Monday, June 08, 2009

#137 World Series Game Six: Bouton Wins Again

#137 World Series Game Six: Jim Bouton Wins Again
As you may have surmised from my semi-frequent references to it, I am a huge fan of Jim Bouton's book Ball Four. As such, I'm very happy to finally have one of Bouton's vintage cards in my collection. It's a great one, too, an action shot of the 25-year-old righty in mid-windup. With the intense look on his face, you can see why they called him "Bulldog".

This card also captures Bouton at the peak of his powers, one of his last moments as a true star. He had been an All-Star in his sophomore season, going 21-7 with a 2.53 ERA in 1963 and taking a hard-luck 1-0 loss in Game Three of the World Series. He was strong again in 1964, posting an 18-13 record and a 3.02 ERA while leading the league with 37 starts. He picked up in the Fall Classic right where he'd left off in the previous October, outdueling Curt Simmons to give the Bronx Bombers a 2-1 series lead with a 2-1 complete game victory in Game Three. But St. Louis pushed the Yanks to the brink of elimination by winning back-to-back squeakers, and New York called upon the Bulldog to be the stopper in Game Six.

The Cards got to Bouton early, with back-to-back singles by Curt Flood and Lou Brock to lead off the bottom of the first inning. Flood scored on a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Bill White to give the home team a 1-0 lead. But the Yankee starter settled down quickly, blanking the opponents throughout the rest of the early and middle innings and tying the game himself with a fifth-inning single off of Curt Simmons to score Tom Tresh. An inning later, New York took the lead on back-to-back home runs by Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. After Simmons departed, the Yankees broke the game open with a five-run eighth that was capped by a Joe Pepitone grand slam. Staked to an 8-1 lead, Bouton allowed a single run in the eighth and put two runners on in the ninth before being relieved by Steve Hamilton. Hamilton permitted one run to score before inducing a double play grounder by Flood to shut the door at 8-3. New York had forced a decisive seventh game, and they could give thanks to Bouton, who won both of his starts and allowed four runs (three earned) in 17 and 1/3 innings (1.56 ERA).

For more on the 1964 World Series and Jim Bouton,'ll just have to wait until I get to those cards.
#137 World Series Game Six: Jim Bouton Wins Again (back)


  1. I loved Ball Four, too. Got it as a graduation gift from a baseball loving friend.
    I played Little League with Bouton's nephews. The one I remember in particular was our best player. He pitched, I caught, he hurt my hand a lot.

  2. I got Ball Four from my mom just after graduating college in 2004. It was meant to be beach reading for a trip to Ocean City...some of the pages are still warped from the salt water. It's a nice reminder.