Also Read: The Greatest Game Ever Lost The Cards and Sox. Again (1946). A Lesson from Nuf Ced
After we finished last in 66, young Tony Conigliaro led the league in homers until he was beaned and almost killed in August. Jim Lonborg, our ace, pitched and won the final game of the season to put The Impossible Dream team in the Series. With a healthy Tony, we would have clinched the pennant error and rested Jim for the Series. Instead, while Jim took a much-needed day of rest, Cardinal ace Bob Gibson (recovered from a broken leg) won the first game 2-1.
Lonborg won the second with a one-hitter. Four days later, after Gibson pitched a shutout, Lonborg beat Steve Carlton 3-1 with three hits. That's 18 innings, four hits, one run.
That brought them down to game 7 - Gibson on three days rest, Lonborg on two. I had seats in rightfield. Tony C took the field with his teammates before the game and waved his cap with a radiant grin that was matched by the warmth of our applause. If he had not been beaned, the Sox would have won the pennant comfortably and Lonborg would not have had to pitch the last game of the season. Not only would he be rested, but Tony might have won one or more games with his bat bat in the Series.
Bob was tired and gave three runs. Jim was exhausted and was bombed for seven.