Game One – Cardinals surprise Stylers
It was the Ross’ Stylers and the Johnny’s Cardinals in the first round of the playoffs in 1963. The Stylers had pushed the first place Teepees all season before having to settle for second place when the Teepees went on an eight game winning streak to end the season. The Cardinals were coming off a mediocre season which saw them finish in fourth place with a .500 win/loss percentage.
In the best of five series opener the Cards sent their ace Bob Remington to the mound to face the Stylers’ young lefthander Al Hamilton. Remington, who was coming off a great 1962 season, had his problems early but was rounding into shape late in the season and this boded well for the underdog Cardinals.
The Cardinals got to Hamilton in the first inning. After lead-off batter Myles Gillard went down swinging, Rich Billy singled and Len Sedgwick doubled to put runners on second and third. After Glen Bensen popped out to short stop Norm Kvern, Duane Rupp looped a single to center to score both runners and give the Cardinals the lead they would never relinquish.
The Stylers had Remington in trouble only once, the bottom of the first inning. Glen Arnold singled and then scored on Bart Longmore’s long single. Remington then struck out catcher Larry Derksen and got Kvern to pop out with Longmore moving around to third with two out. With Don Donaldson at the plate, Longmore tried to steal home and was gunned down at the plate.
The Cards bounced Hamilton out of the game in the top of the second inning with a three run outburst. Shortstop Bob McDowell led off the inning with a walk. Vic Poirier singled and Myles Gillard walked to load the bases. Rich Billy’s solid single to center eluded centerfielder Bart Longmore scoring all three runners. That was all for young Hamilton as he stomped off the mound giving way to reliever Jim Jankovich.
Jankovich hurled three scoreless innings but did not have the answer to Duane Rupp in the sixth. After Billy and Sedgwick singled, Rupp jumped on a Jankovich fastball that got too much of the plate and drove the ball out of the park for a three run homer and an 8-1 Cardinal lead.
Kvern’s solo home run in the bottom of the sixth was the only other run that the Stylers could muster off Remington who finished the game allowing just five hits while striking out five. In the seventh he retired Patty Hamilton on a line drive to second and then struck out Al Wheeler and pitcher Jankovich to end the game.
Jim Jankovich also pitched well in his five innings of relief allowing the Cards just six hits while striking out seven and walking two.
Billy led the 11-hit Cardinal attack with three singles in five at bats and was robbed of a fourth hit by Jankovich who knocked down his hard drive back to the mound and threw him out at first.
Other Cardinals to pick up more than one hit were Rupp, Sedgwick and Poirier with two hits apiece.
Second baseman Glen Arnold was the only bright spot for the Stylers reaching base three times including a double and a walk. Longmore’s game breaking error in the second inning was rare for the Styler centerfielder and one of only a few he made all season. Kvern’s homer, his first of the season, was the only hard hit ball off Remington.
Game two – Cardinals outlast Stylers in a 10 inning thriller
In game two, it was veteran Al Wheeler against Gordie Waldmo in another battle of the lefthanders.
The Stylers opened the scoring with two runs in the second inning on two hits, an error and a base on balls. Then added two more in the third on three straight singles.
Meanwhile, Al Wheeler was coasting through the first three inning without giving up a hit before he got into trouble in the fourth. Three straight singles by Dennis Anderson, Myles Gillard and Rich Billy loaded the bases with none out. After Wheeler got Len Sedgwick to fly out and fanned the ever dangerous Duane Rupp he appeared to be out of the woods facing the light hitting Bob McDowell. But McDowell had other ideas jumping on a Wheeler offering blasting a grand slam home run to right field and it was a brand new ballgame.
The Stylers rebounded in the top of the fifth when Jim Holdaway hit a towering two run double deep to center over Gillard. The hit marked the end of Waldmo’s day as Anderson came on in relief.
But the Cards were not to be denied. They loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth with two out and Billy at the plate. Billy had hit the ball well all series and had a solid single in his previous at bat against Wheeler. Lefthander Al Hamilton was ready and waiting in the wings. After a long discussion on the mound the Stylers decided to pitch to Billy and it was one batter too much for Wheeler. Billy squared off on the first sweeping curve ball he saw from Wheeler driving the ball deep to right field hitting the famous telephone pole half way up and bouncing back unto the field for a ground rule double driving in two runs and tying the game at six. Hamilton was finally summoned and retired Sedgewick to end the inning.
The extra innings was packed with plenty of action as both clubs threatened to break the tie. Anderson, who relieved starter Gordie Waldmo in the fifth, got some outstanding fielding behind him to keep the Stylers off the scoreboard. Hamilton escaped the Cardinal threats with strikeouts at key times with men in scoring positions.
The tenth inning was a wild one. First, outfielder Vic Poirier robbed Al Hamilton with a fine shoe-string catch on his sinking line drive. Then shortstop Bob McDowell leaped high in the air to spear Glen Arnold’s drive destined for extra bases. Bart Longmore then singled and Larry Derksen reached on an error to put runners in scoring position but Anderson closed the door by enticing Norm Kvern to hit a lazy fly ball to Gillard in short center field.
Anderson then led off the bottom of the tenth walking on five pitches. He was erased at second on Gillard’s fielder’s choice. Gillard then stole second and went to third on a wild pitch by Hamilton
with Billy at the plate. Hamilton struck out Billy for the second out and had two strikes on catcher Len Sedgewick. With Hamilton not working from the stretch, Gillard took advantage of Hamilton’s slow, deliberate windup and delivery and broke for home. The two strike pitch was in the dirt giving Styler catcher Larry Derksen no chance to catch the ball and tag out the speedy Gillard.
The two teams pounded out 27 hits between them with the Stylers outhitting the Cards 17 to 12 in what was called one of the most entertaining games in memory. Holdaway led the Styler hit parade with three hits including two doubles. Arnold continued his hitting streak pounding out two hits and was robbed of two more hits by outstanding fielding plays by the Cardinal Infield. Longmore, Derksen and Patty Hamilton also had two hits for the Stylers.
Bob McDowell’s grand slam was undoubtedly the biggest Cardinal hit of the game as he put the his team back in the game with one swing of the bat. Rupp chipped in with three hits while Billy and Sedgewick chipped in with two hits apiece.
The contest was marred in the top of the seventh when Styler slugger Don Donaldson was thrown out of the game for flinging his bat out of the playing field after a called strike. Donaldson received a one game suspension and will sit out game three.
It was a tough loss for Hamilton who struck out eight batters while giving up four hits and four walks in his five innings of relief work. Anderson took the win for his five innings of stellar relief work.
Game Three – Jankovich rides to the rescue as Styler stave off elimination
In game three, the Stylers turned to Jim Jankovich to try and salvage their season and the big righthander responded with a masterful performance limiting the Cardinals to two scratch singles and two meaningless runs as the Stylers coasted to a 6-2 win and get back into the best of five series.
The Cards started fast and looked like they were going to run the Stylers out of the park in the first inning. The usually slick fielding Glen Arnold bobbled Gillard’s leadoff grounder. Billy sacrificed Gillard to second and the Cardinal centerfielder scored when Sedgwick’s ground ball went through Styler shortstop Kvern. After Rupp struck out, Sedgwick scored when Styler third baseman Patty Hamilton couldn’t find the handle on Larry Lindquist’s ground ball. Jankovich then fanned Bob McDowell to end the inning.
The Stylers wasted no time in tying up the contest in their half of the inning. After retiring the first two batters, Cardinal starter Glen Bensen served up walks to Longmore and Kvern before hitting Lloyd Young with a pitch to load the bases. Patty Hamilton looped a single over short to score Longmore and Kvern before Bensen got Jim Holdaway to ground out to first to end the inning.
Bensen was back in trouble in the third when Larry Derksen singled and Norm Kvern was safe on a fielder’s choice and Derksen was also safe at second. Young singled to load the bases and Holdaway followed with a long off field flyball that just eluded the outstretched glove of leftfielder Vic Poirier to clear the bases. At this point, Dennis Anderson entered the game in relief and got Gene Madarash to fly to Gillard in center to end the inning.
The Stylers added their sixth run in the fifth, when Derksen blasted a sizzling single over short and then through the legs of leftfielder Poirier rolling all the way to the ditch with Derksen rounding the bases. Anderson, who pitched brilliantly in his five inning relief job in the extra inning win in game two was visibly tiring and was replaced by centerfielder Gillard for the final four outs.
Patty Hamilton and Larry Derksen led the Styler hitters with two hits apiece. Jim Holdaway added a three run double for the winners.
Game Four – Rain saves the Cardinals
In game four, it was all Stylers from the get go as they looked like money in the bank to even their series at two games apiece .
They jumped on Cardinal ace Bob Remington early rapping the lefthander for seven runs and a 4-0 lead by the third inning and seemed well on their way to tying the series. Stylers’ Al Hamilton was coasting along giving up only one hit, a sharp single Billy in the first inning while striking out four and walking two.
Glen Arnold started the first inning rally with a leadoff single. Then, after Longmore and Derksen were retired, successive singles by Kvern, Young and Al Hamilton plated two runs.
Remington managed to get through the second inning giving up only a single to Arnold but in the third, the Stylers unloaded the heavy lumber. Kvern and Young slammed back to back homers as the Stylers moved in front 4-0 after three.
Although the Stylers had solved Remington they could not solve the weatherman. A light sprinkle turned into a downpour in the fourth inning with Umpire Jack Clark calling that game at that point. The rain continued the rest of the day preventing the clubs from finishing the game later in the day.
In the replay of game four, the Stylers will send their ace Jim Jankovich back to the mound to try and even the series.
Game Four Replay – Cards again fail to solve Jankovich
The replay of game four saw veteran Jim Jankovich back on the mound for the Stylers trying to again weave his magic and force a fifth and deciding game. Gordie Waldmo got the call for the Cards.
Stylers opened the scoring in the top of the first inning when Arnold led off with a single and moved to third when third baseman Billy who failed to come up with Derksen’s ground ball. The Cards then conceded Arnold’s run throwing out Kvern at first and but then Derksen was caught trying to move over to third.
After Jankovich retired the Cards in order in the bottom of the first, the Stylers struck for two more runs in the second. Young led off the inning with a long drive to right center which cleared the cars parked on Boam Street. Pat Hamilton singled and was safe at second when the Cards’ infielders botched a force play at second on Holdaway’s slow grounder. Arnold checked in with his second single of the game to score Hamilton.
The Cards got their only two runs in the bottom of the second inning when Bensen led off with a single and Longmore dropped McDowell’s sinking liner. With one out, Poirier lined a double to score both runners but was cut down by a nice throw by outfielder Madarash trying to stretch it to a triple.
The defensive play of the game came in the bottom of the third with the Stylers nursing a 3-2 lead. With Billy running from first at Sedgwick sent a long blast to deep center which Longmore ran down to end the inning.
The Stylers got their fourth run in the sixth when Patty Hamilton was safe on another Billy error. Holdaway walked and pinch hitter Donaldson struck out for the first out. Then after a double steal by Hamilton and Holdaway put runners at second and third, Jankovich tapped a slow roller toward Billy at third and his rushed throw to catcher Sedgewick was off the mark with Hamilton scoring the Styler fourth run.
Jankovich closed out the game in the seventh striking out Bensen and Pearson and coaxing McDowell to ground out. It was the second straight brilliant performance for Jankovich despite having arm troubles that diminished the effect of his fastball. But the veteran righthander used a mixture of breaking balls and off speed pitches to keep the Cardinals hitter off balance the entire game. Losing pitcher Waldmo pitched a strong game and deserved a better fate but was the victim of some costly errors behind him.
Arnold kept up his torrid hitting pace with two more hits. Young with his home run and double supplied the power.
The Cardinals played without the services of their power hitting first baseman Duane Rupp and third baseman George Chigol. Billy, who moved over to Chigol’s spot from second base struggled mightily making three errors that led to two of the Styler runs.
While the Cards get their two stars back, the Stylers will lose their catcher Derksen for the deciding game. Longmore will be an adequate replacement behind the plate but they will miss Derksen’s bat in the lineup.
There is a chance that Bob Remington will not be unavailable for the deciding game due to work commitments in Snow Lake and it looks like Dennis Anderson, who has been steady in his three appearances in the series, will get the call. Al Hamilton, the young 16 year old lefthander will take the mound for the Stylers.
Game Five – Winner take all.
No one seems to remember if Bob Remington ever made the deciding game. But it didn’t matter as Cardinal manager John Wilken had already made Dennis Anderson his choice on the mound for the final game. After pitching a first game gem, Remington had been knocked around pretty good by then.
Styler hitters in the rain shortened game four. The lefthander was not available for the replay of game four and hadn’t pitched for over a week and a half. Meanwhile, Anderson, who did not start any games in the series, had pitched in three games including two strong five inning relief jobs getting the win in
the wild ten inning second game. Wilken’s choice was a good one as Anderson was perfect through four innings. Meanwhile, Hamilton was pitching a gem of his own. After giving up back to back singles to Gillard and Billy in the first inning, the young lefthander struck out Sedgwick and retired Bensen on a ground ball. Then with runners in scoring position he caught the ever dangerous Rupp looking at a third strike.
Stylers’ Donaldson spoiled the perfect game getting on base on an error to lead off the fifth. Then Anderson made it even tougher on himself when he fielded Patty Hamilton’s comebacker to the mound and turned and threw the ball into center field in his attempted double play. The error left runners at second and third with none out. But the always cool, righthander bore down to strikeout Young.
Then came the play of the series. With Donaldson at third and less than two out, Holdaway
attempted to squeeze Donaldson home with a bunt. The ball was bunted straight down, hit the plate and came straight up striking Holdaway’s bat a second time before rolling ahead into fair territory. Anderson pounced off the mound quickly and threw out Holdaway at first as Donaldson slid across with what was thought to be the first run of the game. But home umpire Alex Huston ruled Holdaway out for interference and sent the runners back to their respective bases. But Huston may have made a mistake. The rule now states that if the batter is still in the box when the ball strikes the bat twice, it is only ruled a foul/dead ball and the runners are returned to the base that they previously occupied. Huston called Holdaway out. So the Cards caught a break and with two out Anderson got Al Hamilton to ground to short but McDowell’s throw was low and first baseman Rupp made a great play digging the ball out of the dirt and keeping the game scoreless.
Rupp led off the seventh and worked Hamilton into a two ball, one strike hitter’s count. Hamilton, not wanting to give in to the Cardinal power hitter by throwing him a fastball with the short porch to right field came in his curve ball. Unfortunately, he hung the pitch letter high and Rupp hit it deep to right center on to Boam Street.
It would be the only run young Anderson would need. He retired Kvern, a former teammate from the juvenile Legion team, on a long fly ball to center. Donaldson then bounced a 2-1 pitch to Chigol and third who fielded the ball cleanly but threw low to first handcuffing Rupp and putting Donaldson on first base. Donaldson promptly stole second base but got greedy and was gunned down trying to steal third by Cardinal catcher Sedgwick.
This left Styler third baseman Patty Hamilton to only thing standing between Anderson and his no hitter and series clinching victory. Billy, at second base I knew the right handed hitting Hamilton’s liked to go off field with most of his hits and played him perfectly in the hole between first and second. Hamilton worked the count to 3-0 before reaching out and hitting a slow rolling ground ball directly at Billy who had an easy play to Rupp for the final out putting his young pitcher into Polar League history and the Cardinals into the final against The Pas Teepees.
Anderson face 24 batters, only three above the minimum. He struck out five and did not walk a man. Hamilton, who also pitched brilliantly, except for one hanging curve ball, sent seven Cardinals down swinging while walking only one batter. After giving up the two singles to Gillard and Billy in the first inning, Hamilton was only touched for three more hits the rest of the game. – a singles by Rupp in the fourth and Gillard in the sixth, before the big blow in the seventh. Although he pitched three strong games he was the losing pitcher in all three Styler losses.
The team presented Anderson with the game ball signed by all his teammates. Johnny Boychuk, owner of Johnny’s Confectionery and sponsor of the team, rewarded Dennis by telling him to go to his sporting goods section and pick out any baseball glove that he wanted. Dennis has always cherished this gift and the game ball and still has them to this day.
Here is the Cardinal batting line-up for Anderson’s no hitter: 1. Myles Gillard (CF), 2. Rich Billy (2B) , 3. Len Sedgwick (C), 4. Glen Bensen (RF), 5. Duane Rupp (1B), 6. George Chigol (3B), 7. Bob McDowell (SS), 8. Vic Poirier (LF) 9. Dennis Anderson (P).