Monday, December 5, 2016

Common Denominator: Harmon Killebrew

"0 SH in his career, attempted three times. All against the New York Yankees."

That would be the Minnesota Twins' Harmon Killebrew, who actually started his career when they were still in Washington in 1954, but not becoming a regular until '59. Washington moved to Minny in 1961,

Killebrew lead the American League in home runs for the first time in 1959. It would be the first of six seasons he'd do that. But it was the only time he did it while the franchise was in Washington. That same year was Killebrew's first attempt to get a sac bunt.

April 22nd, and Killebrew's Senators were hosting Mickey Mantle's New York Yankees. It was Whitey Ford for the Yankees and Bill Fischer for the Senators. It was a long night. The Yankees couldn't get it going.

Harmon had two hits and a walk. But Ford was clutch. After nine innings, it was scoreless. In the top of the 14th, Moose Skowron gave Whitey Ford a 1-0 lead with a home run. The Twins needed to answer that tally in the bottom of the frame.

Norm Zauchin got it started out on the right foot with a single. Harmon Killebrew was next. He forced Zauchin at second with a bunt. The Senators got a two-out single, and Harmon was at second representing the tying run. Ford got pinch hitter Ron Samford to ground out to second. A tough 1-0 loss.

The Yankees, if you can believe it, didn't win the pennant that year. But they were back in the hunt in 1960. Killebrew and company came to town on May 28th to try and stop 'em.

Jim Kaat was going for the Senators, and he did quite a job for a while. Jim Coates was just the Yankees' pitcher. He was fairly good for a few years, but you'd think the Sens could get something off him, right?

Killebrew lashed a double off him in the top of the second. He ended up stranded. Harmon walked his next trip up, only to be stranded again. Top of the sixth, another walk for him. Jim Lemon moved to second as a result. A double play erased Killebrew. Lemon was stranded at third as Earl Battey popped to short.

Bottom of the sixth, and The Mick broke the 0-0 game. Home run. Mantle then fanned his second time up that inning, to end it. By that time, the Bronx Bombers had added three more runs. Roger Maris hit a home run the next inning, and it was 5-0. Where was the great Twins, err Sens, offence?

Bob Allison walked to start the top of the eighth. Julio Becquer doubled him to third. Allison hit a sac fly to Mantle in centre. Becquer made it to third. Killebrew was up. A home run here and it's 5-3.

And then we got a ballgame.

Not so fast. Killebrew bunted. Foul. On the third strike. Dan Dobbek was retired on a scorcher to left. Coates got 'em 1-2-3 in the ninth for a tidy 5-1 win.

Killebrew was now in Minnesota for the 1962 season. It was August 13th. But the Yankees were still the Yankees. They'd won it all in 1961 and looking to repeat. Jim Bouton was on the hill for New York. Jack Kralick was opposing him. Killebrew singled home the game's first run in the bottom of the first.

New York tied it via a solo Tom Tresh home run in the third. In the bottom of the frame, Killebrew came up with runners on the corners and not a man out. He tried to avoid the double play and bunted foul for strike three. Minnesota never scored a run that inning.

Harmon and the Twins weren't about to be denied. Almost by himself, he beat the Yankees. He ended the game 4-5 with 5 RBIs. The home team won, 6-4. So just one bat at bat. New York went on to the pennant and won the World Series in seven games over the San Francisco Giants.

Killebrew and company had to wait until 1965 to dethrone New York. They took the pennant as the Yankees slid down to below .500 that year. Alas, Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale of the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Minnesota Twins in seven games.

Killebrew lead the AL in home runs in 1962, 1963 and 1964. He tied Carl Yastremzki in 1967 with 44. No one was tied with Harmon in 1969, as he took home the MVP via 49 long balls. The Twins made it back to the postseason, only to lose to the Baltimore Orioles in the first-ever American League Champion Series. Mantle had retired the year before, never making it to the World Series his last four seasons.

Harmon had one last great season in 1971, as he topped the league in RBIs with 119. He ended his career as a teammate of George Brett's in 1975, but he hit just .199 for Kansas. Brett had 9 sacrifice hits in that season alone.

Still, Killebrew ended his career with 573 home runs, 12th on the all-time list. They didn't pay him to move the runners over. They paid him to crush the ball.


References


Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 05 Dec. 2016.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

World Series: Did You Know?

Whitey Ford drove in the only run he'd need in game six of 1960. His team, the New York Yankees, needed a win. All Ford did was go out and pitch a shutout.

It was Ford's second of the 1960 Fall Classic against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He'd beaten them 10-0 in game three at Yankee Stadium. But game six was at Forbes Field.

The Pirates looked like they might get to Ford early. The Yankees went down 1-2-3 in the top of the first. Pittsburgh, up 3-2 in the World Series and looking for the finishing touches, got a single by Bill Virdon in the bottom of the frame to start their turn. Dick Groat hit into a 4-6-3 double play, however. Roberto Clemente singled to keep the inning alive, only to be stranded at first as Dick Stuart fanned.

The Yankees got into the swinging habit in the top of the second. With one out, Yogi Berra, playing left field as Elston Howard actually caught this one, walked. Moose Skowron singled. Howard was hit by a pitch. Bob Friend was in a jam. He managed to get Bobby Richardson to fly out. Short enough that no one scored. Berra though, came home with the game's first run as Ford hit one back to Friend. Berra beat the throw home. 1-0.

The Pirates got their third hit in the bottom of the second, but again nobody scored. The Yankees sure did in the top of the third. Tony Kubek was hit by a pitch. Roger Maris doubled him to third. Mickey Mantle singled 'em both home to make it 3-0. And the rout was just beginning!

Berra singled Mantle to third. Skowron flied out, and that brought The Commerce Comet home. 4-0. Johnny Blanchard singled to keep this thing going! When Bobby Richardson singled, it was 6-0. Ford and Clete Boyer were retired to end the inning, but the lefty had a nice six-run cushion to work with after 2 1/2 innings of play.

Whitey really settled down to make sure Pittsburgh have any comebacks in mind. He set 'em down 1-2-3 in the third and fourth inning. Hal Smith singled to start the fifth, and Don Hoak got the Bucs their fourth hit of the game. Bill Mazeroski hit into a double play, alas. Pinch hitter Rocky Nelson fanned.

New York added two more in the top of the sixth to make it an 8-0 laugher. Roberto Clemente got his second hit of the afternoon in the bottom of the frame, but Whitey Ford kept the shutout going. Richardson and Ford then picked up another RBI each in the top of the seventh to get it to double digits. 10-0, New York.

In the top of the eighth, Roger Maris singled for his third hit of the game, Mickey Mantle forced him at second, but there was no stopping another Yankees' uprising. Clem Labine, pitching for Pittsburgh, had once shutout the Yankees in a World Series game years earlier for the (then) Brooklyn Dodgers. Here, he was having all sorts of troubles. His wild pitch moved the great Mantle to third. Berra singled to centre, and Mantle scored. Berra took second on Bill Virdon's fielding error. Skowron grounded out, but now the catcher-turned-left fielder was 90 feet away from making it a dozen runs.

Johnny Blanchard, the actual catcher (Having replaced Elston Howard earlier) doubled to right. Berra scored for the third time. Maris, Berra, had company. Blanchard was with them with 3 hits in this must-win game.

Dick Groat singled with two out in the bottom of the frame. Nothing came of it. It was also only the sixth hit off Whitey Ford all day long. Red Witt, the fifth reliever of the game for the Bucs, got New York out 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth to keep the score at 12-0. Ford eyed the shutout, needing just to retire three more men.

Dick Stuart grounded out to short. Gino Cimoli singled. Hit number seven by Pittsburgh. But only Hal Smith and Roberto Clemente managed more than one. Smith came up, and didn't get a hit, He grounded to Clete Boyer at third. Boyer to Richardson covering second, one. Richardson to Skowron at first, double play! A nice 6-4-3. Ford was a 12-0 winner.






Whitey Ford ended the 1960 World Series with a 2-0 record, a 0.00 ERA and only 11 hits allowed over the course of 18 innings. Alas, all this was not enough. The Pittsburgh Pirates won game seven (Ford did not appear) 10-9 to take it. Remarkably enough, Ford came back the next year to win both his starts again. And again he did not allow a run. Ford was simply pitching "Lights out!" in the World Series at this time!


References


Neft, David S., and Richard M. Cohen. The World Series: Complete Play-by-play of Every Game, 1903-1989. 4th ed. New York: St. Martin's, 1990. Print. pp. 281-286.


Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 03 Dec. 2016..

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Common Denominator: Al MacAdam

"Scored the GWG to eliminate the Toronto Maple Leafs in the deciding game of the 1979/80 playoffs. Then scored the GWG in the deciding game to eliminate the Montreal Canadians in the 1979/80 postseason."

That would be the Minnesota North Stars' Al MacAdam. Al was a player to be feared that year, scoring 42 goals and adding 51 assists. The right winger took home the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. He had some software.

In the 1978/79 season the Habs had won their fourth Stanley Cup in a row (Beating Toronto along the way), and sixth of the decade. The North Stars had finished 28-40-12. Would the next season be any different?

Well, Montreal lost their coach, Scotty Bowman. They lost Ken Dryden, their great goalie,. Jacques Lemaire was gone. Yvan Cournoyer was also gone. Of those, mentioned above, only Bowman was involved in the NHL in 1979/80, that as the coach of the Buffalo Sabers. Minnesota and Buffalo would each be in the final four that year. The Habs and Leafs would not.

The Leafs came into the 1979/80 playoffs five games below .500, but had Darry Sittler (97 points), Wilf Paiement (74 points), Rick Vaive (22 goals in only 69 games). Plus Borje Salming and Ian Turnbull. Toronto had plenty to test Minny goalie Gillies Meloche. But he had a pretty good goals-against average of 3.06 that year. Could Toronto get some by him? They were 7th in the 21-team league that season with 304 goals.

But they ran into a stop sign as the playoffs began.

The first two games of the first round between Minny and Toronto were right there in the North Stars' ring. The home team weathered the storm in the first two contests. They pounded the Leafs for an amazing 61 shots on goal in the first game, prevailing 6-3 (It was only 4-2 after 40 minutes). Game two was all Minnesota, however. They looked for the sweep after winning it so easily, 7-2. It was 4-0 after two periods in this on, and Al MacAdam had two goals in it!

Game three was at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens. Would now be a good time to tell you this was a best-of-five? The Maple Leafs had to win. The led 2-1 after 2 periods. But in the third, it was the Stars tying it, and then taking the lead. John Anderson tied it at 3 in the third with little more than five minutes to play. In overtime, Al MacAdam won it just 32 seconds it.

Next came the Montreal Canadians. Seeking their fifth cup in a row, they swept past Hartford in the first round. Minnesota surprised them in the first two contests in Montreal. The North Stars were 36-28-16 that year. But the Habs? All those departures and they still were 47-20-13. How did they end the season in their last 21 games? 15-0-6. So when the quarterfinals started, Montreal was essentially 18-0-6. Can you say, tall order for Minny?

Minnesota couldn't score a goal on Dennis Herron through two in game one, and neither could Montreal dent Meloche. In the third period, it was the visitors breaking lose with three goals, MacAdam getting his fourth of the playoffs. He was averaging a goal a game.

Meloch was amazing in game two, as well, stopping 40 of 41 shots. Minny won 4-1. But when if shifted to Minnesota, Montreal woke up. Game three saw the Habs make a crucial decision. Bunny Larocque, ken Dryden's old backup, was no slouch in goal. Although Herron posted better numbers in the regular season, 25-3-3, 2.51 GAA, Bunny had all the experience to get the Canadians back in this on the road.

Stopping all 25 shots that came his way, Bunny got Montreal's first shutout of the 1980 playoffs. The game itself was a rout, 5-0 for the Habs. And what a little confidence will do for you, eh? Montreal blasted the home team again, 5-1 in game four. Yvon Lambert was playing amazing. 8 goals in as many games played.

Back home for game five, Larocque, who'd beaten Hartford in the third contest of the first round, upped his playoff record to a perfect 4-0 with an easy 6-2 win. Well, the Habs were for real.

Amazingly, they'd need a game seven to clinch. Minnesota went home and Meloche regained his form. Montreal looked poised to finish 'em off. They had 10 shots on goal in the first period and the only goal, but Minnesota came back with five of their own in the second. Rick Chartraw scored the only goal of the third, but that really didn't matter. The 5-2 win by the home team sent this one back to Canada.

Game seven was back-and-forth, but you had to figure the Canadians would find a way. Yet tied 2-2 with only 86 minutes to play, it was Al MacAdam's 6th goal of the 1980s playoffs that put Minnesota up 3-2. The Habs failed to get the equalizer, much to the amazement of everyone.

Minnesota faced Philadelphia next game, and even won the first game. From there, though, it was all the Flyers, who reached the finals after winning the next four contests. MacAdam had only one goal in those five games.

The Minnesota North Stars made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals the next year, as MacAdam scored nine more goals. They didn't become the next dynasty, however. That title belonged to the New York Islanders, who'd won it in 1980 and then beat Minny in just five games in '81. They'd win it the next two years for good measure.

The North Stars had to wait until 1991 to make it back to the finals, losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games. MacAdam was long gone by then. The team was off to Dallas for the 1993/94, although a new team, called the Wild, arrived in time for the 2000/2001. The Stanley Cup has yet to make it's way to the city, however.

But they still managed to eliminate two of the the most prominent teams in one magical season many years back.


"The information used herein was obtained free of charge from and is copyrighted by The Hockey Summary Project. For more information about the Hockey Summary Project please visit:

http://hsp.flyershistory.com

or

http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/hockey_summary_project/


References


"Hockey Summary Project." Hockey Summary Project. N.p., 1 Nov. 2008. Web. 29 Nov. 2016. <http://hsp.flyershistory.com/>


Sports Reference LLC. Hockey-Reference.com - Hockey Statistics and History. http://www.hockey-reference.com/. Web. 28 Nov. 2016.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Common Denominator: Djokovic And Murray.

"Born a week apart in 1987, finished a year on a tremendous 24-match winning streak not long after a loss at the US Open."

For Novak Djokovic, born May 22nd, 1987, that was 2013. He watched as Nadal caught up to him and passed him in the rankings that year, including beating him in a four-set US Open finals. However, the Serb was not about to lose again.

He won both his rubbers at a Davis Cup tie vs. Canada, beating both Milos Raonic and Vaskek Pospisil (Both of whom were in the top 50 at that time). Neiter player managed to win a set off Djokovic. Then Novak went to Beijing and beat Richard Gasquet in the semis and Nadal in the finals.

Novak won in Shanghai, beating Gael Monfils, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Juan Martin del Potro in the last three rounds. Challenges were coming his way, and Djokovic was meeting them with open arms.

At Paris, he beat David Ferrer in the finals, having overcome a pair of players from Switzerland in the previous rounds named Wawrinka and Federer. Roger won set of him. Wawrinka and Ferrer weren't so lucky. 6-4, 6-3 and 6-3, 6-3.

Federer, del Potro and Gasquet then put up spirited fights at the ATP Finals in London, but Djokovic beat them all in three sets. Wawrinka and Nadal managed to win a combined total of 13 games against Djokovic in the semifinals and finals. It was all-too-easy after three early scares.

One more hurdle existed in 2013 for Djokovic. The Davis Cup finals was against Czech Republic. Check out the score vs. Tomas Berdych. 6-4, 7-6, 6-2. Check out the score vs. Radek Stepanek, 7-5, 6-1, 6-4.

Djokovic found himself being hounded by Andy Murray three years later. He lost the US Open finals to Wawrinka. But Novak beat Andy in the Australian Open final and later at the French Open finals.

Murray, though, won Wimbledon, and then the Olympics. He lost a Davis Cup tie vs. del Potro after losing in the quarters of the US Open. The loss to Juan was Andy's last of 2016.

He came to China following Great Britain's loss (Although Murray beat Guido Pella in his other singles' match) to Argentina at the Davis Cup. In China, Andy roared to the finals without losing a set. Grigor Dimitrov had been hammered into submission by Andy Murray in the round of sixteen at the US Open, and played much better in the finals. But not good enough to win a set. Murray won, 6-4, 7-6.

Shanghai, and the same. Murray didn't lose a set. In the finals, he beat Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6, 6-1.

Off to Vienna, and Andy was a little more human. He dropped a set in his first two matches, then didn't lose another. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was the last to fall to him, 6-3, 7-6.

Paris saw Andy Murray beat Tomas Berdych in the quarters, Milos Raonic (by default) in the semis, and finally John Isner in the finals. This time, Murray dropped a set. He'd routed Isner at Vienna. Here, the Scotsman scraped by, 6-3, 6-7, 6-4.

In the round robin of the ATP Finals in London, Murray dropped a set to Kei Nishikori. In the semifinals, Milos Raonic was his opponent. The Canadian gave him all he could handle, but Andy Murray found a way, 5-7, 7-6, 7-6.

The finals should have been a challenged, but Andy Murray had all the answers for Novak Djokovic's quest for another Year-End Championship. With a 6-3, 6-4 win, Murray had title #9 on the year, and would finish #1 for the first time in his career.

The 29-year old was born on May 15th, 1987, one week before his vanquished opponent, who happened to have five ATP Finals titles to his name. 2016 had started out frustrating for him. But it ended with 24 wins (Plus 2 more by default). Djokovic likewise ended 2013 with 24 consecutive victories, and still is great player on all surfaces. Both players will be 30 in May of next year. Their rivalry will no doubt continue to be a riveting one. However, other than the Grand Slams, they'll be looking out for the #1 ranking in 2017.


References


"Andy Murray Career Statistics." Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia . Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Unknown, 2016. Web. 28 Nov. 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Murray_career_statistics>

"Novak Djokovic Career Statistics." Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia . Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Unknown, 2016. Web. 28 Nov. 2016 <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Novak_Djokovic_ career_ statistics>

"Official Site of Men's Professional Tennis | ATP World Tour | Tennis." ATP World Tour. Emirates. Web. 28 Nov. 2016.  <http://www.atpworldtour.com/>

Saturday, November 26, 2016

World Series: Did You Know?

Roberto Clemente got a hit in every game. And his Fall Classic appearances were eleven years apart.

Clemente was on the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates who faced off against the New York Yankees in that year's World Series. Clemente was wielding a hot bat!

The home team at Forbes Field saw Roger Maris put the Yankees up 1-0 in the top of the first, but back came the Bucs in the bottom of the frame. Facing Art Ditmar, and having watched his pals score twice, Clemente delivered a single to make it 3-1. That was the end for Ditmar and the Yankees. Pittsburgh won the game 6-4.

New York snapped right back in the next two games, winning 'em 16-3 and 10-0. Roberto did collect two hits in the second contest, and another in game three at Yankee Stadium. But it did little. Pittsburgh won the next two games, however, and were heading home up 3-2, with a chance to finish 'em off in game six.

Clemente had just a hit in games four and five, collecting his second RBI of the postseason in the last game at the Stadium. His team was blown out for a third time, 12-0 in game six, but Roberto got two hits of Whitey Ford, who'd shut 'em out in game three.

So, in the winner-take-all game seven, Clemente popped out in the bottom of the first as Pittsburgh got two runs off Bob Turley. Two more runs in the second seemed good, but Roberto wasn't doing anything. He hit into a double play to end the third. The Yankees seized up on this and scored seven runs to take a 7-4 lead into the bottom of the eighth.

Clemente's single scored the second run of that inning, as the home team refused to die. Trailing still, 7-6, Hal Smith hit a three-run home run off Jim Coates to make it 9-7! Three more outs!

Well, the Yankees refused to die, too. They scored twice in the top of the ninth to tie it at 9. Bill Mazeroski then won it for Roberto and company with a walk-off home run off Ralph Terry in the last of the ninth. Clemente sort of had to take a back seat to Maz's big hit. But so too, did Bill Virdon's great defence and Harvey Haddix's excellent pitching.




The sad thing out of all this for Pittsburgh was, they had a team that seemed destined for a rematch in 1961. The Yankees, of course, were back. The Pirates? Not quite. They dropped below .500 (75-79). New York kept returning until 1965, when the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Minnesota Twins. The Dodgers boasted pitchers Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. They'd won in 1959, again in 1963, and finally, '65. They reached back to the Fall Classic the next year, only to be swept by the Baltimore Orioles.

The Yankees fell to Bob Gibson and the St. Louis Cardinals in 1964, and that put 'em on the map. The Cards hadn't made it to the World Series since 1946. They'd return again in 1967 and 1968. The New York Mets amazed the world with a five-game win over the Baltimore Orioles in 1969. The Cincinnati Reds, who were in the 1961 World Series instead of the Pittsburgh Pirates, made it back in 1970. But let me tell you about the next year!

The Pirates had a much different team. Now, they had Willie Stargell, Al Oliver and Bob Robertson. Their pitching staff was great. Dock Ellis, Steve Blass were there. Nelson Briles, who'd helped the Cards make it to the Fall Classic in 1967 and 1968 was there with his experience. Mudcat Grant, there on the Twins in '65 was now a Pirate. Bob Johnson, Luke Walker and Bob Moose completed the lucky seven.

So, after beating the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS, it was off to the Wordl Series against the Baltimore Orioles.

This time, it was on the road for games one and two. The Orioles won 'em both. Clemente lashed two hits in game one, and another pair of 'em in the second contest. Baltimore won game two, 11-3.

So in Pittsburgh, Clemente got just one hit. Willie Stargell got none (Although he walked three times). However, just take a look at the final score: 5-1 for Pittsburgh! Steve Blass had himself a fine 3-hitter!

Game four was close, but Roberto Clemente was all over the place. 3 hits, a walk. Surprisingly, he didn't knock in a run or touch home. But his team did four times to the O's three. And game five? It wasn't close. Pittsburgh won, 4-0. Nelson Briles trumped Mr. Blass. He allowed Baltimore two hits. Speaking of hits, our favourite player on the Pirates had one, and it knocked home the final run of the ballgame in the bottom of the fifth. The Pirates had this contest from the get-go!

In Baltimore for game six, Pittsburgh got a big blow off the bat of Roberto. He tripled his first time up off the great Jim Palmer, who'd whipped Pittsburgh in the second contest. Clemente was stranded, the Pirates scored the next inning. Here's where Roberto took over. He hit a solo home run in the third to make it 2-0. Palmer though, had 'em in the bag after that. He handcuffed the Pittsburgh Pirates the rest of the contest. It took extras, but Roberto Clemente and the Pirates were denied, 3-2.

No denials in the seventh game, however.

It came down to Steve Blass going on the hill for Pittsburgh vs. Mike Cuellar for Baltimore. Clemente could only ground out in the top of the first.

But in the top of the fourth, it was a different story. He took Cuellar out of the park for a home run. That marked the second straight game that Roberto had helped the Pirates with the long ball.

It was still 1-0 Pittsburgh in the top of the eighth when Willie Stargell singled to start the inning. Jose Pagan singled him home. The insurance run was needed, for the Orioles scored a run off Blass in the bottom of the frame.

Steve settled down, and Clemente had to settle for one hit. But when Baltimore was retired 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth, the Pittsburgh Pirates had won the 1971 World Series.




Roberto Clemente finished the 1971 Fall Classic with 12 hits, 2 home runs, and a splendid batting average of .414 to nab the MVP honours. He was just so dominating. Sadly, he'd die little more than a year later, and the young age of 38. The Pirates have only won the World Series one more time since, and that was in 1979. But although the time inbetween the World Series was more than a decade for Clemente, he made the most of all seven games each time.


References


Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 26 Nov. 2016.

Friday, November 25, 2016

World Series: Did You Know?

David Ferriss handed the St. Louis Cardinals their only shutout on the road in the 1940s. The Cards had a dynasty going with appearances in the 1942-1944 World Series. After the Tigers beat the Cubs in 1945, it was the Boston Red Sox's turn in 1946 to face the St. Louis Cardinals.

The teams split the first two games, and Ferriss pitched game three at Fenway. Murry Dickson started for the road guys.

It all seemed to come apart early for Dickson and company. In the bottom of the first, Joe Pesky singled with one out. Dom DiMaggio grounded out, moving Pesky to second. With first base open, Ted Williams was walked intentionally. Rudy York hit a home run to left. 3-0, Boston.

Ferriss seemed to get stronger as the game moved on. In the top of the sixth, it was Dickson himself with a double. But DiMaggio in centre caught up to Red Schoendienst's short fly. Not only did Dom made the catch, he fired to Pesky the shortstop covering second. Two down. Terry Moore ending the inning by striking out.

Another double play got the Red Sox out of any trouble in the next inning. Harry Walker singled in the top of the eighth, but nothing came of it. The Red Sox scored an unearned run off Murry Dickson in the bottom of the frame, effectively sealing the win.

Schoendienst and Moore were retired by Ferriss to start the ninth. Stan Musial tripled to keep St. Louis alive. But when Enos Slaughter fanned, the game was over and Ferriss had the shutout. Boston also had a 2-1 lead in the 1946 World Series.

The St. Louis Cardinals went on to win three of the next four games, even though Ferriss started game seven. Neither team was to return to this point until the 1960s (Boston and St. Louis met in the 1967 World Series, and twice so far in the 21st century).




Ferriss had lead the American League in W% in '46, .806. Although his career came to an end in 1950 before he was 30, Dave posted an excellent W-L record of 65-30 for a career W% of .684. He'd won 21 games in 1945 and added 21 in the pennant-winning season. So there was no doubt he belonged on the hill in games three and seven of the Fall Classic in 1946, although Boston came up a tad short in the last contest.


References


Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 25 Nov. 2016.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

World Series: Did You Know?

Although he allowed six hits in just 2 1/3 innings pitcher, Ralph Branca was the winning pitcher in game six of 1947. The Brooklyn Dodgers lived to fight another day.

Branca had started game one, and lost. He allowed a Yogi Berra home run in game three, but Brooklyn held on for a 9-8 win. But once it got to game six at Yankee Stadium, it was do-or-die for the Dodgers.




Well, the Dodgers dodged defeat. It wasn't easy.

Vic Lombardi started for the visiting Dodgers, and Brooklyn got up 4-0 going into the bottom of the third. Here's where New York woke up. They scored twice and had runners on first and second, with two down.

Branca came in and Billy Johnson singled. 4-3. Bobby Brown batted for Jack Phillips and singled. That scored the great Joe DiMaggio. Game tied, 4-4.

The next inning was tough, too. Branca gave up a single, got two strikeouts, then allowed another single. Yogi Berra singled to score the go-ahead run, but DiMaggio hit into a force. Brooklyn needed some offence.

They didn't get any in the top of the fifth. In the bottom of the frame, Ralph Branca held the fort. Johnson grounded out. George McQuinn popped to second. Phil Rizzuto singled to keep the inning going, but Aaron Robinson grounded out to second to end that.

In the top of the sixth inning, the Dodgers scored four times to take an 8-5 lead. Branca had been removed for a pinch hitter. Joe Hatten took over on the mound for Brooklyn. He held the fort, but the Yankees still managed to get to him eventually.

In the last of the ninth, Johnson singled and McQuinn. Hugh Casey came in. Rizzuto flied out to centre. Robinson singled, however, and the bases were loaded.

Lonny Frey batted for Butch Wensloff, and singled home Billy Johnson. 8-6. Stuffy Stirnweiss grounded out to Casey, and the Dodgers had the game.

Alas, in game seven, the Dodgers couldn't hold an early 2-0 lead. It was the Yankees scored the game's final five runs, to take the 1947 World Series in 7 games. Branca was not done pitching in the Fall Classic, however.




Two years later, the two teams met again. Ralph pitched much better this time around. Given the ball for game three at Brooklyn, he allowed a third inning run, then seemed to settle down. The Yankees gave up the lead in the bottom of the fourth when Pee Wee Reese homered.

The game stayed tied at 1 going into the top of the ninth. New York pulled it out as Yogi walked with one out. When Joe DiMaggio popped out, Branca seemed safe. Bobby Brown singled Berra into scoring position. Gene Woodling walked to load the bases. And when Johhny Mize singled, Berra and Brown scored. Jack Banta came into relieve Branca, who'd allowed just four hits over eight and two-thirds innings pitched. Jerry Coleman singled to make it 4-1.

The Brooklyn Dodgers had quite a bottom of the frame. Three outs away from losing, they sure didn't quit. Gil Hodges was retired, but Luis Olmo, the left fielder, hit a solo home run. 4-2. Joe Page, pitching in relief and going for the win, fanned Duke Snider. Then, Roy Campanella hit a solo shot of his own, 4-3. Bruce Edwards went sent to the dish for Banta, but Page got him looking to end game three.

And Brooklyn lost the next two games.




Branca never pitched again in the World Series, although he was on the Dodgers' postseason roster in 1952, the year after famous Giants pennant win over Branca's team. The '52 World Series went seven, and again, Brooklyn lost. They'd finally win in 1955 (After suffering a six-game defeat in '53 and watching the Giants win again the next year.) but Ralph was no longer pitching for Brooklyn. Soon, he retired from baseball, not much past his 30th birthday.

The Dodgers suffered a lot of heartbreak, long before Ralph Branca arrived. Was 1947 especially hard? They were so close, yet the Yankees made 'em look so-close-yet-so-far in game seven. In '52 they had games six and seven at home, coming up just empty. Even after Brooklyn's big win in 1955, the New York Yankees took their revenge in seven the following season. The Dodgers headed west to Los Angeles and won in 1959, 1963 and 1965. By then their pitching staff was primarily Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, so the opposition didn't have a chance.

Branca passed away yesterday, age 90. The Dodgers haven't won since 1988 and the San Francisco Giants (Having also gone west in '58) have recently won the Fall Classic three times. The New York Yankees have 27 World Titles to their name, while Brooklyn / Los Angeles has had to settle for 6. The Giants are up to 9, tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for the most of any National League team. But Ralph Branca was part of some great Brooklyn teams, and remembering him for Bobby Thompson's home run just doesn't seem right.


References


Enders, Eric. 100 years of the World Series. Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. New York, 2005. Print.

Neft, David S., Richard M. Cohen, and Michael L. Neft. The Sports Encyclopedia: Baseball, 1992. 12th ed. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992. Print.

Neft, David S., and Richard M. Cohen. The World Series: Complete Play-by-play of Every Game, 1903-1989. 4th ed. New York: St. Martin's, 1990. Print.

Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 24 Nov. 2016.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

World Series: Did You Know?

Jerry Koosman never lost a game in the all-important October finale! In fact, he never lost a postseason game, period.

As a member of the 1969 New York Mets, he was given the ball in the very first NLCS. His team had beaten the Atlanta Braves 9-5 in the first contest.

The game started well for New York. After three innings, it was 6-0. After 3 1/2 in Atlanta, it was 8-0 for the visitors. The Braves got a run in the bottom of the frame, and then the Mets countered that with another tally of their own in the fifth, making it five straight innings of at least one run. However, Hank Aaron hit a 3-run home run in the bottom of that inning to cut it to 9-4. Ex-Yankee Clete Boyer drove home two more before the inning was over, and suddenly, it was 9-6. There were two outs, but that was all for Koosman as manager Gil Hodges replaced him with Canadian Ron Taylor. New York held on to win, getting some breathing room via a 2-run home run by Cleon Jones.

So, after finishing off Atlanta, is was off to the World Series to face the Baltimore Orioles. This would be no easy task. The O's beat Tom Seaver 4-1 in game one. Could Koosman win game two on the road this time? Send it back home for games 3, 4 and 5 even steven?

You bet! It wasn't easy, but a fine 2-hitter and some more help from Taylor, and this thing was heading home tied 1-1.






The Mets, as you can see, had to pull it out in the top of the ninth. The Orioles got two on after Koosman retired the first two batters as the O's were down to their last gasp! You take the 2-1 win if you're the Mets.

Game three went to New York 5-0, but it was closer than that. Seaver then won game four by the same score of Koosman's game two win. But this one required extras! Up 3-1, but with games six and seven in Baltimore, could Jerry end it all in game five?

Well, Baltimore didn't even ponder that thought. Their pitcher, Dave McNally, who'd battled Koosman to a gem of a duel in game two, actually hit a home run off him in the top of the third. It was a two-run shot. Frank Robinson hit a solo drive later that inning! 3-0, Baltimore.

New York scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth via a two-run home run by Don Clendenon. But McNally got the next three batters out, and seemed to have it back together. However, Al Weiss tied the game 3-3 with a home run in the bottom of the seventh. McNally was then removed for a pinch hitter in the top of the eighth, but Jerry Koosman got 'em 1-2-3.

The bottom of the frame saw the Mets go ahead via two doubles. The Orioles then committed two errors on one play to allow another run to score. 5-3, New York.

Frank Robinson drew a walk as the Orioles batted in the top of the ninth. A fielder's choice got the Mets to within two outs of wrapping it up. Brooks Robinson flew out to right. Davey Johnson then sent a ball to left. But when Jones made the catch, the home team had the 1969 World Series won!




Four years later, it was another NLCS for the Mets. Koosman was clutch. He beat the Cincinnati Reds 9-2 in the third game, and New York went on to win it in five games. The World Series was against Oakland.

Koosman started game two, following a win by Oakland in the opener. He just didn't have it. The A's got six hits off him in only two and a third innings. The Mets, however, fought back and eventually won in extras, tying the 1973 World Series, 1-1. Just like in 1969, it was on to home sweet Shea Stadium for games three, four and five.




The teams traded wins and game five would decided who went up 3-2. Jerry Koosman, given the ball, made sure that was the Mets. Jerry pitched well. The Mets scored twice off A's starter Vida Blue, and it was up to Koosman to make that stand up.

Jerry allowed three hits in the game. But in the top of the seventh, Gene Tenace drew a leadoff walk. One out later, Ray Fosse hit a double, and the tying run was at second. Tug McGraw came in.

Deron Johnson walked to load the bases. Koosman had allowed 4 walks in 6 1/3 innings. McGraw walked three more himself. But would you believe it? The A's didn't score!

The next two batters, you see, didn't even get the ball out of the infield. There were more chances for the Athletics, however. In the very next inning McGraw retired the first two men, but then Reggie Jackson drew a walk. So too, did Tenace. Jesus Alou lined to third to end that.

New York got a pair of baserunners on in their half of the inning, but neither scored. McGraw, however, had it in the ninth, getting the side in order. Tug fanned the last two batters for an exclamation mark on the save. Jerry Koosman had another win. The Mets, however, lost games six and seven.




Koosman, now 4-0 in the postseason, had one last appearance in him, but I'm sure he'd rather forget it. He was on the Chicago White Sox and facing the Baltimore Orioles in the third contest of the ALCS in 1983. The series was tied. But the third contest was a rout.

It was already 7-1 in the top of the of the ninth at Comisky Park by the time Koosman came in. John Shelby pinch hit and walked. Tito Landrum came in to bat for Jim Dwyer and flied out. Cal Ripken doubled. Eddie Murray was walked intentionally, loading the bases. That was the last batter Jerry Koosman faced in the postseason.

The Orioles scored four times that inning, as future Toronto Blue Jay Dennis Lamp couldn't hold the fort. The game ended 11-1 for Baltimore, who also won game four, 3-0. The Orioles went on to win the World Series over Philadelphia in just five games.




Koosman pitched two more seasons, both with Philadelphia, coincidentally. He went 20-19 from 1984 to 1985 before he retired. And while one might think of names like Dwight Gooden, David Cone, Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan and maybe some other starting pitcher in the Mets postseason history, it's Jerry Koosman who was Mr. Clutch when the chips were down. He got the Mets back into that Fall Classic in 1969, pushed his team to within a game of another World Championship in 1973, and won two crucial NLCS games. It's save to say the New York Mets of 1969 and 1973 wouldn't have done so well in the World Series without their lefty, Jerry Koosman!


References


Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

World Series: Did You Know?

Bill Bevens no-hit bid in 1947 was not his last game. He would return in game seven. The Yankees, who lost that heartbreaker to the Dodgers in the fourth contest, made sure to wrap it all up at Yankee Stadium three games later.

Bevens had been just 7-13 in the regular season that year, but pitched a good game four sans all those walks. 10 to be exact. Holding the opposition scoreless on the road in the Fall Classic is no small feat. But game seven was at home and the Yankees (Who'd beaten the Dodgers in just five games in '41) didn't want to lose it there.

So they sent out Spec Shea, who lasted all of 1 1/3 innings. Bevens got the call, three days after his near-miss. Spider Jorgensen greeted him the hard way. His double scored a run, putting the visiting Brooklyn Dodgers up, 2-0.

Bevens got out of that mess with no further damage. Phil Rizzuto drove home a run in the bottom of that second frame, and it was 2-1. Bill, for his part, fanned both Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson to start the third, and got out of that inning after allowing a walk. The next frame saw Brooklyn get the first batter on via a single. Bevens thwarted 'em again, getting the next three batters out. But it was still 2-1 Brooklyn after 3 1/2.

With two on and two out in the bottom of the fourth, Bobby Brown batted for Bill Bevens (A lot of "B's" there, eh?) and delivered a clutch double. After Snuffy Stirnweiss walked, New York had runners on the corners. Old Reliable, Tommy Henrich, lived up to his nickname and scored Phil Rizzuto from third with a single. Both Brown and Stirnweiss moved into scoring position following that hit, but they ended being stranded.

The Yankees, however, had the lead for good.

Joe Page, their ace reliever, came in and retired the first 13 men to face him. New York tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth and seventh. The Dodgers finally got a hit off Page in the ninth, but a double play erased that and ended the game.

Page ended up getting credit for the win, although by today's rule, it would have been Bevens. Sadly, Bill was gone from the majors for good (Although he pitched in the minors until 1952). 9 year later, Don Larsen did him one better, getting a perfect game against the Dodgers in game five of the 1956 World Series.

Bevens finished his career with a mediocre 40-36 record, despite a 3.08 ERA. The Yankees, despite not returning the next season (And without Bevens) were on their way to five in a row beginning in 1949 under Casey Stengel. Bill, of course, was not a part of that. So sadly, not only did Bill miss out on becoming the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter in the World Series, he also missed out on the dynasty years of the Yankees. Fate just didn't seem to be in the cards for this hard-luck pitcher.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Sure Could Have Fooled Me: Mike Montgomery!

Mike Montgomery's save in game seven of the 2016 World Series brought the championship to the Chicago Cubs, right? It was also his first save at the MLB level! Wow!

Mike started out as a starter. Although only 4-6 in 2015 with Seattle, he recorded two shutouts. That was good enough to tie four other starters for first place. His 4.60 ERA was not a good sign, however.

2016 was a little better with the W-L record. He was 3-4, but lowered his ERA to just 2.34, starting just 7 of 49 games for Seattle. Traded to the Chicago Cubs, he went 1-1 with a 2.82 ERA. Of the 17 games Montgomery pitched for Chicago, only 5 were starts.

Then came the postseason. The NLDS saw Mike collect a hold and a loss, but record a great ERA (1.69). The NLCS was not as good. Montgomery won a game, but posted an ERA of 6.23 in 4 games.

How about the Fall Classic against Cleveland?

Mike fanned four batters in just two innings in the second contest, won by Chicago, 5-1. Montgomery pitched the next two games, but could help little. The Cubs lost 'em both, going down 3-1 to the Indians.

A win at home in game five sent it back to Cleveland for games six and seven. In the sixth contest, it was Chicago with a 9-3 win. The Indians hit the ball hard against him, but they couldn't score a run despite getting a hit and a walk. Aroldis Chapman, the closer, pitched 1 1/3 of an inning and Cleveland did score on him. He'd gone 2 2/3 innings in game five, getting the save to keep Chicago alive. He'd be needed again in game seven.

And in that game, it was Chicago up 6-3 as Chapman came in with one on and two out in the bottom of the eighth. Four more outs. However, a three-run home run by Raja Davis tied the game. Chapman, still on the hill, got 'em 1-2-3 in the ninth, keeping it tied at six, and sending it to extras.

Chicago seized the moment. They scored twice in the top of the 10th to make it 8-6, and seemed to have it wrapped up. Carl Edwards, with two saves in the regular season, was the man the Chicago Cubs sent out to bring 'em home a winner!

It seemed like the right move. The first two batters were retired, bringing the Cubs to within one out of a World Championship. But then Brandon Guyer coaxed a walk from Edwards. Then, he took second base on the first pitch to Davis. On the second pitch, it was Raja continuing to keep his team in the game. Smacking a single to centre, it was 8-7. Mike Montgomery was the new pitcher and Michael Martinez was the batter.

Mike got a strike on Michael, who then sent a grounder to third. Kris Bryant picked the ball up, tossed it to first and Chicago had the game, 8-7! Montgomery, lost in all this hoopla, got his first save at the Big-League level! Could it have come at a better time? I don't think so! Anytime you get a save in game seven of a World Series, it's memorable!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

World Series: Did You Know?

The Chicago Cubs are the only team to win game seven on the road in extra innings. Not only did their win in 2016 erase a long drought you see, but it was a first of it's kind.

1924 Washington Senators won game seven, at home, in extras. Ditto for the 1991 Minnesota Twins. Florida, 1997, same deal.

Chicago trailed Cleveland 3-1 at their place, Wrigley Field. They managed a 3-2 win in game five, sending it back to Cleveland.




All Chicago in game six, 9-3. This one was going to a deciding game seven.





The Cubs, seeking their first World Championship since 1908, surged ahead 6-3 going into the bottom of the eighth, despite the home team scoring twice on a wild pitch in the fifth. The visitors needed just six more outs!

John Lester, pitching a great game for Chicago, then got the first two men out in the bottom of the eighth, and just four more outs were needed. However, Jose Ramirez sent Lester to the showers with a single to left.

Aroldis Chapman came in to pitch for the third straight game. Brandon Guyner greeted him with a double on a 3-2 pitch, scoring Ramirez and cutting it to 6-4. When Rajai Davis deposited Chapman's 2-2 into the left field stands, it was all tied, 6-6. Chapman gave up still another hit before getting out of that inning.

The Cubs tried to retake the lead the next inning, getting a man to third with less than two outs. But Bryan Shaw extricated the Indians from that problem. Chapman had an easy 1-2-3 ninth to send it to extras.

And get this: Chicago scored twice in the top of the 10th off Shaw to make it 8-6! They had a chance for more, as the bases were loaded and there was one out. Trevor Bauer relived Shaw and got the next two batters out without any further damage.

So it was up to Carl Edwards to close this one out. He blew strike three past Matt Napoli for the first out. Ramirez grounded out. At last! The moment had come for Chicago!

Or had it?

Edwards walked Brandon Guyer, getting just one strike. Rajau Davis was back up, again representing the tying run. Guyer took second on defensive indifference, the pitch being ball one. Davis wasted no time in adding to his heroics of the night, singling to centre on the next pitch. Guyer, off with the crack of the bat, motored on home, 8-7. The Cleveland team was just not going away!

But just when it appeared this one might never end, Mike Montgomery came in to pitch. The tying run was at first. Mike had 100 innings pitched to his name that season, but this was gonna be his most memorable moment in baseball, one way or another.

The batter was Michael Martinez.

Montgomery got a called strike. On the next pitch, Martinez grounded to short! The game and the Fall Classic were over! Chicago had an 8-7, extra-inning win in game seven on the road. The first team to do that.




The long wait was over in Cubbie Land. Chicago had kept at it, not letting themselves get discouraged at Cleveland's comebacks. And they were rewarded for their patience. 7 games, 10 innings, and 108 years were over with that last grounder!


References


Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 08 Nov. 2016.

Monday, October 31, 2016

World Series: Did You Know?

Winning game six has never been easy for Cleveland, so Chicago is still very much alive.

The 2016 Cleveland Indians were up 3-1 and looking to put the Chicago Cubs away in game five, but could not. The Cubs won a narrow 3-2 ballgame, sending it back to Ohio for it's conclusion. Whether or not we see a game seven remains to be seen.

How about Cleveland's history of game six's?

Well, not quite up there with the Boston Red Sox, for sure, but interesting nonetheless. A struggle, too!

They did win game six of their first Fall Classic appearance, against the Brooklyn Robins in 1920. This World Series was a best-of-nine format, just like the year before. Even though Cleveland, (Up in games 4-1 in 1920) won it 1-0, they had their problems. Their starting pitcher, Duster Mails, went out and 3-hit Brooklyn. Mails' team made three errors behind him. The Indians clinched it with another shutout, 3-0 in game six.

The 1948 team lost game five, 11-5 at home despite sending Bob Feller to finish the Boston Braves off. The Indians had 'em! Up three games to one, they lost it big time. Forced to head to Boston for games six, Bob Lemon won it by the narrowest of margins, 4-3. The next time the Indians played in the World Series, it was against the Braves again. Completely different story, however.

For one, it was 1995. Also, they were now the Atlanta Braves, and Cleveland needed a win in game five to stay alive. They got it, 5-4 as Orel Hershiser beat Greg Maddux, no small feat. But the visiting Braves nearly came back, as they scored twice in the top of the ninth before the last out was made. Tom Glavine finished off the Tribe in game six in Atlanta with a 1-hit shutout, 1-0.

Two years later, Cleveland was down 3-2 to Flordia, one the road, and needing a win to force a game seven. They got the much-needed win, 4-1. But the Marlins loaded the bases for Bobby Bonilla in the bottom of the seventh. Michael Jackson got him to pop up and end that. The Fish put two more runners on the rest of the way, and could have made a game of it, but Jose Mesa slammed the door shut on any comeback hopes. In the end, however, the 1997 World Series went to Florida in seven games.

So this year, 2016, saw Cleveland only split the first two games. They really played well, despite no DH in games three, four and five at Wrigley. They won 1-0 behind four pitchers (Andrew Miller picking up the win). Then they won game four in a laughter, 7-2, despite the Cubs scoring first.

The Indians, trying to end the Fall Classic on the road, scored first on a home run in the top of the second inning of game five. But the Cubs put across three runs in the bottom of the fourth, erasing that and taking a 3-1 lead. Three Cleveland relievers put some nice zeros on the Cubs side of the scoreboard from then on. And the Indians got a run back in the top of the sixth. Would you believe it? Chicago brought in closer Aroldis Chapman in to pitch the top of the the next inning with just one down. Chapman did the job, and this thing was heading back to where it all began, in Cleveland, as Chicago won 3-2.

What will it be in this game six, Cleveland? I say a good ballgame. Certainly not an easy one!


References


Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 31 Oct. 2016.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

World Series: Did You Know?

The last time (Pending the results in 2016 games four and five) that the Chicago Cubs won a game at home in 9-innings was game six of 1935. 81 years ago. Chicago was swept in the 1938 World Series and won only one game at home in 1945, extra innings, of course.

So going into game five of the 1935 Fall Classic, Chicago needed a win. Detroit, who were seeking their first World Series, were up 3-1 and looking for the clincher on the road. The sent Schoolboy Rowe to the hill for this game. He'd lost game one, and won game three in relief.

However, he'd blown the save in that game, and was looking for a good start here. But it was Chuck Klein hitting a two-run home run off him in the bottom of the third. Rowe settled down nicely after that. He got the Cubs 1-2-3 in the fourth and did that again the next frame.

The Tigers were having problems with Lon Warneke, who was looking to keep the Cubs alive and putting up a noble effort. Staked to that 2-0 lead, he got Detroit 1-2-3 in the top of the fifth and sixth. Bill Lee replaced him in the top of the seventh, and delighted the crowd at Wrigley. While he gave up a leadoff walk, Lee got a flyball and double play to get out of that, preserving the 2-0 lead. Could Detroit get a run or two?

On a single, a bunt, an error and a single by Babe Herman, Detroit's chances further dimmed. It was 3-0, Chicago because of all that in the bottom of the seventh. The Tigers were down to their last six outs. They did not go away quietly.

Rowe himself singled in the top of the eighth with one on and one out. But Lee got out of that via a K and and Mickey Cochrane grounding to first. Lee himself covered first, taking the toss for the putout. The next inning would not end without Detroit getting a run.

Rowe got 'em 1-2-3 in the bottom of the eighth to keep the score, 3-0. In the top of the ninth, the Tigers made their move. Charlie Gehringer singled off Lee. Goose Goslin did, too. Tying run at the dish, just like last inning. But nobody out.

Pete Fox singled, the third straight hit by Detroit in the ninth. Gehringer scored, 3-1. Bill Rogell batted, but Lee was about to bear down and get Chicago the win.

Gee Walker was sent out to bat for Marv Owen. Lee got him to ground out. Both runners advanced, but the home team at Wrigley was just one out away. Of course, a single by the visitors here, and it's 3-2, Detroit.

Flea Clifton, with Schoolboy Rowe due up after him, popped out to first. Phil Cavarretta put the squeeze on it, and the Cubs won, 3-1. Lee got the save.

Chicago battled hard in game six in Detroit, but the home team won that game. The Tigers had their first World Series. Chicago would have to be content with another appearance in 1938 and 1945, but came up empty both times, losing game seven of '45, 9-3.

Tonight, Chicago is in a similar situation. They need this game. They are not going to win by going down 3-1, with games six and seven (If they are needed at all) to be played in Cleveland. They suffered a tough 1-0 loss in game three at home. Game four (And five) are a must.


References


Neft, David S., and Richard M. Cohen. The World Series: Complete Play-by-play of Every Game, 1903-1989. 4th ed. New York: St. Martin's, 1990. Print.

Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 29 Oct. 2016.

Retrosheet. Web. 29 Oct. 2016.  <www.retrosheet.org>

Thursday, October 27, 2016

World Series: Did You Know?

Jake Arrieta carried a no-hitter in game 2016 well into the game. It was the furthest anyone had taken a no-no in World Series game since Jerry Koosman did in the second contest of the 1969 Fall Classic against Baltimore. Koosman's Mets went on to win games three, four and five at home. Arrieta has brought the Chicago Cubs home tied, for games three, four and five. Have high hopes, Chicago!

Koosman was tying to tie up the Fall Classic after his New York Mets lost game one, 4-1 to Baltimore. He was fantastic, and his team had a 1-0 over the Orioles after six innings. The O's woke up in the bottom of the second, and the home team would tie it as the no-hitter was broken up by Paul Blair's leadoff single. Although Koosman got the next two batters off, Blair stole second. A single by Brooks Robinson tied it. Those two hits by the Orioles, however, would be their only ones of the game.

Would you believe it?

The Mets broke the 1-1 deadlock with three singles in the top of the ninth. All of this coming, after stater Dave McNally had retired the first two New York batters. But Ed Charles, Ron Swoboda and Al Weis all singled to left, making the score 2-1 for the visitors.

In the bottom of the frame, Jerry Koosman got the first two batters out. He seemed safe, just like McNally in the top of the inning. But Frank Robinson had to be pitched very carefully to. Koosman was too careful. He walked him. Boog Powell followed that by drawing a walk. Ball four was the last pitch Koosman would throw. Gil Hodges, the Mets' manager, turned it over to Ron Taylor. Taylor got Brooks Robinson to ground out to third to end the game.

It was a similar story for the Chicago Cubs 47 years later. Playing in their first Fall Classic since 1945, they lost the first game on the road. Badly, worse than the Mets. 6-0, to the American League winners, the Cleveland Indians. So game two, as it had been for the Mets in '69 was a must.

The visiting Chicago Cubs scored first in the second game, so there would be no shutout for the Cleveland Indians. Another run in the top of the third, and it was 2-0, Chicago. Three more for good measure in the top of the fifth. Jake Arrieta had all the runs he needed.

But Jake was really pitching well. Through he'd walked three batters, including two in the bottom of the first, he was lights out. The Indians didn't get a hit off him until the bottom of the sixth. With one out, a double, a grounder and a wild pitch got Cleveland on the board. Mike Napoli singled to keep the rally going. Arrieta had now allowed two hits in one inning, but the home team would not score another run. Mike Montgomery came in and retired Jose Ramirez.

Both bullpens did the job after that. The Cubs had opportunities galore to add to their score. How about Cleveland. They got their third hit, and had two men on the very next inning as they tried to make a game of this. Montgomery held the fort. Chicago went down 1-2-3 in the 8th and 9th. Napoli got his second hit (And Cleveland's fourth) of the game with two away in the bottom of the eighth. That brought in Aroldis Chapman, who got Ramirez to end that.

Chapman, pitching well but not in a save situation, got the first two batters in the bottom of the ninth, looking to send this to Wrigley tied at one. Brandon Guyer drew a walk and took second on defensive indifference. But when catcher Robert Perez grounded out, the ballgame was over.

Arrieta had gone only 5 2/3, but his team needed a big effort from him in this big game. He provided it. Much like Jerry Koosman, he wanted to keep his team in the Fall Classic, not put 'em behind the eight ball. Although he didn't last quite as long as Jerry in 1969, Jake did the job and had the opposition guessing at his offerings all night. All the bullpen carried it from there!


References


Neft, David S., and Richard M. Cohen. The World Series: Complete Play-by-play of Every Game, 1903-1989. 4th ed. New York: St. Martin's, 1990. Print. PP. 326-327.

Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 27 Oct. 2016.

Retrosheet. Web. 27 Oct. 2016.  <www.retrosheet.org>

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

World Series: Did You Know?

Tonight's win by the Chicago Cubs was their first win not going to extra inning since game three of the 1945 Fall Classic? And did the winning pitcher for Chicago ever pitch well. And his hitting was pretty good, too.

Detroit and Chicago split the first two games of the '45 World Series, but the Tigers should have had the edge in the third contest at home. They had Hank Greenberg and Rudy York and were looking for some serious offence.

It never came in this game.

Claude Passeau, the Cubs starter, was 17-9 with a 2.46 ERA in 1945, so he was the right man to stop the Tigers. And stop them he did. They went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the first. In the second inning, York got the home team's first hit of the game, but he was stranded. Detroit would not get another hit the entire game.

The Cubs, meanwhile, scored twice in the top of the fourth, and that was all Passeau needed. The Tigers coaxed a walk from him in the bottom of the sixth, swiftly erased via a double play. Passeau helped out his own cause by hitting a sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh to make it 3-0, Chicago.

Passeau finished the game in style, retiring the last eleven Detroit batters, giving Chicago a 3-0 lead and a 2-1 lead in the Fall Classic that year. Detroit, however, won the next two games to force Chicago to the brink of elimination.

Passeau pitched game six at Wrigley. Claude was not as effective as he'd been in game three. He allowed three runs over 6 2/3 IP. His team went on to an extra inning, 8-7 win. The joy was short-lived, however. Two days later, the visitors won 9-3 to take the 1945 World Series. The Tigers would have to wait until 1968 to return to the Fall Classic, whereas the Cubs would have to wait 71 years to return.

But the 1945 World Series, despite the lop-sided game seven, was very exciting. Passreau had to work hard in his 3-0 game, and even his own bat was needed for that effort. The World Series had started with a lot of promise, as the Cubs blanked 'em 9-0 in the first contest. Every game after that, with the exception of the sixth one, was a pretty good effort on the winning pitcher's part, despite the final score.


References


Neft, David S., Richard M. Cohen, and Michael L. Neft. The Sports Encyclopedia: Baseball, 1992. 12th ed. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992. Print.

Neft, David S., and Richard M. Cohen. The World Series: Complete Play-by-play of Every Game, 1903-1989. 4th ed. New York: St. Martin's, 1990. Print.

Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.

Retrosheet. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.  <www.retrosheet.org>

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

World Series: Did You Know?

The Tigers and Cubs are the only teams to have a win, a loss and even a tie in the opening tilt of the Fall Classic.

It was Chicago that actually got to the loss column first. Facing their rivals from across town, the Chicago White Sox, the Cubbies dropped the opener of the 1906 World Series (Eventually won by the Sox in six games.) 2-1. The next year, it was the Cubs back to face the Detroit Tigers.

The Tigers looked to have game one won on the road, which would have been a big plus. But a two-run uprising by the Cubs in the bottom of the ninth, aided by a dropped third strike on what should have been the final out, extended things. The home team seemed to be poised to win, getting runners on second and third in the 10th, loading the bases in the 11th. They failed to break the 3-3 deadlock. After a 1-2-3 bottom of the 12th, the game was declared a tie.

It mattered little to Chicago, who swept 'em aside in the next four games. The teams then met again in 1908, and it was the Cubs who again won it all. It took five games, with the visiting Chicago team winning the opener 10-6 in Detroit, and not really looking back.

Detroit dropped the opening game of the following year's Fall Classic to Pittsburgh, eventually losing in seven games. That was it for the Ty Cobb version of the Tigers. They'd have to wait until 1934 to get back. Chicago made it back in 1910, 1918, 1929 and 1932 in the meantime.

Detroit finally made it back to the World Series in 1934. They dropped the opener to St. Louis, 8-3. It went seven and the Tigers were embarrassed 11-0 at home in the last game. The next year, Detroit was at it again! They won it all this time!

And who did Detroit finally do it against? Why Chicago, of course.

But it was National Leaguers, not Detroit, that took game one on the road, 3-0. This did not set the tone, the Tigers rallied to win in six games, avenging their losses to the Cubs in '07 and '08. Both teams would then wait exactly ten years before getting back into the battle in 1945. Here, Chicago won 9-0. It was Detroit that ultimately prevailed in seven games, winning 9-3 to clinch it.

Detroit again lost the first game of the World Series to St. Louis in 1968, as Bob Gibson fanned 17 Tiger batters. But behind 3-1, they rallied to win the last three games, getting even from 1934. Detroit finally won game one of the Fall Classic in 1984 vs. San Diego on the road. But was it ever close, a 3-2 final. While the home team won game two, the Tigers went home and didn't come back west, winning all three games at Tiger Stadium.


References


Neft, David S., Richard M. Cohen, and Michael L. Neft. The Sports Encyclopedia: Baseball, 1992. 12th ed. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992. Print.

Neft, David S., and Richard M. Cohen. The World Series: Complete Play-by-play of Every Game, 1903-1989. 4th ed. New York: St. Martin's, 1990. Print.

Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.

Retrosheet. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.  <www.retrosheet.org>

Sunday, October 23, 2016

World Series: Did You Know?

Until this year, 2016, Don Johnson was the last batter for the Chicago Cubs in the Fall Classic. Not related to the actor. You know, from Miami Vice.

But Chicago was last in the World Series in 1945, when the lost to the Detroit Tigers. The Fall Classic went to a deciding seventh game at Wrigley. The Cubs had won a dramatic sixth game at home, 8-7 in extras, to force a winner-take-all last game. But like the Boston Red Sox of 30 years later, they came up short.

Hank Borowy started the game for the home team, but it was his third straight appearance. And Hank didn't last through even one inning. It was the Bengals that score five times in all that frame. Chicago could answer with only a single run in the bottom of the first. And it was Johnson that doubled and scored. But a lot of good that did.

In fact, that was about as close as it would get. A double play stopped any further scoring that inning, and Detroit was not finished. A run in the top of the second and the five-run cushion was restored. The home team scored their second run, but not until the bottom of the fourth. Hal Newhouser was just not going to allow the Cubs to make a game of this.

The Tigers scored run number seven in the top of the seventh, then plated two more the next inning. Hank Greenberg, who's day included two walks and two sacrifices, drove home the ninth run. Johnson was retired in the bottom of the frame, but the Cubs did score their third and final run.

Trailing 9-3 in the bottom of the ninth, Chicago got it's tenth hit (By Roy Hughes) to start the inning. But that proved to be it. Newhouser, sprinting to the finish line for the visitors, retired the next three batters, including Stan Hack on a fly and Don Johnson on a force at second.

You couldn't have told a Cub fan back then that there would be not return for over 70 years. No way! Chicago had, after all, won the World Series in 1907 and 1908. They'd even been there, losing to their crosstown rivals the White Sox in 1906. They made it back several times, including the start of the 10's, 1910. Then again in 1918, 1929. 1932, 1935 (Losing to the Tigers), 1938, and finally 1945. That was 10 times.

But it would be 71 years before they returned to the World Series. 2016 sees Chicago take on Cleveland.


References


Neft, David S., Richard M. Cohen, and Michael L. Neft. The Sports Encyclopedia: Baseball, 1992. 12th ed. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992. Print.

Neft, David S., and Richard M. Cohen. The World Series: Complete Play-by-play of Every Game, 1903-1989. 4th ed. New York: St. Martin's, 1990. Print. pp. 205.

Sports Reference LLC. "October 10, 1945 World Series Game 7, Tigers  at Cubs" | Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/ CHN/CHN194510100.shtml. Web. 23 Oct. 2016.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Common Denominator: Sam Bowie And Adrian Dantley

One sits proudly in the Hall Of Fame, a teammate of Kareem and Isiah. The other is supposedly the biggest draft bust in NBA history. And they both could have been a teammate of Micheal Jordan for the first (or maybe all three) of three in a row. Different years, of course.

Adrian Dantley came to the NBA, was healthy, and a teammate of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for two seasons. Just as they were about to win, he was no longer a Laker. Worse still, he missed out on playing with Magic Johnson as Los Angeles traded him for Spencer Haywood. One Hall-Of-Famer for another.




Dantley went on to twice lead the league in PPG in the 1980s, but never won a ring. In seven seasons with the Utah Jazz, Adrian averaged 29.6 PPG. But then, he was on the Detroit Pistons, for 1987/88, getting all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals. Guess who they beat on the way?

Why, the Chicago Bulls!




Then, the next year, they fell to Kareem's Lakers in seven games in the NBA Finals. Just as the Bad Boys were about to embark on a little dynasty, he found himself on the Dallas Mavericks, and watched as Detroit swept Los Angeles in the NBA Finals in 1989, then beat Portlant in five the next season. The Pistons had continued to have Micheal Jordan's number in the playoffs, going 3-0 against them in the postseason from 1988-1990.




So Micheal and company were determined to find away around the Pistons. They sought out Dantley's services in 1990/91 (Having been waived the previous spring), bringing it up to veteran centre Bill Cartwright. The Bulls even talked to one of Dantley's old coaches, Frank Layden. Ultimately, they took a pass. Dantley signed with Milwaukee in April, finishing up his career with them that season.

A little later on that season in Chicago (After sweeping Detroit sans Dantley in the Eastern Conference Finals)...It was "Yes Bull," after years of, "No Bull" in the NBA Finals.




Chicago, of course, went on to win in not only in 1991, but also in 1992, and 1993. How about 1995/96? Well, they were a new team at this point, and many of the old guard was gone. Their centre was Luc Longley, who was not very good. Worse still, the guy couldn't even give you 30 minutes a night! Who could be his backup?

The Bulls had signed James Edwards, the old pro from Detroit, back in the fall of 1995, but he was clearly past his prime. They'd gotten Dennis Rodman, another former Piston in a trade. But he wasn't a centre. Jack Haley had been signed in the fall like Edwards and could play centre. He ended up playing one game all season long.

So the Bulls went after Sam Bowie. Of course, the name Bowie and Jordan are tied forever in the 1984 draft, when Portland picked Bowie second and Chicago of course took Jordan third.




Bowie has seemed like a good pick at the time, in a league dominated by big men. Sam had it toug at the collegiate level, facing some stiff competition some nights. Didn't seem to fair too badly.




Bowie had injury problems, but by the 1990s, they had more or less subsided. And at a very good time, too. Gone (Or on the decline) were Jabbar and Mosses Malone. Replacing them as the dominating big men where Hakeem Olajuwon and Patrick Ewing. There was a guy named Shaq on the horizon. Hakeem got the better of Patrick in 1994 and then Shaquille O'Neal the next year for two rings.




So, add Bowie? Why not? Sam had retired from the Lakers just before the start of what would be an historic, record-setting season for Chicago in 1995/96. But still...The guy could bring it. From 1989/90 until 1994/95, he'd played 372 out of 492 games, really only missing significant time in 1993/94. Jordan didn't play a single game that year, sitting it out playing some baseball as his interest in basketball appeared to wane.

Jackson liked the idea of Bowie. So did MJ. Bowie attended a Bulls / Knicks game, went to some practices, and heard out Jordan himself. MJ wanted the big guy badly, thinking the NBA Championship would come easier with a centre like Bowie. Certainly it made all the sense in the world.

But Bowie gave it a pass. His interest was now his family, and later, horse racing. Basically, he'd found his calling. That 1984 draft was ancient history. Still, were I in Sam's shoes, I'd have signed right on the spot with MJ. Would have made my life a whole lot easier.


References


Brown, Clifton. "Despite New Faces, Rivalry Is The Sam." The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. The New York Times Company, n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2016. Online Version Of Original Print, 07 Dec. 1995. <http://www.nytimes.com/1995/12/07/sports/on-pro-basketball-despite-new-faces-rivalry-is-the-same.html>

Friend, Tom. “ESPN Films Examines Sam Bowie's Legacy.” ESPN: The WorldWide Leader In Sports, ESPN, 20 Dec. 2012, Web. 22 Oct. 2016. Web. 22 Oct. 2016. <http://www.espn.com/espn/ espnfilms/story/_/id/8748334/espn-films-documentary-examines-sam-bowie-legacy>

Smith, Sam. The Jordan Rules. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992. Print. pp. 192, 207-208.

Sports Reference LLC. Basketball-Reference.com - Basketball Statistics and History. http://www.basketball-reference.com/. 22 Oct. 2016.

Youtube. Web. 22 Oct. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/>

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Sure Could Have Fooled Me! And Howe!

Gordie Howe won as many Hart Memorial Trophies by the age of 35 than Bobby Orr, Jean Beliveau and Maurice Richard combined did in their entire careers. That's six, by the way. Until Wayne Gretzky came along, no one else won that award (Given to the NHL's Most Valuable Player) so many times.

Wow! Everyone remembers Gordie for his incredible longevity, but by 1962/63, he had won his sixth MVP. His great rival Maurice Richard, well no doubt a more exciting player (And better goal scorer) won it just once, in 1946/47. That happened to be Mr. Hockey's first NHL season. Howe scored only seven goals all year as a rookie.

But that all changed by 1950/51. Howe won his first scoring title (Richard never won any, Orr two and Beliveau just one. Howe has then all beaten in that category, too. And by a wide margin), but was only third in the MVP race. The next season, Howe made it clear, aged only 24, that he wasn't in the mood to share either the Hart or Art Ross Trophies (Scoring leader) with anyone. He won them both. And he repeated the feat in the following season as well.

Howe finished a rather stunning fourth in the MVP voting in 1953/54 despite winning his fourth straight scoring title. He was, at this point in his career, Gretzkyesque as far as that went. Same thing with his dominance. He was either winning the Art Ross or just missing. Richard, his great rival, never lead the league in assist, either, while Howe led in that category three times.

Gordie was 26 years old at the end of 1954, while all this was going on. But he was only going to get better with age.

He won back-to-back Harts in 1956/57 and 57/58. Rocket Richard, however, now had the upper hand when it mattered most, the playoffs. Montreal, The Rocket's team, won the first of five straight Stanley Cups beginning with a five-game triumph over Howe's Red Wings in 1956. Mr. Hockey would have to be content with his superb individual dominance over all other players in the NHL at that time. Jean Beliveau, now a teammate of Richard's and coming into his prime, took home the MVP in 1955/56, sort of the beginning of his great career. Howe denied him the rest of their careers from ever winning it again, if you can believe it!




The Habs completed their five-in-a-row reign in 1960, but Howe took home MVP #5 that season. In 1962/63, it was Hart #6 for Mr. Hockey. And while it proved to be his last, he was not done with his domination of hockey.

Indeed, Howe also won his last scoring title that season, too.  But in 1967/68, he tallied 82 points, which was amazing since he passed his 40th birthday that season, too. How(e)'d he do the next season? Why, he got 103 points, despite his 41 years. Alas, it was Phil Esposito taking the scoring title with 126 points, at the time a record. Phil also won the Hart Trophy that year, as well he should.




1969/70 belonged to Bobby Orr. He did it all that year, didn't he? Norris Trophy for best defenceman. Art Ross Trophy with 120 points (Although, Howe with 71 points, has hardly through still being a force.) Orr, was an impossible-to-deal with player that year. He dominance continued as his Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup. He helped Phil Esposito get 152 points then next year, but was the MVP again. And a third for good measure in 1971/72. Howe retired for two years after 1970/71. Gordie came back to play in the WHA in 1973/74, and looked like he'd lost none of his old skills. When the WHA and NHL emerged in 1979/80, all Mr. Hockey did was play in all 80 games with the Hartford Whales, score 15 goals and 41 points. Wayne Gretzky was in his first year in the NHL that year, getting 137 points and winning his first Hart. Both Wayne And Gordie's team made the playoffs, only to be swept aside in the first round.

Howe's last goal was against Montreal in the playoffs that year. Just a reminder to Richard and Beliveau that he was still around? Probably!




References


Sports Reference LLC. Hockey-Reference.com - Hockey Statistics and History. http://www.hockey-reference.com/. Web. 20 Oct. 2016.

Youtube. Web. 20 Oct. 2016.. <https://www.youtube.com/>

Monday, October 17, 2016

Common Demoninator: October 10th

"Day that Mantle hit his walk-off home run right into the upper deck against Barney Schultz. Day of Wayne Gretzky's NHL debut."

That would be October 10th of 15 years apart. And at the opposite ends of the spectrum in each other's careers. The Mick and his mighty Yankees were about to slide into fifth place in 1965, whereas Gretzky's Oilers were in their first NHL season. Five years later, they were Stanley Cup winners.

Mickey didn't have to wait as long as Wayne to be a champion. Mantle's New York Yankees won it all in 1951, his rookie campaign. He also won it again the next two seasons. By the end of the 1950s, the Bronx Bombers had won six World Championships, Mantle not there in 1950, obviously. The 60s started out with a frustrating, heartbreaking seven-game loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. But soon, it was back to the Yankee dominance. They won in 1961 and '62. The Los Angeles Dodger stopped them from making it three in a row with a sweep of 'em the next season. But 1964 meant another World Series for Mantle and company.

But they were up against the St. Louis Cardinals, and pitcher Bob Gibson. The Yankees' ace, Whitey Ford, pitched in game one, taking the loss. Due to an injury, it proved to be the lefty's last appearance in the Fall Classic.

But then New York went out and beat Gibson in game two, right there in St. Louis. Mantle scored the run that broke a 1-1 deadlock. The 8-3 final score sent the 1964 World Series to New York for games three, four and five. At Yankee Stadium.

Game three was a classic pitcher's duel. Jim Bouton of the Yankees and Curt Simmons of the Cardinals battled each other to a standstill. Simmons tied the game and Mantle made a big mistake. Trailing 1-0 in the top of the fifth, Tim McCarver of the Cardinals got a rally going. He singled past Joe Pepitone at first. The ball continued into right, rolling right through Mantle's legs (Roger Maris was playing centre, Mantle's normal position). McCarver ended up at second. The next two batters were retired by Bouton, but Simmons was the batter. The lefty-pitching, lefty-hitting hurler knocked it off Clete Boyer's glove at third, and McCarver motored on home to tie the game.

The Cards nearly won in in the top of the tenth as Phil Linz, the shortstop replacing Tony Kubek at short, muffed McCarver's grounder to start the ninth. A bunt by Mike Shannon got him to second. Another pinch hitter, Carl Wawrick, walked. Bob Skinner batted for Simmons and gave it a ride to deep right-centre. Roger Maris made the putout on the warning track, and McCarver made it to third. Curt Flood lined to Mantle in right.

St. Louis brought in Barney Schultz to pitch the bottom of the ninth. And let's let Mantle take it from here:



The Mick really gave it a ride!


St. Louis, however, ended up winning the 1964 World Series in seven games (Despite two more long balls from The Mick). Mantle did not make it back to the Fall Classic again. He retired after the 1968 season.

Flash forward fifteen years from that day Mantle hit his dramatic walk-off, and it's a young 18-year old about to walk on to the ice at Chicago Stadium. Wayne Gretzky had completed his first WHA season in 1978/79, but it was "Welcome to the Big Show, kid!"

The Edmonton Oilers were bunch of kids. They had two other first year boys in Kevin Lowe and Mark Messier, both of whom were a few years away from greatness. Gretzky? He'd arrived. The Hawks had another veteran aside from Esposito. Stan Mikita, who'd been with Chicago since 1959/60, two years before Gretzky was born. Wayne had to be really feeling young!

But first, there was the matter of the Chicago Blackhawks. They trotted out 36-year old Tony Esposito in the net for this game, while the Edmonton Oilers countered with Ken Dryden's older brother Dave. For a while, this October 10th, 1979 game was a mismatch.

Chicago led 2-0 before the game reached it's third minute. Edmonton fought back as Kevin Lowe scored, Gretzky getting his first assist. Dave Hunter then tied it at 14:53, but the first period ended with the home team up 3-2. Bob Murray scored the lone goal of the second period on a powerplay, and that gave the Hawks a two-goal cushion to work with. Esposito kept Wayne and company at bay the rest of the way.




The Oilers may have lost the game 4-2, but they would actually make the playoffs. Wayne himself would been in the postseason every year until 1993/94, and from there make it only twice his last six years, retiring in 1998/99.


"The information used herein was obtained free of charge from and is copyrighted by The Hockey Summary Project. For more information about the Hockey Summary Project please visit:

http://hsp.flyershistory.com

or

http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/hockey_summary_project/"


References


Hockey Summary Project. 10 Jan. 2001. Web. 17 Oct. 2016. <http://hsp.flyershistory.com>

Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.

Sports Reference LLC. Hockey-Reference.com - Hockey Statistics and History. http://www.hockey-reference.com/. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.

Youtube. Web. 17 Oct. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/>