On a game in Los Angeles on June 11, 1974, pitcher Al Hrabosky psyched himself up behind the mound and then struck out Dodgers hitter Tom Paciorek on three pitches. The legend of the Mad Hungarian was born. This is how Post-Dispatch sportswriter Neal Russo covered the event.
LOS ANGELES, June 12 -The Mad Hungarian struck again In Los Angeles last night. He's also known as the Mad Dog. But this tough guy has nothing to do with the crime wave in LA.
The Mad Dog is beloved in Mexico as "El Cordobes,'" because of his winter league stardom. He's Al Hrabosky, who pitched to only one batter last night, but that's all the Cardinals needed to pull off a 1-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers, runaway leaders of the National League West.
The Mad Hungarian went to the rescue of the Redbirds' Big Mac, also known as Lynn McGlothen.
Also helping out were such characters as Larcenous Lou, Size the Prize and Bake the Ache.
"They called Hrabosky 'El Cordobes' because he had so much guts," said Angel Figueroa, the scout who signed him in conjunction with California scouting supervisor Harrison Wickel. Cordobes was a Mexican bullfighter. bullfighter.
McGlothen, now 6-3, and Hrabosky joined hands in dealing the Dodgers their first shut-out loss of the season.
In fact, the Dodgers, last team in the National League to be blanked, hadn't been shut out in 80 games, counting 21 games from last season.
The second-place Redbirds also were able to inch within one game of the beaten Philadelphia Phillies, leaders in the NL East.
'Big Mac,' who had to make 147 pitches, couldn't quite come off with a third shutout all by himself.
The ninth began with a huge lift from Kenny The Zamboni, also known as Ken Reltz. He backed up nimbly to haul in Bill Russell's high bouncer and then cut loose a mighty throw to flag down the speedy runner.
After Manny Mota flied out, Joe Ferguson, pinch-hitting for luckless Andy Messersmith, walked. Joe stopped at second on Ken McMullen's pinch single.
Tom Paciorek, a righthanded batter, swung for Bill Buckner and the Mad Hungarian was rushed to the rescue. Strike one swinging. Strike two called. Strike three called "
It was no contest," said Pigueroa of his protege's show-down show-down show-down with Paciorek.
"Three perfect moving fastballs." Angel suddenly was reminded of Hrabosky's 18-strikeout 1-0 victory in his last junior college game. In that one, the Mad Dog even chipped in a home run.
"It was all big heat around the tepee," catcher Ted Simmons said of Hrabosky's effort.
Hrabosky said he wasn't throwing well in his bullpen warmups. "That made me all the more determined to throw hard, to concentrate as hard as I could," said Hrabosky.
"The adrenalin began to flow. My parents and a lot of other relatives were in the stands, but that made me try all the harder, not get nervous."
He had been summoned to protect the lead provided by an unearned run in the sixth inning. inning. With two out in that inning, Brock was safe on catcher's interference interference Steve Yeager was ruled to have touched Lou's bat with his glove. Lou went to third on Sizemore's single and scored on McBride's single off a high change-up. change-up. change-up.
"That was one of only two bad pitches that hurt Messersmith," Yeager said.
"The other was another high change-up change-up change-up that Jim Hickman singled on. And me. I've had only three errors errors in the major leagues, and two have been for interference."
The Cardinals had only four hits to the Dodgers' seven and stranded just four runners to 11 for the hosts. Messersmith was shot down even though he walked only one man. He went into the game with two successive shutouts and ran his string of scoreless innings to 23, but he at least has the consolation consolation of a current streak of 27 innings without giving up an earned run.
McGlothen had said he regretted regretted not having the chance to take on the mighty Dodgers during their recent invasion of St. Louis.
"I don't think they're that good-hitting good-hitting good-hitting a team," he said then. Big Mac set out to prove his point even though his stuff wasn't nearly as good as it had been in several other starts.
"I wasn't throwing enough strikes, but I had enough out there," McGlothen said. "It was like the game I won in Chicago. I got away with some pitches, but I also made some good ones when I had to. I got (Jim) Wynn out on his pitch, a fastball. Willie Willie Crawford got two hits, but he knows me from winter ball." McGlothen said he was revved up by the bigger crowds in some NL parks like the 33,696 throng last night at Dodger Stadium.
He also got some boosts from his defense. Mike Tyson made another good play from the shortstop hole and Reitz saved Big Mac with that excellent play on Russell in the ninth.
"Tyson doesn't get enough credit for all those good plays he makes," said coach George Kissell. As for Reitz, Kissell said, "I've never seen a guy better on off-balance off-balance off-balance throws. On the Busch Stadium turf, the ball Russell hit would have been a double."
Said a smiling Big Mac, "Reitz makes shortstop such a small area because of his range."
But the Mad Hungarian let the defense rest with his three-pitch wipe-out of Paciorek.