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.
You may remember Corbett Field in Tucson because some of the scenes from the movie Major League were filmed there. I was there on February 27, 1975, my first spring training with the Cleveland Indians, when I found out that Boog Powell was going to be my teammate. The Orioles traded him, along with pitcher Don Hood, for catcher Dave Duncan and a minor leaguer named Alvin McGrew. While I was sorry to see Dave go (the able Alan Ashby was waiting in the wings to become the starting catcher), I was excited to be playing on the same team as Boog. He was a fearsome, powerful hitter. I know this from experience – he had more RBI’s against me than any other major leaguer except Brooks Robinson and Paul Blair. He already had more than 300 career Home Runs before he came to Cleveland. In his first year with the Tribe, he hit 27 more homers, with 86 RBI’s and a .297 average. Outstanding!! I remember the first game I pitched with Boog on my side. It was April 12, 1975 at County Stadium in Milwaukee. He hit two Home Runs, with two walks and three RBI’s. I wasn’t quite so good. I gave up four runs in the first inning, and after Robin Yount led off the second with a homer, followed by a walk to Bob Coluccio, Frank Robinson took me out. The Brewers beat us 6-5.
At Municipal Stadium before a game in 1975, our team photo: (Left to Right, front row): clubhouse manager Cy Buynak, trainer Jimmy Warfield, coach Harvey Haddix, coach Tom McCraw, president Ted Bonda, manager Frank Robinson, general manager Phil Seghi, traveling secretary Mike Seghi, coach Jeff Torborg, coach Dave Garcia, batboy; (second row) Fred Beene, John Lowenstein, Oscar Gamble, Ken Berry, Jackie Brown, Alan Ashby, Dave LaRoche, John Ellis, Tommy Smith, Fritz Peterson, Rick Manning, Frank Duffy, Duane Kuiper; (third row) Buddy Bell, George Hendrick, Ed Crosby, Dennis Eckersley, Jim Bibby, Boog Powell, Eric Raich, Charlie Spikes, Tom Buskey, Rico Carty, Roric Harrison.
Happy Birthday to Hal McRae, who was an amazing hitter for the Kansas City Royals during the 1970’s and 1980’s. He had 2,091 career hits and a lifetime .290 batting average – the kind of solid player that often gets overlooked by visiting team fans. But take it from me, as a pitcher, I was always a little nervous when Hal came up to bat. I remember one game on August 27, 1974, when I was with the Cleveland Indians, Hal was especially tough on me. We were playing in Kansas City, and in the bottom of the second he hit an RBI double down the left field line. The last time I pitched to Hal was about two weeks before the Indians traded me to Texas. In the bottom of the sixth, I gave up a leadoff single to George Brett. Big John Mayberry hit a shot to right field that Charlie Spikes was able to catch. One away. Then Hal came up to bat. I struck him out, and then Alan Ashby was able to catch George stealing second. Inning over. It was nice to see Hal become a MLB manager, and to see Hal’s son, Brian, play major league baseball.
Happy Birthday to my old Cleveland Indians teammate Duane Kuiper. On August 27, 1975, Duane hit a single to right in the bottom of the fourth off Jesse Jefferson, driving in Alan Ashby. We beat the White Sox 5-0 that day, and Duane went 1-for-3. I pitched a complete game for my 10th win of the season. Thanks again, rookie! Also thinking of the extraordinary Lou Gehrig, who was born on this day 112 years ago.