Nov 04

Game 6: Where history is made.

Game 6 is more than a count of what has been played, more than a bookmark to the World Series. Game 6 has its own mystique. The most dramatic World Series usually go seven games, but it can’t get there without a Game 6.

Fisk's homer.

Fisk's homer.


One way or another, it ends after Game 7, which takes away part of the suspense. However, there’s a sense of urgency, of desperation, for the team behind entering Game 6.

It is why many of baseball’s most dramatic moments are born to that game. I’ve chosen five, with the criteria being I saw the game and it produced a seventh game.

One of baseball’s most enduring images, and perhaps its greatest game, came in the 1975 World Series on Carlton Fisk’s game-ending homer in the 12th inning as Boston beat Cincinnati, 7-6. Fisk’s homer was made possible by Bernie Carbo’s three-run, two-strike, pinch-hit game-tying homer in the eighth inning.

Fisk’s moment just delayed what Red Sox fans would call the inevitable, as Boston lost Game 7 at Fenway Park.

Buckner a picture of dejection.

Buckner a picture of dejection.


Another moment etched in time is the ball that got by by Bill Buckner in the 1986 World Series. Down to their last out, the Mets rallied for three runs to beat Boston, 6-5, with the game-winner coming on Mookie Wilson’s dribbler through Buckner’s legs.

The Mets went on to win Game 7, and overcame a three-run deficit to do it.

That game was made possible because the Mets prevailed against Houston over 16 innings in Game 6 of the NLCS. Keith Hernandez called it a crucial victory as it kept the Mets from facing Mike Scott, who beat them in Games 1 and 4.

This year’s playoffs have been marred by terrible umpiring, but one of the game’s most infamous calls came in the eighth inning of Game 6 of the 1985 World Series that might have kept St. Louis from winning. Facing elimination and down 1-0 going into the ninth inning, umpire Don Denkinger ruled Kansas City’s Jorge Orta safe at first on a play in which he was clearly out.

The Royals went on to win that game, 2-1, then rout the Cardinals, 11-0, in Game 7.

The Call.

The Call.


In Game 6 of the 1991 World Series, Minnesota’s Kirby Puckett’s 11th inning homer off Charlie Leibrandt kept the Twins alive, 4-3. They would win Game 7 on Jack Morris’ ten-inning shutout. single run, four games decided in the final at-bat and three games going into extra innings.

Often forgotten, perhaps because the game wasn’t decided on a game-ending hit, Anaheim rallied from five runs down in the seventh inning to beat San Francisco, 6-5. The Angels scored three in the seventh and three in the eighth to win, then won Game 7.

Another came in the 1971 World Series, when the Orioles, facing elimination, beat Pittsburgh, 3-2, in 10 innings on Brooks Robinson’s sacrifice fly.

I invite you to reflect on these moments and any other you might have about Game 6 in the World Series.

Oct 25

TALKIN’ BASEBALL: Could Game #6 give us another classic?

The champagne was on ice. Baseball officials were setting up the congratulatory phone call from the President of the United States. A makeshift stage was set-up in the Boston clubhouse.

And, for a few seconds, the Shea Stadium scoreboard flashed the message, “Congratulations Red Sox On Your World Series Victory.’’

The Red Sox never tasted champagne that night because in the words of Mets catcher Gary Carter, in describing what happened and also the essence of his sport, said, “none of us wanted to make the last out.’’

``It gets through Buckner ... ''

``It gets through Buckner ... ''

Carter might not have meant it as such, but he acutely described the beauty of baseball seen in no other sport. Football and hockey have sudden death, but mostly their games have a foreseeable ending when clock winds down.

Not so in baseball, which only ends with a last out.

Game 7 is the glamour game, but there’s more a sense of urgency, of tension, of finality in Game 6. Tonight marks the 23rd anniversary of the night Mookie Wilson’s ground ball went through the legs of Bill Buckner in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.

Eleven years earlier, Carlton Fisk’s homer in arguably one of the greatest World Series games ever, prolonged the 1975 Series with Cincinnati. The Mets played that night because they survived a memorable Game 6 less than two weeks earlier at Houston.

Whom will the fates choose tonight’s Game 6 between the Yankees and Angels?

Unfairly, but that’s how sports sometimes can be, today’s game could define a career as that play did the careers of Buckner and Wilson, who’ll forever be linked in time in the manner of Ralph Branca and Bobby Thomson.

However, baseball history is rarely that precise and measurable. The Red Sox lost that night for several reasons, including Roger Clemens leaving the game with a blister and manager John McNamara mis-managing, Bob Stanley’s wild-pitch and Calvin Schiraldi’s bullpen meltdown.

Let us also not forget, that the 5-3 lead Boston kicked away in ten innings was their third blown lead of the game.

``Here comes Knight ... ''

``Here comes Knight ... ''


Wally Backman and Keith Hernandez flew out to open the inning, and as the story goes, the latter, not wanting to see the Red Sox celebrate, retreated to the manager’s office to watch the rest of the game on television.

“When you’re down two runs in the last inning against their ace reliever, it’s not the most comfortable feeling in the world,’’ Wilson said that night. “But you don’t give up. Two runs is not a great deficit to make up. How did we do it? Mirrors, maybe. Whatever, but we did it.’’

But Carter singled to left, and Kevin Mitchell and Ray Knight followed with singles for one run. Enter Stanley, who promptly wild-pitched in the tying run.

Defeat for Boston was a formality, with Buckner’s slow roller only to delay the inevitable. Wilson still insists he would have beaten Buckner to the bag, and it was bearing down hard on the injured Red Sox first baseman, of whom it is often forgotten should have been removed for defense.

No, Buckner was not distracted by Wilson.

“I did concentrate on that ball,’’ Buckner said that night. “I saw the ball bounce and bounce, and then it didn’t bounce. It just skipped. It didn’t come up. I can’t remember any time I missed a ball like that, but I’ll remember that one.’’

So too, will history.

NOTE: This was posted early. I’d love for you to tell me what you remember from the Buckner game, the Houston Game 6, or anything on your mind. Then, keep it here for the Yankee game. Talk with you tonight.

Oct 15

Mets notebook: Reyes under the knife today.

Jose Reyes will have surgery today on his torn right hamstring tendon, scheduling the procedure for today in Dallas. The surgery will be to remove scar tissue on the tendon, and will be performed by Dallas Cowboys team physician Daniel Cooper.

The prognosis is he should return in time for spring training. Reyes will not have surgery on the torn right hamstring muscle. The club is hoping it will heal with rest.

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The Mets are close to naming Tim Teufel to the managing job at Double-A Binghamton, according to published reports. The Mets are also close to signing Wally Backman and Mookie Wilson to minor league positions.

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The Mets don’t plan on talking with former Rangers hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, who spent the last 15 seasons in the Texas organization.

Jaramillo once interviewed for the Mets’ managerial position, but was bypassed for Willie Randolph.

Oct 06

Reaching out ….

Sure, on the surface Mets GM Omar Minaya could be reaching out for his successor, but if it happens they will be a better team.

Minaya contacted recently disposed general managers Kevin Towers (Padres) and J.P. Ricciardi (Blue Jays), both of whom have excellent credentials in player development, and let’s face it, that’s a huge hole with the Mets.

Yes, this team was crippled by injuries this season, but that revealed a glaring weakness of a barren farm system that could produce immediate help or enough chips to trade for major league fill-ins.

The Mets, also accused of ignoring their past, reached out to Mookie Wilson and Wally Backman, two of the sparkplugs from the 1986 championship teams.