OPENING DAY – ST. LOUIS – 1955
In my 21 game 1955 mini-season (Strat-o-Matic cards & dice, mod. basic w/adv fielding), the Cardinals opened up at home versus the Cubbies. It was just the fourth of 168 games I ended up playing in this replay of both 1955 leagues.
This game was historic and amazing for a few reasons:
- TWO players (Harry Chiti and Wally Moon) each hit 3 home runs
- Wally Moon has 6 hits
- Wally Moon hits 3 home runs AND hits for the cycle!
- Dramatic bottom of the 8th Stan Musial HR gives Cards the lead
- Ernie Banks ties the game on a solo home run with 2 outs in the ninth
- 13 inning game ends with Wally Moon thrown out at home
In the top of the 8th, the Cubs’ Harry Chiti (who had just 11 home runs in 1955) hit his 3rd of the game to give Chicago a 9-7 lead. Let’s take it from the bottom of the 8th:
Hal Jeffcoate enters the game, now pitching for the Cubs, hoping to shut down the Cards and get the two-inning save. With one out, Ken Boyer’s solo home run narrows the gap; it’s now 9-8. The next batter is Wally Moon. At this point in the game, Moon has 3 home runs and a single. He doubles. Stan The Man Musial steps to the plate. First base is open and Rip Repulski is on deck. What do you do?
I elected to pitch to Musial. Bad call. Musial hits a 2-run home run and suddenly the game has flipped. The Cardinals now lead 10-9. They threaten to extend the lead later in the inning, but with runners on the corners Bill Sarni flies out to end the threat.
Top of the 9th, two out, Willard Schmidt working the hill for the Cardinals, going for the save. Ernie Banks in the batter’s box. What else could it be? Banks’ home run ties the game.
Two innings later, top 11, Gene Baker doubles, Frankie Baumholtz bunts him over. After Ernie Banks is intentionally walked, Jim King hits a medium fly ball to right field where Wally Moon patrols. Baker dashes for home on the sac fly, but with a 70% safe chance, the 20-sider comes up 16 – Moon has thrown Baker out at the plate to end the inning!
Eddie Miksis hits a solo home run in the top of the 13th. The Cubs have the lead, 11-10.
The home team may be down, but they are not out. In the bottom half of the 13th, Wally Moon is set to lead off. He already has 3 home runs, a single, and a double. With Stan Musial on deck and a one-run lead, there is no chance to intentionally walk Moon. They have to pitch to him. The roll is a 2-6, which on Moon’s card is 1-7 TRIPLE, 8-20 DOUBLE. The 20 sider rolls…it’s a 5. Old Unibrow has done it! Wally Moon triples and adds a cycle, plus a 6-hit game to his resume’.
More importantly, however, he’s led off the inning with a triple, so the Cardinals now have a man on third, nobody out and Stan Musial up to bat. The Cubs pull the infield in. Rather than put the winning run on base, Chicago elects to pitch to Musial. He grounds out.
Rip Repulski strides to the plate. He’s one-for-five on the day. He cracks a flyball (rf)X. The X-chart roll [Jim King is the right fielder – he’s a 3(-2) e3] results in a flyball B. As per rules in this league, any flyball B from the Pitcher’s card is ruled as a Fly B?. With two outs, down by one run and a 65% safe chance (1-13), Wally Moon takes off for home.
Here’s the throw:
Moon is out at home!! His legendary performance has come up one dice roll too short. Final score: Cubs 11, Cards 10. THE CUBS WIN! THE CUBS WIN!