October 2012

Burleigh Grimes

October 31, 1931 – The St. Louis Cardinals releasedright-hander Burleigh Grimes, the last legal spitball pitcher in the Majors. Grimes compiled a lifetime 237-190 record, including 158 wins with Brooklyn from 1918-26. Grimes later managed the Dodgers in 1937-38. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1964 and passed away at age 92 in 1985.

Burleigh Grimes

October 31, 1931 – The St. Louis Cardinals releasedright-hander Burleigh Grimes, the last legal spitball pitcher in the Majors. Grimes compiled a lifetime 237-190 record, including 158 wins with Brooklyn from 1918-26. Grimes later managed the Dodgers in 1937-38. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1964 and passed away at age 92 in 1985.

The Long Goodbye?

October 30, 1956 – The Dodgers sell Ebbets Field to real estate developer Marvin Kratter and accept a three-year lease to remain at the ballpark, built in 1913. The Dodgers would add another two years to the option in January 1957, meaning the Dodgers could remain their until 1961. But the sale of the ballpark turns out to be the first step in the eventual franchise move to the West Coast after the 1957 season.

Branch Rickey

October 29, 1942 – Branch Rickey resigns as vice president of the St. Louis Cardinals. Rickey, the Hall of Fame executive who designed baseball’s minor league “farm system,” joined the Brooklyn Dodgers three days later as team president. Rickey took over the franchise leadership after Larry MacPhail, another Hall of Fame executive who introduced night baseball and radio broadcasts to Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, left the Dodgers after the 1942 season to enlist in World War II at age 52.

New Neighbors

October 26, 1960 – The American League votes to expand to 10 teams, including a franchise in Los Angeles to compete with the Dodgers in the Southern California market. Dodger team president Walter O’Malley protested the decision, saying “We expected American League baseball eventually on the West Coast. We had hoped to get our own problems in pioneering the territory and building our stadium behind us before the relatives moved in.” The Los Angeles Angels played at Wrigley Field for their first season in 1961. The Angels played at Dodger Stadium from 1962-65, but called the ballpark “Chavez Ravine” in their promotional material and ticket stock.

Reuss vs. Guidry – The Rematch

October 25, 1981 – The Dodgers took a 3-2 World Series lead with a 2-1 victory in Game 5 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium. Left-hander Jerry Reuss outdueled Yankees’ ace Ron Guidry, who took a 1-0 lead into the seventh inning until allowing consecutive home runs by Pedro Guerrero and Steve Yeager. Reuss scattered five hits for the complete-game victory in a rematch of Game 1 at Yankee Stadium when Guidry won, 5-3.

Jackie and World Series

October 24, 1981 – The Dodgers tied the World Series at two games apice with a wild 8-7 victory in Game 4 at Dodger Stadium. Dodger starter Bob Welch lasted only four batters and the Yankees scored four runs in the first three innings. New York held a 6-3 lead in the sixth when the Dodgers rallied for three runs in the sixth, including a two-run home run by pinch-hitter Jay Johnstone. The Dodgers scored two runs in the seventh for an 8-6 lead, but Reggie Jackson homered in the eighth. The Yankees had one last chance in the ninth with two out and two runners on base, but reliever Steve Howe retired Willie Randolph on a fly to center. Howe pitched the final three innings for the victory. On this date in 1972, Jackie Robinson passed away at age 53. The MLB Network this week will air a documentary on the 40th anniversary of Robinson’s death.

Valenzuela Wins Game 3

October 23, 1981 – Rookie Fernando Valenzuela survived a shaky start and pitched a complete-game 5-4 victory in Game 3 of the World Series against the Yankees at Dodger Stadium. Ron Cey’s three-run home run off New York rookie Dave Righetti staked the Dodgers to an early lead, but the Yankees chipped away with two runs in the second and two runs in the third. The Dodgers scored two runs in the fifth inning. The Yankees opened the eighth with consecutive singles by Aurelio Rodriguez and Larry Milbourne. Pinch-hitter Bobby Murcer, attempting a sacrifice bunt, hit a popup that was caught by a diving Ron Cey, who threw to first base for a double play.

Turning Point?

October 22, 1981 – It was a quiet red-eye flight from New York to Los Angeles after the Dodgers had lost the first two games of the World Series at Yankee Stadium by scores of 5-3 and 3-0. But the Dodgers received good news in the early morning after landing at LAX. Yankees third baseman Graig Nettles had jammed his thumb while diving for a grounder hit by Bill Russell in the sixth inning of Game 2. Nettles, whose defense sparked the Yankees to World Series titles over Los Angeles in 1977 and 1978, would not be available for Game 3. The Dodgers would sweep the next three games at Dodger Stadium by scores of 5-4, 8-7 and 2-1 and clinch their first title since 1965 with a 9-2 victory in Game 6 at New York.​

 

One Game Away …

October 19, 1988 – The Dodgers took a 3-1 lead in the World Series with a 4-3 victory over the Athletics in Game 4 of the Fall Classic at Oakland. Tim Belcher pitched 6 2/3 innings and reliever Jay Howell escaped a bases-loaded jam in the seventh by retiring Mark McGwire on an infield popout. The Howell-McGwire confrontation occurred one day after the Oakland slugger hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 3, which gave Oakland a 2-1 victory. Howell pitched the final 2 1/3 innings of Game 4 for the save. Oakland starter Dave Stewart allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits in 6 1/3 innings.

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