Sometimes A Nobody Becomes A Somebody In The World Series
Sometimes a nobody becomes a somebody in the World Series.
The 1954 Cleveland Indians won 111 games and had one of the all time great pitching staffs anchored by Early Wynn, Bob Feller, Bob Lemon and Mike Garcia. In the World Series they were matched up with the New York Giants led by Willie Mays and managed by Leo Durocher. The Giants also had a part time outfielder/pinch hitter named Dusty Rhodes. Oct 19, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox left fielder Mike Carp sprays fans with champagne after defeating the Detroit Tigers in game six of the American League Championship Series playoff baseball game at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Rhodes was my first remembrance of a nobody becoming a somebody in the World Series.
In game one of that series Rhodes came up in the last of the 10th and hit a pinch hit home run off of Lemon. He was not done. In game two he had a pinch hit single in the 5th and a home run off Wynn in the 7th to lead the Giants to a game two victory. Rhodes would have been series MVP if they had one since he was instrumental in the 4-0 sweep for the Giants. A nobody who became a somebody.
You look at the World Series MVP Award list and you see the usual suspects – a Reggie Jackson, Mike Schmidt, Pete Rose, Sandy Koufax and a Curt Schilling. But among that list are players who got hot at the right time. Need I mention Bucky Dent? His antics carried over to the 1978 series and got him an MVP. Or Ray Knight who tortured the Red Sox in 1986. Pat Borders of the Toronto Blue Jays and fellow catcher Gene Tenace of the Oakland Athletics had their moment in the World Series spotlight of fame. Edgar Renteria, finishing off his career as a Giants bench player, and surprisingly lighting up the 2010 World Series. Good players all, but still not the elite. Players who were never in the forefront of MVP discussions before the series began.
Sometimes a nobody stands out in a specific game.
Don Larsen had a rather pedestrian career except for October 8th of 1956. His perfect game. Larsen plugged away for several more seasons ending up with more losses than wins in his career, but for one moment he became a somebody. If he had given up a hit he would just have been a historical footnote.
Sometimes the nobody can make one specific play that resonates through the baseball time line.
Al Gionfriddo was there for the Dodgers for only one reason – his glove. In the 1947 World Series he made a remarkable catch that robbed a frustrated Joe DiMaggio, but the New York Yankees still won the series. After the series Gionfriddo never returned to the majors.
One from my past is Sandy Amoros making a great catch in game 7 of the 1955 World Series as the Brooklyn Dodgers finally defeated the New York Yankees. Amoros snared a no out and two on line drive off the bat of Yogi Berra and then doubled up the runner on first. A defensive game changer by a nobody.
Sometimes there is just that one single moment in time such as Dane Iorg winning game six for the Kansas City Royals in 1985. Iorg was at the tail end of his career and his nobody moment propelled the Royals to a game seven where they beat the St. Louis Cardinals.
Bernie Carbo and his famous three run home run in game 6 for the Red Sox. One of the more famous home runs in Red Sox history.
These are just a few examples. Plenty more that fans of baseball and specific teams can recite and this Fall Classic just may produce another few. A nobody who for that brief moment will become a somebody.