Remembered as a manager in Minnesota, Sam Mele was a decent player
for a few teams, including the Red Sox and Senators. At one time he was
predicted to become the right-handed Ted Williams, a notion at which
Mele scoffed in 2004.
But he had his moments.
On June 10, 1952, Mele tripled and homered in the same inning - the hardest
two hits to get when hitting for the cycle.
That output tied the record for most hits and most runs batted in during a single
inning: Mele drove in six runs with his two hits.
Mele also had a notable but forgotten encounter with Sandy Koufax,
who is largely responsible for the Dodgers beating the Twins in the '65 Series.
The Dodgers' pitching staff was ailing in September of 1955. Brooklyn had lost
three straight. Manager Walter Alston gave Koufax his second career start in a
game against Cincinnati.
Koufax fanned 14 batters, a National League high that season. He allowed two
hits: a two-out single in the first and, after recording his 14th strikeout, a
two-out double in the ninth.
Mele, 32, belted the two-out double.
Mele, the manager, said Koufax was the only guy in baseball he would
pay to see pitch. That was after the Twins lost the World Series in seven games
to the Dodgers.
Still, that '65 team's 102 wins remain a Twins' franchise record. For that, Mele was named The Sporting
News' Manager of the Year in '65, finishing ahead of Los Angeles'