PAUL LINDBLAD – Sully Baseball Unsung Post Season Hero of October 16

Topps / Cardboard Gods

Topps / Cardboard Gods

OCTOBER 16, 1973 – World Series Game 3

Today’s unsung post season hero, the late Paul Lindblad, had a long career where he seemed to bounce back and forth between the Athletics organization and the Senators/Rangers organization before wrapping up his career with a cameo in the Bronx. Along the way he picked up a few World Series rings and played along side a bunch of Hall of Famers over 13 seasons.

In 1973, he found himself back in Oakland helping the defending World Champs against the upstart New York Mets.

The A’s won game 1 but lost a sloppy Game 2 in extra innings, sending the series back to Shea. Errors by second baseman Mike Andrews  sparked A’s owner Charlie Finley to try and fire or release Andrews and replace him with another player. He even tried to make Andrews announce he was injured. It was an ugly incident that made an already tense A’s clubhouse worse (and eventually would lead to manager Dick Williams resigning at the end of the series.)

Two future Hall of Famers, Catfish Hunter and Tom Seaver, started Game 3. A Seaver win would give all the momentum to manager Yogi Berra and the Mets. And an A’s loss would keep the team in an emotional spiral. A lead off homer by Wayne Garrett and another run put the Mets up 2-0 in the first. Seaver kept the A’s off the board until the 6th. Oakland tied the game in the 8th but could not score in the 9th against the Mets bullpen.

Williams, having already used his best lefty reliever Darold Knowles, handed the ball to Lindblad in the bottom of the 9th after not using him in the ALCS or the first two World Series games.

Every single pitch he threw could have won the game for the Mets. He allowed a ground rule double to Rusty Staub in the 9th, but after an intentional walk, worked out of the jam.

In the 10th, he let up a single to Bud Harrleson and faced Willie Mays. Now of course Willie Mays was no longer the great player he once was. But all he needed was one swing against a journeyman left hander to put the perfect exclamation point on his career.

Instead, Lindblad got Willie Mays to ground out. It was Willie Mays’ last at bat ever.

Lindblad batted in the 11th and the A’s rallied to score a run. He took the mound in the bottom of the 11th before allowing a single to Wayne Garrett. Rollie Fingers finished the game and earned the save. But Lindblad earned the win, shutting out the Mets and denying the “You Gotta Believe” squad from a walk off win. As it turned out, the Mets did indeed win the next two games in New York but the A’s took the series in Oakland in seven games.

Had Paul Lindblad faltered, the Mets may have won it at home and Oakland’s defense of the 1972 World Series would have fallen short instead of extending to 3 straight in 1974.

Reggie Jackson won the MVP of the Series. Mike Andrews returned as a pinch hitter. But the series may have hinged on those two innings Lindblad threw.

For that reason, he is the Unsung Postseason Hero we salute on October 16th.


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)


Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – January 14, 2014


Today on The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast, I examine an intriguing “What If?” scenario.

50 years ago, the Kansas City A’s almost became the Louisville Athletics (or Kentucky Colonels.)

If the A’s developed in their new home with the same players who blossomed in the 1970’s, how would baseball have been different?

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – January 14, 2014