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Taking Stock of Milt's feat
2007-05-16 07:16
by Bob Timmermann

With Rafael Furcal having his third straight four-hit game, he’s now one short of the major league record for most consecutive four-hit games, held by another Dodger, Milt Stock of Brooklyn from June 30-July 1, 1925. Stock was the Dodgers’ (or if you prefer Robins as they were commonly known at the time) second baseman that season, although he was primarily a third baseman during a major league career that spanned 14 seasons, starting as a 19-year old with New York Giants and including a start for the Phillies in the 1915 World Series.

On June 30, 1925, Brooklyn was taking on the Phillies at Baker Bowl. Brooklyn led 9-7 going to the bottom of the ninth when Russell Wrightstone hit a 2-run homer to tie the game, which the Phillies won in 11 innings, 10-9. Stock picked up four of Brooklyn’s 18 hits, including two doubles.

Brooklyn returned home on July 1 to face Boston. And Stock stayed hot going 4 for 5, including a triple in the ninth inning that turned out to be the winning run when Boston second baseman Ernie Padgett threw away a relay throw trying to catch Stock at third. Stock scored three of the four Brooklyn runs. Brooklyn manager Wilbert Robinson was “quoted” in the New York Times, “I guess that little Stock is not combing that old pill. Twenty-three hits in the last nine games and ninety-seven for the season, that’s him.”

On July 2, the Braves and Dodgers hooked up again and the Dodgers put up a 10 spot in the first inning en route to a 20-7 win. Stock had four singles in six trips to the plate. Brooklyn managed 20 runs without hitting a home run and sacrificing four times.

The second place New York Giants ventured over to Brooklyn on July 3. Stock went 4 for 5 and was now referred to as “Mauling Milt Stock.” Stock had one triple and three singles in five at bats in a game Brooklyn won 6-3 with three runs in the eighth. The game also featured a double play in the fourth when Brooklyn’s Zack Wheat popped up with the bases loaded and one out. Wheat was out on the infield fly rule, but Giants second baseman George Kelly let the ball drop to see if any Dodger would try to run. Dodger pitcher Tiny Osborne fell for the drop and started for home and Kelly gunned him out there for a DP to end the inning.

Stock’s hot hitting stopped on July 4 during a split-admission doubleheader at Ebbets Field. The Dodgers won the morning game 10-2, but Stock managed only two hits in five trips to the plate against of trio of Giants pitchers: Wayland Dean, Walt Huntzinger, and Jack Wisner. Stock's teammates came up with 14. In the afternoon game, Brooklyn won 5-3, but Stock went 0 for 5.

By the end of the 1925 season, Stock had piled up a career-high 202 hits and a career-best .328 batting average. However, according to his Sporting News obituary, Stock hurt himself in a collision with Lou Gehrig in a preseason exhibition and he could play in just three games in 1926 before retiring from baseball.

Eventually Stock got back to the majors as a coach, working for the Cubs from 1944 through 1948, then joining Burt Shotton's staff in Brooklyn in 1949. In 1950, Stock became the center of attention during the last game of the regular season.

The Dodgers trailed Philadelphia by one game and needed a win to force a playoff. The game was tied 1-1 in the bottom of the 9th and the Dodgers had Cal Abrams on second and Pee Wee Reese on first with no one out. Duke Snider singled to center and Stock, even with no outs and Jackie Robinson on deck, decided to wave home Abrams. Ashburn nailed Abrams at the plate as Stock didn't notice that the center fielder had moved in close behind second in anticipation of a sacrifice attempt by Snider, and Phillies pitcher Robin Roberts was able to escape any damage after an intentional walk to Robinson followed by harmless fly outs by Carl Furillo and Gil Hodges. The Phillies would win the game and the pennant in the top of the tenth on a 3-run homer by Dick Sisler.

Shotton and Stock were not brought back for the 1951 season by the Dodgers for their misdeeds. Stock was hired on by Branch Rickey in Pittsburgh for the 1951 and 1952 seasons, but then spent the rest of his career managing various minor league teams.

Milt Stock passed away on July 16, 1977 in Fairhope, Alabama at the age of 84.

2007-05-16 08:06:11
1.   Josh Wilker
The all-time Milts:

C-Milt May
1B-Milt Galatzer
2B-Milt Ramirez
SS-Milt Bolling
3B-Milt Stock
LF-Milt Cuyler
CF-Milt Thompson
RF-"Milt" Bradley
P-Milt Pappas

Us Joshes, long a one-man team made up of a Negro League legend, are starting to gain on this squad, but I think we might still need a shortstop. Also, our starting pitcher keeps developing "avulsions" on his flippin'-off finger.

2007-05-16 10:00:37
2.   Xeifrank
Nice write-up BT. I always wondered why more teams don't try letting the ball drop on an infield fly rule. Of course there are certain types of flyballs in the infield you don't want to try it on, but someone is bound to fall for it sooner or later.
vr, Xei
2007-05-16 11:48:57
3.   Bob Timmermann
Thank you Xei
2007-05-16 12:27:31
4.   El Lay Dave
...Stock didn't notice that [Ashburn] had moved in close behind second in anticipation of a sacrifice attempt by Snider...

Snider sacrificing sounds so strange, despite six that season for him, according to BR. Snider was only 23 that year, posting these numbers:
ba obp slg ops+
.321 .379 .553 140

They managed a little differently in 1950.

2007-05-16 15:36:52
5.   Eric Enders
Walking Robinson to face Furillo and Hodges. Sheesh. Must've sucked to be a pitcher facing the Dodgers in the 1950s.
2007-05-16 15:52:40
6.   Bob Timmermann
And Roy Campanella was batting seventh.

The big question is why in the world Cal Abrams was batting leadoff. I guess the Dodgers had run out of healthy left fielders because Abrams was a rookie and he was not off to a Bob Hazle start.

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