Wednesday, August 23, 1978 at The Kingdome
Game 1657 – 1/20/21

For Seattle pitcher Dick Pole, it was a chance to prove to his former team that his current numbers—a 4-10 won-lost record and a 4.52 ERA—were a fluke, and that his starting performance from a few weeks earlier—a 5-1 complete game win over the Twins—was more indicative of what he could accomplish if given the chance.

The Red Sox, however had other ideas…and none of them were good, as Pole pitched a remarkable 3-0 shutout over the struggling Bosox, allowing just seven hits and striking out seven batters on his way to his fifth win. Not bad for a PB 2-5 pitcher whose last—and up to now, only—shutout came in 1975, when he played for his pennant-winning opponents.

“My parents will be watching on TV back home in Trout Creek, and a friend of mine made the trip out to see the game in-person, so I figured I’d better do well,” said Pole about tonight’s game. “Although, my friend has been a Red Sox fan since we were kids, so I’m not sure which side he’ll be pulling for.”

Pole (5-10) ran into several jams throughout the contest, most notably in the third, when Boston loaded the bases with two out. But Pole struck out Carlton Fisk on an 0-2 count to end the inning, and the Seattle defense took care of the rest, stifling scoring opportunities with Leon Roberts’ grab of a Jerry Remy drive deep to right in the fourth, Tom Paciorek’s cannon throw from left to nail Remy at the plate in the seventh, and a critical double play initiated by Pole in the eighth, where he snared a line shot off the bat of Fisk and quickly picked veteran Carl Yastrzemski off first.

The Mariners, meanwhile, bunched their three runs into the second inning, all off Sox starter Mike Torrez (8-11), who gave up a one-out walk to Bruce Bochte, a two-run home run to Danny Meyer (his first HR of the season), and an RBI double to Steve Braun to account for the night’s scoring. Excluding that one troublesome frame, Torrez pitched a masterful game as well, shutting down the M’s the rest of the way and allowing just one more hit, while retiring the final eleven batters he faced.

And if there’s no change to the Mariners starting rotation schedule, Pole will face the Red Sox again during his next start, this time at his former home, Fenway Park. When asked what sort of reception he was expecting from the fans there, Pole replied, “As long as they don’t remember me from the ’75 World Series, I should be okay.”

Game Notes

• The game was played at night at site AZ18 in Peoria, Arizona, on the living room table while I listened to Wild-Eyed Southern Boys by 38 Special on LP.

• This was the 145th game played at site AZ18, tying ESC7 for third place on the all-time games hosted list.

• This was the third game ever played on this date, and the first since 2013.

• Tonight’s match-up concluded a short two-game series between the two teams, which the Mariners swept; their season series is now tied at 4-4, with two games left to play.

• The loss extended Boston’s losing streak to seven games.

• During the actual 1978 season, Pole pitched his final major league game on July 18th, an extra-inning loss to the Blue Jays, where he gave up three runs in one inning of work. He spent the rest of the season with the San Jose Missions of the PCL before being released by the Mariners during spring training the following year.

• Seattle speedster Julio Cruz was unable to steal a base tonight, and remains four shy of Ty Cobb’s AL record of 96.

• With his first inning double, Boston’s Fred Lynn extended his hitting streak to ten games.

• Mariner first baseman Danny Meyer hit eight home runs during the actual ’78 season, so if he hopes to reach that total in the SP78 season, after hitting just his first tonight, he’d better start using some heavier bats.

• Sadly, Giants catcher Mike Sadek died on the same day I played this game, the 122nd player from my SP78 season to pass away since 1978.

• As you can see in the game board photo below, my friend Bob attended the proceedings, sitting in the center field general admission seats, in hopes of bringing some luck to the floundering Sox. I made him part of the recap above, as the friend of Dick Pole’s who flew to Seattle to attend the game at the Kingdome.

20 responses to “

  1. One of the better names in baseball history.

    • Ha, yes…I was surprised (or maybe not so surprised) at the number of articles about his name that I found online, while searching for photos…both he and Pete LaCock seem to be always mentioned in the same breath. And I guess it doesn’t help matters much that Pole spent two minor league seasons with the Portland Beavers.

  2. I remember Dick Pole because he was born in the U.P. of Michigan, near Ironwood. He is a Yooper…

    • Yes he is…although I had to look it up to find that he was born in Trout Creek, and went to college in Marquette. Didn’t realize Trout Creek was so close to Ironwood, though. I wonder if we went through there on our trip in 1980.

  3. Another interesting name story from this post is that I graduated with a guy who played baseball for my high school named Dan Meyer, and his favorite major leaguer at that time was, of course, Danny Meyer!

    • So wait, did I know of this guy as well? I know you graduated in ’79, and I was MIA that year at MCHS, so maybe I missed him. Of course, you and I both played softball with Bobby Valentine…but not the Bobby Valentine.

      • I don’t know if you knew him, but he was there all four of my years, 75-79, anyway. I think he was a pitcher for MCHS. He was in my P.E. class at Meadowbrook, also.

      • The only yearbook I have from my time at MCHS is from ’81, otherwise I’d check one of those. Next time I see you or Brent, I’ll give one a look and see if I recognize him.

  4. While this may be totally unrelated to the Mariners and the Red Sox have you seen a recent documentary called The Battered Bastards of Baseball. Loved it. Story of Kurt Russell’s dad Bing and his owning a minor league team. Really enjoyed. Recommended. It’s like a real life Slap Shot only on the ball diamond.

    • Yes, I have seen it, and I loved it as well…one of my favorite baseball documentaries. I’ve watched it a few times, actually…very entertaining, and cool to see Kurt Russell as a real baseball player. And it’s always fun to see Bing Russell turn up unexpectedly as a supporting character in an old movie!

  5. That is a GREAT baseball movie – I loved it! Is that for reals Toad, that 122 players have passed since ’78? Just seems like a lot for some reason. Guess it puts life into perspective. It would have been tough to get anywhere in the UP in the ’80s w/o going through Ironwood. Trout Creek looks like a sweet place to be from. Even if your name is Dick Pole (!). (And that Pete fellow . . . oye!)

    • I didn’t know you’d seen that movie! Yes, it’s a cool one…if that team had lasted just one more year, I would’ve been listening to their games on the radio, since I was living in Seattle at the time, and listened to lots of Mariners and Portland Beavers broadcasts. And yes, 122…when Mike Flanagan of the Orioles passed away in 2011, I looked up how many other players had passed away, and was surprised there were so many, even then.

      And all I have from my notes from my trip to Michigan with Brent in 1980 was that we passed through Escanaba early in the morning, and arrived in Ironwood at 6:00 am…so I’m guessing we would’ve slept through Trout Creek, if we’d gone that way, but I think we probably took Route 2, which took us well south of that area.

      • Hey! I was in Escanaba (and Iron Mountain, not Ironwood) in 2015, about one month before you and I set out on our ill-fated trip to New England. Why didn’t I realize that you had ever been to Escanaba? Did we not talk about it? On that same 2015 trip I had bratwurst and cheese curds in the shadows of Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers!

      • Well, probably two reasons we didn’t talk about it: 1) it didn’t seem like that important of a city to discuss in 2015, even if I had remembered that I’d been there in 1980, and 2) that stop in Escanaba occurred shortly after midnight, and the only thing I did there was wake up, change Greyhound buses, and go back to sleep. I remember NOTHING of Escanaba! And cheese curds in Wisconsin, near Lambeau…much cooler than cheese curds in Peoria, near Thunderbird!

  6. Since we are talking about the UP and the Yoopers, we got Ironwood, Iron Mountain but has anybody been to Iron River?

    • Well now…if it’s true that you and I took Route 2 to Ironwood after changing buses in Escanaba, then we went through both Iron Mountain AND Iron River! But here’s a question: have you ever tried Iron City beer? I still have a coaster for it!

  7. And come on the Culver’s cheese curds are pretty good!!!

    • I didn’t say those curds were better than Culver’s…I said they were cooler! I love Culver’s curds…I just don’t have a view of an old-time football stadium when I’m enjoying them!

  8. But those curds put you pretty close to the Padres and Mariners spring training stadium, that must count for something.

    • Yeah, you’re right…I have an ice rink that’s fairly close to me, so I should count that as well. I guess I should appreciate the fact that I have a Culver’s so close, stadium or no stadium!

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