Friday, May 15, 2020
#139 Carl Mathias Sport Rookie Star
Carl Mathias Cleveland Indians
Career: After four fair-to-middling years in the lower minors, Carl Mathias found his game with the Indians' AA Mobile club in 1959. That, and a nice start to the 1960 season in AAA, earned him a look in the Cleveland pen mid-year. He was taken that winter by the Senators in the expansion draft and got generally lit up in four appearances in 1961. That was it for his big league career.
In 1960: He made it into seven games between July 31 and the end of the season. Hard to say if he was up and down between the Indians and AAA or just not used too often. He actually held his own in those seven appearances, 15 innings, 14 hits, and a 3.52 ERA. The rest of the year was split between the Indians and Phillies AAA clubs. How he got involved with the Phils isn't clear. His final tally in the majors showed him losing both of his decisions.
Off The Charts: Mathis was so very close to a big-league win in 1961. It was his first start for the Senators and came in Boston on June 18. He started and was staked to a 7-5 lead going into the ninth. The Nats put what seemed like icing on his cake with five in the top of the inning. Mathias took the mound in the bottom of the ninth leading 12-5. Let's let the game unfold from there courtesy of Baseball-Reference:
If you can't read that I'll tick off the ugly details...
Mathias gets Vic Wertz to groundout to first. Don Buddin singles. Billy Harrell pinch hits for the pitcher and whiffs. So Mathis is an out away from his first (and what would have become only) major league win. A seven-run lead, two outs and a man on. What could go wrong?
A hell of a lot.
Chuck Shilling singles and so does Carroll Hardy. A run scores but the lead is still 12-6 and we only need an out. But Mathias walks Gary Geiger to load the bases. You'd think this was still a good spot for the Senators. Force anywhere, play back because you're not really worried about having to throw home. Just get a damn out and we can play Game Two for the day. But, no.
Nats' manager Mickey Vernon, watching Mathias in real action for the first time, has seen enough. He brings in his closer, Dave Sisler. Sisler knows how to pitch in Fenway, he had been with the Red Sox for many years. He's got seven saves on the year. Mathias still has to be feeling good. I bet he stayed in the dugout to watch and get the backslaps on his win.
But Sisler walks Jackie Jensen. it's 12-7. Then he walks Frank Malzone, it's 12-8. Up steps Jim Paglaroni, a .230ish hitter who was 0-4 at this point. He has eight career homers.
Make it nine. Pags launched one over the Green Monster and, son-of-a-bitch, we are tied, 12-12. No win for Mathis (who is probably in shock). Vernon is understandably too stupified to make it to the mound for a pitching change and Vic Wertz, who started the inning, walks.
Vernon finally makes a move and brings in Marty Kutyna, but at this point, it doesn't matter. Mathias can't get a win and is probably already having a few beers in the clubhouse. Anyway, Kutyna gives up hits to Don Buddin and pinch-hitter Russ Nixon and that scores Pete Runnels who was running for Wertz. The Red Sox have a 13-12 win. Unbelievable.
BTW...the Red Sox won the second game of the doubleheader in 13 innings. Mickey Vernon did not jump off the roof of the hotel that night. But only because the Nats had a train to catch.