Reggie Hits 537th to Pass Mantle, but Angels Beaten, 8-5
Reggie Jackson hit his 537th career home run Wednesday evening, surpassing the fabled Mickey Mantle on the all-time list and further ensuring himself a cozy spot in Cooperstown when he decides to retire.
Ordinarily, this would be cause for much pomp and circumstance, certainly more than the simple ovation he received after moving into sixth place on the home run list. Jackson’s line drive hurried past the center-field fence, past the outstretched hands of a television cameraman positioned about 400 feet from home plate, hit the ground and then bounced into history.
But the Angels’ 8-5 loss to the Red Sox in front of an Anaheim Stadium audience of 32,966 wasn’t remotely related to anything ordinary. Not even passing acquaintances.
This was a game that included, among other things:
--Jackson’s memorable home run, just four days before his 40th birthday. He’ll celebrate it in Detroit, where he once sent a home run over the Tiger Stadium roof.
--Twenty strikeouts in all, nine by Angel starter Kirk McCaskill and nine by Roger Clemens (6-0), who doesn’t hold the major league record for K’s in a nine-inning game (20) for nothing. Boston reliever Joe Sambito, who got the save, added one strikeout to Wednesday night’s total, as did Angel reliever Terry Forster.
--McCaskill’s seven-inning, no earned-runs performance . . . and no decision.
And let’s not forget Red Sox Manager John McNamara’s numerous visits with the umpiring crew, the last one resulting in an eighth-inning ejection. . . . Three wild pitches, five walks and a hit batsman for the normally controlled Clemens, who had just 12 walks in the previous 49 innings. . . . Catcher Rich Gedman’s desperate try for a Clemens wild pitch that eventually ended up in the Boston dugout, allowing Jerry Narron to score from second base.. . . A rare Oh-fer evening for rookie Wally Joyner.
Both teams spent the 3 hours 15 minutes it took to play the game devising new ways to entertain.
Jackson did his part, but by more conventional methods. He was in no mood to savor the effort, though, as he banged his fist in frustration against a locker room door following the loss.
“I’m not up for the moment,” he said. “Before the game, I was up for the occasion because as hard as (Clemens) throws and, at my age, he could knock the bat out of my hands just about any time he wanted.
“I’m proud of the accomplishment,” he said, “but I would have rather won the game.”
Clemens lasted eight innings and threw 142 pitches--a lot for anyone, especially a power pitcher. His patience was rewarded in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings as the Red Sox scored two, then three, then three more runs to overcome an Angel 4-0 lead and 5-5 tie.
The fun began early as the Angels took a quick 3-0 lead in the first. Brian Downing was hit by Clemens, which isn’t much of a way to make a living. The pain subsided moments later as Jackson sent Clemens’ 1-1 pitch over the fence. A standing ovation followed.
Doug DeCinces was up next and walked. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on a Narron single to left.
The Angels added another run in the fourth. Again Narron had something to do with the score. He walked and then moved to second when Dick Schofield grounded out to Clemens. Then came a pitch that bounced off Gedman’s right leg and rolled toward the Boston dugout. Gedman hurried after the ball, but couldn’t reach it in time. Manager Gene Mauch waited a moment and then argued that Narron should be awarded home and the Angels another run. The umpires agreed, which didn’t sit well with McNamara.
Boston scored two runs in the seventh as Ed Romero reached on an error, soon followed by Wade Boggs’ fourth homer of the season.
McCaskill was replaced by Ken Forsch in the eighth. He lasted eight pitches. By then, Boston had scored three runs, thanks to a Gedman homer. That made the score, 5-4.
The Angels tied it 5-5 in the bottom of the eighth as Jackson singled, moved to second on a fly ball to right (he beat a throw by the strong-armed Dwight Evans) and scored on a Ruppert Jones double.
In the ninth, the Red Sox scored three runs against T.R. Bryden, who allowed a walk and four straight hits-- by Boggs, Bill Buckner, Jim Rice (a double) and Dave Stapleton.
Donnie Moore received a cortisone shot for his stiff right shoulder Wednesday and will not be available until at least Friday according to Manager Gene Mauch. . . . Rob Wilfong was the Angel leadoff hitter Wednesday, a first for Wilfong and the fifth different choice of Mauch’s. . . . Angel players elected Mike Witt as their player representative Wednesday. Gary Pettis will serve as an alternate. Witt was an alternate to Ron Romanick last season. . . . Vern Ruhle, who left the Cleveland Indians as a free agent and remains unsigned, pitched batting practice for the Angels. He threw hard, which may have helped the Angels get ready for Boston’s Roger Clemens. . . . General Manager Mike Port remains unimpressed with the recent players’ union grievance protesting the use of league-wide 24-man rosters: “A grievance is a grievance. There are those whose lot in life is to file grievances.” . . . So great is the media demand on Joyner, that the Angels will hold a press conference in Detroit Friday. The NBC Game Of The Week offices called and want Joyner to do an interview before the May 24 game. . . . The Angels leave today for a 10-game trip. Detroit is first, followed by Baltimore and New York.
ALL-TIME CAREER HOME RUN LIST
500 OR MORE HOME RUNS
HR PLAYER HR/AB 755 Henry Aaron 16.38 714 Babe Ruth 11.76 660 Willie Mays 16.49 586 Frank Robinson 17.08 573 Harmon Killebrew 14.22 537 Reggie Jackson 17.13 536 Mickey Mantle 15.12 534 Jimmie Foxx 15.23 521 Willie McCovey 15.73 521 Ted Williams 14.79 512 Ernie Banks 18.40 512 Eddie Mathews 16.67 511 Mel Ott 18.50
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