Bampy’s Baseball Brief: World Series Memories (10/13/17)

The playoffs are in full swing and we anxiously wait to see who will play for the 2017 World Series trophy with the Cubs, Dodgers, Astros, and Yankees slugging it out as we speak. Will the Cubs repeat, can the Nationals keep winning, are the Astros ready to move on, or will we see a throwback to a Dodgers/Yankees matchup?

Some of the greatest World Series clashes in the past were when the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees played one another. These “Subway Series ” games were always a dog-eat-dog affair and during the forties and fifties, it seemed the entire nation followed the action.

In those days, baseball was America’s sport, and the World Series was a really big deal with factory workers, businessmen, school teachers, and Wall Street magnates playing hooky so that they could listen to games on the radio or watch them on black and white television. Workplaces and schools allowed some of their folks to listen to the games or, at least, get ongoing updates throughout the games. During the 1956 World Series, I remember our baseball coach came running through the high school halls shouting out that Don Larsen of the New York Yankees had just pitched a perfect game to beat the Dodgers.

A few other World Series memories also might be worth mentioning. In 1954, the Indians played the Giants. My dad and I sat in front of our 17-inch black and white TV to watch the Giants rookie, Willie Mays, make a phenomenal catch. Running full speed with his back to the batter, Willie timed it just right so the ball landed in his glove at about 420 feet from home plate.  “The Catch” (as it became known), denied Vic Wertz’s bid for an extra base hit that should have brought in two runs to win the game for the Cleveland Indians. But it was not to be as the Giants won by a run and went on to win the World Series in seven games.

The 1986 Series ended badly for the Boston Red Sox and Bill Buckner. With a great chance to win their first World Series in 68 years, they had only to get one more out in the bottom of the ninth and they were the champions. A routine ground ball was hit toward the first baseman. Normally a good fielder, Buckner watched the ball take a strange bounce over his glove and roll into right field. The Mets scored a run on the error, found new life, and went on to beat the bereft Red Sox. By the way, the great Babe Ruth pitched and won two games for the Red Sox in the World Series in 1918.

The 1932 World Series was memorable not because it was a matchup between the Yankees and the Cubs, but because this one featured one of Babe Ruth’s legendary stunts. The Cubs razzed Ruth for the entire game with little effect on the great Bambino who gave it right back. Ruth hit a homer in the first inning, and four innings later, he took four straight pitches from Charlie Root. Then, with a dramatic pause, pointed to center field. Root’s next pitch came in and Ruth blasted the next pitch far over the centerfield wall. The Yankees won that game and then swept the series.

The World Series has often featured outstanding efforts by individuals who rose above injuries or illness to do the unimaginable. One such effort came in the 1988 World Series. The Dodgers Kirk Gibson, suffering from two bad knees, surprised everyone by coming as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Athletics had a 4-3 advantage with two outs and super-closer, Dennis Eckersley pitching. Gibson worked Eckersley for a 3-2 count and got an unexpected slider right in Gibson’s sweet spot. He blasted it into the right-field stands and knocked in the runner on base for a walk-off homer to win the game. The Dodgers won in five games, but Gibson didn’t play anymore in that series.

So, will we see some new stars this year who will shine above the others? Will there be a no-hitter, a perfect game, double-figure strikeouts, game-winning homers, an error that turns a hero into a goat? Can there be a new legend blooming in the likes of Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax, Walter Johnson, Carl Hubbell? We’ll soon find out.

What are your thoughts on the MLB Playoffs thus far? What is your favorite World Series moment? Will there be another one created this year? Be sure to tell us all about it and more in the comment section below. Also, be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter: @PowerRank_More, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and follow us on our Instagram page for all of the latest information from Power Rankings and More.

Published on 10/13/17 at 3:48 PM EDT. Photo credit: Huffington Post.
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