St. Louis Cardinals Opening Day 1981 – Highlighted by Triple Play!

Saturday, April 11, 1981, 1:54PM, Busch Stadium II
Attendance: 38,473, Time of Game: 2:07

Starting Lineups

Philadelphia Phillies

1 Pete Rose 1B
2 Manny Trillo 2B
3 Bake McBride RF
4 Mike Schmidt 3B
5 Gary Matthews LF
6 Garry Maddox CF
7 Larry Bowa SS
8 Bob Boone C
9 Dick Ruthven P

St Louis Cardinals

Garry Templeton SS
Ken Oberkfell 3B
Keith Hernandez 1B
George Hendrick RF
Darrell Porter C
Sixto Lezcano LF
Tony Scott CF
Tom Herr 2B
Bob Forsch

This game is highlighted by a Cardinals triple play!

In the first inning Pete Rose doubles followed by a Manny Trillo walk and a Mike Schmidt home run and right away the Phillies lead 3-0. The Cardinals get two back in the bottom of the 4th as Templeton doubles, Oberkfell walks and Keith Hernandez doubles them both home and now the Cardinals trail 3-2.

A two out home run by catcher Bob Boone in the seventh inning bumps the Phillies lead to 4-2. In the 8th the Phillies get back-to-back singles from Rose, Trillo and McBride the make it 5-2. The Cardinals counter with Jim Kaat on the mound to replace Bob Forsch and he intentionally walks Schmidt t load the bases to face Gary Mathews and he proceeds to hit into a triple play.

Gary Matthews (PHI) is the batter with a 2-2 count. He hits a low line drive trapped by the SS (Garry Templeton) but ump rules a catch (OUT 1)

SS thinking he had trapped ball threw home to C (Darrell Porter) who stepped on the plate (no force) and threw to the 1B (Keith Hernandez). Runner on first,

Mike Schmidt, had already tagged up. So 1B threw to 2B (Tom Herr) who tagged Schmidt (OUT 2)

2B throws to the 3B (Ken Oberkfell) who puts the tag on the runner from second, Bake McBride (OUT 3)

The Cardinals lose 5-2 but they are in the record books for a triple play on Opening Day 1981.

Previous Opening Day Series

1966   1967   1968   1969   1970   

 

1971   1972   1973   1974   1975
1976   1977   1978   1979   1980 

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After Opening Day

The St. Louis Cardinals 1981 season was the team’s 100th season in St. Louis, Missouri and the 90th season in the National League. 1981 was a season of two significant anomalies: A change in the playoff format, which created the first-ever Divisional Series with a qualification variant that existed only for that season, and the players’ strike, which truncated the regular season. Despite finishing 59-43, good for the best overall record in the National League East, the strike set up the scenario where the Cardinals actually missed the playoffs. The regular season was split into halves to tally teams’ records separately in each half of the season, and because the Cardinals finished in second place in each half, they did not qualify for the 1981 playoffs. Major League Baseball reverted to the previous playoff format the following season, and the Cardinals qualified for that postseason.
First baseman Keith Hernandez won a Gold Glove this year.

Notable transactions
April 3, 1981: Julio González was signed as a free agent by the Cardinals.
April 29, 1981: Bill Lyons was signed as a free agent by the Cardinals.
June 7, 1981: Tony Scott was traded by the Cardinals to the Houston Astros for Joaquín Andújar.
June 8, 1981: Major League Baseball Draft
Tom Nieto was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 3rd round.
Danny Cox was drafted by the Cardinals in the 13th round.
September 10, 1981: Joe Edelen and Neil Fiala were traded by the Cardinals to the Cincinnati Reds for Doug Bair