June 12, 1964

robben island prison imageNelson Mandela was convicted of treason and sabotage in a South African court.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment and sent to the Robben Island Prison off the coast of Cape Town. He would remain there until April of 1982.

The date was June 12, 1964.

The New York Mets were coming to Connie Mack Stadium to begin a four-game weekend series that included a Sunday doubleheader.

Coming off a four-game split with the Cubs, the Mets were the still worst team in the National League ─ already 14 games out of first place.

It was Dennis Bennett (7-3) for the Phillies versus Tracy Stallard (3-7) for the Mets.

Stallard pitched a complete game while losing to the Phillies back on Opening Day. Since then, this was his 13th start and he’d complied a pedestrian 4.01 ERA.

Dennis Bennett hadn’t pitched in six days in an attempt to refresh his arm.

1964 imageDennis Bennett retired the Mets 1-2-3 in the top of the first.

In the bottom half, with one out, Richie Allen hit his 12th home run of the year to put the Phillies ahead 1-0.

Bennett kept the Mets off the scoreboard in the second.

In the bottom of the second, Tony Gonzalez and John Herrnstein led off with back-to-back singles, with Gonzalez advancing to third. Gonzalez then scored on Clay Dalrymple’s sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.

In the top of the third, Chris Cannizzaro led off with a single. Tracy Stallard hit into a force at second, replacing Cannizzaro as the runner on first with one out.

When Jim Hickman doubled to deep center, third-base coach Don Heffner sent Stallard homeward bound. Tony Gonzalez chased down the ball and fired it to the cutoff man. Cookie Rojas handled the throw and relayed it to the plate. But Stallard beat the throw to cut the Phillies lead to 2-1. Hickman took third on the throw.

Ed Kranepool singled and Hickman scored to tie the score 2-2.

Bennett walked Ron Hunt to put runners on first and second with still just one out.

joe christopher imageJoe Christopher followed with a single that scored Kranepool to put the Mets on top 3-2. Hunt stopped at second to put runners on first and second with still just the one out.

That was enough for Bennett. With his arm was acting up, Gene Mauch replaced him with Ed Roebuck (1-2) ─ who was making his 19th appearance.

From the stretch position, Roebuck saw Joe Cristopher taking a big lead at first, and picked him off. But John Herrnstein couldn’t handle the throw and it rolled into foul territory. Hunt and Christopher moved up a base to put the runners on second and third – and still just one out.

Roebuck got Hawk Taylor to hit a ground ball to third. Richie Allen checked the runners, and then threw Taylor out at first.

Runners were still on second and third – but now there were two outs.

Charley Smith hit a two-run single to put the Mets ahead 5-2 before Roebuck got Roy MacMillan to ground out to end the inning.

In the bottom of the third, Johnny Briggs pinch-hit for Roebuck.

Mauch sent Johnny Klippstein (2-2) to the mound to pitch the fourth.

Klippstein and Stallard pitched scoreless innings in the third, fourth, and fifth.

Mauch lifted Klippstein for a pinch-hitter in the fifth and replaced him with Dallas Green (1-0) in the sixth.

Green and Stallard pitched a scoreless sixth, but then Green ran into trouble in the seventh.

With two outs in the top of the seventh, Jim Hickman doubled. Ed Kranepool then walked to put runners on first and second. Still two outs.

Ron Hunt hit a two-run triple to make it 7-2 Mets.

Joe Christopher followed with a two-run home run to make it 9-2 Mets ─ Christopher’s fifth homer.

In the bottom of the seventh, John Herrnstein tripled with one out. Clay Dalrymple followed with a single to drive Herrnstein home and cut the lead to 9-3.

Mauch lifted Dallas Green for a pinch-hitter and sent Rick Wise (0-0) out to pitch the eighth.

Charley Smith doubled. Two outs later, Stallard singled and Smith scored to make it 10-3 Mets.

Jack Baldschun replaced Wise and got the third out.

dave bennett imageIn the ninth, Gene Mauch brought Dave Bennett (0-0) into the game.

Dave Bennett was the 18-year-old brother of starter Dennis Bennett. He’d been called up from the Eugene Emeralds of the Northwest League and was going to be shipped back to Eugene after this one appearance. But it was his first taste of big league action.

Joe Christopher welcomed Dave Bennett to the big leagues with a triple to center. Bennett retired the next two batters, but then he wild-pitched Christopher across the plate to end the scoring at 11-3.

Tracy Stallard (4-7) picked up his second complete-game victory. Dennis Bennett (7-4) took the loss.

Later that night in San Francisco, Joe Torre singled with one out in the top of the eighth to drive Hank Aaron home with the winning run in a 4-3 victory for the Milwaukee Braves over the Giants.

Jack Smith (2-0) blew the save but picked up the win, and Gaylord Perry (3-2) took the loss in relief.

The Giants and Phillies remained tied for first place.

1964 image(Excerpted from 1964 – The Year the Phillies Blew the Pennant by Barry Bowe.)

Written by Barry Bowe

Former sportswriter – first to put Timmy Duncan’s name on the sports page.