When Bill Singer walked off the mound at Cincinnati’s Crosley Field, he didn’t know he’d just made history.
It was April 7, 1969, and the Dodger had just pitched three scoreless innings to protect a 3-2 Los Angeles victory over the Reds on Opening Day.
One of the most unlikely of pitchers had just recorded the major leagues’ first official save, and he had no idea. All he knew was he’d locked down a win for starter Don Drysdale.
“On the bus on the way to the ballpark, (manager) Walt Alston says, ‘I’m thinking about pitching Drysdale six. Can you go the last three?’ I said sure,” says Singer, 68, now the director of pro scouting for the Washington Nationals. “We went out and Drysdale pitched six, I went the last three and got the save and didn’t know anything about that ’til maybe 20 years later.”
...At the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., there is the ball from the no-hitter Singer threw in 1970, along with his Dodgers cap and jersey. But there’s nothing from the first-save game in ’69.
Where’s the ball?
“I have no idea,” he says. “I saved complete-game victory balls, but I never saved that one. I didn’t really realize that was the rule.”
...Singer did get one more save, for the Angels in 1975. He pitched two-thirds of an inning to save a 7-6 win over the Royals in Kansas City on April 30.
He also got a laugh out of it when he was asked on the postgame show about his two career saves.
“One of the announcers for the Angels was Don Drysdale, and he asked me about the save, and says, ‘Where’d you get the other save? How’d that happen?’ ” recalls Singer. “I said, ‘I saved the game for you.’ He didn’t even remember.”
Posted: April 03, 2013 at 12:34 PM | 6 comment(s)
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