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Sunday, October 16, 2016

The "These Are A Few Of My Favorite World Series Memories" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Getting ready for the upcoming World Series.  For those who don't follow sports or are from a country where baseball isn't played, the World Series pits the two best teams in baseball against each other at the end of the baseball season.  I have loved the sport of baseball all my life and have participated in it as a player, coach and fan.  Over those years I have watched the World Series every year except when my family didn't have television, and then I can remember listening to the World Series on radio.  So, today I will share with you my four most memorable moments from the World Series as I remember them.  PS - click on photo to enlarge.

  1. 1954 and I was in elementary school. I had been following the Cleveland Indians the entire year since a few of my classmates were Indians fans. That, plus one of my best friends, Bill, loved the New York Yankees and I couldn't stand any team associated with New York.  Just loved to kid him about how bad teams from New York really were. Pitchers Early Wynn and Bob Lemon were the top pitchers for the Indians in '54.  They were playing the New York Giants who had this young center fielder named Willie Mays on their team.  Game one of the series was at the Polo Grounds in NY.  It was the top of the 8th inning and the score was tied 2-2 when Indians batter Vic Wertz hit a drive deep to center field. In most stadiums it would have been a home run, but the Polo Grounds had a huge outfield.  Willie Mays ran toward the fence with his back toward the batter and made what is now known as "The Catch" when he caught the ball with his back to home plate.  He spun around and kept both of the runners, who were already on base, from scoring.  The Giants won the World Series four games to none.  I must admit Willie Mays became my all-time favorite player after that catch. 
  2. 1975 and the Cincinnati Reds were playing the Boston Red Sox.  
    The Reds won the World Series four games to three, but one of my favorite plays happened with the Red Sox at bat in the sixth game of the series.  Carlton Fisk was at bat for the Red Sox in a 6-6 tie game in the bottom of the 12th inning. Fisk hit a shot down the left field line that looked as if it may go out of play.  Fisk slowly started toward first base, urging the ball to stay fair with his body motions.  It fell just inside the foul pole for a home run and the win.  The following game was won by the Reds to win the series.
  3.  1986 with the New York Mets playing the Boston Red Sox and once again it is the sixth game of the series that I remember the most.  
    Game was tied in the bottom of the tenth inning when what appeared to be an easy ground ball was hit toward Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner.  For some reason he missed the ball and the winning run crossed the plate for the Mets.  The Mets won the final game to win the World Series while Buckner will be remembered for the ball that got through him that cost his team the series.  It did make him a pretty big star on The Seinfeld Show when he was featured in a few episodes.
  4. My final favorite memory of the World Series didn't happen while watching the game but flying a few thousand feet above the United States in 2008, listening to the pilot of our 747 give the play-by-play over the plane's audio system.  
    Just getting back from Barbados and
    walking past a Phils sign in the airport.
    Carol and I, along with traveling mates Jerry and Just Sue, were returning to the Philadelphia airport from a two week vacation to Barbados.  My beloved Philadelphia Phillies had a three game to one lead over the Tampa Bay Rays.  The game was being played in Philadelphia and I was half-hoping that the Phils would lose so I could watch them on television win the following day.  We were about half-way home when the pilot came on the speaker and said that since most of the plane was probably Phillies fans, he would give a play-by-play of the final inning.  The Rays were batting in the top of the 9th inning and if the Phillies got them out, the Phils would win their first World Series Championship in 25 years and their second one in their 126-year history.  The excitement grew with each out, but then Phils pitcher Brad Lidge gave up a single and stolen base.  The pilot added suspense as he gave a pitch-by-pitch accounting of Ray's Eric Hinske at bat until Brad Lidge struck him out with his patented slider.  The plane went berserk! I swear it must have dipped a few hundred feet due to the feeling in my stomach, but leveled off and got us back to the airport.  On our ride home we met with many cars beeping their horns and naturally I had to join in.  I did get to see the final strike-out on TV after getting home, but it wasn't half as much fun as a plane full of fans going nuts. Certainly wasn't as exciting as being in Barbados for two weeks, but sure was a close second.
     It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.    

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