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One improbable Yankees’ win from 1964

On the balance of things, the Yankees should not have won on June 6, 1964.

Baltimore Orioles v New York Yankees Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The only hit in baseball that scores a run 100% of the time is the home run. The Yankees taught the Angels that lesson the hard way on one day in 1964.

On June 6, 1964, the Angels were hosting the Yankees at Dodger Stadium. There starting pitcher that day was Dean Chance. The 1964 season was truly Chance’s peak as a baseball player. He had a 14-season career, mostly with the Angels, but also a couple good years with the Twins. None of them touched his 1964 season, where he won the Cy Young Award, and finished fifth in MVP voting. Chance was just 23 at the time, which made him the youngest Cy Young winner until Fernando Valenzeula came along.

Unfortunately for him, the Angels were also the lowest scoring team in the American League that season. Both things were on full display in the June 6th game against the Yankees.

Through the first three innings, two Yankees had reached base: Joe Pepitone on a hit, and Clete Boyer on an error. Chance had managed to keep them off the board, however. On the other hand, the Angels has wasted a lead-off walk against Jim Bouton in the first.

In the second, Ed Kirkpatrick and Tom Satriano both hit one out singles off Bouton, the second moving Kirkpatrick to third. Ninety feet away from home, Kirkpatrick got picked off, and the hitter then popped up to end the inning. That would be the most hilarious way, but it was also the start of a trend for the Angels.

From the fourth through sixth innings, Chance retired nine straight Yankee hitters. The Angels were unable to bring home any of the three runners they had reach base.

Chance had a no hitter on when he took the mound for the seventh, but Roger Maris broke it up with a single. Nevertheless, Chance got out of the inning despite allowing the two lead-off hitters to reach.

The game was still scoreless going into the bottom of the ninth. Bouton was still in the game for the Yankees, and allowed a lead-off single. Kirkpatrick failed at an attempt to bunt the runner over to second, but ended up stealing the base anyway. After Bouton got the second out, a single, defensive indifference, and a intentional walk loaded the bases. For the fourth time in the game, the Angels had a runner at third. Chance actually had the opportunity to win the game for himself, but he struck out to end the inning.

The game went deep into extra innings, and Bouton lasted 13 innings. His day would end after that, but not before he worked around yet another runner in scoring position in the 13th inning. Bouton allowed ten hits and five walks in his outing, but thanks to either him or the Angels’ ineptitude, none of them scored.

On the other side, Chance lasted 14 innings, and allowed three hits and two walks, but also no runs. Sadly for him, and the Angels, the game lasted longer than 14 innings.

Bill Stafford threw two scoreless relief innings for the Yankees. Meanwhile, the Angels’ relievers promptly ruined the game in one inning. Willie Smith got two outs, but also allowed two singles. Dan Osinski replaced him, but gave up a RBI-double to Elston Howard, who was the first batter he faced. Stafford threw the second of his scoreless innings after that, and the Yankees won 2-0 in 15 innings.

Despite allowing a grand total of 10 hits and six hits, as well as making two errors, the Yankees shut out the Angels. Poor Lou Clinton was the biggest perpetrator, going 0-7. Chance got some manner of revenge, as he allowed just one run in 27 more innings against the Yankees all season. He appeared in 30 of the Angels’ 82 wins that year.

The Yankees went on to win the American League that season, but even good teams need to get lucky sometimes.


All data courtesy of the Baseball Reference Play Index