Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Card Of The Week October 19

With the Hawks defeating the Fighters yesterday, the teams for this year's Nippon Series are set - for the third time, the Hanshin Tigers will face the Hawks.  The Tigers have now faced all three incarnations of the Hawks - Nankai in 1964, Daiei in 2003 and Softbank in 2014.

The 1964 Series is interesting for a number of reasons - it was the last Nippon Series before the Giants' V9 run.  It was the last Nippon Series won by Hall of Fame manager Kazuto Tsuruoka, who managed the Hawks from 1946 to 1968.  (Actually maybe that's not so interesting - Tsuruoka only won two Nippon Series - the other was in 1959.  And he lead the Hawks to the 1965 and 1966 Pacific League pennants, only to be defeated by the Giants in the Series.)  But mostly it's interesting due to the performance of Joe Stanka of the Hawks.

Stanka had an impressive season in 1964, going 26-7 with an ERA of 2.40.  He threw 6 shutouts during the season and was voted the MVP of the league (I'm assuming that the announcement of the award wasn't until after the Series).  But his performance in the season was even better.

He threw a complete game, 3 hit shutout in Game One.  He came back three days later to start Game Three, but he was knocked out by the Tigers in the third inning.  He threw 2 1/3 innings and was charged with 4 earned runs, taking the loss.  Five days later, he took the mound for Game Six with the Hawks down 3 games to 2 in the Series.  He threw another complete game shutout, this time only giving up 2 hits.  Then he came back THE VERY NEXT DAY and threw yet another complete game shutout in Game Seven to win the Series for the Hawks.  His numbers for the Series were a 3-1 record with a 1.23 ERA in the four games.  As you might expect, he was named MVP of the Series, the first Westerner to win that award (three years earlier he had been the first Westerner to win the Fighting Sprit award, a sort of MVP for the losing team in the Nippon Series).

Here's a card of Stanka from the 2013 BBM Hawks 75th Anniversary set, apparently showing him celebrating winning the MVP award:

2013 BBM 75th Anniversary #14

1 comment:

Sean said...

That was an insanely impressive performance by Stanka.

I`m pretty excited about this year`s matchup between the Tigers and Hawks. I heard that Akiyama is going to be stepping down as Hawks manager after the season, which is a shame as he has been a really great one for them. Think I`ll be rooting for the Hawks in the hope that he can go out on top.