Baseball 101 – October 1, 1972

October 1, 1972 

Milwaukee v. Detroit

The final game of a three game set between these two. The Tigers sent John Hiller to the mound and the Brewers countered with twenty-three year old Bill Parsons, a below average pitcher. Parsons would end the season 13-13 with an ERA+ of 77. Hiller, as mentioned yesterday, was returning from a year off after a heart attack. Before his heart attack, he’d been a solid pitcher making more relief appearances than starts and managing an ERA+ of 125 in 1967, 126 in 1968 and 124 in 1970. In the 1970 offseason he suffered a heart attack at age 27. Like many other pitchers of this era, he considered conditioning a four letter word and avoided it. Hiller gained weight and smoked and by the time his heart attack struck he weighed in at 220 pounds. When he left the hospital, after recovering, he was down to 145. He quit smoking, began working out and even had intestinal bypass surgery, an experimental procedure at the time. He came back in 1972 and was offered the job as an instructor with the Tigers and took it. Persistent, he bugged Tigers’ executives until they brought him up to the big club in July. The Tigers did not know what to expect but they’d seen good stuff from Hiller in the past so I suppose they were hopeful. Prior to his start in this game, Hiller had appeared in 23 games with an ERA of 2.29. He’d made only two short starts that year.  One on August 11 where he went three innings and the other on September 19, the second game of double header, in which he tossed four innings of two hit ball. I suspect the Tigers were hoping for five or six innings from Hiller in this outing against the Brewers.

They got better than that, much better. Hiller tossed a complete game five hitter allowing only  a single run in the ninth. The Tigers won the game 5-1 on Hiller’s arm, a three run homer by Aurelio Rodriguez, and solo blasts in the eighth by Dick McAuliffe and Al Kaline. The Tigers did what they needed to do and looked toward the scoreboard to see what had transpired in the Sox and O’s game.

Red Sox v. Orioles

The Sox had righty Lynn McGlothen on the mound against Mike Cuellar. Cuellar was the better pitcher and would finish his season at 18-12 with a 2.57 ERA. McGlothen was no slouch, he was, however, only twenty-two and in his rookie season. He would finish the year at 8-7 with a 3.41 ERA. McGlothen was drafted by the Sox in 1968 and after a good 1972 season in AAA where he went 9-2 with a 1.92 ERA he got the call to Boston. He made his debut on June 25 and pitched well for 7 1/3 innings against the Brewers but took the loss 2-0. The Sox ended up trading him and another young pitcher, John Curtis, to the Cardinals for Diego Segui and Reggie Cleveland. McGlothen would move around a bit after that and finish his career at the age of 32. Tragically, he died at the age of 34 in a mobile home fire in Louisiana.

On this day, the Sox needed McGlothen to out pitch a guy who won the Cy Young award in 1969. No small order. This is how it played out.

The O’s took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third on a Boog Powell single to left that scored Davey Johnson from third. Johnny Oates tested Evans arm in left and was nailed going from first to third.

The Sox challenged in the fourth with a single from Aparicio, a check swing excuse me single by Reggie Smith and then a Rico Petrocelli infield hit loaded the bases. Fisk flied out and Dewey strode to the plate. He laced a 2-0 pitch down the third base line. The only problem? That territory was patrolled by Brooks Robinson, the human vacuum cleaner. He stabbed the rocket and managed to force Petrocelli at second, snuffing out the Red Sox rally.

“I never could imagine that it wasn’t a hit,” said Dewey. “I drilled it.” Dewey learned the hard way, you can fire a rifle down the line toward Brooks and he would still get a glove on it.

The Sox tied the game in the sixth on a two out single by Fisk that knocked in Reggie Smith.

Then, in the bottom of the frame, the O’s answered right back on a Bobby Grich blast to edge ahead 2-1. Cuellar set down the side in order in the seventh and the eighth.

Cuellar took the mound in the ninth and promptly got Fisk to ground out. Dewey then slapped a single to center and Doug Griffin followed with a single of his own. With runners at first and second and one down, Kasko sent Bob Montgomery to the plate. Monty had earlier in the month smashed a game winning homer off Sparky Lyle to beat the Yankees. I imagine Kasko sent him up hoping for some similar heroics. Monty tried. He smoked a shot toward center but it bounced once and ended up in the glove of shortstop Bobby Grich, who flipped the ball to Davey Johnson to start a game ending double play. The Sox lead was down to a half game.

This meant that whichever team won two of the next three games in the Detroit would be the division champ. And, the Tigers had their ace Mickey Lolich waiting. The Red Sox would turn to John Curtis.

One final note, on this day, Nina Kuscsik won the second NYC women’s marathon in 3:08:41.






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