Who says age 30 is old for baseball?
Reds Hall of Famer Tony Perez celebrated his 30th birthday on May 14, 1972, by knocking in all six runs in a Reds doubleheader sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Reds won the games, 4-3 and 2-0.
Perez went 4-8 in the doubleheader with two home runs (one in each game) and a double, raising his batting average from .284 to .303 and his OPS from .869 to .908 by day’s end. Perez’s first game eighth inning two-run homer provided the winning margin. The Reds were leading 2-0 entering the top of the eighth inning with Reds’ starter Jim McGlothlin pitching three hit baseball through seven. McGlothlin nor Don Gullett could hold the Cardinals in the eighth however, as the Cardinals pushed three runs across the plate to take the lead. Perez’s blast scored Joe Morgan (who had singled) and the Reds prevailed, 4-3.
In the nightcap, a Perez single scored Bobby Tolan in the first inning, and Perez finished the day’s scoring with a six inning home run providing the Reds’ winning 2-0 margin. The Reds’ Tom Hall came out of the bullpen to pitch a complete game three-hitter striking out 12 in the game. Hall went 10-1 for the Reds that year with a 2.61 ERA. He made seven starts out of the bullpen that year for the eventual National League champs. In Hall’s seven starts that season, he pitched 46 2/3 innings, allowed 34 hits and 18 runs (14 earned), and struck out 46 batters (12 in one game and 11 in another). He was 3-1 with 3 no decisions. Not bad for a “spot starter.”
The double header sweep moved the Reds from fourth to third in the standings, 3 1/2 games behind the Dodgers. The Reds moved into first place for the first time all season on June 9, following a 6-3 win over the Montreal Expos when Wayne Simpson and Pedro Borbon outdueled Carl Morton in a game featuring home runs by a couple of “non-descript” Reds players, Pete Rose and Johnny Bench.
The Reds moved into first place for good on June 25 when the beat the first place Houston Astros, 5-4, in ten innings. Former Astro Denis Menke scored the May 14 birthday boy, Tony Perez, with a two-out double in the bottom of the 10th giving Clay Carroll the win, in relief of McGlothlin, Hall, and Borbon. The Reds went 57-34 the rest of the way, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates, 3 game to 2, in the National League Championship Series, before losing to the Oakland Athletics, 4 games to 3, in the 1972 World Series.
While the 1975 World Series Game 6 was possibly the best World Series game ever, the 1972 World Series may have been a more dramatic and better played World Series than the 1975 Classic. Total scoring for the 1972 World Series? The Reds scored 21 runs in 7 games and the Athletics scored 16. Every game, except for Game 6, was decided by one run. Game 6 was the only blowout game, the Reds winning, 8-1.
Oh, two questions for you baseball fans out there. What’s a doubleheader and who are the Montreal Expos?