October 10, 2005


Amazing moments from a genuine classic (Jayson Stark, 10/09/05, ESPN.com)

So what will they tell their grandchildren about the longest postseason game ever played?

Will they start with the final, unlikely hero -- a semi-anonymous extra man named Chris Burke -- the pinch-runner who wound up hitting the Aaron Boone-esque home run that ended a series for one team and a season for another?

Or will they start with the home run that tied this game -- with two outs in the ninth inning, of course -- a home run that was gone by about half an inch, a home run launched by a catcher (Brad Ausmus) who had hit three homers all year?

Will they talk about the second grand slam of the first two-slam game in October history -- the eighth-inning Lance Berkman shot that helped transform a blowout into one of the most unforgettable baseball games ever played?

Or will they simply talk about how drained they were from playing nearly six hours of baseball -- from playing 18 grueling innings, not knowing whether there was a game tomorrow, not knowing when they'd get to eat again?

When the Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves work up the strength some day to tell tales of the Game 4 epic that ended their National League Division Series on Sunday, they won't know where to start. They can't possibly know where to start. It was all too much to absorb. Way too much.

But here is where we would start if we were them:

With The Rocket.

He was on ESPN radio this afternoon and Dan Patrick asked him if he thought he was going in the game. He said: I looked over at the lineup card and it was all ink.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 10, 2005 4:42 PM

Do I get a credit?

Stark did make one booboo in the article:

"We are now in our 101st baseball postseason. No other pitcher with as many wins as Clemens has ever made a relief appearance in a postseason game -- let alone won one."

Grover Cleveland Alexander (a/k/a "Pete;" The only ballplayer named for a sitting United States president and portrayed on film by a future one -- Ronald Reagan in The Winning Team) was 39 years old and had won about 324 games when he made a relief appearance in the 1926 World Series:

"The 1926 World Series, pitting the Cardinals against a powerful Yankee team featuring veteran bombers Babe Ruth and Bob Meusel and young guns Lou Gehrig and Tony Lazzeri, cast the Alexander legend in stone. Alex pitched complete-game wins in Games 2 and 6 before the climactic seventh game. Alex entered the game to relieve Jesse Haines in the seventh inning with bases loaded, two out, and the Cardinals hanging on to a 3-2 lead. He struck out Lazzeri, held the lead, and the Cards were champs."

The event was a key scene in the bio-pic and is memorialized on Pete's HoF plaque.

Now, it is true that Clemens has won 341 games, which is 17 more than Pete had at that point in his career, but give Pete some credit for missing parts of the 1919 and 1918 seasons because of service during WWI. He might have won 30 or 40 more games.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at October 10, 2005 7:32 PM

Since that stat anout Johnson made it onto the late Sunday edition of ESPN SportsCenter, I'm surprised the error made it into Stark's story.

(However, at the same time, I still hate, and have hated since they appeared in the early 1970s, any ballpark that has an outfield where a home run is defined as the area over some yellow line, even if it's only a small part of the fence like in Houston. The foul poles should be yellow, and everything in-between should have an actual fence, and not some yellow stripe to denote the in-play/out-of-play divide.)

Posted by: John at October 10, 2005 7:43 PM


Posted by: Robert Schwartz at October 10, 2005 9:16 PM

Walter Johnson.

Posted by: joe shropshire at October 10, 2005 11:06 PM

Yes Walter Johnson
, that makes two that Stark missed, and two of the immortals as well.

Finally, in 1924, with the shrewdest trades of his life, Griffith put together Washington's first pennant winner. Going 23-7 at age thirty-seven, Johnson was finally in a World Series. His performance against the Giants in the seventh game is one of baseball's favorite stories. Appearing in relief, two days after pitching a complete game, he held the Giants scoreless for four innings until Early McNeely's 12th-inning grounder deflected off a pebble, over Freddie Lindstrom's head, allowing Washington's winning run to score

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at October 11, 2005 1:45 AM
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