The San Francisco Giants announced on Monday that former pitcher Stu Miller passed away Sunday in his home in Cameron Park, California, after a brief illness.
In a career spanning sixteen seasons, Miller played for the Giants from 1957 through 1962, appearing in the first of two All-Star Games in 1961, and creating quite a memorable moment in both the history of newly-opened Candlestick Park, and the All-Star classic itself.
Often described as having been blown off Candlestick’s mound by a particularly fierce gust of wind, what actually happened was that the wind caused Miller to sway on the mound to the point where a balk was called, advancing Roger Maris to second and Al Kaline to third.
Was Miller “blown off the mound” at Candlestick Park? If not, then others certainly were.
After Kaline scored on an error, Giants catcher Smoky Burgess dropped a wind-swirled pop fly by Tony Kubek for an error. Ultimately, Roberto Clemente knocked in the winning run in the tenth for the National League’s 5-4 victory.
By his own admission he was not an overpowering pitcher by any means. In an interview conducted by Todd Newville, http://www.baseballtoddsdugout.com/stumiller.html, Miller once said in response to being asked how he became one of baseball’s premier relief pitchers with the Giants and Baltimore Orioles in the sixties, “Good control and deception. I was an off-speed pitcher and I relied on keeping the batter’s timing off. I could throw a fastball that looked like a curveball.”
Miller played for the Orioles from 1963-67, winning a world series ring in 1966 when Baltimore swept the Los Angeles Dodgers. He also combined with Steve Barber on April 30th, 1967, to pitch a no-hitter in which the Orioles lost, 2-1, because the two runs scored on a wild pitch and an error in the ninth inning.
Miller logged a career win/loss record of 105-103 with 154 saves and 3.24 ERA in 704 lifetime appearances. Larry Baer made a statement in which he expressed the San Francisco Giants’ deepest condolences to the family, and stated that Miller had a long and distinguished career, some of his best years coming as a Giant.
For many, Stu Miller is frozen in time on the mound at Candlestick Park, forever being buffeted by the wind that never quit.