Here’s a story that is definitely a blast from the past.
It’s courtesy of master raconteur Rick Auerbach, an ace bowler who played 11 seasons in the major leagues as an infielder from 1971 to 1981, including three years with the Dodgers.
As he was waiting his turn at Corbin Bowl on Wednesday night, he was asked about his most memorable moments as a big-leaguer.
He talked briefly about his home run off Vida Blue in 1978 before looking back 42 years to another memory.
“My all-time highlight was in 1971 when I was with the Milwaukee Brewers,” said Auerbach, a right-handed hitter and former standout for Taft High School in Woodland Hills.
“Jim Slaton was a pitcher and my roommate and it was our first year in the big leagues. We broke in together. He was from Napa Valley and both of our parents drove to Oakland for our game with the A’s.
“Blue Moon Odom was the pitcher for the A’s and Jim Slaton was pitching for the Brewers. He wound up pitching a shutout and I hit a home run to win the game, 1-0.
“And then all of our families went out that night and celebrated.”
The 6-foot, 165-pound Auerbach also played a key role as the shortstop, picking up a slow roller hit by Sal Bando and turning a double play.
Slaton finished 10-8 that season and compiled a 16-year major league career in which he went 151-158. His shutout was one of four he pitched in his rookie season.
Auerbach, known more for his defense and speed than his slugging skills, finished the season with 236 at-bats and one homer – the game-winner against the A’s.
Incidentally, the right-handed Odom was no slouch, pitching for 13 seasons and helping Oakland win three consecutive World Series titles from 1972 to 1974.