TRACY STALLARD BIO


Evan Tracy Stallard (born August 31, 1937, in Coeburn, Virginia) is a retired  Major League Baseball pitcher who played in the big leagues from 1960 to 1966. Tracy broke in with the Boston Red Sox and later played with the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals. Tracy is most remembered for yielding New York Yankees slugger Roger Maris' 61st home run in 1961.

Early career

Tracy began his professional career in Minor League Baseball with the Lafayette Red Sox of the Class D Midwest League from 1956 to 1957. Over the two seasons, he notched up win-loss records of 5-8 and 7-12, respectively. For the 1958 season, he was promoted to the Raleigh Capitals of the Class B Carolina League, where he posted a 9-6 record and a 3.09 earned run average. 1959 had several stops for Tracy, the first being the Class AAA Minneapolis Millers of the American Association. He threw for a 7-11 record and a 3.51 ERA. He also saw time with the Class A Eastern League Allentown Red Sox, where he posted a 9-4 record with a dominant 1.68 ERA. In the 1960 season, when Tracy was eventually called up to the major leagues, he posted a 4-5 record with a 4.82 ERA for Allentown.

Boston Red Sox

Tracy Stallard appeared in four games in his debut season of 1960. He faced 15 batters without giving up a single hit, and amassed 6 strikeouts. Three of his appearances were against the New York Yankees.1961 marked Tracy's first full season in Major League Baseball, starting in 14 games and playing in the relief role for 29. Right-handed batters only hit .209 off Tracy for the season. He also had a strong month of May, tallying a 2.70 ERA with 16 strikeouts in 10 innings of relief. On July 16, Tracy was given his first Major League start. In 6 innings pitched, Tracy gave up one earned run on six hits, but he would get a no decision as Boston reliever, Arnold Earley blew a 1-0 lead which eventually led to a 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox. Tracy's first victory came on August 10, striking out eight in 8 innings pitched in a 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins. He started in 14 of his last 15 appearances for the season going 2-7 with a 5.00 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 86 innings pitched as a starter.

 

Roger Maris's 61st Home Run

On October 1, 1961, New York Yankees outfielder Roger Maris hit his 61st home run of the season off Tracy Stallard, breaking Babe Ruth's single season record of 60.

The contest between the Red Sox and the Yankees was the final game of the season with Tracy, then 2-6, facing off against Yankees right-hander Bill Stafford (12-9). In the first duel between Maris and Stallard in the first inning, Stallard threw a changeup to Maris that ended up being a soft fly to left field. In the fourth inning, Tracy fell behind 2-0 to Maris. Up to that point, Tracy had said that he was probably having the best game he had ever pitched. Tracy threw a fastball, and Maris hit it over the wall for his 61st home run. It was Maris' only hit off Tracy in seven lifetime at bats.

Tracy  felt no regret over the ordeal, saying, "I'm glad he did it off me. My price just went up on the banquet circuit!  To this day, Tracy admits that he has "had a good time with it."  "It's nice to be remembered", he says. Tracy struck out five batters and gave up only five hits and just the one earned run in seven innings on the outing, but the Red Sox failed to score in a 1-0 loss, dropping him to a final record of 2-7 for the season.


Tracy appeared in only one game for the Red Sox in 1962, spending the rest of the season with the minor league Class AAA Seattle Rainiers, where he threw for a 7-6 record and a 3.49 ERA.

New York Mets

Tracy resumed full-time major league pitching duty with the young New York Mets in 1963.  Boston had shipped him along with Pumpsie Green and Al Moran to the Mets for Felix Mantilla on December 11, 1962.

Tracy again started in the relief role for his first 13 games, but was finally given the opportunity to start on June 2. The game against the Pittsburgh Pirates was his first start since the day Roger Maris hit his 61st home run of the season. Tracy responded to the promotion by notching up a 2.28 ERA with 27 strikeouts in 43 1⁄3 innings for the entire month of June. Afterwards, though, Tracy's season struggled.  He ended with a record of 6-17 to go with a 4.71 ERA.

Despite improving his ERA in 1964 to 3.79, Tracy still led the MLB with 20 losses to accompany only 10 wins. Although the record wasn't great, Tracy was still tied for 2nd with Jack Fisher for the highest amount of wins for the Mets, only one behind Al Jackson (11-16). Tracy also gained the unfortunate distinction (albeit less well-known) as the starting pitcher that lost in Jim Bunning's perfect game on June 21, giving up six earned runs in 5 2⁄3 innings. Tracy's biggest problem in notching up wins for the Mets that season was the fact that in 11 of his games pitched,  the Mets scored one or no runs. While with the Mets, Tracy developed something of a taste for New York's night life, dating, among others, actress Julie Newmar, who would go on to play Catwoman in the Batman television series.

St. Louis Cardinals

On December 7, 1964, Tracy joined the St. Louis Cardinals in a move that sent Elio Chacon and him to the Cards in exchange for Johnny Lewis and Gordie Richardson.

Tracy had the best season of his career in his first year with the Cardinals in 1965. After pitching in his first three games as a reliever, Tracy was moved to starter on April 24, and began the season 7-3 with a 2.80 ERA. In May alone, he went 3-0 with a 2.31 ERA in 50 innings.

Though going only 3-2 from September 1 to the end of the season, Tracy still threw for a 2.41 ERA in 33 innings over the period. He finished the season 11-8 with a 3.38 ERA. Among Cardinals starters, his win total and ERA were second only to future Hall of Famer,  Bob Gibson, who had 20 wins and a 3.07 ERA.

Late career

During the 1966 season, Tracy was vocal about his displeasure of being assigned to the bullpen, though he had a 6.10 ERA at the time and had just came off three consecutive games where he gave up one or more earned runs in relief. Playing with a sore arm, he was promoted back to the starting role on June 4, but it only amounted to a 5.71 ERA in seven starts, averaging only five innings per outing.

His final start on July 19, against the Atlanta Braves was a tough one.  Pitching injured, he gave up five earned runs in just 3 innings pitched.  The Cardinals fought back to prevail 10-9 in 12 innings, but physical damage had been done. Tracy played his final Major League game on July 24 against the Chicago Cubs on the front-end of a doubleheader. He came in to pitch in the bottom of the 6th, and gave up a home run to the first batter he faced, Ron Santo. He pitched into the 7th, and after giving up another run, reliever Joe Hoerner replaced him on the mound.

Soon after his final appearance, the Cardinals reassigned Tracy to the Class AAA Tulsa Oilers of the Pacific Coast League. From 1967 to 1973, he played for several more minor league teams, including the Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs and High Point-Thomasville Hi-Toms, with stops in Torreón and Córdoba of the Class AAA Mexican League.

Tracy took a season off from pitching in 1968, serving as a pitching coach for the Hi-Toms under then rookie manager Jack McKeon, previously a Minnesota Twins scout and eventual manager of the 2003 World Series champion Florida Marlins and two-time National League Manager of the Year Award winner. Tracy resumed his playing career in 1969 for High Point-Thomasville by posting a 3-4 record and a 2.68 ERA.

Despite posting solid earned run averages in three of his final four seasons (2.68, 2.52, 2.35), Tracy never received a call to the Majors again. In his final season, 1973, he posted a 5-11 record with a 2.35 ERA at Córdoba.

Over the course of his major league career, some Hall of Fame players had a tough time solving Tracy. Willie Mays was a career .200 hitter off him (6-for-30), Willie McCovey stumbled in at .152 (5-for-33, but with 3 home runs), Roberto Clemente hit .138 (4-for-29), and Frank Robinson could only muster a .214 (6-for-28) success rate against the pitcher.