So, any guesses as to Tracy Stallard's favorite song? My money is on Johnny Cash's classic "A Boy Named Sue".
-A native of Coeburn, VA, Tracy signed with the Red Sox in 1956.
-Famously surrendered Roger Maris' record-breaking 61st home run on October 1, 1961 - the final day of the season. Though Stallard has denied grooving the 2-0 fastball that Maris hit, he has said that he's glad he was the one to give it up: "Otherwise, I would never have been thought of again."
-Stallard continued to scuffle in his first season in New York, going 9-17 with a 4.71 ERA. It was the farewell year for the Polo Grounds ballpark, and manager Casey Stengel told his young hurler: "At the end of the season they're gonna tear this joint down. The way you're pitching, that right-field section will be gone already."
-Paroled by a December trade to the Cardinals, Stallard was even better in 1965. He set personal bests in won-lost record (11-8), ERA (3.38), and hits per nine innings (8.0).
-It's a good thing that he had his pitching to fall back on; Tracy is reportedly the only player in major league history to collect at least 200 career plate appearances while failing to draw a single walk! He batted .110 with a .113 on-base percentage (owing to a single hit-by-pitch) in 258 trips to the plate, and his career strikeout-to-walk ratio was 88-0.
He pitched in the first game I saw at Shea. It was either in '64 or '65 against the Dodgers. I remember my friend's dad took us and talked about the Maris home run with the guys behind us. That one I saw on TV.ReplyDelete
Makes me think of Jack Fisher, the O's pitcher who gave up Maris's #60. Fisher and Stallard were both on the '64 Mets and each managed to win 10 games.ReplyDelete
Bob - I came across something odd in my research. There was a Baseball Digest article from 1992 written by Dan Shaughnessy in which he interviewed Stallard, who seemed very candid about his career and the Maris HR. But there's a NY Times article from 1998 (McGwire/Sosa) that makes it seem as if Stallard has been underground for decades, refusing to talk about the HR and putting his family members under a gag order. Something doesn't add up.ReplyDelete
Doug - Double-digit wins was no small feat on that team! Al Jackson led the full time starters with 11 wins and a .407 win percentage (16 losses). Jackson's another O's link, as he went on to become Frank Robinson's pitching coach in Baltimore.