The
NEVADA DUSTERS

Nevada Dusters     July 1963     September 1963
The Story of a
Major League
Baseball Franchise
August 1963
Taking on the Dodgers. (August 5-7)
Game 1 of the series at Dodger Stadium featured a marquee matchup -- Nevada ace Steve Barber (15-3) versus Sandy Koufax (10-2). Koufax pitched seven innings, striking out nine, and while the Dusters had several scoring opportunities while Koufax was on the mound, they always came up short, leaving eleven baserunners stranded. In the 5th, Los Angeles eked out a single run on Barber, who walked Jim Gilliam then surrendered back-to-back singles to Maury Wills and Willie Davis. In the 7th Lee Maye singled and stole second, putting himself in position to tie the game when Billy Williams scorched a single up the middle. The game went into extra innings, and in the top of the 10th, with Ron Perranoski on the hill for Los Angeles, the Dusters surged ahead. Williams opened with a walk, stole second and went to third on a sac bunt by Jim Fregosi. Perranoski issued a pass to Jerry Adair and then George Banks laid down a bunt and Williams scored in a suicide squeeze. Johnny Roseboro drew an intentional walk before pinch hitter Clete Boyer singled through the hole, scoring Adair. Albie Pearson hit a bouncer to third baseman Don Hoak, who threw it away, and Roseboro scored, giving Nevada a 4-1 lead. Ben Naylor summoned his closer, Hal Reniff, confident that the game was well in hand. But Maury Wills reached on a fielding error by shortstop Fregosi, Willie Davis singled, Tommy Davis doubled, Lee Walls walked, and Bill Skowron laced a two-run double to center to tie the game. Williams led off the 11th with a single. Then, as he had done in the 10th, he stole second. Once again Fregosi laid down a sac hunt to advance him to third. Once again Adair was intentionally walked. Julio Gotay singled Williams in, and the Dusters once more had the lead. In the bottom of the 11th Naylor could have let Bill Dailey take the hill. Instead he called on Jim Brewer, giving Brewer -- who three days earlier had surrendered a walk-off homer to Cardinals catcher Gene Oliver -- a chance to redeem himself. It was a gutsy call, and Brewer responded by retiring the side and recording his fifth save. Williams was 3-for-4 on the day, with two runs and an RBI, and Adair went 2-for-4, giving Naylor hope that the second baseman's hitting woes were a thing of the past.

The Dusters had lost their previous two series one game to two, and at this juncture in the season Ben Naylor thought it extremely important that his team break that cycle. In his opinion, Game 2 was all-important, and that it would be possible to hit Dodger starter Johnny Podres. With that in mind he started Gary Kolb in right in place of Lee Maye and J.C. Martin as backstop. In the 2nd, with bases loaded, Martin hit a fly ball deep to center that allowed Jim Fregosi to tag up and score. Then starter Al Downing helped his own cause by singling in Jerry Adair to give Nevada an early 2-0 lead. The Dusters added another run in the 3rd thanks to a throwing error by Dodger shortstop Maury Wills. In the bottom of the 3rd the Dodgers closed the gap when Willie Davis launched a two-run dinger over the center field wall. In the 5th Billy Williams made it 4-2 with a solo round-tripper. Downing self-destructed in the bottom of the 5th, walking two and giving up five singles in a Dodgers rally that put LA up 6-4 and sent him packing. Naylor turned to Jim Brewer, who pitched the Dusters out of the inning without further damage done. Nevada fought back in the 6th against reliever Cal McLish, who struck out the first two batters he faced. But George Banks, pinch hitting for Brewer, drew a walk and the next four Dusters singled, scoring three runs. Naylor called on his bullpen aces to protect the 7-6 lead. Bill Dailey retired the side in the 6th. Claude Raymond allowed a single baserunner in his two innings of work. And Hal Reniff took the mound in the 9th to earn his 38th save of the season. It was the fifth one-run game in a row for the Dusters, and a crucial victory, increasing Nevada's lead over the second-place Cincinnati Reds (who had lost three in a row) to nine games.
In Game 3, Nevada's Dave McNally and his opposite number, John O'Donoghue, put on a pitching exhibition that took the game scoreless into the 4th, when Maury Wills led off the Dodger half of the inning with a triple and scored on a Willie Davis grounder. In the Dusters 5th the Dodger infield committed a pair of errors that, combined with two hits (one of them a three-run homer by Lee Maye), gave Nevada a 5-1 lead. Los Angeles battled back in the bottom of the 5th with three runs on four hits, all of them singles, and the Dusters lead was cut to one run. The relievers entered the fray in the 6th, and Bill Dailey surrendered a home run launched over the left field fence by veteran first baseman Bill Skowron to tie the game. Albie Pearson walked to lead off the Nevada 7th, Donn Clendenon singled, and Maye doubled in Pearson. Then Jim Fregosi singled in Clendenon and Maye, and Nevada was up 8-5. Naylor sent in part of the "hands team" -- J.C. Martin to first, Bob Saverine to second -- and, as usual, put his faith in the bullpen. In the 8th Claude Raymond loaded the bases and gave up one run, but in the 9th Hal Reniff slammed the door, despite the best efforts of Wills who, after reaching on a throwing error by the usually reliable Martin, stole second and then third, where he was stranded. Albie Pearson went 2-for-3 with a pair of walks, a pair of runs, and an RBI, while Vic Power, subbing at second in place of Jerry Adair, was 2-for-4. Lee Maye (2-for-4 with a walk) scored two runs and collected four ribbies, to give him 72 RBIs for the year, third-most on the team behind Adair (75) and Billy Williams (79). Conn Hudson heralded the sweep of the Dodgers as a milestone; the press had been speculating in print, that the Dusters might begin to fade in the stretch, and Hudson insisted that the series in Dodger Stadium, which put third-place Los Angeles 13.5 games back in the NL, proved this was not the case.

Game 1
R
H
E
Dusters (NEV)
5
10
3
Dodgers (LAD)
4
6
1
Game 2
Dusters (NEV)
7
11
0
Dodgers (LAD)
6
9
1
Game 3
Dusters (NEV)
8
11
1
Dodgers (LAD)
6
9
2
Dusters record: 76-32

 Trouble for the Pirates. (August 8-10)
The Dusters had three series with the Pittsburgh Pirates in August, and Conn Hudson hoped that his club could take advantage of the the Bucs underachieving lineup (.243 combined average) and inconsistent pitching staff (4.08 combined ERA). Such was not the case in Game 1, however. Nevada batters collected thirteen hits, but against starter Vern Law they were seldom timely, and often came with two outs in the inning. The Pirates struck first, with a solo homer by Bill Virdon in the 1st. It wasn't until the 5th that the Dusters mounted a threat, as Donn Clendenon hit a two-out single and stole second, Lee Maye was intentionally walked, and Billy Williams reached first on a fielding error to load the bases. But Jim Fregosi hit a quail to left that settled neatly into Bob Skinner's glovem and the threat was over. Nevada finally scored in the 6th when Clete Boyer singled and crossed the plate on a Johnny Roseboro triple, and Roseboro scored on a Vic Power fly ball to center to make it 2-1 Dusters. (In fact, the bottom of the order produced most of the offense, with Jerry Adair going 2-for-5, Boyer 3-for-5, and Roseboro 2-for-4.) Pittsburgh tied it in the bottom of the 6th against reliever Jim Brewer, with Roberto Clemente leading off with a two-bagger and scoring when Bill Mazeroski hit a scalding single through the hole. In the 7th Brewer plunked pinch hitter Ted Savage, who went to second on a Skinner sac bunt and scored on a Clemente infield single. Things were looking up for the Dusters in the 8th as Al McBean replaced Law on the hill and Adair and Boyer singled, and Albie Pearson doubled in Adair to make it 3-3. Clendenon drew a pass but once again the Dusters squandered a bases-loaded situation. Mazeroski doubled to start the Pittsburgh 8th, went to third when Johnny Logan hit an infield single, and scored as the Dusters turned a double play to get Logan and Dick Schofield. Nevada could do nothing in the 9th against Roy Face, and the Pirates won 4-3.
Game 2 was more to Hudson's liking. Billy Williams banged a three-run homer over the center field fence in the 1st against Don Schwall, and any kind of lead with Steve Barber on the mound spelled trouble for the Pirates. Barber gave up a solo home run to Mazeroski in the 2nd, but in the next frame the Dusters added to their lead as the bottom of the order continued to produce -- singles by Adair and Boyer capped off by a Johnny Roseboro single that scored them both -- and it was 5-1. That was it for Schwall, but his relief fared no better. Williams victimized Earl Francis in the 4th with his second long ball, this one for two runs, and in the 8th a pair of Pittsburgh errors led to another run and the score was 8-1. Barber (8.0 ip,  8 h,  2 bb,  2 r,  2 er,  4 k) surrendered another home run in the 5th, this one to Bob Skinner, but that was all the damage the Bucs were going to do while he was on the mound. When he left after eight the Dusters enjoyed a commanding 10-2 lead -- singles by Williams and Jim Fregosi set the table for Boyer's two-run double in the 8th -- and the Nevada dugout was just waiting for the fat lady to sing. Naylor gave the 9th to Bob Duliba, who had seen little action of late, and Duliba was rusty. Two singles and a fielding error by Lee Maye later, the Pirates had loaded the bases. Duliba walked Bill Virdon and it was 10-3. He got Clemente and Jim Pagliaroni out before Lou Klimchock singled in a run. Mazeroski singled in another to make it 10-5. Naylor replaced Duliba with Reniff, who got the last out -- and his 40th save. Barber notched his 16th win of the season. Boyer and Roseboro were both 2-for-4 on the day, while Williams went 3-for-5 with four runs and five RBIs, improving his average to .317.
Game 3, in Naylor's words, was "one of the ugliest games played in the majors this year," with the teams combining for six errors. Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh started Don Schwall again, since the scheduled pitcher, Bob Friend, came down with a debilitating stomach virus. Schwall, having pitched only three innings the day before, was able to go, and fared much better this time around. It wasn't until the 5th that Nevada scored -- a Gary Kolb solo homer that broke a scoreless tie. In the bottom of the 5th third sacker Clete Boyer committed the first of his two errors, allowing Bill Virdon to get on base. Later, Lou Klimchock singled Virdon in to tie it. In the next frame Boyer reached on a Bucs error, but was picked off first. The tie held until the Dusters 8th, which Billy Williams opened with a walk. Jim Fregosi reached on another Pittsburgh miscue, and then Jerry Adair, Boyer, and Johnny Roseboro hit singles to score a pair of runs. Pirates reliever Al McBean did a fine job with bases loaded and no outs, setting down the next three Nevada batters and keeping the score 3-1. As was so often the case, Naylor turned matters over to his bullpen, confident that they could hold the lead. And they did. The Pirates were three up-three down in the 8th against Claude Raymond, and ditto in the 9th against Hal Reniff. Adair and Boyer both went 2-for-4 with a walk and Horlen improved his record to 8-2. More importantly, the Dusters expanded their NL lead to ten games over the Cincinnati Reds, who lost to the Dodgers 5-3.

Game 1
R
H
E
Dusters (NEV)
3
13
0
Pirates (PIT)
4
9
1
Game 2
Dusters (NEV)
10
13
1
Pirates (PIT)
5
12
3
Game 3
Dusters (NEV)
3
10
2
Pirates (PIT)
1
7
4
Dusters record: 78-33

 The Giants come to Vegas. (August 11-13)
The Dusters returned home after their 12-game road trip to host the Giants, and the biggest crowd yet -- nearly 31,000 -- turned out to cheer their team on at Horizon Field. They went home happy after watching Al Downing dominate the struggling San Francisco lineup for seven innings, during which he allowed just two hits and no runs. The Dusters struggled, too, at least early on, against Giants starter Jack Sanford. Finally, in the 4th, back-to-back doubles by Jim Fregosi and Jerry Adair followed by a Clete Boyer single tagged Sanford for a pair of runs. Nevada broke the game wide open in the 6th. With the bases loaded and one out, Johnny Roseboro singled in a run, and Downing helped himself with a two-run single that chased Sanford. Albie Pearson hit an RBI single before the inning was over to make it 6-0. In the 8th Downing lost his bid for his third complete game (and third shutout) of the season when Orlando Cepeda hit an infield single to short with the bases loaded and Chuck Hiller beat Fregosi's throw to the plate. Reliever Bob Duliba entered the fray in the 9th, walking Ed Bailey and giving up a single to Steve Boros. But Hiller grounded into a twin killing, and though Jose Pagan got aboard with an infield single, Duliba induced Harvey Kuenn to hit a grounder to third and the game was over. The Dusters had won six of their last seven games and stretched their lead in the NL to ten-and-a-half games over Cincinnati (who lost again). As had been the case of late, it was the bottom of the order -- Fregosi (2-for-4 with a run), Adair (3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI), Clete Boyer (1-for-3, a walk, a run, and an RBI), and Johnny Roseboro (1-for-4 with a run and an RBI) who provided most of the offense.
Nevada batters ran into a roadblock by the name of Billy Pierce, San Francisco's veteran starter (and seven-time All- Star), in Game 2 -- or so it seemed at first. They got just one hit in their first four frames, and that off the bat of their starter, Dave McNally. Giant second baseman Chuck Hiller tripled in the 4th and scored when Jose Pagan smoked a single into the right field gap. In their half of the 5th the Dusters finally responded, with Naylor sending Billy Williams to the plate to pinch hit for McNally with two out and two on. Williams delivered with a single that scored a run to tie the game. McNally had pitched well, but Nails feared that opportunities to score might be few and far between. San Francisco regained the lead, 2-1, in the 6th, but then Jerry Adair and George Banks hit back-to-back solo homers to put Nevada out in front. The Giants took the lead back in the 8th when Willie Mays led off against Hal Reniff with a triple. Reniff got the next batter out and issued a pass to Orlando Cepeda to face the slumping Willie McCovey. McCovey hit a grounder to third that scored Mays and sent Cepeda to second. When Steve Boros singled through th right side, Cepeda scored, and it was 4-3 San Francisco. In the Dusters 8th, with one on and two outs, Giant third baseman Boros muffed what should have been an easy out, and Bob Saverine reached first. Next up was Jim Fregosi, who hit a triple to right that scored two runs. Then Clete Boyer singled in Fregosi, and the Dusters led 6-4. Naylor turned to Dwight Seibler in the Giants 9th, and Siebler retired all three batters he faced to preserve the win. A disgusted Giants pilot Alvin Dark commented that the "Dusters always seem to find a way to win."
The Giants avoided being swept behind the pitching of one of 1963's hottest hurlers, Billy O'Dell (13-4), who held the Dusters lineup in check for eight innings. San Francisco was up 1-0 going into the 4th, when they broke it open, as Nevada starter Pete Richert gave up a pair of singles and then served up a three-run gopher ball to Willie Mays. The Giants added a run in the 6th against reliever Bob Duliba, with Jose Pagan opening the frame with a triple and scoring when Mays hit a fly ball high and deep to right field. From that point on, Dwight Siebler and Claude Raymond quieted the San Francisco bats, but the Dusters couldn't score until the 7th, when back-to-back doubles by Billy Williams and Jerry Adair produced a single run. In the bottom of the 9th Nevada loaded the bases with two outs for Clete Boyer, who ripped a hit through the left field gap for two more runs. Taking no chances, Alvin Dark replaced O'Dell (8.2 ip, 7 h, 3 bb, 3 r, 3 er, 6 k) with Stu Miller, who got the last out. Boyer went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, while Adair proved he was out of his slump, hitting 2-for-3 with a run and a ribbie. Richert suffered his third loss of the season to go with eight wins.

Game 1
R
H
E
Giants (SFG)
1
8
0
Dusters (NEV)
6
12
0
Game 2
Giants (SFG)
4
11
2
Dusters (NEV)
6
9
2
Game 3
Giants (SFG)
5
10
0
Dusters (NEV)
3
7
1
Dusters record: 80-34

 The Dusters go to Pittsburgh. (April 14-16)
The Dusters headed to Pittsburgh for back-to-back series with the Bucs separated by two days off. Nevada jumped out in front in the first game when Billy Williams reached second on a throwing error by Pirates shortstop Dick Schofield and scored on a Jerry Adair single. Donn Clendenon led off the 4th with his eighth homer of the year before Lee Maye scored Nevada's third run on another RBI single by Adair. Pittsburgh closed the gap in their half of the 5th when Ted Savage, pinch hitting for Bob Friend with the bases loaded and one out, laced a single through the hole to score two runs. It remained 3-2 until the 9th, with Steve Barber ( 8.0 ip,  6 h,  3 bb,  2 r,  2 er,  2 k) holding the line for what would be his 17th win. He did it in typical Barber fashion -- a lot more groundouts than strikeouts. In the Dusters 9th Williams led off with a single, was bunted over to second by Adair, and came home on a Johnny Roseboro's scorching single up the middle. Closer Hal Reniff took care of the Pirates in the bottom of the 9th, and Nevada had its 81st win of the 1963 campaign. When asked about reaching this milestone so early, Conn Hudson smiled and replied that "at least we know we won't have a losing season." Williams went 3-for-4 with two runs scored while Jerry Adair, having hit his way back up to the # 5 spot, was 2-for-3 with a pair of ribbies.
Game 2 was a case of missed opportunities for the Dusters, not to mention a reflection of the never-say-die character of the Pittsburgh Pirates. With Joe Horlen on the mound, Nevada had a comfortable 7-2 lead through six innings of play. But Ben Naylor wasn't comfortable; the Bucs had threatened big innings on several occasions, abetted by careless defense -- three errors -- by the Dusters infield, and only a masterful performance by Horlen (6.0 ip, 7 h, 4 bb, 2 r, 2 er, 8 k) prevented that from happening. The Nevada pilot let his apprehension get the better of him and pulled Horlen after six to pinch hit Gary Kolb with a man on first and two outs -- a situation where the odds of adding an eighth run were low. In came Dwight Siebler, who had pitched strongly in his last few outings. But this time Siebler was victimized by the opposition; Bill Virdon followed singles by Joe Torre and Bob Skinner with a three-bagger that scored two runs, Roberto Clemente drew a walk, and Virdon scored on a grounder to first by Jim Pagliaroni. It was 7-5. Then Bill Mazeroski reached first on Nevada's third error of the day and Johnny Logan hit a three-run homer into right to give the Pirates the lead. Roy Face came in to shut the Dusters down in the top of the 9th. To the press, Naylor gave credit to the Bucs for hanging tough; in the visitors' clubhouse he laid into his team for playing so sloppily. "You'd think we were 35-81 instead of the other way around," said one player, and there was truth in that. Nails didn't care about the record; he expected his team to play to the best of their abilities every day.
Young Al Downing was the hero of the day for the Dusters in Game 3. Nevada went up 2-0 in the opening frame courtesy of a double by Donn Clendenon followed by a Billy Williams downtowner. But in the bottom of the first Clete Boyer committed a throwing error and center fielder Albie Pearson a fielding error that put two Pirates on with no outs. Downing got the next three men out. Clendenon's RBI triple in the 5th made it 3-0. In the Pittsburgh fifth Jim Fregosi made an error that loaded the bases for the Bucs, who got a run (unearned).  In the Pittsburgh 6th Lee Maye misplayed a Dick Schofield fly ball -- the fourth Nevada error. Again Downing got out of trouble. He struck out the side in the 7th before yielding the mound to Claude Raymond who got the next six Pittsburgh batters out to preserve the a 4-1 win. Downing (7.0 ip, 3 h, 3 bb, 1 r, 0 er, 7 k) got his ninth win of the season. "Al has matured during the season," said Conn Hudson. "Early on he'd pitched brilliantly but erratically. Now he just pitches brilliantly." Williams continued to reward the decision to make him Nevada's cleanup hitter by going 3-for-5 with two runs, two RBIs and his fifteenth home run of 1963, improving his average to a team-leading .326. Despite the victory, Ben Naylor was livid. His players had committed eight errors in the series. "I don't mind losing," he said, "but I hate it when we try to give the game away."

Game 1
R
H
E
Dusters (NEV)
4
10
1
Pirates (PIT)
2
7
1
Game 2
Dusters (NEV)
7
10
3
Pirates (PIT)
8
12
1
Game 3
Dusters (NEV)
5
10
4
Pirates (PIT)
1
3
1
Dusters record: 82-35

 Three more in Pittsburgh. (April 19-21)
After two days, off the Dusters and Pirates clashed again. Game 1 of the series turned out to be a nail-biting, 18-inning marathon. Pittsburgh starter Harvey Haddix had matters well in hand from the first out, allowing just one Nevada hit through five. It wasn't until the 6th that the Dusters mounted a serious threat, loading the bases for Billy Williams -- who grounded to the pitcher for the third out. On the other hand, Nevada starter Dave McNally was often in the position of having to pitch out a jam; the Bucs left two men stranded in the first, two in the third, three in the fourth, two in the fifth. (After the game, Ben Naylor had high praise for McNally. "He just wouldn't give in," marveled the Nevada skipper.) As the scoreless game went into extra innings and the opposing managers turned to their bullpens, the advantage shifted subtly to Nevada. In the 10th the Dusters loaded the bases with two gone, but Clendenon flied out. In the Nevada 13th the bases were loaded with only one out, but Jim Fregosi lined out to center and Clete Boyer whiffed. In the 15th the Dusters juiced the bases yet again, and Boyer hit a line drive right to Pirates second-bagger Bill Mazeroski for the third out. In the bottom of the 15th the Pirates came close, loading the bases themselves with a single, an intentional walk issued by reliever Bob Duliba, and an error committed by backstop Johnny Roseboro. But Duliba fanned Logan to end the threat. Once again, in the 17th, the Bucs had a man on every base, but Dwight Siebler induced a fly ball out from Pittsburgh shortstop George Smith. Finally, in the top of the 18th, Bob Saverine hit a two-out single off Vern Law, Clendenon and Gary Kolb drew walks, and a looping single by Billy Williams into the gap in left scored two. Naylor summoned Jim Brewer, the last man in the bullpen, to handle the Pirates in the bottom of the 18th, and Brewer did -- just barely. Roberto Clemente singled and Brewer walked the next two, but Bill Mazeroski popped up to second and Bill Virdon hit a grounder right to Clendenon at first, and the game was over five-and-a-half hours after it had begun. Seven Nevada pitchers faced 63 Pittsburgh batters and threw 282 pitches, with Siebler getting the win and Brewer his sixth save of the season.
Game 2 featured Steve Barber seeking his eighteenth win of the season, and his teammates gave him an early lead as Lee Maye hit his fourteenth homer of 1963 for two runs in the Nevada 1st. Pittsburgh starter Bob Friend collected himself and pitched well for the next few innings. In the 5th, however, Albie Pearson drew a walk, Donn Clendenon doubled down the right field line, Lee Maye walked, and Billy Williams singled in Pearson. Jerry Adair hit an infield single with the bases loaded, and though Pirates third sacker Johnny Logan got the ball home in time, Jim Pagliaroni couldn't hold onto it in the subsequent collision with the rangy, powerful Clendenon. Jim Fregosi was up next, and Maye scored on his grounder to third. That was it for Friend, and Pittsburgh pilot Danny Murtaugh turned to his bullpen to put out the Nevada fire. For his part, Barber seemed in complete command until the Pirates 5th, when he served up doubles to Bill Mazeroski, Ted Savage and Bob Skinner. Trailing 5-3, the Bucs scored another run on three hits in the 6th and what had looked like an easy win for the Dusters now didn't look so easy. In the 8th, with Al McBean on the hill for Pittsburgh, the Dusters got some breathing room. Clete Boyer reached second on a fielding error, Johnny Roseboro walked, and Pearson -- who was 4-for-4 with a walk, a run, and a RBI -- singled in Boyer. Another Pittsburgh error put J.C. Martin on first to load the bases for a Lee Maye grounder that scored Roseboro and made it 7-4. An insurance run was added in the 9th when Adair opened the frame with a double and scored on a Fregosi three-bagger. The Pirates could do nothing against Claude Raymond in the 8th or Hal Reniff in the 9th, and Barber (7.0 ip, 8 h, 0 bb, 4 r, 3 er, 3 k) got his 18th, setting the pace for wins in both leagues.
The Pirates scored early in Game 3, getting a run off starter Joe Horlen in their half of the 1st. Pittsburgh's Don Cardwell had no trouble with the Nevada order the first time through. But in the 3rd Albie Pearson singled -- Pearson was 3-for-5 on the day and 9-for-17 in the series -- and Vic Power, subbing for Donn Clendenon at first base, reached on an error, setting the table for a three-run homer by Billy Williams. Another run for the Bucs in the bottom of the 3rd made it 3-2. In the 6th the Dusters threatened to break it open, starting off with three consecutive singles. But Jim Fregosi was gunned down at the plate by Pirates center fielder Bill Virdon, Johnny Roseboro grounded out, and Donn Clendenon, pinch hitting for Horlen, lined out to right. As Ben Naylor explained to the sportswriters in the clubhouse after the game, the strength of the Dusters bullpen gave him the luxury of pulling the starter, even one who was doing well, if he thought a pinch hitter might add a run or two. Bill Dailey came in to handle things in the 6th and, with a little help from Claude Raymond in the 7th. It was three up, three down for Pittsburgh in the 8th with Dwight Siebler on the hill. In their half of the 8th the Dusters broke it open with five runs on five hits, including a three-run triple by Jerry Adair, to make it 8-2. But the Bucs weren't going to just roll over. In the bottom of the 9th a single, a walk and a rare error by Roseboro loaded the bases and Jim Pagliaroni drove a grand slam homer over the center field fence. Hal Reniff came in to kill the rally, and the Dusters had swept Pittsburgh. For the first time their 85-35 record was the best in the majors -- better even than Minnesota's (84-35). They were thirteen games up on the Los Angeles Dodgers, who had ridden a seven-game winning streak into second place in the NL.
"I think," wrote Grace Hudson in her journal, "that it was after the 18-inning game in Pittsburgh that Dad began to think the Dusters might actually be in the World Series, with all the excitement and the new set of worries that the prospect entailed. Childress of the Sun resurrected the 'destiny' talk, and the whole city [Las Vegas] began speculating about the Dusters/Twins matchup."

Game 1
R
H
E
Dusters (NEV)
2
14
2
Pirates (PIT)
0
13
1
Game 2
Dusters (NEV)
8
14
1
Pirates (PIT)
4
8
2
Game 3
Dusters (NEV)
8
14
2
Pirates (PIT)
6
9
1
Dusters record: 85-35

 Giants come calling. (August 23-25)
The Dusters came home to Horizon Field for only their second home stand of the month, a three-game series with San Francisco. Game 1 was tailor-made for adding a few gray hairs to Ben Naylor's already grizzled head. Nevada scored first, as Billy Williams hit a two-run double and then scored on a Jim Fregosi single to make it 3-0 Dusters after one. Johnny Roseboro led off the 2nd with his eleventh homer of the year and, with the bases loaded, Jerry Adair singled in two to give starter Al Downing a 6-0 lead. In the 5th the Giants cut the lead in half as Jose Pagan opened the frame with a triple and scored on a Willie Mays single before Orlando Cepeda jacked a two-run homer over the left field fence. But the Dusters got two back in their half of the 5th courtesy of a Fregosi double and a Roseboro triple. Pinch hitting for Downing in the 5th, Naylor called on Dwight Siebler to take the mound in the 6th. Siebler got into trouble an inning later, surrendering a pair of homers -- a solo number to Cepeda and a three-run dinger to Steve Boros -- and suddenly it was 8-7. What was worse from Naylor's perspective, the Dusters committed a pair of errors. Fortunately, the usually reliable tandem of Claude Raymond and Hal Reniff held on to the one-run lead. "We tried to give away that game," groused Naylor afterwards, but a win was a win, and the Dusters found themselves with a timely five-game winning streak. Downing (5 ip, 6 h, 3 bb, 3 r, 3 er, 7 k) collected his tenth win, Reniff his 44th save.

Naylor designed his Game 2 lineup for maximum offensive punch, inserting George Banks at third and Gary Kolb in the outfield. But a masterful pitching performance by San Francisco's Billy Pierce (8.0 ip, 1 h,  3 bb, 1 r, 1 er,  7 k) foiled his plans -- the Dusters didn't get a hit until the 7th inning. Meanwhile, Nevada starter Dave McNally battled valiantly to keep the Giants in check until the 6th inning, when he issued a walk to Willie McCovey and a home run to Ed Bailey to make it 2-0 San Francisco. Pierce finally made a mistake in the 7th, and Billy Williams punched his 17th homer of the year over the left field fence to cut the Giants lead in half. Bill Dailey relieved McNally in the 7th and 8th and kept it a one-run game, but in the 9th the Giants struck again. Steve Boros led off with a single, and Reniff issued an intentional walk to Jose Pagan to get to the pitcher, Pierce. Pinch hitting for Pierce, Jim Davenport hit a three-sacker to the wall in right, scoring Boros and Pagan and making it 4-1. No longer facing Pierce, the Dusters mounted a 9th inning rally, with Donn Clendenon starting things off with a solo dinger. George Banks tripled and scored on a Billy Williams single through the hole -- and it was a one-run game again. But Giants closer Stu Miller got the last two outs and Nevada came out on the short end. McNally (6.0 ip,  6 h,  2 bb, 2 r,  2 er,  4  k), was still the rotation's "hard luck kid" after all, mused Naylor, who added that McNally had pitched much better than his 10-7 record indicated.
Game 3 was a thriller -- but it didn't start out that way. Pete Richert took the mound for the Dusters, and had things well in control through five innings, during which Nevada took a 6-0 lead. Donn Clendenon, who was 4-for-5 on the day, got things rolling with a one-out double in the 1st and later scored on a Billy Williams grounder. In the 3rd the subs -- Vic Power (2B) and J.C. Martin (C) combined for another run when Power tripled and Martin singled him in. The Dusters had a big 6th, led off by Richert with a single. Albie Pearson reached on a Steve Boros error and then Clendenon, Lee Maye and Williams hit singles for three runs. Clete Boyer made it four when he knocked in Maye. Richert returned to the hill in the Giants 6th having allowed just one hit. But then Felipe Alou tripled in a run and scored on an Orlando Cepeda single. Next up was Willie McCovey, who powered a two-run homer to left. Suddenly it was a ballgame, the score 6-4. In the 7th Williams collected his fourth RBI of the game when he hit a fly ball deep enough into left for Johnny Roseboro to tag up at third and reach home. Claude Raymond took over for Richert in the 7th, and uncharacteristically let the Giants right back in it. Tom Haller hit a two-run homer and Cepeda doubled in Willie Mays to tied the game at 7. May broke the tie in the 8th with a solo round-tripper, and Hal Reniff gave the home crowd a scare by walking Mays and hitting Alou with a pitch before getting the last out -- and his 45th save. At 87-36 the Dusters stayed abreast of the NL-leading Minnesota Twins and maintained a 12.5 game lead over the hard-charging Reds, who'd won five in a row.

Game 1
R
H
E
Giants (SFG)
7
12
0
Dusters (NEV)
8
8
2
Game 2
Giants (SFG)
4
8
0
Dusters (NEV)
3
4
0
Game 3
Giants (SFG)
7
9
2
Dusters (NEV)
8
15
0
Dusters record: 87-36

 Shootout with the Colt 45's. (August 26-28)
The Dusters traveled to the Lone Star State to take on the hapless (33-87) Houston Colt 45's at heat-hammered, mosquito-plagued Colt Stadium. Chasing his nineteenth win in Game 1, Steve Barber struggled early. Houston loaded the bases with one out in the 1st, but Barber escaped. The home team put two men on in the 2nd with two outs, yet still couldn't score. Against Hal Brown the Dusters couldn't put up a run, either -- until their half of the 4th.Billy Williams led off with a single, Adair singled him to second, and he reached third on a Clete Boyer fly out so that J.C. Martin could bring him home with a single through the hole. That was all the scoring that Nevada could muster on the day. The Colt 45's juiced the bases again in the 8th but Barber struck out Carroll Hardy to end the inning, and in the 9th closer Hal Reniff took the hill to preserve the 1-0 win. Barber gave up six hits and walked six while striking out six through eight innings for his 19th victory (and first shutout of the campaign), while Reniff collected his league-leading 46th save. Williams was 2-for-3 with the sole run, improving his average to .330, tops on the team. Commenting on the win, Conn Hudson viewed it as a testament to Barber's skill. "Even when he struggles he can usually find a way to win," said the Nevada owner-GM.
Joe Horlen got off to a rocky start in Game 2 and the Colt 45's took an early lead with two runs in the 1st. That lead was short-lived, however, as Julio Gotay led off the Nevada 2nd with a triple, Houston starter Russ Kemmerer hit Johnny Roseboro with a pitch, and Horlen walked to load the bases for Albie Pearson, who singled in a run. Up next, Donn Clendenon knocked in another and the game was tied. So it remained until the 4th when Pearson (2-for-3 with one run and three RBIs) doubled in two more. Clendenon's three-run homer over the right field fence in the Dusters 6th made it 7-3. An error by right fielder Lee Maye put Houston baserunners at second and third with no outs in the 6th, but reliever Bill Dailey retired the next three batters to kill the rally. Nevada got an insurance run when pinch hitter Jim Fregosi hit an RBI double in the top of the 7th. Jim Brewer pitched two scoreless innings and Bob Duliba closed out the game. The 8-3 victory improved Horlen's 1963 record to 10-3. The Dusters turned three double plays but committed three errors, earning a postgame dressing down by Ben Naylor.
Having already won the series, Naylor took the opportunity to rest the middle of his lineup in Game 3, starting Gary Kolb at the # 3 spot and George Banks at # 4 in place of Lee Maye and Billy Williams. Starter Al Downing pitched well in the early innings, striking out four of the first six Houston batters he faced. But then his control issues became painfully evident, as he walked in two runs in the bottom of the 2nd. Albie Pearson's two-run homer in the Nevada 3rd tied the game, but the Colt 45's regained the lead in the next frame when back-to-back Nevada errors allowed a run to score. In the 4th the Dusters again tied it up, and again Houston took a one-run lead, this time courtesy of a Johnny Temple solo homer. Johnny Roseboro answered with his own solo home run in the top of the 5th to make it 4-4, and in the 6th the Dusters took the lead for the first time when George Banks (2-for-4, 2 runs and 2 RBIs) led off with a home run and a pinch hitting Lee Maye singled in another run. Bill Dailey took the mound for Nevada in the 6th but gave up a run-scoring double to Howie Goss and a two-run homer by Carl Warwick to make it 7-6 Houston. Banks doubled in Donn Clendenon in the Nevada 7th to tie it at 7. In the bottom of the inning Johnny Weekly singled in a run for the sixth Houston lead of the day, and yet again, in the bottom of the 8th, the Dusters found a way to tie it up. With Hal Reniff and Turk Farrell on the mound, neither team threatened in the 8th and 9th. In the 10th Naylor sent Dwight Siebler to the hill, and Siebler retired the side. But in the Houston 11th Carl Warwick hit a walk-off home run and the Colt 45's won this wild and woolly shootout by a score of 9-8. There were six home runs in the game, one each by Roseboro, Banks, Pearson and Johnny Temple, and two by Warwick. The Dusters headed for San Francisco's Candlestick Park leading the AL by twelve games over the Cincinnati Reds (76-48), who were riding a 7-game winning streak.

Game 1
R
H
E
Dusters (NEV)
1
6
0
Colt 45s (HOU)
0
6
2
Game 2
Dusters (NEV)
8
11
3
Colt 45s (HOU)
3
11
1
Game 3
Dusters (NEV)
8
13
2
Colt 45s (HOU)
9
10
3
Dusters record: 89-37

 Clash at Candlestick (August 29-31)
The Dusters traveled to San Francisco to take on the Giants for the third time in August. They jumped out to an early lead in Game 1, loading the bases with one out in the 1st and getting a run on a Jerry Adair grounder. In hindsight, Ben Naylor admitted after the game, the first inning was a sign of things to come. "The bases juiced and one out -- we shoulda gotten more," said the Nevada pilot. "It was like that all day long. Starter Dave McNally served up a two-run homer to Felipe Alou after Willie Mays got on board with a two-out single. The Giants added another run in the 4th, but the Dusters tied it at three in the next frame when Billy Williams hit a double down the third base line with the bases loaded, scoring Albie Pearson and Donn Clendenon. San Francisco regained the lead in the 5th when Mays singled, stole second, and scored on an Alou single to left. The Dusters loaded the bases in the 6th, and again in the 8th, but came away empty both times. In the Giants 8th, reliever Claude Raymond walked Ed Bailey before Steve Boros clubbed one over the left field fence and San Francisco was up 6-3. Fourteen Nevada baserunners were left stranded and the relief pitching, for once, was shaky. McNally (5.0 ip, 6 h, 1 bb, 4 r, 4 er) recorded his eighth loss (to go with ten wins).
Like the day before, there was a sellout crowd on hand for Game 2. With Billy O'Dell on the mound, the Giants seemed to have the game under control early on. Willie Mays opened the Giants 1st with a triple and scored. Then, in the 2nd, Mays clubbed a two-run homer over the right field fence to make it 3-0 San Francisco. Meanwhile, O'Dell held the Dusters to just three hits through five frames. Albie Pearson tripled and scored in the 6th when Billy Williams reached on an error by Giants shortstop Jose Pagan. But San Francisco got that run back in the bottom of the 6th when Steve Boros led off with a solo homer. The Willie Mays show continued in the Giants 7th as the speedy center fielder singled, moved to second on a Felipe Alou grounder, stole third, and scored when Tom Haller hit a long fly ball to left. Nevada closed the gap to 5-3 thanks to a two-run homer by Billy Williams in the 8th. In the 9th Stu Miller took the hill for the Giants. Pinch hitter Vic Power came to the plate with a man on and two outs and drew a walk. Then Albie Pearson walked, and the bases were loaded for Donn Clendenon -- who promptly doubled down the right field line to score three and give Nevada a 6-5 lead. "That was as big a clutch hit as I've seen this year," enthused Ben Naylor. Claude Raymond shut down the Giants in the bottom of the 9th and, once again, the Dusters avoided losing a third consecutive game, this time by the skin of their teeth.
Steve Barber took the mound for Nevada in Game 3, seeking his 20th win of the season. The Dusters took a 2-0 lead in the second as Jerry Adair and Johnny Roseboro hit solo homers (their 22nd and 13th respectively). Barber had a rocky 4th, which he started by hitting Orlando Cepeda with a pitch. Then Willie McCovey walked and Ed Bailey singled to load the bases. When Steve Boros hit a grounder to second, Adair tagged Bailey out. Chuck Hiller was next up, and Cepeda -- now at third -- tagged up and scored on his fly ball deep to center. Barber walked Jose Pagan to juice the bases again, but pinch hitter Tom Haller grounded out and the inning ended with Nevada clinging to a 2-1 lead. In the 6th, 7th and 8th innings, San Francisco's leadoff batter reached base -- and each time the Dusters infield turned double plays to kill the threat. In the Dusters 8th, Giants reliever Bobby Bolin walked Albie Pearson, who went to third on a J.C. Martin single, and then scored in a suicide squeeze when Lee Maye bunted, beating Bolin to the plate as San Francisco backstop Ed Bailey fielded the ball. Hal Reniff relieved Barber in the 9th and secured his 47th win -- and Barber's 20th victory for 1963.

Game 1
R
H
E
Dusters (NEV)
3
8
0
Giants (SFG)
6
8
0
Game 2
Dusters (NEV)
6
8
0
Giants (SFG)
5
8
2
Game 3
Dusters (NEV)
3
7
0
Giants (SFG)
1
4
0
Dusters record: 91-38

The month in review.
Dusters Details.
As the "Miracle in the Desert" continued and the Nevada Dusters kept winning, more and more fans began to contemplate the possibility that their team might actually make it to the World Series in its very first season. Few even gave 1964 a thought. Conn Hudson, however, gave a great deal of thought to next season. He knew that the success of the franchise in '63 meant expectations would be high the following year. But to keep the team largely intact would be financially problematic. Seven key players had to be re-signed or let go. Jim Fregosi, making $7,700 in 1963, wanted a three-year deal worth $91,000 a year. Of the five regular starting pitchers in '63, only Barber and Downing were signed for the next season; Horlen wanted a two-year, $58,000 deal, Pete Richert's agent had submitted a two-year, $49,000 contract, and Dave McNally was asking for $51,000 a year for two years. The price for closer Hal Reniff, $7,200 in 1963, had soared to $98,000, while setup man Claude Raymond wanted $35,000. Re-signing those six would nearly double the team salary and give the Dusters one of the highest-priced starting rotations in the majors. At the same time, Hudson believed several AAA players were ready to be brought up in 1964 -- outfielder Rico Carty, middle infielder Denis Menke, and third baseman Bob Bailey, as well as pitchers Wally Bunker and Denny McLain. "My job has three parts," Hudson told a reporter. "One is to keep the fans happy and coming to the ballpark. To do that I need to field a winning combination of players. But I'm also charged with making a profit for the franchise." No matter what happened this year, it wasn't going to be easy to accomplish all three of these things in 1964.
Worth $91,000 in 1964?

Reniff's asking $98,000 for next year