seemed to favor the Dodgers; although Mickey Lolich and Claude Osteen's careers were relatively equal, Osteen was much better in '66 and Lolich's only start in the ALCS had been a dud.  However the Tigers struck first again, scoring 2 in the 2nd on Jake Wood and Bill Freehan singles.  During the rally the Tigers sent runners from 2nd to home on three consecutive singles, with the first two runners scoring before the Dodger's Lou Johnson finally threw out Freehan at home.  Detroit added 2 more in the 3rd on an Al Kaline double, Cash single, and Don Wert double.  Detroit scored again in the 4th on a Mickey Stanley RBI single, and added 2 more in the 8th on another Stanley single and a Kaline sac fly. 
Meanwhile, Mickey Lolich made the boys in blue look mousy, allowing only 4 singles, walking one, and striking out 7.  The Dodgers grounded into 2 double plays, had a runner caught stealing, and managed to advance a runner to 2nd just once.  After the dominant performance by Detroit the Dodgers were shaking their heads and wondering how they were going to turn things around.  Detroit 7-0, 
Tigers lead the series 2-0.
--submitted by Jack Mudd--
Editor's Note:  The Series moves back east to Tiger Stadium and will be completed tomorrow at 4:15 EST.

1966 World Series Game 1: "Cashing in again"

Game 1 - Dodger Stadium

The Tigers roll into LA as underdogs but are confident they have enough Cash to make it big in Hollywood (ok, no more Cash puns).  The game 1 matchup featured 27 game winner Sandy Koufax vs the solid but unheralded Earl Wilson.  In the 1st inning Detroit's remarkable ability to make opposing teams commit errors continued when Maury Wills bobbled Jim Northrup's groundball.  Northrup scored 3 batters later when Dick McAuliffe added to his collection of clutch hits with an RBI single. 
In the 3rd Norm Cash struck again with a 345 foot homer, shocking LA fans who thought that even the red-hot Cash would be helpless vs Koufax.  Tommie Davis answered with a blast to the left field bleachers in the bottom of the 3rd to cut the lead back to one run.  LA then tied it up in the 4th on a Lou Johnson bunt single, Davis single, and Johnny Roseboro sac fly.  However the lead was short-lived as Cash once again quieted the LA crowd with a 400 foot, opposite field 2 run-HR.  As Cash was rounding the bases Dodger manager Walter Alston ran out of the dugout and demanded the umps check Cash's bat for cork, the umps did so and found nothing unusual.  Cash just smiled.  The rest of the game belonged to Earl Wilson, who retired 15 of the final 16 Dodger hitters while allowing only a walk.   Detroit 4-2
Tigers lead the series 1-0.
--submitted by Jack Mudd--

Monday, December 3, 2012

NL Champs - 1966 Los Angeles Dodgers

The #1 seeded Dodgers have rolled all the way to the World Series thanks to timely hitting and the left arm of one Sandy Koufax.  Next up a battle in the World Series vs the Detroit Tigers.

NLCS Game 5: "Ace's Wild" - Dodgers take NL Flag in 5

GAME 5 - Sportsman Park
Dodgers 1, Cardinals 0
Koufax vs Gibson
When facing elimination there is no better feeling than to have the great Bob Gibson on the hill defending your cause.  Conversely, when looking to close out your opponent there is no better feeling having the incomparable Sandy Koufax sixty feet, six inches away from opposing batsmen.  This matchup setup to be a true pitching classic in every way shape and form.  After 7 innings of stalemated shutout ball everyone knew that the first run scored by either team just might be the decisive run.  With 2 outs in the top of the 8th Gibson ran the count to 2-0 on Willie Davis.  LA's centerfielder was given the green light and crushed Gibson's next pitch for a 392 foot solo blast to right center.  With Koufax dialing it up to well over 100 miles per hour the Cardinal bench felt like they were down by at least 5.  St. Louis tested Koufax with singles in the bottom of the 8th to put runners on the corners with 2 out, but Curt Flood grounded weakly to Gilliam at third to end the threat.  In the bottom of the 9th Koufax would have to face the heart of the Cardinal order.  Cepeda hit a 1 hop bullet to Wills at short for the first out.  McCarver bounced one right back to the box for the second out.  Charlie Smith walked on 4 pitches to provide some glimmer of hope, but Mike Shannon went down swinging on a 1-2 curveball for Koufax's 9th strikeout of the game as the great lefty posted his second shutout of the series.
Dodgers win series 4-1

NLCS Game 4: "Gunned Down"

GAME 4 - Sportsman Park
Dodgers 7, Cardinals 6
Sutton vs Jaster

Heading into the bottom of the 7th LA held a firm 3 run lead.  Rookie sensation Don Sutton,
who gave up 3 runs in the bottom of the 2nd settled down with 4 scoreless innings in a row.  An uncharacteristic error by gold glove first baseman Wes Parker on a Tim McCarver slow roller put the lead off runner aboard for the Cardinals.  Curt Flood singled and took second as McCarver went from 1st to 3rd and the throw missed the cutoff man.  John Buchek slammed a double off the left centerfield wall to make it 6-5.  Three batters later pinch hitter Tito Francona would tie the game with a sac fly to center.  Heading into the 9th Larry Hughes began his second inning of relief work for the Redbirds.  All looked good as leadoff man Maury Wills lined out to Flood in center and the geriatric Jim Gilliam looked at a called strike 3.  Tommy Davis hit a 2 hopper to short that Buchek tried to field on the short hop, but unfortunately booted.  Davis saw the ball get away from Buchek and never stopped hustling into second.  Davis' hustle would pay huge dividends as the ever clutch Lou Johnson would deliver a line drive single to center to put LA up 7-6.  Phil Regan, entering his 3rd inning in relief of Sutton, got Buchek to pop out to third to lead off the bottom of the 9th.  He was not so lucky when Alex Johnson hit a gapper between both Davis-es in left center that turned into a stand up triple.  Julian Javier, who hit a solo blast in the 9th yesterday, tried to lift one deep so Johnson could tag up and score the tying run.  Javier got the ball in the air, but not far enough to make it a sure thing.  Lou Johnson caught the ball in full stride toward the plate and uncorked a one hop throw that nestled neatly in Roseboro's glove just in time to slap the tag on the hard charging Johnson for the third and final out.
Dodgers lead series 3-1

NLCS Game 3: "Rose-Bowl"

GAME 3 - Sportsman Park
Dodgers 7, Cardinals 5
C.Osteen vs Carlton
The series shifted back east to the Gateway city and saw a pair of lefty starters (Osteen & Carlton) struggle mightily.  An RBI double by Jim Lefebvre followed by RBI singles from Johnny Roseboro and Nate Oliver helped Osteen to a 5-1 lead.  St. Louis would answer with 3 runs in the bottom of the sixth as the Baby Bull, Orlando Cepeda, doubled home two, then scored on a fielder's choice.  St. Louis was now in striking distance down by just 1 run.  The Cardinal pen was no more impressive than the man they replaced yielding 2 runs in the top of the 7th to put the Dodgers up by 3.  Johnny Roseboro's 2 run shot was just what the doctor ordered.  The Cards cut the lead to 2 in the 9th when Julian Javier hit a 400 foot shot off of reliever Phil Regan, who hung on to get the save.
Dodgers lead series 2-1

NLCS Game 2: "Jackson's 5"

GAME 2 - Dodger Stadium
Cardinals 5, Dodgers 3
A.Jackson vs Drysdale

Locked in a 0-0 stalemate the Redbirds busted out with 5 big runs in the top of the 7th.  Dodger starter Don Drysdale was the victim of 3 errors during that inning, so all 5 runs were unearned.  With the score 1-0 Drysdale still had a chance to get out of the inning with minimal damage, but he served up a 2 run single to the opposing pitcher, which is the ultimate no-no.  Al Jackson's single made it 3-0.  Lou Brock hammered home the final nail in the Dodgers' coffin with a 2 run single of his own to make it 5-0.  Jackson was cruising along until the bottom of the 9th when the Dodgers offense rose off of life support and scored 3 runs to finish the diminutive lefty's day.  Not taking any chances the Cards went to the pen and brought in Joe Hoerner, who got Roseboro to ground out to short and end the game.
Series tied 1-1

NLCS Game 1: "Lou'd behavior"

GAME 1 - Dodger Stadium
Dodgers 4, Cardinals 0
Gibson vs Koufax
The series opener featured the marquee matchup of the decade:  Bob Gibson vs Sandy Koufax.  Neither man would disappoint, but the great Koufax would be just a tad better.  In the bottom of the first Maury Wills walked, then stole second with 2 outs.  The ever so clutch Lou Johnson, who always gets big hits in Koufax games, delivered a 2 out RBI single to score the speedy Wills.  Jim Lefebvre walked and Johnny Roseboro singled him home to make it 2-0.  Gibson, who might have been disturbed by the 20 mph wind, would not give up another run in his next 6 innings of work.  Unfortunately when you spot Koufax 2 runs it's almost impossible for your team's offense to make up the deficit.  Koufax wasn't lights out, but he was able to come up with the big strikeout when needed to strand Cardinal runners in scoring position.  LA would add 2 insurance runs in the 8th on a Wills double and another Lou Johnson single.  Those runs came off of the Cardinal bullpen, not Gibson, who exited the previous inning for a pinch hitter.  Koufax would got the distance and record the series opening shutout, despite allowing 6 hits and 3 walks.  He is now 3-0 in the tournament.
Dodgers lead series 1-0

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Congrats to Jack Mudd and the 1966 Tigers for winning the AL Pennant

Down 3 games to 1 to the Cinderella NY Yankees manager Jack Mudd never panicked.  He called it a night and broke the Yankees momentum and returned to take 3 straight and the AL Pennant the following morning.  An excellent piece of managerial strategy for the KOD Tournament newcomer.  Jack and his Motown 9 will wait patiently for the winner of the Dodgers / Cardinals NLCS to see who we crown as our 1966 Champs.

ALCS GAME 7: "Cash-ing In" - Tigers win ALCS

Game 7 - Tiger Stadium
Al Downing vs Denny McLain
After all the epic games preceding it game 7 was much anticipated.  However, as often happens in real life (and when having sex with supermodels) this game 7 was anti-climatic.  After the shell-shocked Pinstripers went down easily in the 1st the Tigers jumped on Al Downing for 4 runs in the bottom of the inning on a bases loaded walk, infield single, and "outfield" single.  The Yankees answered with a run in the 2nd on a Clete Boyer single but that was all the scoring they could muster.  Denny McLain tried to keep the score close to cover the spread for his organized crime buddies by walking 7 but the Yankees had lost all their fight, getting only 3 hits.  The Tigers scored 2 more in the 7th when series MVP Norm Cash (NORM!!!) hit a 2 run double and McLain and Doug Wickersham closed out the game and the series.  Detroit fans celebrated by sipping tea and politely clapping.  Detroit 6-1
Tigers win series 4-3
Marc did a great job getting the Yankees as far as he did, obviously I got more than a little lucky in game 6. 
--submitted by Jack Mudd Detroit Tigers--

ALCS GAME 6: "How-weird an ending"

Game 6  - Tiger Stadium
Mel Stottlemyre vs Johnny Podres

The two teams returned to the Motor City with the Tigers still on the brink of elimination.  The Yankees scored a run in the 1st when Joe Pepitone singled in a run after Mantle was intentionally walked.  The Tigers came right back with 3 in their 1st thanks to run scoring doubles by Kaline and Don Wert.  After a scoreless 2nd the Yanks plated 3 in the 3rd on homers by Tresh and Mantle and a Roy White single.  Both teams were quiet until the 8th when each team scored 2 (Whitaker HR for NY, Horton RBI single, double play ball for DET) to make it 5-4 Yankees.  The New Yorkers scored a run in the 9th when small ball made a rare appearance- Roy White bunted for a hit, stole 2nd, and scored on a Schofield single. 
The Tigers season appeared to be over going into the bottom of the 9th, trailing by 2 with closer Dooley Womack pitching.  Light hitting 2B Jerry Lumpe started with a single, but then pitcher Larry Sherry struck out ("my pinch hitters suck" said Tiger manager Jack Mudd) and the Detroit crowd was losing hope.  But Dick McAuliffe shocked the Yankees with a home run that landed in the right field stands just inside the foul pole.  With the game now tied the Tigers crowd was so excited they started several fires in the stands (wait, not Halloween yet, never mind).  The Tigers proceeded to load the bases on an error, single, and walk, and Jim Northrup strolled into the batters box with the bases loaded needing just a decent fly ball to win it for Detroit.  Northrup did hit a fly ball but not very deep, but with 2 outs Al Kaline decided to test Mickey Mantle's arm one more time but Mick's throw was on the money (not Cash this time) and Elston Howard held onto the ball for the out to temporarily douse Detroit's fire.  
In the 10th the Yanks loaded their own bases on 3 walks given them by Larry Sherry but Howard flied out to deep center field to end the threat.  In the bottom of the 10th New York brought in not-closer Pedro Ramos to pitch.  Don Wert greeted Ramos with a single up the middle and moved to 2nd on a groundout.  Then Jerry Lumpe again came up with a key hit, singling to move Wert to 3rd.  Really light hitting pinch hitter Dick Tracewski came up ("I told you my bench sucks", Jack Mudd said) only needing to get a runner home from 3rd with less than 2 outs to send it to game 7.  However, Tracewski hit a little pop-up a few feet in front of home plate, Elston Howard jumped up to grab it and again force on-deck hitter Dick McAuliffe to be a hero.  But wait, there's more!  Howard dropped the ball!  (No premature infield fly rule in this game!)  As the ball rolled away from a disbelieving Howard. Don Wert crossed the plate with the game winning run.  The Detroit crowd just sat stunned in their seats for a minute and then exploded with joy, setting more fires as well.  After the game Howard angrily denied reports he was either a) taking bribes from Denny McLain's mobster friends, or b) distracted by Australian bikini models.  Detroit 8-7, each team had 14 hits but the Yankees made 4 errors.  Some guy named George Steinbrenner ran into the Yanks owner box and tried to fire the Yankees fielding coach but was escorted from the stadium.
Series tied 3-3 

ALCS GAME 5: "Aguire keeps Pinstripe offense on the Fritz"

Game 5 - Yankee Stadium
Hank Aguire vs Fritz Peterson
The Yankees were hoping to clinch the AL title at home but their bats went silent in game 5.  Fritz Peterson was again mediocre, giving up 4 runs on 8 hits in 5 2/3, including HR's by Cash (nothing beats Cash!) and Willie Horton.  Hank Aguirre looked like Greg Maddux (wait, still a kid, never mind) going 8 2/3, allowing one run on 6 hits with one walk and only two strikeouts.  Fred Gladding was glad to pick up the save, getting bonus baby turned career utility guy Dick Schofield to ground out with a runner on 2nd.  Detroit 4-1
Yankees lead series 3-2

ALCS GAME 4: "Clarke Bar"

Game 4 - Yankee Stadium
Earl Wilson vs Jim Bouton
Another classic back and forth game.  There were 7 HR's by 7 different players in the game, all of them solo shots.  Each team scored 2 in the 4th, then Detroit scored 1 in the 6th and 7th to take a 4-2 lead.  But the Yankees scored 1 in the 7th and 3 in the 8th to take a 6-4 lead.  The never say die Tigers came back in the 9th to tie it on a 2 run single by Dick McAuliffe with Jake Wood scoring ahead of Maris's throw.  Another extra inning game?  No, the Yankees sent their fans home happy with another walk-off win, this time scoring on a Mike Ferraro double, Bobby Richardson sacrifice, and Horace Clarke single.  Yanks 7-6
Yankees lead series 3-1

ALCS GAME 3: "Oh, Mickey you're so fine"

Game 3 - Yankee Stadium
Denny McLain vs Al Downing
This game looked like another high scoring affair with Detroit scoring 2 in the 1st (another Cash HR) and New York 2 in the 2nd.  However, Denny McLain and Al Downing settled down and no more runs were scored in until the 14th inning.  Both teams wasted numerous opportunities to score, including Al Kaline getting thrown out at the plate by Mickey Mantle.  In the 14th Kaline got his revenge with a solo HR.  But the Tigers celebration was premature as Roger Repoz singled home Roger Maris to tie it back up.  In the 16th Kaline made another bid for a HR but Mantle tracked it down in deep CF.  Then the Mick came up in the bottom of the 16th and smacked a walk-off HR off of Orlando Pena to conclude a classic game.  Yanks 4-3
Yankees lead series 2-1

ALCS GAME 2: "Tresh Talk"

Game 2 - Tiger Stadium
Mel Stottlemyre vs Mickey Lolich
Game 2 resembled a Coors Field game (wait, not built yet, never mind).  The Bombers jumped all over Mickey Lolich in the 1st inning, scoring 6 runs after 2 quick outs.  Joe Pepitone homered, Clete Boyer singled in a run, and Steve Whitaker hit a 3 run HR.  New York scored one more in the 3rd and seemed to be cruising along to an easy win behind Mel Stottlemyre.  However the Tigers scored 6 runs in the 5th thanks to five singles, a double, and a HBP.  Suddenly it was a one-run game and the Tiger fans were roaring.  But the Yanks came right back in the top of the 6th with a Tom Tresh grand slam to push their lead to 11-6.  The score remained that way until the bottom of the 9th when Norm Cash again made his presence felt with a 2 run HR off of lefty specialist Steve Hamilton.  After an out was recorded Jim Northrup tripled, but Don Wert flew out and Orlando McFarlane struck out to give the Yankees the win.  Yanks 11-8
Series Tied 1-1

ALCS GAME 1: "Striking Oyl"

Game 1 - Tiger Stadium
Fritz Peterson vs Hank Aguire
The series got off to a sloppy start with the Tigers and Yanks committing 2 errors apiece.  Detroit picked up where they left off from the first 2 rounds as their offense continued to blast opposing pitchers, this time to the tune of 18 hits, with 2 HR's by Norm Cash, who has been on fire throughout tourney.  Defensive whiz Ray Oyler went 4-5, including 2 doubles and a triple.  Detroit starter Hank Aguirre pitched 6 ok innings for the win.  Yankee pitcher Fritz Peterson, who gave up 7 runs in 5 innings, denied he was distracted by Mike Kekich's wife, saying "I have no idea what you are talking about, I actually had my eye on that Australian bikini model in row 1".  Detroit 13-2
Tigers lead series 1-0
--submitted by Jack Mudd--