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100 Years Of The World Series

October 23, 2003|Houston Mitchell

UNLIKELY STARS

* Howard Ehmke, 1929, Philadelphia Athletics

vs. Chicago Cubs

Game 1 of the 1929 Series was the scene of perhaps the most unorthodox strategy in Series history. Rather than start Lefty Grove, the best pitcher in the American League, A's Manager Connie Mack went with veteran Ehmke, who pitched only 55 innings in the regular season. Ehmke fooled the Cubs all day, giving up only one unearned run and striking out a then-Series record 13, in a 3-1 A's victory.

* Jimmie Wilson, 1940, Cincinnati vs. Detroit

Wilson, who had a nice playing career as a catcher, was hired as a coach by the Reds before the 1939 season. He got an opportunity to play again at the end of the 1940 season when an injury to starting catcher Ernie Lombardi and the death of backup Willard Hershberger caused the Reds to ask Wilson to go behind the plate again. At 40, after playing in only 16 regular-season games, he caught six of seven World Series games against the Tigers, batted .353, and stole the only base of the Series.

* Dusty Rhodes, 1954, New York Giants

vs. Cleveland

In the bottom of the 10th of Game 1, pinch-hitter Rhodes won the game for the Giants with a three-run homer. He knocked in two of New York's three runs in a Game 2 victory. He finished the Series with four hits in six at-bats, two homers and seven RBIs.

* Johnny Podres, 1955, Brooklyn

vs. New York Yankees

On a team with Don Newcombe and Carl Erskine, you wouldn't figure on Podres, who had the worst earned-run average of the four main starters on the staff, to pitch Game 7. But he did, and he pitched a shutout, his second victory of the Series.

* Gene Tenace, 1972, Oakland vs. Cincinnati

Expecting their power to come from Reggie Jackson, Sal Bando and Joe Rudi, the A's instead were led by Tenace, who homered twice in a 3-2 Game 1 victory. Tenace also knocked in the eventual winning run in a 3-2 Game 7 victory. He hit four homers in the Series and drove in nine of Oakland's 16 runs.

* Bernie Carbo, 1975, Boston vs. Cincinnati

Everyone talks about Fisk's game-winning homer in Game 6, but few recall that Carbo, who began his career with the Reds, rallied the Red Sox from a 6-3 deficit in the bottom of the seventh with a pinch-hit, three-run homer.

* Brian Doyle, 1978, New York Yankees

vs. Dodgers

When second baseman Willie Randolph was injured near the end of the season, the Yankees turned to Doyle, figuring his glove would make up for his anemic bat. A career .161 hitter, Doyle led all players with a .438 average in the Series, including six hits in the final two games of the Yankees' 4-2 Series win.

* Mickey Hatcher, 1988, Dodgers vs. Oakland

Hatcher was pressed into service in left field by Kirk Gibson's various injuries. He immediately made his presence felt, giving the Dodgers a 2-0 lead in the first inning of Game 1 with a two-run homer. Hatcher, who had one homer in the regular season, hit two in the Series to go along with a .368 batting average.

* Jim Leyritz, 1996, New York Yankees vs. Atlanta

Trailing, 6-3, in the bottom of the eighth inning of Game 4, Yankee Manager Joe Torre sent Leyritz to the plate as a pinch-hitter with two men on. Leyritz hit a Mark Wohlers fastball over the fence for a tying three-run homer. The Yankees went on to win the game, and they won the Series in six games.

* Scott Spiezio, 2002, Angels vs. San Francisco

It is the greatest comeback in World Series history by a team facing elimination, and Spiezio is the one who started it. With the Angels trailing, 5-0, in the bottom of the seventh of Game 6, Troy Glaus and Brad Fullmer singled. Spiezio then hit one just over the fence in right to cut the Angel deficit to 5-3. The Angels scored three more times in the eighth for the win, then went on to win Game 7 and the Series.

-- Houston Mitchell

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