October 10, 1951, 60 years ago today: The Yankees defeat the New York Giants, 4-3 in Game 6 at Yankee Stadium, and win their 3rd straight World Series, their 14th World Championship.
This is twice as many as the Boston Red Sox have now, 60 years later. The Giants had taken 2 of the first 3 games in this Series, but the Yanks had taken 3 straight to win.
In the bottom of the 8th, Joe DiMaggio had laced a double to left-center off Larry Jansen. It turned out to be the last hit of his career, as he announced his retirement 2 months later.
His intended center field successor, Mickey Mantle, had gotten hurt in right field in Game 2, and missed the rest of the Series, and the knee he injured would never be the same again, the beginning of a cloud over his career that would only grow. The “other” great rookie center fielder, Willie Mays of the Giants, had a poor Series, and would spend most of the next two years in the Army in the Korean War. But both Mantle and Mays would be back, and would resume building their legends.
October 10, 1893: Lipman “Lip” Pike dies of heart disease at age 48. He was one of the first baseball stars, a 2nd baseman despite being a lefthanded thrower. In 1866, playing for the original Philadelphia Athletics, he was revealed to have been paid to play, making him the first openly professional baseball player.
In 1870, he was a member of the Brooklyn Atlantics team that ended the 93-game winning streak of the Cincinnati Red Stockings, baseball’s first openly professional team, in what is often regarded as the first truly great game in the history of professional baseball. (Yes, “openly” suggests that, until the Red Stockings, being paid to play sports was considered a perverse, repulsive lifestyle. Until the Red Stockings and others proved that “not that there’s anything wrong with that.”)
When the National League was founded in 1876, Lip Pike played for the St. Louis Brown Stockings (not to be confused with any later St. Louis baseball team), and this made him the first Jewish player in Major League Baseball. Although home runs were rare in those days, he did lead the National Association, the first professional league, in 1873 with the Baltimore Canaries, and the NL in 1877 with the Cincinnati Reds (not the team founded with that name in 1882 that is still around today).
October 10, 1904: For the first time, and not for the last, an American League Pennant comes down to New York and Boston. The last day of the season features a doubleheader at Hilltop Park, at 165th Street & Broadway in Manhattan’s Washington Heights. The New York Highlanders, forerunners of the Yankees, need to sweep the Boston Pilgrims, forerunners of the Red Sox, in order to win. Otherwise, Boston wins it. Hilltop Park seats about 16,000, but there’s perhaps 30,000 jammed into the confines, including thousands of standees roped off in the massive outfield area.
Pitching the first game for the Highlanders is Jack Chesbro, who has already won 41 games, which remains the record for pitching from 60 feet, 6 inches away. With the score 2-2 in the top of the 9th and Lou Criger on third base, Chesbro throws a spitball – then a legal pitch – but it’s a wild pitch, going over the head of his catcher, Jim “Deacon” McGuire, and Criger scores the Pennant-winning run. The Yankees win the nightcap, 1-0, but it’s meaningless, as the Red Sox-to-be win the Pennant.
But, faced with the prospect of losing a postseason series not just to the champions of what they view as “an inferior league,” but to the other New York team, the National League Champion New York Giants refuse to participate in the World Series. The 1904 World Series is called off, and it will be 90 years before such a thing happens again – over a very different kind of stupidity, but a no less egregious one.
Today, over a century later, the Red Sox organization does not claim a forfeit win and call themselves the 1904 World Champions, which would give them 8 World Championships through 2011, rather than 7. But they might as well. The Giants, however, were so shamed in the press for chickening out that they agreed that they would participate in any future World Series – and they participated in 14 before moving to San Francisco, their total now 17. And yet, the plaque at Polo Grounds Towers lists the Giants as World Champions for 1904, as well as for 1905, 1921, 1922, 1933 and 1954 -- but not for 1888 and 1889, possibly because those titles were not won at that location, but rather at a different location with a facility called the Polo Grounds.
The Pilgrims/Red Sox would win 4 more Pennants in the next 14 seasons. The Highlanders/Yankees would have to wait another 17 years before winning their 1st, but then, they would pretty much keep winning them for the next 43 years.
John Dwight Chesbro, a.k.a. Happy Jack, won 41 games that season, and 198 in his Hall of Fame career for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Yankees (and, for the very last game of his career, the North Adams, Massachusetts native came home and pitched and lost one for the Red Sox). Sadly, he is mainly remembered not for all the games he won, but for one he lost, basically for one pitch that he threw.
October 10, 1920: Perhaps the most eventful game in World Series history unfolds at League Park in Cleveland. In the bottom of the 1st, Brooklyn Dodger pitcher Burleigh Grimes – one of 17 pitchers who will soon be allowed to continue throwing the spitball because it was their “bread-and-butter pitch,” or what we would call today his “out pitch,” though the pitch will be outlawed for everyone else – gives up hits to Charlie Jamieson, Bill Wambsganss, and Indians center fielder/manager/legend Tris Speaker. Tribe outfielder Elmer Smith then hits the first grand slam in Series history.
In the 3rd‚ Jim Bagby comes up with 2 on, and crashes another Grimes delivery for a 3-run home run‚ the first ever by a pitcher in Series play. In the 5th, with Pete Kilduff on second and Otto Miller on first, Dodger reliever Clarence Mitchell hits a line drive at second baseman Wambsganss. One out. “Wamby” who steps on second. Two out. Then he tags the off-and-running Miller before he can see what’s happening and get back to first base. Three out. An unassisted triple play. And 89 years later, this remains the only triple play in World Series history.
The Indians win, 8-1, and their first appearance in the World Series will soon be a successful one. But Wambsganss, suddenly nationally famous, will later lament that he had a pretty good career (and a case can be made that he was right), but that, for most people, he might as well have been born the day before this game and died the day after.
October 10, 1923: For the first time, the brand-new Yankee Stadium hosts a World Series game. The Yankees take a quick 3-0 lead over the 2-time defending champion New York Giants, but Heinie Groh triples in 2 runs in a 4-run 3rd that drives Waite Hoyt to cover. A 4-4 tie is broken in the top of the 9th by the Giants when a blast by Giant outfielder Charles Dillon Stengel – yes, that Casey Stengel – rolls to the outfield wall. The sore-legged veteran hobbles around the bases, having lost a shoe while running, to score the winning run against reliever Bullet Joe Bush before 55‚307 spectators, a record for a Series game at the time.
This is also the first Series to be broadcast on a nationwide radio network. Graham McNamee‚ aided by baseball writers taking turns‚ is at the mike. Grantland Rice had broadcast an earlier WS‚ but not nationally. Rice was on hand, though, and wrote a column about Stengel’s inside-the-park job, opening with the immortal words, “This is the way old Casey ran.” Old? The Ol’ Perfesser wasn’t that old: He was 33, younger than a lot of great players, then and now.
October 10, 1924: With the score tied at 3-3 and one out in the bottom of the 12th in Game 7 of the World Series, Senators' backstop Muddy Ruel lifts a high catchable foul pop-up which Giant catcher Hank Gowdy misses when he stumbles over his own mask. Given a second chance, Ruel doubles. Earl McNeely then hits a grounder that strikes a pebble, and soars over the head of rookie Giant 3rd baseman Freddie Lindstrom, and drives home Ruel with the winning run making the Senators World Champions.
Walter Johnson, who had brilliantly toiled 18 seasons for a team known as "Washington: First in war, first in peace, and last in the American League," and had lost Games 1 and 4, pitched the 9th through 12th innings in relief, and not only had finally won a World Series game, but had won a World Series. The Senators had their first World Championship in 24 years of trying. In the 87 years since, no Washington baseball team has won another. Outfielder George "Showboat" Fisher was the last survivor of the '24 Senators, living until 1994, age 95.
October 10, 1926: For the first time, Yankee Stadium hosts a Game 7 of the World Series. The Yankees trail the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2 in the bottom of the 7th inning, but Cardinal starter Jesse Haines, a future Hall-of-Famer, develops a blister on his hand, and can’t pitch any further.
Rogers Hornsby, the great-hitting second baseman who doubles as the Cardinal manager, brings in another future HOFer, Grover Cleveland Alexander. Old Alex (also nicknamed “Pete”) had pitched and won Game 6 yesterday, but celebrated afterward, and legend has it that he was really hungover. Even if he wasn’t, he had gone the distance the day before. And he was 39, and an alcoholic, and also suffered from epilepsy, and was troubled by what he had seen in World War I (which, along with his epilepsy, he tried to treat with his drinking.) One of the greatest pitchers of all time, and he would retire with a total of 373 victories, tied for 3rd all-time with Christy Mathewson (sharing 1st all-time in National League wins, as Walter Johnson’s 417 were all in the American League and Cy Young’s 511 were split between both Leagues), but he was now a shadow of his former self.
And he comes in with a one-run lead, the bases loaded, and a dangerous hitter at the plate, Tony Lazzeri. Although just a rookie at the major-league level, Lazzeri had hit 60 home runs in a Pacific Coast League season, and would have been Rookie of the Year had the award then existed.
Lazzeri hits a long drive down the left-field line, but just foul. That brings the count to 0-and-2. Alexander fires in, and Lazzeri strikes out. It is the most famous strikeout in baseball history, and according to legend, it ended the World Series, turning Alexander into a bigger hero than ever.
Except it didn’t end the game. There were two more innings to play. Alexander got through the 8th, and with one out to go in the 9th, he walked Babe Ruth. Then, for reasons known only to him – Yankee manager Miller Huggins hadn’t given him the signal to try – the Babe tried to steal second base. Catcher Bob O’Farrell threw in, and Hornsby slapped the tag on him. The Babe was out, the game was over, and for the first time in 40 years – since the Cardinals, then known as the Browns, won the 1886 American Association Pennant and defeated the Chicago team now known as the Cubs in a postseason series – a St. Louis baseball team was World Champions.
This was also the first time the Yankees had played a Game 7 of a World Series, and they lost it. Actually, the Yankees’ record in World Series Game 7s isn’t especially good. They’ve won in 1947, 1952, 1956, 1958 and 1962; they’ve lost in 1926, 1955, 1957, 1960, 1964 and 2001, for a record of 5-6. At the old Yankee Stadium, it was even worse: 1-3. But they’ve still won more World Series in a Game 7 than all but 6 franchises have won Series regardless of how long they’ve gone – and the number drops to 4 if you only count the Series they’ve won in their current cities.
Alexander was a hero all over again, true, but it was a last stand. He helped the Cards back into the World Series in 1928, but this time the Yankees knocked him around. He spent much of his retirement trading his story of how he struck out Lazzeri for drinks. In 1945, interviewed for John P. Carmichael’s book My Greatest Day In Baseball, he told of meeting Lazzeri on the street in New York, and telling him, “Tony, I’m getting tired of fanning you.” And Lazzeri told him, “Perhaps you think I’m not.” Alexander’s health problems killed him in 1950, aged only 63.
Incredibly, he outlived Lazzeri. Lazzeri would rebound from this strikeout to help the Yankees win 5 World Series, bridging the 1920s Ruth-Gehrig Yankees to the 1930s Gehrig-DiMaggio Yankees. But he, too, had epilepsy. In 1946, he suffered a seizure at his home, fell down the stairs, and broke his neck. He was just 43. And, unlike Alexander, he did not live long enough to see his election to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was finally elected in 1991, 53 years after Alexander was so honored. Sadly, for all each man did, each had a hard life, and each is still best remembered for that one at-bat.
October 10, 1930: Joe McCarthy, who had managed the Chicago Cubs to the 1929 National League Pennant, but was fired after a clash with management a few days ago, is hired to manage the New York Yankees. It will prove to be the greatest managerial hiring baseball has yet seen, as he will lead the Yanks to 8 Pennants and 7 World Championships. In other words, all by himself, McCarthy will have led the Yanks to more Pennants than all but 7 teams have won to this day (if you count combined city totals, all but 10), and more World Series than all but 2 (if you count combined city totals, all but 3).
October 10, 1931, 80 years ago today: With John “Pepper” Martin tying a World Series record with 12 hits, the St. Louis Cardinals defeat the Philadelphia Athletics, 4-2 in Game 7, and take the Series, denying the A’s the chance to become the first team to win 3 straight Series.
Burleigh Grimes, the last pitcher legally allowed to throw a spitball, had a shutout in the 9th, but tired, and Cardinal manager Gabby Street had to call on Bill Hallahan to nail down the win. “Wild Bill” did not live up to his nickname, and finished the A’s off. The A’s would not win another Pennant for 41 years, and that would only come after moving twice. By that point, the Cards would have won another 8 Pennants.
October 10, 1937: The Yankees defeat the Giants, 4-2 in Game 5 at the Polo Grounds, and win their 2nd straight World Series, their 6th overall. This moves them past the Giants and the A’s to become the team with the most Series won. They have never seriously been threatened as such.
As for the Giants, here is a team that had Hall-of-Famers in Mel Ott, Carl Hubbell and player-manager Bill Terry, and had won their 3rd Pennant in the last 5 seasons, but had only won the Series in one of them, and has only won one since. So not only did the club not get the credit it deserved at the time, but the franchise has never really been the same, either.
October 10, 1945: The Detroit Tigers beat the Chicago Cubs, 9-3 at Wrigley Field, to win Game 7 and the World Series. Hal Newhouser, the American League’s Most Valuable Player this year and last, strikes out 10. Bloomfield, New Jersey native Hank Borowy, who had helped the Yankees win the ’43 Series and had already won 20 games in the regular season and 2 in this Series, is exhausted, and gives up 6 runs in the 1st inning.
With several players still in the service, this game marks the end of the World War II era in baseball. This also remains, 66 years later -- two-thirds of a century -- the last World Series game the Chicago Cubs have ever played.
October 10, 1946: John Prine is born. As far as I know, he has nothing to do with sports, and I only know one of his songs, but it should have been written decades earlier, as a memo to Pete Townshend, Jimi Hendrix and so many others:
There oughta be a law, with no bail:
Smash a guitar and you go to jail.
With no chance for early parole.
You don’t get out ‘til you get some soul.
It breaks my heart to see these stars
smashing a perfectly good guitar.
I don’t know who they think they are
smashing a perfectly good guitar.
October 10, 1948: The largest crowd ever to attend a World Series game, 86,288 fans jam into Cleveland's Municipal Stadium to witness a showdown between two future Hall-of-Famers. Braves' southpaw Warren Spahn beats Bob Feller and the Indians in Game 5 of the Fall Classic, 11-5.
This remains the largest crowd ever to attend a single game that counts in an American League stadium -- the Indians and Yankees would get 86,563 for a 1954 doubleheader, and the Dodgers would cram over 92,000 into the Los Angeles Coliseum for 3 games of the '59 Series -- and the last postseason game ever won by the Boston franchise of the National League. When they win another, 9 years later, they will be the Milwaukee Braves. Boston will not win another World Series game for 19 years.
October 10, 1950: Charlie George is born. A true "local boy made good," he grew up in the Islington section of North London, standing on the North Bank of the Arsenal Stadium (a.k.a. "Highbury," after the neighborhood), supporting the Arsenal Football Club (soccer team). He was good enough as a schoolboy to be signed by Arsenal in 1966, to reach the first team in 1968, and to be a regular by 1970.
He helped Arsenal win the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (precursor of today's Europa League) in 1970, the club's first trophy of any kind in 17 years. The next season, 1970-71, was Arsenal's annus mirabilis: Despite an early-season injury, George became a key cog in the Arsenal side that won the Football League for the first time in 18 years. Then he scored the winner in extra time to beat Liverpool for the FA Cup (Football Association Cup), England's national championship, drilling a 20-yard drive past Ray Clemence to give Arsenal a 2-1 win to clinch "The Double."
George's celebration, lying on the ground at Wembley Stadium, reminded fans of the musical Jesus Christ Superstar, which had recently debuted in London's West End, giving rise to the title song being reworked as, "Charlie George, superstar, how many goals have you scored so far?" But opposing fans, seeing his long hair, tried it another way: "Charlie George, superstar, looks like a woman and he wears a bra!" But Arsenal fans had the last laugh, singing, to the tune of "The First Noel," "Charlie, Charlie, Charlie, Charlie! Born is the King of Highbury!"
He would continue to play for Arsenal until a 1975 falling-out with the manager, and even briefly played in America with the Minnesota Kicks of the North American Soccer League in 1978. Today he again works for Arsenal, as a tour guide at Highbury's replacement, the Emirates Stadium.
October 10, 1956: Game 7 at Ebbets Field. A pair of Jersey boys start: Johnny Kucks of Hoboken for the Yankees, Don Newcombe of Jefferson Township for the Dodgers. The New York Post’s headline reads, “Kucks vs. Newk and... THERE’S NO TOMORROW.” Win or lose, this is it.
The Yankees turn out to be “it.” They shell Newk, with 2 homers from Yogi Berra and a grand slam from Moose Skowron. Kucks pitches a shutout, and the Yankees win, 9-0.
The last out turns out to be the last play in the career of Jackie Robinson: He strikes out swinging, but Yogi drops the ball, and Robinson runs to first. But Robinson is 37, and his great speed is gone, and Yogi throws him out. Jackie retires 2 months later.
What no one knows at the time is the extent of the finality of this game. It is not just the end of a terrific baseball season. It is the last Subway Series game for 44 years. It is the last home game in a World Series for a National League team from New York for 13 years. And it is the last postseason game that Ebbets Field, or Brooklyn, will ever host. The next season, the Giants will announce they are moving to San Francisco, and the Dodgers will announce they are moving to Los Angeles. “There’s no tomorrow,” indeed.
October 7, 1957: Starting Game 7 on just two days rest, Lew Burdette pitches the Braves to a World Championship as he blanks the Bronx Bombers at Yankee Stadium, 5-0. The 30-year-old right-hander, named the Series MVP, tosses 24 consecutive scoreless innings and posts a 0.64 ERA in his three Fall classic victories.
This is the first World Championship for the Braves in 43, since they were in Boston in 1914, and the first World Championship for any Milwaukee team -- unless you count the NFL Championships won by the Green Bay Packers. Milwaukee has yet win another World Series, although, at this writing, the 2011 Brewers are 7 wins away.
October 10, 1959: Bradley Whitford is born. Not to be confused with the Aerosmith guitarist of the same name, this guy was a “character actor” – one of those guys whose name you couldn’t quite remember, so you called him, “Oh yeahhhh... Him!” Then he began to play White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joshua Lyman on The West Wing.
Josh, a native of Westport, Connecticut, was a great character, a devoted public servant, and a hard but fair fighter. He had one flaw: He was a Mets fan. In a 2001 episode titled “The Stackhouse Filibuster,” he mentioned that he wanted to fly down to Florida to see a spring-training game, and hoped to get a “Hey, dude” from Mike Piazza. I don’t know who Whitford roots for in real life, but I do know that he’s married to Malcolm in the Middle actress Jane Kaczmarek.
October 10, 1962: Tom Tresh belts an eighth-inning homer off Jack Sanford to give the Yankees a 5-3 comeback win over the Giants in Game 5 of the World Series played in soggy San Francisco. The rookie shortstop's dad, Mike Tresh, who hit only two home runs in his dozen big league seasons, prior to the at bat left his seat behind home plate and moved to the standing-room section in Candlestick Park hoping to bring his son good luck.
October 10, 1964: The Yankees and Cardinals are tied 1-1 in Game 3 of the World Series at Yankee Stadium, going into the bottom of the 9th. Barney Schultz, a knuckleballer, comes on to relieve for the Cardinals. In the on-deck circle, Mickey Mantle watches Schultz’s knuckler, times it in his head, and says to Elston Howard, standing there with him, “You can go back to the clubhouse, Elston. This game is over.”
Schultz threw Mantle one pitch. Mickey deposited it in the upper deck in right field. Yankees 2, Cardinals 1 – which was also now the Yankees’ lead in the Series. It was Mickey’s 16th home run in World Series play, surpassing the record he shared with Babe Ruth. He would hit a 17th in Game 6 and an 18th in Game 7, but the Cards would come back and win the Series. Still, Mickey would often speak of this homer, his only walkoff homer in postseason play, as the highlight of his career.
Whether Ruth called his shot in the 1932 World Series is still debated, but Mickey sure called his here. He was asked how many others he called. “Well, I called my shot about 500 times,” he would say with a laugh. This was about the only one that worked.”
October 10, 1966: Another great day for The Arsenal, although it's not yet obvious that the 1950 entry has made it so: Tony Adams is born. The centre-back was the greatest Captain in the club's history, helping them win League titles in 1989, ’91, ’98 and 2002, and the FA Cup in ’93, ’98 and ‘02. There's only one Tony Adams.
October 10, 1968: Mickey Lolich wins his 3rd game of the Series – matching Harry Brecheen as the only lefthander ever to do it thus far – and the Detroit Tigers win their first World Series in 23 years (to the day), beating the indomitable Bob Gibson and the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals in Game 7, 4-1 at Busch Memorial Stadium. Jim Northrup’s triple over the normally sure-fielding Curt Flood makes the difference.
After the race riot and near-miss for the Pennant in 1967, and after 16 years without a Pennant for their legendary star Al Kaline, Detroit needed this World Championship very badly. With Kaline, Lolich, Northrup and Willie Horton being the stars of the Tigers’ comeback from 3-games-to-1 down, the ’68 Tigers remain the most beloved team in the history of Michigan sports.
Lolich, who would retire with 217 wins and as the all-time strikeout leader among lefthanders with 2,832, was criticized for being fat. He was the original “hefty lefty.” He was 6 feet even, and is usually listed as having been 210 pounds. Seriously, that was considered fat for a pitcher in 1968. Paging David Wells. Paging CC Sabathia.
October 10, 1969: Brett Favre is born. Seriously, he’s only 42? He seems a lot older. Well, that’s what happens when you retire 3 times and you end up requiring a 4th (at least). What should we get him for his birthday? How about something he's not used to having: A clue!
October 10, 1973: As Vice President Spiro Agnew is pleading no contest to income-tax evasion and resigning his office, Tom Seaver holds off the Cincinnati Reds, the Mets win, 5-2, and the fans storm the field at Shea Stadium to celebrate the Mets’ 2nd Pennant in 5 seasons.
October 10, 1975: Placido Polanco is born. The Dominican second baseman helped the Detroit Tigers win the 2006 American League Pennant, but was also a part of their 2009 collapse.
October 10, 1976: Pat Burrell is born. He helped the Philadelphia Phillies win last year’s World Series, then signed as a free agent with the team the Phils beat in said Series, the Tampa Bay Rays. He’d have been better off sticking with the Phils.
October 10, 1980: After three failed attempts, the fourth time is the charm for the Kansas City Royals. George Brett’s mammoth home run off Goose Gossage gives the Royals a 4-2 win and a sweep of the American League Championship Series, for the first major league Pennant for a Kansas City team – the first Pennant won by any KC team since the Blues won the American Association Pennant in 1953. It is one of the most humiliating series in Yankee history.
October 10, 1982: The Milwaukee Brewers win their first Pennant, the first by any Milwaukee team since the ’58 Braves, beating the California Angels, 4-3 at Milwaukee County Stadium -- and on the 25th Anniversary of the Braves' World Series win, no less. The Angels had blown a 2-games-to-none lead. In their first World Series, the Brewers will play the St. Louis Cardinals, who win their Pennant in 14 years today by beating the Atlanta Braves.
October 10, 1984: Troy Tulowitzki is born. In 2007, the shortstop pulled an unassisted triple play, helped the Colorado Rockies win their first postseason series and their first National League Pennant, and was named NL Rookie of the Year. He has them back in the Playoffs this season, although Game 3 of their Division Series with the Phillies was snowed out today. As far as I know, this is the first postseason baseball game that was called off due to snow.
October 10, 1987: Princeton beats Columbia, 39-8 at Palmer Stadium. Columbia loses their 34th straight game, a new record for Division I college football. They would extend the record to 44 the next year, before beating, of all teams, Princeton. But Prairie View A&M, a historically black school in Texas, would double the disaster: 88 games. The old record, still the Division I-A record, is 33, by Northwestern, which ended in 1981.
I was at this game, and there was a small contingent of Northwestern fans at the top of the east side of the Palmer Stadium horseshoe, holding up a "Thank You Columbia" banner. I sat on the west side, and saw Princeton's last touchdown scored on an interception by a safety who was so fast, he looked like he was flying. Just 6 years later, he would be flying. His name was Dean Cain, and from 1993 to 1997, he starred with Teri Hatcher in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.
By a weird coincidence, the recent movie Superman, Christopher Reeve, grew up in Princeton, and graduated from Princeton Day School and was accepted at the University, but chose Cornell in Western New York. Cain, who dated Brooke Shields while they both attended Princeton, but grew up in Malibu, California, attending Santa Monica High School with acting brothers Rob and Chad Lowe, and Charlie Sheen (but not Charlie's older brother Emilio Estevez).
October 10, 1990: The Oakland Athletics win their 3rd straight Pennant, the first team since the 1976-78 Yankees to do so, beating the Boston Red Sox, 3-1 at the Oakland Coliseum. Red Sox starter Roger Clemens is ejected after arguing with plate umpire Terry Cooney over a ball-four call in the 2nd inning. He remains the last player to be thrown out of a postseason game. Funny, but, at the time, nobody suspected “roid rage.”
October 10, 1998: El Duque to the rescue. Having pitched for the two most demanding bosses in the Western Hemisphere, George Steinbrenner and Fidel Castro, no way was a little Cleveland cold going to stop Orlando Hernandez. He pitches a 4-hit shutout (with 1 inning of help each from Mike Stanton and Mariano Rivera), and the Yankees win, 4-0, and tie up the ALCS at 2 games apiece. Chuck Knoblauch, whose “brainlauch” in Game 2 put the Yankees on a minor slide, starts a key 4-6-3 double play in the 8th to eliminate the last Indian threat. He is on his way to redemption.
October 10, 2004: Ken Caminiti dies of cancer, probably related to his steroid use, which he confessed after injuries (probably also related to steroid use) had ended his career. The former NL MVP was 43.
Also dying on this day was actor Christopher Reeve, from complications from his 1995 horseback-riding accident and subsequent paralysis.
In 2002, I was at Yankee Stadium for one of the Yankee-Met interleague games, and waited for the players to arrive, when a van pulled up at the media entrance. Suddenly, somebody yelled out, “It’s Superman! It’s Superman!” Not seeing Derek Jeter anywhere, I became confused. Then I stood on my toes and saw... Chris Reeve, in his motorized wheelchair, having been lowered out of his handicap-access van.
He was completely bald, his head probably shaven to alleviate what the headpiece of his chair was doing ot his hair, and (I hate to say this) he looked more like Superman’s arch-enemy Lex Luthor than Superman. But, even though he couldn’t turn his head to see us, and had to work hard just to breathe air into the tube that operated the chair, he still had more charisma than most of us will ever have. And, apparently, the native of Princeton, New Jersey was a Yankee Fan. Well, of course: He knew heroes when he saw them.
It had been 15 years since he last put on the Superman costume for a movie (and 21 years since he did so for a good one), but, to those of us who were kids when he made those movies, he will forever be Superman – with all due respect to Bud Collyer, Kirk Alyn, George Reeves, Dean Cain and the fine talent who has been granted the films’ mantle, Brandon Routh. In the coming days, a cartoon would appear in the Daily News, showing an empty wheelchair, and Superman flying away from it.
October 10, 2005: The Los Angeles Angels of Katella Boulevard, Anaheim, Orange County, California, U.S.A., North America, Western Hemisphere, Planet Earth, Sol System, United Federation of Planets, Milky Way Galaxy, Known Universe beat the Yankees‚ 5-3‚ to win their Division Series in 5 games. Rookie Ervin Santana gets the win in relief of Bartolo Colon. Garret Anderson homers for L.A., while Derek Jeter connects for the Yanks.
It is a humiliating defeat for the Yankees, who lose to the Angels in a Division Series for the 2nd time in 4 years. Naturally, I blamed Alex Rodriguez. And Randy Johnson. But, the truth is, just about nobody did a good job for the Yankees in this series. It took until the 2009 ALCS for the Yankees to beat the Angels in a postseason series.
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