Barry Foote Day at Wrigley Field

Weird things happen at Wrigley Field. It’s baseball’s version of a box of chocolate; you never know what you’ll find. Tub slides in urinals, goats being denied admission, Barry Foote driving in eight; it’s a bizarre place.

On April 22nd, 1980 the bizarre occurrences began with the weather. Ask anyone who has attended April games in Wrigley Field and they’ll tell you to bundle up. Few places on earth can be colder than Wrigley Field at the beginning of the season. But the temperature on this day was a record-setting 92. That temperature also came with a slight wind to keep patrons comfortable at the Friendly Confines. That breeze was measured at 22 MPH blowing out to right field. Warm temps and high winds at Wrigley means lots of runs, and the Cubs and Cardinals didn’t disappoint.

The First Three

Things began innocently enough. The Cardinals scored two in the top of the 1st off Cubs starter Dennis Lamp on a hit by Bobby Bonds and an error by 3rd baseman Steve Ontiveros. Chicago got one back in the bottom of the frame when Ivan de Jesus homered off Cardinals starter Bob Forsch.

Each team added a run in the 2nd, and the Cardinals added three more in the top of the 3rd on homers by Bobby Bonds and Ken Reitz, but the Cubs ties it at 6 in the bottom of the frame on back-to-back hits by Jerry Martin and Barry Foote.

The Middle Three

Lamp’s afternoon was mercifully over after three innings and had he said he never wanted to pitch in Wrigley Field ever again no one could have blamed him. On this day, he surrendered seven runs on six hits and it wasn’t even his worst home start. Less than a year earlier he drew the start in another game with the wind blowing out. In that contest, Lamp faced the Philadelphia Phillies, who won the game 23-22. Lamp was the Cubs starter and gave up six runs in a third of an inning.

Lynn McLauglin followed Lamp and didn’t fare any better, giving up five runs on four hits and a walk in two-third of an inning. St. Louis added another run in the top of the fourth to grab a 12-6 lead, but the Cubs came storming back.

Four hits in the bottom of the 5th, including an RBI triple from Ivan DeJesus, gave Chicago three runs and chased Forsch from the game. Getting 12 runs through five innings is a pitcher’s dream. Not being able to last long enough to get the win is the stuff nightmares are made of.

The Final Three

The Man of the Hour

The Cubs loaded the bases in the bottom of the 7th, prompting St. Louis manager Ken Boyer to call on lefty Don Hood to face the left-handed batting Bill Buckner. Billy Buck was on his way to a batting title in 1980, so a lefty/lefty matchup didn’t bother him and his opposite-field single plated Mike Tyson to pull the Cubs a bit closer.

The Cardinals loaded the bases in the top of the 8th, but Bruce Sutter, in relief of Dick Tidrow, struck out Tony Scott to end the threat. In the bottom of the frame, Foote came through again with a solo home run off Roy Thomas to tie the game at 12. Sutter retired the Cardinals without incident in the top of the 9th to set up a dramatic finish.

A Dave Kingman single followed by walks to Buckner and Jerry Martin brought Foote up again in the bottom of the 9th inning against Mark Littell. With two outs, Littell hung a slider and Foote jumped on it, sending it into the basket in right-center field for a walk-off grand slam. Foote’s linescore looked pretty good at the end of the day: Four hits in six at-bats, with 2 homers, a double and 8 RBI.

Chicago manager Preston Gomez summed it up well. “Wrigley Field, that’s what you expect when you see the flag blowing out.”

 

 

Brewer Bombers

It took the Milwaukee Brewers all of 11 innings to assert themselves as one of the top offensive teams of the early 1980s. After beating the Boston Red Sox 9-5 on Opening Day of the 1980 season, they treated their fans to an offensive explosion in the second game of the new decade.

When Mike Torrez took the mound in the bottom of the 2nd inning on April 12th he was trailing 2-0 and he had only himself to blame. His two first-inning errors were key in Milwaukee grabbing an early lead, but what happened next was the stuff of nightmares.

The Carnage Begins

Robin Yount led off the inning with a single and then stole 2nd. Catcher Buck Martinez walked and Paul Molitor laid down a bunt single down the third base line. The fact that there were no outs in the 2nd inning and Molitor had already reached base twice in the game was a sure sign it wasn’t going to be Torrez’s day.

Cecil Cooper stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and unloaded on a Torrez offering. His grand slam gave the Brewers a 6-0 lead and ended Torrez’s afternoon.

His line:

IP
H
R
ER
BB
K
HR
1
4
6
5
2
0
1

Then it got worse.

Chuck Rainey relieved Torrez and walked Larry Hisle. Ben Oglivie doubled and Gorman Thomas struck out. Milwaukee had two on with one out and Sixto Lezcano at the plate, whose sac fly in the 1st inning gave the Brewers their second run. Boston manager Don Zimmer decided to walk the left-handed-hitting Lezcano to set up a righty/righty matchup with Don Money with the bases loaded. A ground ball would get the Red Sox out of the inning with minimal damage.

But instead, Money hit the 2nd grand slam of the inning and the Brewers had a 10-0 lead. They also weren’t finished. Four pitches later, Yount homered off Rainey to make it a nine-run inning.

“My first granny and my first back-to-back jobs in the majors,” Rainey told the Boston Globe after the game. “I’d rather it be in a 6-0 cause than a close game, but I still don’t like it.”

The Carnage Continues

Milwaukee scored two more in the 5th inning off Rainey and an early-season blowout seemed like a good time for the big league debut of Boston’s top pitching prospect Bruce Hurst. The Brewers proved to be rude hosts once again. Yount walked to lead off the inning and Martinez flew out to center. Then Molitor singled to bring up Cooper with two on. In what would be his finest season, Cooper came through again, doubling to right field to score Molitor. Two batters later, Oglivie singled to score Molitor and Cooper before Gorman Thomas capped the afternoon with a two-run homer to make the score 18-1.

Zimmer called the loss an embarrassment but Fred Lynn took it in stride. “We’ve got to shore up our defensive secondary,” joked Lynn. “They’re bombing us.”

After two games, the Brewers were on pace to hit 729 homers and 243 grand slams while the Red Sox were on pace to allow 2,187 runs. The numbers didn’t quite hold up, but Milwaukee did lead all of baseball with 203 longballs in 1980.

“I’d always said that I’d never seen a team as awesome offensively as the one we had in Boston in ’77,” said Boston pitcher Reggie Cleveland. “But I’ve changed my mind. This team is.”

 

 

 

The Ultimate Tim Wallach Collector

Tim Wallach had 8,099 career at-bats. Corey Stackhouse has 19,000 Tim Wallach baseball cards and he’s probably headed to the mailbox right now to pick up some more.

Stackhouse is the ultimate Tim Wallach fan and no one else is even close. His quest: To own every Tim Wallach baseball card ever made. Not one of each card, mind you. Every single card.

It all began innocently enough. When Corey was a kid, a family friend hooked him up with lots of 1983 Topps cards and Wallach in the colorful Expos uniform caught his eye. “I recognized the name ‘Tim’ as being the same as my younger brother,” Stackhouse told me.

“I asked if he was a good player, my father took a look at his ’82 stats on the back, and said yes.  I declared him my favorite player on the spot and started keeping his cards separate from that point forward.”

Just like that, a massive collection was born. It’s one that has grown to include more than just baseball cards. There are posters, a bobblehead, and just about anything else you can think of, including items from Wallach’s sons, Chad, Matt and Brett.

Meeting his hero

Tim Wallach_Corey Stackhouse
Corey met Tim Wallach at a spring training game

“I met him in person once,” Chad said, “at a spring training game in 2010.  I didn’t tell him I was a crazy collector or anything at the time, but I was wearing his Expos jersey and told him he had been my favorite player growing up.”

 

 

His collection has drawn a lot of media attention, including features in the L.A. Times and MLB’s FanCave. But an interview with Esquire magazine that never made it to publication will always be special. That particular piece gave Corey the chance to be on a conference call with Wallach while he was coaching for the Dodgers.

“I got to pepper him with questions for about an hour (and) he gave me his cell number and said to call when I was able to make it to a Dodgers game, which I did later that season in Colorado. (I) didn’t get to (talk to) him at that game, but it was pretty cool to walk up to the “Players and Umpires” will call window and say Tim Wallach left tickets for me.”

Some might call his quest obsessive, but it’s all in fun and the collection and companion website comes with Wallach’s blessing. “He’s never been anything but extremely polite about it, to the point that I was starting to feel guilty about all the attention it was getting the summer all the articles were coming out.”

“He’d do a radio spot for some local station and they’d ask him if he knew about the guy in New Mexico collecting all his cards.  I’ve made it clear that if it ever became a problem, I’ll take (the website) down, no hard feelings whatsoever.”

Organization is key

Tim Wallach
Condition is not an issue

Not only does the collection have the blessing of Wallach, it also, more importantly, has the blessing of his wife, Ashley, who helps him keep it organized and out of sight, for the most part.

“Most of the cards are neatly filed away in boxes in a closet.  A dinner guest to my home wouldn’t know it’s there.  I do keep a game worn batting helmet out on my bookshelf, and some game used bats are displayed in the corner of my den, but there is no “shrine” room or anything like that.”

Shrine room or not, when your collection boasts more than 19,000 cards and counting, game used, jerseys, batting helmets and bats you’d think you have everything, right? Not so. There was one item Stackhouse was missing: a game-used glove. But when he discovered that Wallach used the same glove for his entire career he realized that wasn’t going to happen.

“The Hall of Fame asked for it when he retired and he declined,” said Corey, “After hearing that I wouldn’t want it.  Some stuff just doesn’t belong in the hands of private collectors.”

How can you help?

But here’s the good news. Private collectors can help Corey get closer to his goal. Check your monster boxes, your desk drawers and old shoeboxes. Find any Tim Wallach cards? Send them to Corey!

Stackhouse Law Office

P.O. Box 2269

Farmington, NM 87499

About Corey Stackhouse

Corey Stackhouse is an attorney in Farmington New Mexico and the ultimate Tim Wallach collector. He can be found online at http://TimWallach.com/ and on Twitter at @29collector