Mendoza's Last Stand | Showing Comments:

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1/25/19 11:39 AM Quote
5/22/82 Texas Rangers @ Kansas City Royals

The final MLB game played by Mario Mendoza

Mario Mendoza's career hitting stats contributed to the baseball lexicon forever. The "Mendoza Line" refers generally to a measurement for batter ineptitude. It's understood to mean that when a batter is hitting around the Mendoza Line, he's close to a .200 batting average.
Wayne Tolleson was also on that '82 Rangers team. He hit .114 in 70 at bats, just like Tommy Dean in 1971. Those two utility infielders had S-O-M hitting cards that resembled the pitcher's hitting card #1. So Tolleson became an even larger object of ridicule than his light hitting veteran teammate. Savvy S-O-M'ers have come to know that hitters so bad they cannot satisfy the "50/50" S-O-M simulation for statisical accuracy, have hit below the "Dean-Tolleson Line". Laughably feeble hitters.
The following is not a sim game replay. It's documentation of a real MLB game between Texas and Kansas City from 5/22/82--Mario Mendoza's final game in MLB--with Strat-O-Matic baseball interpretations and game observations.
Starting pitchers

Royals------Larry Gura
Rangers---Charlie Hough
Top 6th; score 0-0; Gura facing Rangers

George Wright------------double to LF

Mike Richardt--B bunter--single/bunt 2-3; Wright to third

[S-O-M sim: Richardt 13 runner/corners in/bunt downgrade to C/sacrifice bunt roll: odd die 3 (catcher fields bunt) two dice combined 4: SPEED result from S-O-M chart:. Roll was within Richardt's 13 running range. Result is SINGLE.]

Buddy Bell---------------FLYBALL CF/SACRIFICE FLY; WRIGHT SCORES (Texas leads 1-0)
Bottom 6th; 1-0 Texas; Hough facing Royals

Frank White-------------------------single to CF

Onix Concepcion--B bunter--bunt groundout/1B unassisted/Sacrifice/White to 2b (corners likely positioned IN resulting in bunt downgrade to C)

Willie Wilson---------------------single to 2b (infield hit); White to third

Wilson steals 2B.

[S-O-M sim: runners first and third and less than two out situations, offense can leverage an easy steal of second by using S-O-M rule 23.9, the delayed steal of home rule. Often used in simulation where runner on third holds as the runner on first takes off for second base when defense decides to have catcher hold ball instead of throwing to second to risk runner on third scoring. This is then recorded as "defense indifference" and no stolen base is credited. But on this play, circumstances apparently dictated that Wilson should be credited with the steal.]

John Wathan-----------------------------walk [bases loaded, one out]

George Brett----------------------------gb(1b) C--WHITE SCORES, others advance (game tied 1-1)

[S-O-M sim: infield was not IN. Corners were not IN. Corners IN was probably the best move to make in that situation. Without video of this play, I can't judge what Texas did]
Top 9th 1-1 tie; Gura facing Rangers

Two out, nobody on base

Jim Sundberg-------B bunter---------Single to P/Bunt; Sundberg to 2B/advanced on E1 (throw to 1b)--error on LHP Larry Gura

[S-O-M sim: The only way to simulate a play like this--where the batter hits a bunt single with nobody on base--is to remove all bunt single values from the hitter card, then assign a bunt-for-hit frequency rating for that hitter. Then incorporate the pitcher/infielder fielding range and error rating into the play. It's a situational play, so it relies on various factors. But this type of bunt will have a higher success rate due to the element of surprise.]

Leon Roberts----------------------------Flyball: LF (three outs)
Bottom 11th 1-1 tie; Hough pitching to Royals

Willie Wilson------------------------single

Wilson steals 2b

[S-O-M sim: Hough had +3 hold. Sundberg had -1 arm. Wilson steal ratings *3-6/- (18-13)--Wilson 3 for 3 stealing in this game]

Wathan-----------------------Groundout P-1B (Wilson holds at 2B)
S-O-M sim:

GB(p) X resulting in either G1, G2, or G3 readings from the SYMBOLS CHART section of the SUPER ADVANCED FIELDING CHART. "Infield normal", man on 2B. Result: "Right". Refer to SUPER ADVANCED GROUNDBALL RESULTS CHART. At bottom, "Right" instructs that on balls hit to SS, P, or C---see DECIDE.

On the DECIDE play, "lead runner" has option of attempting to advance a base (running speed -4 plus fielder's defensive rating). If offense decides if to attempt to advance, then defense must decide if it wants to take sure out at first or try to get lead runner out.

Otherwise, only a GB(p) C will advance the runner on second with no other runners on base. (From groundball result chart on page 17 of S-O-M rule book).
George Brett------------------------Intentional Walk

Wilson steals 3B

(Lee May pinch hits for Dennis Werth, who earlier pinch ran for Willie Aikens).

One out, runners on 1B and 3B, game tied 1-1

Lee May-----------------------------Flyball CF (Wilson and Brett hold)
S-O-M sim: FLY(cf) X. George Wright rated 2 in CF for Texas. d20 roll anywhere from 16-20 for flyball C. (4-4 roll on Hough's card)
Amos Otis---------------------------Lineout CF (end inning)
Top 12th 1-1 Tie

Quisenberry in his second inning of relief. Gura went the first 10 complete.
S-O-M sim:

Larry Gura established his innings max for 1982 in this game by pitching ten complete. He gave up eight qualifiers (8 hits, zero walks), so he had not reached his Yank Number (8.512), which needs 9 or 10 qualifiers for a knockout.
Leon Roberts--------------------------Single to LF
S-O-M sim:

This hit by Roberts was the third qualifier against Dan Quisenberry and would have clinched a knockout by Yank Numbers rule. Quisenberry had Yank Number of 1.917 and had completed 1.0 innings at this point. On that second qualifier in inning 11, a fraction roll from d1000 would have been required to test Quisenberry's eligibility to continue. The .917 fraction meant the star reliever had a 91.7 percent chance of remaining in the game after a second qualifier against him.
Roberts on 1B, no outs

Mario Mendoza pinch hits for Larry Parrish

Everybody knows what is coming. The PINCH BUNT is on.

Mario was A bunter in 1981, likely downgraded to B for 1982 had he been carded upon reissue. He had 18 PA with .118 BA in 1982. 2 for 17, both singles. 1 for 1 success rate on sac bunt attempts.
Mario Mendoza----------------------------fielder's choice/Sacrifice Bunt; Roberts to 2B; Mendoza to 1B (zero out)

From the diamond box in BBR, it appears that the rotation play may have been implemented by the Kansas City infielders, but something may have gone wrong. A "2-3" defensive play is documented, meaning that Quisenberry (1 e21 fielding) fielded the bunt and threw to catcher John Wathan, who may have been attempting to cover first base. But that doesn't make much sense.

39 year old Lee May (4 e15) was in at first base. May and Aikens were often subbed for by pinch runners and defensive replacements.

With the right-handed hitting Mendoza up, second baseman Frank White may have been shading toward second in anticipation of a potential steal attempt by Roberts or to take a throw there to try to cut down the lead runner.

Lee May might have charged in, leaving it too hard for him to get back and cover first. So when Quisenberry fielded Mendoza's bunt, there was nobody at first base ahead of Mendoza. Werth played in 35 games at first, mostly as a defensive replacement and Greg Pryor, who was a utility infielder for several years before 1982, was called on by the Royals to play first base 14 times that year--all 14 times as a defensive replacement despite never playing that position before.

It appears to be one of those "team errors" that goes down as a fielder's choice where nobody is charged with an error and Mendoza does not get a hit credited to him. It was a good situation for Rangers manager Don Zimmer to go out of his way to pinch hit for a decent slugger like Larry Parrish with a bunt specialist like Mario Mendoza.
S-O-M sim:

The fielder's choice bunt play where the batter and runner(s) are all safe occurs from the DEFENSE readings on the SADV sacrifice bunt chart. It occurs when the d20 is within the lead runner's safe range after calculations when defense tries to get lead runner out.
Back to the action

Roberts on 2B. Mendoza on 1B. Nobody out in top of 12th

Quisenberry still pitching

Johnny Grubb pinch hits for Bob Johnson

Johnny Grubb---------------------Single to CF; Roberts to third; Mendoza to second

Randy Bass pinch hits for Doug Flynn

Randy Bass-----------------------FLYBALL LF/SACRIFICE FLY; ROBERTS SCORES; Texas takes 2-1 lead
S-O-M sim:

Mario Mendoza subcard: [PHC #1WR----B bunter----ss-3 e88---13 runner]

Randy Bass subcard---: [1982 Carmelo Castillo--{CFC}--]
George Wright--------------------SINGLE TO RF; MENDOZA SCORES; GRUBB TO 3B; Texas leads 3-1
Bottom 12th

Hough pitching; Rangers lead Royals 3-1

Hal McRae----------------------------groundout 3B-1B
Jerry Martin-------------------------flyball LF
Frank White--------------------------flyball SS (Mendoza records last out)
Rangers win 3-1 in 12 innings over Royals in Kansas City

The 12 inning complete game victory by Honolulu-born flutterball specialist Charlie Hough on May 22, 1982 remaines the longest stint by an MLB pitcher since that time.

The 34 year old knuckleballer surrendered just six hits and two walks, so he had not yet reached his Yank Number of 8.503

His crafty counterpart Larry Gura went ten innings in this pitch-to-contact masterpiece.

Mario Mendoza's major league swan song had reason to be a memorable one, but it seemed lost to the ages, under the radar. So I brought this game to life because it shows why baseball was a special game.

Strategy. Situational movements, such as Rangers manager Don Zimmer using Mendoza to pinch bunt for a slugger so he may exploit a defensive weakness and win the game with small ball.

Then Mendoza fittingly making the putout to end the game, sealing the last 12 inning complete game victory in MLB history.

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