Yankees mess with Money
The Timber Rattlers have announced that Don Money will be the special guest at the 2013 Leadoff Experience. The event will be held at Liberty Hall on Wednesday, April 3. Full details are at this link here.
I’ll be hosting again and one of the main questions I want to ask of Don Money is: What really happened with Billy Martin, Chris Chambliss, and the Brewers on April 10, 1976?
Here’s the story.
The Brewers had opened the 1976 season on April 8 with a 5-0 victory over the Yankees at Milwaukee County Stadium behind a complete game, 4-hit shutout by Jim Slaton and three RBI from Henry Aaron. There was a scheduled off day on April 9 and the teams got back in action on Saturday, April 10 for an afternoon start.
Milwaukee, still a few years away from Bambi’s Bombers, grabbed a 6-0 lead with a run in the fourth, two in the fifth, and three in the sixth off Eduardo Figueroa.
Bill Travers pitched 5-2/3 scoreless innings and turned the game over to the bullpen. Eduardo Rodriguez gave up four runs in the top of the seventh, but Milwaukee held a 6-4 lead heading to the top of the ninth.
Mickey Rivers singled off Jerry Augustine to start the ninth. Milwaukee called on closer Tom Murphy to get the final three outs. Rivers stole second, but Murphy struck out Roy White. From there….HOO BOY!
Munson singled to shortstop [Rivers to third]
Chambliss doubled to center [Rivers scored, Munson scored]
Piniella tripled to left [Chambliss scored]
Nettles was walked intentionally
CHAMPION REPLACED MURPHY (PITCHING)
Dempsey singled to second [Piniella scored, Nettles to third]
Randolph hit a sacrifice fly to center [Nettles scored]
Alomar lined to third
So, yeah. A five-run ninth inning and the Yankees are up 9-6 heading to the bottom of the ninth.
But, the Brewers rallied. Robin Yount singled and Pedro Garcia walked against Sparky Lyle to start the bottom of the ninth. Dave Pagan relieved Lyle and the Brewers had Bobby Darwin pinch hit for Gorman Thomas. An error on Graig Nettles let Darwin reach and the Brewers had the bases loaded with no outs. Don Money stepped to the plate as the potential winning run.
Right-hander Dave Pagan, fifth of six New York pitchers, had a one-ball, no-strike count on Money, who drilled the next pitch into the left-centerfield bleachers.
Yankee Manager Billy Martin and first baseman Chris Chambliss immediately stormed [first base umpire Jim] McKean. After several minutes of heated discussion and mass confusion, the umpires conferred and then called the players back to their positions.
What had happened was…oh…man…I was seven when this happened and I remember listening to the game in the basement and I still get angry about this today.
“Chambliss turned to me just before the pitch and asked for time out,” McKean said. “He said Billy (Martin) wanted him to tell the pitcher to go to a full windup instead of the stretch.
“It was a tough situation, but not a controversial one as far as judgement was concerned because I had called time. No way that hit could have counted because I had called time out.
“Billy came running out yelling at Chambliss, ‘Tell Jimmy you called time.’ I couldn’t comprehend what Billy was claiming at first, but then I told him, ‘RIght. Time was out, period. I’ll go tell the other dugout.’”
Martin said he told McKean, “You called time. Now you have to back it up. He did.
“It was a tough decision for an umpire,” Martin said. Whether he called it for me or against me, he showed a lot of class. Good thing Money didn’t hit a double-play ball. I would have to go back to the dugout and cry.”
Harvey Kuenn, the Brewers first base coach, disputed McKean’s version.
“I heard McKean tell Chambliss he did not call time out,” Kuenn said. “I did hear Chambliss call for time, but I never heard the umpire call it. I don’t know if McKean put his hand up to signal for time, but I know he didn’t yell for time.
“By the time Chambliss was asking for time, the pitch was already on its way. After the ball had gone into the stands, I heard the second base umpire (Nick Bremigan0 say he saw the first base ump’s hand go up out of the corner of his eye.”
Asked whether Bremigan had said he saw the hand go up before or after the pitch, Kuenn said, “That was my next question. But they wouldn’t let me ask it.”
Bobby Darwin, the Brewers’ runner on first base at the time, said Pagan was on the rubber, looking for the catcher’s sign when Chambliss asked for time.
“My back was to the umpire, so I didn’t see whether he put his hand up,” Darwin said, “I heard Chambliss yell, ‘time, time.’ And then, ‘Oh…!’ when Pagan let the pitch go. I didn’t hear the umpire call for time.”
Money said he believed Martin influenced the umpire to change his decision.
“Damn right,” teammate Kurt Bevacqua said, “he’s the best intimidator in the league. He and (California Manager Dick Williams)*.”
“Why did Billy have to come out and argue all that time?” Money asked. “He (McKean) could have said, ‘Billy, I called time out.’ but no, they had to argue before he changed his deicision. You should just make your decision, right or wrong, and stick by it.”
After the game restarted, Money would pop out to right for the first out of the ninth. George Scott’s sacrifice fly drove in Robin Yount and make the score 9-7. Ken Brett came on in relief of Pagan and got Darrell Porter to ground out to end the game.
So, yeah. I can’t wait to ask Don Money about this game….and about his Hank Aaron book. That was awesome.
*-The odd thing about Kurt Bevacqua name checking Dick Williams in that quote is that Bevacqua would play for Williams on the San Diego Padres and have one heck of a Dick Williams impression.
The Williams impersonation, he says, emerged one night in Montreal “when Dick had gone to Tampa to attend the graduation of one of his children. I was in the locker room after the game started, and I had this can of baby talc, and I just kinda dabbed some on my mustache, then on the temples of my hair below the cap line. And there he was! I stuffed a couple of towels around my waist under my shirt, put on a pair of those little reading glasses Dick wears down on his nose and walked out. Norm Sherry [then the pitching coach] was sitting on the bench. He turned and said, ‘Oh, hi, Dick.’ Then he did a double take.
“Terry Kennedy was catching, and he was so surprised he had to call time out. I did it again last year in San Diego when Dick was suspended for 10 days and we needed something to stop a losing streak. When I came up to the plate to give the umps the lineup card, they were stunned. Dick was up in the press box. I gave him a big wave. We won.”