It’s the last day of September, a date which, in the history of baseball, has provided many memorable moments. Following are some Sept. 30 highlights:
1927--Babe Ruth hit his 60th home run of the season with a man on against Tom Zachary to lead the New York Yankees to a 4-2 victory over the Washington Senators. Walter Johnson, making his final major league appearance, pinch hit for Zachary in the ninth inning and flied out to Ruth.
1934--Dizzy Dean beat the Cincinnati Reds, 9-0, for his 30th win of the year, capping a great St. Louis Cardinal drive over the New York Giants and clinching the NL pennant.
1945--Hank Greenberg hit a grand slam as the Detroit Tigers clinched the American League pennant with a 6-3 win over the St. Louis Browns.
1951--Jackie Robinson homered in the 14th inning to give the Brooklyn Dodgers a 9-8 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies, tying them with the New York Giants for first place in the National League standings and forcing a playoff, which the Giants eventually won on Bobby Thomson’s homer against Ralph Branca.
1962--Willie Mays homered to give the San Francisco Giants a 2-1 victory over the Houston Colt 45s on the season’s final day. That, coupled with the Dodgers’ 1-0 loss to the Cardinals, forced a playoff for the National League pennant, which the Giants eventually won.
1972--Roberto Clemente hit a double off Jon Matlack in Pittburgh’s 5-0 victory over the New York Mets at Three Rivers Stadium. The hit was the 3,000th and last for the Pirate star, who lost his life in a plane crash during the offseason.
1984--Mike Witt of the Angels pitched a perfect game against the Texas Rangers. The Angels won, 1-0.
Trivia Time: When Tom Browning of the Cincinnati Reds won his 20th game Saturday, he became the club’s first 20-game winner since 1970. Who was the previous 20-game winner? (Answer below.)
For What It’s Worth: In six years under player-manager Ty Cobb, Detroit’s best record was 86-68 in 1924. Cincinnati, in its first year under player-manager Pete Rose, currently is 86-68 in 1985.
The 1924 Tigers finished third in the American League, six-games behind pennant-winning Washington. New York was second.
Ted Tollner has other things to think about, otherwise he could sympathize with Terry Donahue over the touchdown Washington scored against UCLA on the final play of the first half Saturday.
The same thing happened to USC in 1983. Washington, leading only 3-0 and facing a 4th-and-13 on the USC 39, scored on a 39-yard pass from Steve Pelluer to Danny Greene as time expired in the half. Washington went on to win, 24-0.
Add Forgettable Quotes: Said Denver receiver Butch Johnson on the eve of Sunday’s game against Miami at Mile High Stadium: “If it’s 35 degrees, they’re going to have a rude awakening on two counts. The thin air and the cold. When you’re walking around in shorts in 80 degrees, you’re not used to that.”
Dan Marino got acclimated in a hurry. While the fans were throwing snowballs, he was throwing footballs. Miami won, 30-26, as Marino threw for 390 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Trivia Answer: Jim Merritt, with a 20-12 record. Note: Tom Seaver was 21-6 in 1977 but he pitched for two clubs. He was 7-3 for the New York Mets and 14-3 for Cincinnati.
Notre Dame basketball Coach Digger Phelps, on the advantage of being the son of an undertaker: “While I was dating my wife, I sent her flowers every day.”