If you think things are tense between the Cardinals and Cubs these days as we approach game 3 of the NLDS, you’ve never seen THIS video, which I was thrilled to see someone had archived on YouTube.
No serious fan of the rivalry between these two teams will ever forget this game.
Before you watch it, there are a couple of things you need to know:
It’s actually a “tribute” to the great former Cardinals catcher Ted Simmons, who was one of the few bright spots on the 70’s era Cardinals, a decade which marked the end of the line for the likes of future Hall of Famers, Bob Gibson and Lou Brock.
It wasn’t a pleasant time to be a Cardinals fan. It was as if everyone who contributed to all of those pennants and titles in the 60’s all got old at the same time. It wasn’t pleasant to watch.
Those under the age of 30 especially, have no idea just how bad it was. It was as if we channeled the Cubs for an entire decade!
My son is nearly 10 years-old, which means this is his 8th postseason with the Cardinals!
If you’re 15 year years old, this is your 12th postseason. If you’re 30, it’s your 15th!
But it wasn’t always like this.
Back in the 70’s, you had your run of Busch Stadium anytime after the 4th or 5th inning. There were many a Sunday afternoon where my buddies and I would end up directly behind the visitor’s dugout, shouting insults at the likes of “The Big Red Machine” (Reds) or “The Lumber Company”(Pirates).
But as true Cards fans, the Cubs were our favorite target.
This video starts with one of those Cards-Cubs classic battles. The date was September 22, 1974, and oddly enough, the Cards were actually contending for a division championship, a rarity during this time period.
As usual, the Cubs were laboring at the bottom of the division and none too pleased about it. Things got a little testy when Cardinal relief pitcher (and current TV commentator) Al Hrabosky and Cubs infielder Bill Madlock decided they’d had enough of each other.
From a terrific article detailing the incident:
“Bill Madlock was up, and just as Hrabosky was set to pitch, Madlock returned to the on-deck circle to put pine tar on his bat. He came back to the plate smiling, thinking he had upset Hrabosky’s concentration. When Madlock was ready, Hrabosky walked behind the mound to do his routine again. But when Hrabosky went back to the rubber, Madlock returned to the on-deck circle, bent on winning the battle of wills.”
Pure, glorious, every man for himself mayhem.
At one point you actually had TWO Cubs trying to bat at the same time!
Focus on Simmons, who after pushing Madlock away, gets destroyed by a Cubs player flying into the fray. Hrabosky, a true instigator if ever there was one, rushes from flashpoint to flashpoint, like a genuine madman.
Now this is Cards-Cubs baseball!
(WARNING: This is the feed from the Cubs broadcast. I’m sure Jay Randolph had a different take)
(BTW, Hrabosky didn’t lose that feisty attitude once he left St. Louis. Watch him (sans shirt) nearly go after a reporter on the field while pitching for the Atlanta Braves.)