BASEBALL


 

Main Page

Century of Sports

Greatest Games

Greatest Moments

Infamy

Baseball Moments:

Game 7, 1991 Series

DiMaggio's Hit Streak

Ted Williams: .406

Spahn v. Marichal

Hubbell - 1934 All-Star Game
Ed Reulbach: 2 shutouts
Game 7: 1926 World Series

Vander Meer - No-No #2

Game 6: 1977 World Series

Game 1: 1954 World Series

• Cubs 26, Phillies 22
• 
Ruth tosses 14 inning win

• May Day Marathon

• Koufax is perfect

• Ripken's 2,131st game

• Addie Joss v. Ed Walsh

• The Merkle Boner

• 9 in the Ninth

• Game 5: 1980 NLCS

• Slaughter's Daring

• Bye Bye Babe

• Archie Graham's Inning

• Game 6: 1993 World Series

• Pennsylvania Blue Laws

• McGwire #62

• Carew Steals Home

• Coombs v. Harris

• Perfect Relief

 

AD PARTNERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

  Lots of great games and moments from our national pastime made my lists of Great Games and Great Moments. Notable among them are the Vaughn-Toney no-hitters (Game #9), Don Larsen's perfect game in a World Series (Game #11), Game 7 of the 1960 World Series (Game #18), and my top two moments: Kirk Gibson's fairy tale homer in the 1988 World Series and the Shot Heard 'Round the World.

   There are also a few great contests for the purist - the Bevens World Series almost no-hitter (Game #12), and the great Game 6 contest in the 1975 World Series (Game #6), one of the best ever.

 

   The rest of these baseball events bely my preference for pitching duels and closely fought, strategic contests as opposed to flashy plays. For example, Willie Mays famous catch off of Vic Wertz in Game 1 of the 1954 Series might well be among the top five moments in baseball history, based on fame alone; but in fact Mays had made many such catches before, so in my view it doesn't merit anything higher than the #10 spot here.

     

My All-Time Team:

 

C - Mickey Cochrane, Johnny Bench, Gabby Hartnett, Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella, Josh Gibson, Mike Piazza

1B - Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Cap Anson

2B - Rogers Hornsby, Joe Morgan

SS - Honus Wagner, Ernie Banks, Cal Ripken, Ozzie Smith

3B - Mike Schmidt, George Brett, Eddie Matthews

LF - Ted Williams, Barry Bonds, Stan Musial

CF - Willie Mays, Ty Cobb 

RF - Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron

RHP - Walter Johnson, Pete Alexander, Satchel Paige, Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Christy Mathewson, Tom Seaver

LHP - Lefty Grove, Warren Spahn, Sandy Koufax, Steve Carlton

 

1   OCTOBER 27, 1991    Game 7, 1991 World Series

   My favorite baseball game of all time - a pants pisser of a pitching duel between two Cinderella teams that had both finished dead last in their respective divisions in 1990.  Each game in this Series was a spine-tingler, and they saved the best for last.

 

Click here for more

JULY 17, 1941    Joe DiMaggio - 56 Straight Games

   Yankees center fielder Joe DiMaggio had hit safely in an unthinkable 56 straight games and captivated a nation. Some outstanding fielding by the left side of the Cleveland Indians infield kept him from going further.

   A crowd of 67,468 in Cleveland, a major league record for a night game, saw Joltin' Joe's streak end at 56. Third baseman Ken Keltner made two outstanding plays, grabbing DiMaggio smashes down the line in the first and seventh innings and throwing him out at first base. DiMaggio drew walk in the fourth from left Al Smith.

   The Yankee Clipper had one more chance to extend his streak in the eighth, with the bases full, against relief pitcher Jim Bagby. DiMaggio hit the ball sharply, but shortstop Lou Boudreau played a bad hop perfectly and turned the grounder into a double play.

   During the streak, which began on May 15 with an inauspicious 1-for-4 game, DiMaggio hit .408 (91-of-223) with 15 homers, 55 RBI and 56 runs. Over that entire season, Ted Williams hit .406.

SEPTEMBER 28, 1941    Williams Hits .406

   Ted Williams was hitting .39955 going into the final day of the season. The idea of his batting average being rounded up to .400 didn't sit well with the ultra-competitive purist in Williams - so, on the final day of the season, Williams refused to sit out and risked his ".400" average.

   The 23-year-old rapped his major league-leading 37th homer and three singles in five at-bats in the opener of a doubleheader against the Philadelphia Athletics, raising his average to .404.

   Again, the  Splendid Splinter could have sat out to protect his average; again, he rejected the idea of such chicanery and went to bat. In the nightcap, he got a double and single in three at-bats, to finishes the season at .406 - the first player to hit .400 since Bill Terry in 1930 and the last to do it this century.

   He went 185-for-456 with 120 RBIs. He also led the majors with 135 runs and 145 walks while striking out just 27 times; however, he lost the MVP vote to Joe DiMaggio, 291-254, in part because of his unpopularity with sportswriters.

JULY 2, 1963    San Francisco 1, Milwaukee 0

   Future Hall-of-Famers Warren Spahn and Juan Marichal faced off in maybe the greatest pitcher's duel of all time.  Marichal, the great San Francisco right-hander, pitched 16 years in the majors, winning 243 games (including an incredible stretch from 1962 to 1969, when he won 18 games or more and hurled 260 innings plus in 7 of the 8 seasons) was dominant.  But Warren Spahn, who in my book is the third best lefty of all time (behind Lefty Grove and Sandy Koufax), was just as good.  With 363 career wins (5th all time) and 17 straight seasons when he pitched 245 innings or more, while keeping his ERA below 3.26 all but one of those years, Spahn was the very definition of competitiveness.

   So the two battled to a scoreless tie after 15 innings at Candlestick Park.  But in the bottom of the 16th, another future Hall of Famer decided the game: Willie Mays was 0-for-5 to that point, but he clipped Spahn for a homer over the left-field fence to give San Francisco a 1-0 victory over Milwaukee.  But just as importantly, way back in the 4th inning, Mays saved the game with a brilliant defensive play: with two outs and runners on first and second, Del Crandall singled to center, but Mays charged the ball and uncorked a strike to the plate to get Norm Larker.

5 JULY 10, 1934          1934 - 2nd All-Star Game

   Before the second All-Star Game, New York Giants left-hander Carl Hubbell received his MVP award from the previous season. Then he took to the mound at the Polo Grounds as the National League's starting pitcher and put on a show for the ages.

   After allowing a single and a walk, he struck out Babe Ruth looking on a screwball that just caught the outside corner. Then he got Lou Gehrig to go fishing for a third strike on a full count. Hubbell ended the inning by fanning Jimmie Foxx, normally a first baseman but playing third in this game because of Gehrig's presence at first.

   In the second inning, Hubbell went back to work and struck out Al Simmons and Joe Cronin, making it five future Hall of Famers to whiff consecutively. With a one-ball, two-strike count on Bill Dickey, the Yankees catcher snapped Hubbell's streak with a single to left.

   Hubbell ends the inning by striking out pitcher Lefty Gomez. Hubbell pitched a scoreless third inning, though he didn't fan anyone and he walked Ruth. With the screwballer replaced in the fourth, the American League began its comeback from a 4-0 deficit and won 9-7.

6 SEPTEMBER 26, 1908  Ed Reulbach Throws Two Shutouts

   Chicago Cubs right-hander Ed Reulbach won the opener of a doubleheader against Brooklyn - a 5-0 shutout in Washington Park. he gave up 5 hits and a walk, and the game took just 1 hour and 40 minutes.

   With his pitching staff tired, manager Frank Chance used Reulbach, whose eyesight was so poor his catchers used white-painted gloves, in the nightcap as well. Reulbach responded with another shutout, 3-0, becoming the only pitcher to ever throw two shutouts in the same day. This time, Reulbach allowed just three hits and walked four. he struck out 7 in the first game and 4 more in the night cap.

OCTOBER 10, 1926   Game 7, 1926 World Series

   Bases loaded. Two out. Bottom of the seventh inning. Game 7 of the 1926 World Series. The Yankees sent second baseman Tony Lazzeri (.275, 18 HR, 114 RBI and the Rookie of the Year) to the plate. In this crucial, tension-filled situation, Cardinals player-manager Rogers Hornsby sent to the bullpen for ... Grover Cleveland Alexander!?

   In his prime, Alexander was one of the greatest pitchers ever - he won 5 ERA titles (trailing only Lefty Grove and Roger Clemens) and won 373 games, behind only Cy Young and Walter Johnson. His 90 career shutouts ranks second all-time, behind only Walter Johnson.

   But the 39-year-old had been waived by the Chicago Cubs four months ago - he had since gone 9-7 for the Cards. The grizzled veteran, presumed washed-up earlier in the season, had just pitched a complete game victory the day before; legend has it that he had been up partying the night before, and was not quite sober when he took the mound (Alexander later denied those stories).

   But on this day, the great Alexander prevailed - Lazzeri hit a loud foul down the left-field foul line, then struck out on the next pitch.  Alexander tossed two more hitless innings; the final out came when Babe Ruth, who walked with two outs in the ninth, was nailed attempting to steal second base.  The one-run victory gave the Cardinals their first World Series.

8 JUNE 15, 1938   Vander Meer's Second No-Hitter

   Statistically speaking, this has to be the least probable feat of all time - even less likely than DiMaggio's 56-game hit streak or Yogi Berra's 75 World Series starts.

   The crowd of 38,748 came to Ebbetts Field to witness history - the first major league night game ever played in New York. But much to their joy, they got to see an even bigger piece of history take place: the Cincinnati Reds' 23-year-old left-hander no-hit the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the only pitcher to ever throw consecutive no-hitters.

   Four days previous, he had held the Boston B's hitless. In the 6-0 victory over the Dodgers, the hard-throwing Vander Meer struck out seven and walked eight. Three of the passes came with one out in the ninth, but Vander Meer, with the Brooklyn fans cheering him on, escaped the jam. He got speedy Ernie Koy to ground to third baseman Lew Riggs, who threw home for the force to preserve the shutout, and then retired pesky Leo Durocher on a fly to short center.

OCTOBER 18, 1977    Reggie Hits 3 HR

   Reggie Jackson gave a performance that solidified his status as "Mr. October."  The left-handed slugger smacked three home runs on three pitches from three different Dodger starters, cementing the Yankees' first World Series win in 15 years.

   Jackson drew a second-inning walk from Dodger starter Burt Hooton on four pitches. In the fourth inning, with his team down 3-2, Jackson sent Hooton's first offering on a line into the right-field bleachers. With two out in the Yanks' fifth and Willie Randolph on first base, Jackson drilled another first-pitch homer into the right-field seats, victimizing Elias Sosa this time around. Finally, he led off the 8th with a shot off of Charlie Hough - again on the first pitch.

   The Yankees won the game 8-4, and the Series 4-2 - Jackson became the second player in history to smash three home runs in one Series game (Babe Ruth achieved the feat twice, in 1926 and 1928).

10   OCTOBER 4, 1954     Game 1, 1954 World Series

   The smart money in 1954 would have been on the Cleveland Indians to sweep - after all, the mighty Yankees had won more games in the '54 season (103) than in any year of their 1949-1953 domination, and still couldn't compete with a pitching-rich Cleveland team boasting a starting rotation that included Bob Lemon, Early Wynn and Mike Garcia, plus an aging but effective Bob Feller.  The Indians in 1954 won a league-record 111 games, and were heavily favored against the New York Giants.

   The Series was a sweep, but not by the Indians. The defining moment came in Game 1, when a young outfielder named Willie Mays made perhaps the greatest defensive play in Series history. Mays, who had missed most of the 1952 season and all of 1953 because of military service, was the Giants' offensive catalyst in '54, batting an NL-leading .345, with 41 home runs and 110 runs knocked in.  Now, the future 12-time Gold Glove fielder showed that he could catch and throw as well as hit.

   With the Giants and Indians tied, 2-2, in the eighth inning and two Cleveland runners on base, the Indians' Vic Wertz stepped to the plate. Wertz, Cleveland's first baseman, had been up four times; all he had managed so far were two singles, a double, and a triple. Now it was the eighth inning. Two Indians were on base. No outs. And here came Wertz once more, sending a rocket to straightaway center that would be a home run in any modern, conventional ballpark. But the Polo Grounds were not a conventional ballpark, and Willie Mays was not a conventional center-fielder. Mays raced to deep center field and, with his back to the plate, made an over-the-shoulder catch about 460 feet from home plate (the center field wall was 480 feet away).

   Perhaps even more remarkably, he then whirled and threw a strike back to the infield to keep the Cleveland runners from tagging up and scoring. The Giants won the game, 5-2, when pinch-hitter Dusty Rhodes hit a three-run, 10th-inning home run off Indians starter and loser Lemon (that drive traveling all of 260 feet, into the cozy stands of the Polo grounds right field porch, just 257.67 feet away).

   The Giants won Game 2, 3-1, and then Game 3, 6-2, as Ruben Gomez and Hoyt Wilhelm combined on a four-hitter. They then put the hapless Indians out of their misery in Game 4, 7-4.

11   AUGUST 25, 1922     Cubs 26, Phillies 23

   It's the highest scoring game in major league history. The Cubs outlasted the Phillies 26-23, despite giving up 14 runs in the last two innings.

   The whole game took place in 3 hours flat, a sign of how quickly baseball games should move.  Cub left fielder Hack Miller went 4-for-5, drove in 6, and pounded 2 home runs; center fielder Cliff Heathcote reached base safely 7 times.

   The pitchers on this fateful day are not helped by the defense - the two teams committed 9 errors, and the Phillies allowed 15 of their 26 runs to be unearned, while the Cubs allowed 7 of the 23 runs they gave up to be unearned.

   The two teams combined for 51 hits and walked 21 times.  The game's worst line - Ed Morris of the Cubs, who allowed 4 hits and a walk, for 4 runs (all earned) and retired just one batter.  But that's mild compared to Phillies starter, lefty Jimmy Ring, who went 3.1 IP, coughed up 12 hits, walked 5, and gave up 16 runs (6 of them earned).

12   OCTOBER 9, 1916  Ruth Tosses  14 Inning Win

   Before Babe Ruth became the greatest slugger in baseball, he was one of the game's top pitchers.  In 1916, he was 23-12 and won his only ERA title with an American League-leading 1.75 ERA, over 323 2/3 innings.

   On this day in Boston, he pitched in Game 2 of the World Series. He tossed a Series record 14-inning complete game, and defeated the Brooklyn Robins 2-1 in the longest game in Series history. Ruth allowed six hits, walked three and struck out four. The only run he allowed came in the first inning when Hy Myers, who had hit only three homers all season, knocked an inside-the-parker.

   This was Ruth's only appearance in the Series, which Boston won in five. At the plate, Ruth went 0-for-5.

13   MAY 1, 1920  May Day Marathon

   The 4,500 fans who ventured out to Braves Field on a cloudy, rainy May Day, 1920, were richly rewarded with the longest game in ML history.  They witnessed a 26-inning battle between the Boston Braves and the Brooklyn Robins, that ended in a 1-1 draw.

   The Robins' Leon Cadore and the Braves' Joe Oeschger both went the distance in what amounted to nearly a triple-header - a demonstration of endurance that is unthinkable by today's standards. Oeschger scattered 9 hits and pitched what amounted to a no-hitter over the game's final third.  Surprisingly, Cadore strengthened as well as the game wore on, and didn't allow a hit after a 20th-inning single.

   The game featured high drama and numerous chances for each team to win it. In the ninth, the Braves loaded the bases but couldn't score as a Robins double play ended the threat. In the 15th, the first two Braves reached safely, but Cadore induced two groundouts and a pop-fly to end it.  In the 17th, the Robins' Ed Konetchy was thrown out at the plate.

   Finally, with the light failing and the rain picking up again, the game was called.

14   SEPTEMBER 9, 1965  Koufax's Perfect Game

   Watching a perfect game is always a treat - on this day, fans almost saw two of them. Sandy Koufax was one of the most dominating pitchers ever to walk the mound - he had unbridled heat on his fastball and tremendous control for a strikeout pitcher. In the early 1960s, he led the league five straight times in ERA, and for six straight seasons held opponents to the lowest batting average.

   The opposing pitcher, the Cubs' Bob Hendley, was also a 6'2" lefty, but there the comparison ended - his career record of 37-42 was unimpressive, and he had a career ERA of close to 4.00. But on this day he matched Koufax pitch for pitch for four innings - both were perfect for the first 12 batters.

   In the fifth, the Dodgers' Lou Johnson walked, was sacrificed to second by a Ron Fairly bunt, and came home after Cubs' rookie catcher Chris Krug threw wide as Johnson tried to swipe third base.

   The only other blemish on Hendley's record was a base hit by Johnson in the seventh. Koufax remained untouchable, fanning the last six batters he faced (the last five swinging), in what remains one of the most amazing performances of all time.  Hendley finished with 8 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 R and 0 ER.

15  SEPTEMBER 6, 1995  Cal Ripken: 2,131st Straight Game 

   A fan in the stands held up a sign that says, "We consider ourselves the luckiest fans on the face of the earth. Thanks Cal." The ovation for Ripken lasted 22 minutes and 15 seconds.

   For all of his accomplishments - the 400 career HR, the 3,000 career hits, the fact that he spent so many years with one team, his excellence at shortstop - the most remarkable is his streak of 2,632 games. Imagine the odds, in this day, of such a streak - an infielder is always just one bad hop, one twisted ankle, one hard slide away from injury. Ripken's legacy of durability and persistence was on display on this night, which brought a carnival-like atmosphere to the Orioles' beautiful new ballpark, The Ballpark at Camden Yards. Ripken had three hits, one of them a bases-empty homer in the sixth inning, and the Orioles won 8-0.

   Scott Erickson threw a three-hit shutout. Cathcer Chris Hoiles led off the bottom of the second inning with his 18th home run, and three of California starter Brian Anderson's next seven pitches also ended up in the seats, with Jeff Manto, Mark Smith and Brady Anderson connecting for a 4-0 lead. Anderson later hit a second dinger.
   But the night belonged to Ripken - he received a standing ovation each time he stepped to the plate, and even with a big lead, virtually everyone stayed for a postgame ceremony that included all-time home run leader Hank Aaron, Hall of Famers Ernie Banks and Frank Robinson, Baltimore Colts great Johnny Unitas, Frank Robinson, singer Joan Jett, Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams and former Terps star Joe Smith.

16  OCTOBER 2, 1908      Addie Joss v. Ed Walsh 

   The 1908 pennant race was one of the most exciting ever. On the morning of October 2, three teams woke up with a shot at the pennant - the Chicago White Sox, the Cleveland Naps and the Detroit Tigers. The Cleveland Naps (named after their player-manager, Nap LaJoie) were a half-game back of the Tigers, and hosted the White Sox, who were a game-and-a-half out.

   Two future Hall-of-Famers faced off in this game, with the pennant on the line. White Sox pitcher Ed Walsh, a big right-handed spitballer, was in the middle of one of the greatest seasons of all time - he would finish 40-15, with a 1.42 ERA, 11 shutouts, 464 innings pitched and 269 strikeouts. Cleveland's Addie Joss was compiling a pretty good season himself - he would finish 24-11, with a league-leading 1.16 ERA, 9 shutouts and just 30 walks in 325 innings.

   On this day, Joss, the hometown hero, was better. League Park was crammed with 10,000 fans - 1,000 over the stated capacity - and Joss threw a perfect game, retiring all 27 batters in order. Walsh was almost as good - he struck out 15 men, and allowed just 4 hits. In the third, Cleveland scored when Joe Birmingham led off with a single, moved to third on a throwing miscue by Frank Isbell, and came on a two-out, two-strike wild pitch.

   The unearned run stood up for a 1-0 Cleveland win.

   Unfortunately, neither team was able to pass the Tigers, who clinched the pennant on the last day of the season.

17  SEPTEMBER 23, 1908      The Merkle Boner 

   After winning 223 games over the previous two National League seasons and building huge pennant-winning margins, the Chicago Cubs went about the business of winning a league championship in a vastly different manner in 1908. They won 99 games, but had it not been for a base-running blunder by the New York Giants' Fred Merkle, Chicago would have finished with 98 victories - and been on the outside looking in.

   In a game against the Giants, the Giants' Christy Mathewson and the Cubs' Three Finger Brown battled in the most controversial game ever played.  In the bottom of the ninth with the game tied 1-1 and runners on first and third, it seemed the Giants would defeat the Cubs when Al Bridwell hit an apparent single to center.  Merkle, on first, saw Moose McCormick touch home plate with the "winning" run, and left the basepath before touching second base and headed for the clubhouse in center field at the Polo Grounds.

   Chicago second baseman Johnny Evers called for the center fielder to throw him the ball so he could get a force out at second on Merkle. The ball was thrown in, and in the tussle, pitcher "Iron Man" McGinnity, who had been coaching at third base, wound up with it and threw it into the stands.

   Somehow, though, a ball appeared in Evers' hand and he touched second base.  Umpire Hank O'Day called Merkle out and, with the Giants already having left the field and the fans swarming it, called the game a 1-1 tie.

   As things turned out, Chicago and New York wound up with 98-55 records, meaning the "Merkle game" would have to be made up. In an October 8 replay, the Cubs scored a 4-2 victory and left the Giants agonizing over what might have been. Or even what should have been. The Chicagoans, on the other hand, were reveling in what was.

18  MAY 23, 1901             Nine in the Ninth

   The greatest comeback in major league history occurred when the American League was in it's infancy. In the bottom of the ninth, with two outs and no one on base, the Cleveland Blues exploded for 9 runs against the Washington Senators and won 14-13.

 

Click here for more

19  OCTOBER 12, 1980      Game 5: 1980 NLCS

   Many consider the 1980 NLCS to be the most exciting of all time. The Phillies and Astros battled to five closely fought games, with the eventual winner having to come back each time. Four of the games were decided in extra innings. Just as the teams seemed to have exhausted themselves in Game 4, they topped themselves in Game 5.

 

Click here for more

20  OCTOBER 15, 1946      Slaughter's Daring

   The 1946 World Series featured the Red Sox in the first of three failed seventh-game Series efforts since their last win in 1918. The return of nine starters - including Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky and Dom DiMaggio - from the war made them the best team in the majors, and they won the AL by 12 games.

   The St. Louis Cardinals were underdogs, but they won Games 2, 4 and 6 to force a seventh game in St. Louis' Sportsman's Park. Red Sox ace Dave "Boo" Ferriss took the mound with his 25 wins, against Murray Dickson (whose 15-6 record gave him the NL's top winning percentage).

   In the Cardinals' fifth, with the score 1-1, Harry Walker led off with a single. Marty Marion sacrificed him to second - an odd strategy since the pitcher was up next, but Dickson doubled to left and made it 2-1. With the crowd on it's feet, Red Schoendienst singled in Dickson to make it 3-1. The next hitter was the legendary Stan Musial, and the Red Sox made a pitching change - Joe Dobson got him to ground out in a tension-filled at-bat, and the runners moved to second and third. Enos "Country" Slaughter was intentionall ywalked, and then Dobson got Whitey Kurowski to ground out. 

   The Red Sox tied it in the 8th when they put runners aboard with a single and a double and sent Dickson to the showers. Harry Brecheen, who had won Games 2 and 6, stepped to the mound, and got the next two batters out. But Dom DiMaggio lined a double to right and tied it. Brecheen retired Ted Williams to end the inning.

   In the home half of the 8th, Enos Slaughter (playing since Game 5 with what turned out to be a broken elbow) opened it up with a single off of veteran Bob Klinger. Klinger got the next two outs easily, holding the runner on first. Then occurred the pivotal play of the Series - Harry Walker doubled to left-center, and Leon Culberson (who had replaced Dom DiMaggio in the previous inning after DiMag injured a leg muscle running out his double) fielded the ball cleanly and fired it to shortstop Johnny Pesky. Neither thought the runner would score from first, but in a daring dash, Slaughter ran for the roses. By the time a stratled Pesky delivered the ball to the plate, it was too late. 

   Brecheen retired the Sox in the bottom of the ninth to become the first lefty to win three World Series games.

21  OCTOBER 1, 1961      Maris Hits #61

   Some will no doubt wonder why this doesn't rate higher - certainly it looms large in the annals of baseball, but for me it is one of the most overblown events of all time.

 

Click here for more

22  JUNE 29, 1905     Archie Graham Plays an Inning

   A young baseball player named Archie "Moonlight" Graham, made famous in the movie "Field of Dreams," made his only appearance in the major leagues. He was a late-inning defensive replacement in right-field for the New York Giants, who triumphed 11-1 victory over the Brooklyn Dodgers.

   Graham would play minor league baseball from 1906-08 before going to medical school. Then he settled in the small town of Chisholm, Minn., spending the remaining six decades of his life as a general physician.

   Canadian author W.P. Kinsella used him in his novel "Shoeless Joe," which became the movie "Field of Dreams," with Burt Lancaster portraying Graham in an unforgettable role. The book and movie pay homage to Moonlight's love of baseball and years as Chisholm's beloved doctor. He represents some kind of sainted American ideal of self-sacrifice, the man who quietly works for all that's good.

23  OCTOBER 23, 1993     Joe Carter Wins Series

   It may not have been Bobby Thomson vs. Ralph Branca, names forever linked in baseball lore as the game's classic hero and goat, but Joe Carter vs. Mitch Williams will forever have its own special niche when baseball's storied moments are recounted.

   The Toronto Blue Jays led the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1993 Series 3-2, but trailed 6-5 in the ninth in Game 6. Lit up in a sorry relief performance in Game 4 of the '93 fall classic, Williams was nonetheless entrusted with protecting the Phils' precarious lead. With his team three outs from deadlocking the Series, Williams lived up to his "Wild Thing" sobriquet by walking the first batter he faced, Rickey Henderson, on four pitches. Devon White flied out to left field, but designated hitter Paul Molitor followed with a single to center.

   With a SkyDome throng clamoring for the Blue Jays to wrap up the Series, Joe Carter strolled to the plate. The game's premier run producer (he was coming off a 121-RBI season and had driven in 893 runs in the last eight years), Carter proceeded to work the count to 2-2. He then rocketed Williams' next delivery over the left-field fence.

   It was all reminiscent of Thomson's smash off Branca - not quite as compelling, since the Blue Jays would have lived another day even had they lost. Not so the '51 Giants. it also brought to memory Bill Mazeroski's game-winning home run in Game 7 of the 1960 Series, though there again, the Pirates would have lost the season with the game. But in the 89 previous Series, none had ended on a come-from-behind home run. In fact, only one game in 531 Series contests had ended in such a manner, with Los Angeles' Kirk Gibson supplying those theatrics in the opener of the 1988 Series.

24  JULY 10, 1932     Philly 18, Cleveland 17 

   The laws in Pennsylvania prohibited professional baseball on a Sunday, so the teams had to go to Cleveland's League Park in the midst of a Philadelphia Athletics homestand for this bizarre, thrilling and record-setting game.

   At first glance, the box score looks like it contains a series of misprints. It shows Cleveland shortstop Johnny Burnett getting an inconceivable 9 hits, and Eddie Rommel pitching 17 innings, allowing 29 hits yet emerging victorious. These are not misprints. The game was a roller coaster ride - no lead was safe, as Cleveland overcame a 5-run deficit in the seventh and Philadelphia scored 16 of their 18 runs with two outs on the board.

   For the trip to Cleveland, A's manager Connie Mack took just two pitchers with him - Lew Krausse and Eddie Rommel. He pulled Krausse after one inning (Krausse gave up 4 hits and 3 runs), and with no relief available Rommel struggled for 17 innings and gave up 14 runs on 29 hits and 9 walks. The A's took the lead six times in the game, but each time their pitching could not hold it.

   In the bottom of the ninth with two outs, the Indians trailed 15-14 but Burnett tied it with a single, scoring Willie Kamm. Burnett went to third on Earl Averill's single, and the next batter (Joe Vosmik) sent a low rocket to deep right that appeared to end it, but Mule Haas robbed him with a spectacular play to save the game for Philadelphia.

   Jimmie Foxx's two-run homer in the 16th appeared to cinch it for the A's, but the hometown Indians came back again - a leadoff double by Dick Porter, Burnett's ninth hit of the game and a sac fly made it 17-16, and a pair of singles by Vosmik and Eddie Morgan tied it at 17. A screaming drive to right by Bill Cissell seemed to win it for the Indians, but again Mule Haas made a spectacular, one-handed, game-saving catch.

   In the 18th, the A's took the lead after Foxx singled, Eric McNair singled to left and the ball took a high hop over Vosmik's head - Foxx rumbled home all the way from first. The Indians were retired in order in the bottom of the 18th.

   After this marathon, the teams packed their bags for Philadelphia, where they were due to play a double-header on Monday.

25  SEPTEMBER 8, 1998     Mark McGwire #62 

   The record for home runs in a single season stood for 37 years, but finally Mark McGwire capped a thrilling, season-long chase for the record with his 62nd home run. McGwire ended up with 70 taters; Sammy Sosa finished that season with 66, and Ken Griffey, Jr., ended with 56. The feat was diminished by the fact that it was a live ball season in an expansion year, as evidenced by the high home run output all over the league - three hitters ended over 50 HR for the first time in history, and Albert Belle just missed with 49.

26  xxx x, xxxx     Rod Carew Steals Home

   Minnesota Twins second baseman Rod Carew was more than a terrific hitter as he showed today when he went wild on the bases. After drawing a walk from Detroit's Mickey Lolich in the third inning, Carew and Cesar Tovar, who was on second base, pulled off a double steal. Then Tovar stole home, while Carew remained on second.

   But he didn't remain there long - he stole third, easily beating catcher Bill Freehan's throw. Then for the fourth time that season, Carew stole home. This was the first time in 28 years a player stole second, third and home in the same inning.

27  SEPTEMBER 1, 1906     Coombs v. Harris

   Baseball is played one game at a time, which means that every day brings new opportunities for success and failure.  That was welcome news for Boston Red Sox pitcher Joe Harris, a rookie in the midst of one of the most futile seasons of all time - he lost his first 14 campaigns, ended up with a 2-21 record and 3.52 ERA, fully 30% above the league mean.  But on this day, he pitched as if he were Christy Mathewson.

     Unfortunately for him, his opponent - another mediocre pitcher, Philadelphia Athletic's Jack Coombs, with a 5-7 record and just a few months removed from Colby College - pitched as if he were Three Finger Brown.  The two battled for 24 innings - Colby Jack allowed one run in the third and Futile Joe gave up one in the sixth, and then both became invincible.  Coombs scattered 15 hits and 6 walks over 24 innings, and Harris allowed 16 hits and walked 2.  The game was laced with numerous scoring opportunities, but each time great pitching and fielding stopped runners from crossing with the winning run.

     Coombs faced 89 batters, and Harris faced 87, American League records that still stand - in effect, they pitched through the opposing lineup almost ten times each.  Neither team sent a base runner past first after the 20th, as both pitchers strengthened as the game went on.  Finally, in the 24th, Topsy Hartzel singled off of Harris and stole second after Coombs opened the frame by striking out.  Harris then retired center fielder Bris Lord, who dropped to 1-9 on the day.  The inning appeared to be fruitless for Philadelphia, but catcher Ossee Schreckengost (who had pinch hit earlier and was now playing first base) managed a two-strike single to score  Hartzel.  Socks Seybold and Danny Murphy both followed with triples, putting the A's ahead 4-1, and Coombs sealed the victory in the bottom of the 24th.

     The game featured several heroes besides Coombs and Harris.  The Boston infield handled 56 balls, committing no errors and making several spectacular plays.  Athletics catcher Mike Powers turned in a yeoman performance, catching 24 innings ( record still), making 25 defensive plays (another record) and throwing out 5 runners trying to steal (including two in the seventh inning).

     The great pitching and defense took its toll on the hitters.  Seybold went a miserable 1-10.  Murphy went 2-9.  Powers, Lord and Coombs were each 1-9.  For the Red Sox, Red Morgan put up an 0-7 number.

28  JUNE 23, 1917     Perfect Relief

     Before he became a prolific slugger, Babe Ruth was a terrific pitcher - he won 23 games in 1916, beating Walter Johnson 4 times, and won 24 more games in 1917.  The latter is particularly remarkable because he endured a 10-game suspension for punching umpire Brick Owens.

     The punch would set the stage for one of the most remarkable - and perhaps least likely - events of all time.  In the first inning, with Washington Senators' Ray Morgan at the plate, Ruth disputed Owens on the very first call of the game - a ball.  After a called ball two and a called ball three, Ruth began jawing at Owens again, shouting to him "Open your eyes!"  When Owens instructed Ruth to resume pitching, the Bambino stomped back to the mound and promptly threw ball four.  After more heated words, Owens ejected Ruth.  The irate pitcher rushed the umpire, and after missing with a right hook he connected with a left jab to the back of Owens' neck.  A policeman removed Ruth from the game.

     With no one out and a runner on first, Red Sox manager Bill Carrigan brought in Ernie Shore to relive Ruth.  On his first pitch, Morgan tried to steal second, but Red Sox catcher Chester Thomas gunned him down.  Shore then proceeded to retire the next 26 batters in order - the fourth perfect game ever.