Obit of the Day: A Rat, A Cameraman, and The Red Sox
Some fans consider it the greatest game in World Series history. A twelve-inning nail biter that featured the Cincinnati Reds against the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park. The Reds were leading the series three games to two, winning game six would earn them the title.
At 12:34 a.m. EST, four hours after the game began, Carlton Fisk stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the twelfth. Pat Darcy was on the mound for the Reds. On the second pitch, Fisk pulled the ball down the left field line towards the famous Green Monster. The moment the ball glanced off the foul pole the Red Sox won, 7-6.
The dramatic home run would have earned a place in history based on circumstance. But Lou Gerard, a cameraman who was behind the Fenway Park scoreboard, gave the moment additional drama when he focused on Fisk hopping down the first base line waving the ball fair.
It was not because Mr. Gerard was looking for that special shot. It was because he was looking at a rat. A rat “that’s as big as a cat” was on Mr. Gerard’s leg and so he and his producer decided to stay on Fisk rather than follow the ball. The forced choice was the best one and the images captured by Mr. Gerard are as famous as the home run itself.
Lou Gerard died on February 8, 2013 at the age of 86.
(Video is copyright of MLB and NBC and courtesy of iStephenReviews on YouTube.com)
Oct. 3, 1953: That year’s World Series, which pitted the Brooklyn Dodgers against the Yankees at Ebbets Field, was a seven-game saga. The published caption: “‘Standing room only … was meaningless to these nonpaying Brooklyn fans. They took the Dodger victory lying down, and they loved it.” The Yankees, however, won the series. Photo: Arthur Brower/The New York Times
Presidential Pitches, Part III: World Series
Over the last two weeks we’ve taken a look at presidential first pitches during the regular season. First from Taft to JFK and then LBJ to Obama, what we learned was that the home teams did well when POTUS threw out that first pitch. Is it a coincidence? Of course. Does that matter? Not at all.
But as we know, regular season performance is fine but postseason performance is what matters. So let’s see how the leaders of the free world did when it was all on the line.
Note: The POTUS will receive credit for a win or loss by the home team.
1915 World Series, Game 2
Boston Red Sox 2, Philadelphia Phillies 1
The Phillies lose the game and lose the Series 4-1 to the Sox. The Phils won’t appear in the Series again for 35 years and won’t win one for 65 years.
1924 World Series, Game 1
NY Giants 4, Washington Senators 3
Senators’ ace and eventual 400-game winner Walter Johnson loses to Art Nehf. Nehf and Johnson pitch dual 12-inning complete games. The Senators would win the Series, though, for the only time in Washington, D.C. history. The above photo shows Coolidge greeting Senators’ manager, Bucky Harris, who has the seventh most managerial wins of all-time.
1925 World Series, Game 3
Pittsburgh Pirates 3, Washington Senators 4
Coolidge becomes the first president to throw out the first pitch at two World Series games.
1929 World Series, Game 5
Chicago Cubs 2, Philadelphia A’s 3
Hoover sees the A’s win the World Series, helped by Mule Haas’ two home runs. Two weeks later the stock market crashes and the Great Depression begins. The events are probably unrelated.
1930 World Series, Game 1
St. Louis Cardinals 2, Philadelphia A’s 5
Hoover, who is seen in the photo above signing a ball for Cardinals manager Gabby Street, is present for the A’s second straight World Series appearance. He was a good luck charm because they won the game and the Series. Four of the A’s starting nine that day will end up in the Hall of Fame: Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Cochrane, Al Simmons, and Lefty Grove.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
1933 World Series, Game 3
NY Giants 0, Washington Senators 4
In his first appearance as POTUS, FDR throws out the first pitch and opens the way for the Senators shutout victory over the Giants. The Giants won the Series, which was probably fine with FDR since he was previously the governor of New York.
1936 World Series, Game 2
NY Yankees 18, NY Giants 4
The Yankees were on their way to winning the first of four consecutive World Series. It was a game that featured eight future Hall of Famers (DiMaggio, Gehrig, Dickey, Lazzeri, Gomez, McCarthy, Ott, and Terry).
Photo note: The FDR picture is from the 1932 World Series at Wrigley Field. FDR was campaigning in Chicago. On his left is mayor Anton Cermak. On his right is his FDR’s son James. Cermak was assassinated the next year while riding in a car with FDR in Florida. No one knows who was the actual target.
1956 World Series, Game 2
NY Yankees 3, Brooklyn Dodgers 6
After a twenty-year drought, POTUS returns to the World Series. Although the Dodgers would go on to win the game, they lose the Series. This game features nine future HOFers: Mantle, Berra, Ford, Stengel, Snider, Reese, Robinson, Campanella, and Alston.
1979 World Series, Game 7
Pittsburgh Pirates 4, Baltimore Orioles 1
In a mystery, Jimmy Carter may or may mot have thrown out the first pitch at this game. According to several sources, Carter threw out the first pitch but there is no photo of that anywhere. I contacted my friend, Tim Wiles (Director of Research at the National Baseball Hall of Fame Library and Archive - yeah, name dropping) and they have no photo either. He did find that Paul Dickson writes in Baseball: The President’s Game that Milton Eisenhower, brother of Dwight and president of Johns Hopkins University, threw out the first pitch. If true, this would make Carter the only president to never throw out a first pitch while in office. The photo shows Carter flipping a ball while talking to Eisenhower, but proves nothing.
George W. Bush
2001 World Series, Game 3
Arizona Diamondbacks 1, NY Yankees 2
In the most emotional presidential first pitch ever, George W. Bush takes the mound at Yankee Stadium a little over a month after the 9/11 attacks. The Yankees win the game 2-1 but lose the Series - one of the best in baseball history.
Presidential record in WS games: 6-4
ESPN is expecting big things from Albert Pujols, David Freese, and…uh, David Freese again?
If the Cardinals had two David Freeses, how many innings would it take for TLR to double-switch them?