The coolest thing you can do in a World Series
Yeah, we already used Babe Ruth. You know what? It’s Babe Ruth, and everything he did was the best thing, so we’re returning to that well.
Six years after Ruth’s Series-ending blunder, the Yankees were facing the Cubs in the 1932 World Series. Even at 37, Ruth had put up a monster season, hitting .341/.489/.661 along with 41 homers. The Yankees had won the first two games of the Series in New York, then went to Chicago for Game 3.
Ruth had hit a three-run homer in the first inning against Chicago’s Charlie Root, then after a third-inning flyout, stepped up again in the fifth inning, with one out and the game tied at 4. Ruth, as the legend goes, took strike one, then pointed to the outfield bleachers. He took strike two, then pointed again. The next pitch was crushed deep to center field, the final postseason homer of Ruth’s career. He’d called his shot, then backed it up.
Now, in the decades since, there have been plenty of questions about whether Ruth actually intended to call his shot. There had been bad blood between the two teams prior to the game, and some believe that Ruth had merely been pointing at Root, in an “I’m coming for you” manner. Others say that Ruth had been holding up one finger to say that while Root had managed to get two strikes on him, he still had one left.
The moment has been lost to history, and we’ll likely never know for sure. None of it matters. The legend is far more entertaining than the truth. Now, imagine if Yasiel Puig did that today?
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The worst way to end a career
You probably don’t remember Mike Andrews, and that’s fine. Andrews was a decent second infielder for three teams between 1966-1973, and even made an All-Star team in 1969. In 1973, Andrews had struggled for the White Sox, who ended up releasing him in July. Two weeks later, the A’s signed him, where he played sparingly and ineffectively.
Still, Andrews was on the active roster for the World Series, and in Game 2, with the A’s down 6-4, he entered as a pinch-hitter in the eighth. Andrews grounded out, but in the ninth, Oakland would tie it, and it would remain tied into the 12th inning. Rollie Fingers would allow the go-ahead run on a Willie Mays single — how about those names! — but when Paul Lindblad replaced Fingers, entering with the bases loaded, things went bad for Andrews. Playing second base, he would make errors on two consecutive plays, turning a one-run deficit into a four-run hole, one the A’s could not come back from.
Oakland owner Charlie Finley was so angry with Andrews that he ordered the infielder to fake an injury so that the team could replace him on the roster. Andrews did, but his teammates were so upset that they protested, and commissioner Bowie Kuhn had to step in to reinstate him. When Andrews appeared as a pinch-hitter in Game 4 in New York, Mets fans gave him an ovation, though the A’s would go on to win the Series.
Andrews would never play professional baseball again, his career over at 29. It all worked out for him in the end, though. For the last 30 years, he’s been the chairman of the Jimmy Fund, a charitable organization that works to combat childhood cancer.
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We asked for a lot this postseason in baseball and thankfully, we got most of it. We wanted new blood. We wanted to see the best of the best face one another. And we wanted to see a little offense. Now with the World Series kicking off this week, we can hope it’ll be like none we’ve ever seen before. That’s partially due to the participants–the Royals and Giants have never met in October–and partially because we’ve never had a World Series with expanded instant replay, or the controversial “catcher blocking the plate” rule. Those items alone should be enough to make the 2014 Fall Classic a particularly unique one.
But will it be a good World Series, or a great one? Will anyone outside the two cities have particularly fond memories of this one? Five years from now, will you or I care? Will 2014 go down simply as the summer of Jeter…or will this final series be the icing on the cake? Think about World Series past–sure, you remember 1986, and 2001, and 2004, and so on. If you’re not a White Sox or Astros fan, do you recall much about 2005? Does 1982 do much for you if you weren’t following the Cardinals and Brewers?
What we really need are great moments, and here we’ll recall a few. But some of them are too famous. You probably came in here already thinking about Bill Buckner in 1986, Kirk Gibson in 1988, or Joe Carter in 1993. Those were great, but you also don’t need to read about them again. Let’s think about this in some different ways.
Here are The Craziest World Series Moments That You Don’t Remember.
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image via Anthony De Rosa/Flickr Creative Commons