Chapter 14–In 1962 the turbulence of the ‘60s continued…in various forms—inexorably!! It touched us, changed us; personally and culturally. Some of it was distant from us, some very close at hand. Some was, seemingly, not important to us; some was very important. Whether it was Viet Nam, civil rights, Baby Boomers coming of age, the sexual revolution, feminism or rock and roll; it affected our lives and the lives of those around us.
In the news the Cold War with the U.S.S.R. intensified when Russia attempted to install missile sites in Cuba. African countries Burundi, Algeria and Uganda announced their independence as did counterparts in the Caribbean; Jamaica, Trinidad/Tobago and Western Samoa. President John F Kennedy sent additional forces to Viet Nam with orders to return fire if fired upon by the Viet Cong. Closer to home, The United States makes a $100 million loan to the United Nations. Milestones of some note: Nazi war criminal, Adolph Eichmann was executed in Israel; “…a legend in her own time”, Marilyn Monroe died; as did Stu Sutcliffe and Hoot Gibson. Milestone or not, the term “beatnik” is becoming passé; the term “hippie” is more in vogue. The first K-Mart and WalMart stores are opened. John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the earth. Many modern offices have computers to help with the work load…they’re slow, cumbersome and the size of a car…and they use punch cards and paper tape. At least 90% of all U.S. homes have at least one television set. Many stay up late to watch the brand new “Johnny Carson Show”. Prime time viewers can choose ‘The Beverly Hillbillies”, “The Dick Van Dyke Show”, ”The Flintstones” or “Route 66”. Saturday morning has “The Jetsons”…in Color!! Among radio’s Top 40 are, “I Can’t Stop Loving You” by Ray Charles, “The Locomotion” by Little Eva, “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by The Four Seasons and “Duke of Earl” by Gene Chandler. Among others at the movies are “Dr. No”, “Lolita”, “The Music Man” and “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Someone invented the first tab-top soda-pop can and, speaking of “pop”; Pop artist Andy Warhol’s painting of a Campbell’s Tomato Soup can is the latest rage. In Sports, The Packers are, once again, NFL Champions and The Dodgers have moved into their new Stadium in Chavez Ravine. Per my Dad, the cost of living continues to edge us closer to “the poorhouse”…a new car is around $3000, it costs a buck per each at the movies, gas is 28 cents a gallon, milk is a dollar four a gallon, coffee is up to 85 cents a pound, eggs are 32 cents a dozen, hamburger is sky-high 40 cents a pound, bread is 21 cents a loaf and it costs a whopping four cents to mail a letter…gee whiz…!!!
In 1962 The Braves big pre-season marketing campaign featured the slogan, “Something New in “62!!”…and they touted a number of truly “new” ideas and programs, all designed to be fan-friendly and, of course, to increase ticket sales/attendance. A free fan publication, “Smoke Signals” was available to anyone who wished to receive it.
The plan was to publish the colorful four-page paper five or six times from April until December. “Smoke Signals”, would provide fandom with an inside “behind the bench” look at the Braves, with news, information and humorous anecdotes. Sponsorship of the news missive would be by Miller Brewing Co., The Falk Corporation and The Dairy Farmers of the Milwaukee Area.
Another new feature in 1962 was the new, huge scoreboard built by Wisconsin’s own General Indicator Corporation in Pardeeville. The structure is some 110 feet high by 95 feet wide. It is all electrical and can be converted for football when the Packers are in town.
Many fans will find it easier to get to County Stadium via the new Expressway. While the total Expressway System is not yet complete, sections around the Stadium which have been completed should make getting into the Stadium easier and getting out both easier and quicker.
For the first time, Braves fans will be able to enjoy their heroes on television. The Braves announced that 15 road games will be televised in 1962. The lead station will be WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee with a new, special Braves Network that will include WKOW-TV in Madison, WSAU-TV in Wausau (WooHoo!!!) and WFRV-TV in Green Bay. Television rights were acquired by Miller Brewing Company and will include co-sponsors, Tareyton Duel-Filter cigarettes and The Wisconsin Rambler Dealers Association.
Also new: the formation of the Tom-Tom Club, a fan organization that will, both literally and figuratively, “Beat the Drums” for their faves. Membership is $2.00 and includes some really cool souvenirs and memorabilia. Additional benefits involve rides to the games and a variety of social activities…parties, dancing, entertainment and more…My information…although sketchy, seems to indicate the original box contained all but the hat…not certain whether it was home-made or part of additional items you could purchase after becoming a member.
An open-house is scheduled at the Stadium on April 15, 1962 from 1:30 PM until 4:00 PM to inform and/or discuss all of these new features including advice and instruction regarding Freeway ramps plus tours of all new parking areas, the scoreboard, club-houses, press box and general office areas.
In the off-season between ’61 and ’62, the Braves inaugurated another new program simply entitled “Hi Neighbor”. The program consisted of a series of tours of Wisconsin towns and cities by a group of Braves’ front office staff and players.
Tours could include stops/visits with state manufacturing plants, Chambers of Commerce, and social or service organizations. These were goodwill tours designed to be fun and informative and, hopefully, to sell some tickets.
Expansion was a new word in the National League in 1962…the AL had already gotten a year’s experience with a 10-team league. The New York Metropolitans, or Mets, as they were called, had already installed Casey Stengel as their manager and would boast a starting line-up of Marvelous Marv Throneberry at first, Charlie Neal at second (most of the time), Elio Chacon at short, Felix Mantilla (sob!!) at third, Richie Ashburn, Jim Hickman and Frank Thomas (…!!??!!…) in the outfield and Chris Cannizzaro catching (at least most of the time). Pitchers included Roger Craig, Jay Hook, Al Jackson and Ken MacKenzie (former Brave).
The Houston Colt 45s were managed by Harry Craft. Their starting line-up line-up went as follows: Norm Larker at first; Joey Amalfitano at second, Bob Lillis at short, Bob Aspromonte at third, Roman Mejias, Carl Warwick and Al Spangler (Arrgh) in the outfield and either Hal Smith or Merritt Ranew (uh huh) behind the plate. The pitching staff included Bob Bruce, Dick Farrell, Russ Kemmerer and Jim Umbricht. The hot-stove leaguers, prognosticators and pre-season pollsters don’t give either of the new teams much credit. In general they see the Dodgers and Giants duking it out for the pennant with the Braves third, Cincinnati gets the edge over St. Louis and Pittsburgh for fourth (with the Cards given a slight edge over the Pirates for fifth…and sixth). On the bottom they pick Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and Houston. Amazingly, most pick the brand-new Mets to finish ahead of the hapless Phillies.
Spring Training (Hoorraay!!!) began Mid-February with pitchers and catchers reporting first as usual…no “games” were scheduled ‘til March 11. Frank Bolling and Roy McMillan both look good at second and short, respectively. However, several other young infielders are getting a good look, including: Amado “Sammy” Samuel, Denis Menke, Mike Krsnich (again), Walt Hrniak, Tommie Aaron (who is so strong, he might get a shot at an outfield spot just to keep his bat in the line-up) and Lou Klimchock.
In the outfield there are a number of guys vying for two positions. The front-runners appear to be Mack Jones (strong!!). Howie Bedell (some call him the fastest man in baseball based on his fastest-ever-clocked-time of 2.9 seconds from the batter’s box to first base) and Len Gabrielson (big, strong). Several pitchers bear noting: Dennis Ribant, Bob Shaw, Cecil Butler, Tony Cloninger (went 7-2 last year as a rookie) and Larry Maxie.
In spite of these signs of promise, the spring training “season” was rather disappointing on a couple different fronts. As a result of generally light-weight hitting, sporadic-to-bad pitching outings and errors everywhere, the Braves lost seven of their first 10 contests. This was particularly galling to Owner Lou Perini who was in the midst of trying to convince the city of West Palm Beach to pass a referendum for a new baseball stadium which would be the Braves’ new spring training site…coincidentally, West Palm Beach was also the site of a new Perini Corporation building project.
In the meantime, the Braves’ Boosters were planning their BIG trip to see the Braves…and the country. This particular trip, to Arizona, is to coincide with the Braves ending the Florida portion of Spring Training and traveling westward to play various teams who utilize the warm climes of Arizona each spring. The two-week jaunt will end in plenty of time to allow a return to Milwaukee for Opening Day.
The cry of “Something New in ‘62” had two additional uses. It was incorporated into the pre-season ticket sales as far back as Christmas. Earl Yerxa was the Concessions Manager at County Stadium. He sent you the little “catalog” of souvenir items you could order by mail. It’s probably not much of a stretch to imagine that buttons were sent out to Season Ticket holders and anyone who was on a Braves’ mailing list. In another “first”, Sears stores in the Milwaukee area would have tickets available for the convenience of Braves fans.
In spite of the less-than-stellar spring season of the Braves, the referendum passed in West Palm Beach ensuring them of the Braves next spring…note the buttons they’re all wearing. The Braves played their final Spring Training game in Bradenton on March 28, 1962, before finishing up the Grapefruit Season on the road. They left Florida on the 30th and played in Scottsdale (Red Sox) on April 5th and in Tucson (Indians) on April 6th.
They played split-squad games against the Dodgers on April 7th and 8th…one in San Diego; the other in Long Beach. The only “regulars” on this scorecard are Burdette, Mathews and Crandall; the manager/coach is Jimmie Dykes.
At this juncture we generally pause to note who has gone on to other teams or retired and who are the new guys we welcome as Braves. Having spent considerable time on a considerable number of guys from last year to whom we bid adieu and Godspeed, we will, again, just note their names here: Bob Boyd, Neil Chrisley, Gino Cimoli, Wes Covington, John DeMerit, Charlie Lau, Johnny Logan, Felix Mantilla, Billy Martin, Mel Roach, Phil Roof, Al Spangler, Sammy White, Johnny Antonelli, George Brunet, Moe Drabowsky, Ken MacKenzie, Seth Morehead and Chi Chi Olivo…gone but not forgotten…!!!
Some of the new guys this year are guys we’ve seen in prior years, some got mention re last year’s trades and some are just new…as Milwaukee Braves.
Tommie Aaron-Younger brother of Hank. Broke in with Eau Claire in 1958. Hit .299 for Austin (Texas) last year in 138 games with 25 doubles, 15 homers and 70 RBI. He’s a big, strong 1B who was the Texas League All-Star 1B in ’61.
Ken Aspromonte will join the Braves in June ’62 via a trade with Cleveland for pitcher Bob Hartman.
Howie Bedell led the American Association for Louisville last with 194 hits and 15 triples. He’d done nearly the same thing with Austin in ’59. He also had a 43 consecutive game hit streak in ’61.
Gus Bell is a 12-year veteran outfielder, mostly with Cincinnati, who comes to the Braves as part of the deal that sent Frank Thomas to the Mets.
Ethan Blackaby will be brought up late in the season for his Herculean efforts for Yakima in the Northwest League. In 134 games he hit .324 and led the league in runs (108) and doubles (43). Blackaby is an outfielder.
Cecil Butler is a big, strong right-handed pitcher who has displayed durability and control of a lively fastball; both of which make him a terrific prospect to strengthen the Braves’ relief corps.
Jim Constable will be brought up late in the season after posting a 16-4 record for Toronto in the International League. He pitched 162 innings with a 2.56 ERA.
Jack Curtis will come to the Braves via a trade with the Chicago Cubs. He is a left-handed pitcher who went 10-13 with the Cubbies in’61.
Hank Fischer, right-handed pitcher, gets a shot at the bigs based on good numbers in the minors…He led the 3-I League with 217 strike-outs in ’60 and an ERA of 2.01…Another 163 SOs with Louisville (A.A.) in ’62 helped…
“Sweet Lou” Johnson will be obtained/selected from Toronto (Int’l) in June. Sweet Lou is an outfielder who bats and throws from the right. For whatever it’s worth, he lives in Milwaukee.
Lou Klimchock, IF, came to the Braves last December along with Bob Shaw from the A’s for three young minor-leaguers. Lou throws righty, bats lefty.
Mike Krsnich was up briefly in 1960 and hit a double in one of his three at-bats. With Louisville (A.A.) last year he hit 40 doubles, seven triples and had nine homers in 144 games…with a .276 BA, he’s getting another chance.
Denver “Denny” Lemaster is a left-handed pitcher who hits from the right side. In ’59, with Jacksonville (Sally), he struck out 19 guys in a game. In early ’62 at Louisville (A.A.) he’ll go 10-4 with 125 strike-outs in 124 innings with a 2.40 ERA. He’ll be brought up mid-season.
Denis Menke is up from Vancouver (PCL) where he was the All-Star shortstop in ’61. He was also named to All-Star teams in ’58 and ’60.
Amado “Sammy” Samuel broke in with Eau Claire (Northern) in 1958. In ’59, with Wellsville of the New York-Penn League, he led the league with 36 doubles, a .316 BA and was named the league’s All-Star shortstop.
Bob Shaw, six-year veteran right-handed pitcher, came to the Braves in December ’61 along with Lou Klimchock from the KCAs.
Bob Uecker broke in with Eau Claire (Northern) in 1956. In 1961 he hit .309 with 14 HRs for Louisville (A.A.) in 105 games and is getting a shot at the show.
Opening Day 1962 was Tuesday, April 10, at San Francisco-which made perfect sense of their direction upon leaving Florida at the end of March. The opening day line-up was quite different from the one to which Braves’ fans had become accustomed; in batting order: Howie Bedell in left field; Mack Jones in right field; Hank Aaron in center field; Ed Mathews at third; Joe Adcock at first; Frank Bolling at second; Joe Torre catching; Roy McMillan at short and Warren Spahn pitching.
The crowd, all 39,177, were excited at the prospect of watching two great pitchers, Spahn and Juan Marichal, do battle. Without much ado, suffice it to say that for Braves’ fans, it began badly and went downhill from there. Willie Mays hit a home run in the first inning, 0-1. In the third, Howie Bedell, in his ML debut, got a single but did not score. In the bottom of the third, Marichal doubled and then scored on a error, 0-2. The Giants scored four more in the fourth, 0-6. Nottebart came in for Spahn. In the seventh Adcock walked and Tommie Aaron made his ML debut running for Adcock. In the bottom of the seventh Shaw came in to pitch, Tommie Aaron played first and Amado Samuel made his debut at short. There was no further scoring, however, Tommie Aaron and Frank Bolling opened the ninth with singles but languished on the basepaths. For the Giants…Six runs on eight hits and four left on base…For the Braves, no runs on three hits, two errors and eight left on base…sadly it was to become a familiar refrain…
The West Coast swing was not particularly successful with two more losses to the Gigantos, another two to LA (with a win for Hendley vs. Koufax) and a sixth loss to Cincinnati before the home opener
Opening Day in Milwaukee was April 18…a smallish crowd of 30,001 fans turned out for what became a very exciting game.
Home runs by Aaron and Mathews gave starter Warren Spahn (just a couple days before his 41st birthday) a 2-0 lead until the fifth.
At that point, a couple singles and a Tom Haller homer gave the Giants a 3-2 lead. Gritty junk-baller Stu Miller replaced starter Jack Sanford in the eighth after a walk to Spahnie. Sammy Samuel went in to run for Spahn…the batter was LF Howie Bedell. Bedell bunted—a little pop-up that Miller let drop to get the double-play—Samuel waited ‘til it dropped and sprinted for second. Miller, realizing he couldn’t get Samuel, threw hurriedly toward first…and hit Bedell…safe all around!!!
Furthermore, the scorer gave Bedell a hit, keeping his string of hitting safely in every Major League game (8) he’s ever played in!! After an out, Aaron got an intentional walk and the bases were loaded: FOB!! Mathews hit a double to right scoring Samuel and Bedell, 4-3. Miller walked Joe Adcock on purpose to load ‘em up again and Frank Bolling dumped a single to short center scoring Aaron and Mathews, 6-3. The Giants got one more in the ninth,6-4, but no one seemed to mind…
The Braves won their home opener and Spahnie got the win…Wooohooo!!!
Sadly, the rest of the month, in spite of some good individual performances and a modest five-game win-streak, was less than upbeat…
At the end of April they’d won eight and lost eleven. Spahn got one of the five-in-a-row wins but also got another loss on April 30. so at month’s end he had two wins and three losses. Burdette couldn’t seem to buy a win in April and was 0-3 by the end of the month but was pitching like the Lou we’ve come to love and admire. Bob Buhl, the “other” of the Braves’ Big Three got only one start (a loss) in April. Unfortunately, there was no love lost between the psychology-major Tebbetts and the hard-nosed ex-paratrooper Buhl.
He was traded to the Cubs on April 30 for Jack Curtis. In the course of the season Buhl won four and lost two to the Braves (the losses were by one run each). His 12-13 season record was still better, percentage-wise, than the Cubs team record (59-103). Bob Buhl…another one gone but not forgotten!!
May 1962 started with two games at Philadelphia being postponed due to cold and wet grounds, then a loss to the Phils and another to Houston. On May 5th, Jack Curtis, who came over from the Cubs with an 0-2 record, won his first game of the year. In Sunday’s double-header, Spahn (3-3) won the first game, Willey lost the second. Monday was a day off, Tuesday’s game with the Pirates got rained out. On Wednesday the 9th, we rejoiced as Ron Piche (2-0), beat the Pittsburghers in County Stadium and, then, were dumbfounded by management’s decision to sell crackerjack reliever, Don McMahon, to the Colt 45s for cash.
With no apparent prelude, it was a confounding turn of events. The only explanation fans heard was a quote from Birdie Tebbetts to the effect that McMahon had “lost his fastball”. For whatever it’s worth: McMahon’s record in Houston in ’62 was 5-6 with a 1.69 ERA…Furthermore, he played ML baseball another 12 years after the trade with a lifetime ERA of 2.96…his slowball musta been killer…
The rest of the month was kinda blue with, perhaps, the lowlight being swept in two double-headers by the Mets who would only win 40 games all season…! The Braves record for May was 13-16 giving them a 21-27 record for the season so far…
By June things perked up a little…Shaw (6-2), Spahn (6-5) and Hendley (3-5) won the first three games of the month (vs St.Louis) with good pitching and some timely hitting.
Saturday, June 2 was “Dairy Day” at Milwaukee County Stadium with free gifts (glasses) for the ladies, a milking contest with some player-contestants and an appearance by Alice in Dairyland.
Piche (3-1) lost the first of a three-game series at Houston, but Burdette (3-4), in his first start since the end of April, tamed the Colts in a complete-game win, 6-3. The Texans made a last-ditch-
come-from-behind effort in the third game to defeat Spahnie, 3-2; Don McMahon got the victory…
After a rain-out on Friday, we managed to win our first double-header of the season on Saturday the 9th against the Pirates… winning pitchers were Shaw (7-2) and Cloninger (1-1).
Hero of both games was Mack Jones who had a homer, a single and three RBIs in the first game and another homer and single in game two. The elation faded quickly as the Bucs won both ends of Sunday’s double-header. Monday was a day off. Burdette beat Podres and the Dodgers on Tuesday; Spahn (6-7) lost to Koufax on Wednesday. Shaw, who is coming on like a house afire, threw a six-hitter on Thursday the 14th (Ladies’ Day), to beat the Dodgers, 7-1.
As noted previously, the ladies were avid fans of the Braves and the Braves reciprocated that affection…1962 featured 10 Ladies’ Days when the ladies would receive a special admission price a one of a set of 10 16 ounce glasses. Each glass had the Braves’ logo on one side and the logo of one of the National League teams on the opposite side. The 10th glass had all the logos of the other teams on the opposite side (see the flyer). To date we’ve never seen or heard of anyone having or seeing the glass with only the Colt 45s logo on the opposite side.
So…at mid-month, the Braves are in sixth behind the Dodgers (in 1st), the Giants, Pittsburgh, Cincy and St, Louis…The remainder of June was up and down…Tommie Aaron hit a grand slam in a loss on the 15th; Burdette won two more and was 6-4 by the end of the month; Spahn lost two and won one to go to 7-9. Shaw won one and lost two, 9-4; Cloninger lost one and won one, 2-2. Hitting, in general was anemic and spotty…except for Hank Aaron.
During the month of June Hank hit .376 with a Slugging Average of .706; he had 17 extra base hits in June!!! By the end of the month Hank had 18 HRs; Eddie had 13 and Joe Adcock had 11.
June had a couple interesting events…at least from a fan/collector perspective.
On June 11th, the Braves signed lefty Dan Schneider, Arizona All-American, to a $100,000 bonus contract. Schneider will travel with the team until about the end of June when he will be assigned to Louisville (AA) for experience.
On June 21, the Milwaukee Policemen will square off against the Milwaukee Firemen in their Annual Baseball Benefit Game. They will play at Milwaukee County Stadium while the Braves are on the road. A good (and rowdy) crowd is expected to attend.
On June 24th, the Bob Hartman/Ken Aspromonte trade between the Braves and the Indians that was noted earlier was effected.
The Braves closed out the month of June with a somewhat improved record of 16-12 which translated to 37-39 on the season to date.
July generally tends to “heat things up” in the world of baseball; the pennant race between the Dodgers and the Giants is HOT!!! In the week before the first All-Star break, Burdette got a win (that’s seven straight) and a loss (Buhl beat us for the third time) bringing him to 7-5 for the season. Shaw got two losses giving him a 9-6 record. Another win and another loss brings Spahn to 8-10. So…
we’re 5-4 prior to A-S break…
Once again operating counter to fan polls and popular opinion, Major League Baseball scheduled two All-Star games in 1962. The first one was in brand-new DC Stadium in Washington. The Braves were represented by Bob Shaw, who pitched two scoreless innings (8th and 9th); Del Crandall, who caught the entire game and Frank Bolling who played four flawless innings (6-9) at second. The star of the game was speedy Maury Wills…The NL won, 3-1.
The July schedule resumed on Thursday July 12th with the Cardinals in Milwaukee for three games. Claude Raymond got his second ML victory on a come-from-behind grand slam homer (#22 on the season) by Hank Aaron…Eddie Mathews and Tommie Aaron also homered. On Friday, Bob Gibson got his 11th win of the season on a three-hitter over Spahnie. On Saturday, Shaw pitched well, but lost 2-0 to Broglio. Cincinnati came to town for a double-header Sunday and a game on Monday. Burdette won again (8-5) in Sunday’s opener, 5-0. It was Lou’s 29th career shut-out. Eddie connected for HR # 18 on the year (#308 career). Denny Lemaster in his ML debut, threw a four-hitter but lost in the ninth on a HR and an error. Lee Maye got a round-tripper in the losing cause.
Monday the 16th was good for the Braves: Hendley won, 3-0, which brings him even at 6-6 for the year…he only allowed six hits and went the distance. Additionally, they finally beat former Brave, Joey Jay, who has beat us five straight times since going to the Reds!! Adcock and McMillan had homers. San Francisco, a mere game out of first place in the NL, came in Tuesday for three games. The first, another setback (not loss) for Spahn, was a cry-all-the-way-home heartbreaker. Tied going into the ninth, Spahnie gave way to Raymond who got the loss on an error/unearned run…but still a loss…
Bob Shaw won on Wednesday, his 10th victory, with a dandy two-hit shut-out of a load of Giant power. Marichal was the loser. Lee Maye got another homer…a two run effort in the first. The third game of the series was another loss to the Giants but had a couple interesting aspects. Young Denny Lemaster, who is undoubtedly going to become a successful hurler was on his way (4th inning) toward what certainly looked like a winning game when Giant batters discovered he was “tipping” his curveball…so they started hitting him…or drawing walks. Carl Willey came in to relieve and retired seven straight Giant sluggers without allowing a run…then kind of “lost it” and allowed four earned runs until Fischer came in for the ninth to end it.
The Braves traveled to Philadelphia for a Friday evening, twi-night double-header as the preamble to a five-game series that could mean the difference between sixth and seventh place in the NL. The Braves currently held sixth with a two-and-a-half game lead over the Phillies. The Braves won the first game, 7-5, on terrific relief pitching by Jack Curtis-seven innings, four hits, no runs!! Hendley got the loss, 3-2, in the second game. He pitched well except for one inning—and still might have been OK if the Braves could have cashed in on having the bases loaded in the ninth…but they didn’t. The rest of the series was simply mahvelous, dahling…Spahnie (9-11) won on Saturday, Nottebart and Lemaster and Company swept Sunday’s double-header and they traveled back home on Monday solidly in sixth for the nonce…five games up on Philly!!
Baseball is filled with oddities and wild and crazy stories and there is no reason to tell about this game…except for its ending. This ticket is in this collection solely because of this punch-line. So, without detail of how or who or why, we skip to the end of the eighth with the Braves down by a run. Birdie Tebbetts wants to give Bob Shaw an inning’s work between starts…so he pitches the ninth…successfully. In the bottom of the ninth, Lee Maye doubles and scores on Mathews’ single and it’s all tied up. Without much detail, Shaw continues to pitch scoreless ball in the tenth, eleventh and twelfth. In the bottom of the twelfth Casey Stengel maybe thinks he’s pushed his luck as far as he dares with reliever Craig Anderson, so he brings in Bob Miller. This is the second Bob Miller on the Mets in ’62 and, therefore, to avoid some of the confusion, must go by R.G. Miller. Miller is making his Mets’ debut after an unfortunate four-and-a-half innings for the Reds a couple weeks ago that has left him with a 29.25 ERA. The first batter to face Miller is Del Crandall…one of the newspaper accounts relates that Miller took the mound at the stroke of midnight…three hours and 58 minutes into the fray. Crandall hits Miller’s first and only pitch into the left field bleachers…Bob Miller…come on down…welcome to Mets-life 1962!!!
Kinda sorta anti-climactically, Bob Hendley won again on Wednesday the 25th with help from Adcock and Mathews who had two home runs apiece…one of Adcock’s was a grand slam. Final score was 11-5…it was the Mets 10th straight loss.
Thursday the 26th was Knothole Day for the kids, Ladies Day for the fairer persuasion and Spahnie was going for victory #10 on the season!! It was a thrill for everyone…Spahn won with comparative ease…it coulda shoulda mighta even been a shut-out; the final score was 6-1.
Hank Aaron hit a home run…so did Spahn…his first this year but his 31st career homer which is still the all-time record for pitchers. This was the Braves sixth win in a row—the season’s best…they leave in the morning for Cincinnati…they’re on a nine-game win streak.
The Braves won again Friday night—seven in a row!! Claude Raymond was the hero with three hitless innings in relief in the come-back win. Mathews had three doubles, Aaron had four singles…Crandall and Samuel also hit well. Unfortunately Shaw got hammered on Saturday and Frank Robinson was a one-man wrecking-crew vs Burdette and Raymond in Sunday’s double-header. The Braves hopes for winning their way into the first division would have to wait…Their record for July was a somewhat improved 17-13 which made them 54-52; just over the .500 mark for the season…and August holds promise…a hopefully munificent schedule versus mostly second-division teams…
The July-August issue of Smoke Signals has an interesting article of page two: In the nine seasons from 1953 through 1961, the Braves and Dodgers are tied for the most wins at 802 and are also tied for winning percentage at .578. The Giants are a fairly distant third with 710 wins followed by the Reds-698, the Cardinals-695, the Pirates-623, the Phillies-622 and the Cubs-593. In addition, the Braves are the only NL team to finish in the first division and have an above .500 winning percentage in every year from ’53 to ’61…
Plus two first place finishes and five second place finishes.
The second All-Star game was held on July 30th at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Milwaukee had four position players on the team. Frank Bolling and Del Crandall had played in the first game; NL manager Fred Hutchinson picked Eddie Mathews and Hank Aaron…Aaron had been elected to play in the first game but was unable to attend. Warren Spahn was also picked for the second game but he was unable to participate due to a sore elbow. Crandall played the first three innings. Aaron came in for the fourth, Bolling for the fifth and Mathews for the seventh and all played the remainder of the game…only Bolling got a hit…a double in the seventh. The AL won, 9-4, on HRs by Pete Runnels, Leon Wagner and Rocky Colavito. The talk appears to indicate that this was the last of the two-All-Star-games-per-year format…
Let’s hope so…!!!
On August 1st, Hank Aaron began what would become a 25-game hit streak and, not just on Hank’s shoulders, the Braves would have their best month of the season. Bob Shaw got it started with win #12 over the Colt 45s, his third shut-out of the season. Joe Adcock hit his 19th HR. Burdette (8-7) lost on the 2nd and Friday’s game with the Phils was rained out. The Braves swept the Philadelphians with Hendley and Raymond winning both ends of the double-header on the fourth. Hendley and Adcock both hit homers in the first game, Tommie Aaron hit a grand slam in the second game. On Sunday the 5th Warren Spahn pitched the Braves to an 8-1 win; victory #320 career, 11-11 on the season. Joe Adcock had two home runs, Eddie Mathews had one…That’s three games in a row!!
On Monday the 6th, the Cubbies came in for a four-game do-si-do. Bob Shaw gained win #13 with a classy four-hitter.
Lou Burdette came right back on Tuesday with a 4-1 victory and the Braves pulled within two games of fourth place in the NL. Hank Aaron kept his hit streak going with a two-run homer(#30) in the third. Despite two home runs by Lee Maye, the Cubs won on Wednesday…Hendley (8-8) got the loss.
Tony Cloninger, plagued by illness and arm trouble most of the season, came back big-time on Thursday with a 1-0 shut-out gem that required a little (also brilliant) relief help from Raymond and a home run from Adcock.
On Friday the Braves opened a three-game series in Houston. Spahn handed the Colts their sixth straight loss. Aaron had three singles, stole two bases and scored three runs. Shaw won #14 on Saturday. He, too, benefited from a little relief help from Raymond and a large HR from Adcock (#25). Roy McMillan’s lead-off homer (#12) and Sammy Samuel’s ninth inning homer were not enough to win it for Burdette (9-8) in the final game at Houston.
On to Cincinnati for four games…Two guys with Wisconsin connections had roles in Monday’s loss. Jim O’Toole (U. of WI-coached by Dynie Mansfield) only allowed six hits; two to Hank Aaron. First baseman Don Pavletich (West Allis native and distant relative to WI author and film-maker, Bill Povletich) had a double and two RBIs off Bob Hendley. Cloninger looked good again on Tuesday the 14th, winning 5-4, with help in the ninth from Raymond and home runs by the Aaron brothers.
Big Frank Robinson hit two home runs in each of the next two games pinning losses on Jack Curtis (3-5) in Wednesday’s bout and Lou Burdette (9-9) on Thursday.
On Friday August 17th, the Braves came home after a week on the road to face the Giants who are still nipping at the heels of the league-leading Dodgers. Shaw (15-8) got the win with another brilliant relief performance by Claude Raymond. Hank went two for four and scored twice.
The hero the game, however, was Lee Maye who went two for four (with a two-run home run), scored twice and batted in two runs.
The game was attended by 20,781 fans…the largest home crowd since opening day. On Saturday the Braves left 11 runners on base and lost, 6-4. Hendley got the loss but a lot of players got the blame!! Hank got a hit to keep the streak alive at 18.
On Sunday August 19th, Claude Raymond’s stellar relief pitching once again saved the day. It was a day of hits (21) and home runs (7). Cloninger started but needed help in the seventh leading 10-6. Raymond allowed two runs that meant nothing in the big picture. Hank Aaron had two homers, Del Crandall had one and Lee Maye added frosting with a three-run shot in the eighth. Spahn (13-11) won his 322nd career victory Monday night giving the Braves a three-out of-four record this series with the Giants.
Sweet Lou Johnson got his first-ever ML home run and in his excitement he raced around the bases and his teammates had to give him the “stand up” signal so he wouldn’t slide into the dug-out!! Tommie Aaron also hit a homer.
Tuesday, against St. Louis, they won in overtime…Raymond got the win…Lee Maye drove in Mathews in the bottom of the 10th for the victory. The Braves won the next two (Curtis (4-5) and Hendley (9-10) to move into a tie with the Cards for fifth place in the NL.
They would stay a half-game up or a half-game down for the remainder of the month.
Bob Buhl ended their win streak at five on Friday the 24th in Chicago…Cloninger got loss…Hank hit HR # 34. Spahnie held the Cubbies to three hits on Saturday to win his sixth in a row, 10-1, win # 14 on the season. Hank hit HR # 35…Mathews, Maye and Samuel also hit for the circuit. The Cubs won the rubber game with Lemaster saddled with the loss AND Hank was held hitless thus ending his streak at 25. No games were scheduled for Monday the 27th…the Braves traveled to San Francisco…
Owner Lou Perini was in attendance for the first game of the series. Perini was in town to attend the ground-breaking ceremony for Perini Corporation’s latest Urban Development Project. It was a close-but-no-cigar contest with the Braves coming out on the short end of the 4-3 final score. Crandall’s three-run dinger accounted for all the Braves’ scoring.
Wednesday Hendley went the distance in a 10-3 win…Hank had a homer…#36; Lee Maye had a homer and three singles-his best all-around day so far. On Thursday August 30th, Spahn (14-12) only allowed the Giants six hits; sadly, three of them were homers. Bolling and Spahn had homers for the Braves but that wasn’t enough…final score, 3-2.
The Braves variously allowed the Dodgers eight runs in an 8-3 loss at Chavez Ravine on the last day of August…Curtis ended up with the loss.
The Braves went 18-12 for August putting them at 72-64 for the year. At the moment they happen to be back in sixth place (by one/one-hundredth of a percentage point), 15 ½ games out of first and in a two-game losing streak that will decline into a six-game losing streak ere long.
September opened with the Braves already one game down on the way to being swept in a three-game series in Los Angeles. Denny Lemaster got the loss on Saturday the 1st; Shaw (15-9) got beat on Sunday to complete the sweep.
Monday evening it was back home for the Labor Day Red Owl Food Stores Family Baseball Party. Gates open at 4:30 P.M. for first-come, first-served seating with a band concert at 5:30 P.M. and a variety show at 6:30 P.M. including the Steve Swedish Dixieland Band. There will be prizes galore for the whole family!! The Red Owl organization bought up some 30,000 tickets that they sell at Red Owl Stores around the state for 39 cents each…and there will be fireworks!!! Everything went swell except the game. Joey Jay and the Reds, in town for two games, beat us again!! That’s seven of eight Jay has won against the Braves since we traded him…attendance for the family affair was reported as 11,537. Tuesday, in spite of homers #24 and 25 by Eddie Mathews, Cincy won again, 9-6. Raymond, in relief of Spahn, got the loss.
Cloninger (6-3) won on Wednesday in St. Louis…a complete game, 1-0, shut-out. Maye doubled; Samuel singled him home…that was enough!! It stopped the losing streak at six but then they lost again on Thursday, 7-1, with the one being a HR by Frank Bolling in the first…but nothing more.
Friday we’re back home hosting the Phillies…we lost 4-3 in 10 innings even though Hank Aaron and Joe Adcock hit home runs. The Phils swept the three-game series with a 6-4 win on Saturday and a 4-2 win on Sunday. Hendley (10-12) and Spahn (14-13) got the losses.
On Monday the 10h Cloninger (7-3) beat the Mets in NY, 5-2, with back-to-back homers by Aaron and Mathews. Tuesday was an off day for the Braves.
In Philadelphia for two games, Lemaster won on Wednesday and Spahnie (14-14) lost another heartbreaker, 2-1…Hawk Taylor scored the Braves only run…singled across by Spahn.
Home again Friday for a trio of games with Houston, the Braves (and Bob Hendley [11-12]) won the first encounter, 3-1. Nottebart won again on Saturday in relief. Braves came from behind in the ninth when Adcock hit a two-run homer to tie it and Hawk Taylor,
with a five-for-five performance, got his fifth single and scored the winning run on Lee Maye’s single…final score: 9-8. Sunday the 16th, Gus Bell hit the first pitch thrown in the ninth for a game-winning home run…Burdette got the win…three game sweep!!!
On Monday LA came in for three…Spahn (15-14) won the first one, 2-1, on a five-hitter. Willey (2-5) won on Tuesday in relief. Jim Constable, up from Toronto (16-4) got the save…Hank Aaron got HR #40. Wednesday we got shut out by Drysdale.4-0…
Hendley got the loss. Thursday was a day off for the Braves.
Friday we’re in Pittsburgh for the first of three. Spahn (15-14) won the first one, 7-3, for career win #325. Adcock hit HR # 28. Constable picked right up where he left off in Toronto and allowed no runs, five hits and had six strike-outs en route to a complete game win on Saturday the 22nd.
Hank Aaron hit HR #41 on Sunday; Cloninger (8-3) completed the sweep with a 10-3 win. Aaron and Mathews looked like Hank and Eddie of yore with back-to-back homers in the first. For the day Hank hit HRs #42 and 43 plus four RBIs; Eddie hit #28 plus two triples and a single. There were no games scheduled on Monday the 24th.Tuesday and Wednesday the Mets were in town. Spahnie (17-14) threw a complete-game win (#326) with Aaron hitting HR#44 with two guys on; Tommie Aaron posted three RBIs and Eddie Mathews hit three doubles and scored three times. Hank hit #45 on Wednesday; Lemaster went the distance and struck out 10 for the win. The 27th was a day off.
The Pirates came in on Friday for the last three games of the season. Some 4,274 fans came out for the opener. Pirate rookie Bob Veale, just up from Columbus (I.L.) threw a three-hitter. It was a no-hitter until Ethan Blackaby got a hit in the seventh. Constable got the loss.
On Saturday, the intrepid Mr. Spahn pitched all nine to post win #18 this season and #327 on his career (it’s the first time in seven years he hadn’t gotten 20 wins). Adcock and Tommie Aaron hit home runs…6,616 fans were witness to the feats. In spite of Eddie Mathews’ 29th HR of the season and 399th career, the Pirates defeated our Braves in the last game of 1962. Many will recall that it will be this upcoming winter that Bob Uecker (Eddie’s road roomie), with one career ML homer, will be telling the story that “between us me ‘n’ my roomie got 400 home runs”.
The Braves went 14-12 in September thanks in large part to two five-game win streaks. They finished 86-76, in fifth place 15 ½ games out of first and two full games ahead of St. Louis–who they squeezed ahead of about the middle of September. While not their finest hour, there were some things to rejoice and be hopeful about. Hank Aaron was fourth in the league in hitting at .323. Spahnie, in spite of his won-loss record, led the league with a 3.01 ERA. The team fielding average, .980, led the league. The team pitching ERA of 3.68 was good for fourth. Hank Aaron had a terrific season!! His slugging average, .618, was second in the league, same re HRs-45; third in total bases-101 and fourth in RBIs-128. Mathews led the league in bases-on-balls-101. For the first year since the move to Milwaukee, Eddie failed to hit 30 or more home runs. He had 29…as did Adcock; but, their batting averages dropped from .285 to .248 and from .306 to .265 respectively. The team was second in HRs with 181; but their collective BA was .252—good for dead last in an eight-team league; goof for dead eighth in a ten-team expanded league—only the Colt 45s and the Mets were lower!! On the pitching staff, Spahn is still the bright spot. He had 22 complete games…which led the league. He had the third fewest walks per nine innings-1.84. Burdette got a late start with some physical issues and finished 10-9. Bob Shaw gave us some thrills as the “new guy”: his ERA, 2.80, was second only to Koufax; he led in fewest walks per nine innings-1.76 and his winning percentage was fifth at .625.
There was one “numbers” issue that raises all kinds of red flags: Attendance for 1962 was 766,021—the first time since Boston that the Braves drew less than 1.1 million fans in a season!! Further; it was a drop of over a third of a million (-334,520) since 1961. This has enormous ramifications; economically and in terms of morale…everyone’s…
While Braves fans didn’t get too excited about it, there was some end-of-season excitement with the Giants and the Dodgers. The Dodgers, for all intents and purposes, have led the NL practically all summer. However, in the last couple of weeks of September they got a case of the miseries—they couldn’t play their way out of a wet paper bag…and the Giants were winning. On September 30th, they were tied—Dodger fans were beside themselves—Giant fans were beside themselves—you shoulda seen it…!! Since it ain’t us, we’ll not prolong the anticipation…The Giants won two of three play-off games for the pennant…and lost…in seven…to the Yankees.
On October 5, 1962, Birdie Tebbetts resigned as manager to take a reported $45,000 a year job as manager of the Cleveland Indians. Few tears were shed in Milwaukee. In all fairness it should be noted that Tebbetts was a respected figure in Major League Baseball…that he was not the answer in Milwaukee probably ought not be laid solely at his feet.
On October 17, 1962, there were probably many more than a few tears shed; Braves management announced the hiring of Robert Randall “Bobby” Bragan as the new manager. Obviously a fan does not have the advantage of corporate thinking or strategy in hiring situations; however (or, perhaps, more appropriately, therefore…) fan reaction was along the lines of “What were they thinking?” We’d had exposure, over-exposure, to him from his (losing) days at Pittsburgh. He came across as a monumental egotist whose regard for himself certainly appeared to far surpass anything he’d accomplished at a Major League level. He also appeared to set great store on umpire-baiting to the point of perhaps attempting to set some “record” for getting ejected. In no way did he seem to be a “good fit’ for the Braves.
Although there had been vague, totally unsubstantiated (at least from a fan perspective), rumors since maybe 1959 that the Perinis might be interested in selling the Braves…it was still a bombshell when it happened…
On November 16, 1962, Louis R. Perini announced that a Chicago syndicate, the LaSalle Corporation, had bought the Milwaukee Braves for somewhere between $5.5 and $5.8 million. Members of the new owner’s group were William Bartholomay; Thomas Reynolds; James B. McCahey, Jr.; Delbert Coleman; John J. Louis, Jr.; Daniel Searle and John McHale…others would be added later. Perini Corporation would retain a 10% interest and Lou Perini would serve as Chairman of the Executive Committee. William Bartholomay would be Chairman of the Board; Thomas Reynolds and John Louis would be Vice-Presidents; Daniel Searle would be the Treasurer and John McHale would remain as President and General Manager of the Braves. With the exception of McHale, these were young, highly successful businessmen who had previously been part of a syndicate that held part-ownership of the Chicago White Sox.
Thus endeth what was arguably THE MOST FABULOUS ERA in the history of baseball and, quite likely, in ALL sports!!! Construction tycoon, Lou Perini. bought the team in the ‘40’s and brought it to Milwaukee in 1953. Nowhere, before or since, was any team greeted and revered with such tremendous enthusiasm, yea, hysteria, for such a prolonged reign. In 10 seasons in Milwaukee the Braves won two pennants, one World Series, finished second five times and set any number of attendance records…until the mania waned…
On November 30, 1962, Joe Adcock and Jack Curtis were traded to Cleveland for OF Don Dillard, OF Ty Cline and pitcher Frank Funk.
On December 3 1962, Ken Aspromonte was traded to the Cubs for Jim McKnight. McKnight was sent to Denver (PCL) and was never officially rostered with the Braves.
It was an incredibly disappointing season; personnel decisions at every level were disappointing, run production was disappointing and fan expectations were disappointing. Much can be said in each of these areas but since it’s not yet finished, it would be anti-climactic at this juncture.
As usual, in no particular order, here are some collectible treasures from 1962. From a collector perspective 1962 seems parallel to 1954 relative to the amount of stuff out there…not so much as some other years…
These “tickets” were given to Milwaukee Journal paper boys and paper girls. It was an incentive conjured up by the circulation department to increase circulation. It’s fairly self-explanatory; the carrier sells x number of new subscriptions to the Journal and he or she gets to go to a Braves game. Don’t ya kinda wonder how many they had to sell to get two days in Milwaukee? Plus…the way it’s worded it sounds like this was not just for carriers in Milwaukee but, also for statewide carriers…?
Salada Tea Coins were found in boxes of Salada Tea and Junket Dessert/Pudding mix boxes. Coins were plastic (with different colors of plastic for different teams) with a paper color picture insert with the player’s name, team, position and the coin number. I’m not sure if the variations of differing colors of plastic were from the factory or if some collector made the changes. The only other variation in the Braves coins is the misspelling of Eddie Mathews name…Matthews…
The 1962 Topps Cards are distinctive with the faux wood-grain background. The set, 598, has quite a number of extra cards: team, All-Star, new Rookie format…and lots of variations.
The 1962 Venezuelan Topps set is essentially the same as the U.S. set but with only 198 cards…but in the same number order. The most notable difference is the backs…they’re in Spanish.
These are the front and back cover of a Rawlings Sport pamphlet entitled “How to Pitch”. As you can see it came with facsimile signatures…Who Leo might be will have to remain a mystery…!!
Topps Baseball Bucks came in their own package…I don’t have an original package. Each “buck” has a picture, a smidgie little bio and the stadium on the front and the League logo and the team logo on the back. One dollar denominations were “common” players, $5.00 were “stars” and $10.00 were “superstars”. Guess it’s a matter of perspective/opinion…The Bazooka cards are, as always, tough to find. I’m missing the Eddie Mathews which, I’ve been told, was “short-printed”…still looking though…
You can find this little treasure fairly easily and for pretty decent prices…although they vary quite a lot. It has no date; I’ve put it at 1962 since it has broadcasting from 1961. It consists of a series of excerpts from Earl Gillespie and Blaine Walsh doing actual game broadcasts. Side one is highlights from ’53-’57 and side two is from ’57-’61. It has all the colorful language and excitement you remember; the organist is Adele Scott. Beside it are some of renowned artist Bill Duehren’s original sketches.
The 1962 Press Guide is fairly similar to previously seen guides with information, statistics and “inside” information relative to the team and the players. It was generally made available early in the year to aid media folks in their coverage of the Braves.
The placemat with the logo appears to be right from the Braves organization. It was probably created to be a part of the ticket sales campaign. That might explain the stadium chart, the map and the ticket order blank. The Walgreens cover has a handy schedule and stadium diagram (not at all sure why the stadium drawing has a “shadow” in it…!!??!). Another curiosity is the little poetry contest offer with tickets as prizes…make a rhyme with “year”, win some tickets here…oh yeah…doo dah, doo dah…!!!
This wallet/envelope container is made of good solid, substantial cardboard. Am unsure whether it was used to send out season tickets or just tickets that you might have ordered by mail.
Post Cereal Cards were found on boxes of Post cereals and you could cut them off or leave them all together. Most of the ones we see these days were cut off; some neatly and carefully, some not so carefully. The checklists for Post, Canadian Post and JELL-O are virtually identical. The only variation pertaining to the Braves cards is on card #145…Joe Adcock. It was first issued as Joe “Adock”.
Yearbooks were generally out in time for Opening Day. The 1962 Yearbook features Bill Duehren’s laughing Brave surrounded by nine line drawings of players designating the other nine NL teams. Some of the line drawings are also found inside the book. This particular book has been autographed on the inside by Andy Pafko, Phil Roof and Ernie Johnson.