Golden Baseball Magazine
August 19, 2017

Quotation

"This kid runs so fast in the outfield, he doesn't bend a blade of grass."

Yankee manager Casey Stengel on Mickey Mantle in the 19-year-old's first spring training in 1951.

I I

Cardinals Clubhouse

Profile: Rogers Hornsby - II

30 pounds heavier, Hornsby surprised Manager Miller Huggins with his power hitting during the 1916 spring training.

Read more ...

The Ultimate Game

2014: Giants @ Royals

Kansas City was happy they didn't have to face Madison Bumgarner in the final game.

Read more ...

One Great Year

Norm Cash

The 1B exploded to the top of the AL in multiple categories in his second year with the Tigers.


Read more ...

Odd Baseball Facts

Identical Phillie one-hitters.


Read more ...

How Would You Rule?

Grand Slam lost

Baseball Quiz

Teammates with most RBIs

The New Bat Cured the Stomach
Baseball's Great Moments, Joseph Reichler (1974)
Willie McCovey, not an easy fellow to intimidate, was scared half to death. A loud thud had awakened him in the middle of the night. He leaped out of bed, switched on the light, and found his roommate, Willie Mays, lying on the floor. Willie had fallen out of bed and blacked out. McCovey summoned the club trainer, Doc Bowman, who revived Mays, gave him some pills, and got him back into bed.
That was early in 1961. The Giants had arrived in Milwaukee for a three-game series with the Braves, and Willie Mays was in a batting slump. He went hitless in seven times at bat in the first two games. In one of those games, Warren Spahn threw a no-hitter at the Giants. Spahn remarked afterward that he had never seen Mays look so bad at the plate. "I could tell that something was bothering him," Spahn remembers. "He looked like he was having trouble holding up his bat."

L-R: Willie Mays, Joe Amalfitano, Jim Davenport
Spahn was right. Willie had had a persistent stomach ache. Nonetheless, the night before the final game of the series with Milwaukee, he and McCovey went for a midnight snack, and Mays, ignoring his stomach, decided on bar­becued spareribs. He should have known better. Afterward, he couldn't fall asleep. He began having sharp pains in his stomach. He became nauseous. That was the night McCovey found him unconscious on the floor.
Mays felt a little better the next day, but he didn't hit the ball well in batting practice. Joe Amalfitano, a teammate, suggested he try his bat, which was a little heavier than Willie's.
Mays felt a little more comfortable at the plate by the time the game started. Lew Burdette, always a tough pitcher for Mays, was on the moud for the Braves. He threw Mays a slider, and Willie hit it over the fence in left cen­ter, 420 feet away. So much for not feeling well. The same thing happened the next time Mays came to bat, in the third inning. This time the ball travel­ed about 400 feet. When Mays came up for the third time, Seth Morehead was pitching for the Braves. He threw Willie a sinker, and Mays really caught hold of it. The ball landed in dead center, over the fence, out of the park, and beyond the trees. Writers estimated that the ball traveled at least 450 feet.
Moe Drabowsky, a right-hander, faced Mays the fourth time. Willie con­nected again but didn't get the ball high enough, and it went for a long line drive out to center field. In the eighth inning, Don McMahon, a flame-throwing righthander, was pitching for Milwaukee. He threw Mays a slider and Willie desposited it in almost the same spot that the third homer had landed.
It was his fourth home run of the game and tied the major league record. Only eight other players since the turn of the century had hit four home runs in a game, only four others in a nine-inning game. Mays drove in eight runs. One homer came with two on base, two with one on base, and one with none on. The last player to hit four homers in a game had been Rocky Colavito in 1959. No player has hit four homers in a game since Mays.
Mays just missed a chance for five. Jimmy Davenport, who batted in front of him, was hitting in the ninth with two out and the crowd yelling for him to get on base. One might have thought they were playing in San Francisco instead of Milwaukee. Davenport bounced out to end the inning.
"In a way, I'm glad Jimmy didn't get on," Willie says. "I'm not saying I wouldn't have liked a shot at a fifth home run, but I don't think I could have done it. I would have been pressing, knowing I could set a record that might never be equaled. I knew what I had done. I heard it over the loudspeakers.
"That was easily the greatest day of my life. I was already beginning to feel nervous waiting on deck. Funny thing, I wasn't nervous when I hit the fourth home run. That's because I never dreamed I'd hit it. I know I wasn't trying for it. I was just swinging. You're satisfied if you get two in a game, but when you get three, that's something you never expect. Four? That's like reaching for the moon."
Willie's stomach ache had gone.