Pennant Race

The Milwaukee Braves were hosting the Cincinnati Redlegs in a crucial series. The Reds were known as the Redlegs in those years so we’d know they weren’t commies, this being the McCarthy Era.

Warren Spahn was on the mound for the Braves; Milton Famey pitched for the Redlegs. Famey was looking great that day. He had all his stuff and the Braves hitters couldn’t touch him; not the great Eddie Mathews, not the feared Hank Aaron. As the zeros piled up on the scoreboard, a perfect game was on the horizon. Spahn was pitching a gem as well, and as the seventh inning stretch rolled around, it was still a scoreless tie. The Braves were getting desperate. Lew Burdette snuck off and arranged a little plot.

A beautiful woman lured Milton Famey up the tunnel from the dugout and convinced him to join her for a beer, with an unspoken promise of more to come after the game.

Milt went out and pitched a perfect seventh and eighth. When he came to the mound for the bottom of the ninth, something had changed. The beer had taken effect. His pinpoint control was not quite the same. He walked Mathews to open the inning. He followed that with a walk to Aaron. Reds fans began to worry, but he struck out Frank Torre on 4 pitches and forced Harry Hanebrook to ground out before walking the bases full. The pitching coach came out and Famey assured him all was well. The no-hitter was still in play.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 1954-ad-says-schlitz-beer-made-milwaukee-famous.jpg
1954 Schlitz ad

Catcher Del Crandall stepped to the plate and swung and missed on a blazing fastball. A wicked curve caught him looking. He took the count to 3-2. He fouled off the next four pitches. Finally, Famey missed low and away and the winning run walked in. He lost while pitching a no-hitter.

Once the story came to light, that seventh inning stretch can of Schlitz became known as “The Beer That Made Milt Famey Walk Us.” 

Author: halffastcyclingclub

We are a group of friends who ride bikes. Some of us are fast, some of us are slow, all of us are half-fast. In 2018, one of us is riding coast to coast across the US. If we meet Sal Paradise, we'll let you know.

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