01 May 2011

because nothing beats a vintage double play turn, let's turn two

cookie rojas is not the only 1971 topps card to feature double play action!  here are ken boswell (with 1978 topps dodger vic davalillo sliding in)
 and dal maxvill
caught in the act.  i am making a couple of assumptions, the first of which is that maxvill is involved in a double play attempt and not just avoiding a slide while covering second on a stolen base attempt or a fielder's choice or some other situation.  and, since i am going to try to figure out when these photos were taken, i am also going to assume that these photos were taken on the same day in my attempt to pinpoint the game.

let's start from the end of the season and work backwards.  maxvill played in most of the cardinals' games in 1970, as boswell did for the mets, so i'll use davalillo as my least common denominator - he appeared in only 5 games that the cardinals played in new york during the 1970 season.

on september 12, both davalillo and maxvill appeared in the game for the cards, along with boswell for the mets.  in fact, davalillo pinch hit for maxvill, but he flew out and so did not reach base.

on july 8, davalillo pinch-hit in the 9th inning, but he again flew out.

on july 6, davalillo was used as a pinch-hitter, but boswell never appeared in the game.

on may 28, all three were in the starting lineup.  davalillo walked to lead off the first, and advanced to second on a walk.  he then fouled out in the second inning, and doubled in the 5th.  in the 6th inning, however, davalillo reached first on an error by the mets' third baseman.  he was then erased on a 6-4-3 double play thanks to a julian javier grounder.  i think we may have our play on the boswell card, as he was playing second base at the time.  just for good measure, davalillo flew out in his final at bat of the game.  now let's take a look at mr. maxvill.  bob gibson was pitching for saint louis, so there weren't many base runners.  in fact, the cardinals did not turn any double plays during the game, so let's look at some other possibilities then.  in the first 4 innings, boswell's double in the 2nd accounted for the only mets' base runner.  in the 5th, boswell singled and stole second. perhaps that's boswell sliding in?  i doubt it - boswell wore number 12, and it looks more like a 5 on the back of the mets player (joe foy was number 5 for the mets, and he didn't appear in the game.  the other mets with numbers ending in 5, jerry grote (15) and tug mcgraw (45), did appear in the game, but didn't reach base). boswell was later forced at second with maxvill covering, but it doesn't look to me like maxvill has the ball in his glove. in the 7th inning, cleon jones grounded to first with al weis on base.  weis took second while jones got the sure out at first.  maxvill could have been covering second in case there was a throw from jones, causing weis to slide in.  weis wore number 6 for the mets so it's plausible.

a quick look at the fifth and final possibility eliminates it, as boswell did not play on may 27th. 

i think i will rule that these cards show images from the may 28, 1970 game and that it's al weis sliding in on maxvill's card.  not a double play turn, but a nice card nonetheless.

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