Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Baseball lore: Stu Miller, against the wind

Everything you heard about that All-Star game is wrong, Miller says.

Baseball lore: Stu Miller, against the wind

It now appears that Citizens Bank Park won't become Candlestick east when the Phillies play the Giants tomorrow night.

The wind forecasts have calmed down considerably, and now the calls are for more modest breezes blowing in from left and left-center at under 10 m.p.h. during the game.

That still could have subtle effects on pitches thrown by Roy Halladay and rival Tim Lincecum, but the Bank is not going to turn into a version of San Francisco's Candlestick Park, the Giants' former home, where the winds howled notoriously and relentlessly toward right field.

One man who well recalls Candlestick -- and somewhat fondly -- is Stu Miller, now 82 and living in the Sacramento area. Miller is remembered for being the pitcher who was blown off the mound by a gust during the 1961 All-Star Game at Candlestick, at the time his home park.

Reached this afternoon, some 49 years later, he continued to insist that he is wrongfully remembered.

Miller said two men were on and slugger Rocky Colavito was batting when he entered the game. It was the ninth inning. The winds had been relatively calm that afternoon, until a gust blew as he was delivering a slow curve.

"The wind pushed me a little bit," Miller said, and he didn't think much about it at the time. But then the American League players started yelling, "'Balk! Balk!'" The home plate agreed, and signaled the runners to advance.

Miller said he was non-plussed; he didn't know what the umpire was talking about. "I don't think anyone in the stands knew what the hell happened," he said. Nevertheless, he said the San Francisco Chronicle had a headline the next day reading, 'Miller blown off mound.' And a legend was born.

 Miller actually had an excellent career, winning over 100 games -- despite playing for the 1956 Phillies -- and finishing with a 3.24 ERA. Miller said the Candlestick wind was his friend, giving his breaking ball an extra bite and wings to a fastball that never would be mistaken for Halladay's or Lincecum's.

 

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
About this blog

Everyone talks about the weather, and here we write about it.

When we’re around and conditions warrant, we’ll keep you updated about what’s coming, but we will do our best always to discuss weather and climate developments in context and remind you that nothing in the atmosphere happens in a vacuum.

Tony Wood has been writing about the atmosphere for The Inquirer for 26 years.

Reach Tony at twood@phillynews.com.

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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