Game 108

July 31, 1963 – Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back Home Runs

The Angels and Indians were both in the basement of the American League in 1963. So, it is no wonder that only 7,822 turned the turnstiles on the Lakefront to see the second half of a Wednesday double-header. However, those few faithful fans witnessed something that has not occurred in Indians history before or since. 

The Angels jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when first baseman Lee Thomas took Pedro Ramos deep for a two-out solo home run in the top of the first.

In the bottom of the third, Ramos helped out his own cause with a solo home run of his own which evened the score. 

Back at the top of the order, Tito Francona singled, followed by another single from Larry Brown. With runners at the corners, Willie Kirkland walked to load the bases. The Angels had seen enough from starter Eli Grba and brought Don Lee in from the bullpen. Lee struck out Max Alvis and appeared to be out to a strong start, until Fred Whitfield rocked a home run into the upper deck in right field to put the Tribe ahead 5-1. 

Ramos tallied ten strikeouts through the first six innings, keeping the Angels to just the one early run. 

Reliever Paul Foytack had pitched the bottom of the fifth and returned for the sixth. He struck out catcher Joe Azcue and Al Luplow flied to right. The two-out magic returned for the Tribe as Woodie Held homered to deep left. Pedro Ramos stepped in and homered to left for the second time in the game. Tito Francona followed with a third straight homer to right. Finally, rookie second baseman Larry Brown got his first homer in the majors for back-to-back-to-back-to-back long balls. 

Foytack later remarked, “I was trying to brush [Brown] back. It shows you I didn’t know where my pitches were going.”

Ramos gave up four runs on four hits in the top of the seventh, but otherwise the Indians were content to cruise to a 9-5 victory and a place in trivia history. 

Only one team had ever hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back homers before. In 1961 Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron, Joe Adcock, and Frank Thomas did it for the Boston Braves. The Indians were the first to complete the streak off a single pitcher. The feat has been repeated seven times since, most recently by the Nationals in 2019

Baseball Reference Box Score


Game 14

May 4, 1966 – Wagner and Brown Collide on Maris Pop Fly

The Indians started the 1966 campaign red hot, coming into New York for a mid-week series with an 11-1 record. With Sam McDowell, Sonny Siebert, and Luis Tiant in the rotation and hitters like Rocky Colavito, Leon Wagner, and Fred Whitfield, the 1966 Indians were one of the more promising teams since the mid-50s. Luis Tiant threw a four-hit shutout on against the Yankees Tuesday night, setting up a Wednesday evening showdown in the Bronx.

Leon Wagner was one of baseball’s most endearing characters in the 1960s. The muscular, always affable Wagner was the first star of the expansion California Angels. After two All-Star performances some disputes with management, “Big Daddy Wags” was traded to the Indians in 1964.

Both Sonny Siebert and Mel Stottlemyre came out firing. The Tribe recorded only one hit through the first three innings. Likewise, Siebert retired the first eleven Yankees in order.

With two outs in the fourth, Roger Maris popped a fly into short left field. Shortstop Larry Brown raced into the outfield, as Leon Wagner charged in from left field. There was a spectacular head-on collision in left field. Both players lay motionless near the left field foul line for several minutes. Some sources indicate that Brown swallowed his tongue and nearly died in Yankee Stadium. Brown credited trainer Wally Bock with saving his life and carrying him off the field.

Wagner had a concussion and a broken nose, but returned to the field only a few days later. Brown fared far worse. He suffered multiple skull fractures, a broken nose, and broken eye sockets.

“I’ve played college football, and I’ve seen split lips, smashed noses, cut faces, and earlobes torn off. But this was the worst I’ve ever seen.”

Indians third baseman Max Alvis

Brown spent 18 days in the hospital in New York, and did not return to the field for six weeks. He lost 10 pounds while in the hospital, and was out of condition when he returned. His batting average dropped 24 points from the .253 he posted in 1965.

Dick Howser replaced Brown at short and Chuck Hinton replaced Wagner in left field. Siebert and Stottlemeyer continued their pitching duel until Sonny Siebert helped out his own cause, leading off the top of the 8th with a bunt single. Vic Davalillo grounded to short and Siebert was thrown out at second. Davalillo then stole second. Chuck Hinton hit one back at Stottlemyre on the mound. Stottlemyre’s throw to first missed the mark, and Davalillo was able to score on the error.

In the bottom of the 8th, the Yankees would manufacture one run when Lou Clinton hit an RBI single pinch-hitting for Stottlemyre.

In the top of the 9th, Steve Hamilton replaced Stottlemyre on the mound and gave up a leadoff home run to Indians first baseman Fred Whitfield. Hamilton would be pulled in favor of reliever Pedro Ramos in short order, but the damage was done.

Siebert would go on to record the complete game win, and moved the Indians to 13-1 for the season.

1964 turned out to be Wagner’s most productive year with the Tribe. He totalled 100 RBI with 31 home runs, and 14 stolen bases. As productive as he was on offense, Wagner was sometimes comically bad in left field. When asked why he caught foul balls with only his glove hand he once quipped, “I’ve found that I field better if I catch the ball with only one hand. When you use two hands, the other one just gets in the way.”