(Busch Stadium) While the Cardinals and New York Mets and a nice rivalry in the mid-80s, things became equally heated with the San Francisco Giants. That escalated in the National League Championship Series of 1987.
Old-school by nature and not afraid to pitch inside or handle business on more direct terms, Danny Cox would have likely ended Jeffrey Leonard’s one-flap down trot, but he didn’t have to. Bob Forsch took care of it.
“I’m glad it was Bob,” stated Cox. “Because what he has done for the St. Louis Cardinals. He was the main cat here for a while. Even with me and Tud, and Joaquin–Bob Forsch was still the man we looked up to because of his body of work, his knowledge of the game, and helping me out as a young kid coming up–these pitches, that pitch, and all that. For him to do what he did, it showed a statement of who the Cardinals are. Not that I couldn’t have done it or John couldn’t have done it, but no, Forschie said I’ll go ahead and take care of this guys.”
Leonard had circled the bases, slowly, with his left-arm pinned to his side after a home run in Game 2. He added another homer in Game 3 before Forsch came in to relieve and plunked him on the following at-bat.
“One time before a game, he said ‘don’t say nothing’. I’m getting ready to go out on the mound and I say what are you talking about? He says ‘just don’t say nothing.’ I didn’t know what he was talking about so I’m warming up, boom, I throw my pitches. Guy comes up, first pitch I throw–I mean right down the middle. Bruce Froeming’s behind the plate and I was a rookie. He steps out to the side of the plate and says ‘Ball One’ and looked at me dead in the eyes saying that. I didn’t do anything. I got the ball back and was like oh, that’s what he was talking about. When I came in, (Forsch) gave me a high-five.”
Danny Cox made his own statement against the San Francisco Giants, blanking them for a complete game 6-0 victory in Game 7.
“Yeah, for a personal accomplishment, I know it’s a team game, but to be in that situation and to throw a game like that,” agreed Cox. “The defense and the hitting’s great, but for me personally, it would have to be up there with my first game.”
(That first game was August 6th, 1983. Cox threw 10.0 shutout innings and struck out 8 Phillies as the Cardinals lost 1-0)
“Pitching a complete game, a shutout, and going to the World Series after that as a personal thing, yeah for sure,” he continued. “It was something that internally, you feel good. You work hard and not everybody gets that opportunity to be in that situation. Then to be fortunate enough to do what I did, it’s a good feeling.
“You just tip your cap and say thanks Big Man, and then go out there and work. Keep working. That hard work is why you do–try to get to those situations, and your maturity level, and relax and trust in yourself, those are things you’ve got to do. Then when the game’s over, you look back and say way to go man.”