In '58, O'Dell blotted out NL stars

ORIOLES GREATEST MOMENTS

May 11, 1995|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Sun Staff Writer

Four years after starring in the 1958 All-Star Game as a member of the Orioles, Billy O'Dell received a belated thanks from Casey Stengel.

O'Dell, then with the San Francisco Giants, was warming up on the practice mound near the Giants dugout when out of the other dugout came Stengel, who was managing the New York Mets in their 1962 maiden season.

"I wondered why he was walking toward me," O'Dell said. "He said, 'Mr. O'Dell, I never had the opportunity to thank you for the job you did for me in the 1958 All-Star Game.' Casey was well into his 70s then, and I was surprised he remembered something that happened four years before."

In the first All-Star Game played in Baltimore, before a crowd of 48,829, the largest since the city returned to the major leagues in 1954, O'Dell retired nine straight batters on 27 pitches to preserve a 4-3 win over the National League.

Only minutes before O'Dell came on in relief, Stengel, the New York Yankees manager directing the AL, incurred the wrath of the Baltimore crowd in the bottom of the sixth inning because he dared to lift starting catcher Gus Triandos of the Orioles for his own Yogi Berra as a pinch hitter.

The boos rained down on Stengel and Berra. Fans waved white handkerchiefs. When Berra popped up, the fans applauded derisively.

"I knew I was going to get it when I sent up Berra for their catcher," Stengel, who pronounced Triandos as "Tryandus," said after the game. "Poor, old Berra. I send him up there, and he's got to go because I said so, and they give him the business."

"I knew I was going to get it, too," Berra said then. "They boo us all over the league, but I believe they do a better job of it here than anywhere else."

Triandos, who had a single in two at-bats, said he was surprised by the crowd's response. He was mildly annoyed the year before, when he was named to the AL squad and Stengel didn't play him.

"I figured the crowd booed mainly because they hated the Yankees," Triandos said.

Stengel had intended to use Billy Pierce in the seventh, but the Chicago White Sox left-hander's arm tightened in the bullpen. The call then came for O'Dell, who recalls he "never needed much of a warm-up."

When O'Dell began walking in from the bullpen, the boos turned to an appreciative roar. "The fans went crazy as I walked in along the first base line," O'Dell said. "Each pitch I threw, the roars got louder and louder."

O'Dell buzzed through an NL lineup that included Willie Mays, Ernie Banks, Hank Aaron and Stan Musial. He permitted only one ball to be hit out of the infield, a line drive by pinch hitter Johnny Logan on which left fielder Ted Williams made a leaping catch.

"I had good stuff, all right," O'Dell said. "I didn't throw anything but curves and sliders, and my control was good. The guy who worried me the most was Musial, but I got him out on a slider."

After the game, Stengel wondered aloud what the crowd's reaction would have been if, after O'Dell had worked two perfect innings, he had brought in his own Whitey Ford or Ryne Duren for the ninth.

"Suppose I had of taken out that pitcher of theirs -- what do you think they'd of said?" With a wink, he added, "I didn't think of it, though, because he was very good."

It was not a distinguished All-Star Game for a former Oriole, Bob Turley, who that year, as a Yankee, was en route to a 21-7 record and the AL Cy Young Award. In 1 2/3 innings as the AL's starter, Turley gave up three runs and walked two.

"I didn't have good stuff that day," Turley said. "I was embarrassed because I was making my first All-Star start in front of a lot of friends. I still lived in Lutherville during the off-season, on Seminary Avenue."

It was the first time in the 25-year history of the All-Star Game that there was not an extra-base hit. Noting that there were 13 singles, only four by his team, NL manager Fred Haney said: "We didn't hit, but those other guys didn't knock down any fences either."

Remembering the moment

"I was heating up hurriedly, when my arm tightened up. The same thing happened to me last Saturday. Please don't make this sound like O'Dell was called in as an afterthought. He's a great pitcher and did a wonderful job."

-- Billy Pierce of the White Sox, scheduled to relieve ahead of the Orioles' Billy O'Dell

"I don't know whether it was from being nervous or not, but I sure had a hard time getting loose."

-- Orioles' Gus Triandos, the AL's starting catcher

"I got up to go to the bathroom, and Ted said, 'Oh, you get nervous, too. Seems like most guys go a thousand times before a game.' "

-- AL starter Bob Turley on his pre-game conversation on the bench with Ted Williams

"I usually have success against Ted Williams. I even got Ted out in batting practice today. He hardly got a hit, and I was trying to lay the ball in there."

-- Orioles' George Zuverink, a pitcher who threw batting practice for the AL

"That boy made all them National League hitters look the same size."

-- Casey Stengel on O'Dell's hitless three innings

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