LONNIE SMITH – Unsung Post Season Hero of October 20



OCTOBER 20, 1982 – World Series Game 7

Lonnie Smith changed teams several times in his career but almost always seemed to find himself in the World Series. In 1980 he finished third in the Rookie of the Year vote and helped the Phillies win their first ever title.

He won a ring 2 years later with the Cardinals. In 1985, he went to the Royals in time to win another ring. In 1991 and 1992, he played with the Braves in the World Series. He famously should have scored on Terry Pendleton’s double in a scoreless Game 7. He probably was not distracted by the Twins decoy play as the legend has stated but lost where the ball was hit. Either way, the next year he hit a grand slam and did his best to win his fourth ring in Atlanta.

For the many players who go through their careers without a single World Series appearance, the charmed life of Lonnie Smith must have driven them crazy.

His greatest highlight came with St. Louis and it was probably overshadowed by the heroics of Joaquin Andujar, Bruce Sutter and Darrell Porter but was key to clinch the World Series title.

The Cardinals and the Brewers faced off in the 1982 World Series and from the start, it looked like Milwaukee was in control. Paul Molitor and Robin Yount led their attack in a 10-0 Game 1 massacre. But with Rollie Fingers injured, the Brewers bullpen was vulnerable. The Cardinals came back in Game 2 against the Milwaukee pen. In Game 3, Smith doubled and tripled and the Cardinals took a 2-1 lead. But the Brewers bats came back alive and sent the series to St. Louis with Milwaukee up 3-2, one win from the title.

In Game 6, the Cardinals, including Lonnie Smith, teed off against future Hall of Famer Don Sutton and tied the series with a 13-1 laugher. The stage was set for a winner take call Game 7 in St. Louis.

St. Louis sent Joaquin Andjuar to the mound and the Brewers countered with eventual Cy Young Award winner Pete Vuckovich. Lonnie Smith was inserted by manager Whitey Herzog into the lead off spot but was retired the first two times he came to bat.

In the fourth, the 26 year old Smith, who led the NL in runs that year, came up with 2 on and 1 out. He beat out an infield hit that broke the scoreless tie and put St. Louis on the board, 1-0.

But a Ben Oglive homer and a steady rally by Milwaukee gave the Brewers a 3-1 advantage in the 6th, 4 innings from the World Series title with their Cy Young winner to be on the mound.

In the bottom of the sixth, Lonnie Smith came up again. This time Ozzie Smith (no relation) was on first with one out. He hit a long double down the left field line that put the tying runs in scoring position. Manager Harvey Kuenn could not turn to 1981 Cy Young and MVP winner Rollie Fingers to get the final 8 outs. But his 1982 eventual Cy Young winner was tiring. He opted to go to the maligned pen. It was Lonnie Smith who knocked him out of the game.

The Cardinals pounced on reliever Bob McClure. Gene Tenace walked, Keith Hernandez tied the game with a single and George Hendrick singled home the go ahead run.

With the Cardinals up 4-3 in the 8th, they were 3 outs from winning the World Series but needed insurance. Lonnie Smith helped provide it with a lead off ground rule double. He would score on a Darrell Porter single and before the inning was over, St. Louis had a 6-3 advantage which was more than enough for Bruce Sutter to clinch the title.

Porter’s offensive heroics in the World Series gave him MVP honors. But in the final game, it was the steady attack of Lonnie Smith that kept the Brewers on the heels and eventually cost Milwaukee the series.

That earned Lonnie Smith the title of Unsung Post Season Hero of October 20th.



Teams with multiple pitchers with post season saves since 1969

(Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

(Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

The Rangers have played two game in the post season and have two saves from two different pitchers. And neither of those pitchers are named Shawn Tolleson who led the team with 35 saves.

It is refreshing when managers make decisions based on the situation rather than just drag the closer out in the 9th as a default. (Sam Dyson pitched the 9th in Game 1 instead of Tolleson. Manager Jeff Banister used Tolleson in Game 2 when it was NOT a save situation.)

The save became an official stat in 1969. Teams in the post season initially played to the situation instead of using the closer in all close 9th innings. But as saves began to pile up (especially after Tony LaRussa began using Dennis Eckersley one inning at time) and the prices of an innings closers sky rocketed, managers seemed to manage by the book and stick the closer in no matter what.

Every once in a while, a team will have multiple pitchers record a save in a post season. It does not happen often, but they pop up. Just last year, the Giants had 3 different pitchers credited with a save. If Tolleson saves a game, then the Rangers will match that total.

So here are all the teams to use more than one pitcher to save a game since 1969.

Teams with multiple pitchers with post season saves since 1969
1969 New York Mets – Ron Taylor (WS), Nolan Ryan (WS)
1970 Baltimore Orioles – Pete Richert (WS), Dick Hall (WS)
1970 Cincinnati Reds – Clay Carroll (NLCS), Don Gullett (NLCS)
1972 Oakland A’s – Vida Blue (ALCS), Rollie Fingers (WS)
1972 Cincinnati Reds – Clay Carroll (WS), Jack Billingham (WS), Tom Hall (WS)
1973 New York Mets – Tug McGraw (NLCS, WS), George Stone (WS), Ray Sadecki (WS)
1973 Oakland A’s – Rollie Fingers (ALCS, WS), Darold Knowles (WS)
1974 Oakland A’s – Rollie Fingers (ALCS, WS), Catfish Hunter (WS)
1975 Cincinnati Reds – Pedro Borbon (NLCS), Rawly Eastwick (WS), Will McEnaney (WS)
1976 Cincinnati Reds – Pedro Borbon (NLCS), Will McEnaney (WS)
1978 New York Yankees – Ken Clay (ALCS), Rich Gossage (ALCS)
1979 Pittsburgh Pirates – Don Robinson (NLCS), Kent Tekulve (WS)
1980 Philadelphia Phillies – Tug McGraw (NLCS, WS), Ron Reed (WS)
1981 Los Angeles Dodgers – Bob Welch (NLCS), Steve Howe (WS)
1982 Milwaukee Brewers – Pete Ladd (ALCS), Jim Slaton (ALCS), Bob McClure (WS)
1983 Baltimore Orioles – Sammy Stewart (ALCS), Tippy Martinez (WS)
1984 San Diego Padres – Rich Gossage (NLCS), Craig Lefferts (WS)
1985 St. Louis Cardinals – Ken Dayley (NLCS), Todd Worrell (WS), Jeff Lahti (WS)
1986 Boston Red Sox – Calvin Schraldi (ALCS, WS), Bob Stanley (WS)
1987 Minnesota Twins – Juan Berenguer (ALCS), Jeff Reardon (ALCS, WS)
1987 St. Louis Cardinals – Ken Dayley (NLCS, WS), Todd Worrell (NLCS, WS)
1988 Los Angeles Dodgers – Alejandro Pena (NLCS), Orel Hershiser (NLCS), Brian Holton (NLCS), Jay Howell (WS)
1990 Cincinnati Reds – Randy Myers (NLCS, WS), Rob Dibble (NLCS)
1990 Pittsburgh Pirates – Ted Power (NLCS), Bob Patterson (NLCS)
1990 Oakland Athletics – Dennis Eckersley (ALCS), Rick Honeycutt (ALCS)
1991 Pittsburgh Pirates – Bob Walk (NLCS), Roger Mason (NLCS)
1992 Toronto Blue Jays – Tom Henke (ALCS, WS), Mike Timlin (WS)
1992 Atlanta Braves – Jeff Reardon (NLCS), Mike Stanton (WS)
1993 Philadelphia Phillies – Mitch Williams (NLCS), Larry Andersen (NLCS)
1995 Atlanta Braves – Mark Wohlers (DS, NLCS, WS) Greg McMichael (NLCS), Pedro Borbon (WS)
1995 Seattle Mariners – Norm Charlton (DS, ALCS), Bill Risley (DS)
1996 Baltimore Orioles – Randy Myers (DS), Armando Benitez (ALCS)
1997 Cleveland Indians – Jose Mesa (DS, ALCS, WS), Brian Anderson (WS)
1998 San Diego Padres – Trevor Hoffman (DS, NLCS), Donne Wall (NLCS)
1999 Atlanta Braves – Kevin Millwood (DS), John Rocker (DS, NLCS), John Smoltz (NLCS)
1999 New York Yankees – Mariano Rivera (DS, ALCS, WS), Ramiro Mendoza (ALCS)
2000 New York Mets – John Franco (DS), Armando Benitez (NLCS, WS)
2003 Florida Marlins – Ugueth Urbina (DS, NLCS, WS), Braden Looper (NLCS)
2003 Chicago Cubs – Joe Borowski (DS), Mike Remlinger (NLCS)
2003 Boston Red Sox – Derek Lowe (DS), Scott Williamson (ALCS)
2005 Chicago White Sox – Bobby Jenks (DS, WS), Mark Buehrle (WS)
2007 Colorado Rockies – Manny Corpas (DS, NLCS), Ryan Speier (NLCS)
2008 Tampa Bay Rays – Dan Wheeler (DS), David Price (ALCS)
2009 Philadelphia Phillies – Brad Lidge (DS, NLCS), Ryan Madson (WS)
2010 Texas Rangers – Darren Oliver (ALCS), Neftali Feliz (WS)
2011 Detroit Tigers – Jose Valverde (DS, ALCS), Phil Coke (ALCS)
2012 Detroit Tigers – Jose Valverde (DS), Phil Coke (ALCS)
2014 San Francisco Giants – Santiago Castilla (DS, NLCS, WS), Hunter Strickland (DS), Madison Bumgarner (WS)
2015 Texas Rangers – Sam Dyson (DS), Ross Ohlendorf (DS)