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100 YEARS OF THE WORLD SERIES

The Disappointments

A selection of gaffes, affronts, miscues and letdowns from the history of the World Series:

October 20, 2003|Houston Mitchell

* 1919 White Sox

It's hard to get more disappointing than players on a team losing the World Series on purpose.

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* Mickey Owen's passed ball, 1941, Game 4, Brooklyn vs. New York Yankees

The Dodgers had a 4-3 lead after eight innings. Relief pitcher Hugh Casey retired the first two Yankees in the ninth, leaving the Dodgers one out away from evening the Series at two games apiece. Casey then struck out Tommy Henrich ... but the ball got by catcher Owen (who was charged with a passed ball), and Henrich scampered to first base. That opened the floodgates, as Charlie Keller and Joe Gordon eventually rapped two-run doubles, propelling the Yankees to an improbable 7-4 victory. They then won Game 5 and the Series.

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* Gil Hodges, 1952, Brooklyn vs. New York Yankees

After hitting 32 homers and driving in 104 runs during the season, Hodges was hitless in 21 at-bats during the 1952 Series, stranding several runners in scoring position as the Dodgers lost the Series in seven games.

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* Willie Davis' three errors, 1966, Game 2, Dodgers vs. Baltimore

Davis was a three-time Gold Glove winner, but you couldn't tell by this game. The Orioles took a 3-0 lead in the fifth, all three runs unearned as a result of three errors by center fielder Davis, who lost two balls in the sun and also made a wild throw. The Orioles would sweep the Series.

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* A's owner Charlie Finley makes second baseman Mike Andrews file false affidavit, 1973, Oakland vs. New York Mets

The Mets had won Game 2, 10-7, when they scored four unearned runs in the 12th inning, thanks to two errors by Andrews. Before Game 3, Finley attempted to remove Andrews from the roster, claiming the player was injured, and even made Andrews sign an affidavit attesting to the injury. Finley put Andrews on the disabled list anyway, but Commissioner Bowie Kuhn ordered Andrews reinstated, and the A's went on to win the Series in seven games.

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* Eddie Murray, 1979, Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh

Murray, the Oriole first baseman, was on base seven of his first eight times at bat as Baltimore took a 3-1 Series lead. But he then went hitless in his last 21 at-bats as the Orioles lost the Series in seven games.

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* Don Denkinger's blown call, 1985, Game 6, Kansas City vs. St. Louis

The Cardinals had a 3-2 Series lead and led the Royals, 1-0, as the bottom of the ninth began in Game 6. Pinch-hitter Jorge Orta led off with a slow roller to first baseman Jack Clark, who tossed to reliever Todd Worrell at the bag, apparently in time to retire Orta. But umpire Denkinger called Orta safe. Numerous replays showed Orta was out on a play that wasn't really that close. One missed pop foul, two singles, one out and an intentional walk later, pinch-hitter Dane Iorg drove a soft liner to right field, scoring Onix Concepcion and Jim Sundberg with the tying and winning runs. The Royals went on to win Game 7 and the Series.

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* Jose Canseco/Mark McGwire, 1988

The "Bash Brothers" were supposed to make Dodger pitchers look like Little Leaguers, and it looked as if that would be the case when Canseco hit a grand slam in Game 1. But that was Canseco's only hit of the Series, and McGwire had only one hit (the game-winning homer in Game 3) as they combined to go two for 36 (.056). The Dodgers won in five games.

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* 1994 World Series canceled

OK, so which really is worse, a team throwing a World Series as the 1919 White Sox did, or the World Series being canceled, as it was in 1994, because of a labor dispute?

-- Houston Mitchell

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