The Magic of '64 - Part Two

After a 3-1 start, the Phillies came into play on April 19, 1964 tied for first place with Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. The Phillies wrapped up a series at Wrigley Field with an 8-1 win over the Cubs to go to 4-1. With Pittsburgh and Cincinnati both losing, the Phillies were in sole possession of first place and headed home for a series with the Pirates.

As the Phillies and Pirates prepared to play at Shibe Park, rain wiped out the first two games of the series. Finally, the two teams got to play and the Phillies sent Art Mahaffey to the mound. The Phils knocked off Pittsburgh 6-5 to move back into a tie for first place with San Francisco. The Giants had passed the Phillies while the Phils watch the raindrops fall in Philadelphia and the Giants kept winning. Now, the two teams were again tied.

With the Pirates headed out of town, the Cubs moved in. Jim Bunning opened the Cubs series by throwing a shutout in a 10-0 Phillies win. Dennis Bennett would go to the mound against Larry Jackson in game two of the series and the same bats that got Bunning ten runs just the day before, suddenly went silent. The Phillies managed just one run off Jackson in a 4-1 loss. Jackson would go on to win 24 games for the Cubs that season with a 3.14 ERA. Meanwhile, the Giants lost to Cincinnati and the National League race still had the Phillies and Giants tied at the top of the standings.

In between the games, the Phillies made what would be not a huge, but a helpful transaction. They purchased pitcher Ed Roebuck from the Washington Senators on April 21.

Roebuck had compiled decent stats with the Dodgers dating back to their days in Brooklyn. Then, in the middle of the '63 season, the Dodgers sent Roebuck to the Senators for Marv Breeding. Closing in on his 33rd birthday, Roebuck's best days were behind him. Still, in 1964, Roebuck mustered enough to help the Phillies. Roebuck would pitch in 60 games for the '64 Phils, saving 12 and compiling a 5-3, 2.21 ERA. Roebuck would again pitch for the Phillies in 1965 and would again go 5-3, saving just three games and finishing with a 3.40 ERA.

After the '65 season, the Phillies released Roebuck only to re-sign him before the next season would start. Their initial fears that Roebuck's career was over proved to be true and by the middle of the 1966 season, the Phillies again released Roebuck and he never returned to the majors.

1964 Timeline

April 22 – The World's Fair opens in Flushing Meadow, New York.
April 23 – Ken Johnson of the Houston Colt 45's becomes the first pitcher to lose a nine inning no-hitter as the Reds beat Houston 1-0.
April 25 – The Toronto Maple Leafs beat Detroit to win the Stanley Cup.

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