Spoiler Alert: Game 3 of ’62 Season Report

Thursday the 12th, April 1962 (UPI Photo)
3 Colt Lefties Celebrate Colt Sweep of Cubs
Dean Stone, Bobby Shantz, & Hal Woodeshick

Spoiler Alert: If you have not yet read yesterday’s report on the 1962 Game 2 in Houston Baseball History, please avoid reading the Comment Section there. One of our fond readers has chosen to reveal the outcome in Game 3 to those of us who are now too young – or too old – to remember – and furthermore – our overly eager good friend – even dared to project – we surmise – because we have done columns on both the first two historical games over the past two days – that we would be writing about the first three-game series finale today.

Well, whoop-tee-do! – Who’da thought it? – Would you?

We will now try to ease you into that recollection as comfortably as possible by simply going straight to the obvious conclusions drafted by our spoiler friend: (1) Yes, the Colts won again – again by 2-0 – with a third straight lefty, Dean Stone, going the distance. (2) Yes, the Colts swept the first series they ever played, getting a complete game from Shantz in the first one as well. Only Woodeshick in Game 2 needed an inning of help from Farrell in the 9th to capture his own 2-0 beauty. Shantz rollicked in the fun of an 11-2 Colt win in the April 10, 1962 Opener.

But the musical soundtrack of our new fan delusions soon died away as the 1962 season wore away all wistfulness.

We had a great bunch of guys playing for the Houston Colt .45s back in 1962, but they were nowhere near the kind of club they would need to be over the whole season. What they appeared to be in their first home series against the low-riding Chicago Cubs lacked staying power.

Besides, the Cubs also suffered from a history of faltering, and they had some real talent too. Cripes!  They had four future Hall of Famers playing for them. The young two former Houston Buffs, Billy Williams and Ron Santo, were pillars-to-be in a lineup that already included the great Ernie Banks and Lou Brock, whom they would unfortunately lose in a bum deal with the Cardinals. They just didn’t have the pitching depth or much else. They did have – or should have had by 1962 – a lot more wisdom than the fledgling Colts as to how tough it is to win over the full season.

Irony note. In 2017, the Houston Astros won their first World Series in their 56th year of play. In 1962, the Chicago Cubs had not won a World Series in 54 seasons.

That being said, let’s go to the way UPI writer Fred Down covered Game 3 of that first Houston MLB series for the Arlington Daily News Texan in a Thursday, April 12, 1962 game story that went to print on Friday the 13th of April 1962. One more irony, one we feel sure has not escaped recognition by many of you other older birds. Back in 1962, Arlington, Texas media didn’t have a big league team of their own to cover in news print.

As per always, thank you, Baseball Almanac.com for the beautiful work on the box score.

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Houston Colt .45s Tame Cubs Again

By Fred Down, UPI Sports Writer

Friday, April 13, 1962

They always said pitching was 90% of baseball but the Houston Colt .45s may yet prove it’s really 100% of the game.

The Colt .45s aren’t supposed to have anything else except pitching but that’s all they’ve needed to become the surprise team of the 1962 major league baseball season. And it all comes as no surprise to General Manager Paul Richards because that’s the way he planned it.

The Colt .45s made it three in a row Thursday when they beat the Chicago Cubs, 2-0, behind the three-hit pitching of Dean Stone. Their pitching staff has now allowed the grand total of 2 runs and 17 hits in three games – which means that either Richards or manager Harry Craft have come up with a “sleeper” pitching staff or that somebody bored holes in the Cubs’ bats.

Stone, who formerly pitched in the majors with the Washington Senators, Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals struck out nine batters and walked two. It was his first big league victory since May 26, 1957, when he shut out Baltimore.

Stone, who had a 12-8 record for Charleston in the International League last season was drafted by the Colts last Nov. 27. It was the second straight shutout turned in by Colt pitchers and ran the Cubs’ consecutive scoreless innings to 19.

Colt catcher Hal Smith drove in Houston’s first run in the fourth inning Thursday with a single to deep left field. Bob Aspromonte scored in the 8th. He singled, stole second, and came around (to score) in successive wild pitches by Cub relievers.

A double play ended Chicago’s only threat in the first inning after Stone gave up his first hit – a double by Hubbs – and walked Billy Williams. Then Banks hit to Aspromonte to start the double play.

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Footnote: What a great start we enjoyed in Houston during that first 1962 Cubs series, but we Houston fans would get the more difficult message – and long before season’s end – at least part of it, anyway. Winning a World Series was going to take time and patience. – We just hoped our wait would not rival the one the Cubs had been going through since 1908.

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

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5 Responses to “Spoiler Alert: Game 3 of ’62 Season Report”

  1. Michael McCroskey Says:

    Houston must have cooled off after winning their first 3 because SABR convention 44 alum Hall Smith cooled off, too. I see he went 4 for 11 (.363) with a home run, a double and 4 rbi’s in our first 3 games. Pretty impressive.

    Also, in yesterday’s write-up you mention the 4th of July. I would like to see you do a write-up of the Colt 45’s/Dodger July 4th double header when Koufax and Drysdale started for the Dodgers. I remember that I was in Bolivar and came in for the game. It was standing room only if you can believe that. Open stadium, July 4th in Houston and the place was packed! Hot! I think i sat in an aisle on the first base side. I believe that was our biggest major league crowd prior to the opening of the Dome.

  2. Mark W. Says:

    Trivia question:” In 1962 the San Francisco Giants won the National League pennant, after besting the Los Angels Dodgers in a 3 game playoff. The Giants had a 62-21 home W-L record that season, which may have been a National League record at that time. Nevertheless, the Giants did have a losing record at home vs. one National League team that season. What was the only National League team in 1962 to post a winning record vs. the World Series-bound San Francisco Giants at Candlestick Park in 1962?

  3. Mark W. Says:

    The manner in which I’ve posed this question of course begs the answer. It was our own expansion Houston Colt .45s, who spanked the Giants 5 times in Candlestick Park, vs. 4 losses. In the last game of the regular season, The Giants nipped Turk Farrell and the Houston Colt .45s, 2-1. The score was 1-1 in the 8th inning when Willie Mays launched his 45th homer of the season, and that was the difference. The other run Farrell yielded was Ed Bailey’s 17th homer of the season in the 4th inning. If Farrell had located those 2 pitches a bit differently, or maybe if the Candlestick winds had been blowing a bit more strongly towards the infield, Houston would have finished the season 6-3 vs. the Giants in Candlestick, and the New York Yankees would have played the first of two consecutive World Series vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers, Serendipity ain’t just a word in a thesaurus.

  4. Mark W. Says:

    Typo above. Mays hit his 47th homer of the season in that game.

  5. Tom Hunter Says:

    I proudly accept the first 2018 Spoiler Alert Award, because I was afraid the third game would not be covered. I attended the third game, my first major league baseball game, and have fond and vivid memories of April12, 1962. I still have the blue cap with the orange .45s logo I bought that day.

    My favorite teacher and coach, Grant Tidwell, fellow classmates Mike Coppinger and Robbie Moffett as well as my best friend, Donald King, and I drove to the game from Pearland and sat down the left field line. Since the attendance was 7, 838, I think of myself as “8.”

    Fifty-five years later on October 27, 2017, Donald King and I attended Game 3 of the 2017 World Series, which Houston won over the Los Angeles Dodgers, 5-3.

    I apologize to the venerable Mr. McCurdy for my lack of faith that he would cover the game that means so much to me.

    -Doubting Thomas

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