by Harold Friend
April Winters fondly remembers how the Cardinals beat the New York Yankees in the 1964 World Series, and how the Yankees tried to mislead everyone about Whitey Ford's sore arm.
Honesty is such a lonely word Honesty is hardly ever heard Billy Joel
Beating the Mets Was More Difficult Than Beating the Yankees
Nineteen sixty four was a great year for the St. Louis Cardinals.
I remember the last week end of the season vividly, as my team had more trouble beating the New York Mets to win the pennant than it did beating New York's other team in the World Series.
The Cards led the second place Cincinnati Reds by one-half game on Friday morning. That night, little Al Jackson, the Mets' fine left hander, out-dueled Bob Gibson, 1-0. but our friends in Philadelphia beat the Reds.
The next day, the Reds were off. The Mets blasted 20-game Ray Sadecki as they again beat us, this time by the unlikely score of 15-5.
The Reds and Cards were tied for first.
Bob Gibson Was Needed Again
On the last day of the season, the Cardinals finally beat the Mets, but nothing was assured until Bob Gibson, who had worked eight innings on Friday, relieved Curt Simmons in the fifth inning and shut down the Mets.
Future senator Jim Bunning shut out the Reds. Bring on the Yankees. '
An Injured Heel?
The Yankees were leading in the Series opener at Busch Stadium 4-2, when the Cardinals rallied for in the sixth inning, scoring four runs and knocking Ford out of the box. We won, 9-5.
The Yankees claimed that Ford had to leave the game because his heel, which he had injured near the end of the season, was bothering him.
A few days later, they announced that young Al Downing would start Game 4 at Yankee Stadium instead of Ford.
Al Downing Dominated For Five Innings
For the first five innings, Downing made everyone forget Whitey Ford, and maybe even Sandy Koufax, as he held the Cardinals to a single hit.
Carl Warwick pinch-hit a single to lead off the sixth, and Curt Flood followed with a single to right field to bring the potential tying run to the plate.
Lou Brock flied out to Mantle for the first out, bringing up Dick Groat, who knew the Yankees from the 1960 World Series. Fate stepped in as Groat hit a ground ball up the middle toward second base.
Bobby Richardson, moving to his right, fielded the ball. An inning ending double play was all that I could see as I watched the game.
But Richardson bobbled the ball, and his flip to shortstop Phil Linz, glanced off Linz' glove. The bases were loaded with Kenny Boyer the batter.
"If Groat got a hit," explained manager Yogi Berra, Downing was out. I had Ralph Terry ready to face Ken Boyer."
Since Groat had not gotten a hit, Downing remained in the game, Boyer hit a grand slam home run, and future Met Ron Taylor held the Yankees hitless the rest of the way for a 4-3 Cardinals' victory.
Ford Couldn't Start
The Cardinals won the fifth game and the Series shifted back to St. Louis for Game 6, which Ford was scheduled to start.
The Yankees announced that "Whitey says his heel feels a little better, but not well enough to throw." Jim Bouton started and won.
Ford's heel still didn't allow him to start the following day. Rookie Mel Stottlemyre, on two days rest, started against Bob Gibson, also on two days rest in Game 7.
Remember the big deal when Curt Schilling started on three days rest in 2001 and when Josh Beckett did the same in 2003?
World Champion Cardinals
The Cardinals won, to become the only National League team to hold a World Series edge over the Yankees at that time (1926, 1942, and 1964 to their 1928 and 1943).
Finally, the Truth
The next day, the Yankees finally told the truth.
Yogi Berra, who soon would be relieved of his managerial duties, told the press that the reports about Whitey Ford's injured heel had been untrue. Ford had a sore arm.
Whitey had injured his heel, but it had healed by World Series time. Yogi explained.
"I thought it might keep them (St. Louis Cardinals) off balance, not knowing whether Ford could pitch or not. It's the same kind of thing he had in 1957. It has something to do with circulation. Maybe it'll clear up, like it did then, just by his staying on his diet."
Yankees and Reporting Injuries
A case can be made that it was "gamesmanship," and an equally strong case could be made that it was simply the Yankees' deliberately misleading the opposition and the fans. The Yankees have a history of obfuscating injuries.
Tony Kubek sprained his right wrist on Sept. 20. The Yankees stated that he would be out "only a few days." Kubek missed the entire World Series.
Would Kubek have been able to handle Richardson's errant throw in the sixth inning of the fourth game that set up Ken Boyer's home run?
Anyway, the Cardinals won the World Series and as the years have passed, fans who saw the Series tend to forget players' injuries, while young fans usually don't know about them.
That is fine, but it would be nice if the truth were told more often.
By JOSEPH DURSO Special to The New York Times. (1964, October 8). Cards Rally to Beat Yanks In Series Opener, 9 to 5. New York Times (1923-Current file),1. Retrieved February 1, 2010, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2006). (Document ID: 97422098).
Downing to Start Today In Peace of Ailing Ford. (1964, October 11). New York Times (1923-Current file),p. S4. Retrieved February 1, 2010, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2006). (Document ID: 101495395).
By LEONARD KOPPETT. (1964, October 14). FORD GIVES WAY TO RIGHT-HANDER :Berra Selects Bouton After Whitey Indicates His Heel Still Troubles Him. New York Times (1923-Current file),p. 58. Retrieved February 1, 2010, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2006). (Document ID: 118538405).
Special to The New York Times. (1964, October 16). FORD'S INJURIES: REAL AND UNREAL :It Turns Out Now His Arm Was Sore, Not His Heel. New York Times (1923-Current file),p. 45. Retrieved February 1, 2010, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2006). (Document ID: 118683639).