Sunday, February 1, 2015

World Series

Mike Schmidt went on a run in the 3rd round of the Home Run Derby that was legendary.  The Phillie slugger smashed 14 long balls in the third round with 19 overall.  As a result, he won home field advantage for his National League brothers, the Cincinnati Reds.  Big George Foster had struggled in the tournament in the first three rounds.  It was hoped his appearance in the Derby with his "1977 - 52 Home Run" card would get him back on track.  He finished dead last with only 3 home runs, only half as many as the next lowest competitor.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Leonid Brezhnev came to Washington to thank the President for Mr. Quackers and his recently acquired Russian translated APBA boards (the only ones known in existence).  However, his method of saying "thank-you" left Jimmy more uncomfortable than a man with a raging case of hemorrhoids and no inflatable duck or G-cup falsies to sit upon.  Our last tournament director could not help but take a stab at Jimmy, while reminding us that Carter's reign as tournament director was soon ending.

 CINCINNATI, OH - With home field advantage going to the Reds, Kansas City would be without a Designated Hitter.  Hal McRae was batting only .207 coming into the series as the normal KC DH, but center fielder Amos Otis was hitting a dismal .037 (1 for 27).  The decision was made to insert McRae in left field and move Joe Zdeb to center.  Losing the high rated Otis would hurt the Royals defense, but they could not afford to sacrifice one ounce of run scoring potential against the Reds.

Kansas City struck early.  The aforementioned McRae clubbed a double between Foster and Geronimo.  With 2 outs, Al Cowens launced a Gary Nolan fastball over the Riverfront Stadium left field wall for a 2-0 Royal lead. Kansas City tacked on another in the 2nd for an early 3-0 advantage.

Foster enjoyed the view after
finally hitting a ball hard
George Foster's struggles have been well documented.  The Red's cleanup hitter was hittless in his first 19 at bats.  While he had gotten back on track a little with 3 hits in the Philadelphia series, his average was still .107.  He singled in the 2nd inning, then stole second base.  The Reds could not get him home and George was left stranded at third.  In the 4th, he found a sure way to prevent being left on base when he connected on a bases empty 66-1 to put the Reds on the board.  The Royals answered when a George Brett double scored McRae in the top of the 5th.  Back to back doubles by Geronimo and Concepcion brought the score to 4-2 at the end of 5.

Dennis Leonard threw 6 innings,
allowing only 2 runs,
but gets a no decision.
Dennis Leonard blanked the Reds in his 6th and final inning of work before being lifted for a pinch hitter.  Mark Littell and Steve Mingori shut out Cincinnati in the 7th and 8th before the ball was handed over to closer, Larry Gura.

Foster stayed hot adding his 3rd hit of the night, a double to left center field.  Johnny Bench drew a walk to put the tying run on base with no outs.  Doggie K'd, but Geronimo blasted his 2nd double of the night scoring Foster and Bench to tie the game at 4.  A fly out and fielders choice ended the Reds threat and sent the game into extra innings.

#13 delivers the lucky hit
In the bottom of the 11th, Tony Perez led off with a base hit.  Driessen had already been used as a pinch hitter in the game, and the slow footed Perez would have to carry the Reds hopes.  Geronimo blooped his 3rd hit of the evening to move Doggie into scoring position.  Dave Concepcion's 51-8 single against the C graded Marty Pattin was enough to send Perez flying around third base.  Amos Otis, and his big arm, had entered the game in the 7th inning as part of a double switch and was now stationed in center field.  Otis fielded Concepcion's ball cleanly and rifled the throw home.  The ball was just wide, and Tony slid home with the run as the Reds take Game 1.

Perez slides safely home as Otis' throw sails wide

Perez is mobbed by his teammates
after scoring the winning run

After the game, Concepcion was asked if he thought wearing #13 was unlucky.  Below, Davey shows off some of his good luck charms.  As a side note, his lucky black cat would be eaten by Marge Schott's St. Bernard, Schottzy, sometime in the late 80s.

Plains, GA - Jimmy had received a call from brother Billy about a new agricultural proposition.  With the new laws in Colorado and Washington, Billy's latest get rich quick scheme involved brother Jimmy changing the laws similarly in Georgia.  "We'll call it Billy Buds", said the younger Carter brother.  "We'll make a fortune!"
The original doobie brothers discuss "Billy Buds"

KANSAS CITY , MO - The series moved 600 miles west where the Royals faced elimination.  They handed the ball to one of the most consistent pitchers in the tournament, Jim Colburn.  For the 2nd game in a row, Al Cowens blasted a 2 run home run in the 1st inning and the Royals added another in the 2nd for an early 3-0 lead.  But this time, Cincinnati did not answer back.  Inning after inning, Colburn worked and kept the big Red hitters off balance.

The Royals exploded at the expense of Pat Zachry in the 6th scoring 4 more runs and putting the game out of reach.  Colburn went the distance throwing a 6 hit shutout.  Colburn improved his tournament record to 3-0 and lowered his ERA to 1.27.

PLAINS, GA - Meanwhile, Jimmy realized Billy's intent with his new potential cash crop and cancelled the project.  "We'll stick with what we know", said Jimmy.  "We're not dopes, we're nuts."  

Not to be outdone, the younger and inventive brother contacted the Chicagoland APBA tournament director about a piece of hardware that had recently come into his possession.  He reasoned that as well traveled as it has been, it must be worth some serious money on the secondary market.

"Hey Schuyler.  What's this here trophy worth to ya boy?"

CINCINNATI, OH - One more game.  24 teams had been eliminated, one at a time.  And it all came down to 27 outs.  

Freddie Patek tripled to lead off the game and scored on a McRae sac fly.  Brett doubled and for the third straight game, Al Cowans strolled to the box with a runner on base in the first inning.  In the prior two games, Cowans had blasted 2 run homers in the first inning.  It couldn't possibly happen 3 games in a row.  It didn't.  Cowans lined a ball to Concepcion who snagged it in the air and doubled Brett off second base to end the inning.

Foster puts the Reds ahead
In the Reds half, Ken Griffey walked and was followed by a Joe Morgan single, who stole second base.  George Foster dug in a clobbered an 11-4 home run to put the Reds up.  Later with Bench at third base, Geronimo's fly ball to left field scored the catcher and put the Reds on top, 4-1.  Morgan singled home Rose in the 2nd inning, and the Reds had an early 5-1 lead.

Rose and the Reds welcome Perez
into the dugout after another
trip around the bases
KC added another in the 5th, but in the bottom of the 6th, the Reds went to work. Dave Concepcion and pinch hitter Ed Armbrister, scored on a Ken Griffey double to make it 7-2.  Steve Mingori entered in the 7th and Cincinnati continued to chew up Royal relievers.  Bench and Perez doubled, followed by Cesar Geronimo's RBI single to add two more.  With 2 out, Rose's double scored Chief and the Reds were cruising 10-2.

Heading into the 8th inning, Rawly Eastwick was called into the game to put things on ice.  The Champagne was already that way in the locker room.

Darrell Porter smashed a 66-1 with Cowens and Zdeb on base to make the game 10-5.  The 3 run blast also reduced Eastwick.  Frank White grounded out and Pete LaCock whiffed to end the inning.

In the 9th, Patek flied to Geronimo for out #1.  McRae drew a walk off Eastwick but was forced out at second base on a George Brett ground ball.  Brett was able to beat the throw to first to extend the inning.  Al Cowans strolled into the box.  As the 10th batter faced by the * reliever Eastwick, his grade dropped for the second time, now to a C.  Cowens drove his third home run in as many games over the outfield fence to cut the lead to 10-7.

Sparky had seen enough.  Will McEnaney was called in to face the lefty batting John Mayberry.  Big John whiffed ending the game and giving the Reds the Championship!

Arachnophobe Will McEnaney
climbs for higher ground
Above, Will McEnaney jumps into the arms of catcher Johnny Bench after the Mayberry strikeout.  When asked about the celebratory leap, the lefty reliever said, "I wasn't celebrating.  There was a dang spider out there on the mound."  

Reds celebrate the championship
Sparky and Johnny
McEnaney carried to the showers.
Another spider was spotted.
Spraying the Rose
Johnny tells how many dollars this bottle cost

WASHINGTON, D.C. - To commemorate the Reds Tournament Championship, Carter invited Pete Rose and me to the White House to witness the signing of a truly ground breaking piece of legislation.  Jimmy issued a complete Presidential pardon to Pete absolving him from all wrong doing in baseball, and clearing him for induction into the Hall of Fame.  "The way I see it", said Carter, "If Ford can pardon Nixon, why shouldn't I pardon Pete?"

Pete told Jimmy about his favorite APBA game, Saddle Racing.  When Jimmy asked if Pete would teach him the game, he said, "You can bet on it!"

After signing the pardon, Carter presented Pete with a brand new AMC Pacer-X for his accomplishments.  Forget that other athletes routinely get Corvettes.  This was the late 70s and conservation was important to everyone.  When asked for his thoughts on the tournament, Pete said, "It's great.  I got a pennant, a pardon and a Pacer.  What else could a man want?"

Pete, to answer your question, more APBA.  Roll on my friends.

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