March 4, 2012
April 8, 1984 - Duel of the Knucklers
Game #59 - New York Yankees, 15 @ Texas Rangers, 2
Today's game is the kind of quirky surprise that makes replaying a season with Statis Pro fun: dueling knuckle ball pitchers! The visiting Yankees had Phil Niekro on the mound, while the Rangers countered with Charlie Hough. I wish I can say I was organized enough to make this match up intentional, but alas, fortune favors the nerds!
As it turns out, this wasn't much of a game for Charlie Hough. His knuckle must have been flat, because he gave up eight runs and didn't make it out of the fifth inning. That's two rough starts in a row for Hough. Maybe once the temperatures warm up in May and June his knuckle ball will start jumping? Bobby Meachem, who only had two home runs in the real 1984, took Hough deep for a three run bomb, and Mattingly added a solo shot in the fourth.
Niekro, however, pitched pretty well. He scattered ten hits and three walks over nine innings for the complete game victory. It was already 8-0 before Curtis Wilkerson batted in Wayne Tolleson for the first Rangers run.
There was a funny "z" play in the game too. Rick Cerone, who came in for Butch Wynegar during the blow out, reached base on a Dickie Noles error. But when the "z" card came up, Cerone was caught too far off first and was tagged out in a run down. That might have been the only thing to put a smile on the fictional Texas fans' faces.
Winning Pitcher - Phil Niekro
Losing Pitcher - Charlie Hough
Player of the Game - Don Mattingly, 5-6, 1HR, 4RBI's, 2R's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Dave Winfield, Phil Niekro