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Reliving Two Low Moments in Cardinals World Series History

If you are a baseball fan like me – and if you are not, why are you here? – you may have a bit of downtime between the end of football and the start of spring training. That can offer the opportunity to dig a bit deeper into areas for which there may not be time during the season.

To that end, just today, I received a heads up from SABR that a series of 14 radio broadcasts of baseball games from the 1980’s (and one from 1965) have been loaded onto YouTube by member Don Zminda.

For someone like me, who grew up listening to St. Louis Cardinals radio broadcasts, this news was a very welcome sight.

So far, of the 14 classic contests available, the Cardinals are involved in two. Neither of which were high points for the franchise, however.

1982 World Series Game 1

The first is Game 1 of the 1982 World Series (boxscore). While the Cardinals eventually prevailed in seven games over the Milwaukee Brewers to break a 13-year title drought, St. Louis was held to just three hits in the opener. Milwaukee starter Mike Caldwell dominated and Harvey’s Wallbangers battered Cardinals pitchers Bob Forsch, Dave LaPoint and Jeff Lahti in the 10-0 Brew Crew whitewash at Busch Stadium II. In the audio that follows, Hall of Famers Vin Scully and Sparky Anderson shared the microphone.

In an interesting side point, during his lineup announcement, Scully noted that this was the first return to Busch of a player who he said had been known in St. Louis as “The Franchise,” Ted Simmons. Scully later added that it was the 22-month anniversary of the trade that sent the Brewers cleanup hitter and catcher to Milwaukee. Simmons went on to launch the only long ball of the game, a fifth-inning solo shot off Forsch, scoring the Brewers’ fifth run.

1985 World Series Game 5

The second is the painful Game 6 of the 1985 World Series (boxscore), remembered in infamy as “The Denkinger Game”. As most every Cardinals fan already knows, St. Louis took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth, just three outs from sewing up the World Series over the Kansas City Royals, before a blown call unraveled the game and the Series.

A Jorge Orta grounder was tossed from first baseman Jack Clark to Todd Worrell covering. The pitcher reached the bag just ahead of the runner, but umpire Don Denkinger called Orta “safe”.

Until now, every replay I had seen was by the ABC television pair of Al Michaels and Jim Palmer. (Click on the preceding link to see their call of the play.)

Simultaneously, Jack Buck and Anderson were on the CBS radio broadcast, which is what Zminda has located and shared. The Denkinger play occurs at about the 2:34:00 mark. While the on-field rhubarb was led by Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog, to no avail, the radio booth pair was able to review two replays.

“He is undoubtedly out, but he is safe and the tying run is on,” Buck said. “Am I right?” he asks Anderson.

“He was on the base,” Anderson responded. “There was no doubt about that.”

As the history books confirm, the Royals soon walked off winners in Game 6 and flattened the Cardinals in the finale.

12 More and Growing

Other classic radio broadcasts that Zminda has already shared online include one of Buck’s signature calls, “I don’t believe what I just saw!” Of course, that was his description of one-legged Kirk Gibson’s walk-off two-run homer against Dennis Eckersley in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series (boxscore). The reversal set the stage for the Dodgers’ five-game upset of Tony La Russa’s favored Oakland As.

Here is the link to Don Zminda’s YouTube channel: Don Zminda Baseball Radio Broadcast Channel

I will be checking it out again for hopefully more additions to an already very entertaining set of classic baseball radio broadcasts. Maybe he will even include some Cardinals wins next time!

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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