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BLI'S 100 Years....100 Duels Numbers 100 to 90

Number 100- Ron Guidry (NYY) vs. Jon Matlack (TEX), April 10, 1980

Fittingly our 100 Years, 100 Duels list opens with a pitchers’ duel that occurred on opening day 1980. On April 10 of that year the New York Yankees began their season in Texas to face the Rangers. On the mound for the Yankees was two time all-star Ron Guidry. The Texas Rangers countered with Jon Matlack. Two years prior the pair of southpaws had faced one another to open the 1978 season.

On that day Matlack and the Rangers prevailed 2-1 thanks to a Richie Zisk game-winning, ninth-inning homerun. Matlack went the distance for the win, surrendering eight hits and two walks while striking out two. Ron Guidry did not figure in the decision. Guidry had been lifted in favor of Goose Gossage after pitching seven innings of one-run ball.

That complete-game victory for Matlack was the first of his 18 complete games in ’78. In ’79 Matlack developed elbow problems and completed just two of his 13 starts. After a July 1 loss to the Oakland A’s in which Matlack was unable to get out of the sixth inning, he was shut down for the season. Approximately seven weeks later Matlack underwent surgery to remove 21 bone chips from his pitching elbow.

After a long winter of throwing every day to get his arm back into shape, Matlack proved to be ready for the spring. Indeed. Matlack threw 27 innings during the spring training season and posted a 1.17 ERA in the process. More importantly though, for the first time in more than a year, Matlack was pitching pain-free. However, despite seemingly healthy again, Matlack’s days of finishing games seemed to be over for the time being. According to Rangers’ manager and former pitching coach, Pat Corrales, “For the next year, Dr. Jobe (Dr. Frank Jobe, the surgeon who operated on Matlack) has instructed us that Jon is to be a seven-inning pitcher (1).”

On the day prior to the season opener Matlack was asked about his innings limit to which Matlack replied, “I know darn well that, if we’re in a one-run ball game and it’s going into the eighth inning, they’re not gonna want to pull me out of there and there’s no way I want to come out (2).” Sure enough, Matlack would be proven absolutely correct.

Surprisingly, similar to Matlack, Ron Guidry too had an impressive spring. Guidry wasn’t injured and hadn’t struggled as Matlack had over the last year, in fact quite the opposite but he was distracted. Heading into the season Guidry was ranked as MLB’s Number Two Starting Pitcher behind Houston’s flame–thrower, J.R. Richard, and was coming off an 18-8 1979 season in which he led the AL in ERA with a mark of 2.78. Guidry had finished third in CY Young Award voting. The year prior, Guidry won the AL CY Young Award after posting a sparkling 25-3 won/lost record and a microscopic 1.74 ERA, 0.53 runs better than second-place finisher Jon Matlack. In both years the slow-starting Guidry had struggled during the spring and was tagged with a 6+ ERA.

In the spring of 1980 though, Guidry had managed a 3.50 ERA but was distracted with ongoing contract negotiations. Guidry, who was signed thru the 1981 season at $125,000/year (18th highest amongst Yankee players), had been attempting to negotiate a contract extension with the Yankees. New York did make an offer to extend Guidry for five years; however, the Yanks would not guarantee the fourth and fifth years of the contract which Guidry flat-out rejected. “What’s the good of having a long-term contract if it’s not guaranteed (3)?” Guidry rhetorically asked after being questioned about the Yankee offer at the beginning of spring training.

Questions about his ongoing negotiations with the Yankees and the subsequent trade

New York Yankee Ron Guidry

rumors that followed had dogged Guidry the entire spring. By the time opening day rolled around the Yankees hadn’t extended Guidry but they hadn’t traded him either. Instead he was named the team’s opening day starter by first-year manager Dick Howser. Although fellow Yankee left-hander, Tommy John, was a 20-game winner in ’79, Guidry was the natural choice to be the Yanks’ opening day starter as he still was clearly New York’s best pitcher. Moreover, Guidry had completely dominated Texas since becoming a starter in ‘77. Indeed. Guidry was 6-0 in seven starts versus Texas with a 1.25 ERA; his only non-win being the aforementioned 1978 season opener against Matlack.

In the first inning of this season opener Matlack surrendered two two-out singles to Bob Watson and Reggie Jackson before retiring the Yanks’ right fielder, Lou Piniella, to end the inning. Matlack would give up just one single the rest of the way. In the bottom-half of the frame Ron Guidry made quick work of Texas with an easy 1-2-3 inning.

Two innings later Guidry would surrender his first hit of the game- a single off the bat of Ranger catcher Jim Sundberg. Sundberg though was quickly erased by way of an inning-ending double play. Sundberg would end up being the only Texas player able to muster anything off of Guidry the entire day. The Texas backstop was 2 for 3 against Guidry, twice singling off of the Yankee lefty. The only other Ranger to reach base versus Guidry was third baseman Buddy Bell courtesy of an error committed by his counterpart Craig Nettles.

Similarly, Jon Matlack had very little trouble navigating his way through the New York batting order but for one player, Yankee first baseman Bob Watson. Watson had two of the three hits given up by Matlack. Indeed, had it not been for Sundberg and Watson, we may have had a duel of no-hitter throwing pitchers.

After giving up a fourth inning lead-off single to Watson, Matlack retired the next three Yankees in order. He did the same in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. After Ron Guidry set down the Rangers in order in the bottom-half of the seventh, Texas manager Pat Corrales had a decision to make. His number-one pitcher was in a scoreless duel and had showed no signs of fatigue but had reached the doctor imposed seven-inning limit. However, unbeknownst to the media at the time was that Matlack hadn’t reached his pitch-count limit.

Matlack still had pitches to spare which meant that he would return to the mound to pitch the eighth as he had predicted he would the previous day. The eighth inning was Matlack’s easiest as the veteran needed just six pitches to retire the Yankees in order. Matlack’s quick eighth inning meant that he would return to pitch the ninth. In that inning Matlack once again disposed of the Yankees in order, his fifth consecutive 1-2-3 inning.

However, as well as Matlack had pitched, Guidry may have been even better. Heading into the ninth inning, Guidry had faced just two batters over the minimum. In the ninth Guidry made quick work of the Rangers with another 1-2-3 inning. After nine complete, Matlack and Guidry were deadlocked in a scoreless tie.

Neither would return to the mound in extra innings. After hurling nine innings of three-hit ball Matlack’s day was done; he had reached his limit. “His (Matlack) limit will be 110 pitches all year (4),” Corrales informed the press after the game. “He had reached 103 and that was it. But I’ve never seen him look better. He was in command of all his pitches (5).”

After the game Matlack reflected on his returning to the mound to pitch the eighth and ninth innings:

“I was supposed to pitch seven but when I came in after the seventh, I saw Brownie (pitching coach Jackie Brown) with a smile on his face. So I knew he wanted me to go one more. I came in after the eighth and there was Brownie smiling again. I said to myself, here we go for one more. I was getting tired, and I didn’t have anything left in reserve. I told Brownie if I got in any trouble to get me out right away (6).”

Matlack’s pitching line for the day was: 9 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 SO and a Game Score of 86, almost identical to Guidry’s 9 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO and 87 Game Score.

The game would ultimately be decided by the bullpens. Rangers’ relievers Jim Kearn and former Yankee, Sparky Lyle, threw a combined three innings of scoreless ball to put the Rangers in a position to win the game in the bottom of the twelfth. Ironically in a game filled with so many great pitches including Matlack’s combination of fastballs, curveballs and changeups as well as Guidry’s devastating sliders, it was ultimately decided on a Goose Gossage wild pitch which allowed Rangers’ center fielder, Mickey Rivers, to score the game’s only run to win it for Texas.

After the game Jon Matlack reached out to his opening day rival, Ron Guidry. According to Matlack, “I gave Ronnie a call and we made a deal. Next year I’ll pitch the first game and he’ll pitch the second (7).” No word on whether or not Guidry accepted Matlack’s offer.

Number 98- Jim Winford (STL) vs. Danny MacFayden (BSN), September 9, 1936

On September 9, 1936 the 77-57 St. Louis Cardinals were in Boston to open a two-game series versus the 62-72 Boston Bees aka Boston Braves. The Cardinals were in second place in the NL at the time, 4.5 games behind the New York Giants. St. Louis had been in first place as late as August 24 which incidentally was the last time the team had visited Boston.

On that day the Cardinals began a four-game series against the Bees. The Cards proceeded to get swept by the lowly Bees dropping them three games behind the first place Giants. In the last game of that series the Bees’ Danny MacFayden twirled a 4-hit, 10-inning complete game shutout versus the Cards’ Roy Parmelee to beat St. Louis 1-0.

The Cardinals would now get a second shot at MacFayden as the bespectacled Boston right-hander was set to open the two-game set. However, the match-up would not be a repeat of the MacFayden/ Parmelee duel that occurred just two weeks prior. Instead on the mound for the Cardinals to oppose MacFayden would be Jim Winford.

The then 26 year-old Winford had been for the most part, a minor league pitcher heading into the 1936 season. He possessed an effective knuckleball which he developed under the tutelage of veteran Cards pitcher Jesse Haines but at times was unable to control it, preventing Winford from advancing to the next level.

St. Louis Cardinal Jim WInford

Prior to 1936 Winford had started a grand total of three major league games. In ’36 though, Winford was inserted into the Cards’ rotation once the team became desperate for starting pitching. Indeed, former 19-game winner, Paul Dean, had been limited to just two starts since the beginning of July and 1935 All-Star, Bill Walker, had struggled mightily for most of the season. Both were key contributors to the Cardinals’ 1934 World Series run.

That year the Cardinals were first in the NL in runs scored and third in run prevention. In ’36 the Cardinals still possessed a terrific offense but struggled at preventing runs. St. Louis would finish the season next to last in runs allowed.

Despite the Cardinals’ high-powered offense the Bees’ MacFayden had found success when pitching against St. Louis. Prior to this start against the Cardinals MacFayden had shutout St. Louis twice before- the aforementioned August 27 start versus Roy Parmelee as well as a May 5 complete game three-hit shutout versus Paul Dean. In fact, MacFayden’s three highest Game Scores in 1936 were all against the Cardinals.

On this day it initially appeared as though the Cards had solved MacFayden as St. Louis immediately jumped on the right-hander. MacFayden surrendered hits to the first two batters he faced before Cards’ shortstop Leo Durocher delivered a two-out run scoring single to open the scoring. The one run was all MacFayden would surrender in that inning thanks to Bees’ center fielder Wally Berger. Berger had gunned down Cards’ second baseman Art Garibaldi with a strike to home plate to end the inning as Garibaldi was also attempting to score on the Durocher single.

Boston though would get that run back in the bottom-half of the first after Bees’ first baseman Buck Jordan tripled and Wally Berger singled off of Winford to tie the score at one. The Jordan triple was more a case of Cardinals’ center fielder Chick Fullis misjudging a wind-aided fly ball than it was of Jordan getting the better of a Winford knuckler.

After each pitcher had given up the one run in the first inning both bore down. Neither would allow a run over the next 13 innings. Danny MacFayden was particularly sharp. MacFayden had allowed just four singles after the first inning, none of which advancing into scoring position. Moreover, from the eighth inning thru the fourteenth MacFayden had faced the minimum 21 batters.

Conversely Winford had navigated his way in and out of trouble on several occasions as the Bees had runners in scoring position in the fourth, sixth, eighth and ninth innings. Each time though Winford escaped unscathed thanks in part to the Cards’ defense, particularly Leo Durocher who had made a brilliant stab of a Buck Jordan hot-shot in the eighth. After his sparkling grab Durocher then fired a throw to third base to throw out Rabbit Warstler who was attempting to advance one base on the play.

Durocher would end up winning the game for Winford and the Cardinals in the 15th inning. The Cards’ Pepper Martin led off the inning with a single and then had advanced to second on a Joe Medwick ground out. MacFayden then issued his second walk of the game to the Cards’ rookie slugger Johnny Mize. MacFayden’s first walk was an intentional pass given to Mize which occurred way back in the first inning prior to Durocher driving in the game’s first run.

Despite Durocher having already singled four times off of MacFayden, Boston manager Bill McKechnie had called for the intentional pass of Mize in this the 15th inning to get to Durocher. Once again though, Durocher would make MacFayden and Boston pay. Durocher lined a clean single to center to score Martin to give St. Louis a 2-1 lead. The Cards then added an insurance run as Mize came around to score via a Bruce Ogrodowski double. Durocher’s five hits on the day were half of the total amount of hits MacFayden had surrendered the entire game.

Jim Winford, who had faced just one batter over the minimum once the game went into extra innings, returned to the mound for the bottom-half of the 15th. The inning began with Winford retiring Boston third baseman Billy Urbanski thanks to a fantastic catch by Joe Medwick on a fly ball hit in foul territory. Winford then got into trouble by yielding a single and a walk. Once again though, Winford was able to escape. He shut the door on Boston by inducing a double play ground ball off of the bat of Warstler to end the game. Winford’s final pitching line: 15 IP, 11 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO.

Boston Brave Danny MacFayden

His opponent, Danny MacFayden, allowed three earned runs on 10 hits and struck out three in his 15 innings of work. Some might argue that MacFayden had pitched an overall better game than Winford but Winford received more press after the game given the importance of the victory. Indeed. Winford’s performance had temporarily breathed new life in the Cardinals and had propelled them back into pennant contention. Sid Keener of the St. Louis Star and Times:

“When the Cardinals lost four games in two days the forepart of this week, the spirit of the Gas House Gang was shattered, and the boys were ready to admit the Giants would coast on to this year’s National League pennant. And then, along came Jim Winford, the Oklahoma fireman, the pitcher with the iron heart….Winford gave a rare pitching exhibition in gaining the decision…In fact, Jim pitched the best game of his major league career (8).”

The Cardinals would win their next two games to get to within 3.5 games of the Giants by the time they opened up a three-game set in New York. However, the Cards would drop two of those three games to the Giants, all but eliminating St. Louis from contention.

Number 94- Jose Jimenez (STL) vs. Randy Johnson (ARZ), June 25, 1999

The 94th ranked pitcher’s duel is one of only two duels in our top 100 that ended with a no-hitter; and in this case the wrong guy happened to throw it!

Similar to the ’36 Cardinals, the ’99 Cardinals had a shortage of starting pitching. The ’99 Cards were without their promising young right-hander, Alan Benes, for the second consecutive season due to a shoulder injury. Moreover, during spring training the Cardinals learned that their talented and former first round pick, Matt Morris, would require Tommy John surgery. He too would miss the entire ’99 campaign.

As a result the Cardinals opened the season with a starting rotation consisting of Donovan Osborne, Kent Bottomfield, Kent Mercker, Darrin Oliver and Jose Jimenez. Jimenez, who was 3-0 with a 2.95 ERA after his September call-up in ‘98, earned the last spot in the rotation with an impressive spring.

The sinker ball-throwing Jimenez began his 1999 season where he left off in ’98, by going 2-0 with an identical 2.95 ERA in his first three starts. However, Jimenez then lost seven of his next nine starts and looked terrible in doing so. By June 15 Jimenez was 2-7 with a 6.92 ERA and in danger of losing his spot in the rotation.

On that day though, Jimenez seemed to have righted the ship. He fired 7.2 innings of 4-hit ball to beat Montreal 3-2. Jimenez attributed his success to a mechanical change in his delivery. After studying video Jimenez discovered that he was opening up too soon which in-turn reduced both the velocity on his fastball and the sink on his pitches.

St. Louis Cardinal Jose Jimenez

In his next start versus the New York Mets, Jimenez gave up six runs on seven hits in 5.1 innings of work. Jimenez’s pitching line though was not indicative as to how well he had pitched. According to the Cardinals’ manager, Tony Larussa, Jimenez “looked like the other game he pitched so well (vs Expos). He was aggressive, moving the ball around (9).” Unfortunately for Jimenez a 4-run Mets rally off of four hits, none of which were hit particularly hard, proved to be his undoing and the Cardinals ended up losing the game 9-6. Jimenez did not figure in the decision but given the improvement in these last two starts he remained in the rotation, setting-up his duel against the great Randy Johnson.

1999 was Johnson’s first year with the Arizona Diamondbacks and his first full season in the NL. He had signed a 4-year $52 million contract with the Dbacks in December of 1998. In the first two months of the ‘99 season Johnson had pitched relatively well but hadn’t dominated as he had with the Houston Astros the year prior after being dealt at the trading deadline by the Seattle Mariners. With Houston Johnson was 10-1 with a 1.28 ERA.

Heading into his start versus Jimenez and the Cardinals, Johnson was 9-3 with a 3.32 ERA in 16 games started. Five times though, Johnson had given up at least six runs including in his previous start at home versus Atlanta in which Johnson surrendered seven earned runs in just five innings. However, Johnson’s duel with Jimenez would mark the turning point in his 1999 season which culminated in Johnson’s winning the first of his four consecutive NL Cy Young Awards.

Johnson was sharp early. He had retired the first nine batters he faced before allowing a Joe McEwing double to open the fourth inning. The Cards’ Darren Bragg sacrificed McEwing to third by way of a bunt but Johnson was able to strand McEwing after striking out NL homerun champion Mark McGwire and inducing an Eric Davis ground-ball out to end the inning.

Jose Jimenez though one-upped Johnson. He hadn’t given up a hit through his first four innings of work. In fact, Jimenez wouldn’t give up a hit the entire game as the Dominican native had completely dominated the NL’s top run-scoring team. “His fastball was moving really well, his change-up was effective, he was nasty (10),” opined Diamondbacks left-fielder Luis Gonzalez after the game. Indeed. The Dbacks struggled to make solid contact off of Jimenez all night but thanks to Johnson’s tremendous pitching, Arizona was still in the game. If they could just muster a couple of hits and score a run, they’d win it for their ace. Unfortunately for Johnson and the Dbacks, that never happened, although they did come close.

D'Backs Ace Randy Johnson

In the bottom of the sixth, after Johnson had steamrolled his way through the Cardinals line-up for a second time and had struck out 10 batters on just 77 pitches, Jimenez faced Arizona shortstop Andy Fox who was leading off the bottom-half of the inning for the Diamondbacks. The left-handed hitting Fox drove a ball into the right-center gap but was retired thanks to a terrific diving catch made by the Cards’ right fielder, Eric Davis, a play in which Davis had injured his shoulder.

Despite the apparent injury, Davis, who had already been playing with a partially torn or strained rotator cuff, refused to be lifted from the game. “C’mon it was a no-hitter (11),” Davis remarked to the press after the game when asked why he did not come out. Days later it was discovered that Davis had indeed torn the rotator cuff in his shoulder and would be lost for the season. Incredibly, sore shoulder and all, Davis would rob the Dbacks of another hit three innings later.

For his part, Randy Johnson had dominated the Cardinals through eight innings. He had given up just four hits while striking out 13 and walking none. However in the ninth inning, back to back walks to Darren Bragg and Mark McGwire put runners on first and second for the Cards. After striking out Eric Davis for the second out of the inning, Johnson then faced the Cardinals’ switch-hitting left fielder Thomas Howard. With the count full, Johnson sawed off Howard with an inside fastball. Howard though was able to fight off the pitch and dump a broken-bat single into shallow left to score Bragg. Mark McGwire, who was attempting to advance to third on the play, was thrown out to end the inning. Nevertheless the Cardinals had broken through to take a 1-0 lead, providing Jimenez a chance to win the game and make history.

After Jimenez struck out the Dbacks’ Andy Fox to lead off the ninth, Arizona sent up David Dellucci to pinch-hit for Johnson. Similar to Fox in the sixth inning, Dellucci hit a sinking line drive to right field in which Davis dove for to make an almost identical fantastic catch to the one he had made in the sixth. This time though Davis had “lost control of the ball while punching the air in triumph (12),” after making the catch. Dbacks manager Buck Showalter came on to the field to protest but to no avail, the catch stood and Jimenez was only one out away from firing a no-hitter.

If Showalter’s protesting of the catch was an attempt to someway rattle the rookie Jimenez it did not work. Jimenez got the speedy Tony Womack to ground-out to win the ballgame and complete the no-hitter. Jimenez was then immediately mobbed by his teammates in celebration. The no-hitter was the first thrown by a rookie Cardinals pitcher since the aforementioned Paul Dean accomplished the feat back in 1934. It was also the first no-hitter thrown in the history of Arizona’s Bank One Ballpark.

Jimenez’s final line was: 9 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 SO. Jimenez after the game: “I was throwing well, I was hitting my spots; I’ve been working on my mechanics, my sinker (13).” In Johnson’s nine innings, the future Hall of Famer had given up a total of just five hits and struck out 14. Johnson reflected after the game. “I guess the only thing I’m discouraged about is walking two guys back to back. I was one pitch away from getting out of the (9th) inning. Unfortunately he (Thomas Howard) puts enough wood on the ball, breaks the bat, and that’s the ball game (14).”

Amazingly enough, the Jimenez/Johnson duel would have a sequel just two weeks later as the two hooked up again in St. Louis. Like most sequels though, this one wasn’t quite as good as the original although it came very close. Incredibly Jimenez was able to beat Johnson and the Diamondbacks 1-0 for a second time by two-hitting Arizona over nine innings. Randy Johnson had allowed just four hits for another tough luck loss. And once again it was the Cards’ Thomas Howard who had driven in the game’s only run.

A Jubilant Jose Jimenez Mobbed by Teammates

Number 93- Bob Klinger (PIT) vs. Jim Turner (BSN), May 18, 1938

The 93rd ranked duel was between two pitchers who had toiled in the minor leagues for years prior to making their major league debuts. The duel between Bob Klinger and Jim Turner is also one of just three duels in the top 100 that involved an unranked pitcher.

After spending nine seasons in the minor leagues, most of which trapped in the vast St. Louis Cardinals’ farm system, Bob Klinger was left unprotected by the Cards ahead of the Rule V draft in October of 1937. Klinger had just come off a 19-win season with the Sacramento Solons of the Pacific Coast League (PCL). He began his professional baseball career back in 1929 with the Shawnee Robins of the Western Association. Over the next eight years he pitched for various Cardinal affiliated teams including parts of four seasons with the Columbus Red Birds of the American Association.

One of Klinger’s teammates while with Columbus in 1934 was former Pittsburgh Pirate catcher Johnny Gooch. The hard-throwing Klinger had apparently made an impression on Gooch, so much so that in 1937, Gooch, who by that time was the Pirates’ pitching coach, advised Pirates’ President Ben Benswanger to “get Klinger in the (Rule V) draft (15).”

Pittsburgh Pirate Bob Klinger

Klinger made the Pirates roster in 1938 but began the season pitching out of the bullpen. By early May though the Pirates’ manager, Pie Traynor, had settled on a rotation consisting of veteran Red Lucas, youngsters Jim Tobin and Russ Bauers and the then 30 year-old rookie Bob Klinger. Klinger’s first career start would come against Jim Turner and the Boston Bees.

Jim Turner had spent the better part of 14 seasons in the minors before making his major league debut in 1937. Over that time Turner was unable to attract the attention of major league scouts. That would change though in August of 1936. On August 6 of that year which just happened to be Turner’s 33rd birthday (although some sources have Turner at 30 years of age on that day), the veteran minor-leaguer was scheduled to start for the Indianapolis Indians of the American Association versus the Minneapolis Millers at Nicollet Park in Minneapolis. In the stands was a Boston Bees scout. Turner impressed the scout by going the distance, shutting out Minneapolis over nine innings to become the first right-hander in five years to shut the Millers out in the hitter-friendly Nicollet Park. As a result, Turner, who had been contemplating retirement just weeks before, was sold to Boston in September of ’36.

On April 30, 1937 Turner made his major league debut- a complete-game 10-2 win against the Philadelphia Phillies. After a somewhat mediocre month of May, Turner then went on a roll. Over the next two months he completed 11 of 11 starts going 8-3 with a 2.25 ERA. Turner would finish the year with a 20-11 record and a NL best 2.38 ERA to become just the third pitcher in MLB history to win 20 games and lead his league in ERA in his rookie season. Since Turner only one other pitcher has accomplished the feat- Cleveland Indian Gene Bearden in ’48.

Turner did not possess a blazing fastball or a terrific breaking ball. In fact, his stuff was considered to be average at best. However, he did possess excellent control. “I guess I have pretty fair control (16),” Turner opined in January of ’38 at a press dinner held in his honor to celebrate his terrific rookie season. “I’m what they call a ‘spot pitcher’. I work the corners all the time. I try to keep from ever giving the hitter anything fat (17).”

Turner began the 1938 campaign as MLB’s 20th ranked pitcher but thanks to a 7.59 ERA over his last three starts, all of which resulting in losses, he had dropped to 22nd by the time he was to make his start against Klinger and the Pirates.

It appeared as though Turner’s losing ways would continue against Pittsburgh when Pirates leadoff hitter, Lee Handley, crushed Turner’s second pitch of the game, burying it into the left field stands for a homerun to open the scoring. After retiring the next two batters Turner yielded a single to Pirates’ left fielder Johnny Rizzo. Rizzo though was left stranded as Turner got Gus Suhr to ground out to end the inning.

Boston Bees' Jim Turner

Turner’s counterpart, Bob Klinger, sat down the Bees in order in the bottom-half of the first. By the bottom-half of the fifth Klinger had given up just one hit, walked one and was still ahead 1-0. However a Max West leadoff single followed by a Jim Turner base hit to left scoring West drew the Bees even.

Prior to driving in Boston’s lone run, Turner had been making quick work of the Pirates. After the first innings Turner had sat down the next 12 Pirates in order heading into the sixth inning. Over the next four innings Turner faced the minimum 12 batters. Bob Klinger though had matched Turner inning for inning. Klinger’s 1-2-3 ninth inning meant that the Pirates’ rookie had also faced the minimum 12 batters after the Bees had tied the score in the fifth. Klinger and Turner were heading into extra innings with the score knotted at one.

After both pitchers held their opponent scoreless in the 10th and 11th innings, Jim Turner returned to the mound to open the 12th inning. Turner allowed a two-out single to Lloyd Waner but left him stranded after retiring the dangerous Arky Vaughan on a comebacker to the mound which Turner threw to first to retire the side.

In the bottom-half of the 12th it appeared as though the Bees would finally break through against Klinger when Boston right fielder, Gene Moore, lined a one-out triple to left field. The Pirates then chose to have Klinger intentionally walk Bees’ batters Tony Cuccinello and Max West to set up a force at each base. Boston’s next hitter was catcher Al Lopez. Lopez had singled in his previous at-bat but was hitting just .172 on the season. Rather than having Lopez face Klinger, Boston manager Casey Stengel instead sent up pinch-hitting specialist Harl Maggert in place of Lopez.

Stengel’s strategy though did not work. Maggert grounded a Klinger pitch to Pirates’ shortstop Arky Vaughan. Instead of attempting the 6-4-3 double play, Vaughan fired a throw to home to get Moore attempting to score. Pittsburgh catcher Al Todd then gunned the ball to first to get Maggert to end the inning. Klinger had escaped the 12th but his day would finally end an inning later. After retiring Rabbit Warstler on a fly ball to center to open the 13th, Klinger ran out of gas and was lifted. He had thrown 12.1 innings of five-hit ball, walked four and struck out five.

Jim Turner though still had plenty left in the tank. After Turner set down the Pirates in order in the 13th and 14th innings, Boston won it for their hurler in the bottom of the 14th thanks to a Ray Mueller sacrifice fly off of Pirates losing pitcher Mace Brown. Jim Turner’s final pitching line: 14 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 SO.

The headline in the following days’ newspaper read:

Bees Defeat Bucs 2-1 in Thrilling 14 Inning Battle: Jim Turner Gets Best of Klinger in Mound Duel.

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