May 14, 1961 – Indians Give Up 13 Hits, Win 1-0
The 1961 Indians were in the midst of a winning month. Hopes were high as the team would spend 15 days in first place in the American League in early June, and then collapse after the All-Star break to finish 30 ½ games out.
This Sunday afternoon contest from 1961 features one of the most unlikely box scores ever recorded. The two teams combined for twenty-three hits, and the final score was 1-0.
In the bottom of the second, the Indians threatened when Johnny Temple and Jim Piersall led off the inning with consecutive singles. Tito Francona (father of current Indians manager Terry Francona) grounded to third and the Orioles forced Temple out at third. Chuck Essigien popped out to center field, and the Orioles’ Billy Hoeft walked Vic Power to load the bases. Catcher John Romano flew out to right to end the inning.
This kind of frustration would be the order of the day. The Indians stranded runners in scoring position in the second, fifth, sixth, eighth, tenth, and twelfth innings.
Across the diamond, the Orioles faced similar frustration. Jim Perry pitched the first eight innings of the game for the Tribe, scattering nine hits and only one walk. Frank Funk pitched the final seven innings of the game, issuing four hits and no walks.
The Orioles staff of Hoeft, Hoyt Wilhelm, and Jack Fisher combined to give up ten hits and nine walks.
With both offenses refusing to score, the game could only end on a mistake. In the bottom of the 15th, John Romano drew a walk to lead off the inning. Jack Fisher struckout Woodie Held. Bubba Phillips singled to right field, bringing Romano to second. Bob Hale (who had spent most of his career with the Orioles) was brought in to pinch hit for Funk.
Hale grounded to the Jerry Adair , the Orioles shortstop. Adair got the force out at second, but botched the throw to first to complete the double play. This allowed to Romano to score on the walk off error.
In all the Orioles left 11 men on base, while the Indians stranded 18. Even for an extra innings game, this game is outstanding for its futility.