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Walking in a pinch
2008-05-14 06:00
by Bob Timmermann

Back on this day in 1961, the Washington Senators (AL version 2.0) did something that no team has ever done since. The Senators sent three straight pinch-hitters to the plate and all of them drew a walk. This remarkable bit of patience by batters coming off the bench was not all the work of the Senators hitters as we shall see.


In the second of a game of a doubleheader in D.C. against Boston, the Senators were tied 1-1 in the 9th.

Mike Fornieles was on the mound for Boston and he retired Harry Bright on a fly out to start the ninth. Catcher Pete Daley followed and tripled, his first of the season and the last of his major league career.

Now the machinations started, Senators manager Mickey Vernon sent Dale Long up to bat for pitcher Bennie Daniels. Boston manager Pinky Higgins (he preferred to go by Mike at this time) had Fornieles intentionally walk Long. Vernon then sent Coot Veal in to run for Long.

[At this time I should admit that the whole purpose of this was to get a chance to type "Coot Veal."]

Due up next was Jim Mahoney, but Vernon opted to bat lefty Bobby Klaus to get a platoon advantage on the righthanded Fornieles. So Higgins had Klaus walked. Now the bases were loaded with Daley at third, Veal at second, and Klaus at first.

Danny O'Connell was now up. But again Vernon opted for a platoon edge and had Marty Keough bat. And this time, Fornieles couldn't find the strike zone intentionally and Keough drew a walk to force in the winning run.

No doubt the crowd of 9,993 at Griffith Stadium went home excited over the doubleheader sweep by their beloved Senators. Washington had started the day in ninth place and the two wins vaulted them into seventh.

The Senators would finish the season tied for ninth (aka last) with Kansas City at 61-100.

Two NL teams have had three consecutive pinch-hitters draw walks. The Brooklyn Dodgers did so against the New York Giants in a game at Ebbets Field on April 22, 1922. In the seventh inning, pinch hitters Dutch Ruether (a pitcher batting for first baseman Ray Schmandt), Tom Griffith (an outfielder batting for shortstop Sam Crane, who would play in his last major league game the next day), and Sam Post (a first baseman who would be out of the majors in two weeks batting for catcher Otto Miller) all drew walks. The three walks forced in two runs to make the score Giants 3, Dodgers 2. Then Brooklyn manager Wilbert Robinson let pitcher Burleigh Grimes bat for himself and he hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game. The Dodgers would win 5-3.

Almost 10 years later, in the first game of a doubleheader, Brooklyn was involved in the other instance of three consecutive pinch walks when the Boston Braves did it in the 9th inning at Ebbets Field. With one out, Dazzy Vance walked pinch hitters Freddy Leach, Randy Moore, and Pinky Hargrave with the Dodgers ahead 6-1. Brooklyn manager Max Carey pulled the 41-year old Vance from the game and 48-year old reliever Jack Quinn got the last two Braves hitters out to preserve the win.


2008-05-14 09:13:31
1.   El Lay Dave
Two of the three involved the Brooklyn Dodgers.

In that same spirit, in perusing the unassisted triple play list it should be noted that of the fourteen that have ever occurred, the Cleveland Indians turned three of them and hit into three of them, thus being involved in nearly 43% of the occurrences.

2008-05-14 12:39:32
2.   Eric Enders
I think Cool Veal is most notable for having the funniest entry in "The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading, and Bubble Gum Book."

It just has a picture of his baseball card with a two word caption: "Coot Veal?"

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