Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Looking Back in Giants' History

I'm still reading the autobiography on Willie Mays by James Hirsch.
I'm entering the year 1965.
But for this I want to go back to 1963.
July 2, 1963 to be exact. It was at Candlestick Park. The San Francisco Giants versus the Milwaukee Braves. On the mound were Juan Marichal for the Giants, Warren Spahn for the Braves. From here on I'll let Mr. Hirsch take over...

Neither team could score through 9 innings, and both Marichal and Spahn kept pitching. "In the 12th or 13th, he (Dark) wanted to take me out and I said, 'Please, please let me stay,'" Marichal recalled. "Then in the 14th inning, he said, 'No more for you.' And I said, 'Do you see the man on the mound?' And I was pointing to Warren. "That man is 42-years-old, and I'm 25. I'm not ready for you to take me out."

By the time Mays came to bat in the bottom of the 16th, with one out, he had gone 0-for-5 with a walk. But Spahn, after 276 pitches, finally made a mistake- a screwball that (as he put it) "didn't break worth a damn," and Mays hit it over the left center field fence, ending the 4-hour, ten minute marathon.

Two hundred seventy-six pitches. Are you friggin' kiddin' me? And he was how old at the time? Ya think the old-timers think today's pitchers are soft? Nolan Ryan has the proper approach and by golly he just may get up on the mound (during spring training) just to prove his point to the pitch-count stifled youth of today.

By the time he retired, Mays had hit a homer in every inning from one to sixteen (1-16). This may be a record that never gets broken.

During one week in August 1963, Mays hit 4 balls that struck the top of the center field fence in Candlestick, giving him four doubles instead of 4 homers. Holy Ian Kinsler! You mean that Game 2 shot by the Ranger second baseman, that for all intensive purposes told the World Series watching public that the baseball gods were smiling on the orange and black has happened before? And to the Say Hey Kid, no less!

When Matt Cain tightened things up and didn't allow Kinsler to score and the Rangers would be shutout and give the Giants a comfortable 2-0 lead in the best of seven series things were feeling pretty good. Even if the Rangers did win their Saturday contest at Texas, which they did.

But that was it, baby! There would be no more wins after Madison Bumgarner's gem and then the Tim Lincecum outdueling of Ranger ace Cliff "Getty" Lee, as in get outta here with that supposed "unbeatable" label.

Are you still enjoying the ride? I sure as heck am.

Kevin J. Marquez