Sunday, October 18, 2009

Travel Day

Had to explain to Astro-Girl what happened.

But: an interesting note. When A-Rod came up with two outs in the bottom of the 12th, bases loaded, tie score, when a hit or run or error would have won the game, I thought, Well, here it is. The fulcrum. A-Rod gets a hit here, and a half-decade of futility vanishes.

Well, didn't work out, and that became forgotten when the Angels' adventures 'round the infield send Hairston home with the winner one inning late. Still, consider:

The 1977 ALCS. The Yanks are tied 2-2 with the Royals in a best of five to go to the Series. Due up for KC, a rested Paul Splitorff, a nasty left-hander who (in the words of Thurman Munson) Reggie could not hit with a canoe paddle. Splittie or not, Reggie has had a brutal playoffs, going 1-for-17 thus far (yes, kids, even Mr. October struck out now again after the leaves turned). His job and his team's season on the line, Billy Martin sits Reggie in favor of Paul Blair, reasoning first (reasonably) that a low-scoring game would put a premium on fielding, and (again reasonably) as soon as Whitey Herzog went to his bullpen, Reggie would be available for an advantageous moment. As it turns out (and never say Billy couldn't run a game) both things happen, and as soon as KC turns matter over to right-hander Doug Bird, Reggie turns up, swinging from the on-deck circle, driving in the run that makes the score 3-2. Bottom of the eighth, in comes Sparky Lyle; in the ninth, the Yankees mow down the weakest part of a really good KC team, their bullpen. 5-3 Yanks. Series.

Then: the Series. And so the legend of Mr. October was bronzed, eventually literally, in Cooperstown.

With or without 1977, Reggie was headed for the Hall. But it was '77 that gave him immortality, the greatest nickname in baseball history. I love The Babe, The Big Train, The Iron Horse, the Yankee Clipper, Old Pete, The Splendid Splinter, Big Poison, Li'l Poison, Ducky, Stan the Man, the Say Hey Kid, The Commerce Comet, Catfish, Gator, and Big Puma.

The greatest nickname of all time?

Mr. October.

Point being: even Mr. October had his down time. But her came through enough.

No comments: