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[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he date was Wednesday, August 29, 1962. If you were one of the 28, 106 in attendance, you were treated to a close contest between two teams who were in the top half of the American League that season. It was a warm and humid summer evening, with the daytime temperature recorded at 90 degrees and the dew point hovering around 60.
Cultural trivia and baseball miscellany
If you drove to the ballpark in your GM convertible hardtop, chances are good that if the radio was on you were grooving to The Loco-Motion by Little Eva, currently number one on Billboard’s Hot 100. Sheila, by Tommy Roe, was also a popular hit and would reach number one status the very next week. In the film world, Kid Galahad (starring Elvis Presley as a boxer), opened on this date. Grossing just $1.8 million (granted, it was competing with The Music Man, which had been number one for months), the 1937 version with Humphrey Bogart received more favorable reviews than this remake. Also notable to the film world and popular culture of the time: sadly, Marilyn Monroe had passed away from a drug overdose just weeks before on August 5.
In baseball, the major league draft wouldn’t be instituted for another three years, but 1962 did see two notable events:
- This was an expansion year, and so baseball welcomed two new teams to its ranks, the New York Mets and the Houston Colt .45s. The Mets would go on to have an abominable season (the worst in modern baseball history), 40-120, 60.5 games out of first place.
- The minor league class structure would be completely overhauled in December, regrouping the six classes into just four.
Elsewhere, the Twins earned their first no-hitter in Minnesota franchise history three days prior to this game, a 1-0 victory over Kansas City. Pitcher Jack Kralick walked just one batter; even today, the Twins as a franchise are yet to have a pitcher throw a perfect game. Meanwhile, the White Sox had been no-hit on August 1 by Red Sox’ pitcher Bill Monbouquette. 1962 also saw the Hall of Fame inductions of Jackie Robinson, Bob Feller, Edd Roush, and Bill McKechnie.
Umpires for this game
- Home: Bill Kinnamon
Kinnamon worked as an umpire from 1960-1969. He was behind home plate for Roger Maris’ 61st home run on October 1, 1961. Kinnamon also worked the 1962 and 1968 All-star games; the latter was the first to be played indoors, in Houston at the Astrodome. His World Series experience includes the 1968 Fall Classic between the Tigers and the Cardinals (the Tigers won in 7).
- 1B: Cal Drummond
Drummond was also an umpire from 1960-1969, though the circumstances surrounding his departure are far more tragic. During a game in 1969, Drummond was hit in the head by a foul ball: the blow was bad enough it required surgery to remove a blood clot in his brain. The next year, while calling a minor league game, Drummond suffered a stroke (possibly related to the foul ball incident) and ultimately passed away.
- 2B: Larry Napp
Napp was an umpire from 1951-1974, a career that saw him in four World Series (1954, 1956, 1963, 1969) and four All-Star games (1953, 1957, 1961, 1968). Close readers will note the 1956 World Series: he was the third base umpire for Don Larsen’s perfect game.
- 3B: Johnny Stevens
Stevens had a career in length similar to Napp’s, as he worked from 1948-1971. He, too, was in four World Series (1951, 1954, 1960, and 1967), but five All-Star games (1950, 1953, 1957, 1960, 1965). Stevens was the umpire behind the plate for Bob Keegan’s no-hitter on August 20, 1957 against the Washington Senators.
|Minnesota Twins||Chicago White Sox|
Play by Play
The White Sox were looking for some payback in the series after losing the opener, 2-0, behind a strong effort from Jim Kaat, who pitched a complete game shutout. Unfortunately for the home team, things unraveled quickly. The first frame started innocuously enough, with starting pitcher Ray Herbert getting the first two outs by way of a flyout and a groundout. Rollins and Killebrew kept the inning alive, though, smacking back-to-back singles, which brought right fielder Bob Allison to the plate. The 1959 Rookie of the Year winner turned on Herbert’s offering and drove it out to left for a three run bomb, his twentieth of the season. The unraveling continued, with Bernie Allen doubling to right, and Zoilo Versalles (fantastically nicknamed ‘Zorro’) singling in Allen for another run. Herbert was able to get out of the inning on a groundout by Jerry Zimmerman, but the Sox would enter their half of the first facing a four run deficit.
Camilo Pasqual was toeing the rubber for the Twins, and he got two of the first three outs in the inning on flyballs from Jim Landis and Joe Cunningham. Sandwiched in between, however, was a single by Nellie Fox. Floyd Robinson picked up Cunningham, lacing a triple out to center and scoring Fox, thus giving the White Sox their first run in 22 innings (they had been shutout in back-to-back games by the Twins and the Angels). Likewise, it ended a run from Twins’ pitching that had seen 26 scoreless innings. While Pascual walked the next batter, left fielder Charlie Maxwell, he induced a groundout from Al Smith to end the inning.
It was evident at the start of the second that manager Al Lopez had seen enough from Ray Herbert. Dom Zanni, part of the blockbuster trade during the previous offseason which saw Don Larsen and Billy Pierce shipped off to the San Francisco Giants, came on in relief. Zanni proved to be an excellent choice in relief, as he proceeded to retire nine straight before allowing a single to his pitching counterpart to begin the top of the fifth.
The Sox’ offense, meanwhile, struggled to get anything going in the second, but chipped away at the lead in the third. Nellie Fox and Joe Cunningham singled and walked, respectively, to start the inning. After a productive fly to center by Robin which advanced Fox to third, Maxwell singled home the Mighty Mite (or, if you prefer, Little Nel) to make the score 4-2. Alas, the Sox couldn’t do anything with Cunningham at second, flying and grounding out to end the scoring threat.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Sox again tried to get something going. Cam Carreon singled to left to begin the inning, and Zanni played his part by bunting Carreon over. Landis hit an infield single that gave the Sox runners at first and second with one out, and Fox advanced Carreon to third on a groundout. Cunningham struckout looking, though, and the Twins escaped the inning.
As mentioned, Zanni to this point had been pitching quite well, having retired nine straight. The fifth, though, would see multiple batters reach, beginning with the previously aforementioned Pasqual singling to begin the inning. The Sox defense would erase that on a double play off the bat of leadoff man Lenny Green, but Zanni allowed a single to Vic Power and walked Rich Rollins to bring Harmon Killebrew to the plate. Killebrew, in the midst of a 48-home run season, was certainly a threat, but flied out to center to finish the top of the fifth. (The 1962 season saw one of Killebrew’s “down” seasons, he logged just 2.8 WAR; he finished second in home runs to Willie Mays, who had 49)
In the Sox’ half of the fifth, the Twins’ lead was reduced further as Al Smith homered to left to cut the score to 4-3. Bats were quiet, however, outside of Smith’s home run. Mike Joyce replaced Dom Zanni to begin the sixth, who, outside of a single given up to Zorro was effective until the eighth.
Meanwhile, after a flyball to start the Sox’ half of the bottom of the sixth, Mike Joyce and Jim Landis singled back-to-back to get the bullpen up and running for the Twins. Twins manager Sam Mele replaced Pasqual with Bill Pleis, who got Fox to ground into a double play and enabled the Twins to move on to the seventh. (Pasqual, while he wouldn’t record a complete game on this date, did lead the American League in that category in both 1962 and 1963 with 18 in each season)
The seventh was quiet for both teams, each going 1-2-3. The top of the eighth, though, saw Joyce get into a tough spot. After a double by Rich Rollins and a single by Killebrew, Bob Allison reached on an errant throw from Zorro which scored Rollins from third, making the score 5-3, and advancing Marty Martinez (pinching running for Killebrew) to third. Al Lopez called on lefty Dean Stone to replace Mike Joyce. After giving up a single to Bernie Allen, Stone was replaced by Turk Lown. Lown managed to get out of the inning, picking off Martinez at third and getting two flyouts to end the inning.
The eighth and the ninth were relatively quiet for both teams; Eddie Fisher replaced Turk Lown, and gave up a single, while Bill Pleis went the distance for the Twins, earning the save after 3 ⅔ innings. The Twins won, 5-3.
***[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Sox had two more games in Minnesota to conclude the season series between the two teams (and a chance to split), but would ultimately lose it, 8 games to 10. At the time of this game the Sox were 68-65, but would go on to finish the season strong with a record of 85-77, good for fifth in the American League. This was during a period in which the Sox were quite competent: from 1951-1967 they never finished below .500, and at times came close to winning a pennant. Major personnel changes via GM Ed Short were imminent, though. Luis Aparicio would be traded to the Orioles after the season (ultimately netting him a World Series ring); this after Minnie Minoso, Billy Pierce (as mentioned before), and Roy Sievers had been traded the offseason prior. After 1963, Nellie Fox, too, was gone. The Aparicio trade was notable at the time, though the Sox and their star shortstop were already on the outs. Here’s an interesting quote from the St. Louis Sporting News post-trade in January 1963:
At the end of the season, when Aparicio learned he was to get a cut in salary, he snarled angrily that ‘the White Sox will never win another pennant in 40 years…I want to be traded…I’ll quit first before I take a cut.’
(Little Looie was remarkably prescient about that 40-year pennant drought)
By 1968 the team was well below .500, finishing at 67-95. The ’68 season would usher in several terrible years of White Sox baseball.
For the Twins, things were looking up. While 1962 might have been a down year for Harmon Killebrew, he would rebound to post seasons worth at least 4 WAR 7 of the next 8 seasons. From a franchise standpoint, the Twins would finish 1962 at 91-71, good for third in the American League. The recently relocated franchise would go on to an American League pennant in 1965, a near-pennant in 1967, and playoff appearances in both 1969 and 1970, before a competitive drought similar to the White Sox.
Random Box Score White Sox record: 1-1
Billboard Hot 100 Archive
Historic New York Times