Monday, June 23, 2008

King Felix Takes Johan Deep; Mex Mashes Stunning

I just watched Felix Hernandez hit a grand slam off Johan Santana. Sometimes, words fail even me.

After the requisite amount of shock from the announcers poured forth, someone mentioned it was the first home run hit by an American League pitcher since Steve Dunning hit one out in 1971. (That's "Stunning" Steve Dunning to anyone who has ever read the wonderful Seasons in Hell by Mike Shropshire.)

Keith Hernandez quickly chimed in about taking Dunning deep one time in old Jarry Park early in his career. The inning ended before Mex could expound upon this moment in history further, but the beauty of the Internet is that you can get the particulars of this momentous occasion with or without additional commentary from Hernandez.

Let's get in the time machine and set it for September 6, 1976. The Cardinals and the Expos square off in a late season battle of NL East also-rans in front of 6,500 Montreal die-hards. Dunning is nursing a 1-0 lead into the sixth, and gets the light-hitting Don Kessinger to bounce into a 1-6-3 groundout. (Hey, I just go by what Baseball Reference says. With no one on base, I can't imagine why the shortstop was involved. Maybe the ball bounced off Stunning's glove?)

Enter the young Hernandez, completing his first season starting at first for the Cardinals. The resulting blast tied the score in a game the Expos ultimately won in the bottom of the ninth inning. It was the last start of Dunning's career; he pitched out of the Montreal bullpen for the rest of the month and made six relief appearances for Oakland before calling it a career in 1977.

Did Keith Hernandez's solo home run in Montreal effectively end Steve Dunning's career? I wish Gary Cohen had thought to ask this after the commerical break ...

EDIT:
R: "Manuel, you better cut out that cheap crap."
M: "Cheap crap? We're playing clean, hard baseball."
R: "You call spiking a 22-year-old boy..."
M: Spiking? The umpire called it safe! My team plays by the book!"
R: "All right, pus-head ... "
M: "You got any crying to do - cry to the umpire! Get back to your dugout! Maybe your team could use your help ... but I doubt it! ... All right, Carlos! You guys play by the book!"

9 comments:

James Allen said...

I'm watching this postgame show on SNY and they want to parse the blame between Wright and Santana...

You know what? We can talk about Wright's error and the fluke of all flukes of a friggin' American League pitcher going yard, but all this is noise which is getting away from the Mets dreaded offense. I mean, Beltran has to basically steal a run on his own, and then they scratch one out in the ninth before finally submiting (come on, did anyone actually think Delgado was going to get a hit in that spot? For crying out loud, bring up Pascucci and platoon him at first with Delgado already, he can't be any worse against lefties, can he?) This line-up is still weak, and something has to be done about it, and all the bending over backwards of announcers complimenting Manuel's "new attitude" is not going to change it.

tim said...

"That's wonderful, Lupus, really."

Joeywalnuts said...

so the new manager makes inflammatory remarks, the teams falls back under .500 by going 2-18 against the Seattle bullpen, striking out 6 times and their best player is struggling so much he's gonna ride the bench tonight and you're givin us the wanning moments in the otherwise unspectacular career of Steve Dunning? Excuse me, but you just aint tryin no more...

Judge Roughneck said...

Welcome aboard, James!

Joe: The manager didn't make inflammatory remarks. The Post basically made it up. You've lived in this city long enough that you should know better than to trust the Post.

What I will write about - possibly for Flushing University tomorrow - is the effect that a lack of greenies has on veteran teams like the Mets. A betting man would've put his house on the Mariners last night, considering the Mets were flying back from Colorado and facing Felix Hernandez. There was just no way they were going to hit last night.

Joeywalnuts said...

Felix's injury precluded him from getting out of the 5th, a betting man would have taken Johan and his career numbers vs. Seattle, and this aint the Giants traveling to London. The Post is a joke but Jerry got to choose his imagery more carefully.

James Allen said...

I agree with Mr. Walnuts in this respect: Mr. Manuel's attempts at comedy are only going to get more and more grating as time goes on. It's nice to have an easygoing personality, but poop jokes aren't going to do anyone any favors.

tim said...

Not trying?!! He's channeling Vic Morrow and you say he's not trying? That's just crazy talk.

A beeting man would think twice about Johan as his mastery seems to slipping away year by year. He's still very capable of having shutdown games but I think we are watching a very expensive slow decline.

By the way, Hernandez is no slouch and I don't think there is any doubt that this team was exhausted last night. They have been to the west coast three times in two months, that'll take its toll on anyone.

Joeywalnuts said...

Everyone should agree with Mr. Walnutz. T-Bone, i'm gettin you free helicopter lessons for Christmas. Jackie, stand underneath and watch...

tim said...

Got to hand to ya Joe, the helicopter comeback on the Vic Morrow reference. There is certainly a special place for you in hell