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Random Game Callback, June 13, 1963
2006-06-13 03:59
by Bob Timmermann

Offense was at a premium at Candlestick Park this day and the San Francisco Giants were able to use solo home runs by Felipe Alou and Willie Mays to edge the Chicago Cubs, 2-1 in 10 innings before a crowd of 12,217.

The Giants, managed by Alvin Dark, were the defending National League champions and were in a tight battle for first with the Dodgers and Cardinals. The Cubs were managed by "head coach" Bob Kennedy. The team had abandoned its plan to have a rotating set of coaches leading the team, but Kennedy was still using the "coach" title even though he would be in the job for the entire season. Both teams started lefties, Billy O'Dell for the Giants and Dick Ellsworth for the Cubs.

There wasn't much offense. The Cubs scored their only run in the fifth. Shortstop Andre Rodgers (who in 1960 had been traded from the Giants in exchange for Dark) led off with a double and center fielder Nelson Mathews walked. Catcher Dick Bertell struck out and the ball got past catcher Tom Haller. Rodgers tried to go to third, but Haller recovered to throw him out. Mathews moved up to second. Ellsworth singled to center to score Mathews, one of only 22 RBIs he had during his career. Ellsworth batted .088 in 13 seasons.

Ellsworth had given up just two hits through the first six innings, but leadoff man Alou reached him for a home run to tie the game. Neither team would get a hit again until there was one out in the tenth when Mays homered to give the Giants the win.

Mays would hit 38 home runs in 1963, but he would not lead the NL. Teammate Willie McCovey (along with Henry Aaron) would have that honor with 44 homers. McCovey played in left field in 1963. First baseman Orlando Cepeda hit 37 for the Giants. Despite the presence of these sluggers, the Giants finished in third place in the NL, 11 games behind the Dodgers. The pitching staff had an ERA of 3.35, which may sound good by today's standards, but in 1968 that was the 8th highest ERA in the league. The Dodgers led the league at 2.85.

Ellsworth had a career year in 1963 with a 22-10 record and a 2.11 ERA. He could have won the Cy Young Award if Sandy Koufax hadn't been in the league. He actually had a better ERA+ than Koufax (167 to 163), but it was hard for BBWAA voters to look past Koufax's 306 strikeouts, 11 shutouts, and 1.88 ERA. Ellsworth would pitch three more seasons with the Cubs, but would never have a winning record. In 1966, Ellsworth went 8-22, one of two 20-loss seasons he had (In 1961, he was 9-20.) Ellsworth was 16-7 for the Red Sox in 1968. He pitched his final season with the Brewers in 1971 and was out of baseball at age 31.

The Cubs had a winning record at 82-80 but finished in seventh in the bottom heavy NL. Ninth place Houston was 66-96 and the last place Mets were 51-111.

1963 would be the final season for Cubs second baseman Ken Hubbs, who had won the Rookie of the Year award in 1962. On February 13, 1964, Hubbs died in the crash of a small plane he was flying at the age of 23.

Source: Chicago Tribune, Retrosheet,

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