Twice as Nice
After Gil Hodges hit his walk-off home run to give the New York Mets a sweep of a doubleheader against the Milwaukee Braves on May 12, 1962, pitcher Craig Anderson stepped out of the dugout and looked into the crowd for his wife Judy. She held up two fingers and Anderson did the same.
They were signaling each other the right-handed Anderson won both games that day, which happens more often than you would think.
New York won the first game when Hobie Landrith hit a game-winning pinch-hit home run off Warren Spahn. Those two victories are in the record books: it was the first time a team had swept a doubleheader by hitting walk-off home runs.
“You sure about that?” asked Anderson, now 84 and one of 15 still-living members of that first-year expansion squad. He pitched two scoreless innings in the first game and a scoreless frame in the second.
There are several ways to win two games in one day: start both games of a double headers, win both games of a double header as a reliever (Mariano Rivera did that six times); win a suspended game and then the regularly scheduled game later in the day.
When pitchers were routinely throwing hundreds of innings, 45 hurlers pitched complete game victories in both ends of a doubleheader. The Chicago Cubs’ Ed Reulbach is the only pitcher to have two complete game shutouts in one day. They were against Brooklyn on September 26, 1908 to keep Chicago’s pennant hopes alive.
Joe McGinnity of the New York Giants, whose nickname was “Ironman,” pitched two complete games in one day three times in one month in 1903, doing it on August 1, August 8 and August 31st.
The last National League pitcher to do this was Herman “Hi” Bell of the St. Louis Cardinals on July 19, 1924, against the Boston Braves. He did it against one of the league’s worst-hitting teams that year, finishing last or next-to-last in most offensive categories.
The last time it happened in the American League was on August 28, 1926 when Cleveland rookie Emil “Dutch” Levsen defeated the Boston Red Sox, 6-1 and 5-1. It was the last time a pitcher started and won both games of a doubleheaders while pitching complete games.
The closest anyone came to accomplishing that feat since was the Phillies Jack Scott in a doubleheader against Cincinnati on June 19, 1927. Scott went the distance in both games and won the first but lost the second.
In 1950, the Brooklyn Dodgers were chasing the Phillies for the pennant, and had a doubleheader against Philadelphia on September 6.
Brooklyn Manager Burt Shotton started Don Newcombe in both games. He went nine innings in the first game, winning 2-0. He pitched into the seventh inning of game two, trailing 2-0. The Dodgers pinch-hit for him in the eighth. In the ninth, the Dodgers scored three runs to win the game 3-2.
Joel Santorini started both games of a doubleheaders on May 26, 1971, when he was a pawn in a chess game between managers.
San Diego manager Preston Gomez named righthander Santorini as his starter in the first game of a twin-bill against the Houston Astros. But after Santorini retired leadoff hitter Roger Metzger, Gomez yanked him for lefty Dave Roberts, who then went the rest of the way in a game the Astros won 2-1. Houston manager Harry Walker had started left-handed hitters Rich Chiles, Norm Miller and Johnny Edwards against Santorini, but pulled them all after Roberts entered. Santorini then started the second game and pitched six innings, taking the loss.
On May 26, 1973, the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox played 16 innings with the score tied 2-2 when the game was to be suspended. But instead of resuming the game the following day, May 27, the White Sox management decided to restart the suspended game on May 28. Knuckleball specialist Wilbur Wood was scheduled to start that day, and the White Sox had Wood begin the 17th inning of the makeup game and then make his scheduled start.
Wood pitched four innings, giving up an unearned run in the top of the 21st inning, but Dick Allen hit a walk-off homerun in the bottom half giving Wood his first victory of the day. He pitched a complete game shutout in his start against Cleveland for his second win, 4-0. That season, Wood would become only the second pitcher to win and lose 20 games in the same season, going 24-20.
Two months later, on July 20, Wood started game one of a doubleheader against New York. Wood didn’t make it out of the first inning, in which he threw 26 pitchers, probably all knucklers. Sox manager Chuck Tanner let him start the second game, and Wood gave up five earned runs in four and one-third innings.
Nearly 10 years after Wood’s double victory, Tom Seaver accomplished the same feat for the same team.
On May 9, 1984, the White Sox and Brewers played 16 innings before play was suspended. When the game resumed the next day, the teams played seven innings and were tied. White Sox manager Tony LaRussa had used seven pitchers, and he asked Seaver if he could pitch an inning or two, even though he was going to start the second game.
‘We need to win this game first,” he told Seaver, “and we’ll worry about your game later.”
In the top of the 25th, Seaver pitched a scoreless inning. In the bottom of the frame, Harold Baines homered to win the game for Chicago.
Later, Seaver pitched eight and one-third innings as the White Sox defeated Milwaukee again, 5-4.
Anderson and Seaver crossed paths in Jacksonville in 1966, Seaver’s first year in pro ball.
“He won 12 games,” recalled Anderson without looking it up. He said he could see Seaver would be very good. “I didn’t know he’d be a Hall of Famer, but you could tell he’d be real good.” The pair became friends, and Seaver left tickets for Anderson and his wife for a game in Philadelphia.
Tom Seaver (AP Photo)
One of the more recent days in which a pitcher won two games in a single day happened on August 9, 2013. Against the Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins reliever Brian Duensing entered the first game in the bottom of the sixth, and struck out the only batter he faced to end the inning. In the seventh inning, Minnesota scored four runs to take the lead and went on to win, giving Duensing the victory. In the nightcap, he worked a scoreless ninth inning to preserve a 2-2 tie. In the 10th, the Twins went ahead, and Duensing was credited with his second win of the day.
Craig Anderson attended Lehigh University where he was a pitcher on the school’s baseball team. At a tryout camp he was signed by the Cardinals. He was called up from the team’s AAA club in Portland Oregon, and asked to pitch in the sixth inning of his first time at the ballpark in St. Louis on June 23, 1961.
He talked about being in “a world of my own” and not only won the game he got a hit and scored a run. For the season, he appeared in 25 games, going 4-3 with one save and an ERA of 3.26.
His best performance that year was making small talk with a fan named Judy, who was wearing a sorority ring he was familiar with. Craig and Judy married 44 days later. Last October they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. They had two children, a daughter, now a college vice president, and a son, who pitched minor league baseball.
The Mets selected him in the expansion draft. Solley Hemus, who had been Anderson’s first manager, was hired as a coach for the Mets, who drafted five players from the Cardinals.
His double-header wins would be the last of his career. He lost 16 straight games that season, two in 1963 and one in 1964 for a then-record 19 consecutive losses.
“I could have won four or five games that somebody else lost…that’s baseball,” he said.
“One thing I do remember, had four saves, one save against the Cubs in Chicago. I relieved Jay Hook, we won the game, that was the end of our 17-game losing streak, so never forgot that one. We were struggling along, that one broke the ice,” recalled Anderson.
Around the time Mets reliever Anthony Young began approaching 19 consecutive losses, the New York media contacted Anderson to get his thoughts on having his “record” broken. “They called me (and said) I just wish he doesn’t break it, he doesn’t deserve to have to break it, he’s too good a pitcher,” he said.
“I wrote to him…’I hope you don’t break my record,’” said Anderson. “He had good stuff, can’t believe he lost that many games. I called a few times right away (when) he lost 19, when he lost 27, hard to believe, but he kept getting chances.”
When the 2003 Detroit Tigers were making a run at breaking the Mets’ record of 120 losses, Anderson noted, “I was on top of that one.”
After retiring, Anderson worked for his alma mater, Lehigh University, and was pitching coach for the baseball team.
“I coached a kid at Lehigh named Paul Hartzell, drafted by the California Angels, played six or seven years, he won a double-header,” said Anderson.
Hartzell pitched in a rare doubleheader for the California Angels on June 26, 1977 against the Texas Rangers: the makeup of a rained out contest, which doesn’t happen often in Southern California, followed by the regularly scheduled game.
Hartzell pitched in the 10th and 11th innings to win the first game, and pitched one and a third of an inning to win the second game.
What he also remembers was he pitched one-third of an inning the day before the doubleheader and hurled one and two-thirds of an inning the following day against the Kansas City Royals.
“I pitched in five and two-thirds innings in less than 48 hours,” said Hartzell.
Now a computer software consultant, Hartzell said he learned much under Anderson at Lehigh, including two important lessons:
The first was helping him with his slider (“Keep your fingers on top, be consistent with your grip”).
The second occurred on a trip to Georgia in the spring of 1973, when Lehigh played Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, GA.
The team was assigned a restaurant where it would have breakfast. Anderson and the players sat down to order, but a waitress said she would not serve the club’s African-American player.
Anderson, said Hartzell, stood up and said, “Fellas, everybody to the team bus, we’re not eating here.”
Hartzell recalled that Anderson “appeared to be a different man” in that moment, with his look and tone expressing his anger over the situation.
More than 20 years after winning the two games in one day, Hartzell was inducted into Lehigh’s athletic hall of fame, and he invited Anderson and his wife to the ceremony. There was a video highlighting Hartzell’s achievements, and it included the double-header wins. Afterwards, Hartzell approached his former coach.
“He said, ‘you and I got a lot in common,’ and he brought that up,” said Anderson.
On August 27, Anderson will attend a reunion of the ’62 Mets, marking the 60th year since they began.
He can’t recall, but he’s certain his teammates must have congratulated him on his two wins.
“I don’t remember doing an interviews with any writer,” he said, noting the New York media usually went to manager Casey Stengel for comments. “ I don’t remember making a big special deal, my wife and I went out for dinner that night, nothing special,” he said.
“When I look back on it it was a big deal, to me it was a big deal to win two games in one day,” he says, and his wife Judy reminds him both were walks off wins. “I know baseball,” she said.
“And the more I live with it and remember it” Anderson said, “it was a big deal for me for sure.”
“The following weekend we won another doubleheader in Milwaukee, and I had a save in one of the (games). We won three of four, it was two pretty good weekends for the team,” he recalled.
“I have articles here for the next day,” said Anderson. The headline on one of the newspapers was Mets win a doubleheader, “not Anderson wins both games of the double header,” he says. “It says Anderson won both games of doubleheader, that was pretty much all I remember.
“I’m still glad to read it and glad I did it, and maybe as I look back on it now, maybe a little more about it should have come out of the New York newspapers, I don’t know.”