Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

What happened to the Memorial Day Doubleheaders?

Memorial Day has a special significance to the baseball season. It’s the first big holiday weekend. The weather back East is getting warmer, the pennant races are starting to take shape, and the baseball is getting more consistent.

America used to celebrate the holiday with doubleheaders throughout the majors.

Now, teams travel on Monday and aren’t even scheduled to play. Doubleheaders are a thing of the past.

Let’s check some baseball history for a little perspective on Memorial Day and the excitement it used to provide to the baseball fan.

Forty years ago today, the races were heating up.

Memorial Day in 1962 saw the return of the Dodgers to New York to face the expansion Mets for the first time since “The Bums” abandoned Brooklyn for the West Coast in 1958.

Over 55,000 fans saw the Dodgers sweep the Mets that day, despite the Mets pulling off a triple play in the second game.

Can you really tell anything about the eventual outcome of the pennant chase on May 30th (the day Memorial Day was traditionally observed before the creation of the three day weekend)?

Let’s look at the American League standings after the 1962 Memorial Day twin bills and see what happened during the games on May, 30th, 1962.

It’s interesting.On the morning of June 1st, 1962, the Cleveland Indians led the American League by one half game over the New York Yankees. Minnesota was one and one half back, and the Tigers and Angels trailed by two and two and one half games, respectively.

A great five team race heading into June.

The baseball action on Memorial Day:

The Yankees and the Twins played a day night doubleheader in Minnesota before 39,720 in the first game and 35,635 fans in the night cap.

The Yanks led by Roger Maris and John Blanchard that day won the first game, and had the second game in hand until the Twins rallied to tie the score in the ninth on a hit by Rich Rollins.

First sacker Vic Power gave the Twins the victory with an eleventh inning homer off Yankee reliever Jim Coates, the first circuit blast Coates had allowed that season.

Cleveland celebrated the holiday before 19,696 in Baltimore, by splitting a twin bill.

Cleveland’s Pedro Ramos won game one 7-0. The flashy Ramos also hit a grand slam after an intentional walk to Ken Aspromonte by Oriole starter Chuck Estrada in the sixth inning.

Bad strategy.

Skinny Brown combined with Hall of Famer Hoyt Wilhelm to shut the Tribe out 7-0 in the second game sending the local fans home happy.

The Angels swept their twin bill from the Red Sox in Wrigley field in Los Angeles before 12,949 fans.

5′ 4″ outfielder Albie Pearson had three hits, walked twice, and scored three runs for the Angels in the first game while Daddy Wags, Leon Wagner supplied the power.

In the nightcap, Ryne Duren was an emergency starter for Ted Bowsfield throwing three innings, before being relieved by Art Fowler who pitched the next six, both combined to shut out the Sox 4-0 giving the Angels the sweep and a lot of hope.

In Detroit, 37,567 saw the Tigers split a double header with the White Sox. The Tigers won the first game 7-3 behind the slugging of Rocky Colavito, Jake Wood, and Norm Cash and the pitching of Phil Regan.

In the second game, the Sox came back to win behind the six hit pitching of Joel Horlen. A sign of things to come for the Bengals.

Tailenders Washington and Kansas City split their holiday twin bill before 10,405 souls in Kansas City.

Claude Osteen threw a gem in the opener, while Norm Bass led the A’s to the second game win, with seven strong innings of two run ball.

Doubleheaders everywhere. Hopes soared as the fans headed to the park.

How did the season turn out?


The Yanks won the flag by 10 and 1/2 over the White Sox. Minnesota was third 13 1/2 back, and Baltimore fourth 18 1/2 behind.

The May challengers Cleveland and Detroit ended up 25 1/2 behind New York. The surprising Angels finished 34 back.

Moral being: There was a lot of baseball left to play after Memorial Day, but it sure was a great day to play two games and lead into the summer.

Now, the Red Sox and Yanks are fighting in the East. Minnesota and Chicago square off for the lead in the Central. Seattle is holding off Anaheim in the West.

How will it all end this year?

Who knows.

Nothing is set in stone on Memorial Day.

Just wait and see.

Baseball history will repeat itself along the way. A team will surprise you this summer. Putting on a mad dash for the flag.

Don’t put too much stock in this morning’s standings.

You can count on the unexpected.

That’s baseball.


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