No, not really. But, if there was a 40-man roster for MLB fan blogs, I would have made the cut. This week, Redbird Chatter debuted at #33 on the MLB blogs leader list.
I started this blog as a writing exercise and as a journal for myself. I did not expect anyone to read it! And, I certainly did not expect to stumble into this wonderful online baseball-loving community. Thank you to all that write, read and comment!
In the community tradition of dedicating one’s ranking to a player of the same number, I give you #33 Barney Schultz.
Barney Schultz, a knuckleballer, from Beverly, New Jersey spent a good chunk of his career in the minor leagues. He played for 23 seasons, only seven of those seasons include major league time. I will gloss over his first tour with the Cardinals as well as the Chicago Cubs and Detroit Tiger years, and I will proceed directly to 1964. Yes, that Cardinals’ World Series winning year, 1964.
In 1964, the Cardinals acquired Schultz, 37, and sent him to AAA Jacksonville, where he posted a 0.85 ERA in 35 relief appearances, earning him a call-up in August. When he arrived on the scene, Cardinals were in sixth place, trailing first-place Philadelphia by seven games.
Schultz made 30 appearances in the 60 remaining games, posting an ERA of 1.64. He won one, lost 3 and saved 14. Playing less than half a season, he finished in a three-way tie for 5th in most National League saves. He was instrumental in helping his team get to the World Series.
Unfortunately, he did not shine so bright in the World Series. He got the save in Game One, but the Yankees figured him out. In Game Three, there came the match-up of every pitchers dream (or nightmare). Schultz faced Mickey Mantle in the bottom of the ninth with the score tied one all. Schultz’s first pitch to Mantle was a knuckleball that did not knuckle. He crushed it over the right field fence.
The story has a happy ending since the Cardinals go on to win the World Series, and Barney Schultz goes on to work and coach in the Cardinals organization until 1975.
Thanks Mr. Schultz for your fine relief pitching that helped us to win the pennant in 1964, and don’t feel bad–Mantle took Bob Gibson deep, too.
Photo Credit – http://www.baseball-almanac.com