The day the ‘Secret Weapon’ pitched 4 innings


On May 14, 1988, St. Louis Cardinals utility man Jose Oquendo pitched four innings and suffered the 7-5 loss in a 19-inning game against the Atlanta Braves at Busch Stadium 2.

Oquendo, aka “The Secret Weapon,” allowed two runs in the 19th and four hits overall while walking six and fanning one. Opposing pitcher Rick Mahler got the win with eight innings of scoreless relief.

Oquendo, recounting some of his memories of that night when manager Whitey Herzog ran out of pitchers, said one of them was “we left the bases loaded and we didn’t score.”

That happened in the 18th when Duane Walker lined into a double play, taking a potential win away form Oquendo. Oquendo then allowed a two-run double to Ken Griffey Sr., in the 19th. The game lasted 5 hours 40 minutes and was started for the Cardinals by Cris Carpenter.

No, not that one. This Carpenter was a former University of Georgia punter and pitcher.

The next day, though Oquendo barely could raise his arm above his waist, he played center field. Willie McGee was injured and when Herzog asked Oquendo if he could play the outfield, Oquendo was too professional to say no.

“We know our roles,” said Oquendo. “We can’t say much in those situations.”

But Oquendo admitted, “I was hurt from head to toe.”

When asked 25 years later how long it took his arm to bounce back, Oquendo said, “It…

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