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.
- Mickey Cochrane, Johnny Bench, Gabby Hartnett, Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella, Josh
Gibson, Mike Piazza
- Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Cap Anson
- Rogers Hornsby, Joe Morgan
- Honus Wagner, Ernie Banks, Cal Ripken, Ozzie Smith
- Mike Schmidt, George Brett, Eddie Matthews
- Ted Williams, Barry Bonds, Stan Musial
- Willie Mays, Ty Cobb
- Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron
- Walter Johnson, Pete Alexander, Satchel Paige, Roger Clemens, Greg
Maddux, Christy Mathewson, Tom Seaver
- Lefty Grove, Warren Spahn, Sandy Koufax, Steve Carlton
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.
game in this Series was a spine-tingler, and they saved the
best for last.
here for more
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
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.
28, 1941 Williams
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"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
JULY 10, 1934
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
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
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
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.
10, 1926 Game
7, 1926 World Series
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
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.
15, 1938 Vander
Meer's Second No-Hitter
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
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
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
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
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.
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).
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
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
This was Ruth's only appearance in the Series, which Boston
won in five. At the plate, Ruth went 0-for-5.
MAY 1, 1920 May
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
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.
SEPTEMBER 9, 1965 Koufax's
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
here for more
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
here for more
OCTOBER 15, 1946
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
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.
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.
here for more
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.
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
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.
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
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
SEPTEMBER 8, 1998 Mark
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.
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.
SEPTEMBER 1, 1906 Coombs
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
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.
JUNE 23, 1917 Perfect
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