Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday School: History Lesson 36

Jack Sanford was a pitcher with the Phillies from 1956-1958. After debuting in 1956, appearing in 3 games, Sanford spent the full 1957 season as a member of the Phillies' starting rotation. That season, he won 19 games and was named National League Rookie of the Year.

Sanford matured late, as he spent nearly 10 years in the minor leagues before he made the majors at the age of 27. In his ROY campaign season, Sanford was strong...striking out 10 batters in back to back victories over the Cubs and Pirates in May. The next month, Sanford shut out the Dodgers on 2 hits, and followed that up with a 1-0 win against the Cubs in which he allowed only 3 hits and struck out 13. On July 11th, he took a perfect game into the 8th inning against the Cubs before he gave up a hit, eventually winning 3-1. Sanford's early season success got him named to the NL all star team and by late July, his record was 13-3.

Sanford finished the 1957 season with a record of 19-8, an ERA of 3.08 and his 188 strikeouts led the league. The following season, Sanford's success was not the same and he finished the season 10-13 with a 4.44 ERA. After the 1958 season, Sanford was traded to the Giants for catcher Valmy Thomas and pitcher Ruben Gomez.

The Phillies organization would soon regret making that deal as Sanford's performance shot right back up to where it had been in his rookie season. In 1959, Sanford went 15-12 with 10 complete games. In 1960, he led the NL with 6 shutouts. Sanford was a mainstay in the Giants rotation, making no less than 31 starts each year for each of his first 5 seasons there. In 1962, Sanford finished 2nd in Cy Young Award voting, when he went 24-7 with a 3.43 ERA in 39 starts, and helped the Giants with the NL Pennant. Furthermore, the players the Phillies got in the trade were not even marginally successful. Thomas batted .200 in 66 games for the Phillies in his only season with the team. Gomez went 3-11 with a 5.77 ERA before he left to play for Cleveland prior to the 1962 season.

In the World Series that year, Jack Sanford pitched games 2, 5 and 7 against the Yankees. He won game 2 on a three hitter, 2-0. He lost game 5, despite striking out 10 batters and lost the crucial game 7 by a score of 1-0. In the Series, Sanford allowed just 5 earned runs in 23 1/3 innings (1.33 ERA) and struck out 19 batters.

Sanford would pitch 5 more seasons, spending time with the Angels and the Athletic before retiring.


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