David and Goliath
With the win over the Stylers, Johnny’s Cardinals were off to the Polar League finals against the powerful The Pas Teepees, defending champions and winners of eleven of their last twelve games…
No one gave them much of a chance. The Pas newspaper wrote that “the best team didn’t win the semi finals in Flin Flon” but acknowledged that the “spunky Cardinals put on an impressive performance to steal away the series.” He went on to say that “the Teepees had not been beat at home all season and should win the series four straight unless they suffer a complete collapse.” He called them the “New York Yankees” of the Polar League.
Well, the collapse would come in the form of left handed pitcher Bob Remington. Remington was coming off a mediocre season but looked like he was hitting his stride late in the season and in the first game of the playoffs. Remington’s biggest problem wasn’t the opposition batters as much as getting to the games as he worked at HBM&S in Snow Lake and had to communicate a long distance to each game. He was only able to make two of the five semi final games against the Ross’ Stylers.
The Teepees would be without their ace Don Miller for the first few games as he was called north on business commitments but they were more than confident in their rookie Al Wolfe to get the job done. Wolfe was coming off an outstanding season which saw him lose only two games.
Game One – Wolfe outduels Remington in a classic
Game one was a classic pitching duel between two of the league’s best pitchers.
The game was scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning when Teepee catcher Orest Strocel reached first on a throwing error to the Cards third baseman George Chigol. Strocel then went to went to third on Barry Rowley’s single over short. After Claude Kozik flied out, Pete Warwo drilled a two run double to right field to put the Teepees up 2-0. Remington then retired the next two batters on infield grounders to end the inning but the damage was done. Wolfe retired the Cardinals in order in the top of the seventh as the Teepees took game one.
Both pitchers were brilliant, each giving up only four hits. Remington stuck out seven batters while walking one. Wolfe fanned three Cardinals and issued one walk.
GAME ONE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Runs Hits
Cardinals 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
TeePees 0 0 0 0 0 2 X 2 4
WP: Al Wolfe (TP) LP: Bob Remington ©
Game Two – Errors cost Cards game two in slugfest
Game two was much different than game one as the Cards jumped on Teepee starter Ticky King in the first inning. After Cards’ leadoff batter Myles Gillard led off with a walk, successive singles by Rich Billy, Vic Poirier and Glen Bensen plated three runs and gave the Cards an early 3-0 lead. The Teepees came back In the bottom of the first with a couple of unearned runs against Cardinal starter Gordie Waldmo without getting the ball out of the infield cashing in on an error, walk, two stolen bases and two infield outs.
In the bottom of the second inning, the Teepees exploded for five runs, knocking Waldmo out of the game. Waldmo, who has been the victim of some shoddy fielding during the semi finals, saw his team mates make three errors, combined with three singles and a Peter Wawro double to jump ahead 7-3. Dennis Anderson was summoned to relieve Waldmo.
Teepees starter Ticky King also didn’t escape the third inning as the Cards jumped on him for three runs more runs cutting the lead to 7-6. King was replaced by Claude Kozik who got through the fourth but was nicked for two more runs in the fifth as the Cards retook the lead 8-7.
The Teepes tied the game with a run in the bottom of the fifth then struck for the winning runs in the bottom of the sixth after two were out. After Bill Donaldson singled and Orest Pidskalny double, Orest Strocel’s ground ball skipped by Cardinal shortstop Bob McDowell allowing the winning runs to score. Bob Remington came on to get the last Teepee batter in the sixth and keep the Cards within two.
Kozik managed to escape the seventh with the 10-8 victory.
It was a tough loss for Card reliever Dennis Anderson as the Cards offense went dead and failed to get a hit in their last three at bats against reliever Claude Kozik. Dennis Anderson took the loss but he and starting pitcher Waldmo were the victims of some shoddy fielding as their teammates committed seven errors behind them.
The Teepees outhit the Cardinals 11-10 with Pete Wawro leading the way with three hits including two doubles. Billy and Bensen had two hits apiece for the Cards.
The game was costly for the Cardinals as they lost shortstop Bob McDowell. Teepee baserunner Claude Kozik went out of his way to take out McDowell hard at second base injuring his shoulder. The hit came long after the shortstop had thrown the ball to first completing the back end of a double play with second baseman Billy. McDowell stayed in the game and was able to field and throw the ball but the injured shoulder would not allow him to swing the bat and he was limited to bunting when he was at the plate.
GAME 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Runs Hits
Cardinals 3 0 3 0 2 0 0 8 10
TeePees 2 5 0 0 1 2 X 10 11
TP: Ticky King, WP – Claude Kozak (3)
C: Gord Waldmo, LP – Dennis Anderson (2)
Game Three – Cardinals get revenge
Game three back in Flin Flon was a rematch the first game starters. Al Wolfe came up with another solid performance limiting the Cardinals to just four hits over the seven innings , but they managed to bunch their hits together to score their runs.
The Cards took a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Vic Poirier was hit by a pitch and Bob Remington followed with a single. Shortstop Dennis Anderson, in for the injured McDowell, cashed in Poirier with a single.
The Cards second run came in the fourth when Gillard singled, was sacrificed to second by Billy and was driven home by Rupp’s single.
Teepees threatened in the top of the fourth when Rowley, Kozik and Wawro hit consecutive singles but Rowley was thrown out at the plate by Gillard trying to score from second. Donaldson kept the rally going when his ground ball was bobbled by second baseman Billy, loading the bases with one out. But the second baseman redeemed himself with two ground ball outs with the bases loaded. First he gunned down Kozik on a force play at home plate, then threw out White at first to end the inning.
The Teepees gave it one last shot in the top of the seventh when Teepees Cox doubled and Billy could not handle Pidskalny’s ground ball at second allowing Cox to score from second with the Teepees’ only run. Remington took his second base man off the hook retiring the side in order and stranding Pidskalny at first base as the Cards hung on for a 2-1 win.
Remington held the Teepees to five hits and received some outstanding plays in the field.
Game 3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Runs Hits
TeePees 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 5
Cardinals 0 0 1 1 0 0 X 2 4
WP: Bob Remington (C), LP: Al Wolfe (TP)
Game four – Cardinals do what was thought impossible
The second game of the doubleheader featured a rematch of game two starters Ticky King and Gordie Waldmo.
Cardinals opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning when Sedgewick singled and Bensen drove him home with a double.
Doug White answered for the Teepees in the top of the second with a two run homer to the short right field off Waldmo to put the Teepees ahead 2-1.
In the fifth inning, the Cardinals scored two runs to take back the lead with the big blow coming off the bat of Rupp who hit a ground rule double into the Ross Lake School yard to drive in Gillard who had walked and Bensen who doubled. Another walk to Chigol signaled the end of King as Kozik came on in relief. Teepee’s third baseman Cox saved two more runs when he ran down Anderson’s blooper over third base.
The Cards then blew it open in the sixth with four more runs. A two run single by Billy off Kozik opened the flood gates and catcher Len Sedgwick welcomed the Teepee’s third reliever Al Wolfe with a triple driving in Billy. Gillard followed with another ground rule double to right to drive Sedgwick in with the final run and a 7-2 lead heading into the seventh.
The Teepees made some noise in the top of the seventh when Cox singled and pinch hitter Pidskalny homered to cut the lead to 7-4. Remington came in relief to put out the fire for starter Waldmo and secure the win.
Waldmo, coming off a tough outing in The Pas a week earlier rebounded to throw a neat seven hitter, striking out five and walking one to earn the victory. He also received some solid defensive play behind him, something that was missing in game two in The Pas.
The Cards, who collected ten base hits got two hits apiece from Sedgwick, Rupp, Poirier and Bensen who also scored two runs and drove in two runs.
The double header sweep was the first time the Teepees had been swept in a number of years.
Game 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Runs Hits
TeePees 0 2 0 0 0 0 2 4 7
Cardinals 1 0 0 0 2 4 X 7 10
WP: Gord Waldmo (C), Remington (7) LP: Ticky King (TP), Claude Kozak (5)
HR: Doug White (TP)
Game Five – Cards put Teepees behind the eight ball
Game five in Flin Flon showcased the third installment of the Wolfe-Remington show. Wolfe had bested Remington 2-0 in game one and Remington returned the favour 2-1 in game three.
The Cards gave their pitcher all the runs he would need in the first inning jumping on Wolfe for three runs. After Gillard and Billy reached base on errors, Bensen doubled them home for the first two runs. Rupp followed with a single to score Bensen.
The Cards added two more in the third inning when Bensen and Rupp hit back to back doubles to plate one run. Rupp then attempted to steal third and the Teepee catcher threw the ball into left field allowing Rupp to score easily and give the Cards a 5-0 lead.
The Teepees managed to scrape a run across in the top of the sixth but Remington shut them down the rest of the way. Remington finished the game with a seven hitter and was back up by some outstanding defense play from their two rookie infielders Anderson and Billy at second. Remington’s regular catcher Len Sedgwick was unavailable for the game and Mel Pearson stepped in to do a great job handling the catching duties. McDowell was available to play the infield if needed but still could not swing the bat.
The Cardinals now had to journey to The Pas for game six and possibly game seven with an unenviable task of beating the Teepees on their home turf. The Teepees had not lost a game at home all season and would be welcoming back their top pitcher and league MVP Don Miller. Miller had a 10-2 season record and two more wins in the semi finals against Bowsman. Miller missed the first five games of the final due to business commitments.
Game 5 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Runs Hits
TeePees 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 7
Cardinals 3 0 2 0 0 0 X 5 5
WP: Bob Remington (C) , LP: Al Wolfe (TP)
Game Six – Managers’ decisions make the difference
Cardinal manager John Wilken had a big decision to make for game six. His ace Bob Remington had worked the night shift at Snow Lake and made the trip to The Pas in the early hours but he was available. He also had Gordie Waldmo, coming off a solid performance in Cards game four win. They also had Dennis Anderson, who had pitched only in relief in this series, but was coming off a no hit game in the deciding game of the semi finals against the Stylers. Wilken chose to go with Waldmo and save his ace for a possible seventh game. He always had Anderson in the wings although his services were needed at shortstop replacing the injured McDowell. It turned out to be a great managerial move.
The Teepees had their two aces, Don Miller and Al Wolfe ready to go. Manager Ticky King chose to go with Miller in game one and use the Wolfe/Miller combination in the deciding game if it was necessary.
The first game was no contest as the Teepees , with their backs to the wall, came out smoking. They jumped on Waldmo for a run in each of the first two innings and then added three more in the third for an early 5-0 lead. Anderson came on in the fifth but fared no better giving up three runs in each of the fifth and sixth innings as his offense and defense faltered behind him. But it turned out the Cards were saving it up for game seven by this time.
The Cards only runs came on Poirier’s home run and Rupp’s run scoring double.
Teepee manager Ticky King, continued to leave his ace Miller in to pitch long after the game was not in doubt and it would prove to be a critical mistake.
Game 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Runs Hits
Cardinals 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 3
TeePees 1 1 3 3 3 0 X 11 14
WP: Don Miller (TP) , LP: Gord Waldmo, Dennis Anderson (5)
HR: Vic Poirier (C)
Game Seven – Both teams all in
Game seven would be yet another pitching duel between Remington and Wolfe. It would be the fourth meeting of the two lefthanders in the series with Remington winning two of the first three meeting.
Remington and the Cards got a little scare before the game when Remington, warming up too close to the chain length fence, clipped the fence with his pitching hand during one of his side arm deliveries gashing his middle finger. But it did not hinder his delivery and he was good to go.
As they did against Wolfe in game five in Flin Flon, the Cards came out hitting. Gillard singled on the first pitch from Wolfe and promptly stole second. After Wolfe retired Billy, Sedgwick drove Gillard home with a solid single over second base and the Cards had an early 1-0 lead.
Cards went back to work in the top of the second inning pounding out three straight singles by Poirier, Remington and Anderson. With the base loaded and nobody out, Teepee manager Ticky King panicked and brought in his ace Don Miller. Miller had pitched the first game of the double header without working up a sweat. But things were different in game two.
Gillard greeted Miller with a perfect sacrifice bunt to score Poirier. Billy blooped a single over second to score Remington and Anderson and the Cards jumped to a 4-0 lead.
The Teepees struck for four singles in the bottom of the second but Remington limited the damage to two runs by striking out the side.
But the Cards kept coming in the top of the third. After Rupp walked, Chigol hit a frozen rope over the left field fence for a two run homer and a 6-2 lead. The Teepees took advantage of a couple of errors and a single to narrow the gap to 6-3 in the bottom of the third.
Miller and Remington then settled down to pitch two scoreless innings before the Cardinals drove a stake through the heart of the mighty Teepees in the top of the sixth.
Poirier, who was having a great playoff run, walked to open the inning. A couple of Teepee errors loaded the bases and Remington, a better than average hitting pitcher, helped his own cause with a three run double and a 9-3 lead.
The Teepees didn’t go easy scratching out two runs of their own in the bottom of the sixth inning but it was all for not as the Cards salted the game away in the top of the seventh. Rupp opened with a double and McDowell moved him to third with a perfect bunt single. The Cardinals then took advantage of a disheartened Teepee squad who started to kick the ball around to score three runs more runs and a 12-5 lead heading into the final inning. In the bottom of the seventh, Remington gave up a lead off bloop single to Pidskalny then retired the next three batters in order to win the game and the series. It was Remington’s third win of the series, all against Al Wolfe, who took the loss.
Game 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Runs Hits
Cardinals 1 3 2 0 0 3 3 12 14
TeePees 0 2 1 0 0 2 0 5 11
WP: Bob Remington (C) Al Wolfe (TP), LP: Don Miller (2)
HR: George Chigol (C)
Cardinals Bob Remington Series MVP
Remington was by far the Cards MVP of the series pitching brilliantly in four games and winning three. But he did need the support of his teammates in the last game as the Teepees touched him for eleven hits. But the Cards played a spirited game defensively with infielders Anderson and Billy turning three double plays and Gillard and Poirier making some great running catches in the outfield.
Great Fan Cardinal Fan Support for final game
The stands were full of happy Flin Flon fans who journeyed down to see the final two games. And they got their money’s worth. It was the second championship for the Cardinals who won the title in the Polar League’s initial year. Vic Poirier was the only member of that winning team still playing with the Cards.
Final series similar to 1962
It was the second time in three years that a Flin Flon team has won the league crown. The Stylers did it in 1961. In 1962, the Cardinals played in the final against the Teepees which was eerily similar to this year’s final. The script was the same as the two teams split the first four games and the Cards took a 3-2 lead with a 4-3 win back in Flin Flon. The Teepees forced a seventh game with a 10-5 behind their ace Don Miller. But this time the Teepees prevailed in game seven beating the Cardinals 7-3 with Miller, in relief of starter Wally Hausknecht, getting the win.