October 9, 1996, 20 years ago: Game 1 of the American League Championship Series is held at the original Yankee Stadium. The Yankees trail the Baltimore Orioles 4-3 in the bottom of the 8th. The big, scowling, fearsome Armando Benitez is on the mound for the Orioles. He does not yet have a reputation as a pitcher who chokes in the clutch. He is about to get one.
He pitches to Derek Jeter, the Yankees' rookie shortstop. Jeter, as later fans might guess, uses an inside-out swing to send the ball to right-center field. Oriole right fielder Tony Tarasco goes back, stands at the fence, and holds up his glove.
Tarasco is an idiot. Take a look at the tape: His glove wasn't lined up right. He played it totally wrong. Instead of falling into his glove, it would have hit the fence above him and to his right -- or from the view of the TV fan, "back and to the left." It's baseball's "Zapruder Film." The ball would have gone for at least a double, possibly a triple, putting the tying run in scoring position.
See? Back, and to the left.
Except that’s not what happened. Jeffrey Maier, a 12-year-old fan from Old Tappan, Bergen County, New Jersey, ran over, and reached out with his glove. The ball hit his glove, and as he tried to pull it into the stands, he lost control of it. That's right: He didn't even get the ball.
Umpire Rich Garcia ruled it a home run, tying the game. Tarasco was furious. Oriole manager Davey Johnson -- at that moment, still the last man to manage a New York team to a Pennant, the 1986 Mets -- runs out to protest. To no avail.
In the bottom of the 11th, Randy Myers, who had pitched for Johnson on the '86 Mets and had won a World Series under Lou Piniella for the 1990 Cincinnati Reds, pitched to Bernie Williams, the star of the Yanks' AL Division Series win over the Texas Rangers. On radio station WABC, John Sterling said this:
Theeee pitch, swung, and it's driven to deep left! It is high! It is far! Iiiiiiiit… is gone! Yankees win! Theeeeeeeeeeee Yankees win!
It wasn't the first time Sterling had used the line, but it was the first time I'd heard him drag it out that much.
Yankees 5, Orioles 4. After the game, the media asked Yankee manager Joe Torre about the fan-assisted Jeter home run. Without missing a beat, or changing his expression, The Man of One Face said, "Did anybody see Bernie's home run? That wasn't bad." Laughter in the press room.
The Top 5 Reasons You Can’t Blame Jeffrey Maier for the Baltimore Orioles losing the 1996 American League Pennant
5. Tony Tarasco. He blew the play. If he had tracked the ball properly, he would have gotten under it and jumped for it. Jeffrey Maier probably saved him from being the biggest goat in the history of Baltimore sports. Tarasco still owes Maier a steak dinner, in my opinion. At the very least, now that Maier is about to turn 33, he could buy him a beer.
4. Bernie Williams. He not only hit the Game 1 winner, but torched the O's in Games 3 and 4 in Baltimore as well.
3. The Bullpens. The Yankees had Graeme Lloyd, Jeff Nelson and a rookie named Mariano Rivera setting up John Wetteland. The Orioles had Benitez setting up Myers.
2. The Managers. Joe Torre kept his cool. Davey Johnson lost his cool. He got so upset over the call that his anger spread to his team. He could have calmed them down afterward and said, "Aw, forget it. We got screwed, but it's just one game. If we win Game 2 here tomorrow, we can come home with a tie, and we'll be in great shape to take this thing. Put it out of your minds and win tomorrow." He didn't.
This wasn't the first such example in postseason history, and it hasn't been the last. Frankly, I think the Mets won that 1986 in spite of Johnson, not because of any leadership he provided. A better manager, and the Mets might have won the Pennant in 1988, too, and at least won the National League East in 1985, 1987 and 1990.
1. The Yankees Were Better. Yes, they were. They did win the Division (the Orioles had won the Wild Card), they didn't need steroids (the Orioles had Rafael Palmeiro, who was caught, and Brady Anderson, who has never been publicly outed but whose season and career fit the profile), and they won all 3 games at Camden Yards.
The next season, the Cleveland Indians would win 2 of the 3 ALCS games in Baltimore. The Orioles have a record of 1-5 in ALCS games played at Camden Yards.
From their 1st postseason home game, Game 3 of the 1966 World Series, to Game 6 of the 1971 World Series, they were 13-2 in home postseason games. From Game 7 of the 1971 World Series to today, the Orioles' home record in postseason play is 14-18. At home.
Or, to put it another way, they have won just 1 home game in ALCS play in the last 33 years. And you can't say, "Curse of Camden Yards," because they were playing at Memorial Stadium for some of that. If you can't defend your home field in the Playoffs, you have no right to blame a kid in the stands at an away game.
The Yankees proved they were better going on to win that Pennant, a stretch of 6 Pennants and 4 World Championships in 8 years. The O's? Still looking for their 1st Pennant since Ronald Reagan's 1st term.
Jeffrey Maier went on to play baseball at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, where he became the school's all-time hits leader. He served as an extra and assisted with baseball skills training for the actors in ESPN’s miniseries about the 1977 Yankees, The Bronx is Burning.
He now works with Internet LeagueApps in Manchester, New Hampshire. Yes, Jeffrey Maier (who now prefers to be called Jeff) lives and works in "Red Sox Nation." Beyond that, his wife Andrea is a Sox fan. He says, "I've been able to look past that flaw in her character." They have 2 children.
October 9, 1880: Charles Victory Faust is born in Marion, Kansas. Little is known of his life before July 1911, when he went to St. Louis and visited New York Giants manager John McGraw. Faust told him that a fortune teller said he would help the Giants win the Pennant. McGraw didn't believe it, but, being superstitious, and having a team owner, John Brush, who would do anything McGraw asked, Faust was signed to a contract. When Faust was in uniform, the Giants were 36-2. When he wasn't, they struggled.
McGraw wasn't stupid. He wasn't going to put Faust into a game that counted. So he waited until after the Pennant was clinched, and pitched him in 2 games, both times in just the 9th inning. The Giants lost the World Series to the Philadelphia Athletics, but then, the fortune teller never said anything about the World Series, only the Pennant.
It sounds like the story of the musical Damn Yankees, and the Douglass Wallop novel on which it was based, The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant: A guy nobody's ever heard of comes out of nowhere and tells a team he can win them the Pennant, and, spoiler alert, he does. The difference in that story? He's sold his soul to the Devil so that his favorite team, the Washington Senators, can win the Pennant. It was based on a story from German legend, told in Elizabethan England by Christopher Marlowe, and in early 19th Century Germany by novelist Johann von Goethe and later in that Century in opera form by French composer Charles Gounod. The name of the story? Faust.
The Giants started the 1912 season 54-11. Faust still wanted to pitch, but McGraw had enough, and he got Brush to release him. The Giants went into a slump, but still won the Pennant. And lost the World Series to the Boston Red Sox.
In 1914, Charlie Faust was committed to a mental hospital in Portland, Oregon, and diagnosed with dementia and tuberculosis. He died a year later.
When he got off to a rough start in the majors, the press called him "the $11,000 Lemon." But he led the National League in strikeouts in 1911, helping the Giants win the Pennant, and he became "the $11,000 Beauty."
In 1912, he won 19 consecutive games, leading the Giants to another Pennant. They won another in 1913, and he won Pennants with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1916 and 1920 -- making him the 1st player, and one of the very few, ever to win Pennants for 2 NL teams in New York. (None ever did with either the Dodgers and the Mets, and only Willie Mays did so with the Giants and the Mets.) But his teams went 0-5 in World Series play. He was 3rd all-time in strikeouts by a lefthander upon his retirement, trailing only Waddell and Eddie Plank, and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
October 9, 1887: The St. Louis Browns (forerunners of the National League Cardinals, rather than of the American League team that became the Baltimore Orioles) end their American Association Pennant season with a 95-40 record‚ besting their 1886 record by 2 wins. This will not be topped until the adoption of the 154-game schedule.
Also, Guy Hecker of the Louisville Colonels, who went 52-20 pitching for the Colonels in 1884, and usually played 1st base when he wasn’t pitching, becomes the first 1st baseman to play a 9-inning game with no fielding chances. The Colonels lose 2-0 to the Cincinnati Red Stockings (later to become the Reds) and finish 4th in the AA. Hecker finished his career with a .282 batting average and 175 pitching wins, and lived on until 1938, age 82.
October 9, 1890: The National League, the American Association, and the insurgent Players' League, all hit hard financially by their 3-way "war" for players and fans, reach a truce. The PL folds, and their players are welcomed back to their former teams at their former salaries.
The NL survives to this day. The AA, however, is mortally wounded, and folds after one more season. This brings a vacuum that is filled by the American League in 1901. In 1902, a new American Association will be formed, at the highest minor-league level.
October 9, 1898: Joseph Wheeler Sewell is born in Titus, Alabama. He was one of the earliest football heroes at the University of Alabama, but it was in baseball that he is remembered. In 1920, he was called up to the Cleveland Indians to be there shortstop after Ray Chapman was killed by being hit in the head with a pitch. He helped the Indians play through the tragedy and win their 1st World Series.
He starred with the Indians through the 1930 season. The Yankees acquired him, and he helped them win 107 games plus the World Series in 1932. He retired after the next season with a .312 lifetime batting average. In 7,132 career at-bats, he struck out 114 times, an average of once every 62.5 at-bats. Only Willie Keeler has done better, 63.1. He played in 1,103 consecutive games, 2nd all-time to Everett Scott at that point.
He later became the baseball coach at Alabama, and future Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler was one of his pitchers. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977, and lived until 1990. His brother Luke Sewell managed the St. Louis Browns to their only Pennant in 1944, and his brother Tommy Sewell played 1 game for the 1927 Chicago Cubs. Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Rip Sewell, known for his blooper that he called an "eephus pitch," was his cousin.
October 9, 1903: Walter Francis O'Malley is born in The Bronx -- the location will likely be of little surprise to surviving Brooklyn Dodger fans, who still hate the Yankees. Even less surprising, he grew up (in Queens) as a fan of the New York Giants. We all should have known. Dodger fans, and the Met fans who followed them, won't be surprised by this, either: He graduated from the Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana, as did George Steinbrenner.
He struggled as a lawyer in the Great Depression, but, by 1933, only 30 years old, he was the senior partner at a Midtown Manhattan law firm. He was hired by the Brooklyn Trust Company to administer mortgage foreclosures against failing businesses, thus making money off the misery of the poor during the worst economic crisis in American history. This should also surprise no one who knew of him later.
Brooklyn Trust also owned the estate of Charles Hercules Ebbets, part-owner of the Dodgers and the man who built Ebbets Field. It assigned the Dodgers' assets to O'Malley. By 1944, he had officially and fully bought out Brooklyn Trust's share of the team's ownership.
In 1950, he forced out part-owner and team president Branch Rickey and the remaining part-owners, and had full control. After the 1953 season, his criticisms led broadcaster Red Barber to quit and cross town to the Yankees. After the 1956 season, he traded Jackie Robinson to the Giants. Jackie retired instead of playing for the arch-rivals. So in a span of 6 years, O'Malley had forced out 3 of the noblest characters in the history of the game.
In other words, he would have been a filthy son of a bitch even if he hadn't moved the Dodgers. Which he did. By 1954, he suggested a domed stadium for downtown Brooklyn, because Ebbets Field was too small and had hardly any parking. The stadium would be across from the Long Island Railroad terminal, eliminating the need for new parking. But New York City, and New York State, construction czar Robert Moses wouldn't condemn the land necessary to build it. (The Barclays Center was built on the site in 2012.)
Enticed by Los Angeles, O'Malley chose the easier, and far more lucrative, way out, rather than find a way to use the City and/or State government to get around Moses. In other words, while O'Malley isn't solely to blame for the Dodgers moving, he is primarily to blame. And while the Giants were already planning to move to Minneapolis after the 1957 season (they had their top farm team there), it was O'Malley that talked them into keeping the rivalry going by moving to San Francisco.
O'Malley used his influence with the other owners to make Commissioners Ford Frick, William D. Eckert and Bowie Kuhn mere spokesmen for his desires. His money-grubbing ways hurt people in Los Angeles and kept the evil reserve clause in place until 1975. When he died of cancer in 1979, age 75, he remained the most hated man in New York, even though he had been out of New York for 22 years. His son Peter, a lookalike but a considerably nicer man, sold the Dodgers in 1998, ending the family's ownership after 54 years. (Peter is still alive, at age 78.)
Walter O'Malley has since been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Why? He was greedy, he was immoral, and, since he was far from the 1st person to suggest putting Major League Baseball in Los Angeles, he was no visionary. He was a disgrace. A Harry Potter fan could call him "Lord Waltermort."
October 9, 1905: Having been mocked as cowards for refusing to play in the 1904 World Series, the New York Giants are ready to go this time. Christy Mathewson shuts out the Philadelphia Athletics, and the Giants win Game 1, 3-0.
October 9, 1906: Snow flies at the West Side Grounds as the 1st single-city World Series opens, with the Cubs heavy favorites over the AL's "Hitless Wonders." Neither ballpark can fully accommodate the crowds‚ so the Chicago Tribune recreates the games on mechanical boards displayed at theaters. White Sox starter Nick Altrock and Cubs starter Mordecai "Three-Finger" Brown give up 4 hits each‚ but Cubs errors produce 2 unearned runs for a 2-1 White Sox victory.
There will not be another World Series game played in snow for 91 years. As you might guess, that one was also played in a Great Lakes city, Cleveland.
October 9, 1907: For the 1st, and perhaps only, time in World Series history, the hidden-ball trick is successfully tried. In Game 2 at the West Side Grounds, Detroit Tigers 3rd baseman Bill Coughlin tags out Cub center fielder Jimmy Slagle, who is leading off the base. It doesn't help: The Cubs win, 3-1.
October 9, 1909: Ty Cobb's steal of home is the highlight of Tigers' 7-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates, that knots the World Series at 1 game apiece. The Georgia Peach swipes home plate 54 times during regular-season play in his career, a major league record. This is the only time, however, that home plate will be stolen in a World Series game for 42 years.
October 9, 1910: The battle for the American League batting title is decided on the final day of the regular season‚ when Ty Cobb of the Detroit Tigers edges Nap Lajoie of the Cleveland… Naps. (Seriously, the team was named after their star 2nd baseman and manager. They would be renamed the Indians in 1915.) Cobb’s final average is .385, Lajoie's is .384.
Neither man covers himself with glory. Cobb‚ meanwhile‚ rather than risk his average‚ sits out the last 2 games‚ the Tigers beating the White Sox in today's finale‚ 2-1. Lajoie goes 8-for-8 in a doubleheader with the St. Louis Browns‚ accepting 6 gift hits on bunt singles, on which Browns rookie 3rd baseman Red Corriden is apparently purposely stationed at the edge of the outfield grass. The prejudiced St. Louis scorer also credits popular Nap with a "hit" on shortstop Bobby Wallace's wild throw to 1st. In Lajoie's last at-bat‚ he is safe at 1st on an error call‚ but is credited with a sacrifice bunt since a man was on, and thus is not charged with an at-bat.
The St. Louis Post is just one of the papers to be openly critical of the move against Cobb: "All St. Louis is up in arms over the deplorable spectacle‚ conceived in stupidity and executed in jealousy." The Browns win the opener‚ 5-4‚ and Cleveland takes the nightcap‚ 3-0, with both managers‚ Jack O'Connor and Jim Maguire, catching in the otherwise meaningless game. O'Connor is behind the plate for just an inning‚ but Maguire goes all the way.
AL President Ban Johnson investigates, and clears everyone concerned‚ enabling Cobb to win the 3rd of 9 straight batting crowns. The embarrassed Chalmers Auto Company, which had promised a brand-new car to the winner of the batting title, awards cars to both Ty and Nap.
In 1981, The Sporting News uncovers an error, which had credited a 2-for-3 game to Cobb twice, that‚ if corrected‚ would have given the title to Lajoie, .384 to .383. But the Commissioner's committee votes unanimously to leave the stats changed, but not the title. This reduced Cobb's career hit total from 4,191 to 4,189 (thus meaning that Pete Rose broke the record 3 days before we thought he did, although it was still celebrated at 4,192), and his lifetime batting average from .367 to .366 (although that's still easily a record).
In case you're wondering, in that 1910 season, Cobb had a better on-base percentage than Lajoie, .456 to .445; the higher slugging percentage, .551 to .514; the higher OPS, 1.008 to .960; and the higher OPS+, 206 to 199. And neither Detroit nor Cleveland seriously challenged the Philadelphia Athletics for the Pennant. The A's finished 14 1/2 games ahead of the 2nd-place New York Highlanders (1 of only 3 times the Yankees finished 2nd before their 1st Pennant in 1921), 18 ahead of the 3rd-place Tigers, and 32 ahead of the 5th-place Naps.
The NL Pennant race had no drama, either, as the Chicago Cubs won their 4th flag in the last 5 years, beating the Giants by 13 games. The Brooklyn Superbas, forerunners of the Dodgers, finished 6th, a whopping 40 games back. So it will be A's vs. Cubs in the World Series, a matchup that will also happen in 1929, but hasn't happened since then.
Also on this day, William John Crayston is born in Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria, England. A defensive midfielder, Jack Crayston was a member of the Arsenal teams that won the Football League in 1935 and 1938, and the FA Cup in 1936.
He continued to play for Arsenal on weekends while serving in the Royal Air Force during World War II, but a knee injury in a 1943 match ended his playing career. He became part of The Arsenal's coaching setup, and was named manager upon the death of Tom Whittaker in 1956, but managed only 2 years, not successfully. He then went back up north, managed Doncaster Rovers for 3 seasons, then left the game permanently in 1961. He died in 1992.
October 9, 1913: In Game 3 of the World Series, rookie right-hander Joe Bush throws a complete game, limiting the Giants to 5 hits in the Athletics’ 8-2 victory at the Polo Grounds. At the age of 20 years and 316 days, "Bullet Joe" is still, 102 years later, the youngest pitcher to start a game in the Fall Classic, 40 days sooner than Jim Palmer in 1966 and Fernando Valenzuela in 1981.
October 9, 1915: Woodrow Wilson becomes the 1st incumbent President to attend a World Series game. He and his fiancée Edith Galt come to Baker Bowl in Philadelphia, and see Boston Red Sox hurler Rube Foster limit the Phillies to just 3 hits, and single home the winning run himself in the bottom of the 9th, to win Game 2, 2-1.
It's not clear what team Wilson usually rooted for, although he did teach at Bryn Mawr University, near Philly, and attended Princeton University, taught there, and was its President, before becoming Governor of New Jersey; and, from 1887 onward, when the predecessor ground to Baker Bowl opened, the Phillies were the closest team to Princeton, closer even than the Athletics.
It wasn't all a good day for the future Mr. and Mrs. Wilson: The Washington Post printed an article about a trip to a Washington theater the night before. It was, the article said, "their first appearance in public as an engaged couple." All editions after the first said, suggesting that the play wasn't especially interesting, "The President gave himself up for the time being to entertaining his fiancee." The first edition, however, said, "The President gave himself up for the time being to entering his fiancee." Whoops... (No, I'm not making that up. This was in 1915.)
This was just 50 years after Abraham Lincoln took his wife Mary to Ford's Theatre. Moral of the story: If you're the President of the United States, don't go to a theater in Washington with the woman you love.
Two months later, Wilson, widowed a year and a half earlier, marries Edith, becoming the 3rd President to marry while in office, following then-widower John Tyler in 1844 and then-bachelor Grover Cleveland in 1886. (There has not been a 4th.)
In 1924 and '25, due to the Washington Senators bringing the World Series to the nation's capital, Calvin Coolidge -- who hates baseball, but his wife Grace loves it -- will attend the World Series. Herbert Hoover will be cheered at Shibe Park in Philadelphia when throwing out the first ball of a 1929 Series game, but in 1930, after the Wall Street crash, with the Great Depression well underway and Prohibition still in effect, becomes the first President ever booed at a baseball game, with fans also chanting, "We want beer!" Franklin Roosevelt attended Game 2 of the 1936 World Series between the Yankees and Giants at the Polo Grounds.
In 1956, on back-to-back days at Ebbets Field, Dwight D. Eisenhower, running for re-election, attends Game 1, while his opponent Adlai Stevenson attends Game 2. There will not be another President attending a World Series game until Jimmy Carter is at Game 7 in Baltimore in 1979 -- not quite making up for the fact that he is the only President since William Howard Taft started the tradition in 1910 not to attend an Opening Day game and throw out the first ball to symbolically start the season.
While Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton all attended some big games while in office, George W. Bush, in Game 3 in 2001, remains the only President in the last 36 years and 1 of only 3 in the last 80 years to attend the World Series. Barack Obama, are you listening?
October 9, 1916, 100 years ago: The longest game in World Series history is played. Both pitchers go the distance: Sherry Smith of the Dodgers and… Babe Ruth of the Red Sox. In the 2nd, Hy Myers hits an inside-the-park home run, the only round-tripper hit off Ruth the entire season. A pinch-hit single by Del Gainer means the Red Sox finally win the game in the bottom of the 14th, and Ruth’s streak of 29 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings pitched is underway.
In 1986, an NLCS game went 16 innings. In 2005, 89 years later to the day (as you’ll see when you read on), an NLDS game went 18. And in 2014, we had another NLDS game go 18 innings. But going into the 2016 Fall Classic, 14 remains the World Series record.
October 9, 1919: The Cincinnati Reds defeat the Chicago White Sox, 10-5, taking Game 8 and the best-5-out-of-9 World Series. It is the 1st World Championship for Cincinnati – or, at least, the 1st since the unofficial one for the Cincinnati Red Stockings, the first openly professional baseball team, in 1869, half a century earlier.
Sox pitcher Claude "Lefty" Williams gets one man out in the 1st before departing, having allowed 4 runs. The Reds go on to give Hod Eller plenty of offense. White Sox left fielder "Shoeless" Joe Jackson hits the only home run of the Series. Eddie Collins’ 3 hits give him a total of 42 in Series play‚ a record broken in 1930 by Frank Frisch‚ and bettered by Lou Gehrig in 1938. A stolen base by Collins is his 14th in Series competition‚ a record tied by Lou Brock in 1968.
How could the White Sox have lost? "Everybody" said they were the superior team. Actually, while the ChiSox were more experienced – they had won the Series 2 years earlier – but they had won 88 games that season; the Reds, 95. And the Reds had Hall-of-Famer Edd Roush, and several players who would have been multiple All-Stars had there been an All-Star Game at the time. Still, everybody seemed to think the Sox were better. And yet, the betting shifted to make the Reds the
favorites. What had happened?
On September 28, 1920, 8 White Sox players were indicted for conspiracy to throw the Series: Jackson, Williams, pitcher Eddie Cicotte, right fielder Oscar "Happy" Felsch, 1st baseman Arnold "Chick" Gandil, shortstop Charles "Swede" Risberg, reserve infielder Fred McMullin (only in on the fix because he overheard Felsch and Gandil talking about it), and 3rd baseman George "Buck" Weaver (who refused to take part, but was indicted because he knew about it and refused to report it).
Although all were acquitted, Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis banned them all permanently.
For the rest of their lives, Roush, the last survivor (he lived until 1988), and the other '19 Reds insisted that, if the Series had been on the up-and-up, they would have won anyway.
Really? Here's something else to consider: Down 4 games to 1 in that best-5-out-of-9, the Sox won Games 6 and 7, playing to win because the gamblers hadn't come through with their payments, and Williams only caved in for Game 8 because his wife and children had been threatened if he did not comply. Williams was 0-3 for the Series, a record not "achieved" honestly until 1981 and George Frazier of the Yankees.
Trust me on this one: If you want to get closer to the facts of the case, see the film Eight Men Out; but if you want to see a movie that makes you feel good, see the factually-challenged but beautiful Field of Dreams.
Also on this day, Thomas Lawton (no middle name) is born in Farnworth, Greater Manchester, England. A forward, he began his soccer career with Lancashire side Burnley in the 1936-37 season, before being purchased by Liverpool-based Everton.
He helped Everton win the Football League title in 1939. But Everton have been called the unluckiest club in football: They were holders of the League title in both 1915, when the Football Association suspended League operations due to World War I, and again in 1939, when the FA did so again for World War II.
The War wrought havoc with soccer as well as everything else, resulting in, among other things, depleted rosters. Many "guest appearances" were permitted, especially by players for clubs near where the armed forces had them stationed. Having stationed him in Birkenhead, across the River Mersey, the British Army permitted Tommy Lawton to continue to play for Everton, and also to make guest appearances for nearby clubs such as Tranmere Rovers and Chester City.
On December 25, 1940, he played for Everton against Merseyside rivals Liverpool. As he recalled, "The Tranmere people came into the dressing room, and asked if anyone wanted to play, as they were two men short. I said, 'Go on, I'll help you out.' And I did." He went with the Rovers to their away game against nearby Cheshire club Crewe Alexandra, and played a full 90 minutes in the afternoon, after having already done so on Christmas morning.
When The War ended in 1945, he was transferred to West London club Chelsea. After 2 years with them, he went to Nottingham to play for Notts County, winning the Third Division South in 1950. He spent the 1952-53 season back in West London as player-manager of Brentford, and then ran out the string in North London with Arsenal.
He arrived with the Gunners as League titleholders, and played in their Charity Shield victory over the FA Cup holders, the Blackpool side of Stanley Matthews and Stan Mortensen. In 1956-57, he ended his career as player-manager of Northamptonshire side Kettering Town, leading them to the Southern League title. He later managed Notts County, and Kettering Town once again.
He later scouted for Notts County and wrote a newspaper column, but, as with many soccer legends, retirement was not kind to him, and twice in the 1970s, he nearly went to prison for theft due to unpaid debts. He died on November 6, 1996, in Nottingham, of pneumonia, at the age of 77.
October 9, 1920: Happy 34th Birthday, Rube Marquard -- in jail! Several hours before the start of Game 4 of the World Series, Marquard, a Cleveland native and now a Dodger pitcher (thus with connections to both teams)‚ is arrested when he tries to sell a ticket to an undercover cop for $350. (About $4,200 in today's money -- and you thought Yankee Stadium tickets were expensive now!) He will be found guilty, and fined a dollar and court costs ($3.80 -- $45.76 in today's money).
For the 1st World Series game ever played in Cleveland, 25‚734 Indians fans fill League Park, and watch their home team score 2 in the 1st and 2 in the 3rd off Leon Cadore and Al Mamaux. The Indians win, 5-1.
October 9, 1921: Game 4 of the 1st all-New York World Series. After a rainout, a Sunday crowd of 36,371 watches Carl Mays of the Yankees and Phil Douglas of the Giants square off. Among them are a group of Prohibition agents, who cause a near-riot by trying to barge their way into the game by saying they were there on "official business." When ticket takers refuse to let them in, the police are called to forcibly remove the agents from the line as angry fans look on.
Tomorrow, federal Prohibition Commissioner Roy Haynes will issue orders barring agents from using their badges to gain admission to places of amusement. This may not be the most bizarre moment in the history of the movement and execution of Prohibition, but it may be the dumbest, and was typical of the men enforcing it being every bit as corrupt as those who broke the most-broken law in American history.
Mays works 5 hitless innings, while a run-scoring triple by Wally Schang gives the not-yet-Bronx Bombers a 1–0 lead. Mays then apparently tires, and the Giants club 7 hits in the last 2 innings for 4 runs. Babe Ruth's 1st World Series homer comes in the 9th, but the Giants win 4–2.
We can say, "apparently," because, just 2 years after the Black Sox threw a Series, there would soon be accusations that Mays threw the game. Mays, the son of a Kentucky minister, was known to refuse to pitch on Sundays, and, though it was his turn in the rotation, losing on purpose, and screwing over his teammates, may have been his way of objecting.
Is that, rather than having thrown the pitch that killed Ray Chapman of the Indians the year before, the real reason he's never been elected to the Hall of Fame? He had a 209-126 record for his career, for a winning percentage of .622. He was also a member of 6 Pennant-winning teams, taking 4 World Championships (1915, '16 and '18 with the Reds Sox, 1923 with the Yankees).
Baseball-Reference.com, on their Hall of Fame Monitor where 100 indicates a "Likely HOFer," has him at 114, suggesting that he should be in. Their Hall of Fame standards, which is weighted more towards cumulative statistics, has the "Average HOFer" at 50, and they have him at 41, suggesting that he falls a bit short. They have his 10 Most Similar Players include 3 HOFers: Stan Coveleski, Chief Bender and Jack Chesbro.
But his pitch that hit Chapman, his questionable 9th inning in Game 4 in 1921, and his nastiness to teammates and opponents alike have kept him out. Even a return to a Veterans' Committee ballot in 2009 did him no good: He got just 25 percent of the vote.
Here's a neat little piece of baseball trivia: Mays is the only Red Sox pitcher to pitch 2 complete-game victories on the same day. It was on August 30, 1918. That same day, the greatest player in Red Sox history, Ted Williams, was born.
Former Minnesota Twins closer Joe Mays is a distant cousin, but, being born 4 years after Carl's death in 1971, they never met. Until the day he died, over half a century later, Carl Mays still insisted that he did not hit Chapman intentionally. The best piece of evidence in his favor is that the ball rebounded back to him, and he fielded it and threw it to 1st, suggesting that, at that point, he thought Chapman had hit it.
October 9, 1924: Game 6 of the World Series. The Washington Senators beat the Giants 2-1, on the strong pitching of Tom Zachary, and force a Game 7 at home.
On the same day, for the 2nd time in the season, a current Cincinnati Reds player dies. Jake Daubert, dies from complications from an October 2 operation for gallstones and appendicitis. Daubert's teammates‚ barnstorming in West Virginia when they hear of his death‚ cancel the rest of their games.
The death is controversial: Years later‚ Daubert's son will contend that the doctors missed a spleen condition that later was common in several family members‚ including the son. The death certificate will note a secondary cause of death is due to concussion caused by a beaning on May 28. This will be enough for his widow to start a law suit against the Reds.
Daubert was 40 years old, and he was not washed-up, by any means, having batted .281. He was awarded the 1913 Chalmers Award as NL MVP, helped the Dodgers win the 1916 NL Pennant, and was a 2-time batting champion. His lifetime batting average was .303, his OPS+ 117. But in spite of playing until he was 40, he got "only" 2,326 hits -- 165 of them triples.
Baseball Reference has him at only 70 on their HOF Monitor and 27 on their HOF Standards, and only 1 of his 10 Most Similar Players (a system which is weighted toward players of the same position), the highly questionable inclusion Lloyd Waner, is in the Hall. (Hal Chase is also in his 10, and he might have gotten elected to the Hall if he hadn't been found out to have thrown games.)
Also on this day, Municipal Grant Park Stadium opens on Chicago's lakefront. It would be renamed Soldier Field the next year. It would host many big college football games, including the annual Chicago College All-Star Game between a team of recently graduated players and the defending NFL Champions (who nearly always won) from 1934 to 1976.
Its best-known event was the 2nd fight between Heavyweight Champion Gene Tunney and the man from whom he took the title, Jack Dempsey, on September 22, 1927. In the 7th round, Dempsey knocked Tunney down, but he forgot to obey a new rule (which he, himself, had demanded): The referee would not start the count until the standing fighter retreated to a neutral corner. This gave Tunney an extra 5 seconds to regain his bearings, and he got up at the count of 9 (14), and went on to beat Dempsey in a decision.
It became known as the Long Count Fight, and, to this day, some people think Dempsey was robbed. He wasn't: The film clearly shows Tunney watching the referee's count. He could have gotten up at the count of 4, which should have been 9. Dempsey wasn't robbed. He didn't even blow it. He got beat, fair and square.
The NFL's Bears, satisfied with playing at Wrigley Field until the advent of Monday Night Football meant that, in order to get the revenue, they would need a stadium with lights, played there from 1971 until 2001. The stadium was then demolished after 87 yeasr, and a modern stadium rebuilt, keeping only the exterior Doric columns, otherwise ruining the atmosphere when it opened in 2003. (The Bears played the 2002 season at the University of Illinois.) It's now known as the Eyesore on the Lake Shore.
October 9, 1925: Thomas Arthur Giordano is born in Newark, New Jersey. Tommy "T-Bone" Giordano was a 2nd baseman who played 11 games as a September call-up with the 1953 Philadelphia Athletics. After that, he became a minor-league manager and a major-league scout.
In 1976, he was named scouting director for the Baltimore Orioles, where he helped build the team that won the 1979 AL Pennant and the 1983 World Series. He moved on to Cleveland, where he helped build the Indians team that dominated the AL Central from 1995 to 2001. He is still alive, and, since 2001, he's worked with the Texas Rangers, building their 2010 and '11 Pennant teams and their current AL West Champions. He is 1 of 16 living former Philadelphia Athletics.
October 9, 1926, 90 years ago: Game 6 of the World Series. Les Bell hits a home run, and the St. Louis Cardinals score 5 runs in the 8th inning, backing the great Grover Cleveland Alexander to a 10-2 win to send the Series to a Game 7.
Alexander, a midseason pickup that probably saved the Pennant for the Cards, is told by 2nd baseman-manager Rogers Hornsby to enjoy himself tonight, as, having gone the distance at age 39 today, he won't be used in Game 7 tomorrow. He does get drunk that night. But Hornsby needs him in Game 7 anyway.
Also on this day, Multnomah Civic Stadium is built in Portland, Oregon, on the site of the former ballpark, Multnomah Fileld, which had stood since 1893. (Multnomah is the name of the County that Portland is in.) It was built for both baseball (with a curved stand, in front of which a baseball diamond was placed) and football (with the 1st base stand extended straight along right field). The site has been home to Oregon sports since the Grover Cleveland years.
Portland State University has used it for football since 1947. The University of Oregon and Oregon State University used it for their games against each other, and also for their games against the University of Washington, until the late 1960s, until their on-campus stadiums exceeded it in capacity. The Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League used it on and off (with other minor-league teams, including the 1973-77 Portland Mavericks, filling in the gaps) from 1956 to 2010. The Portland Storm of the World Football League used it in 1974 and '75, and the Portland Breakers of the USFL did so in 1985.
It was renamed Civic Stadium in 1966, PGE Park in 2001, Jeld-Wen Field in 2011 (Jeld-Wen is a window manufacturer, leading to the stadium's nickname becoming "The House of Pane"), and Providence Park (for a local health-care company) in 2014. Extensive renovations have made it nearly impossible to play baseball there, and the city nicknamed the Rose City and "PDX" is without a professional team. But it may be the United States' premier soccer venue.
The original version of the Portland Timbers, in the original version of the North American Soccer League, called it home from 1975 to 1982. It hosted Soccer Bowl '77, in which the New York Cosmos of Pelé and Franz Beckenbauer beat the Seattle Sounders of Mike England for the NASL tile. (I'm guessing the Trail Blazers-SuperSonics rivalry kicked in, and any Oregon natives who came were rooting against their arch-rivals from Seattle.)
More recently, a new version of the Timbers played there in minor leagues from 1985 to 1990, and another started in the A-League in 2001, getting promoted to Major League Soccer in 2011, winning the MLS Cup in 2015. The Portland Thorns entered the National Women's Soccer League in 2013. The Timbers may be the best-supported club in their league; the Thorns absolutely are in theirs.
October 9, 1928: At Sportsman's Park in St. Louis, the Yankees beat the Cardinals, 7-3, completing their 2nd consecutive sweep of the World Series. The Bronx Bombers, who win the 3rd World Championship in franchise history, live up to their name as they slug 5 homers in the game, a feat which will not be matched until 1989, when Oakland does it against San Francisco. Three of the homers are hit by Babe Ruth, who had done it at the same park 2 years earlier. This time, though, the Yankees win the Series.
In 2009, seeing Hideki Matsui collect 6 RBIs, including a home run, in Game 6, Yankee broadcaster John Sterling cited the man who was, at the time, the only other player to hit 3 homers in a Series game, and asked his listeners, "Has anybody, outside of Reggie Jackson, ever had a better Series-clinching game?" Yes, one man has. But only one. The Great Bambino. Ruth, Jackson, Matsui. The Sultan of Swat, Mr. October, and Godzilla. Pretty good company.
Shortstop Mark Koenig was the last survivor of the 1928 Yankees, living until 1993.
October 9, 1930: Francis Edward Lauricella is born in Harahan, Louisana. Why he was called Hank, I don't know, but his football talents got him nicknamed "Mr. Everything."
He was the quarterback for the University of Tennessee's National Champions of 1951, and finished 2nd to Dick Kazmaier of Princeton in the voting for that year's Heisman Trophy. But his NFL experience was limited to the hapless 1952 Dallas Texans. (No connection besides name to the founding franchise of the AFL, which became the Kansas City Chiefs; or to the Houston Texans.) He was elected to the College Football, Cotton Bowl, Louisiana Sports, Tennessee Sports and National Italian-American Sports Halls of Fame.
The main reason he only lasted a year in the NFL is that he enlisted in the Army, to serve in the Korean War. He later served in both houses of the Louisiana State legislature, from 1964 to 1996, first as a Democrat, then, as many Southerners used race and religion as an excuse to leave the Party, as a Republican. As a veteran of the Army Corps of Engineers, he worked in the legislature to build the Superdome, New Orleans' World Trade Center (New York was one of just many cities to have a complex with that name), and Louis Armstrong International Airport, and to modernize the Port of New Orleans. He died in 2014, age 83.
October 9, 1931: Homer Austin Smith is born in Omaha, Nebraska. A teammate of Kazmaier at Princeton, he was All-Ivy League as a fullback. But he became better known as a coach. In 1969, he led Davidson College of North Carolina to the Southern Conference title.
He served as the head coach at the University of the Pacific in 1970 and 1971, and from 1974 to 1978 was the head coach at Army. His only pro coaching job was as offensive coordinator with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1987, and his last job was the same one at the University of Arizona in 1996. He died in 2011.
October 9, 1934: Before the proceedings began, Cardinal pitcher Jay "Dizzy" Dean said of himself and his brother and teammate, Paul "Daffy" Dean, "Me an' Paul are gonna win this here World Series." Diz was right: All 4 St. Louis wins had one of the Dean brothers as the winning pitcher. Today, the Cards pound the Detroit Tigers in Game 7, 11-0 at Navin Field.
That would have been stunning enough to make this game legend. But it's a legend for a darker reason. In the bottom of the 6th, Cardinal slugger Joe Medwick slides hard into 3rd base, and is tagged hard by the Tigers' Marv Owen. Medwick then kicks Owen; the newsreel clearly shows it. A fight results, and when Medwick goes out to left field for the bottom of the 6th, Tiger fans start throwing things at him. Wadded-up programs. Hot dogs. Pieces of fruit. This goes on for minute after minute.
Finally, Commissioner Landis asks the umpires to call Medwick over, as well as the opposing managers, both player-managers wearing Number 3: Cardinal shortstop Frankie Frisch and Tiger catcher Mickey Cochrane. Landis, a former federal Judge, asks Medwick if he kicked Owen. Medwick confesses. Landis removes him from the game, not for disciplinary reasons, he says, but "for his own safety."
Afterward, Medwick, no dummy, says, "I understood why they threw all that food at me. What I don't understand is why they brought it to the ballpark in the first place." It was the left-field bleacher section at Navin Field, later replaced by the double-decked stands that formed the Tiger Stadium we knew. Those seats were the last to be sold, and fans had lined up all morning, and had brought their breakfast and lunch to eat while they were waiting. Clearly, some of them hadn't yet eaten their lunches. (I guess they didn't sell food in that bleacher section.)
In the off-season, Cardinal general manager Branch Rickey refuses to give Medwick, his best hitter, a raise. Medwick tells the press, "Mr. Rickey thinks I can live for a year on the food that the Detroit fans threw at me."
Joe Medwick was a graduate of Carteret High School, Class of 1929, a 3-sport star. A Middlesex County Park, stretching through Carteret and the Avenel section of Woodbridge, is named in his honor. He is one of 5 people who grew up in New Jersey who have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, one of 3 born in the State, and the only one from Central Jersey, let alone from Middlesex County.
Will Medwick, Newark native Billy Hamilton, Salem native Goose Goslin, raised-in-East Orange Monte Irvin and raised-in-Paterson Larry Doby be joined by any Garden State HOFers anytime soon? Could be: Derek Jeter, though he grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan, was born in Pequannock, and lived the 1st 4 years of his life in West Milford. After Jeter, the next Jersey Boy with a legitimate shot -- unless somebody we aren't yet considering blossoms into a legend -- is Millville native Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
The familiar nickname "The Gashouse Gang" would not be applied to the Cardinals until the next season. It's not clear who coined the phrase, but someone said that, with their filthy uniforms due to their roughhouse style of play, they looked like "a gang from the Gas House District." In New York, that area was on the East River, between the Lower East Side and the Gramercy Park area. In 1945, it was all demolished to make way for the housing projects Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.
Pitcher Clarence Heise is the last survivor of the Gashouse Gang, living until 1999.
October 9, 1935: Edward George Nicholas Paul Patrick Windsor is born in London. He is the Duke of Kent, a 1st cousin of Queen Elizabeth II. At the time he was born, he was 7th in line to the throne, then held by his grandfather, King George V, but he is now 34th. He is the President of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, and his wife, the Duchess of Kent, the former Katharine Worsley, handed the trophies out for many years to the Wimbledon champions and runners-up.
The Duke has also, on occasion, presented England's greatest soccer trophy, the FA Cup, to the Captain of the winning side, including at all 3 Finals that Arsenal won to win "The Double": 1971, 1998 and 2002. The Duchess is noted as the member of the Royal Family who has attended the most FA Cup Finals, and she handed the Double-winning Gunners their winner's medals on those occasions.
October 9, 1937: Carl Hubbell to the rescue. Despite giving up a home run to Lou Gehrig, he rides a 6-run 2nd inning, and pitches the Giants to a 7-3 victory over the Yankees, and the Giants avoid the 4-game sweep.
October 9, 1938: The Yankees beat the Cubs, 8-3, and complete a 4-game sweep at Yankee Stadium. It is the Yankees' 7th World Championship, and their 3rd in a row. To this day, the only franchises that have as many as 7 are the Cardinals with 11, the A's with 9 (and even then you have to combine the 5 from Philadelphia with the 4 from Oakland), and the Red Sox with 8 (with the last 3 of those tainted). And, to this day, the only franchises to have won 3 in a row are the Yankees and the 1972-74 A’s.
As with the 1937, 1939 and 1941 World Champion Yankees, the last survivor of the 1938 team was Ol' Reliable himself, Tommy Henrich.
October 9, 1940 : Joseph Anthony Pepitone is born in Brooklyn. He was a backup to Bill "Moose" Skowron at 1st base in 1962, and received a World Series ring. The Yankees thought so highly of Pepitone that they traded Moose before the 1963 season.
Pepitone helped the Yankees win the 1963 and '64 AL Pennants, and hit a grand slam in Game 6 of the '64 World Series. He made 3 All-Star Teams and won 3 Gold Gloves. He had 182 career home runs before he turned 30. Joe was a New York kid playing for the local team, and he was very good. This made him enormously popular in New York at the time.
He had a bit of a nose, and was actually balding, but you couldn't tell while he was wearing a cap or a batting helmet. (He had 2 toupees: A small one for during games, and a bigger "Guido" hairpiece for being out on the town.) Women wanted him, men wanted to be him. He was a matinee idol, and a hero to many, not just to his fellow Italian-Americans.
But, he would later admit, his father's death left him depressed, and he looked for comfort in New York’s nightlife, in drinking and women. He still hit a few home runs, and he still, as Yankee broadcaster Frank Messer put it, "played first base like he owned it," although he switched to center field in 1967 and '68 so that Mickey Mantle, with no DH in those days, could ease the strain on his legs by playing 1st base.
But if you're going to carouse like Mantle, you'd better be able to play like Mantle. Like all but maybe 20 men who have ever played the game, Pepitone was not at that level.
It didn't help that he came into his own just as the old Yankee Dynasty was collapsing. By 1970, he would no longer be a Yankee -- and, as it turned out, he and Mel Stottlemyre were the last remaining Yankees who had played on a Pennant winner. By 1973, he would be out of the major leagues, and playing in Japan, not hitting well, and begging off games with injuries, then getting caught dancing in Tokyo's discos. In Japan, "Pepitone" became a slang term for a person who goofed off.
He would do time on Rikers Island on gun charges in 1988, although drug charges against him were dropped. And he would have continued alcohol and marriage problems, getting arrested again in 1995, when he drunkenly crashed his car inside the Queens-Midtown Tunnel.
He has stayed out of trouble since then, and now lives on Long Island, getting by and then some at memorabilia shows. Still, he knows he could have been so much more, and he knows he blew it: He titled his 1975 autobiography Joe, You Coulda Made Us Proud. Jim Bouton had portrayed him poorly in his own 1970 book, Ball Four, and Joe has never forgiven Jim; but Joe followed Jim by writing his own tell-all, and it is considerably more lurid, and less funny.
But the bad things Joe has done are no excuse for what Cosmo Kramer did in that episode of Seinfeld. He had no right to hit Joe with a pitch at that fantasy camp. For crying out loud, Joe was 52 years old! You don't plunk a 52-year-old man! (Seinfeld co-creator Larry David would write his name into 2 more episodes, and into 2 of Curb Your Enthusiasm. He's also been mentioned on The Golden Girls, The Sopranos, The West Wing and Rescue Me.)
Tony Conigliaro was a very similar player in Boston, but his career was curtailed by injury as much as by wasting his talent. New England fans have often suggested that, had he stayed healthy, Tony C would have been their Mantle. But now that Tony C is dead, and the Boston press no longer has to protect the popular, handsome, ethnic local boy, some less-than-savory details about his life have come out. Perhaps Sox fans should consider that Conigliaro, rather than their Mantle, could have become their Pepitone.
There was also a famous musician born on this day, in Liverpool, England, named John Winston Lennon. He would end up living in New York as well. I could swear that I once saw a picture of him wearing a Yankee cap, but I can't find it online.
Apparently, Pepitone didn't listen to Lennon, who seemed to believe that "All You Need Is Love." What Pepitone could have been, we can only "Imagine." (And, yes, I know there's a Christian rock song titled "I Can Only Imagine." I am aware of the irony.)
Aside from Paul McCartney, who has expressed support for Everton, none of the Beatles appeared to have been much of a sports fan.
Also on this day, Keith Sanderson (no middle name) is born in Hull, Yorkshire, England. A midfielder, mostly for West London club Queens Park Rangers, helping them to win their only trophy of any significance, the 1967 League Cup. He was later a pioneer in the British computer industry, and is still alive.
October 9, 1943: Jimmy Montgomery (his entire name, not "James") is born in Sunderland, Tyne-and-Wear, England. The longtime goalkeeper for his hometown Sunderland A.F.C. became a hero by helping them win the 1973 FA Cup, their last major trophy. He also played in the North American Soccer League, for the Vancouver Royals. He is still alive.
October 9, 1944: The only all-St. Louis World Series ever ends as Emil Verban drives in 3 runs, and the Cardinals defeat the Browns 3-1, and win in 6 games. Within 10 years, the Browns will realize that the Cardinals will always be the Number 1 team in St. Louis, and move and take up the name of several previous teams in their new home town, the Baltimore Orioles.
The 1944 Orioles won the Pennant of the International League, despite Oriole Park having burned down on the 4th of July, necessitating a move to Municipal Stadium, a football stadium a few blocks away. At the exact same time that the Cards were dusting off the Browns, a crowd of 52,833, then a record for a minor league game, sees the Orioles fall to the Louisville Colonels, 5-4 in Game 4 of the "Junior World Series." But the Orioles would win the series in 6 games.
This team, and how well it drew (it's not the fault of the teams involved, but Sportsman's Park seated only 30,804 people, so the Junior World Series brought in more fans than the senior version), raised Baltimore’s profile, and made its return to the majors for the first time since 1902 possible.
The last survivor of the 1944 Cardinals was Stan "the Man" Musial, living until 2013. The last survivor of the only Browns Pennant winner was Don Gutteridge, who lived until 2008.
October 9, 1947: Robert Ralph Moose Jr. is born in Export, Pennsylvania. Bob Moose would pitch for his hometown Pittsburgh Pirates, helping them reach the postseason 5 times. On the plus side, he would be a member of their 1971 World Champions. On the minus side, his wild pitch would let the winning run score for the Reds, costing the Pirates the 1972 Pennant.
October 9, 1948: Behind the solid pitching of Steve Gromek, the Indians win Game 4 of the Fall Classic, edging the Braves, 2-1, to take a 3-1 series lead. Larry Doby's home run, the 1st by a black player in World Series history, provides the difference in the Tribe’s victory.
October 9, 1949: The Yankees beat the Brooklyn Dodgers, 10-6 at Ebbets Field, and win the World Series in 5 games. The 2 teams had combined to win Pennants in the only season in the history of the single-division Leagues, 1901 to 1968, that both Leagues' Pennants remained undecided on the last day of the regular season.
With Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider and Carl Furillo, rookies from 1947, and older players Pee Wee Reese and Gil Hodges, bolstered by the 1948 arrivals of Roy Campanella, Billy Cox, Preacher Roe and Carl Erskine, and 1949 arrival Don Newcombe, "the Boys of Summer" had arrived. But they were not ready to beat the Yankees. Once again, the Dodgers had to "Wait Till Next Year." The Yankees, now winners of 12 World Championships, would enjoy many "next years" to come.
With the recent death of Yogi Berra, 3rd baseman Bobby Brown is now the only surviving member of the '49 Yankees, one of the iconic teams in Pinstripe history due to Joe DiMaggio's midseason comeback from injury and their regular-season finale against the Red Sox.
October 9, 1950: George Hainsworth is killed in a car crash in Gravenhurst, Ontario. He was only 55. The member of the city council of Kitchener, near Hamilton, would go on to be elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame, for his service as one in a long line of great goaltenders for the Montreal Canadiens.
His 94 career shutouts trail only Martin Brodeur and Terry Sawchuk. He won the Vezina Trophy -- named for Georges Vezina, the man he succeeded as the Habs goalie -- the 1st 3 seasons it was given out, 1927, '28 and '29. He helped the Habs win the 1930 and '31 Stanley Cups. In 1934, by then with the Toronto Maple Leafs, he appeared in the Ace Bailey Benefit Game, which is now recognized as the 1st NHL All-Star Game. In 1998, The Hockey News listed him at Number 46 on their list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players.
Also on this day, Brian Jay Downing is born in Los Angeles, and grows up in Anaheim, to which the Los Angeles Angels would move in 1966, changing their name to the California Angels. A catcher for the Chicago White Sox, by 1981 he would be converted to an outfielder for the Angels. In 1979, still a catcher, he batted .326, made the AL All-Star Team, and helped the Angels reach the postseason for the 1st time, as they won the AL West.
He also helped them win the AL West in 1982 and 1986, meaning that, assuming you don’t count their 1-game Playoff loss to the Seattle Mariners in 1995, the Angels did not reach the postseason without Downing until 2002.
For a time, he was the Angels' all-time home run leader, hitting 222 of his 275 career home runs for the Anaheim club. But he’s probably best known now for being the player whose home run Dave Henderson went over in the Red Sox' incredible comeback in Game 6 of the 1986 ALCS. He remained a pretty good player into his 40s: In 1990, '91 and '92, the last 2 with the Texas Rangers, he had OPS+'s of 138, 132 and 138 -- his career OPS+ was 122. Although nowhere near Cooperstown, he is a member of the Angels Hall of Fame.
October 9, 1951: Game 5 of the World Series. The Giants score 1st, but a Gil McDougald grand slam in the 3rd and a Joe DiMaggio double in the 7th are the keys to a 13-1 demolition by the Yankees. Eddie Lopat goes the distance for the win.
This was the last World Series game the Giants would lose at the Polo Grounds. The Yankees clinched the next day at Yankee Stadium.
October 9, 1955: Howie Fox, who pitched for the inaugural Orioles of 1954 but had been sent down, and spent the entire 1955 season with the San Antonio Missions of the Double-A Texas League, dies when 1 of the 3 men he was throwing out of a bar he had bought in San Antonio stabbed him. The righthander from Oregon, who'd spent the bulk of his career with Cincinnati, was just 34 years old.
Also on this day, Stephen Michael James Ovett is born in Brighton, Sussex, England. He set world records in the 1,500 meters and the mile run. Knowing for his middle-distance rivalry with fellow Englishman Sebastian Coe, Ovett beat him for the 800 meters at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, but Coe beat him out for the 1,500-meter Gold Medal.
He now lives in Australia, and commentates on sports for the BBC’s affiliate there. His brother Nicholas competed for Great Britain in the luge at the 1988 and 1992 Winter Olympics. His son Freddy joined the prestigious track & field program at the University of Oregon, but got hurt, and switched to competitive cycling, now competing with a team in France.
October 9, 1956, 60 years ago: Apparently, the perfect game pitched by Don Larsen the day before did not faze the Brooklyn Dodgers. Or maybe getting back to the cozy confines of Ebbets Field has given them a boost. Clem Labine goes the distance in Game 6, and then some. Enos Slaughter misjudges Jackie Robinson’s fly ball, and Jim Gilliam scores on the play. The Dodgers win, 1-0 in 10 innings. There will be a Game 7.
October 9, 1957: Game 6 of the World Series. Bob Turley gives up home runs to Hank Aaron and Frank Torre -- a Hall-of-Famer, and the brother of a Hall-of-Famer -- but gets them from Yogi Berra and Hank Bauer, and the Yankees take it, 3-2. The Series goes to a Game 7 tomorrow.
October 9, 1958: The Yankees complete a 3-games-to-1 comeback – only the 2nd in World Series history, after the 1925 Pirates – by gaining revenge on the Braves, 6-2 at Milwaukee County Stadium, and take their 18th World Championship.
After being defeated by former Yankee farmhand Lew Burdette 3 times in the '57 Series, including getting shut out in Game 7, this time, the Yanks knock him out of the box in Game 7. Moose Skowron's 3-run homer off last year's Series nemesis in the 8th puts the game on ice. Eddie Mathews strikes out for the 11th time‚ a record that will stand until 1980 when broken by Willie Wilson of the Kansas City Royals. The Braves' 53 strikeouts are also a new Series record.
Bob Turley, about to become the Yankees' 1st Cy Young Award winner, had lost Game 2, but won Game 5 and saved Game 6, and now wins Game 7 on no rest. Mickey Mantle catches the final out in center field.
This is Casey Stengel's 7th World Championship‚ tying him with Joe McCarthy for the most Series won. No one would have believed it at the time, but it will be his last. It's also the 1st Series whose official highlight film is in color.
There are 7 surviving players from the 1958 Yankees, 57 years later: Larsen, Ford, Bobby Shantz, Bobby Richardson, Tony Kubek, Art Ditmar and Zach Monroe.
The Yankees would miss the World Series in 1959, but would be back in each of the next 5 years. The Braves, on the other hand, would not return to the Fall Classic for another 33 years, and, by then, they would be in Atlanta. The City of Milwaukee would not get back for another 24 years, and then with the Brewers. This was also the 1st World Series to have its official highlight film in color.
Also on this day, Michael Singletary (no middle name) is born in Houston. A 10-time Pro Bowler and a member of the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 1980s, Mike Singletary was the captain of the Chicago Bears that won Super Bowl XX.Singletary is also an ordained minister, like the late Reggie White, and it was Singletary who had the nickname "Minister of Defense" first, before White. Because of his intensity -- like hockey legend Maurice "the Rocket" Richard, he was known for his eyes and their "If looks could kill" glare -- he was also nicknamed "the Samurai."
He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the Bears retired his Number 50. In 2009 and '10, he was the as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, and is now the defensive coordinator for the restored Los Angeles Rams.
Also on this day, Terry Alan Schroeder is born in Santa Barbara, California. You may not know his name, his face, or his voice, but you might know his body. He was the model for the male half of the nude statue in front of the east entrance of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, dedicated for the 1984 Olympics. He won a Silver Medal with the U.S. team in those Olympics, and did so again in Seoul, Korea in 1988. He is now 58, and a chiropractor in the L.A. suburbs.
The female model was Jennifer Innis, a long jumper from the South American nation of Guyana, who had competed in 1980, and did so again in 1984, but did not win a medal. The only information that I can find about her now is that she is alive, married, and using her married name, and that she values her privacy enough that she won't give out any additional information.
October 9, 1960: Game 4 of the World Series. Despite losing the last 2 games by a combined 26-3, the Pirates bounce back. Vernon Law not only pitches a complete game, but doubles home a run, and the Pirates beat the Yankees 3-2, and tie up the Series.
October 9, 1961: Led by a pair of 5-run innings at Crosley Field, the Yankees win the World Series, beating the Reds in Game 5, 13-5. Johnny Blanchard, a reserve player who will collect 10 hits in 29 at-bats in 5 Fall Classics, hits 2 home runs and bats .400, en route to the Bronx Bombers' 19th World Championship.
Mickey Mantle barely played in this Series, but Roger Maris hit an unofficial 62nd home run of the season, while Whitey Ford broke the record for most consecutive scoreless innings pitched in the World Series, running his total to 30. The previous record? It was 29 2/3rds, set by a Boston Red Sox lefthander named… Babe Ruth.
Whitey would raise the record to 33 in 1962. Mariano Rivera would slightly break this record, pitching 33 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings in postseason play, but not all of it in World Series play.
There are still 10 living members of the 1961 World Champion New York Yankees: Ford, Bobby Richardson, Tony Kubek, Hector Lopez, Ralph Terry, Bud Daley, Jim Coates, Luis Arroyo, Billy Gardner and Jack Reed.
October 9, 1962: Jorge Luis Burruchaga is born in Gualeguay, Argentina. A midfielder, he began his career with Arsenal de Sarandi (named for the great club of North London), and then starred for Avellenada club Independiente, helping them win the League in 1983 and the Copa Libertadores, South America's version of the UEFA Champions League, in 1984.
He moved to French club Nantes, winning Ligue 1's Foreign Player of the Year for 1985-86. He then played for Argentina in the 1986 World Cup, and was one of the 10 guys who stood around while Diego Maradona single-handedly (See what I did there?) won the tournament. Actually, that's not fair to Burruchaga: In the 84th minute of the Final against West Germany, he scored the winning goal.
He also played for Argentina in the 1990 World Cup Final, but lost, as the Germans got their revenge. He later managed, including at both Arsenal de Sarandi and Independiente. He last managed at Atletico de Rafaela in 2014.
October 9, 1965: Following losses by Don Drysdale in Game 1 and Sandy Koufax in Game 2, the World Series moves out to Los Angeles, and Claude Osteen saves the Dodgers’ bacon, shutting out the Minnesota Twins, 4-0, and turning the Series around.
Osteen had previously pitched for the Washington Senators – the expansion team that became the Texas Rangers in 1972, not the established Senators who became the Twins in 1961 – and had a 5-0 career record against Minnesota coming into this game. Make it 6-0.
Also on this day, John James Fisher Jr. is born in Clarksburg, West Virginia. Jimbo Fisher played quarterback under Terry Bowden at Samford University, coached on Terry's staff at Auburn, then joined Terry on the staff of Terry's father Bobby Bowden at Florida State, becoming his offensive coordinator, and succeeding him in 2010.
He's won 3 Atlantic Coast Conference titles and the 2013 National Championship. His head coaching record currently stands at a sizzling 72-16. But the press has been less likely to cover up misdeeds of FSU players under Fisher than they were under Ol' Bobby.
October 9, 1966, 50 years ago: For the 2nd consecutive day, the Orioles win a World Series game, 1-0, at home at Memorial Stadium, in a contest decided by a home run, when Frank Robinson takes a Don Drysdale pitch deep over the left field fence in the 4th inning. The lone run being scored on a homer for only the 5th time in the history of the Fall Classic, and the complete-game shutout thrown by Dave McNally, Baltimore completes a 4-game sweep over the Dodgers.
It is the 1st World Championship won by a Baltimore baseball team in 70 years, since the original version of the Orioles won the 1896 National League Pennant. For the Dodgers, 33 consecutive innings without scoring a run is a Series record for futility. Their streak would run to 38 innings before they scored in the 5th inning of Game 1 of the 1974 World Series, and remains a record.
Still alive from the '66 O's World Series roster, 50 years later: Hall of Fame 3rd baseman Brooks Robinson, Hall of Fame right fielder Frank Robinson, Hall of Fame shortstop Luis Aparicio (the only ring the White Sox legend ever won), Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer (the only man on all 3 Oriole World Champions: '66, '70 & '83), 1st baseman John "Boog" Powell, 2nd baseman Davey Johnson (later the manager of the '86 Mets), outfielder Russ Snyder, catcher Andy Etchebarren and pitcher Wally Bunker.
Also on this day, David William Donald Cameron is born in Marylebone, West London. He became Leader of Britain's Conservative Party in 2005, and Prime Minister in 2010. He was been lucky that, despite his bastardly leadership of the country, the opposition to him is so divided that they couldn't defeat him in an election.
But his political luck ran out this year, as he staged a vote to make Britain leave the European Union, known as "Brexit." It was a close election, but the "Leave" side won with about 52 percent of the vote. In a matter of hours, the British pound went from having a value of $1.49 to $1.32, sending 1/8th of the British economy right down the loo at once. It has since fallen to $1.24 -- fully 1 out of every 5 parts of the United Kingdom's economy has vanished.
As a result, he had to resign, not just the big job but his seat in Parliament, and Theresa May is now the Prime Minister. He was Party Leader at 38, Prime Minister at 43... and his career was in ashes before his 50th birthday. Jolly good, old chap.
He has also been unlucky in that his favorite soccer team, Birmingham-based Aston Villa, has gone from a miracle run to the 2015 FA Cup Final, to relegation to the 2nd division at the end of the 2015-16 season, to being in legitimate danger of relegation to the 3rd division at the end of this season. Not that long ago, Villa were a team reliably in the top half of the Premier League. Now, they have fallen as far as, well, the pound. Not that Cameron can be blamed for Villa's struggles.
October 9, 1967: Game 5 of the World Series. Jim Lonborg goes the distances for the Boston Red Sox, tiring in the 9th inning and giving up a home run to Roger Maris, but hanging on for a 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Steve Carlton had pitched well in defeat for the Cards. In 1976, '77 and '78, Carlton and Lonborg would be teammates on the National League Eastern Division Champion Philadelphia Phillies.
Also on this day, Gheorge Popsecu is born in Calafat, Romania. A centreback, he won both Romania's league and its national cup (the Double) with Steaua București in 1988. With PSV Eindhoven, he won the Eredivisie (the Dutch league) in 1991 and 1992. With Barcelona, he won the Copa del Rey (Spain's national cup) and the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1997. With Istanbul club Galatasaray, he won Turkey's league in 1998, 1999 and 2000; the Turkish Cup in 1999 and 2000; and the 2000 UEFA Cup (the competition now known as the UEFA Europa League), beating Arsenal in the Final.
"Gică" Popescu played for Romania in the World Cups of 1990, 1994 (reaching the Quarterfinals before losing to Sweden on penalties, the country's best performance ever) and 1998. If he is not the greatest Romanian player ever, his brother-in-law Gheorghe Hagi is. They were teammates with Steaua in 1987-88, Barça in 1995-96, and Gala from 1997 to 2001.
On March 4, 2014, Popescu was sentenced to 3 years in prison for money laundering and tax evasion, in connection with the transfer of soccer players from Romania to other countries. He served a year and a half, and was released on November 4, 2015, halfway through his sentence. He has not returned to work in the sport.
October 9, 1968: Game 6 of the World Series. After winning 31 games in the regular season, but losing Games 1 and 4 in this Series, Denny McLain finally puts up a winning performance on the mound, holding the Cardinals to 1 run on 9 hits at Busch Memorial Stadium.
He didn't need to be great, though: The Tigers pound out 12 hits, including home runs by Al Kaline and Jim Northrup (a grand slam), and the Tigers win 13-1. After being down 3 games to 1, with a potential Game 6 and Game 7, the Tigers have now forced that Game 7.
But they will have to face Bob Gibson, who's won 7 straight Series decisions. Mickey Lolich will start for the Tigers, on just 2 days' rest.
October 9, 1970: Just 2 years to the day after his return to form gave the Tigers a win in Game 6, the Michigan club trades the great but undisciplined pitcher Denny McLain to the Washington Senators in an 8-player deal that also sees outfielder Elliott Maddox‚ 3rd baseman Aurelio Rodriguez‚ and pitcher Joe Coleman change teams.
This ranks as one of Detroit's best trades ever, as McLain will continue to be a pain in the ass to his managers and team management, and a shoulder injury will end his career 2 years later. Coleman would be a key to the Tigers' 1972 AL East title, as would Rodriguez, who became one of the best-fielding 3rd basemen ever.
Maddox, who grew up in Union, New Jersey, wouldn't do much for his new team, before or after the Senators moved to become the Texas Rangers. The Yankees bought him in 1974, and he had a good year, batting .303, playing sparkling defense in center field, and finishing 8th in the AL MVP voting.
But the next year, he slipped on the wet grass at Shea Stadium (where the Yankees were playing while Yankee Stadium was being renovated), and he was never the same player. He sued the Yankees, the Mets, and the City of New York, which owned Shea and operated it through its Parks Department (and would do so with Yankee Stadium as well). But since he knew the risk of playing on grass he knew to be wet, the court ruled against him. Just before the '77 season, the Yanks traded him to the Orioles for Paul Blair. Ironically, he would conclude his career with the Mets, playing 3 seasons at Shea before retiring in 1980, only 32.
Also on this day, the Vancouver Canucks make their NHL debut, at home at the Pacific Coliseum. NHL President Clarence Campbell, the Stanley Cup and Fred "Cyclone" Taylor, of the 1915 Cup-winning Vancouver Millionaires, are on hand. Barry Wilkins scores the Canucks' 1st goal, but the Los Angeles Kings spoil the festivities, 3-1, with Bob Berry scoring twice.
To this day, 46 years later, the Canucks have never won the Cup. They're 0-for-3 in the Finals, and Vancouver hasn't won the Cup in 101 years, since those 1915 Millionaires.
Also on this day, Kenneth Anderson (no middle name) is born in Queens. Raised in the LeFrak City housing project and a graduate of the famed Archbishop Molloy High School, he went to Georgia Tech for 1 year before going pro.
Kenny came to the New Jersey Nets, and looked like he was going to be a superstar, until a clothesline tackle by John Starks of the Knicks caused him to crash to the floor and break his wrist. He was never the same: Not only did his play suffer, but his personality became surly. He was reduced to journeyman status, playing in the NHL until 2005.
He has 7 children by 5 different women, one of them Dee Dee "Spinderella" Roper of Salt-n-Pepa. He is now married for the 3rd time, and has completed a degree at St. Thomas University in Miami.
Also on this day, Annika Sörenstam (no middle name) is born in the Stockholm suburb of Bro, Sweden. She won 72 official LPGA tournaments including 10 majors between 1995 and 2006. She now runs a clothing line and a winery.
October 9, 1971: The defending Stanley Cup Champion Montreal Canadiens open a new season by retiring the Number 4 of their recently retired Captain, Jean Béliveau. They play the New York Rangers to a 4-4 tie at the Montreal Forum.
October 9, 1973: Pete Rose rebounds from the previous day’s fight, and the hatred of the Met fans -- a banner in left field at Shea Stadium reads, "A Rose by any other name still stinks" -- and homers in the top of the 12th, to give the Cincinnati Reds a 2-1 win over the Mets, and the NLCS will go to a 5th and deciding game.
Also on this day, Bert Campaneris hits a walkoff homer in the 11th, and the Oakland Athletics defeat the Orioles 2-1, which is also now the A's' lead in the ALCS.
Also on this day, the Capital Bullets debut, having been the Baltimore Bullets for the preceding 10 years. They don't quite move into the nation's capital, Washington, D.C., instead opening the new saddle-roofed Capital Centre in the suburb of Landover, Maryland, just 33 miles from the Baltimore Civic Center.
They play their 1st game on the road, against the Atlanta Hawks at the Omni, and lose 128-114. Mike Riordan leads the Bullets with 26 points, but Super Lou Hudson scores for 41 for the hosts.
They will reach the NBA Finals 3 times before the decade is out, winning the NBA title in 1978. They will change their name to the Washington Bullets the next season, and in 1997 to the Washington Wizards, to help offset the District of Columbia's image as "the murder capital of America." That same year, they will leave the suburbs for the District, opening the arena now known as the Verizon Center. The Cap Centre was demolished in 2002, and was replaced with a mall.
Amazingly, the Baltimore Civic Center still stands, under the name Royal Farms Arena. The city is finally working on a plan to replace it with a more modern arena, in the hopes of attracting an NBA or NHL team.
On the same day, William Thomas Pulsipher is born at Fort Benning, Georgia. He moved around with his family, as his father served in the U.S. Army, graduating from Fairfax High School outside Washington, as his father was stationed at the Pentagon.
In 1995, he, Jason Isringhausen and Paul Wilson were "Generation K," the pitchers who were going to lift the Mets to glory in the closing years of the 20th Century and the opening years of the 21st. It didn't work out that way, because all 3 of them got hurt.
Bill Pulsipher bounced around, closing his career with the Cardinals in 2005. His career record was 13-19, his ERA 5.15. He kept trying a comeback, but after being turned down by one of his former teams, the independent-league Long Island Ducks, he has apparently hung up his spikes, working for an asphalt company and as a pitching instructor at a baseball school, both on Long Island.
October 9, 1974: The NHL's 2 new expansion teams both make their debut on this day. The Washington Capitals, like the Bullets making their home at the suburban Cap Centre, get pounded by the New York Rangers 6-3. Jim Hryculk scored the Caps' 1st goal.
The Caps' 1st season will be historically bad, including not winning a single game on the road until their last, after which they skated around the ice with a garbage can as if it were the Stanley Cup. They've never won the Cup, even after moving to the Verizon Center in 1997. In fact, that 1st season in D.C. proper, 1997-98 is the only time they've ever reached the Finals, and they got swept in 4 straight.
The Kansas City Scouts are no luckier. They lose their debut 6-2 to the Toronto Maple Leafs at Maple Leaf Gardens. After 2 bankrupt years, they move to Denver in 1976, becoming the Colorado Rockies. They are not appreciably better, and in 1982 they move again... becoming the New Jersey Devils.
The Devils now hang Scouts and Rockies jerseys in a display case at their current home, the Prudential Center in Newark. These are pretty much the only nods they make to their pre-Jersey history.
October 9, 1975: Mark Anthony Viduka is born in Melbourne, Australia. The forward won Australia's old National Soccer League (since replaced by the A-League) with hometown club Melbourne Knights in 1995. He went to his father's homeland of Croatia, and won 3 straight League and Cup doubles in 1996, '97 and '98.
He also played for Celtic, Leeds United and Middlesbrough, before wrapping up his career with Newcastle United in 2009. He captained Australia at the 2006 World Cup. Upon retirement, he moved into the front office of newly-formed club Melbourne Heart, renamed Melbourne City since the company that runs Manchester City in England bought it out. He remains there.
He also played for Celtic, Leeds United and Middlesbrough, before wrapping up his career with Newcastle United in 2009. He captained Australia at the 2006 World Cup. Upon retirement, he moved into the front office of newly-formed club Melbourne Heart, renamed Melbourne City since the company that runs Manchester City in England bought it out. He remains there.
October 9, 1976, 40 years ago: For the 1st time, the New York Yankees play an American League Championship Series game. For the 1st time, a Kansas City team plays a postseason game in Major League Baseball. The experience is far better for New York, as 2 1st-inning errors by the Royals’ best player, 3rd baseman George Brett, helps Catfish Hunter go the distance in a 4-1 Yankee win at Royals Stadium (now Kauffman Stadium).
Philadelphia plays its 1st postseason game in 26 years, but in spite of ace Steve Carlton being on the mound -- usually described by the Phillies as "Win Day" -- Don Gullett retires 21 of his last 22 batters to outduel the legendary Lefty, and the Cincinnati Reds defeat the Phillies, 6-3.
But the Royals and Phillies still have a better day than Bob Moose. The Pirates pitcher was driving to a golf course owned by former teammate Bill Mazeroski in Martin's Ferry, Ohio -- also the home town of the Niekro brothers -- when his car crashes, killing him. To make matters worse, it's his birthday. He was 36.
Also on this day, the Rutgers football team beats the University of Connecticut 38-0, at Rutgers Stadium in Piscataway, New Jersey. The undefeated season continues.
October 9, 1977: The Yankees come back from deficits of 1-game-to-none, 2-games-to-1, and 3-0 down in the 8th inning of Game 5, to defeat the Kansas City Royals, 5-3 at Royals Stadium, to win their 31st American League Pennant.
The Royals had won 102 games, still a record for any Kansas City team (the A's never got close to a Pennant race in their K.C. years), and with the home-field advantage in Games 3, 4 and 5, and with lefthanded pitching from Paul Splittorff and Larry Gura that they could use to neutralize Yankee sluggers like Reggie Jackson, Graig Nettles and Chris Chambliss, they were sure they were the better team. They were wrong. The Yankees go on to face the Dodgers in the World Series for the 9th time.
Indeed, this series was the source of the long-since-debunked, but still popular, idea of "The Yankees can't hit lefthanded pitching, especially in the postseason." Reggie just couldn't hit Splittorff or Gura, and Billy Martin benched him for the deciding Game 5 -- sending Reggie's best friend on the team, backup catcher Fran Healy, to tell him, because Billy was too much of a coward to do it himself.
But when Splittorff tired, and was replaced by righthander Doug Bird, Billy sent Reggie up to pinch-hit for righthanded DH Cliff Johnson. It was a most un-Reggie-like hit, but it got the job done: A looper, nearly but not quite caught by center fielder Amos Otis, got home a run to cut the deficit to 3-2, before the Yankees won it in the 9th.
Veteran 2nd baseman Cookie Rojas, who had also been a member of the collapsing 1964 Phillies, had announced his retirement, and shortstop Freddie Patek, with whom Rojas had jumped into the Royals Stadium fountains after they clinched the Division last year, is shown by the NBC camera crying in the dugout, because Rojas will never play in a World Series.
Also on this day, Brian Michael Roberts is born in Durham, North Carolina, home of Duke University. He grows up in nearby Chapel Hill, where his father, Mike Roberts, was head baseball coach at the University of North Carolina. An All-Star 2nd baseman with the Orioles in 2005 and '07, he led the AL in stolen bases in 2007. In 2012, he helped the O's reach the AL Wild Card, losing to the Yankees in the ALDS.
He always seemed to play well against the Yankees, and after his Baltimore contract ran out in 2013, the Yankees signed him. But he batted just .237 in 91 games, was released, and retired. He has admitted to using steroids one time, in 2003.
October 8, 1978: Juan Dixon (no middle name) is born in Baltimore. The All-American guard led the University of Maryland to its 1st National Championship in 2002. His pro career would be a bit of a bust, including 2 tours with the Washington Wizards (UMd is close to Baltimore, but actually inside D.C.'s Capital Beltway), and his 3-year tenure as an assistant at Maryland has come to a close. He is currently out of basketball.
October 9, 1979: Superman is born. Well, Superman Returns star Brandon Routh is, anyway, in Norwalk, Iowa. His career hasn't gone well since his one and only appearance in the cape. "Curse of Superman"?
At least, for the moment, he's still alive. He's also still acting -- in fact, he's playing another superhero, scientist Ray Palmer, a.k.a. The Atom, on The CW's series Arrow, starring Steven Amell as industrialist Oliver Queen, a.k.a. Green Arrow.
October 9, 1980: This is one October 9 that did not work out well for the Yankees. In Game 2 of the ALCS, with the Yankees trailing the Royals 3-2 with 2 outs in the top of the 8th inning, George Steinbrenner is caught on live national television jumping out of his seat and shouting what appears to be profanities when Willie Randolph is tagged out at home on a relay throw by George Brett.
The Boss wants 3rd base coach Mike Ferraro fired on the spot, but manager Dick Howser refuses, and the skipper will lose his job when the team is swept in 3 games by the Royals, despite a 1st place finish in the American League East, compiling a 103-59 record, best in the majors that season.
Also on this day, the Calgary Flames make their debut, at home at the Stampede Corral. Having spent the previous 8 seasons as the Atlanta Flames, they play the Quebec Nordiques to a 5-5 tie. Calgary had previously had teams in the old West Coast Hockey League of the 1920s, and the World Hockey Association of the 1970s, but this was the city's 1st NHL game.
In 1983, they would move from the Corral, at 6,450 the smallest arena in NHL history, to the Saddledome, built for the 1988 Winter Olympics. They will reach the Stanley Cup Finals in 1986, win the Cup in 1989, and reach the Finals again in 2004. Their "Battle of Alberta" rivalry with the Edmonton Oilers is as intense as any in the sport. There has been discussion of replacing the Saddledome, but no plans have yet been released.
Also on this day, Henrik Zetterberg (no middle name) is born in Njurunda, Sweden. The left wing is the Captain of the Detroit Red Wings, having made 2 All-Star Teams, and won the 2008 Stanley Cup and the Conn Smythe Trophy as Playoff MVP. He also won a Gold Medal with Sweden at the 2006 Winter Olympics.
In 2015, he was awarded the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, named for the 1920s Ottawa Senator and 1930s Toronto Maple Leaf defense legend, and awarded to the player "who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and who has made a significant humanitarian contribution to his community."
October 9, 1983: Stephen Michael Gionta is born in Rochester, New York. The younger brother of former New Jersey Devils star Brian Gionta, now the Captain of the Buffalo Sabres, Stephen is also just 5-foot-7, but came up big as a left wing and a defensive forward for the Mulberry Street Marauders from 2011 to 2016. Despite having played in every game for the Devils last season, he was not re-signed, and is currently a free agent.
October 9, 1984: For the 1st time, a World Series game is played in San Diego. It doesn't go so well for the Padres: Larry Herndon hits a 2-run homer, and Jack Morris goes the distances, as the Tigers win 3-2 at Jack Murphy Stadium.
October 9, 1986, 30 years ago: Game 2 of the NLCS. The Mets rebound from yesterday's loss to Mike Scott with a fine performance by Bob Ojeda, and beat the Houston Astros 5-1. The series goes back to New York tied.
Also on this day, Derek Lane Holland is born in Newark, Ohio. A pitcher for the Texas Rangers, he is now in his 5th postseason with them, having helped them win their 1st 2 Pennants in 2010 and '11. His career record stands at 62-49.
October 9, 1988: A dark day in Mets history. Dwight Gooden is one out away from giving the Mets a win in Game 4 of the NLCS. But Mike Scioscia, a good-fielding catcher but not renowned as a hitter, hits a home run. The Dodgers win the game in the 12th, 5-4.
If Gooden had gotten Scioscia out, the Mets would have been up 3 games to 1. They could have won the Pennant without having to go back to Los Angeles. And if the weak-hitting Dodgers could beat the Oakland A’s in the World Series, surely the Mets could have. (The A's complete a 4-game sweep over the Red Sox today, winning the AL Pennant.) It would have been the Mets’ 2nd title in 3 years, and deepened their status as New York’s Number 1 team.
Maybe that team would have been kept together. Maybe Gooden and Darryl Strawberry don't fall back into drug problems. (Humor me here.) Maybe the Mets find suitable replacements for Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter, both 34 years old, the glue of their 1986 World Champions. Maybe Doc, Darryl and David Cone don’t eventually end up on the Yankees, and the Yankees still haven’t won a World Series since 1978 – while the Mets probably get at least another in 2000, and maybe another 1 or 2 before their 1980s (and early '90s?) team winds down. Maybe…
This was the hinge day in Met history, when it all started to go wrong. It was the 1st major instance of what I've come to call "The Curse of Kevin Mitchell." Maybe, maybe, maybe? Since Scioscia's homer 28 years ago, "maybes" are pretty much all the Mets have had.
Also on this day, Jackie Milburn dies of lung cancer in his hometown of Ashington, Nothumberland, England. He was 64. The forward remains the most beloved player in the history of English soccer team Newcastle United, having helped them win the FA Cup in 1951, 1952 and 1955 -- and they haven't won it since.
He also served as player-manager for Belfast club Linfield, winning Northern Ireland's league in 1959, and both the Irish League and the Irish Cup in 1960.
October 9, 1989: Televising Game 5 of the NLCS, a 3-2 Giants victory over the Cubs from Candlestick Park, NBC broadcasts its final edition of The Game of the Week. This is the 1st Pennant for the Giants in 27 years.
Next season, CBS's sporadic and less frequent coverage of a regular season weekly game led many to believe the network was really only interested in airing the All-Star Game and post-season contests.
October 9, 1990: Kevin Kampl is born in Solingen, Germany. The midfielder helped Red Bull Salzburg -- owned by the Austrian soft drink maker, and the parent club of our own New York Red Bulls and German club Red Bull Leipzig -- win the Austrian Bundesliga and the Austrian Cup in 2014, the Double. He now plays in his homeland, for another club with a corporate name: Pharmaceutical giant-sponsored Bayer Leverkusen.
October 9, 1995: Chuba Amechi Akpom is born in Canning Town, East London. A forward, he has been with North London club Arsenal since 2012, but has never broken through, having played just 8 games for the first team, all but 1 League Cup match a few days ago as a substitute. And that's having scored no goals, unless you count a penalty as a substitute in a 2013 League Cup match that helped send Arsenal to the next round.
Arsenal have given him chances elsewhere, loaning him to Brentford and Coventry City in 2014, Nottingham Forest in 2015, and Hull City in 2015-16. But he still has only 3 goals in his career, and he's already 21. If he was going to make it, he would have shown more than this by now.
October 9, 1996, 20 years ago: Game 1 of the ALCS was scheduled for a 4:00 start, so it wouldn't go on in prime time against the Vice Presidential debate, in St. Petersburg, Florida, between the Democratic incumbent, Vice President Al Gore, and the Republican nominee, Jack Kemp, a former Congressman representing Buffalo, and President George H.W. Bush's Secretary of Housing & Urban Development. Gore was running with President Bill Clinton, Kemp with former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole.
Jack French Kemp -- sometimes called "The Republican JFK," and a darling of the anti-tax wing of the conservative movement -- had also been a quarterback, leading the Buffalo Bills to their only titles, the 1964 and 1965 American Football League Championships. He would often say, "I got 11 concussions in my football career. Nothing left to do, but go into politics!" It was considered funny then. It's not so funny now.
Gore begins the debate by offering Kemp a deal: "If you won't use any football stories, I won't tell any of my warm and humorous stories about chloroflorocarbon abatement." Kemp: "It's a deal. I can't even pronounce it!"
Kemp had a great sense of humor, based on his reputation as a know-it-all who talked too much. Later in the debate, told he had 90 seconds to answer, he said, "Ninety seconds? I can't even clear my throat in ninety seconds!" He also liked to say (but didn't on this occasion), "People say I'm arrogant, but I know better!"
Most observers felt that Kemp did all right, but that Gore "won" by not losing. Clinton and Gore won the election, and Kemp, whom many people were sure would become President one day -- he did run in 1988, but finished 3rd in Republican delegates -- not tried again, and died of cancer in 2009. Although he 12 years younger, Kemp has now been survived by Dole by 7 years. Pepperdine University in Malibu, California has established the Jack F. Kemp Institute of Political Economy -- not quite a Presidential Library, but a legacy of which he would probably approve.
October 9, 1998: The Cleveland Indians beat the Yankees, 6-1, in Game 3 of the ALCS at Jacobs Field. Jim Thome homers twice, Manny Ramirez and Mark Whiten once each. The Indians lead 2 games to 1.
Suddenly, after 114 wins -- 118 wins if the postseason thus far is counted -- the 1998 New York Yankees, already being hailed as one of the greatest teams in history, are in serious, serious trouble of not even making it to the World Series.
The Yankees will not lose a game that counts again until April 5, 1999.
October 9, 1999: The Mets win a postseason series. Stop laughing. They defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks‚ 4-3‚ on backup catcher Todd Pratt’s 10th inning homer. Pratt is in the game for starter Mike Piazza‚ who is unable to play because of a thumb injury. John Franco gets the victory in relief for the Mets.
On the same day, the Yankees defeat the Texas Rangers‚ 3-0‚ to sweep the ALDS. Roger Clemens hurls 7 shutout innings for the win‚ as Darryl Strawberry’s 3-run homer in the 1st provides all the runs in the game.
October 9, 2002: While the Number 99 of Wayne Gretzky had been retired throughout the NHL, the Los Angeles Kings had not yet had an official ceremony for it. On this night, at the Staples Center, they do, prior to their season opener. They beat the Phoenix coyotes 4-1.
October 9, 2003: Game 2 of the ALCS. The Yankees ride the pitching of Andy Pettitte and a home run by Nick Johnson to beat the Red Sox 6-2. The series goes to Fenway Park tied.
Games 1 and 2 were not particularly memorable. That will not be the case with Game 3, which remains the ugliest game in the 114-season history of this rivalry.
Also on this day, the Edmonton Oilers retire the Number 31 of Grant Fuhr, prior to their season opener at the Northlands Coliseum. They beat the San Jose Sharks 5-2.
October 9, 2004: The Yankees finish off the Twins with a come-from-behind 6-5 win in 11 innings at the Metrodome, and win their Division Series. Ruben Sierra's 3-run homer ties the game in the 8th inning, and Alex Rodriguez scores the winning run on a wild pitch.
And yet, it will take the Yankees 5 years to win another postseason series. When they do, that, too, will be against the Twins.
October 9, 2005: At Minute Maid Park, Chris Burke's 18th-inning homer ends the longest postseason game in baseball history, as the Astros defeat the Braves, 7-6, to advance to the NLCS. Atlanta's 5-run lead late in the game is erased with an 8th inning grand slam by Lance Berkman and a 2-out 9th inning solo shot by Brad Ausmus, which barely clears Gold Glove center fielder Andruw Jones’ outstretched hand.
When this game ended, I called my grandmother. Sure enough, she likened it to that 16-inning game in Houston in the 1986 NLCS, the Mets winning the Pennant over the Astros in the Astrodome, her favorite game of all time. She would watch the 2005 LCS and World Series and enjoy them. They would be the last baseball games she would ever see.
On this same day, the Yankees down the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim‚ 3-2‚ to even their Division Series. Al Leiter gets the win for New York in relief of Shawn Chacon. It is Leiter's 1st postseason win in 12 years, since he won a game for the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1993 World Series. Counting postseason wins, it is the 164th win of his career. It will be the last.
He also helped the Florida Marlins win the World Series in 1997, and the team he grew up rooting for, the Mets, win a Pennant in 2000, before losing the World Series to the Yankees, for whom he started his career, and would later broadcast on the YES Network. He now works for YES and the MLB Network.
October 9, 2009: Game 2 of the ALDS. The Yankees trail the Twins 3-1 in the bottom of the 9th, when Alex Rodriguez hits an opposite-field home run to send the game to extra innings -- easily the biggest hit he's ever gotten for the Yankees, or anyone else, to this point.
In the bottom of the 11th, Mark Teixeira, who had never hit a postseason home run before, sends a line drive down the left-field line. It is just barely fair, and just barely over the fence. Yankee broadcaster John Sterling doesn't even have time to go into his usual, "It is high! It is far! It is... " before he realizes it's... "Gone! Gone!" Yankees 4, Twins 3. The Yankees take a 2-games-to-none lead in the series as it heads to the Metrodome.
October 9, 2010: The Yankees beat the Twins 6-2, and complete a 3-game sweep of the ALDS. It is the 1st postseason game played at Minneapolis' new Target Field, and it remains the only one.
October 9, 2011: The new Winnipeg Jets, previously the Atlanta Thrashers, end the Manitoba capital's 15-year exile from the NHL, playing their inaugural game at the new MTS Centre. Nik Antropov scores their 1st goal, but that's all they get, and the Montreal Canadiens beat them, 5-1.
October 9, 2012: Budd Lynch dies at age 95, at the dawn of what would have been his 66th season with the Detroit Red Wings. Frank Joseph James Lynch had been born in 1917 in Windsor, Ontario, and lost his right arm serving with the Essex Scottish Regiment of the Canadian Army in World War II.
He returned home to become the radio announcer for the Windsor Spitfires hockey team. Across the Detroit River, and across the U.S.-Canadian border, the Wings took notice, and in 1949, they hired him as the team's 1st TV announcer. In 1960, he switched to radio, and retired in 1975. But he was talked into staying on as director of publicity. He tried to retire again in 1985, but was talked into becoming the team's public address announcer. That same year, the Hockey Hall of Fame gave him the Foster Hewitt Award, tantamount to election to the Hall for broadcasters.
He saw the Wings win 8 Stanley Cups in 14 trips to the Finals, watched 37 Hall-of-Famers play for the Wings (Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall could well make it 40), and was as identified with the team as anyone, including Gordie Howe and Steve Yzerman. Just as Derek Jeter always wanted to be introduced by a recording of longtime Yankee Stadium PA announcer Bob Sheppard, the Wings still use a recording of Lynch to say, "Last minute of play in this period."
Also on this day, Kenny Rollins dies at the age of 89. A point guard, he had won the National Championship with the University of Kentucky in 1948. UK has retired his Number 26. He also played on the U.S. team that won the Gold Medal at the Olympics in London that year. His pro career didn't last long, only 5 seasons, until 1953. His brother Phil Rollins also played in the NBA.
Dale Barnstable and Walter Hirsch, both banned from the NBA due to their role in the college basketball point-shaving scandals of the early 1950s, are the last survivors of Kentucky's 1948 "Fabulous Five."
Robert Jackson Robinson, an 89-year-old Baptist minister from Fort Worth, and now retired and living in Georgia, is the only survivor of the 1948 U.S. Olympic team. Interestingly enough,he has, from the moment he first became famous, been known as Jackie Robinson. However, as a graduate of Baylor University in Waco, Texas, he is white. As far as I know, he and the Jackie Robinson never met.
October 9, 2015: The Mets open their Division Series with the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Daniel Murphy continues his torrid hitting with a home run, to back up the fine pitching of Jacob deGrom, and Clayton Kershaw continues his path as the Alex Rodriguez of pitchers: Great in the regular season, completely untrustworthy in the postseason. The Mets win, 3-1.
Also on this day, for the 1st time, the Chicago Cubs and their arch-rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals, meet in the postseason. It's no contest, as John Lackey takes a no-hitter into the 7th inning, Thomas Pham and Stephen Piscotty hit home runs, and the Cards win, 4-0 at Busch Stadium.