Friday, August 22, 2014

August 22, 1982 - "Brummer's Stealing Home!"

Sunday, August 22, 1982 - At Busch Stadium II (Joaquin Andujar - Starting Pitcher) - Opponent:  San Francisco Giants (Atlee Hammaker - Starting Pitcher) - Attendance:  46,821

No one in their right mind would have imagined it.  No one in their right mind would have attempted it.  But it happened anyway.  In the bottom of the twelfth-inning in a tie ballgame with the San Francisco Giants, the Cardinals had just loaded the bases with two out.  In the batter's box was David Green and on third base was an antsy Glen Brummer.  As Giants reliever Gary LaVelle began his windup, Brummer suddenly bolted towards home plate.  Home plate umpire Dave Pallone - no stranger to controversial calls - ruled Brummer safe at home.  The Giants vehemently argued that the pitch taken by Green was in the strike zone - for what should have been a third strike.  Pallone insisted it was a ball - and even if he had second thoughts, it was too late to do anything about it once the pandemonium on the field erupted - which began about one second after his "safe" call.

Perhaps the Cardinals caught a break - but those things tend to even out over the course of a season.  One thing is certain:  From that day forward, whenever the name "Glen Brummer" pops up in a conversation throughout Cardinal Nation, it will invariably be linked to that audacious 12th-inning walk-off theft of home in the middle of a heated pennant race.  It was perhaps the single most defining moment of the entire regular season for the Redbirds.

Even before that crazy finish, this game had its share of drama.  The Cardinals struck first off Giants starter Atlee Hammaker - scoring a second-inning run on back-to-back doubles by George Hendrick and Gene Tenace.

Then in the fourth-inning, with Hendrick on first base with two out, Willie McGee homered to give St Louis a 3-0 lead.

Cards starter Joaquin Andujar pitched five innings of scoreless ball before unraveling in the sixth.  A one-out two-run double by Jack Clark preceded a Darrell Evans single to bring home the Ripper.  After Dave Bergman lined another single wihch advanced Evans to third, manager Whitey Herzog yanked his Dominican Dandy in favor of the lefty reliever - John Martin.  The first batter he faced - Milt May - scored Evans from third with the go-ahead run on a ground out to second - but Martin did a nice job of damage control just to keep it a 4-3 deficit.  Martin departed after pitching a scoreless seventh - then Doug Bair added two more perfect innings of relief.

The Cardinals were still down 4-3 entering their half of the ninth-inning - as closer Greg Minton tried to nail it down for Frank Robinson's squad.  He struck out the first batter he faced - Ozzie Smith - but hit the next batter with a pitch - the speedy David Green - who wasted no time in stealing second with Tommy Herr batting.  Green then took off for third - but Herr grounded out to the shortstop - perhaps foiling another successful steal by Green.

With the Cardinals down to their last out, Ken Oberkfell came through with the game-tying hit - a double into right field.  This one was heading into extra innings.

Jim Kaat came out of the Cardinal bullpen to pitch the tenth-inning.  The first batter he faced - Will Venable - stirred up some trouble with a double.  Then with Joe Morgan batting and Glen Brummer now catching, Morgan lifted a foul popup behind home plate - which Brummer dropped.  Kaat - the cool professional - gave his young catcher a look that said, "Shucks, don't worry about it kid!"  He struck Morgan out on the next pitch.

After walking Chili Davis intentionally - Kaat then induced pinch hitter Jim Wohlford to ground one to Tommy Herr for the easy 4-6-3 double play to end the threat.

The Cardinals threatened to end it in the eleventh - but luckily, they kept the game going - for the twelfth-inning Glen Brummer Show.  Herr was stationed on third with one out - after he was picked off first by the new Giants pitcher - Gary LaVelle - but first baseman Dave Bergman forgot to catch the ball.  However, pitcher Jeff Lahti was the next batter - and he could only hit a weak ground ball back to the pitcher - as Herr had nowhere to run.  For a split second, it appeared Keith Hernandez might end it - but his line drive was snared by Bergman this time - probably more in self-defense than anything else.

After Lahti finished his perfect 1.1 inning stint, LaVelle returned to the mound to face the Cardinals in the fateful twelfth-inning.  After Hendrick flew out to left to start the inning, our hero - Brummer - always up there hacking - singled to left.  It's interesting to note - in 64 plate appearances in 1982 - Brummer rarely saw a pitch he didn't like.  He never walked.  In other words, this kid appeared to be too impatient to waste time dilly dallying around - which may explain why he suddenly bolted for home plate out of the blue a few minutes into the future.

Willie McGee - who homered earlier in this game - lined a single to left, as Brummer showed great restraint by stopping at second base.  After Julio Gonzalez was retired on a foul popup to the suddenly sure-handed Bergman at first base - Ozzie kept the inning alive with an infield single off the pitcher's glove.

Holy cow, the bases were now loaded.  What happened next was described by the astonished Mike Shannon on the Cardinals' radio network:  "Brummer's stealing home!"

Yes, he was safe - raising his season stolen base total to two (he had four in his brief major league career).

Most importantly, the NL East division-leading Cardinals (71-52) didn't lose any ground to the Phillies - who also won on this Sunday afternoon - so they were still two games behind the Runnin' Redbirds in the tight NL East race.


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