MLB Memory Lane: August 25, 1981
The initial MLB Memory Lane may be found as last week’s Mehring Monday.
For those who missed it, the idea of this new feature is to recap major league games I have attended in person as a fan. The majority of those games are Milwaukee Brewers games at County Stadium.
This week, I already prove a statement I made in last week’s story incorrect.
Date: August 25, 1981
Opponent: Chicago White Sox
Seat Location: First Base Upper Deck
With: Parents & Brother
The 1981 players strike ended and I didn’t care. All I knew was that baseball was back and I was going to be able to go to this game just before classes started at St. Thomas Aquinas. The fact that the Brewers were playing the Chicago White Sox was a bonus.
The Brewers had won three games in a row to get to 10-6 before this game. They had pulled to within a game of the Detroit Tigers, the top team in the second half standings for the American League East.
Jim Slaton got the start for the Brewers. Dennis Lamp was the starter for the White Sox. I fully expected the Brewers bats to beat the White Sox and knock Lamp around in this game. Oh, how wrong I was.
Cecil Cooper walked with two outs in the bottom of the first inning, but Lamp retired Ben Oglivie.
Harold Baines would triple and score on a sacrifice fly in the top of the second. Baines would hit a solo homer in the top of the fourth and the Sox were up 2-0.
Meanwhile, Lamp was unhittable. No. Really. After the walk to Cooper, Lamp retired the next twenty-two (22!) batters in a row to carry a no-hitter into the ninth inning.
I remember getting a feeling after the bottom of the fifth inning. I didn’t want to see my first no-hitter to be AGAINST the Brewers.
Slaton gave up another run in the top of the sixth inning before being replaced by Rickey Keeton.
The White Sox led 3-0 in the bottom of the sixth when Rusty Kuntz made a sliding catch to rob Jim Gantner. The fans went crazy. I couldn’t believe it.
Keeton gave up two more runs in the seventh and the Sox were comfortably in front 5-0 before the seventh inning stretch. I wanted a hit. Just one hit.
Here is the play-by-play of the Brewers’ seventh and eighth inning of that game from retrosheet.org:
BREWERS 7TH: Molitor was called out on strikes; Cooper grounded out (first to pitcher); Oglivie grounded out (first unassisted)
BREWERS 8TH: Thomas flied to left; Simmons grounded out (second to first); Howell grounded out (second to first).
Robin Yount would leadoff the bottom of the ninth. I looked at this as the last chance Milwaukee had to keep Lamp from getting the no-hitter. He was not yet MVP/Hall of Fame Robin. But, this was ‘The Kid’ Robin! Batting eighth and playing short Robin. He was not going to let this happen. Not while I was at this game.
He hit a soft flyball – A “Dying Quail”, if you will – to left. Kuntz raced to the ball and dove…and the ball landed for a double. Robin had done it.
The shutout ended two batters later. Gantner grounded out to second to move Yount to third. Thad Bosely, the leadoff hitter, grounded out to second to drive in Yount. Molitor grounded out to end the game. Lamp and the White Sox celebrated the win, but not the no-no.
Small victory for me that day I guess.
A throwaway line in the initial column said: I am positive that Paul Molitor never had a bad game when I went to see the Brewers at County Stadium.
That would be incorrect. Molitor, who was playing centerfield and hitting second in the lineup, was 0-for-4 with a strikeout and an error.
Yep. 1981. Paul Molitor in center. Gorman Thomas in right. Remember that?
This was Milwaukee’s batting order from that game:
Thad Bosley, lf
Paul Molitor, cf
Cecil Cooper, 1b
Ben Oglivie, dh
Gorman Thomas, rf
Ted Simmons, c
Roy Howell, 3b
Robin Yount, ss
Jim Gantner, 2b
Three future Hall of Fame players participated in this game. There was Molitor and Yount for the Brewers and Carlton Fisk with the White Sox. The 1981 season was Fisk’s first year with the White Sox. It was so weird to see him with Chicago.