Sunday, March 20, 2005

The Monster And The Alkie

Everybody knows it now--the true Radatz vs. Mantle strikeout stats are a little (a lot)off from what the media's been reporting. The original AP article quoted Bill Lee's daughter (Radatz's god-daughter) as saying Dick struck out the Mick 54 times in 67 at bats. had that, too, but then they "corrected" themselves, saying that the correct number, according to the Red Sox, was 44 out of 63.

Which, like their first guess, is way, way, way off.

The Buckley article from the Herald said it was 47 out of 63.

Don Orsillo, on the air yesterday, said the number was 44 out of 67.

Joe Beningo on the FAN said it was something like 49 K's.

Supposedly, Joe Castiglione also reported (one of) the erroneous stat(s) on the air, too.

On the message boards, I found out that the guy who runs counted it up, and came up with 12 out of 16. (He had done this years ago, after Mantle himself started what we now know is a myth, saying he'd struck out forty-something times against Radatz.)

I went to retrosheet to check this out. The years the two played together in were 1962-1967. And Radatz only pitched in 3 AL games in '67--none against the yanks. So there were five years when they faced each other: '62, '63, '64, '65, and '66.

Retrosheet has the boxscores and play-by-play of all the games for '63, '65, and '66. In those three years, I found zero strikeouts for Mantle vs. Radatz in '63, two in '65, and one in '66, while Dick was on the Indians.

As for '62 and '64, I guess the boxscores and play-by-plays are not available. But even the 12 out of 16 number seems high, considering when I base the number on the three years I did have info for, I still come up with 1 K per year, for a total of 5 all-time.

However, one of the years I did have info for was a very short season for Mantle--65 games. But compare his numbers from '65, when he had two K's versus Radatz, to '62, a year we don't have info for, and you'll see that his games played and strikeouts are nearly identical. But Radatz did have more K's in '62 than he did in '65, and way more K's in the other "mystery" year of '64.

So I guess we just have to believe that Mantle struck out a total of nine times against Radatz in '62 and '64, giving us a total of twelve K's. Goes against the percentages, but you gotta figure there was a stretch at some point where a bunch of K's occurred in a short time for Mantle to have even brought up how often he K'd against Radatz.

I'm just wondering where the retrosheet guy got his info from. If he has the info from those years, why isn't it up on his site? Maybe I'm just not seeing it.

I also was thinking that if Bill Lee is involved, maybe there's a hoax going on here. You know that even if he knows those numbers are way off, he's gonna tell 'em to stupid reporters just to mess with them. In fact, he probably gave different numbers to each reporter that called him looking for a quote about the Monster.

It was cool to go through all those games from the sixties. I was amazed to see how Radatz seemed to come in and pitch in almost every game against the yanks.

Something else I learned from retrosheet I thought was funny: Did you know the Sox once traded Chuck Schilling and Russ Nixon together? Well, they did. The guy they got back?

Sebastian Varitek.

Actually, it was Dick Stigman.

another story about radatz is that he relieved Earl Wilson in the 9th with none out and the bases loaded against the Yanks in the summer of 1963. On 10 pitches he struck out Maris, Mantle, and Howard, and when he walked off the mound he threw his arms up over his head in triumph. At Curt Gowdy's suggestion, he made this gesture a trademark from then on. My guess is that this story is another myth, either in all or in part

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