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High Heat

Published on May 10, 2012

Warren Spahn and Juan Marichal faced off in a 16-inning classic July 2, 1963...It's the last time two pitchers threw for 15 scoreless innings in one game...7 future Hall of Famers were in the game that day, 4 from the Giants and 3 from the Braves...The 4 hour and 10 minute game ended in the bottom of the 16th when Willie Mays delivered a solo shot over the left field fence...

I was at this game, but had to leave early. I was walking out to the car with my mother when the stadium erupted. Willie Mays had his a home run. Notice that they played 16 innings in 4 hours. The Yankees-Red Sox routinely play 4 hour long 9 inning games.

Dickie Thon's career was changed by one pitch from Mike Torrez. Before being beaned by Torrez on April 8, 1984, Thon was the NL's premier offensive, and some said defensive, shortstop. Afterward, Thon suffered from poor vision and frequently spent time on the disabled list. Though his fielding returned to major league status, Thon's power and baserunning savvy were diminished until 1989, when he recalled some of his past excellence with 15 home runs, 60 RBI, and a .271 batting average in 435 at-bats.

A righthanded pull hitter, Thon played briefly for California before being traded to the Astros for Ken Forsch. He became Houston's starting shortstop in 1982 and led the NL with ten triples. He led all NL shortstops with 20 homers and 533 assists in 1983, and led the league with 18 game-winning RBI, driving in 79 overall.

Thon had three decent seasons with the Phillies, but never approached the production that was the norm during his Astro days. His renaissance 1989 season was still far from dominant -- he scored only 45 runs in 435 at-bats, and his all-around numbers were even less impressive in 1990 and 1991. Thon's most famed moment in his latter years was being suspended three games for bumping an umpire on June 26, 1990. (ME/GL)

Like the game of baseball, life is quirky and unpredictable, as Shane Hunter discovers in the spring of his sophomore year. Suddenly and without warning his life of privilege is turned upside down. And just as suddenly, life begins to sem utterly without fairness of purpose to him.

The game of baseball becomes a means of vengeance. A game meant to be played in the bright sunshine takes Shane instead into his own personal darkness--a darkness both strangely comforting and ultimately terrifying.