Former big league pitcher Stu Miller passed away at the age of 87 following a brief illness.
Miller pitched in the majors for 16 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies, New York/San Francisco Giants, Baltimore Orioles and Atlanta Braves. He was arguably the best relief pitcher of his era. Miller began to enjoy success when the Giants moved to San Francisco in 1958. That year Miller led the NL with a 2.47 ERA.
In 1961, Miller would lead the NL in saves with 17. That year, while pitching in the All-Star Game in Candlestick Park, a gust of wind made Miller lose his balance and balk. In the years that have followed, the legend has gone that the wind blew the 165 pound reliever off the mound. Despite this, Miller would be the winning pitcher of that All-Star Game.
Miller would be dealt to the Baltimore Orioles prior to the 1963 season. In his first season in Baltimore, Miller would lead the AL in saves with 27. His best overall season might have been in 1965 when he went 14-7 with a 1.89 ERA and 24 saves.
Miller’s best pitch was his change up. It was said that he threw at three speeds — slow, slower and slowest.
In 1967, Miller and Steve Barber would combine on a no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers. However, the Orioles lost the game 2-1 on a wild pitch and two errors. A couple of weeks later, Miller would surrender Mickey Mantle’s 500th career home run.
Miller finished his career with a record of 105-103 with a 3.24 ERA and 154 saves.
UPDATE: Wlady, ever the Dodgers fan, sent me the lyrics of a Danny Kaye song about the Dodgers-Giants rivalry titled “D-O-D-G-E-R-S (Oh Really? No, O’Malley). I must admit I hadn’t heard of the song, but I shouldn’t be surprised. Kaye later became one of the original owners of the Seattle Mariners. Anyhow, Stu Miller plays a prominent role in the song:
Stu Miller throws
Cepeda runs to field the ball and Hiller covers first
Haller runs to back up Hiller, Hiller crashes into Miller
Miller falls, drops the ball & Conlon calls “Safe!”
Those were the days. I wish I had been there.
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