‘40th Anniversary Game’

Tuesday, August 22, 1978 at Riverfront Stadium
Game 1637 – 8/22/20

Cardinals first baseman Keith Hernandez snapped a 2-2 tie in the ninth inning with an RBI single, scoring Ted Simmons from second, and pinch-hitter Dane Iorg added some insurance with a two-run triple, as St Louis humbled Cincinnati 6-2 in the SP78 40th Anniversary Game at Riverfront Stadium.

The Reds opened the scoring in the second, when lead-off batter George Foster singled off starter John Denny; he advanced to second on Dan Driessen’s groundout, then raced home when Johnny Bench sent a looping base hit to right. The Cards would counter in the fourth, scoring two off Tom Seaver thanks to an RBI double from Hernandez and a bases-loaded single to left by Jerry Mumphrey, both with one out.

Cincinnati then tied it in the bottom of the frame, courtesy of some nifty base-stealing from Driessen and an errant throw from catcher Simmons. After Foster led off the inning with a line-out to Templeton at short, Driessen worked a full count off Denny before stroking a sharp single to right, his only hit of the night. After moving to second on Bench’s fielder’s choice grounder, he surprised everyone by taking off for third on a first-pitch steal attempt; Simmons’ rushed throw to third sailed beyond Wayne Garrett’s reach, allowing Driessen to jog home with Cincinnati’s second run.

The score remained deadlocked 2-2 until the ninth, when St Louis broke the game open by scoring four times, at the expense of relievers Dave Tomlin (0-2), Doug Bair, and Mario Soto. After Tomlin hit Simmons with a pitch to open the inning, Reds manager Sparky Anderson sent him packing and called on Bair to end the threat. Instead, Simmons advanced to second on Bench’s league-leading 11th passed ball of the season, and Hernandez then followed with his third hit of the night, a single that sent the go-ahead run across the plate.

After Bair allowed two more batters to reach base, and after Hernandez was gunned down trying to score from second on a base hit by Mumphrey, rookie reliever Soto came on and promptly served up a two-run gap triple to Iorg, who was pinch-hitting for Buddy Schultz. Lou Brock then capped the visiting squad’s scoring by sending a sharp grounder past a diving Joe Morgan at second, good for his first hit of the night and the sixth Cardinals run.

The fifth Reds pitcher, Tom Hume, finally brought an end to the visitors’ ninth, and Cardinals closer Mark Littell then came on to wrap up the bottom half of the frame, and the game. He shut down the Reds—save for the two walks he surrendered to give the home crowd a ray of hope—to make a winner of middle reliever Schultz, who evened his SP78 record at 5-5 with the victory. Meanwhile, losing pitcher Tomlin saw his record drop to 0-2, after working a perfect eighth and pitching to just one batter in the ninth, Simmons, whose run ended up being the game-winner.

After taking the first two games of the three-game series, the Cardinals will try to make it a sweep Thursday night against the Reds at Riverfront, in an 8:05 match-up that follows an off day tomorrow. Bob Forsch (6-13), a 20-game winner for the Cards last season, will face Mike LaCoss (4-2), whose ERA of 2.29 is currently the best among Cincinnati starters.








Game Notes

• The game was played in the afternoon at site OH3 in Cincinnati, Ohio, on the hotel room’s counter desk while listening to classic rock on 92.5 FM, The Fox.

• This was the second of six games played at site OH3 during the trip, and the first of four played today. Four games were also played forty years ago on Opening Day, on August 22, 1980.

• This was the 15th game ever played on this date, and the first since 2015.

• My opponent for the game was my friend Steve P, who was managing his favorite team, the Cardinals. It was his 64th SP78 game managed (a total which includes one rainout), and the win improved his record against me to 33-30. It was also his eighth Cards win in nine tries; his only loss came in 2019, against the Braves.

• The first pitch of the game occurred at 12:28 pm local time, and the final out was made at 1:34 pm.

• The OH3 game site was the AC Marriott Cincinnati on the Banks, a hotel which stands on the former location of old Riverfront Stadium, where today’s Reds-Cards match-up was originally played. The photos above were taken from the room, and show Steve cutting the Fast-Action deck before the game (left), and the post-game view from the desk, where you can see the Roebling Suspension Bridge and Covington, Kentucky outside the window (right).

• In the actual game played on August 22, 1978, an RBI single by George Foster with two out in the 11th inning scored Ken Griffey from second with the game-winner, as the Reds edged the Cardinals 5-4.

• The same starting lineups used by the two teams in that 1978 game were also used in the SP78 game, including the starting pitchers.

• Cards utility infielder Wayne Garrett, who was sent down to the team’s AAA club in Springfield on July 9th, was recalled on August 21st for the sole purpose of starting at third base in this game, just as he’d done in 1978.

• I wore my Johnny Bench ‘Big Red Machine’ shirt during the game.

• The game was a ‘Baseball Night’ telecast on C-SPAN.

• Cardinals second baseman Mike Phillips returned to action today after missing the previous four games with a hand injury.

• Reds slugger George Foster is currently ranked second in the NL with 94 RBI, behind LA’s Reggie Smith, who leads the league with 107.

• St Louis rookie phenom Todd Benefiel saw his hitting streak end at six when he pinch-hit for reliever Tom Bruno in the seventh, and grounded out to short to end the frame.

• On the same day I typed up these game notes, Steve sent a text informing me that his favorite baseball player, Cardinals outfielder Lou Brock, had passed away that afternoon. It took me until later that night to realize that not only had Brock participated in the 40th Anniversary Game, but Reds pitcher Tom Seaver—who passed away a week earlier—had played in it as well.

• Check out a ticket stub from the actual game below, and click here to see the program I created for the SP78 game.

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