Wow! Whatta game!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Wow! Whatta game!

I've been watching World's Serious games now for over 60 years, and I can only think of two others similar to the one that began Thursday evening and just ended early Friday morning with a 11th inning walk-off home run by the St. Louis Cardinals' Dave Freese.

The first was Game Seven in 1960 which ended, coinci­dentally, by an identical 10-9 score when the Pirate's Bill Mazeroski homered off the Yankees' Ralph Terry in the bottom of the 9th inning.

The other, as with the game just concluded, was Game Six, in 1975, which ended with the iconic home run by the Red Sox' Carlton Fisk off the Reds' Pat Darcy in the bottom of the 12th inning.

All three games featured multiple lead changes, and all three were decided by home runs which led off the final inning with the score tied.

This game was the most exciting one played in the post-season in recent memory, and I didn't even start watching it 'til my buddy Marty called to tell me that Lance Ber­gman, who'd played for his Yankees last year, had just hit a two run homer to give the Cardinals the lead in the bottom of the first.

Then the Rangers tied the game, and later took the lead, only to have the newly christened "cardiac Cards" come back to tie the score, a pattern which was repeated throughout, the final time with two outs in the 10th inning and the Rangers leading by a pair.

(In the ninth Freese had hit a two-strike, two-out, two-run triple off Texas closer Neftali Feliz to force the first extra inning.

Three separate Texas relievers were charged with Blown Saves, probably a World's Serious record!)

It was, whatever one's rooting interest, heart-pounding baseball, and sets up the first World's Serious Game Seven since 2002.

As good as it was, though, it still has to take a close second place to that one in Fenway Park with the still-cursed Red Sox coming back to beat the indomitable "Big Red Machine" of Cincinnati.

Before Fisk's heroics, there had been a pinch hit three-run homer by Bernie Carbo... Bernie who? and a 10th inning home run-robbing catch in right field by Dwight Evans who turned it into a double play.

The Reds had also turned a double play from the outfield when George Foster threw out Denny Doyle trying to score the winning run with none out in the bottom of the ninth.

I watched all this from a seat in Magic's Pub... it was a Tuesday evening, and not normally noted for its late night bar crowd.

But the place was still crowded as the midnight hour approached, and a number of wives alone at home were wondering what sort of low companions their husbands had fallen in with.

Then, at the four hour and one minute mark, Fisk struck and ended the most exciting game of all the Fall Classics I've watched over the decades.

Few remember any details of what happened the next night, only that the Reds won the game and the World Championship of baseball.

And whatever happens in St. Louis later tonight, it's going to have to be something very special to surpass the excitement of Thursday's Game Six.


1. Eastend68 said...

Before last night's game Fox did a special on famous game sixes. Great memories. My best ever was the Mets in 1986, 2nd best was Carlton Fisk.

Didn't see it because I was otherwise occupied 'til Marty called me about the Bergman home run in the bottom of the first. I listen to Fox basabool as little as possible 'cause McCarver just won't shut up! Now I have a greater empathy for that hot dog idiot Deion Sanders dumping huge tubs of ice cubes all over him.

I can understand a certain amount of provincialism, but that '86 game between the Mets and the Flops was nothing special... good comeback, but nothing epic like last night.
– Dean

2. Barbara Ramsay said...

I'm there with ya, Dean... it was an awesome game!

If I have any rooting interest, as a National Leaguer, it's the Cardinals, and my buddy Marty and I were laughing today because we said the identical thing at the same moment: "Who the hell is David Freese?!?" I'm wondering if he's any relation to the Freese brothers, George and Gene, who played for a number of teams in the '50s and '60s.
– Dean

3. Hambone said...

Glad you didn't mention Joe Carter's Game 6 blast in '93. That one was a walkoff Series winner and earned him a fair amount of enmity in Philly.

You sometimes seem to speak in tongues, Andrew... but I didn't even watch that series, and that game six, upon review, was nothing special other than it was only the second World's Serious decided by a walk-off home run, the first being the Mazeroski blast off Ralph Terry in 1960.

4. Ray Overton said...

No offense, Dean and not to minimize the Cards comeback last night. but to poo-poo the 1986 Mets moment the way you did is unfair. Two runs down with two outs in the 10th and two strikes on Gary Carter who then slapped a single to center. Carter was followed by a single by Kevin Mitchell, who was then followed by Ray Knight, who with an 0-2 count singled. This led to the famous Mookie Wilson at-bat. Mookie fouled off a number of balls at 2-2 when Bob Stanley threw the wild pitch that seem to forget tied the score. Stanley, the true goat for the Sox that night, then got his savior when Buckner misplayed Mook's bouncer. This was truly a comeback for the ages, ranking with the Cards comeback on Thursday night. I still maintain that Stanley should be buying Buckner dinner and drinks everytime he sees him as Stanley a) threw the wild pitch that tied the game and b) was slow getting off the mound on Mook's ground ball and would have been beat to the bag even if Buckner had fielded the ball cleanly. Everyone believed the Sox had ended the curse that night prior to that inning, even the Shea management, who had already congratulated the 1985 World Champion Red Sox on the scoreboard. As Yogi so eloquently put it (whether he really ever said it or not), "It ain't over 'til its over."

Thank you for the recitation of that celebrated inning in 1986, and sharing your personal views of who should have worn the horns after the Flops self-destructed, but may you never miss a filing date as badly as you missed the essence of the subject blog entry.

I repeat, without fear of rational opposition, that Mets' tenth inning was nothing more than an exciting and improbable comeback... every pitch of which I watched from the end of the brass rail at The Patio that Saturday night. If you deem that "poo-poo'ing" the Mets accomplishment, then I won't bother to mention what Kirk Gibson did on one leg, from an 0-2 count against the best closer in the business two years later. That was heroic! The Buckner boo-boo and mad Mookie dash was, as I said, exciting and improbable.

What the 1986 Game Six was missing, which the three I carefully included had, were multiple lead changes, often described by unimaginative sports writers as "a seesaw battle," along with three or more innings of recurring tensions and sighs of relief.

I understand your and other Mets fans' disappointment at the omission from this OtBB entry: the 2011 Game Six was epic and heroic... you'd like your Mets to be associated with it on the basis if that one inning 25 years ago. Ennnt! Sorry, doesn't qualify by a lot.
– Dean

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