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Walk-off walks: a Cardinals history

Those who stayed up late on Friday night witnessed a most disappointing loss by the St. Louis Cardinals. A combination of intentional and unintentional walks by the Cards and Fernando Salas resulted in a walk-off win by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

It is bad enough to lose a game in walk-off fashion, but for it to occur as the result of a base-on-balls has to be the worst of the worst.

I asked researcher Tom Orf how often this has occurred, both for and against St. Louis. It is a fairly rare occurrence. Specifically, a game-ending free pass was issued by Cardinals pitching 21 times in the last 60 years. Almost half – 10 of the 21 – occurred in extra innings. At least three were rain-shortened games, which could be eliminated from consideration.

Among the 19 Cardinals pitchers to share this unfortunate event are current team television commentators Al Hrabosky and Ricky Horton. Larry Jackson walked in the game-winner twice in the span of just three weeks in 1958, though one was relatively harmless. Nelson Briles also did it two times, both in painful fashion, especially a wild pitch walk with a runner on third that ended a 1967 contest. It even happened to the greats. Bob Gibson did it once, early in his Hall of Fame career.

St. Louis Cardinals pitching, final play walk issued, 1952-current

Date Pitcher Opp Batter Score Inn RoB Out Pit(cnt) RBI Play Description
6/14/1958 Larry Jackson MLN Del Crandall ahead 2-1 t7 -23 1 0 *ENDED GAME*:Intentional Walk
7/5/1958 Larry Jackson @SFG Willie Kirkland tied 4-4 b9 123 2 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Speake Scores; Spencer to 3B; Wagner to 2B
4/13/1961 Lindy McDaniel @MLN Mel Roach tied 4-4 b11 123 0 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Bolling Scores; Adcock to 3B; McMillan to 2B
1961-06-20 (1) Bob Miller @CIN Don Blasingame tied 3-3 b11 123 2 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Robinson Scores; Coleman to 3B; Zimmerman to 2B
7/27/1961 Bob Gibson @CHC Bob Will tied 2-2 b9 123 0 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Altman Scores; Williams to 3B; Taylor to 2B
4/17/1964 Ron Taylor @SFG Chuck Hiller tied 4-4 b10 123 2 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Davenport Scores; Hart to 3B; Crandall to 2B
5/8/1965 Nelson Briles @PHI Pat Corrales tied 8-8 b11 123 2 4 (3-0) 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Callison Scores; Stuart to 3B; Gonzalez to 2B
1967-07-02 (1) Nelson Briles @NYM Tommie Reynolds tied 4-4 b9 3 1 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk, Wild Pitch; Harrelson Scores/No RBI/unER
7/7/1970 Sal Campisi @NYM Ron Swoboda tied 3-3 b9 123 2 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Weis Scores; Harrelson to 3B; Singleton to 2B
7/31/1971 Moe Drabowsky @PHI Bobby Pfeil tied 4-4 b16 123 2 5 (3-1) 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Harmon Scores; Montanez to 3B; Stone to 2B
5/23/1976 Al Hrabosky @PHI Larry Bowa tied 2-2 b11 123 2 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Boone Scores; Allen to 3B; Cash to 2B
5/28/1978 Mark Littell CHC Manny Trillo down 0-2 t6 3 1 0 *ENDED GAME*:Walk
7/26/1980 John Urrea @SDP Paul Dade tied 3-3 b11 123 1 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Mumphrey Scores; Montanez to 3B; Tenace to 2B
4/11/1985 Neil Allen @NYM Danny Heep tied 1-1 b11 123 0 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Hernandez Scores; Carter to 3B; Foster to 2B
8/28/1985 Ricky Horton @CIN Pete Rose tied 6-6 b12 123 2 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Concepcion Scores; Van Gorder to 3B; Perez to 2B
9/13/1989 Jose DeLeon PIT John Cangelosi tied 0-0 t6 -2- 1 5 (3-1) 0 *ENDED GAME*:Walk
4/1/1997 Tony Fossas @MON Sherman Obando tied 1-1 b9 123 1 6 (3-2) 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Rodriguez Scores; Segui to 3B; Stankiewicz to 2B
4/12/1998 John Frascatore @SFG Bill Mueller tied 1-1 b9 123 2 4 (3-0) 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Diaz Scores; Hayes to 3B; Hamilton to 2B
6/2/2005 Randy Flores @COL Brad Hawpe tied 7-7 b9 123 0 5 (3-1) 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Relaford Scores; Helton to 3B; Holliday to 2B
6/26/2008 Mike Parisi @DET Clete Thomas tied 2-2 b10 123 2 7 (3-2) 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Granderson Scores; Guillen to 3B; Cabrera to 2B
5/18/2012 Fernando Salas @LAD A.J. Ellis tied 5-5 b9 123 1 4 (3-0) 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Herrera Scores; Kennedy to 3B; Loney to 2B

On the other, positive, side of the ledger, during the last 60 years, the Cardinals have been the recipient of a free pass on the final play of the game just slightly more often – 22 times. One of those contests should probably be thrown out as it was the final play of a 7-0 rain-shortened win in 1985.

This play seems to be an increasingly-rare occurrence, happening just three times in favor of the Cards during the 16-year reign of Tony La Russa. The most recent such case was not all that recent. In fact, it was back when the current manager, Mike Matheny, was still an active player.

The catcher ended an April 2004 Cubs contest by drawing a bases-loaded walk against LaTroy Hawkins, which scored Albert Pujols. Hawkins, still active today, is now Pujols’ teammate with the Angels.

Since then, the Cardinals have suffered three walk-off walk losses, including Friday night. Matheny earned an assist, ordering an intentional base on balls prior to Salas’ unintentional walk to A.J. Ellis that ended it.

St. Louis Cardinals hitters, final play walk received, 1952-current

Date Batter Opp Pitcher Score Inn RoB Out Pit(cnt) RBI Play Description
7/17/1952 Enos Slaughter NYG Max Lanier tied 2-2 b9 123 1 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Glaviano Scores; Schoendienst to 3B; Musial to 2B
1958-07-25 (1) Ken Boyer CIN Don Newcombe tied 4-4 b9 123 2 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Kasko Scores; Cunningham to 3B; Noren to 2B
5/2/1960 Carl Sawatski PIT Roy Face tied 3-3 b9 123 0 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Flood Scores; Spencer to 3B; Wagner to 2B
4/29/1964 Jeoff Long NYM Larry Bearnarth tied 3-3 b11 123 1 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Boyer Scores; McCarver to 3B; Javier to 2B
4/21/1969 Tim McCarver MON Dan McGinn tied 4-4 b9 123 2 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Javier Scores; Torre to 3B; Shannon to 2B
10/2/1969 Curt Flood PHI Grant Jackson tied 2-2 b12 123 2 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; DaVanon Scores; Gibson to 3B; Brock to 2B
8/12/1970 Carl Taylor SDP Ron Willis tied 4-4 b14 123 1 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Maxvill Scores; Gibson to 3B; Lee to 2B
8/29/1971 Ted Sizemore CIN Clay Carroll tied 3-3 b11 123 2 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Melendez Scores; Maxvill to 3B; Kubiak to 2B
9/1/1976 Don Kessinger CIN Rawly Eastwick tied 0-0 b11 123 2 4 (3-0) 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Hernandez Scores; Simmons to 3B; Chant to 2B
5/3/1981 Darrell Porter CIN Tom Hume tied 4-4 b11 123 2 4 (3-0) 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Scott Scores; Hernandez to 3B; Hendrick to 2B
1985-08-15 (2) Ozzie Smith PIT Larry McWilliams tied 3-3 b12 123 2 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Clark Scores; Van Slyke to 3B; Harper to 2B
8/24/1985 Andy Van Slyke @ATL Rick Camp ahead 0-7 t6 -2- 1 0 *ENDED GAME*:Walk
9/15/1986 Curt Ford NYM Roger McDowell tied 0-0 b13 123 1 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; McGee Scores; Morris to 3B; Pendleton to 2B
5/24/1988 Jose Oquendo CIN John Franco tied 2-2 b11 123 2 5 (3-1) 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Pena Scores; Horner to 3B; Alicea to 2B
8/6/1989 Joe Magrane PHI Jeff Parrett tied 4-4 b10 123 2 6 (3-2) 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Brunansky Scores; Oquendo to 3B; Walling to 2B
5/12/1990 Todd Zeile ATL Joe Boever tied 3-3 b10 123 1 6 (3-2) 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Coleman Scores/unER; Pendleton to 3B; Collins to 2B
7/20/1991 Bernard Gilkey ATL Mike Stanton tied 1-1 b9 123 2 4 (3-0) 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Jose Scores; Pagnozzi to 3B; Wilson to 2B
8/2/1991 Bernard Gilkey PIT Stan Belinda tied 3-3 b9 123 1 7 (3-2) 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Pena Scores; Zeile to 3B; Jose to 2B
5/6/1994 Terry McGriff NYM John Franco tied 2-2 b9 123 2 5 (3-1) 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Whiten Scores; Jordan to 3B; Perry to 2B
5/30/1997 Delino DeShields LAD Mark Guthrie tied 1-1 b9 123 2 4 (3-0) 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Sweeney Scores; Clayton to 3B; McGee to 2B
7/3/1999 Mark McGwire ARI Vicente Padilla tied 1-1 b10 123 2 4 (3-0) 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Bragg Scores; Renteria to 3B; Drew to 2B
4/30/2004 Mike Matheny CHC LaTroy Hawkins tied 3-3 b9 123 2 6 (3-2) 1 *ENDED GAME*:Walk; Pujols Scores; Edmonds to 3B; Renteria to 2B

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33 Responses to “Walk-off walks: a Cardinals history”

  1. JumboShrimp says:

    Last year, Salas was a massive contributor, collecting 24 saves to lead the team. He walked only 18 across 75 innings. Salas was a good choice by Matheny for the 9th inning yesterday, but his walk rate has doubled early in 2012. He tends to work the edges of the plate. If he gets the calls from the ump, this works well. If he does not get borderline calls, there are walks.

  2. JumboShrimp says:

    The table above shows clearly how a game ending walk always happens on the road.

    Of the times the Cards have benefited from a game ending walk, it has always been at home, save for one road game that must have ended early owing to rain. Conversely, when the Cards have surrendered a walk-off walk, it has been on the road, save three rain-shortened games at home.

    This is not surprising, simply a truism. For a game to end with a walk, normally the home team is batting last and has to be the beneficiary.

  3. JumboShrimp says:

    This is why I liked Friday night’s game more than tonights. Friday we had a chance to win. Tonight was too much Clayton Kershaw. Ugh.

  4. JumboShrimp says:

    While I do not like Berkman suffering an injury, at least it happened on a routine play. No second guessing is possible, just Unkind Fate. Last year, Lance ran around the outfield, defied serious injury, and had a great season. This year, he had a calf injury and now the simplest play leads to what may be a knee injury. Cruel luck. Ouch.

  5. blingboy says:

    It looks like Matt Adams may get his big day sooner than expected. Maybe they will give him #5.

    Carlos Martinez down at Palm Beach is practicing for the big show by trying out the DL.

    Tyler Greene is on the all-star ballot.

    • Nutlaw says:

      While it’s nice to have Adams as another option along with Carpenter, it would be nicer if Craig and Berkman could at least space out their injuries.

      Oh well, it helps to get the team more prepared for a Berkman-less 2013, at least.

      • crdswmn says:

        If I had my druthers, I would rather bring Adams up by choice instead of necessity. I know the stat geeks like to discount the mental factors as being unprovable, but I believe in some cases what goes on between the ears does affect what comes out on the field of play. I can’t prove it or quantify it, but I know it’s there. If he comes up and fails, how will that affect him in the future? Perhaps Tyler Greene knows all too well.

      • JumboShrimp says:

        Adams has been hitting well for Memphis, unlike the more experienced Hamilton and Hill. Adams is legitimately prepared to contribute at the ML level.

        • Nutlaw says:

          Yeah, his performance says that he’s ready. He wouldn’t be called up if Craig or Berkman were healthy, but that’s just because he’d have nowhere to play.

          • JumboShrimp says:

            Since Memphis is the least offensive among PCL parks, it is not surprising Matt’s OPS is 783 at the Memphis park, whereas his road OPS is 1,219 (more than 50 percent higher).

            No player from the Rock (Slippery Rock) has ever donned a ML jersey, before Matt Adams.

            The Cards drafted 2 guys from the Rock in 1982, a first baseman in the 8th round and a 3rd baseman in the 21st. The next year, in round 22 we drafted catcher Sal Agostinelli, who served in the Cards minor league system for 6 years. Agostinelli returned to Pennsylvania and became a scout. He heads Latin American scouting for the Phillies.

            Slippery Rock is NCAA Division II baseball. Adams dominated opposing pitchers, so the Cards invited the big bodied catcher to a tryout camp and selected him ahead of other teams in round 23. We liberated him from the duties of catcher, so now he can focus on pounding opposing pitching.

            • JumboShrimp says:

              Consider back in 2009 the Cards once almost invested $3.1MM in a signing bonus for Dominican OF, Wagner Mateo, who was 16. Mateo was a big strong left swinger and on this basis we almost shelled out big bucks. It would have been a roll of the dice, because such a long path from age 16 to the majors.
              Matt Adams was a less costly investment. He was a big left swinger like Mateo, yet already acclimated to the USA. We suspected he could hit, based on great hitting for Slippery Rock. And because the US draft inhibits competition that drives up signing bonuses, it may have only taken $15,000 or less to sign Adams.

              • Brian Walton says:

                Nice story, but misleading. Mateo is 6-2, 190 and was reported to be a five-tool player. Adams is 6-3, 245 (at least) and is a slugger who can hit for average. Nowhere close to comparable.

                • JumboShrimp says:

                  I happily admit inaccuracy as regards signing bonus. It was $25,000.
                  Adams hit .495 his junior season for the Rock, .454 over his Slippery career. He has a compact swing, explaining the combo of power, average, and a decent K rate.
                  Wagner Mateo has a good swing path. Wagner has power to opposite field (a bit like Edmonds in this respect). He has above average arm strength. Wagner’s foot-speed is projected to slow, as he grows, so not literally a five tool athlete. It will be interesting to see how he fares in the years ahead.

                  • JumboShrimp says:

                    Another top Dominican amateur in 2009 was Miguel Sano, signed by the Twins for $3.15MM. Since then, Sano has added 42 pounds and is now rated 6’3″ 232. The same thing could happen with Mateo. Young Dominican sluggers can grow-up to be closer in size to ones raised in Pennsylvania.

  6. JumboShrimp says:

    Lance has racked up more than 6,000 at bats and 359 HRs by staying pretty healthy across 12 ML seasons.

  7. blingboy says:

    Has the twitterverse revealed who got on a plane yet?

  8. Brian Walton says:

    The Cardinals have officially announced Berkman to the DL and Adams called up. link to my summary article

  9. JumboShrimp says:

    That was not a good loss. The Dodgers do not have a very good lineup, so we should have beaten them today.
    Two people who cannot be blamed: Matt Adams, nice debut, and Tyler Green.
    Furcal probably would not have tried to steal 3B in the first if TLR were manager.

    • crdswmn says:

      The Dodgers have the best record in baseball and TLR wouldn’t have let Lou Brock steal bases.

      • JumboShrimp says:

        Kershaw won the Cy Young last year and looks great again, explaining the shutout Saturday. Lilly has likewise pitched well. However, Billingsley is more hittable, so we do not want to lose to him.
        The Dodgers lineup featured Angels releasee Bobby Abreu, Adam Kennedy Cards releasee, and a journey catcher. The star hitter, Kemp, is out of action. Scott van Slyke had never hit a ML HR. It is an utter disgrace to lose to yesterday’s Dodgers lineup.
        Mo and Mike know this so will be giving their personnel and tactics a careful review.

        • crdswmn says:

          A lineup is as good as how it plays.

        • JumboShrimp says:

          What are some personnel possibilities? Little Sanchez can be returned to Memphis to provide a roster slot. In his stead, we could bring up Cleto, because he throws hard and has been pitching better. Or, Browning, a lefty reliever out of Florida State U. Or, Gast, a lefty starting pitcher out of Florida State. Or, remoter possibility, Lyons, a lefty starter at Springfield.
          We need help in the pen. This means either a second lefty (to backfill Romero) or a righty with overpowering velocity.

          • JumboShrimp says:

            We could also send Brandon Dickson back to Memphis. This would not be for poor performance, rather he may not be what is needed. The bullpen could use another lefty or a hard thrower like Cleto.

  10. crdswmn says:

    It is series like the one with the Dodgers, that makes me consider giving up Twitter forever. By the time last night’s game reached the late innings, Lance Berkman was retired and Tyler Greene was about to be set upon by wild Dodger fans in retaliation for his having maliciously amputated their second baseman’s leg. In addition, Mike Matheny was the worst manager in baseball, MLB was about to be sued in a class action suit by Cardinals fans for Wrongful Neglect of Instant Replay Implementation and Scott Van Slyke was the douchebag son of a guy that Cardinals fans never liked anyway.

    I want the 60s back.

    • blingboy says:

      Some fans out there do not take losing very gracefully. A 4 game skid, only being 4 games better than Houston, its too much for some fans, and they overreact.

  11. JumboShrimp says:

    The Cards can regroup against the Padres. SD has a 4 and 10 road record.
    Good game yesterday by Schumaker, who hit a clutch triple.

  12. JumboShrimp says:

    A speedy recovery to 2Bman Mark Ellis. Ellis teamed with David Eckstein at middle infield for Florida State University. Each a determined player who has contributed honorably at the ML level.

    • blingboy says:

      The Ellis injury and the near tragedy that unfolded later is a scary thing and I wish him well.

      I have not seen video, but I would bet the cause of the injury was his own failure to position himself correctly, much like was the case with the catcher who was badly hurt last year.

      It will probably put to rest any thought of having Craig play any more 2B.

      • Brian Walton says:

        Ellis took the throw while directly in the baseline and in-between Greene and the bag. It was unfortunate, but a regular baseball play.

      • JumboShrimp says:

        Buster Posey, also a Florida State U product, was slammed by a runner, who had free access to the plate. This was unnecessary contact that damaged one of the game’s bright young stars.

        Greene is fast and may have been running with the pitch. Ellis probably did not anticipate how close the runner was. I doubt any middle infielder wants to injure another via a slide, knowing the vulnerability they share.

  13. blingboy says:

    It is hard to know what to think, not having seen the games. I think I am more concerned about being unable to stick with good teams than about the injuries.

    The Pads are not the Dodgers, but they could be playing better ball than all our competition in the NL Central except the Reds.

    53? Jeesh. Give him a real number. Maybe the 3 will fall off.

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