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Cardinals Top Dodgers at Busch Stadium Opener

Apr. 22, 1964 - It was a case of too late and too little for the Los Angeles Dodgers again tonight when the Cardinals outlasted them, 7-6, before the largest home-opener crowd in Busch Stadium history, 31,410 ecstatic spectators.

While dropping their seventh straight game to fall deeper into the National League basement, the Dodgers fought back gamely in the face of extreme adversity.

They lost their ace, Sandy Koufax, after the first inning and were trailing Curt Simmons by six runs after three innings — but they then mounted a counterattack which had Redbird rooters nibbling on their nails in anxiety.

Frank Howard put Los Angeles back in business with a tremendous two-run homer off Simmons in the sixth. The ball landed deep in the arboretum which serves as a center-field background for the hitters.

The line drive traveled an estimated 475 feet, and local historians agreed it was the longest smash they’d ever witnessed in this park.

Koufax, obviously laboring in the first inning, left the game after giving up a three-run homer to outfielder Charlie James, apparently suffering an elbow and forearm injury. Dr. I.C. Middleman, Cardinal physician who examined Koufax in the clubhouse within minutes after he hurt his arm, said he had advised the stellar southpaw to miss his next turn, slated for Sunday in Milwaukee.

“This condition is not too serious, in my opinion,” said Dr. Middleman. “One sees it often in pitchers who throw lots of curveballs.” The medical term for Sandy’s condition, he said, is epicondylitis.

“Right now there is exquisite tenderness in the forearm. It is swollen and in spasm. That’s why he couldn’t control the ball tonight,” said Dr. Middleman. Koufax told the Cardinal physician that his elbow had been hurting him “off and on all spring, but I didn’t say much about it.”

Several times at Vero Beach during spring training, reporters heard Sandy complain that his arm felt “lousy,” and he was quoted to that effect, but no concern was shown by manager Walter Alston or other Dodger brass about their 25-game winner.

Koufax hurled a shutout against St. Louis in the season opener at Dodger Stadium, looking as great as ever, and then was the victim Saturday night of a combined one-hitter by Cincinnati’s Jim Maloney and John Tsitouris.

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