Happy Birthday to Bobby Treviño, the older brother of Álex Treviño. Bobby played in seventeen games for the California Angels in 1968 and I pitched in two of those games. Bobby was 2-for-7 against me (.286). The first time I faced him was June 7, 1968, the first game of a Sunday doubleheader at Yankee Stadium. With a runner on first and one out, he hit a single off me.
I want to remember the life of Paul Lindblad, who ended his eleven year baseball career with the New York Yankees in 1978, where he won his second World Series ring. Paul passed away nine years ago; today would have been his 74th birthday. The first time Paul and I were in the same game together was on July 16, 1966 against the Kansas City Athletics at Municipal Stadium. Paul and I were both rookies and both starting pitchers in that game. I left the game in the bottom of the fifth after Kansas City tied it up, 3-3, and Paul left the game in the top of the sixth when, after walking Ellie Howard, he gave up a Home Run to Tommy Tresh. That game was memorable because Whitey Ford pitched in relief, wound up blowing the save and getting the win. Paul got the win Game 3 of the 1973 World Series against the Mets, something that I recall making me very happy at the time. He spent two-third of his career in an A’s uniform. He was a good guy, and it was sad when he died of Alzheimer’s at such a young age.
I remember Mike Reinbach, who played in a dozen games for the Orioles in 1974. The game we played in together was an extraordinary one. It was April 27, 1974, the first game of a Sunday afternoon double header at Memorial Stadium. Jim Palmer was pitching against his former teammate, Pat Dobson. The Yankees had come back from a four run deficit to tie the game, 4-4 in the eighth inning. In the top of the twelfth, Jim (who was still in the game) gave up a leadoff Home Run to Craig Nettles. Baltimore tied it up in the bottom of the twelfth when Tommy Davis hit a double, driving in Richie Coggins. Doyle Alexander retired the Yankees 1-2-3 in the top of the thirteenth. In the bottom of the thirteenth, Tom Buskey gave up a leadoff single to Earl Williams and walked Mark Belanger. With runners on first and second and nobody out, Bill Virdon brought me in to pitch. The batter was Mike Reinbach, who singled to center – a walk-off RBI the only time I ever faced him. I’m told he had a tough life after playing a few years in Japan, and for reasons that were never determined, he drove his car off a cliff in 1989, at age 39. Today would have been his 66th birthday.
Happy Birthday to Jerry Augustine, who was a pitcher for the Brewers from 1975 to 1984. Jerry and I were in just one game together. It was May 23, 1976 at Cleveland Stadium and it was Jerry’s rookie season. It would also be my last. I was traded to the Rangers four days later, and a few weeks after that, an injury ended my playing career. I was the starting pitcher and got pulled in the fourth inning after giving up an RBI double to Gorman Thomas, cutting The Tribe’s lead to 5-4. The Tribe eventually added three more runs, enough to win 8-5. Jerry came in to pitch in the sixth inning and pitched great. He replaced Ed Sprague with two outs, John Lowenstein on second and Charlie Spikes on first. With Alan Ashby at bat, John tried to steal third and got called out on a close tag by Don Money. Jerry had 1-2-3 seventh and eighth innings.
Happy Birthday to Bill Zepp, who made his major league debut on August 12, 1969 as a pitcher for the Minnesota Twins. The Yankees were ahead 10-3 in the bottom of the eighth when Bill took the mound in relief of Jim Kaat. He got Roy White, Bobby Murcer and Thurman Munson out in his 1-2-3 inning at Yankee Stadium. Bill was an okay pitcher; in 1970, he was 9-4 with a 3.22 ERA. I remember him having some real testicular fortitude. After just one full season in the majors, he refused to sign a contract extension and said he would either play for his hometown team, the Detroit Tigers, or retire. He got the trade. But he only lasted less than half the season before an injury ended his career.
Happy Birthday to Cliff Johnson, whose clubhouse incident with Goose Gossage put the Yankees closer on the Disabled List for two months. George Steinbrenner traded him to the Cleveland Indians for Don Hood. After being told of the trade in the Yankees clubhouse, I was told Johnson said: “I didn’t like it here anyway.” Cliff played in the National League before coming to the Yankees and I never played against him. Frankly, I’m surprised Thurman Munson didn’t beat the crap out of him.
My most infamous start for the Cleveland Indians came on June 4, 1974, a Tuesday night home game against the Texas Rangers – known in baseball history as “Ten Cent Beer Night.” I’ve posted a couple of videos that explain the whole thing – not baseball’s greatest moment. By the time things got really bad, I was gone. I lasted three innings that night. If I ever write a book on my time with The Tribe, I’ll be sure to dedicate a chapter to this one.