Notes from the Shadows of Cooperstown: December 3, 2008
The Cubs Take on Dem Bums as the Sweet Sixteen Tourney Moves On
This is the tenth in a series of reports on a simulated playoff of the sixteen "original franchise" teams, as played by columnist Gene Carney with the APBA game. . You can find out the results of the other series and individual games by clicking "Columnists" in the upper left-hand corner of our homepage, and then clicking "Gene Carney." We’re in the second round in the National League series. Yesterday, the Philadelphia Phillies won the battle of the keystone state by topping the Pittsburgh Pirates in five games. Today, two of the National League’s storied franchises meet in a sseries that will match some of the best pitchers in baseball history:
SWEET SIXTEEN TOURNAMENT, ROUND TWO, NATIONAL LEAGUE: DODGERS VS. CUBS
GAME ONE, AT EBBETS FIELD
I\'m on record as choosing my all-time best dueling partners as Christy Mathewson and Three Finger Brown. Well, Brown vs Sandy Koufax ain\'t bad, either. That was Game One of this last "Elite Eight" series. Both the Dodgers and the Cubs swept their first-round series, over the Reds and Cardinals respectively, so this was a clash of two undefeated teams.
Both pitchers got off to good starts, Koufax retiring six in a row after Cuyler\'s leadoff single, and Brown holding the Dodgers hitless while walking three and hitting a batter the first time thru the Dodger lineup. In the third, though, both teams broke through. Frank Chance walked and stole second. 3B Stan Hack was injured chasing a foul ball that ended up in the stands in the second, and his replacement, Billy Herman, singled home the first run. Koufax got Cuyler on a comebacker, but Billy Williams connected to make it 3-0 Cubs.
The Dodgers came right back. Tony Gwynn and Babe Herman hit back-to-back doubles and after Brown fanned Duke Snider, Raul Mondesi found the seats with a long fly to tie the game. It remained tied into the seventh. With two outs, Koufax walked Williams, then Andre Dawson homered and the Cubs went up 5-3. Brown was rolling, giving up nothing after a 6th-inning single by Gil Hodges except a ninth-inning walk to Maury Wills. So he didn\'t really need the insurance runs that his teammates gave him in the top of the ninth, Sammy Sosa\'s three-run HR off Brewer. The final was 8-3, Brown holding the Dodgers to six hits.
GAME TWO, AT EBBETS FIELD
When you\'re hot, you\'re hot, and the cubs came out blazing against Orel Hershiser in Game Two. Cuyler walked and Billy Williams homered, 2-0. Another run, unearned, in the second, then two more in the third on Billy Herman\'s two-out single. The Cubs were making the Dodgers pay for every walk, hit batsmen and error, so when Hack Wilson homered off Brewer with two on in the 4th, the Cubs were up 9-0 on six hits.
Hippo Vaughn looked like he would coast home, but the Dodgers had other ideas. Jackie Robinson walked to open the bottom of the 4th, and with one out, Babe Herman walked. Duke Snider doubled them home, and with two outs, Roy Campanella connected to make it 9-4.
A solo HR by Mark Grace made it 10-4, but the Dodgers were not dead yet. Singles by Herman and Snider, a couple ground outs and a hit by Gil Hodges made it 10-6. Jackie Robinson\'s 7th-inning single off Lon Warneke and Tony Gwynn\'s double, 10-7. But that was it. Good efforts by Mike Marshall and Steve Howe in relief, Bruce Sutter closed it out, and the Cubs were ahead 2-0 in games, and still undefeated in the tournament.
GAME THREE, AT WRIGLEY FIELD
Rain postponed Game Three and gave both staffs an extra day of rest, in addition to the days off in every series after Games Two and Five. So the field was soggy, but more importantly, the wind was blowing OUT at Wrigley, bad news for starters Don Drysdale and Cal Griffith.
No wind needed in the second when Gil Hodges connected after Babe Herman\'s single to put the Dodgers up, 2-0, their first lead in this series. But it didn\'t last. Ernie Banks connected after Hack Wilson\'s single, tying the game. Then after Billy Herman\'s one-out double, Mark Grace (batting ninth!) homered and the Cubs were up, 4-2.
The Cubs started their third with Andre Dawson\'s double. Then Josh Gibson, hitless in the series, scorched a line drive up the middle, knocking down Drysdale and going for a single. Dazzy Vance took over, got out of the jam, and held the Cubs in check on three hits over the next five innings.
But Cal Griffith was unhittable. After Hodges\' HR, Griff retired 11 in a row, giving up just two walks and those two 2nd-inning hits through eight. So he started the ninth with that 4-2 lead, and a lot of momentum. But this is baseball, Ray, where it ain\'t over till it\'s over. Tony Gwynn started the ninth with a double. Griffith retired Jackie Robinson and Duke Snider, and was one out away from a 3-hit gem. But Babe Herman pulled one down the right field line that just made it over the wall -- game toed. Then Roy Campanella got one up into that wind, which had not been a factor all day, and his fly carried to the Wrigley bleachers; 5-4 Dodgers, even though the fans returned the ball.
Vance had been dazzling since coming on in the third, but had shown signs of tiring, giving up two hits in the Cub eighth but escaping thanx to a DP ball by Grace. S when Kiki Cuyler smacked his first pitch of the ninth off the ivy for a triple, Ron Perranoski came in to face Billy Williams. Williams had homered in the first two games at Ebbets Field, both long shots. This time, he poled a fly to right, and it somehow made it over the wall, at the same spot as Herman\'s long fly a few minutes earlier. Cubs win, 6-5, Wrigleyt explodes, Griffith a complete game five-hitter, and the Dodgers have their backs to the wall.