Keane observations about life, politics and sports.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Daily Sports Blurb, Anecdote or Quote 17 July 2008

Younger baseball fans may know Stan Williams as the pitching coach for several teams. A long time back, he was a big intimidating right handed pitcher who wouldn't hesitate to pitch inside to any batter. In Tales from the Tribe Dugout by Russ Schneider, Williams described a game he considers his personal best.
"Of all the games I pitched in the big leagues (482) maybe the best was in 1967. The Indians brought me back after I'd had a sore arm and had been out of the big leagues for almost three full seasons.
"We were in Baltimore, and Sonny Siebert was supposed to start, but he told Joe Adcock our manager that he needed one more day. So Adcock asked me if I could pitch and I told him That's what I'm here for." I started the game and went all the way, 13 innings, and won 2-1.
"The reason it is one of my favorites is because I struck out two Hall of Famers nine times - Luis Aparicio five times and Frank Robinson four times.
"The first three times Robinson batted, I struck him out on a fastball, second time with a curve, and the third time with a slider. The fourth time he came up I got him 0 and 2 and I'm thinking, "What is he sitting on? What should I throw him? I'd already struck him out on a fastball, curve and a slider.
"Then it occurred to me that I hadn't thrown him a spitball - and I had a good one. So I turned my back to the plate, loaded one up and threw him a helluva spitter, low and away. He swung and missed it by about two feet.
"Imagine that. There I am, a guy who'd had a bad arm and was out of the league for three years, who came back and threw a 2-1 victory, went all thirteen innings, struck out 15 and just pitched a helluva game.
"But the next day the headline in the paper was "Robinson accuses Williams of throwing a spitter" - even though that was the only one I threw the whole game."
That's the way it goes - do one bad thing and all your good works are eclipsed.

Postscript: Making Williams' achievement more impressive is Aparicio did not strike out a lot. That season he only struck out 44 times despite this game. Here is the box score for the game which sadly, but not surprisingly, shows Williams' memory was a little faulty. He did win the game 2 to 1 and it did go 13 innings, but he only struck out Aparicio and Robinson three times each and he had 14 total strike outs not the 15 he claimed.



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