October 20, 1982: Joaquin Andujar and Bruce Sutter stifle the Brewers to win World Series Game 7

In the right-field bleachers, Cardinals fans hung a bedsheet declaring that evening’s starting pitcher, Joaquin Andujar, “one tough Dominican” in honor of the right-hander’s favorite self-description.

On October 21, 1982, Andujar proved to be exactly that, pitching seven innings to lead the Cardinals to a 6-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 7 of the World Series. Just five days earlier, Andujar was writhing on the ground in agony after Cecil Cooper smashed a ground ball back up the middle and struck Andujar in the leg. Andujar was removed from the game and taken to the hospital, where x-rays were negative.

However, by the time the Cardinals had wrapped up a 13-1, rain-delayed victory in Game 6 to force the decisive seventh game, there was little doubt that manager Whitey Herzog would hand the ball to his ace with the world championship on the line.

“I told my teammates before the game that nobody was going to beat me today,” Andujar said. “I told them, ‘You’d better keep the champagne handy because we’re going to be drinking it.’”[1]

“I was afraid if I didn’t give him the ball, I’d be one dead manager,” Herzog joked.[2]

Andujar had received treatment on Monday, October 18, during the Cardinals’ off day ahead of Game 6, but on Tuesday he declined treatment and told the team he was ready for Game 7.

“I’ll give it my best tomorrow,” he said. “I’ve been hit on the knee before and never missed a start.”[3]

“I’m sure he’s going to have some tenderness and soreness there, but this is the seventh game of the World Series,” Cardinals trainer Gene Gieselmann said. “I was having my doubts, but when he came in yesterday (Monday), I thought he had a pretty good chance of pitching.”[4]

Andujar already had won Game 3 of the NLCS against the Braves and Game 3 of the World Series, when he held the Brewers scoreless with just three hits allowed in 6 1/3 innings.

Milwaukee countered with former Cardinal Pete Vuckovich. Vuckovich had gone 18-6 with a 3.34 ERA during the regular season on his way to the American League Cy Young Award, but by the time he took the mound for Game 7, it had been a month since his last win. After dropping his last two starts of the regular season, Vuckovich had taken the loss in Game 2 of the ALCS and received a no-decision in Game 5 against the Angels.

In his World Series Game 3 start against the Cardinals, Vuckovich went 8 2/3 innings, but allowed two home runs to Willie McGee in a 6-2 St. Louis victory.

This time around, Vuckovich worked in and out of trouble as the Cardinals stranded six baserunners in the first three innings. In the second inning, Tom Herr drew a walk between singles from Dane Iorg and Ozzie Smith. With the bases loaded, Vuckovich got Lonnie Smith to fly out to right field, ending the threat.

An inning later, Keith Hernandez walked and George Hendrick singled before Vuckovich retired Darrell Porter and Iorg to maintain the scoreless tie.

The Cardinals finally broke through in the fourth. McGee and Herr singled to start the inning, and Lonnie Smith scored McGee on an infield single to give St. Louis a 1-0 lead.

It proved to be a short-lived advantage, as Ben Oglivie hit Andujar’s first pitch of the fifth inning over the right-field wall to tie the score, 1-1.

The Brewers took the lead an inning later. Jim Gantner led off the inning with a double, and Paul Molitor followed with a bunt down the third-base line. Andujar pounced on the ball but threw wildly to first base, allowing Gantner to score and Molitor to advance to second. Robin Yount followed with an infield single that advanced Molitor to third base and Cecil Cooper brought Molitor home with a sacrifice fly to left field.

Trailing 3-1, the Cardinals answered with two runs in the sixth inning. With one out, Ozzie Smith singled and Lonnie Smith doubled down the left-field line.

“That was the big hit of the ballgame as far as I was concerned,” Molitor said. “You just get the lead and all of a sudden you look up and you see the tying run at second base with one out.”[5]

With runners at second and third, Brewers manager Harvey Kuenn turned to his bullpen. In 5 1/3 innings, Vuckovich had allowed 10 hits and walked two.

“I get paid to take the ball when they give it to me and give it back when they ask for it,” Vuckovich said, before admitting that he had tears in his eyes after being removed from the game.[6]

Left-hander Bob McClure didn’t demonstrate Vuckovich’s ability to dance out of danger. McClure walked pinch-hitter Gene Tenace to load the bases before Keith Hernandez hit a two-run single into the right-field gap to tie the score. The next batter, George Hendrick, followed with an RBI single to give the Cardinals a 4-3 lead.

Afterwards, Brewers catcher Ted Simmons pointed to that inning as the turning point.

“They got the big hits,” the former Cardinals all-star said. “They deserved to win. We got the lead and we couldn’t hold them.”[7]

Andujar closed out his day with a strong seventh inning. With two outs, Charlie Moore reached on an infield single, but Andujar got Gantner to bounce a ground ball back to him for the final out. With the inning over, Andujar – as he often did when he made big plays – made a “shooting” gesture at Gantner.

In response, the Brewers second baseman shouted, “You’re a hot dog,” twice at Andujar. The Cardinals’ pitcher had to be restrained from Gantner by home-plate umpire Lee Weyer.

“When I repeated to him my hot dog comment, he came at me,” Gantner said. “People like him who like to dish it out should learn to take it. I respect him as a pitcher, but that’s all.”[8]

Andujar, who called Gantner “a smart man,” suggested afterward that Gardner was attempting to goad him into a fight.[9] Regardless, Andujar’s day was done after allowing just two earned runs and seven hits over seven innings. With a one-run lead, Herzog handed the ball to Bruce Sutter for the final two innings.

“This was the big one, and I was going to be a hero or goat, but I wanted to be the one out there pitching,” Sutter said. “That’s been my job all year long.”[10]

Acquired in a December 1980 trade with the Cubs, Sutter had led baseball with 36 saves that season.

“For my money, there’s nobody I’d rather have out there than Bruce Sutter,” Cardinals pitcher Jim Kaat said. “Even when he was struggling this year, when the fans were hollering boos instead of ‘Bruce,’ I said that I don’t care how many he loses, I can’t think of another pitcher I’d rather have on the mound with a one-run lead.”[11]

It couldn’t have gone to plan any better. Facing the top of the Brewers’ lineup in the eighth, Sutter retired Molitor, Young, and Cooper in order.

“He’s the main man on that ballclub,” Molitor said. “Take away him and they are not better than a lot of other clubs. They are not a team you expect to come from behind. If you get them down, you can keep them down, but if they get the lead, it’s usually, ‘See you later.’”[12]

In the Cardinals’ half of the inning, they added a pair of insurance runs as Porter and Steve Braun each hit RBI singles off Brewers reliever Mike Caldwell. Ahead 6-3, Sutter got Simmons and Ben Oglivie to ground out before striking out Gorman Thomas to clinch the Cardinals’ first World Series championship in 15 years.

Ironically, Sutter’s historic strikeout didn’t come on his best pitch – the split-finger fastball. Instead, after Thomas fouled off four split-finger fastballs, Sutter turned away from the pitch that had made him a future Hall of Famer.

“I had a three-run lead and nobody on, so I gave him a fastball,” Sutter explained. “I just wanted to throw it down the middle.”[13]

When Thomas swung and missed, Porter threw off his mask and charged the mound, knocking Sutter off his feet in the postgame celebration.

“You couldn’t think of a better ending to the World Series,” Iorg said. “The best reliever in baseball against the best-hitting team in baseball. Your best against their best.”[14]

It marked Sutter’s third save of the postseason.

“I don’t think it will really hit me until this winter,” Sutter said. “I’ll be sitting up there on a deer stand and I’ll start yelling. I won’t get any deer, but I’ll have a good time.”[15]

Porter, who already earned NLCS MVP honors against the Braves, was named the World Series MVP after going 8-for-28 with a home run and five RBIs in the Fall Classic.

“Hoo-ee, I’ve been to two county fairs and a goat roast and I ain’t never seen nothin’ like this,” he said as observed the postgame celebration.[16]

Hendrick, another candidate for World Series MVP honors, missed the celebration. Instead of returning to the clubhouse with his teammates, he exited the field through the gate in right field and went straight to his car in the parking lot.

“The next day I called him up and said, ‘Where were you?’” pitcher Bob Forsch recalled. “He said, ‘I just wanted you guys to enjoy it. I was listening to the celebration in my car while I was driving home.’”[17]


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[1] John Hughes, “Herzog’s genius was the difference,” Wisconsin State Journal, October 21, 1982.

[2] Rick Hummel, “Cards’ Goal: Bury Brewers With Wounded Knee,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 20, 1982.

[3] Rick Hummel, “Cards’ Goal: Bury Brewers With Wounded Knee,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 20, 1982.

[4] Rick Hummel, “Cards’ Goal: Bury Brewers With Wounded Knee,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 20, 1982.

[5] Bill Brophy, “Season of miracles ends,” Wisconsin State Journal, October 21, 1982.

[6] Neal Russo, “Brewers Credit The Cardinals, And Vuckovich Takes The Blame,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 21, 1982.

[7] Ed Wilks, “Simmons Remained At The Front In Class,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 21, 1982.

[8] Neal Russo, “Andujar Style Is ‘Hot Dog’ To Gantner,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 21, 1982.

[9] Neal Russo, “Andujar Style Is ‘Hot Dog’ To Gantner,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 21, 1982.

[10] Mike Smith, “A Ring For Sutter’s ‘Split Finger,’” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 21, 1982.

[11] Mike Smith, “A Ring For Sutter’s ‘Split Finger,’” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 21, 1982.

[12] Bill Brophy, “Season of miracles ends,” Wisconsin State Journal, October 21, 1982.

[13] Mike Smith, “A Ring For Sutter’s ‘Split Finger,’” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 21, 1982.

[14] Mike Smith, “A Ring For Sutter’s ‘Split Finger,’” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 21, 1982.

[15] Mike Smith, “A Ring For Sutter’s ‘Split Finger,’” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 21, 1982.

[16] Kevin Horrigan, “It Was The Time For Series Victory,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 21, 1982.

[17] Bob Forsch with Tom Wheatley (2013), Tales from the St. Louis Cardinals Dugout, New York; Sport Publishing, Page 31.