To cover my best-of-three All-Star Series, it’s a pleasure and a hoot to welcome Cal Butterworth and Harry Caray into the Funky booth. Most of you know Harry from his glorious days broadcasting the Cardinals, White Sox and Cubs games, but Mr. Butterworth is here on a special invite from my previous blog, 1924 and You Are There! where he reported the daily fates of the Detroit Tigers for that entire season. Mr. Butterworth, now at the ripe-but-still sharp age of 85, has been living comfortably for years at the Ninth Inning Gardens retirement home in Coral Gables, FL, and rose at the chance to report the action from our series opener in his native city. Take it away, gentlemen!
Game One—TIGER STADIUM
By Calvin J. Butterworth
Ex-scribe, Detroit-Free Enterprise
It is a truly splendid day for a ball game in this once-fair and industrious city, and for this reporter it is difficult to discern which is the bigger shock: seeing Navin Field again in its expanded and enclosed form, or feasting on two stellar lineups mixing both white and colored players. In either case, I am moved to tears of joy.
But such personal mopdoddle is for another time. Two wily southpaws toe the slab on the pastoral grounds below me, John Candelaria for the visiting National League, and Frank Tanana for the home Americans. Tanana hails from a club called the California Angels, who are not participating in this year’s league skirmishes, yet like a handful of others here, has been summoned to perform by the commissioner for his mere cardboard excellence.
Tanana has minimal trouble in the 1st, retiring Stennett on a grounder and fanning Hendrick of the San Diego nine, before Carter lashes a single into left. Up steps Foster, a Cincinnati murderer of balls like I have seldom seen, but he can only muster a lazy arc of an out to Cowens in center. The spindly Panamanian Carew and his .420 batting mark leads off for the Americans, and works a free pass from Candelaria, as does Fisk of Boston. But Singleton, McRae and Cowens all make outs, and we begin scoreless.
Mighty Michael Schmidt of the Philadelphia club begins matters in the 2nd, and catapults Tanana’s first offering high and deep into the left field upper berth for a 1-0 lead! A Watson single and walk to Jeff Burroughs of Atlanta foreshadow a truly ugly frame, but Templeton is induced to ground into a double-bag out and that is that.
Yount of Milwaukee walks with two outs in our 2nd, and then Leroy Stanton of Seattle, a city so far away it is hard to imagine a team playing there, pulverizes a fastball to the nether regions of center field, where it eludes Hendrick and emerges as a scoring triple and 1-1 tie!
Scoreboard zeroes fill the next three innings, the sold-out throng becoming restless and somewhat unnerved. But Carter of Montreal opens the 6th with another high crushing blow into the rafters, and Tanana is removed before Schmidt and Valentine to avoid further bloodletting. Peter Vuckovich of Toronto gets the assignment, whiffs Schmidt and pinch-striker Reggie Smith, and we move onward.
Into the 8th, I should say. Crafty Dutchman Blyleven is twirling, and Mr. Foster freezes him with a scythe of a line drive that reaches the left field seats faster than a killing bullet from a sharpshooter’s rifle. 3-1 now, yet are our hopes tragically dashed? Never, announces one George Brett of western Missouri, who clubs a pitch from relieving specialist Sutter into a sea of beckoning hands in the right field porch with two retired in the home 8th.
Blyleven escapes a miniature pickle in the 9th when the giant named McCovey pinch-hits a walk and pinch-racer Murcer is marooned on the bag, and we repair to the last of the 9th, Richard “Goose” Gossage mounting the mound for the Nationals. Randolph of the Yankees walks to begin, but Carew weakly bounces into a force. Oscar Gamble of the Pale Hose bats for Fisk, sporting a hair balloon that would suffice for a “Wonders of the Congo” wagon in a traveling circus show, and silences all razzers with a vicious double into right that sends Carew as far as third. Oakland’s Mitchell Page then hits for Bobby Bonds, and fans badly.
The crowd rises. Reggie Jackson, a slugging luminary in his first season with the Yankees, who can only unearth my firsthand memories of the Sultan of Swat, strides to the dish. Gossage stares him down, fires…
…and Reginald lines a ball right into Morgan’s glove at second for the final out! It is surely a tough defeat for the Americans, but I am honored to have been privy to its endless thrills.
NL 010 001 010 – 3 8 1
AL 010 000 010 – 2 7 1
W-Candelaria L-Tanana HRS: Schmidt, Carter, Foster, Brett, GWRBI-Carter
Game Two—CANDLESTICK PARK
By Harry Caray
HELLO everybody, THIS is Harry Caray, coming to you from BEAUTIFUL Candlestick Park in San Francisco. The National League could swipe, I mean sweep this series today with another win, and boy would that ever be nice! It’s a pair of fabulous righties today, Jim Palmer against Tom Terrific Seaver, so let’s have some fun at the old windy ballpark!
Here’s Lyman Bostock of the Twins leading off. He’s a great young player and I’d sure like to have a stake in his future. He walks! The amazing Carl Yast…Carl Yizz…Carl Yasmerski is up, without a doubt the AL MVP so far, and he LINES a single into right! Uh-oh. George Brett now…and he grounds one to Morgan, to Templeton at short, back to Garvey for the double play!
Dave Parker doubles in our 1st, Reggie Smith singles to start our 2nd, but Palmer gets out of both jams, so we’re in the 3rd now, and Andre Thornton doubles into the gap. come on boys, get after those! Pudge Fisk singles to make it first and third, Yount walks and the bases are drunk. Here’s Bostock again with two outs…His name spelled backwards is KCOTSOB…Seaver throws, and it’s lined down the right field line! Parker runs after it but the ball gets away! Here’s all three runs scoring and Bostock into third with a triple. For cryin’ out loud!
Pete Rose gets us going with a single, and our very own triple machine Templeton delivers with one to boot Palmer right out of the game! Parker with the sacrifice fly to make it 3-2 and we’re right back in this thing! Guess I’ll have to go celebrate…
…Whaddya mean I can’t sing?…We move to the last of the 7th and hey! The American League got four runs in the 6th! How’d that happen? A bunch of what? Oh, four singles and two walks, and they knocked out Seaver, okay. Dennis Leonard took over for Palmer a long time ago and pitched almost four innings of shutout ball. Here’s a walk to Garvey, but Rose, Morgan and Templeton can’t do a damn thing and it’s still 7-2…Make it 8-2 here in the 8th on a single by that Bostock again and Brett’s double.
Vicente—I mean Enrique Romo takes over on the mound, and walks Foster and Reggie Smith with one out. C’mon let’s get some runs! Bench whiffs and here we go again. Simmons up there…and he hits one into the gap, two runs score and it’s 8-4! J. R. Richard on for the 9th, and he gets ’em easy. It’s our last call against Boston’s Bill Campbell, and here’s Gene Tenace to pinch-hit for Rose. Tenace of the Padres is a walking machine and has a great OBP, whatever the hell that is. And he belts one, deep to left field! It could be…IT IS! A HOME RUN! HO-LY COW! We’re right back in this thing!
Morgan pops up, though, Templeton takes strike three and Parker grounds out and that’s that. Boy oy boy …We’ll see ya next from Canada and Ontario in Toronto for the rubber game, Steve Carlton going against Ron Guidry! So long, everybody!
AL 030 004 010 – 8 14 0
NL 002 000 021 – 5 8 0
W-Leonard L-Seaver HR: Tenace GWRBI-Bostock
NOTE: Due to the length of this series, the Game 3 story will post tomorrow, and the half-season stats report will be on Thursday. That’s right, folks, I’ll be appearing here all week.