Monday, March 26, 2012

My Favourite Homeruns In The World Series, From Game 1

My father always reminded me as a child, that the least important game in 7 game series (any sports) or even 5 game series, is the first game.

That got me thinking, World Series, it's had it's share of home runs that were hit in the first tilt. Here are my top 5 home runs from game 1 of any World Series.

5) Casey Stengel, 1923 World Series

Too many of you out there think Stengel was merely a clown as a player. Actually, he hit .284 lifetime. In the postseason he was even better, batting .393 lifetime in twelve postseason contest. His best World Series was the 1923 World Series, his last. Batting .417, he popped 2 home runs and 4 RBIs in the 6 game set.

Facing Bullet Joe Bush at Yankee Stadium in the ninth inning, Casey smashed a ball to left, and kept on running, running, for an inside the park dinger!  This broke a 4-4 deadlock and Stengel's Giants would win, 5-4. Stengel also won game 3 of the Series with a home run off Sad Sam Jones.

All for not, as the Giants lost to their cross town rivals, 4 games to 2.

4) Jose Santiago, 1967 World Series

To the best of my knowledge, this is the only time a pitcher has hit a homerun in the World Series, and lost the game. The reason is, it was hit off Bob Gibson, who gave the Red Sox nothing else on a fine 6-hit, 1 walk, 10 K, complete game 2-1 win.

Santiago (with help from John Wyatt) wasn't too bad himself in this game, giving up 10 hits, but just 2 (earned) runs (both of which were scored by Lou Brock on Roger Maris groundouts). He fanned 5 himself, but 3 walks contributed to him being removed in the bottom of the 7th for a pinch hitter.

Santiago's homerun tied the game @ 1 in the bottom of the third as he went deep over the Green Monster.

But the Cards won the game as the Sox came unglued in the top of the 7th. Brock singled and Boston could not hold him. A steal and two groundouts scored him and St Louis had the lead for good.

3) Jimmy Sebring 1903 World Series

Gotta start somewhere!

How about the first World Series game ever?

How about against Cy Young, no less.

How about from someone who hit only six other homeruns in his entire career?

Jimmy Sebring's major league career and life were too short. Yet , in the 7th inning, October 1, 1903, he smoked a Cy Young pitch to the centerfield ropes, then raced around the bases at the Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds for the first ever World Series homerun. The Pirates beat the Sox on that day, 7-3 as Sebring had three hits and 4 RBIs.

2) Dusty Rhodes, 1954 World Series

I admit, this maybe should be higher on the list, as it was a dramtic 3-run shot in the bottom of the 10th against Cleveland's Bob Lemon.

But there is a slight problem with this one.

It wasn't the dramatic play of the afternoon.

On a day where the Giants made 3 errors, including two by right fielder Don Mueller.

But there was the matter of the man to his left, Mays.

The Catch!

Right there in the top of the eighth at the old Polo Grounds.

Little known fact, Larry Doby, who was on second base, tagged and made it to third.

It didn't matter, Mays had stopped the Indians uprising, making Rhodes' heroics possible.

1) Kirk Gibson, 1988 World Series

It was Gibby vs. Eck. And it was a classic that saw the Dodgers' star forever etch his name in baseball lore.


References


Snyder, John S. World Series!: Great Moments and Dubious Achievements. San Francisco: Chronicle, 1995. Print.

Sports Reference LLC. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information. http://www.baseball-reference.com/. Web. 26 March 2012.