Tuesday, March 12, 2013

World Series Weirdness (Concluded)

I'll wrap up my survey of unusual World Series moments (for now) with another small sampling.

1939 World Series: New York Yankees vs. Cincinnati Reds—Game 4

Lombardi Becomes a Goat

A fan favorite in Cincinnati, catcher Ernie Lombardi would spend the latter part of his career trying to forget about the following play, which took place during Game 4 of the 1939 FallClassic:
The Yankees had shortstop Frank Crosetti on second with one out in the tenth when outfielder Charlie Keller reached base on an error. Joe DiMaggio then singled to break a 4-4 tie. Things took an unexpected turn when the ball was mishandled by Ival Goodman in right field. Keller rounded third and Lombardi, who later claimed that he was feeling dizzy from the heat, prepared to take the throw. Keller collided with the big backstop, hitting him squarely in the groin (according to some accounts). As Lombardi lay on the ground in a stupor, DiMaggio completely rounded the bases, delivering New York’s seventh run of the contest. It was more than they would need as the Reds failed to score in the bottom of the frame. Members of the press unfairly blasted Cincinnati’s star receiver, implying that he had “fallen asleep” on the play (which would forever be labeled “The Lombardi Snooze” or "Swan Dive"or "Swoon"). Pitcher Bucky Walters later admitted that only one run would have scored had he been properly backing up the play.

1970 World Series: Cincinnati Reds vs. Baltimore Orioles—Game 1

Eyes in the Back of His Head?

Umpire Ken Burkhart made one of the worst calls in Series history During the 1970 Fall Classic. In the sixth inning of Game 1, pinch-hitter Ty Cline of the Reds hit a chopper near home plate. Orioles’ backstop Ellie Hendricks came out to field the ball as Bernie Carbo came racing home. Burkhart had positioned himself to make a fair or foul ruling on Cline’s tapper and was blocking the plate. Carbo attempted a hook slide around the official as Hendricks dove toward the runner with his glove out. Burkhart was in no position to make the call at that point with his back to the play, but he ruled Carbo out anyway. Replays clearly showed that Hendricks tagged Carbo with an empty glove as he held the ball in his right hand. Carbo touched home plate coincidentally during the the ensuing argument. Baltimore scratched out a run in their half of the sixth, winning a nail-biter, 4-3. Demoralized, the Reds dropped the Series in 5 games.

1966 World Series Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Baltimore Orioles

Davis’s Inning from Hell

In Game 2 of the 1966 Fall Classic, Dodgers’ center fielder Willie Davis committed 3 fifth inning errors, resulting in 3 Baltimore runs. According to an LA Times report the next day, Davis came back to the dugout between innings and apologized, explaining that he lost both of the dropped fly balls in the sun. His third miscue came on a throwing error.
"Don't let it get you down," a sympathetic Sandy Koufax replied.
"Hell, forget it...You've saved plenty of games with great catches," Don Drysdale added.
There was no saving this one as the Dodgers committed 6 errors that day. The Orioles would go on to sweep the Series. Perhaps looking to improve his defense, Davis later became a member of a Buddhist sect. From that point on, he could be found in the clubhouse before every game, chanting with prayer beads.

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