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Old 03-24-2018, 03:20 PM   #21
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TUESDAY APRIL 16, 1974

I think I would rather be at Yankee Stadium watching a Red Sox-Yankees tilt, in Montreal to see Tom Seaver try for a third complete game shutout or at Riverfront where the Dodgers and Reds are meeting but our Hank Aaron watch continues as the woeful 1-9 Braves meet the 3-7 San Diego Padres. The Padres, riding a 3-game winning streak, send Steve Arlin to the mound. Arlin is 0-1 with a 5.11 era in his two starts. Atlanta counters with Ron Reed, who has pitched well but has yet to record a decision.

Aaron is not in the starting lineup for this game as 21 year old Rowland Office, who is batting .357 gets another opportunity in the outfield.

The Braves are trailing 6-2 entering the bottom of the seventh inning. Office and number 8 hitter Craig Robinson hit back to back singles to start the inning and Aaron is called upon to pinch-hit for Reed. He steps to the plate against Padres reliever Dave Freisleben. Aaron takes a fastball down low in the dirt for ball one and then fouls off the next pitch to even the count. The next pitch is a curveball and Aaron swings over top of it, sending a nubber down to third baseman Dave Roberts. Roberts goes to first to retire Aaron but both runners advance. Ralph Garr's ground out scores one run to make it 6-3 Padres but the inning ends with a Mike Lum strikeout.

That is as close as the Braves get. San Diego adds another run in the top of the 8th and claims a 7-3 victory. Aaron sees his average drop back to .094 on the year.

BOBBY TOLAN

The big feat in this game is Bobby Tolan hit for the cycle. The Padres outfielder doubled in the first inning, hit a 2-run homer in the fifth and tripled in the seventh. He finished it off with an 8th inning single. His efforts earned him the number one performance of the day. A 28 year old outfielder who came over from Cincinnati in the off-season, Tolan is now batting .405 with 6 rbi's and 8 runs scored in 9 games with the Padres.

Elsewhere in the National League, Joe Ferguson had a 4-hit, 3 rbi game to help Los Angeles pound Cincinnati 11-5. No shutout this time for Tom Seaver but he did improve to 3-0 as the Mets beat Montreal 5-2. Chicago scored 3 times in the bottom of the ninth to beat Pittsburgh 5-4. A bases loaded walk to Mike Anderson in the bottom of the 10th gave Philadelphia a 3-2 win over St Louis while Houston doubled San Francisco 6-3.

Nolan Ryan had 8 more strikeouts to run his major league leading total to 34 as the California Angels blasted Minnesota 10-1. Mel Stottlemyre outduelled Luis Tiant to help the Yankees beat Boston 3-2. Milwaukee handed Cleveland it's 10th straight loss by the same 3-2 score in a game that saw Robin Yount hit his first career major league homerun. Ken Anderson and Dick Allen each homered in Chicago's 7-1 win over Oakland. Finally Kansas City needed 17 innings to beat Texas 6-5.
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Old 03-24-2018, 06:34 PM   #22
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714!

WEDNESDAY APRIL 17, 1974

I would turn 9 on this day in real life and be at the point where I really started following baseball...although not until after hockey season came to an end.

On this day the Braves and Padres are set to meet for the third of their 4 game series. Aaron is given the day off so we will have to see if he gets the opportunity to pinch-hit. The Padres go with Jim McAndrew (1-1, 7.20) on the mound against Carl Morton (1-2, 5.96), who remains the only Brave pitcher to win a game this season.

The Padres get a run in the top of the first as Derrel Thomas scores on a wild pitch from Morton after he and Nate Colbert each singled. Atlanta gets two in the home half thanks to sac fly from Dusty Baker and an rbi single from Davey Johnson and the score remains 2-1 Braves until the fifth inning. Derrel Thomas leads off the 5th with a triple and Bobby Tolan, who hit for the cycle yesterday, continues his hot play with a 2-run homer. The Padres would get another run in the inning and lead 4-2 after 5.

The Braves pull closer in the 6th when Mike Lum delivers an rbi single. It is still 4-3 Padres heading to the bottom of the 7th and Hank Aaron is called on to lead-off the inning as a pinch-hitter for Max Leon, who had relieved Morton. Padres rookie reliever Larry Hardy is on the mound and ready to face Aaron for the first time in his career.

Aaron takes a fastball low for ball one and then fouls the next pitch off of catcher Fred Kendall. Hardy misses with his next two pitches and the count goes to 3-and-1. He winds and delivers. Aaron connects and sends the ball to left field. Nate Colbert is looking like he might have a play on it but he runs out of room and the ball lands about 5 rows deep. A 365 foot solo homer and Aaron has tied Babe Ruth with 714 career homeruns!

The game is now tied at 4 and remains that way until the top of the 10th inning when Nate Colbert doubles in Derrel Thomas with the go-ahead run. Atlanta responds as Johnny Oates delivers a 2-out double in the bottom of the 10th to score Davey Johnson and tie the game at 5 so we go to the 11th.

It stays that way until the top of the 13th when Enzo Hernandez singles in Willie McCovey to once again give the Padres a 1-run lead. Dave Tomlin is brought in from the Padres pen to try and hold the Braves off the scoresheet in the home half. It is a 1-2-3 inning for Tomlin and the Braves suffer yet another loss - their 11th in a row.

However, the mood in the Atlanta clubhouse after the game is not that of a team in a terrible slump. There is plenty of celebration and hoardes of media members surrounding Hank Aaron, who has finally tied Babe Ruth with 714 career homers. Let's see how long we need to wait for the record-breaking blast.

OTHER SCORES
In National League play the San Francisco Giants beat Houston 4-2, Philadelphia scored in the bottom of the ninth to edge St Louis 5-4. The Dodgers continue to roll, as they improved to 10-2 on the season with a 10-0 blanking of Cincinnati. Al Oliver homered twice to lead Pittsburgh past the Cubs 7-6 and the Mets scored twice in the 9th and 3 times in the top of the 10th to rally past Montreal 5-2.

American League action saw Woodie Fryman pitch a shutout as Detroit blanked Baltimore. Al Kaline went 1-for-4 in the game. Elsewhere, Boston doubled the Yankees in New York 4-2, Minnesota edged California 4-3, Nelson Briles pitched Kansas City past Texas 7-1, a Reggie Jackson homerun lifted Oakland past the White Sox and Cleveland won for the first time in 11 tries this season, beating Milwaukee 3-2.
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Old 03-24-2018, 11:55 PM   #23
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THURSDAY APRIL 18, 1974

The mood is a lot more upbeat than you would expect from a team that has lost 11 straight games, but having one of their own equal what is perhaps considered the most prestigious record in baseball history will do that for a team. It remains to be seen, but perhaps Aaron's 714th homerun will reinvigor the Braves and get them on track. Hard to call a team out of the playoffs in mid-April but at 1-11 and 9 games back of the first place Dodgers things look very bleak for the Braves. It will be up to Roric Harrison (0-1, 6.55) to start the comeback as he prepares to face Bill Grief (1-2, 1.17) in the finale of the 4 game set against San Diego.

Aaron is back in the lineup and batting fourth today. His manager, Eddie Mathews, expressed a desire to get all of this behind his team as soon as possible so there is certainly a lot of hope the record will fall today. Padres manager John McNamara, meanwhile, just wants his team to go about it's business and focus on extending their 5 game winning streak.

The Padres get their 'business' going early as Willie McCovey hits a 3-run homer in the top of the first to stake San Diego to an early lead. For McCovey, who is 14th in career homeruns all-time, it was the 414th of his career but the first one he ever hit in the major leagues while not wearing a San Francisco Giants uniform.

Aaron leads off the second inning and after working the count to 2 and 1, he slaps a single up the middle. It's not the homerun everyone was hoping to see but it is the first time all year he had back to back hits, with this one following up yesterday's home run. Aaron would score on a Davey Johnson one-out double to cut the San Diego lead down to 3-1.

Aaron is up again in the third inning with two-out and Ralph Garr standing on third base. After Aaron takes the first pitch high for a ball, he goes the opposite way with Bill Grief's next pitching, a Texas Leaguer that drops beyond the reach of Padres 2B Derrel Thomas and in front of right field Bobby Tolan. The base hit scores Garr and it is now 3-2.

Like Aaron, Willie McCovey is having a good game and he drives in two more runs in the top of the fifth inning with a double to put the Padres ahead 5-2. In the home half of the inning Frank Tepedino hits a 2-out double bringing Aaron to the plate with a runner in scoring position.

Aaron is 2-for-2 on the day but quickly gets behind in the count against Grief this time, fouling away each of the first two pitches. Aaron fails to bite on an inside forkball to make the count 1-and-2. Grief's next pitch is hit hard but to straight away centerfield and Johnny Grubb tracks it down to retire the side.

The Padres add another run in the 7th to go up 6-2. Aaron gets another at bat in the 8th inning as he steps in with one out and nobody on base. He will face rookie Rusty Gerhardt, who is the third pitcher used in the game by the Padres. The 23 year old Gerhardt is 0-1 with a 2.70 era in 3 relieft appearances. Like the last at bat, Aaron quickly falls behind 0-2 after a foul ball and a swinging strike. Gerhardt misses with the next two pitches and then has two spoiled by Aaron as he fouls them both off. Still 2-and-2, Gerhardt tries a change-up but Aaron waits on it long enough to pull a grounder in the hole between short and third for another base hits....his 3rd of the game.

Davey Johnson nearly cuts the deficit in half but his long fly ball is caught at the wall in centerfield by Johnny Grubb to retire the Braves in the 8th. It remains 6-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth but the Braves start a rally when Johnny Oates and Craig Robinson each single to begin the inning. Darrell Evans steps up as a pinch-hitter for the pitcher and he draws a 4 pitch walk from Gerhardt to load the bases. Dan Spillner takes over for San Diego with Ralph Garr at the plate representing the tying run.

Spillner strikes out Garr and then fans Marty Perez leaving Frank Tepedino as the Braves final hope. Aaron waits patiently in the on-deck circle for another opportunity....and that opportunity comes when Tepedino sneaks a seeing eye single just past the outstretched glove of first baseman McCovey. The bases remain loaded with Aaron coming to the plate. Two out in the bottom of the ninth and his Braves trail 6-3.

Aaron takes a 91 mph fastball from Spillner for strike one. The next pitch is way outside to even the count. Spillner delivers another fastball and Aaron gets a good piece of it. He sends it deep to left field but not deep enough as Dave Winfield hauls it in to preserve the 6-3 San Diego victory.

A walk-off grand slam would have been a dramatic way to break the record but it was not to be. The good news is Aaron had 3 hits in the game, after getting just 4 hits in his first 11 games. The bad news is the Braves, at 1-12 have the worst record in the major leagues.

In other National League action the San Francisco Giants needed 14 innings to beat the Houston Astros 3-2. Dave Kingman's sacrifice fly accounted for the winning run. St Louis scored 4 runs in the first inning and went on to beat Philadelphia 7-3. Willie Davis homered to help Montreal past the New York Mets 4-1 and finally the Cubs dumped Pittsburgh, also by a 4-1 score.

There were just 2 American League games. Mike Hegan hit a solo homerun with 2 out in the bottom of the 11th to give the Yankees a 2-1 win over Boston spoiling a tremendous effort from Red Sox start Rick Wise, who went the distance and allowed just 4 hits over 10 and two-thirds. In the other game Frank Robinson hit his 4th homerun of the season and 556th of his career to help California beat Minnesota 7-2.
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Old 03-25-2018, 12:36 AM   #24
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FRIDAY APRIL 19, 1974

After losing 10 straight at home the Braves are probably happy to head back out on the road. It is a short trip with 4 games in Houston before they return home for 5 with the Pirates and Cubs. The Astros are 8-5 on the season, good for second place in the NL West, 2.5 games back of the front-running Dodgers. Their park, the Astrodome, is certainly not designed for power hitters so Aaron will have his work cut out for him if he wants the surpass Ruth's mark this series. Game one, a 7:30 local start on a Friday night sees the Braves send Phil Niekro (0-2, 2.22) to the mound against Dave A Roberts (2-0, 1.16).

Aaron is batting clean-up in this game but Roberts retires the Braves in order in the first inning. Greg Gross hits a lead-off triple to show the Astros mean business and he scores on a 2-out, 2-run homer off the bat of Bob Watson so the Braves once again trail early.

After taking the first two pitches, one ball and one strike, Aaron hits a rocket right back at Dave Roberts but the Astros pitcher knocks the ball down and then calmly picks it up and throws out the Atlanta lead-off hitter in the second inning.

It is still 2-0 Houston when Aaron comes to bat again, with one out and no one on in the fourth inning. The count goes to 3-and-1 without Aaron lifting the bat off of his shoulder. Aaron takes another pitch, a fastball at the knees to make the count full. He fouls the next offering back and then hits a line drive right in the mitt of left fielder Bob Watson for out number two of the inning.

We go to the 7th inning and the score remains 2-0 as Aaron once more steps to the plate with 1 out and the bases empty. He and Roberts again go to a full count but this time he fails to make contact as Roberts fans him with a slider. Aaron is 0-for-3 on the day and the Braves have just 3 hits so far.

The Braves finally get to Roberts in the 8th when Davey Johnson hits a lead-off double and moves to third on a one out infield single from Craig Robinson. A Darrell Evans pinch-hit single scores Johnson and with two-out Mike Lum belts a 3-run homer to put the Braves up 4-2. Ivan Murrell keeps the rally going with a single and he steals second on the first pitch to Hank Aaron.

Aaron took that pitch for a strike and then watched the next three pitches miss for balls. After a swinging strike, Aaron hits two foul balls both out of play behind home plate. He then hits a high fly ball to center field that is hauled in by Cesar Cedeno to end the inning. Aaron is 0-for-4 on the day but the Braves are 6 outs away from ending their losing skid.

Tom House comes on for Atlanta but he does not survive the 8th inning after allowing a walk and a 2-out single by Bob Watson, House is replaced by Buzz Capra. Capra gets pinch-hitter Cliff Johnson to ground into a fielder's choice and end the inning.

Capra turns the bottom of the 9th inning into an adventure after allowing a pair of singles and a walk to load the bases before retiring a single Astro. He gets pinch-hitter Doug Rader to hit an infield fly for out number one. Greg Gross singles up the middle to make it 4-3 with the bases still loaded. With the infield drawn in, Capra gets a huge strikeout, fanning Roger Metzger to bring Cesar Cedeno to the plate with two away and the bases loaded. After taking strike one, Cedeno lifts an easy fly ball to left field. Aaron gets under it and puts it away to end the game and give Atlanta a 4-3 victory.

It was an 0-for-4 day for Aaron but he and his teammates celebrate like the won the World Series. The losing streak is over.

In other action Jack Billingham improved to 3-1 as the Cincinnati Reds beat San Diego 5-1. Bob Boone had 3 hits to help Philadelphia past the Chicago Cubs 7-6. Larry Lintz delivered a run scoring single in the 13th inning to lead visiting Montreal past St Louis 2-1 while the Dodgers improved to 11-2 with a 2-1 win over San Francisco.

In the American League Chris Chambliss went 4-for-4 with 5 rbi's to pace Cleveland past Boston 13-8. The Yankees got 2 homeruns from Thurman Munson to beat Baltimore 7-6. Kansas City extended it's winning streak to 6 games with a 6-2 win over the White Sox. Minnesota beat Texas 2-1 and Bill Singer improved to 3-0 as the Angels beat Oakland 8-6.
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Old 03-25-2018, 01:02 PM   #25
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SATURDAY APRIL 20, 1974

OK, we won a game yesterday. If we win today, it's called "two in a row". And if we win again tomorrow, it's called a "winning streak"... It has happened before! - Lou Brown

The Atlanta Braves are looking to have their first winning streak of the season after beating Houston last night to run their record on the season to 2-12. Hank Aaron was hitless in the game but seems to be more comfortable at the plate after tying Babe Ruth with career homerun #714 three days ago. Today Aaron will not be in the starting lineup as Ron Reed and the Braves face Houston with Larry Dierker on the mound. #714 came on a pinch-hit appearance, can the record breaker come that way as well?

After 5 innings the Astros lead 1-0 thanks to a double from Greg Gross to lead off the game and Cesar Cedeno's sacrifice fly two batters later. Both Reed and Dierker are pitching well as each has allowed just 2 hits through five innings.

Reed's spot in the order comes up with 1 on and no one out in the 6th inning but with the way he is pitching it is no surprise Atlanta skipper Eddie Mathews lets him attempt to sacrifice the runner over to second. Reed does his job and then some as he reaches on an error when Houston pitcher Dierker's throw to first is wide and draws Lee May off the bag. Despite having runners on first and second the Braves fail to tie the game.

The Astros increase their lead in the bottom of the sixth when Cedeno hits a 2-out single, steals second and scores on a base hit from Bob Watson to make it 2-0 Houston. Rowland Office gets that run back in the top of the 7th with an rbi double to score Davey Johnson, who reached on a walk. The Office double was just the third hit surrendered by Dierker in the game.

With two out in the 7th and Office now on third the Braves do call on a pinch-hitter but it is lefthanded batter Frank Tepedino instead of Aaron. Tepedino grounds out to end the inning but the Braves are back to within a run, trailing 2-1.

Aaron is called on by Mathews to pinch-hit for pitcher Ron Reed to lead off the 8th inning. Ken Forsch has taken over on the mound for the Astros, after Dierker was pinch-hit for in the bottom of the 7th.

Forsch, a 27 year old righthander who is 1-1 with a pair of saves, is making his 8th appearance of the season. He looks in for the signal from catcher Milt May, winds and delivers. It is a curveball but hangs over the plate a little too much and Aaron unleashes a might swing. Hank connects and gives the ball a ride to left field. It looks deep enough........and it is.


It is outta here. It is gone! THAT'S NUMBER 715! There is a new home run champion of all time and it's Henry Aaron!


A 398 foot shot over the left field wall of the Houston Astrodome. Just like #714 a few days ago, Aaron hits number 715 as a pinch-hitter.


The game is now tied 2-2. The lead is short-lived as the Astros score twice in the bottom of the 8th to go up 4-2 but Dusty Baker hits a lead-off double in the ninth and Davey Johnson follows with a 2-run shot to tie the game once again. However, the Astros would win the game in their half of the ninth thanks to a walk-off rbi single from Cesar Cedeno
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Old 03-25-2018, 01:25 PM   #26
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1974 All-Star Break

So with Aaron now the all-time homerun king I figure I will finish this little report off but before I do I will play out the rest of the 1974 season to see if the Braves get any better and to follow Al Kaline's pursuit of 3000 hits and 400 homeruns.

At the all-star break the Braves are still awful but have improved to 38-61 and overtaken the Padres for 5th in the NL West. Aaron is now batting .204 on the season but his 13 homers raise his career total to 726. So far in July he is batting .244, which is a big step up from April, May and June.

For Tiger fans there is great news. As you can see from the all-time homerun leaderboard at the break, Al Kaline has been on a tear this spring and already has 12 homers at the break, leaving him just 2 shy of the 400 mark. 3000 hits is still within reach but it might be a little tougher to accomplish as Kaline is batting .234 (77-for-329) and now has 2938 hits. So he is 62 hits away from 3000.

Here is how things look at the all-star break.
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Old 03-25-2018, 01:41 PM   #27
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By mid-August things are not looking good for Mr Kaline. After hitting home runs in back to back games on July 10 and 12th to give him 398 for his career, Kaline has not homered since, a span of 126 at bats.

So it is now August 22 and Kaline needs 2 more homeruns to reach 400. He has brought his batting average up to .260 (112-for-430) and is now just 27 hits shy of 3000 with 2973 for his career.
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Old 03-25-2018, 01:56 PM   #28
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September 23, 1974

Couldn't ask for much more to keep my interest in the final week of the season. We have 3 really good division battles as only the AL East where the Yankees, with an 8 game bulge on Baltimore and a magic number of 1, is decided.


As for Kaline, he needs 1 more hit for 3000 entering the final week and he finally got his 399th career homerun so he is 1 shy of 400. Billy Williams is also closing in on 400 but likely not this year as the 36 Cub is 6 short.

The Tigers are have 7 games remaining. They are off today (Sept 23) before going to Baltimore for 2 starting tomorrow. They finish with 4 at home against Boston over the weekend and then finally have a makeup game with Baltimore at Tiger Stadium next Monday.

Here is how things look heading into the final week.
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Old 03-26-2018, 03:38 PM   #29
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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 1974

A light schedule with just two games in each league. The Los Angeles Dodgers saw their lead over Cincinnati in the NL West shrink to just 1 game after the Dodgers fell 4-3 at home to Hank Aaron and the Atlanta Braves. Pinch-hitter Vic Correll hit a sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth to make a winner out of Carl Morton (10-19, 4.90). Tommy John (12-7) took the loss in relief of Don Sutton.

The only other National League saw St Louis beat Pittsburgh 5-4 in 13 innings. The loss leaves the Pirates at 91-62, good for a 1 game lead on Phladelphia in the NL East.

A Milwaukee-Cleveland doubleheader was the only thing on the American League schedule. The two clubs split the games as Milwaukee took the opener 6-5 while the Indians claimed the nightcap 7-4. George Scott hit his 29th homer of the season for the Brewers in the second game.


TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 24, 1974

A busy schedule today with my main focus being on Baltimore where Al Kaline begins the night 1 hit shy of 3000 and needing one more homerun for #400 of his career. Kaline will DH and bat third for the Tigers. He will face veteran Dave McNally (16-13, 3.47) while Detroit counters with Vern Ruhle (3-5, 6.07).

McNally is dominant in this contest, allowing just 4 hits as he goes the distance, shutting out the Tigers 3-0. Kaline was 0-for-4 with a strikeout and grounded into two double plays. Despite winning the game, the Orioles were officially eliminated from the AL East race after the Yankees dumped Boston 9-2 to clinch the division.

California extended it's lead over Oakland in the American League West to two games. The Angels beat Kansas City 3-1 in 10 innings while the A's lost 11-8 to Minnesota, also in 10 innings. Nolan Ryan (17-8) did not get a decision in the Angels win but did pitch 8 innings of 4-hit ball. Rudy Meoli's run scoring double in the top of the 10th proved the difference. In Oakland, Steve Brye's bases loaded triple in the top of the 10th off of Rollie Fingers led the Twins to victory. Harmon Killebrew homered for Minnesota in the win, his 15th of the season and 561st of his career.

Both National League divisions now have a tie at the top of the standings. Philadelphia outslugged the Mets 10-7 to improve to 91-63 on the year, and tied with Pittsburgh for first place in the East Division. The Pirates were shutout 5-0 by John Curtis (15-9) and the St Louis Cardinals. Phil Niekro (16-12) outpitched Andy Messersmith (21-14) to give Atlanta a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. The loss, coupled with Cincinnati's 4-1 win at home over Houston, leaves both clubs tied for the NL West lead at 96-59.

TODAY'S SCOREBOARD
AMERICAN LEAGUE

New York Yankees 9 Boston 2
Boston 4 New York Yankees 2
Baltimore 3 Detroit 0
Milwaukee 4 Cleveland 1
California 3 Kansas City 1 (10 inn)
Minnesota 11 Oakland 8 (10 inn)

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Montreal 5 Chicago 3
Chicago 7 Montreal 0
Cincinnati 4 Houston 1
Philadelphia 10 New York 7
St Louis 5 Pittsburgh 0
Atlanta 2 Los Angeles 1
San Diego 7 San Francisco 6 (10 inn)
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Old 03-26-2018, 04:58 PM   #30
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Oh man, he's so close. Could #3000 also be #400?
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Old 03-26-2018, 06:34 PM   #31
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That would be some way to round this off! Great write ups Tiger Fan
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Old 03-26-2018, 09:40 PM   #32
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Oh man, he's so close. Could #3000 also be #400?
Would have been great to see but no luck. He does get #3000 though. A day after he did in real life.
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Old 03-26-2018, 09:42 PM   #33
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WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 25, 1974

We have 3 good division races going on including 2 teams tied for top spot in both National League divisions but my focus today will once again be on Baltimore's Memorial Stadium where Al Kaline continues his bid to join the 3000 hit club and get his 400th career homer. Ross Grimsley (18-12, 3.67) will be the opponent on this night with the Tigers sending Mickey Lolich (15-19, 3.34) to the mound.

In real life I was 9 years old at this point and just starting to become a baseball fan. My love of the Tigers was just starting but would not fully bloom for a couple of more seasons when Mark Fidrych, and shortly thereafter Tram and Whitaker appeared on the scene. At the time I certainly did not realize just how bad this Detroit team was. I had heard a little bit about Ron LeFlore being an ex-con with a ton of speed. He was now the Tiger lead-off man but hitting just .248 in 210 at bats in this sim. Leon Roberts and young Dan Meyer would be the other outfielders on this day. Reggie Sanders, Gary Sutherland, Ed Brinkman and Aurelio Rodriguez are the infielders with veteran Bill Freehan behind the plate. Kaline is again DHing and batting third. Certainly not a collection of players to instill much fear in the Orioles.

Kaline comes to the plate in the top of the first with two out and nobody on. He gives a 1-2 offering from Grimsley a good ride but it is an easy play for Baltimore centerfielder Paul Blair to track down. The score is 5-1 Baltimore when Kaline comes to the plate again to lead off the fourth. No milestone for Kaline this at bat as he hits a grounder right at shortstop Mark Belanger.

With two out in the sixth Kaline strolls to the plate again. The Tigers trail 6-1 and have managed just 3 hits off of Grimsley, all singles, including a pair from Dan Meyer. The 22 year old Meyer is hitting .263 in 19 at bats as a rookie. Kaline takes a ball low and then slaps the next pitch into short left field for a base hit. The 3000th of his career. He advances no further as Bill Freehan flies out to end the inning.

One milestone down and one to go for Mr. Tiger. It won't happen tonight as Kaline flies out to center in the 8th inning as the Tigers drop to 58-97 after being thumped 9-1 by Baltimore. In real life Kaline got his 3000th hit the game before this one, also in Baltimore, off of Dave McNally.

DIVISION RACES
The Oakland Athletics closed the gap on the first place California Angels to one game in the American League West. The A's (95-61) rallied to be Minnesota as Rollie Fingers got the win a day after losing an extra inning game to the Twins. This one also went extra innings as the A's scored twice in the bottom of the ninth on a 2-run double from American League batting leader Joe Rudi and then won the game by a 3-2 score after Claudell Washington delivered a 10th inning sacrifice fly to plate Bill North. Meanwhile in Kansas City the Angels (96-60) fell 8-5 to the Royals.

The New York Yankees, who have already clinched the AL East, blanked Boston 6-0 as Doc Medich ran his record to 19-9.

No change in the National League West as Cincinnati and Los Angeles both won and have identical 97-59 records. The Reds beat Houston 6-1 behind a pair of homeruns off the bat of Joe Morgan while the Dodgers held off Atlanta 7-5. In case you are wondering Hank Aaron has 18 homers and is batting .205 on the season. In real-life he hit 20 homers and batted .268.

The Philadelphia Phillies split a twin bill with the New York Mets to move a half game ahead of Pittsburgh atop the National League East. The Pirates were blasted 8-1 by St Louis and will be glad to get out of town after being swept in their 3 game series with the Cardinals.
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Old 03-26-2018, 11:28 PM   #34
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THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 26, 1974

Time is running out for Kaline to get his 400th homer. The Tigers return home for a 3 game series with the Boston Red Sox before ending the season with 3 at home to Baltimore. Kaline is once again the DH and batting third. The Boston pitcher today will be Dick Drago, who is 6-7 with a 4.00 era on the season. This game will also give me a chance to see young Red Sox outfielder Fred Lynn in action. It will be just the 8th start of his career for Lynn, but he has 106 at bats because the game has used him as a pinch-hitter quite a bit. Lynn is tearing things up, batting .453 but has just 2 homers in 126 plate appearances. Joe Coleman (12-19, 4.56) gets the start for Detroit.

In the bottom of the first Kaline hits a line shot down the left field line but Fred Lynn gets a great jump and makes a difficult running catch. He gets another shot at #400 in the third inning as he steps to the plate with a runner on first and one out with the Tigers trailing 2-0 thanks to a 2-run double from Boston outfielder Dwight Evans. Kaline strokes a single to left-center for his 3001st career hit but the Tigers would fail to score.

In the fifth Kaline gets another single for his second hit of the game, this one driving in a run and making the score 3-1 Boston. After flying out in the seventh, Kaline would get his third hit of the game - all singles - to keep a rally alive in the bottom of the ninth. Detroit is trailing 4-3 with two out but Freehan is on second and Kaline on first as Ben Oglivie steps to the plate with a chance to tie the game. But it was not to be as Oglivie grounds out to end the game and the Tigers lose 4-3 despite a 3-for-5 day from Kaline. Fred Lynn was 0-for-4 for the Red Sox.


PLAYOFF RACE
California and Oakland both lose so the Angels lead in the AL West remains 1 game. John Mayberry hit his 18th homerun of the season and Steve Busby improved to 16-14 as the Kansas City Royals topped the Angels 5-3. In Oakland, Dave Goltz (11-8) tossed a 3-hit shutout to pitch Minnesota past Oakland 4-0. Catfish Hunter (18-12) took the loss.

A light schedule in the National League with just 3 games but all had playoff implications. The visiting Pittsburgh Pirates beat Tom Seaver (14-14) and the New York Mets 4-1 moving the Bucs back into a first place tie with Philadelphia at 92-64 atop the East Division. Jack Billingham (21-8) shut out the Houston Astros 2-0 to allow the Cincinnati Reds to move 1 game ahead of Los Angeles in the West. The Dodgers lost 8-2 to the Padres in San Diego as Dave Winfield hit his 20th homerun of the season.
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Old 03-26-2018, 11:43 PM   #35
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FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 27, 1974

It's Reggie Cleveland (13-10, 3.69) taking the mound for Boston against Woody Fryman (6-7, 3.54) and the Tigers as Kaline tries again for his 400th homerun.

It was not a good day for Kaline, who went 0-for-4. He flew out to right in the first, struck out in the third, ground to third base in the fifth and bounced out to shortstop to lead off the 8th. The good news is the Tigers won 2-1 to improve their record on the season to 59-98. Leon Roberts and Aurelio Rodriguez each had rbi singles for Detroit while Fryman allowed 1 earned run and 7 hits over 7 and a third. John Hiller got the final 5 outs for his 16th save of the season.

PLAYOFF RACE
California and Oakland both won so the Angels, at 97-61, remain 1 game ahead of the Athletics. Frank Tanana won his 22nd game of the season to lead the Angels past Minnesota 7-2 while Ken Holtzman notched victory #21 on the year as he pitched the A's past the Chicago White Sox 6-1. Joe Rudi had two hits including his 24th homerun of the season.

Both National League Division races are tied as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia each are 93-64 in the East after winning today. Jim Lonborg improved to 19-14 as his Phillies blanked Montreal 9-0 while Pittsburgh needed 12 innings to top the Mets 9-5. Bob Robertson hit a pair of homers to pace the Pirates.

Don Sutton improved to 23-7 with a 5-1 victory over the San Diego Padres to help Los Angeles move into a tie with Cincinnati atop the NL West. Both clubs are 98-60 on the season after the Reds fell 5-3 at home to San Francisco.
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Old 03-27-2018, 10:14 PM   #36
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SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 28, 1974

The season is winding down for Kaline and the Tigers. Today's game sees the Boston Red Sox sending Luis Tiant (15-18, 3.60) to the mound against Detroit's Lerrin LaGrow (9-21, 4.37). Kaline is given the day off as Gates Brown takes over as DH for this contest.

Detroit suffers a 9-5 defeat with Kaline not appearing in the game at all.

DIVISION RACES
Nolan Ryan gets his 18th win of the season as he helps the California Angels beat Minnesota 2-1. The Angels magic number for clinching the AL West drops to two after Oakland loses 4-3 in 14 innings to the Chicago White Sox. The A's rallied to tie the game on a Claudell Washington rbi single in the bottom of the ninth but four White Sox relievers kept Oakland off the scoreboard the rest of the way.

Both divisions in the National League still have two teams tied for top spot. The 2 NL East contenders each won while the West Division leaders both lost today. In New York, the Pittsburgh Pirates hammered the Mets 12-0 but the Phillies kept pace with a 3-1 win in Montreal. Mike Schmidt belted his 25th homer of the season for the Phils.

Meanwhile the Reds were shutout 2-0 by John Montefusco and the San Francisco Giants while the Dodgers fell 4-1 in San Diego.



SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 29, 1974

The Tigers finish their season with Boston today before starting a 3-game set with Baltimore to end the 1974 season. Al Kaline is back in the lineup as the DH and batting third today. Roger Moret (5-10, 3.91) gets the start for Boston against Detroit's Vern Ruhle (3-6, 5.81).

Kaline is still 1 homerun shy of 400. He comes up in the bottom of the first with two out. It's not a homer but he does hit a solid double in the left-center gap. However, the Tigers fail to score and the game is scoreless after one. When Kaline comes to the plate again in the third inning with 2 out and Ron LeFlore on second, the Tigers are trailing 4-0. Kaline continues his strong start to the game with an rbi single to score LeFlore. It is the 3005th hit of his illustrious career.

In the 6th Kaline comes up with a runner on first and one out, but he flies out to leftfield. Detroit trails 6-1 at the time. It is 6-2 when Kaline steps to the plate to lead-off the 8th inning in what is likely his last chance today at #400. Roger Moret is still pitching for Boston and he fans Kaline. The game ends 6-2 for Boston.


DIVISION RACES
Eric Soderholm goes 4-for-4 with a homerun and 2 rbi's to lead Minnesota past California 7-1. Bert Blyleven improved upon the best record in baseball with the win to go to 25-7 on the season. Oakland failed to gain ground as the A's lost 5-4 to the Chicago White Sox. 23 year old Chicago starter Jim Otten got his first major league decision in going 5 innings for the win. With the loss Oakland remains 2 games back of California with 2 to play. The A's final two games are in Anaheim against the Angels.

In the National League East Pittsburgh and Philadelphia each won for the fourth straight game so they remain tied for top spot. Each has 3 games remaining with the Pirates hosting Chicago while Philadelphia visits the Mets. Today Pittsburgh blasted the Mets 11-6 behind a 5-hit game from Richie Hebner and Willie Stargell's 34th homer of the season. The Phillies downed Montreal 6-2.

The Cincinnati Reds moved a half game ahead of idle Los Angeles atop the National League West. The Reds trimmed San Francisco 4-3 despite Bobby Bonds hitting his 33rd homer of the season for the Giants. The Reds finish the season with 2 games in Atlanta while the Dodgers visit Houston for 3 games.

NO-HITTER
The big news on the day came out of Cleveland where New York Yankees pitcher Rudy May tossed a no-hitter. May fanned 3 but walked 4 as the Yankees hammered Cleveland 9-0. The 30 year old May, a mid-season pickup from California is 10-5 on the season including 8-3 since joining the Yankees. It was the third no-hitter of the season. Oakland's Vida Blue tossed one in April against Texas while Buzz Capra of the Braves threw a no-hitter against the Dodgers in May.
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Old 03-29-2018, 12:25 AM   #37
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MONDAY SEPTEMBER 30, 1974

The final series of the year with 3 division races yet to be decided and Al Kaline still 1 homerun shy of joining an very exclusive club: players with 3000 hits and 400 career homeruns. That club is presently limited to just 3 players: Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Stan Musial.

Kaline has 3 games left against the Baltimore Orioles to try and get that elusive homerun before he retires from the game. Tonight's contest at Tiger Stadium will see Kaline bat third as the designated hitter and face Ross Grimsley (19-12) of the Orioles. Mickey Lolich (15-20) takes the mound for Detroit.

The Tigers have what this season is an all to rare lead when Kaline steps to the plate in the bottom of the first. Ron LeFlore led off the game with a double and scored on a single off the bat of Gary Sutherland. Kaline's first at bat is an easy fly out to Paul Blair in centerfield.

The Detroit lead was short lived as the score is 6-1 Baltimore when Kaline steps to the plate in the third with two away and no one on. He slaps a ground ball right at Orioles shortstop Mark Belanger, who makes the throw to Earl Williams at first to retire Kaline for the second time this game.

Detroit's woes continue as the Orioles extend their lead to 10-1 when Kaline leads off the bottom of the sixth inning. What few fans are left in the great building at the corner of Michigan and Trumbell, cheer loudly in hopes of seeing Kaline achieve his milestone. It does not happen this at bat as Grimsley fans Kaline making him 0-for-3 on the day.

Kaline's final attempt of the evening comes with 1 out in the bottom of the 8th inning and the score now 15-3 for Baltimore. He gets a loud ovation as he slaps a single the other way past a diving Williams at first base. The base hit is the 3006th of his career but not the homerun fans came to see. The final score is 17-3.

DIVISION RACES
Oakland and California both had the day off in preparation for their 2 game season ending series against each other tomorrow and Wednesday. The A's need to win both games to force a 1-game playoff. Winner gets the New York Yankees, who at 99-61 are 8 games up on second place Baltimore in the American League East.

In the National League East Philadelphia and Pittsburgh remain tied for top spot after each won for the fifth straight game. The Phillies beat the Mets 5-2 in the opener of a season ending 3-game set at Shea. Larry Christenson got the win in his first start of the year while Mike Schmidt had 2 hits including his 26th homerun of the season. In Pittsburgh, Bruce Kison pitched 6 solid innings and got relief help from Ramon Hernandez and Dave Giusti as the Bucs beat the Cubs 2-1. Richie Hebner's fifth inning homer accounted for both Pittsburgh runs.

The National League West is also deadlocked with two games remaining. Doug Rau got his 17th win of the season to help the Los Angeles Dodgers past Houston 4-1 to improve their record to 99-61, tied with idle Cincinnati. The Dodgers have two more games in Houston while the Reds finish their season with two games at Atlanta.


TUESDAY OCTOBER 1, 1974

It certainly feels like playoff time as the calendar turns to October, but not for the Detroit Tigers who are a dismal 59-101 and would be in the basement of the American League East were it not for the equally inept Milwaukee Brewers (53-107). It is not a great athmosphere for legendary Tiger Al Kaline's swan song and Tiger Stadium is nearly empty on this afternoon as Kaline prepares to make another attempt at joining the 400 homerun club. Jim Palmer, who is normally the Orioles ace but has struggled through a 12-13 season, due in a great part to a lack of run support, will be facing Kaline for this afternoon's contest. Joe Coleman (12-19) gets the start for Detroit and is hoping to avoid joining teammates Mickey Lolich and Lerrin LaGrow in the 20-loss club this season. (In real life Lolich lost 21, LaGrow 19 and Coleman finished 14-12)

A Detroit error gives Baltimore a 1-0 lead as the Tigers come up in the first. Kaline, the DH, is batting third and steps to the plate with Ron LeFlore on second and 1 away. He gives the ball a ride against Palmer but it dies in Tiger Stadium's deep centerfield as Paul Blair hauls it in for a long out.

Detroit fails to score in the first and it remains 1-0 Orioles as Kaline faces Palmer for the second time. It is the bottom of the fourth and the bases are empty with one out. On the 3-1 pitch, Kaline finds a hole on the left side and perfectly places a hard grounder between Belanger and Brooks Robinson for his 3007th career base hit. A single.

Palmer is still going strong, having allowed just 3 Detroit hits, as Kaline leads off the bottom of the 7th with Detroit trailing 2-0. No homerun, but Kaline strokes a single over the head of second baseman Bobby Grich for his second base hit of the game. He advances no further and the score remains 2-0 after seven.

We go to the bottom of the ninth with the score still 2-0. Ron LeFlore leads off with a single and I start to thinking it would be something of Kaline could tie the game with a homerun. However, Willie Horton pinch-hits for Gary Sutherland and promptly grounds into a 6-4-3 doubleplay bringing Kaline to the plate with 2 out and the bases empty. Palmer is still in and looking for the complete game victory. He misses low with ball one. Kaline takes a cut at the next offering and pulls it on the ground down the third base line. Brooks Robinson makes a fine play to gobble it up and then easily tosses to first to retire Kaline and end the game. A tough loss for Joe Coleman, who allowed 2 runs on 6 hits over 8 and a third innings before giving way to Dave Lemanczyk to get the final out. As for Kaline, he has one last opportunity tomorrow.

PLAYOFF RACE
Joe Rudi went 3-for-4 with 2 homers and a double while driving in 4 runs to lead visiting Oakland to an 8-2 pounding of the California Angels. Catfish Hunter (19-12) got the win over Frank Tanana (22-12). The Oakland win cuts the Angels lead to 1 game on the A's atop the AL West with the two clubs finishing the season tomorrow in Anaheim. An Angels win will send them to the ALCS against the Yankees while an Oakland victory would force a 1-game playoff.

The Pirates and Phillies both won for the sixth straight time so the two clubs enter the final day of the season with identical 97-64 records. Philadelphia blanked the Mets 3-0 as Jim Lonborg won his 20th game of the season and Greg Luzinski and Mike Schmidt each homered. The Pirates beat Chicago 5-1 behind a complete game victory for Jerry Reuss (18-8, 2.12).

The Dodgers won their 100th game of the season and have a 1 game lead on the Cincinnati Reds in the NL West as we head to the final day of the season. Don Sutton improved to 24-7 and hit his first career homerun to lead the Dodgers to an 8-2 win in Houston. Meanwhile, the Reds fell a game off the pace after Buzz Capra and the Atlanta Braves beat them 2-0. Capra, who threw a no-hitter against Los Angeles earlier in the season, held the Reds scoreless for 8 and a third before Tom House took over and earned his 14th save. Jack Billingham (21-9) took the loss.


So we head to the final day of the 1974 season with the possibility of seeing 3 of the 4 divisions end in ties for first place and Al Kaline become just the 4th player in history to record 3000 hits and 400 homeruns in his career.

Tomorrow should be a good day to be a baseball fan.
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Old 03-30-2018, 04:21 PM   #38
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WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 2, 1974

Last chance for Kaline to reach the 400 homer mark as his Detroit Tigers end the season with a game against Baltimore. Mike Cuellar (20-8) takes the hill for the Orioles against Detroit's Lerrin LaGrow (9-22). Kaline is 3-for-11 with no homers against Cuellar this year. Once again he will DH and bat third.

Kaline comes up in the bottom of the first with two out in a scoreless game and delivers an opposite field single for the Tigers first hit of the contest. He flies out to left field to end the second inning but Detroit gets a run and takes a 1-0 lead.

He gets his third plate appearance with 2 out and the bases empty in the fourth but again no homerun, as he hits a lazy fly ball to left field. Another at bat in the 7th with two out and Kaline steps to the plate with the Tigers ahead 3-0. He gets a base hit to short center field for his second hit of the game and 3010th of his career. He gets another single in the bottom of the 8th but that ends up being the final plate appearance of his career as the Tigers win 7-0 behind a 2-hitter from LaGrow. For Kaline, just as in real life his career ends with 399 homeruns.

PLAYOFF RACE
There will be no need for a tie-breaker in either National League division race as Pittsburgh and Los Angeles advance to the NLCS. There is great drama in the East as Philadelphia losses 5-1 to the New York Mets. The Pirates, needing a win over Chicago to avoid a playoff game with the Phillies, blow a 4-0 lead after 5 innings when the Cubs get a Pete LaCock 2-run homer in the top of the ninth to tie the game and send it to extra innings. Chicago takes the lead with a run in the top of the 11th and the celebration begins in Philadelphia, only to see the Pirates tie it up when Paul Popovich hits a run scroring single with 2 out in the home half. The game goes to the 12th and the Bucs win it on a Bob Robertson rbi single.

Meanwhile Los Angeles entered the day 1 game ahead of Cincinnati. The Dodgers clinched when Andy Messersmith earned his 22nd win of the season in a 2-1 win over Houston. Meanwhile the Reds were blanked 3-0 by Phil Neikro and the Atlanta Braves. It was Cincinnati's 4th loss in the final 5 games. As for the Braves, Hank Aaron finished the season with a .207 average and 18 homers, giving him 731 for his career so far.

We do need a playoff to decide the AL West as Oakland forced a tie with California after beating the Angels for the second straight game. Vida Blue (22-10) threw a 4-hitter to lead Oakland to a 10-1 victory at Anaheim. The tie-breaker will be held in Oakland with Ken Holtzman (21-12, 2.15) facing Angels ace Nolan Ryan (18-8, 2.61).
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Old 03-30-2018, 05:07 PM   #39
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Great stuff! Looking forward to seeing how the postseason unfolds.

Question: With three division races going down to the final day, did as-played lineups have any noticeable adverse affect? I would think that teams that either had already clinched or been eliminated in real life but were alive in your OOTP game might've started plenty of bench players in the final game or two...
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Old 03-30-2018, 05:23 PM   #40
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Yes they definitely did. Angels could have started Ryan but didn’t. And I am sure was a factor in other games down the stretch too. That is one reason I normally don’t use as played lineups. Just did it for this sim to see Aaron get 715
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