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Tuesday, August 1, 2000
Updated: August 10, 8:13 AM ET
More Info on Gene Mauch

By Nick Acocella
Special to ESPN.com

Signature Game
Sept. 27, 1964 - The Phillies had lost six straight and their 6-game lead less than a week earlier had dwindled to a mere half game. To stop the slide, manager Gene Mauch called on Jim Bunning, even though his ace righthander would be working on only two days rest against the Milwaukee Braves. (Lefthander Chris Short already had started - and lost - with two days rest two days earlier.)

The strategy didn't work. The Braves scored two in the first, and Bunning was battered again in the fourth. His record dropping to 18-7, Bunning allowed seven runs and 10 hits in 3-plus innings as the Phillies lost, 14-8, despite three homers by Johnny Callison.

With the second-place Cincinnati Reds sweeping a doubleheader from the New York Mets to run their winning streak to nine, the Phillies surrendered the National League lead for the first time since July 16. The emotions of the 20,569 fans at Philadelphia's Connie Mack Stadium were best expressed by a banner hanging in the rightfield stands. It read, "Help."

But help didn't come. The Phillies never regained first. Their losing streak reached 10 - with Short and Bunning each losing again on two days rest. For his handling of the pitching staff and the Phillies' fade, Mauch was severely criticized by the Philadelphia fans.

Mauch by the numbers

Career Statistics
Year Tm/Lg AB Runs Hits BA HR RBI OBP SLG
1944 Bro-N 15 2 2 .133 0 2 .235 .200
1947 Pit-N 30 8 9 .300 0 1 .432 .300
1948 Bro-N/Chi-N 151 19 30 .199 1 7 .320 .265
1949 Chi-N 150 15 37 .247 1 7 .339 .333
1950 Bos-N 121 17 28 .231 1 15 .316 .298
1951 Bos-N 20 5 2 .100 0 1 .333 .100
1952 StL-N 3 0 0 .000 0 0 .250 .000
1956 Bos-A 25 4 8 .320 0 1 .393 .320
1957 Bos-A 222 23 60 .270 2 28 .339 .369
TOTAL 9 yrs 737 93 176 .239 5 62 .335 .312

Managing record

By the Numbers
Year TM/L G W L PCT STD
1960 Phi-N 152 58 94 .382 4* (8)
1961 Phi-N 155 47 107 .305 8
1962 Phi-N 161 81 80 .503 7
1963 Phi-N 162 87 75 .537 4
1964 Phi-N 162 92 70 .568 2*
1965 Phi-N 162 85 76 .528 6
1966 Phi-N 162 87 75 .537 4
1967 Phi-N 162 82 80 .506 5
1968 Phi-N 54 27 27 .500 6* (7*)
1969 Mon-N 162 52 110 .321 6E
1970 Mon-N 162 73 89 .451 6E
1971 Mon-N 162 71 90 .441 5E
1972 Mon-N 156 70 86 .449 5E
1973 Mon-N 162 79 83 .488 4E
1974 Mon-N 161 79 82 .491 4E
1975 Mon-N 162 75 87 .463 5E*
1976 Min-A 162 85 77 .525 3W
1977 Min-A 161 84 77 .522 4W
1978 Min-A 162 73 89 .451 4W
1979 Min-A 162 82 80 .506 4W
1980 Min-A 125 54 71 .432 4W (3W)
1981 Cal-A 13 9 4 .692 4W (4W)
Cal-A 50 20 30 .400 7W
1982 Cal-A 162 93 69 .574 1W
1985 Cal-A 162 90 72 .556 2W
1986 Cal-A 162 92 70 .568 1W
1987 Cal-A 162 75 87 .463 6W*
Totals 26 3,942 1,902 2,037 .483
*Tied for position in standing
( )parenthesis reflects team's final standing

Odds 'N' Ends

  • In 1947, the Pirates sent Mauch to the Dodgers in a trade that brought Billy Cox and Preacher Roe, two mainstays of the Boys of Summer, to Brooklyn.

  • Mauch's minor league stops were at Durham (Piedmont League, 1943), Montreal (International League, 1943-44), St. Paul (American Association, 1946), Indianapolis (American Association, 1947), Milwaukee (American Association, 1951-52), Atlanta (Southern Association, 1953) and Los Angeles (1954-56, Pacific Coast League).

  • The only years Mauch played in more than 100 games before 1952 was 1946, when he hit .248 as St. Paul's shortstop.

  • Mauch says he knew he wanted to manage as early as 1943 when he first met Leo Durocher, the Dodgers manager when Mauch signed.

  • Twenty-six years later, during Mauch's first season with Montreal, an angry Durocher, then the Chicago Cubs manager, blasted Mauch, "As long as that little genius manages your team, it'll finish last."

  • On June 29, 1961, Mauch listed three pitchers as position players in the Phillies' lineup, because he wasn't sure whether the Giants starter would be a righthander or lefthander. When Billy O'Dell, a southpaw, began the game, Mauch replaced the three pitchers with righthanded batters. But Giants manager Alvin Dark outmaneuvered Mauch, lifting O'Dell for a righthander after one batter. The Giants won in 11 innings on a homer by Willie Mays.

  • Mauch's expertise in baseball's rules has led to some bizarre situations. On July 4, 1966, he smacked Jerry Grote in the arm as the Mets catcher reached into the Philadelphia dugout to catch a pop foul. The rules say a player reaches into an opposing dugout at his own peril.

  • Mauch protested a game when umpire Ed Vargo called three balls on a Phillies pitcher for going to his mouth during his warmups on May 1, 1968. National League president Warren Giles did not uphold the protest, but instructed umpires not to call a ball in similar circumstances, because the ball is dead while a pitcher warms up.

  • While managing Montreal, Mauch attacked Philadelphia ace Steve Carlton in the aftermath of several beanballs on June 25, 1972.

  • He won National League Manager of the Year honors with Montreal in 1973.

  • In the final game of the 1976 season, Mauch almost got into a fight with Hal McRae, who accused the Twins manager of ordering outfielder Steve Brye to allow George Brett's fly ball to drop, thereby giving Brett (who is white) the batting title over McRae (who is black).

  • One of the ironies of Mauch's resignation with Minnesota in 1980 is that only a few months later owner Calvin Griffith sprang for one of the heftiest free-agent contracts in the club's history, holding onto shortstop Roy Smalley, Jr., who is Mauch's nephew.

  • One of Mauch's favorite ploys was to have his infielders drop a pop fly and take a forceout at second when there was a fast runner on first and a slow runner hitting.

  • Another was to signal a pitcher to throw behind a batter instead of pitching out when he thought the opposing team was going to hit-and-run. That way, the batter couldn't even throw his bat at the pitch.

  • He taught infielders to put on an act to convince baserunners that a popup was a ground ball and get them to run full speed; the Phillies once doubled up Frank Robinson with just such a performance.

  • Among his four major league managerial stops, Mauch had a winning record just with California (379-332).

  • Only Connie Mack, John McGraw, Bucky Harris and Sparky Anderson managed more than Mauch's 3,942 games.

  • Only Mack (3,948) and Harris (2,218) lost more games than Mauch (2,037).