Marty Fiehl - (Reporting a series vs. Ken Sajdak’s Waukesha Freemen)
Ol’ Sajdak’s motto might be something like, “don’t look back, cuz someone may be shooting at you!”………….but The Sage was called upon to start game two of the SS/WA series on very short notice, and as these things sometimes do, his efforts turn out to be quite surprising.
First of all, GAME 1 went fairly according to plan that Starrucca had hoped for. We kept the Freemen from ANY xbase hits, had 3 no-hit relief innings from our bullpen to finish it up……………..yet somehow, and we’re still scratching our head on this one; we lost 4-3.
It FELT like we were winning and doing good; but the final score disputes that.
So we move to game 2 and Ken the Sage is summoned by the clan to represent the family on the pitching mound.
The Freemen give him an early 2-0, he pisses that one away with back to back 2 run innings.
He comes back to the dugout and tries to explain that “it could have been worse”, and he ain’t lyin.
Starrucca thought they were going to blow it open right then and there, though even if they got that ONE more run, I don’t see how he could have been downgraded lower than the 1.
Ken broke off a fresh chaw, went back out on the mound, and somehow managed to toss four SCORELESS innings to keep his crew in it.
During which they chipped in with a run here a run there, and Waukesha TIES it up, 4-4.
That takes us to the Bottom of the NINTH!
Sajdak retires the first TWO batters of the inning!
He’s a grade freaking 1 and he’s pitching into the ninth inning!
I’m wondering what Hack Gilbert 2 is doing the last few innings, I know they didn’t have laptops and the Internet in those days, so he couldn’t have been bidding on a spittoon on Ebay, but he had MOST of his relievers ready to go.
Freemen don’t have a GREAT pen, but they have a few guys, and ALL of them are better than grade 1 Sajdak.
On the other hand, if Ken can get ONE more out, he makes it to FIVE shutout innings, and he gets advanced.
Maybe Hack is thinking in those terms.
So what happens?
He WALKS the next batter.
And then he WALKS the next batter.
Surely the mgr is going to walk out here and hook him.
He walks the THIRD batter in the row to load the bases, in a tie ballgame in the bot of the 9th.
Dale Mitchell steps to the plate…..
Mitch only walked ONCE in that ML season, so he isn’t a big base on balls candidate.
BUT….he was only up to bat 45 times………..and he hit .432 !!!!
So I basically couldn’t have HAD a better hitter at the plate.
He’s announced, I expect a fresh reliever…………….but nope.
Hack Gilbert is still in the locker room, sniffing old socks or something. He doesn’t want to come out on the field.
The Sage has faced 45 batters to this point!!!
And that’s the situation I’ll leave you in.
I haven’t hit the ENTER key yet………………..if Mitchell gets a hit or a walk or an error, the Spans win.
If Sajdak gets the out, the game goes Extras and he gets bumped up to a grade 6.
But regardless of what happens, it has been a helluva ballgame for him, against a pretty good hitting team.
Well… Ken the Sage retired the .432 hitting Mitchell to end the inning after walking the bases loaded with two outs. Guess he tossed what Earl Weaver would call a “half a pack inning!”
Freemen go down 1-2-3 in the top of the 10th……………………and Hack Gilbert sends out The Sage to start the bot of 10th, but he is now UP to a grade 6. (that’s six times better than a grade 1) He’s faced 46 batters so far.
Again, regardless how this comes out, it’s a very unique game.
I don’t recall anything like this before with a grade 1 starting, and the micromanager literally refusing to take him out.
On his 49th batter, pitcher Sajdak gave up a ‘hit and run’ double to Pete Reiser, scoring Rucker from firstbase with the game winner!
Starrucca wins in ten, 5-4 to even the series.
An expedition of team officials went out after the game looking for Mgr Hack Gilbert……and found him at the far end of the dugout, passed out from last nites game 1 celebration. He’ll have some ‘splainin’ to do, especially when he has to tape his starting pitchers arm back onto his torso. (and his wife wants to know what he was doing in the squirrel outfit)
Ken Sajdak - And you thought my sending me to the hill was a joke . . . I’m working on the slider and by the time I hit 75, I could be Sandy Koufax.