The Philadelphia A’s took Game 3 of the Philly Dream Series over the Phillies by a score of 12-4. They were led by Mickey Cochrane’s explosive night at the plate in which he hit for the cycle and drove in five runs. The Phillies still lead the series by a count of 2 games to 1.
The remarkable thing about Mickey Cochrane is that, by all accounts, he was a better football player than baseball player in high school. But since there was money to be made in baseball in the early 1920s, and not in football, he decided to play professionally with a leather glove instead of a leather ball. On this day, all of North Philadelphia is thankful.
His nifty night began in the top of the first. After a Mule Haas double, Mick (who, ironically, is of Scottish ancestry) singled into right center to bring the Mule home. It continued in the 3rd, as Cochrane opened the frame by delivering a ground rule double over the center field wall. Al Simmons would bring him home with a single a few moments later.
In the 4th, the floodgates opened. After Moyer hit Max Bishop with a pitch, and Mule Haas cracked another double, up stepped Cochrane. He delivered a shot into the right center gap that had more speed behind it than Werth and Victorino accounted for. It rolled to the wall, then took an awkward bounce off the wall towards center, and by the time Victorino wrangled it with his mitt and sent it back to the infield, Cochrane was standing on third. (Catchers don’t typically hit many triples, but Mickey is the exception. His 64 career triples were the most of any 20th century catcher in the Hall of Fame.) His three-bagger gave the A’s a 6-2 lead. That lead was stretched to 7-2 when Al Simmons sent him home a few minutes later with a single. Not long after, third baseman Jimmy Dykes hit a moonshot over the right field wall, and the rout was on.
But Mickey wasn’t done. In the 5th, Cochrane stepped up with old Eddie Collins standing on third. Chad Durbin tried to sneak a fastball past him. Bad move. Cochrane laced a shot into right. Werth turned and waited for it to bounce off the wall. It never did. It just grazed the metal fence above a Red Cross sign and hurtled into the seats. The boosters in blue hats who made the trip south cheered raucously, while the rooters in red sat stonefaced and silent, as the scoreboard screamed the harsh truth at them: 11-2. Mickey Cochrane had accomplished something quite remarkable: he had hit for the cycle. (Remarkable, yes, but hardly shocking. He would go onto to hit for the cycle in 1932 and 1933, and is thus one of very few MLB players with multi-cycle games.)
Things would turn ugly moments later, as Durbin cracked Simmons in the head with a pitch. Both benches cleared, and Connie Mack stared coolly at Durbin while walking out to check on Simmons, but sanity prevailed, and Durbin was immediately yanked for JA Happ. (Simmons, as hard boiled as they come, stayed in the game.)
Pat the Bat added a couple of late inning RBIs, but by then fans of both teams were already deep in discussion about whether or not the A’s were gong to hit Blanton as hard as they hit Moyer. And after his epic performance in a must win game, an old debate, heard often in Philadelphia when our grandfathers and great-grandfathers walked the city streets, was dusted off and presented anew: Is Mickey Cochrane the greatest catcher of all time?
GAME NOTES: You can check out the box score and play by play here…The A’s had 7 hits in the first 19 innings of this Series. They had 11 hits in the first 4 innings of tonight’s game…After Moyer and Durbin imploded, the rest of the Phillies bullpen pitched quite well, giving up 4 hits and no runs in 4.1 innings of work…While Al Simmons (3-5, 2 RBI) and Mickey Cochrane (4-6, 5 RBI) broke out of their slumps in a big way, Jimmie Foxx continues to struggle, going 0-4. He’s now 1-12 in the Series…1929 World Series hero Howard Ehmke pitched adequately, but Mack obviously had plans to make this game a “Pitch by committee” affair, as 5 different A’s took the field and Ehmke only went 3 innings…Jimmy Rollins is having an excellent Series so far, going 5-12 with 4 runs scored and 3 stolen bases.