THIS DAY IN SPORTS: More amazing clutch magic from Mays

Presented by BACON BOISE.

This Day In Sports…July 2, 1963:

San Francisco’s Willie Mays (never miss an opportunity to plug this guy) hits a home run in the bottom of the 16th inning to break up an incredible scoreless pitchers’ duel between Juan Marichal of the Giants and Warren Spahn of the Milwaukee Braves. I’d call that a quality start by both Marichal and Spahn, do you think? Major league clubs are happy to get six innings out of a starter today. The latest stats accessible say that only 12 starting hurlers have so much as thrown a pitch past the ninth inning in the past 29 years.

These pitching performances are hard to believe, so let’s back them up with the box score lines. Spahn threw 15 1/3 innings and gave up the one run, and Marichal tossed a 16-inning shutout. Marichal was entering his prime at the age of 25—Spahn was 17 years his senior. In the 13th inning, Giants manager Alvin Dark considered lifting Marichal for a pinch hitter. According to the late Orlando Cepeda in a 1998 memoir, Marichal barked at Dark: “A 42-year-old man is still pitching. I can’t come out!” And on they went.

And then there was Mays. This was one of the most dramatic of his 660 career home runs—a walk-off shot at 12:15 A.M. on Spahn’s 201st pitch of the night. But the game may not have made it that far had Mays not made one of his patented plays in the field. With two outs in the top of the fourth, the Braves put two men on. Milwaukee catcher Del Crandall then hit a soft single to centerfield that under normal circumstances would have scored the runner from second base. But Mays scooped up the ball and fired to home, nailing Norm Larker at the plate.

Hank Aaron went 0-for-6 for the Braves but came within the warning track of clubbing a home run. The only extra-base hit among Milwaukee’s eight hits came on a double…by Spahn. The homer was Mays’ only hit of the game in six at-bats. Two Giants managed two-hit outings: seldom-used utility man Ernie Bowman (2-for-3) and Cepeda (2-for-6).

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)



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