Saturday, October 18, 2014

October 18, 1977 - October 18, 2014: Passing Reggie Down

October 18, 1977: Reggie Jackson goes boom, boom, boom, and Mike Torrez goes the distance. The Yankees beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 8-4 at the original Yankee Stadium, and win Game 6 to take their 21st World Series -- but their 1st in 15 years.

I only saw the 1st 2 of Reggie's home runs. I was about to turn 8, and my parents figured the game was in the bag, and that I didn't need to stay up past 11 to see the last out, especially on a school night. (It was a Tuesday -- don't bet me. And you know what? The game ended at 10:53, so I didn't have to stay up past 11!) So I missed Reggie's mammoth 3rd blast.

I've seen the clip a few times since. (Ya think, DiNozzo?)

Someone said, "There are going to be a lot of Reggies born in this town tonight." I wonder if anybody looked up just how many Reginalds -- and Reginas -- were born in New York and New Jersey in the off-season?

Of course, something else was named after Reggie: As he jokingly predicted, a candy bar. And I loved it. Oddly enough, it was peanuts and caramel, surrounded by chocolate -- pretty much the same combination as the Baby Ruth bar, which, as we now know, was named after the Bambino, the 1st man to hit 3 homers in a World Series game.

That feat has since been matched by Albert Pujols (not much of a surprise) and Pablo Sandoval (a very big surprise).

Because of what he was able to do, and where, and when, Reginald Martinez Jackson remains my favorite athlete of all time. Yeah, he's flawed -- so are we all, and so what?

I still don't have children. I have 7-year-old twin nieces, now the same age I was during the 1977 season. They're now old enough to be shown the clips. They know who Reggie is, and Mickey Mantle, and Joe DiMaggio, and Lou Gehrig, and especially Babe Ruth.

They know Reggie is My Guy, that he's is still around, and that he's not only a Yankee Legend, but one of the special Yankees. One of them heard me refer to a player as an "icon," and asked, "What's an icon?"

Reggie Jackson is an icon. He'll be one long after he's gone. And now, I've been able to pass my favorite player of all time down to a new generation of Yankee Fans.


October 18, 1889: For the 1st time, a postseason series is played between 2 champions of baseball leagues that are both from New York.

The best-6-of-11 series between the Brooklyn Bridegrooms of the American Association (3 players on the team previously known as the Grays, and later as the Dodgers, had gotten married during the previous offseason) and the New York Giants of the National League (formerly the Gothams, manager Jim Mutrie had described them as “my big boys, my giants”) opens at the Polo Grounds in Manhattan.

The Bridegrooms win, 12-10 in 8 innings. Oyster Burns is 4-for-5 with 3 RBIs‚ including the game-winning double in the bottom of the last inning.

October 18, 1913: In Cincinnati, the Giants and White Sox begin a 5-month worldwide barnstorming trip that will include stops in Australia, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. The teams recruit top players from both leagues, including Tris Speaker, Buck Weaver, Christy Mathewson and  Sam Crawford. But Jim Thorpe is the main attraction during the global tour, due to his fame from the 1912 Olympics.

October 18, 1919: Joseph Philippe Pierre Yves Elliott Trudeau is born in Montreal. Prime Minister of Canada for all but 9 months between April 1968 and February 1984, the man usually listed as "Pierre Elliott Trudeau" threw out the ceremonial first balls before the 1st Montreal Expos home game at Jarry Park in 1969, the 1st Toronto Blue Jays game at Exhibition Stadium in 1977, and the 1st game the Expos played at their new home, the Olympic Stadium, also in 1977.

As a sports participant, he was a brown belt in judo, and loved to ski in Quebec's Laurentian Mountains. He died in 2000, and his son Justin Trudeau now serves in Canada's House of Commons, and holds his father's old post as Leader of the Liberal Party. On October 19, 2015, there will be a federal election, and if the Liberals win, Justin will become Prime Minister, making the Trudeaus the 1st father & son pair to do so.


October 18, 1925: Tony Lazzeri, 2nd baseman for the Salt Lake Bees of the Pacific Coast League, hits his 60th home run of the season, in a 12-10 victory over the Sacramento Solons in the final regular-season game of the year. It is an inside-the-park drive in the 7th off Frank Shellenback. The 21-year-old Lazzeri also had 222 RBIs, which may still be a North American professional record.

However, given that the weather in California allowed for a longer season – though as a mountain city, Salt Lake probably had some problems with snow at both ends – the PCL season was 200 games long. Lazzeri’s record was accomplished in 197 appearances. He would soon be signed by the Yankees and go on to a Hall of Fame career.

On this same day, Cincinnati Reds pitcher Marv Goodwin is injured in a plane crash in Houston. He dies from his injuries 3 days later. The 34-year-old righthander from outside Charlottesville, Virginia appeared in 4 games for Cincinnati, 3 as a starter, 2 of them complete games, and posted an 0-2 record. He appears to have been the 1st big-league athlete to die in a plane crash.

October 18, 1928: Keith Jackson is born in Roopville, Georgia -- right around the time of "the possum-huntin' moon." Whoa, Nelly, he’s the greatest college football broadcaster of all time. My goodness. His homespun Southern sayings endeared him to 2 generations of fans. "You can't be pussyfootin' around like a ballerina out there, you've got to run it north-and-south." (Translation: No fancy offensive tricks, just run the ball up the middle.)

Oddly, he went to a Northern college, Washington State University -- on the G.I. Bill after serving in the Marines in the Korean War. But this enabled him to be objective when calling so many Southeastern Conference football games. He also nicknamed the oldest bowl game, the Rose Bowl, "the Granddaddy of Them All," and Michigan Stadium, which has had a crowd of over 115,000 for a football game, "The Big House."

He also tended drag out the M in "Mmmmichigan," and the L and the last A in "Allllabamaaaaaaaa," and refer to the University of Iowa's teams, the Hawkeyes, as the "Huckeyes." When a big play got canceled by a penalty, he would say, "Hold the phone!" When there were flags from every official on a play, he'd say, "There's a ton o' laundry on the field." The line of his that every impressionist copies, aside from "Whoa, Nelly," is "Fumblllllllle!"

On Thanksgiving Day 1993, he announced Georgia vs. Georgia Tech with former Miami Dolphin quarterback Bob Griese, saying, "This is the day when the waistline takes a whoopin', and ancient rivalries are replayed." The game was 16-10 in Georgia's favor going into the 4th quarter, but then things got out of control, as Georgia ran up the score, and Tech didn't like that, and a big fight broke out, before it was a 43-10 final. Not for the 1st time, and not for the last, Keith said of a rivalry, "These two teams just... don't... like each other."

He just wasn't as good with pro football. He did Monday Night Football in its 1st season, 1970, including the 1st game, a Jets loss away to the Cleveland Browns, then went back to the college game. He was ABC's lead broadcaster for the USFL, 1983 to 1985, but, again, it just wasn't the same. He also did ABC baseball broadcasts for a few years, including Chris Chambliss' home run that won the 1976 Pennant for the Yankees, the 1978 Playoff with the Red Sox (the Bucky Dent Game), and -- on his own 49th birthday -- Reggie's 3 homers.

His last game was the 2006 Rose Bowl thriller between Southern California and Texas. He turns 86 today, and is alive and well, but has said he's not going to write a book about his experiences until he loses his golf swing. Too bad, I want to read that book.


October 18, 1933: As it turns out, October 18 is a good birthday for a future football coach. Alvis Forrest Gregg (he dropped the first name) is born in Birthright, Texas -- no, I'm not making that town name up. Green Bay Packer coach Vince Lombardi called this Hall-of-Famer “the finest player I ever coached.”

An offensive tackle, Forrest Gregg and 2 of his teammates, guard Fred "Fuzzy" Thurston and cornerback Herb Adderley are the only men ever to play on 6 NFL Championship teams. All 3 won in 1961, ’62, ’65, ’66 and ’67 with the Packers. Thurston also won with the 1958 Baltimore Colts, Gregg and Adderley both did so with the 1971 Dallas Cowboys. This includes Super Bowls I, II and VI.

Gregg went on to coach for Tom Landry in Dallas, took the head job with the Cleveland Browns, and got the Cincinnati Bengals into Super Bowl XVI, their first trip to the season finale. After his alma mater, Southern Methodist University in Dallas, got “the death penalty” from the NCAA, having their program suspended for a year due to recruiting violations while already on probation, he was named head coach, held the program back another year so it could rebuild, and got them back onto a footing where they’ve been able to consistently compete as what college basketball would call a “mid-major.” Lombardi and Landry would be proud.

October 18, 1937: Boyd Hamilton Dowler is born in in Rock Springs, Wyoming. Another of Lombardi's 1960s Packers, he was a wide receiver and punter, a member of all 5 title teams and an All-Pro in 1965 and 1967. But he's probably best remembered for getting hurt early in Super Bowl I, enabling Max McGee to step in, and catch the 1st pass and score the 1st touchdown in Super Bowl history.

Dowler would, however, be key in winning the next season's NFL Championship Game, the Ice Bowl, scoring 2 touchdowns against the Cowboys. In 11 seasons, he caught 474 passes for 7,270 yards, pretty good totals for the era. He is still alive.

October 18, 1939, 75 years ago: Michael Keller Ditka Jr. is born in Carnegie, Pennsylvania. A star at the University of Pittsburgh, he practically invented the position of tight end with the Chicago Bears, helping them win the 1963 NFL Championship. He went on to the Dallas Cowboys and helped them win Super Bowl VI. He then served as an assistant to Landry, alongside Gregg, and another eventual Super Bowl-reaching head coach, former Cowboys running back Dan Reeves. Together, they won Super Bowl XII.

"Iron Mike" was the last head coach hired for the Chicago Bears by team founder-owner George Halas. He got them into the Playoffs 7 times, including winning Super Bowl XX. In other words, the Bears haven’t won a World Championship without Ditka having some part in it in 68 years. He was the 1st tight end elected to the Hall of Fame. After a long estrangement, the Bears finally retired his Number 89 last December. He has spent most of his time since losing the Bears job as a studio analyst for NBC Sports.

When the Bears won the Super Bowl in 1986, the space shuttle Challenger blew up 2 days later, and their White House reception with President Ronald Reagan was canceled. In 2011, 25 years later, President and Chicago resident Barack Obama invited the team to the White House to make it up to them. Despite Ditka and several of the players being very conservative -- Ditka was even approached to run against Obama for the U.S. Senate in 2004, but thought a loss would hurt the restaurant chain he owned, and chose not to. He gave Obama the traditional gift, a team jersey with the President's name on the back. Sometimes, the number on the jersey is 1, sometimes it's the President's number (in Obama's case, 44); this time, it was the year of the title, 85.

Unfortunately for Ditka, and anyone else born the same day, this was also the day that Lee Harvey Oswald was born, in New Orleans. Another guy with a connection to Dallas – in fact, he was living in Irving in 1963, 8 years before Texas Stadium opened and the Cowboys moved there.

Some people will never be convinced that he is the one and only person behind the assassination of President John F. Kennedy – and I’m one of them. But there is no doubt that, later that day, he killed a Dallas police officer, Patrolman J.D. Tippit. And there were other reasons to conclude that Oswald was scum. When Jack Ruby killed him 2 days later, it meant that the chances of us ever hearing the full story were probably gone forever; but other than that, it was no great loss.


October 18, 1946: Yet another football coach with an October 18 birthday: Frank Beamer is born in Mount Airy, North Carolina. He turned the football program at his alma mater, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, a.k.a. Virginia Tech, from a laughingstock into training stock for the NFL.

He is now in his 26th season there, having won 225 games, including 9 bowls and 9 1st-place finishes in either his league (first the Big East, now the Atlantic Coast Conference) or his division (since the ACC split). Counting his time as the head man at Murray State, he has 267 wins, and is the winningest and longest-tenured active coach in Division I-A -- excuse me, in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).

His son Shane, a member (along with the now-infamous Michael Vick) of his 1999 team that reached the BCS National Championship Game, is now one of his assistants, and could well end up as his successor.

October 18, 1949: George Andrew Hendrick Jr. is born in Los Angeles. The 4-time All-Star hit 267 home runs, and was a member of 2 World Championship teams, the 1972 Oakland Athletics and the 1982 St. Louis Cardinals. Now the 1st base coach for the Tampa Bay Rays, he says he will only autograph Cardinals memorabilia.

October 18, 1950: Connie Mack’s sons, Connie Jr., Earle and Roy, take legal action that removes their father from the operating ownership and manager’s job with the Philadelphia Athletics after 50 years. Counting his time running the Pittsburgh Pirates before that, he managed a big-league record 54 years.

But he is about to turn 88 years old, and clearly senile (having spent the last few years calling out the names of players he had long since traded away), and had managed just 1winning season in the last 17. It was long since time for him to step aside, but, as owner, he never would, until his sons forced his hand.

To do so, they had to swallow their differences: Earle and Roy were the product of the old man's 1st marriage, Connie Jr. from his 2nd. His 2nd wife was still alive, she basically controlled Connie Jr. and hated Earle and Roy, and Earle and Roy didn't much like each other, but sided with each other against their half-brother and stepmother. Until now: They felt they didn't dare ruin their father's 50th Anniversary season, but now they had to admit the obvious: He had to be removed from full control of the ballclub.

"The Grand Old Man of Baseball" retains his title as president of the club, but it is purely ceremonial now. Before his death, Shibe Park will be renamed Connie Mack Stadium; but the A’s will also be sold by "the House of Mack" in 1954, and moved to Kansas City.

Connie dies in 1956, aged 93. Longtime A’s player and coach Jimmy Dykes ends up succeeding him as manager, and the results are little better, which is one of the reasons for the move.

None of the Mack sons was ever involved with sports again. Connie Jr.'s son Connie III served Florida in both houses of Congress, and his son Connie IV tried to do the same, serving in the House but losing for the Senate in 2012.


October 18, 1951: Michael John Antonovich is born in Calumet, Minnesota. A star hockey player at the University of Minnesota, Mike was a member of the original 1982-83 New Jersey Devils, but his best years were in the 1970s in the WHA, with the Minnesota Fighting Saints (no, I’m not making that name up, they played in St. Paul and they did do a lot of fighting) and the New England Whalers.

Now a scout with the St. Louis Blues, he shares his exact date of birth with Mork & Mindy star Pam Dawber (born in Detroit) and novelist Terry McMillan (also in Michigan, in Port Huron). Status of Terry's groove, and whether she needs to get it back, is uncertain. But, since Pam is married to former UCLA quarterback and NCIS star Mark Harmon, I'm guessing her groove is in good shape.

October 18, 1952: Jeron Kennis Royster is born in Sacramento. A speedy infielder, Jerry played in the 1974 World Series for the Dodgers, and spent 1987 with the Yankees, but played the majority of his career on some mediocre Atlanta Braves teams in between.

He managed the Milwaukee Brewers briefly in 2002, and recently managed the Lotte Giants of Busan, Korea – the first non-Korean manager in Korea’s top baseball league. He is now the 3rd base coach for the Red Sox.

October 18, 1954, 60 years ago: Texas Instruments announces it has begun production of the first transistor radio. Baseball fans everywhere rejoice, for now they can listen to ballgames almost anywhere, from the office to the beach.

Well, they’ll have to wait until Summer 1955 to listen to them on the beach. Maybe April 1955, if they live in California and can get Pacific Coast League broadcasts.

Also on this day, Mort Walker and Dik Browne debut the comic strip Hi & Lois. Separately, Walker created Beetle Bailey (Lois Flagston was Beetle's sister), and Browne created Hagar the Horrible.

October 18, 1955: Ralph Kiner, formerly a great slugger for the Pittsburgh Pirates, calls it quits due to a back injury. He is about to turn 33 years old. He hit just 18 home runs for the Cleveland Indians this past season.

Years later, as a broadcaster for the Mets, a player (whose name I've long since forgotten, even though I was watching this game on WOR-Channel 9) hit his 1st major league home run, and Kiner said, “You always remember your first.” Kiner's 1st was on April 18, 1946, at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, off Howie Pollet of the Cardinals, who beat the Pirates that day anyway, and went on to win the World Series that season.

His broadcast partner Tim McCarver, who won 2 Series as a catcher for the Cardinals (1964 and '67) and one more with the Phillies (1980, his last season), said he didn’t remember his 1st major league home run: “You’d think I would, because I didn’t hit very many.” It came on July 13, 1961, also at Sportsman's Park (by then, the 1st ballpark to get the name of Busch Stadium), off Tony Cloninger of the Milwaukee Braves, who beat the Cardinals that day anyway.

Kiner: “I don’t remember my last home run, because, at the time, I didn’t think it would be my last!” It was on September 10, 1955, at Fenway Park in Boston, off Ellis Kinder, and the Indians beat the Red Sox.

That last home run was Number 369 – and he did that in only 10 seasons, a career shortened at the beginning by service in World War II and at the end by his injury. If he’d been able to play 20, you can double that 369, and you’ve got 718. I know it doesn't work that way, but, theoretically, he could have surpassed Babe Ruth before Hank Aaron did.

Ralph died earlier this year. He was 91, and it was a remarkable baseball life.

October 18, 1956: Martina Subertova is born in Prague, in the nation then known as Czechoslovakia. We know her as Martina Navratilova. Sorry, Roger Federer, but Martina remains the greatest tennis player who ever lived, of any gender, of any era, of any nationality.

October 18, 1958: Thomas Hearns is born in Memphis, although, like Alabama-born Joe Louis, he grew up and trained as a boxer in Detroit. Known as “The Hit Man” and "The Motor City Cobra," he was one of the most devastating punchers the ring has ever known, holding various titles ranging from welterweight to light heavyweight from 1980 to 1992.

Also, Kjell Samuelsson is born in Tingsryd, Sweden -- and that's pronounced like "shell." A defenseman, he played for the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers and didn’t gain a reputation as a thug – an amazing achievement. More importantly, he was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins when they won the 1992 Stanley Cup.

October 18, 1959: Christopher Michael Russo is born in Syosset, Long Island, New York. No word on whether the future sports-talk host known as “Mad Dog” said to the people in the delivery room, “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand goodaftanoon evwybody! Howayoutoday?”


October 18, 1960: Yankee co-owners Dan Topping and Del Webb officially relieve Casey Stengel as manager. He gives the press a prepared statement where he announces his resignation. Then he says, "I guess this means they fired me.” And “I’ll never make the mistake of being 70 again.”

Also on this day, Erin Marie Moran is born in Burbank, California. Not an athlete, but as Joanie Cunningham on Happy Days, she played a cheerleader at Milwaukee’s Jefferson High School. There are about 40 Jefferson High Schools in the U.S., but Milwaukee doesn't have one in real life: The school used for exterior shots was the city's Washington High School.

She's had money troubles lately, and she and her husband were recently evicted -- by her mother-in-law. Maybe she should use that experience and get a role as a nasty mother-in-law on a sitcom.

October 18, 1967: The American League approves Charlie Finley’s move of the Athletics to Oakland‚ California. Kansas City is promised an expansion team for 1969, as is Seattle.

When Senator Stuart Symington of Missouri and Mayor Ilus Davis of Kansas City threaten legal action against the move‚ possibly including the revocation of baseball’s exemption from antitrust laws, AL President Joe Cronin reopens talks‚ and the expansion deadline is moved to 1969.

Nevertheless, Symington is glad that his home State is rid of Finley, saying, "Oakland is the luckiest city since Hiroshima."

October 18, 1968: Bob Beamon sets a world record of 8.90 meters in the long jump at the Olympic Games in Mexico City. The crowd is stunned. But, as an American, not familiar with the metric system, Beamon doesn’t know what 8.90 meters means. The old world record was 27 feet, 7¼ inches. Beamon’s jump is 29 feet, 2½ inches. He has broken both the 28-foot and 29-foot barriers.

The record stands for 23 years. Beamon was a native of South Jamaica, Queens, New York, the same neighborhood that produced Governor Mario Cuomo, rapper 50 Cent, and my Grandma.

After that Gold Medal, he was drafted by one of the NBA's brand-new expansion teams, the Phoenix Suns. He didn't sign, staying at Long Island's Adelphi University and getting his degree. He now operates a museum in Florida.

October 18, 1970: Sachio Kinugasa takes his place in the starting lineup of the Hiroshima Carp‚ playing 3rd base. Over the next 17 years he will play in 2‚215 consecutive games -- longer than Lou Gehrig, although Major League Baseball doesn't count it as a record. And, of course, Cal Ripken will surpass this total, too.

Also on this day, Douglas Anthony Mirabelli born in Kingman, Arizona. He is best known as Tim Wakefield’s personal catcher on the 2004 and 2007 World Champion * Boston Red Sox. He is now head coach of a high school team in Michigan.

October 18, 1973: The Mets win Game 5 of the World Series, 2-0 over the Oakland Athletics at Shea Stadium, behind the 3-hit pitching of Jerry Koosman and Tug McGraw. Cleon Jones doubles in a run in the 2nd, and Don Hahn's triple scores the other run.

The Series now moves out to Oakland, and the Mets need to win only 1 of the last 2 games to win their 2nd World Series. It would take them another 13 years to get that 4th World Series game won.

October 18, 1975: Jose Alexander Cora is born in Caguas, Puerto Rico. The starting shortstop of the 2007 World Champion * Boston Red Sox, Alex Cora also played for the Mets, and is now an analyst for the MLB Network.  His brother Joey Cora is a former big-leaguer and now a Marlins coach.


October 18, 1984, 30 years ago: Lindsey Caroline Kildow is born in St. Paul, Minnesota. We know her as Lindsey Vonn.

After divorcing a fellow Olympic skier, she says she'll never get married again. But if she does marry her current boyfriend, she'll still be, by far, the most successful athlete in the family. Even if you do consider golf a "sport," 1 Gold Medal tops 4 Green Jackets.

October 18, 1986: Maybe the Mets’ World Series win this year isn’t “inevitable” after all. The Boston Red Sox win Game 1, 1-0 at Shea, when Tim Teufel botches Rich Gedman's routine grounder in the 7th inning‚ allowing Jim Rice to score the game's only run. Bruce Hurst and Calvin Schiraldi combine on a 4-hitter for the Red Sox.

October 18, 1988: Mark McGwire's home run off Jay Howell in the bottom of the 9th gives Oakland a 2-1 win in Game 3 of the World Series. This is the first time, and it remains the only time, that 2 games of a single World Series end with walkoff homers. However, this will be the only game in the Series that the A’s will win.

October 18, 1992: The Toronto Blue Jays even the World Series with a 5-4 win over the Braves in Game 2 in Atlanta. Pinch-hitter Ed Sprague's 2-run home run in the top of the 9th proves to be the margin of victory‚ marking just the 2nd time in Series history that a 9th-inning homer turns a losing margin into a winning one. The other was Kirk Gibson's homer in Game 1 of the 1988 Series.

This is also the 1st time a non-U.S. team wins a World Series game. But, due to this international distinction, there is a mishap: The Canadian flag is inadvertently flown upside-down by a United States Marine Corps color guard during the pregame ceremonies. Although the international incident annoys many Canadians, most Toronto fans resist the call to fly the American Stripes and Stars in a similar fashion during Game 3 at the Skydome, but opt instead to wave Canada's L'Unifolié with the message, "This end up", affixed to the top.

October 18, 1997: For the 1st time, a World Series game is played in the State of Florida. The Marlins take Game 1‚ 7-4 over the Cleveland Indians at Joe Robbie Stadium‚ behind rookie Cuban pitcher Livan Hernandez. Moises Alou's 3-run homer in the 4th inning is the big blow for the Marlins‚ who are outhit by the Indians‚ 11-7.

October 18, 1998: The Yankees strike early‚ scoring 3 runs in each of the 1st 2 innings. They go on to cruise to a 9-3 win in Game 2 behind Orlando Hernandez, brother of Livan and nicknamed “El Duque” (the Duke). Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada connect for homers.

October 18, 1999: Yankees 6, Red Sox 1, in Game 5 of the ALCS. For only the 2nd time, the Yankees clinch a Pennant at Fenway Park – the first was on September 25, 1960, back when Pennants could still be clinched in the regular season. El Duque wins the clincher and is named series MVP. Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada homer for the Yanks.


October 18, 2004, 10 years ago: The Red Sox outlast the Yankees‚ 5-4‚ in 14 innings to force a Game 6 of their ALCS. David Ortiz again is the hero (cough-with a sidekick named “Steroids”-cough)‚ driving home the winning run with a bloop single. Ortiz also homers‚ as does Bernie Williams for the Yanks.

Also on this day, Jeff Kent hits a home run in the bottom of the 9th, breaking up a scoreless duel and giving the Houston Astros a 3-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. The Astros now lead the Cards 3 games to 2, and are 1 win away from their 1st Pennant in their 43-season history.

They will have to wait 1 more season.

October 18, 2005: Longtime Bay Area sportscaster Bill King dies. He was the voice of the A's, the Raiders and the Warriors. Like former A's reliever Rollie Fingers, he was noted for having a handlebar mustache. He was 78.

Also on this day, the Montreal Canadiens pay tribute to the departed Expos by raising a commemorative banner to the rafters of Montreal's Bell Centre. Displaced mascot Youppi, working in his first game for the NHL team, and former players Gary Carter and Andre Dawson are on hand to assist in the hoisting the of blue and orange banner that features their retired numbers, 8 and 10, respectively, as well as the numbers for Tim Raines (30) and Rusty Staub (10).

October 18, 2006: The Mets edge the Cardinals, 4-2 at Shea, to even the NLCS at 3 games apiece. Jose Reyes gets 3 hits for the Mets, including a homer, and John Maine gets the win.

The Mets go into Game 7, 1 win away from the National League Pennant and a trip to their 5th World Series. They’re still looking for that win.

October 18, 2008: Scoring in each of the last 3 innings, the Red Sox erase a 7-run deficit in the 7th to beat the Rays, 8-7, in Game 5 of the ALCS.

The Philadelphia A's, who rallied after trailing 8-0 to beat the Cubs, 10-8, in Game 4 of the 1929 World Series, are the only team to have made a bigger comeback in the postseason.

October 18, 2012: The Tigers win their 2nd Pennant in 7 years when they beat the Yankees, 8-1, at Comerica Park to complete a 4-game sweep. Delmon Young is named series MVP.

The last time the Bronx Bombers failed to win a game in a postseason season was in 1980, after the Royals beat them 3 straight in the best 3-of-5 ALCS.

Did I say "Bombers"?  Derek Jeter broke his ankle in Game 1 and missed the rest of the series, and, really, was never the same again. Even so, in this series, as in the ALDS against the Baltimore Orioles, the Yankees just weren't hitting: Curtis Granderson went 0-for-11, Brett Gardner 0-for-8, Eric Chavez 0-for-8, Robinson Cano 1-for-18, Alex Rodriguez 1-for-9, Russell Martin 2-for-14, Mark Teixeira 3-for-15, Raul Ibanez 3-for-13, Nick Swisher 3-for-12. The Yankees scored 4 runs in the bottom of the 9th to send Game 1 to extra innings. Other than that, in 38 innings in this series, they scored 2 runs, and had an on-base percentage of .224. Pathetic.

The Yankees have not appeared in a postseason game since. And haven't won a Pennant, much less a World Series, in 5 years.

Why does Brian Cashman still have a job?

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