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BB-Reference dates it a day later than it really was. First time I've ever caught that website in a factual error.
</Pedantic alert> 6.5 game lead, esseff.
On this day -- the day after Gus Triandos died at the age of 82 -- it is worth remembering a different moment, the moment Gus Triandos hit an inside-the-park home run. It happened toward the end of the season in 1957 at old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. That Orioles team was perfectly mediocre -- 76-76, scored nine more runs than they allowed -- and actually had TWO Hall of Fame third baseman (George Kell exiting the stage and Brooks Robinson entering).
It was the fifth inning, a scoreless game, and Triandos smashed a vicious line drive to right field -- that was classic Triandos. When he hit the ball hard, he hit the ball HARD. He actually was on the old “Home Run Derby” show once -- facing Dick Stuart -- and I remember it because he ripped three or four line drives that hit the top of the fence and bounced back in. This line drive also whacked off the left field wall, but he hit it so hard that it caromed off shot right past the left fielder, who was completely overwhelmed by the bounce. The left fielder then began chasing after the ball. The left fielder that day was Ted Williams.
While Williams tried to run down the ball, which had rolled a 100 feet away, Triandos chugged around the bases. The ball was hit so hard and rolled so far away from Williams, that Triandos saw the third base coach waving him in.
And that’s a good way to remember Gus Triandos, an Orioles star when there were no Orioles stars. That very same day, the Orioles pitcher was Hal Smith, who, yes, was a knuckleball pitcher. In the ninth inning, Hal Smith threw a knuckleball to Ted Williams and, yes, it got by Gus Triandos. A passed ball. But on that great day it didn’t matter at all. While Ted Williams ran after the ball, Triandos rounded third, headed for home. He scored standing up.
Born: July 30, 1930 in San Francisco, CA (Age 82)
High School: Mission HS (Fremont, CA)
School: St. Mary's College of California (Moraga, CA)
Signed by the New York Yankees as an amateur free agent in 1948. (All Transactions)
Debut: August 13, 1953 (Age 23)
That very same day, the Orioles pitcher was Hal Smith, who, yes, was a knuckleball pitcher. In the ninth inning, Hal Smith threw a knuckleball to Ted Williams and, yes, it got by Gus Triandos. A passed ball. But on that great day it didn’t matter at all. While Ted Williams ran after the ball, Triandos rounded third, headed for home. He scored standing up.
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