GREAT MOMENTS IN STRAT
WHAT TEAM IS THE BEST OF THE ‘70s?
I am currently in the middle of a 36-team 1970s tournament. I have finished all 4 play-in series, all 16 first round series, and so far one of 8 second round series. I will feature one first round series but also a few other highlights:
1) The NL #1 seed 1975 Reds got trounced by the AL #16 seed 1979 Angels three straight games before rallying for four straight wins to take the series.
2) The AL #7 seed 1971 Orioles and NL #10 seed 1973 Mets went extra innings in the decisive game 7 before the Orioles walked off on an outfield error.
3) In a pivotal game 5 in the first round with the series tied 2-2, the NL #12 seed 1972 Pirates trailed the AL #5 seed 1978 Yankees (and 25-3 Ron Guidry) 4-0, rallied a little but still trailed 7-4 going in to the bottom of the 9th, then rallied for 4 runs off Goose Gossage to stun the Bronx Bombers. The Pirates took the series with an extra inning game 6 win.
4) In a second-round series, the NL #6 1974 Dodgers trailed the NL #5 Reds In the series 2 games to none, then took game 3 15-1. In game 4 they trailed 4-2 before rallying for 5 runs in the 7th to win 7-5. In game 5, they trailed 4-1 through 7 and a half innings before a monster 4 run rally in the bottom of the eighth to stun the Reds 5-4. In game 6 they trailed 6-0 after 8 innings before a miraculous (yet again) 6-run rally in the top of the 9th and took the series with a 10-inning 8-6 win.
But the best of the 21 series so far was the AL #6 seed 1974 A’s against the NL #11 seed 1977 Phillies:
Game 1: Trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the 9th, the A’s tie the game with solo home runs by Joe Rudi and Sal Bando. Philly prevails in a 16-inning marathon, 5-4.
Game 2: The A’s walk off the Phillies 4-3 on a Gene Tenace 9th-inning double.
Game 3: The A’s score four runs in the top of the first, but after 9 innings, the game is tied 5-5. The A’s plate 2 runs in the top of the 11th but the Phillies answer with 2 runs in the bottom of the 11th. The A’s prevail 8-7 with a 12th inning run.
Game 4: Trailing 2-0 in the 9th, Gene Tenace doubles home two runs. But the Phillies walk off in the 10th on Greg Luzinski’s single.
Game 5: The A’s and Phillies are tied 1-1 after 7 innings. The A’s score a fun in the top of the 8th but the Phillies match it with a run of their own in the bottom of the 8th. The A’s retake the lead with a run in the 9th, but a 2 out single in the bottom of the 9th by Ted Sizemore breaks the A’s hearts and sends the game into the 4th extra inning game in 5 games (the other game was a bottom of the 9th walk off win). The Phillies walk off when Garry Maddox singles home the winning run in the 12th.
Game 6: The Phillies break a 2-2 tie with a run in the 7th and take the series with a 3-2 win.
All six games were decided by 1 run, there were 4 extra-inning games and a 5th decided with a walk-off run in the bottom of the 9th. Three of the 6 games were walk-off wins.
Cary Cardinale, Lincoln, CA
FIRST BORN (Just turned six a week earlier) vs. OLD MAN (1st ever Strat-O-Matic baseball matchup) … She selects the Jays and sends David Price to the hill in Kansas City. I counter with Chris Young.
Right away, Ben Revere becomes an issue for the Royals. He singles right back through the box to lead off the game and then steals second. Donaldson singles and I’m already down 1-0. Joey Bats K’s and Double E hits into a double play and things don’t look so bad for me. I can only muster a Eric Hosmer single and a free base for hitting Alex Gordon through the first four innings and it stands Jays 1, Royals 0 through 4.
In the top of the fifth, Goins singles after a Pillar flyout bringing up Revere again. He’s already 2 for 2 with 2 stolen bases. He singles again and there’s runners on the corners with one out and MVP Donaldson up to bat. After Revere swipes his third bag of the day, Alcides Escobar muffs one at short and it’s 2-0 Jays. Joey Bats walks and the sacks are drunk for Double E. Consecutive walks to Encarnacion and Smoak make it 4-0 and I’ve seen enough of Young. Kelvin Herrera comes in and K’s Tulo and Martin to end the inning. Mike Moustakas leads off the bottom of the fifth with a Jack and through five innings it’s Jays 4, Royals 1.
With the score still 4-1 Jays in the bottom of the eighth, Alex Gordon leads off with a single. Alex Rios and and Ben Zobrist fly out but Escobar and Lorenzo Cain draw walks to load the bases with two out. My daughter doesn’t like to hear from the pitching coach that Price is done and reluctantly goes and gets him with fresh information that the next batter is left handed and she has a pitcher in her bullpen that gets left handers out. Brett Cecil enters versus Eric Hosmer. A triple into the right field corner clears the bases, ties the game and gets Dad talkin’ in the dugout. The I’m-winning-I’m-beating-Dad attitude is gone. It is replaced by singing Rudolph while holding a red game die to her nose. Kendrys Morales grounds out and we’re tied at four through eight.
Both teams go three up three down in the ninth and we’re off to extra innings against a tight time restraint for lunch and a shower before a play date later in the day pre-scheduled by the league for Toronto’s manager.
Tulowitzki gets plunked for the second time and Russell Martin singles but Kevin Pillar flies out to end the threat, The Royals bullpen has combined for 5 2/3 innings of two hit shutout baseball through the tenth. Tulo boots a grounder from Rios and Escobar bunts him over but Zobrist and Cain ground out. Through 19 innings, Jays 4, Royals 4.
The Royals turn to their seventh pitcher of the game, Luke Hochevar in the 11th. He walks Ryan Goins, but Revere’s bunt attempt is popped up for the first out. Donaldson singles and Bautista lines out bringing up Encarnacion with two on and two out. Excited again, Toronto’s manager celebrates a two-run double by Double E and the Jays take a 6-4 lead in to the bottom of the eleventh. Roberto Osuna comes back for his second inning of work and after a Hosmer single and a wild pitch by Osuna, I have a runner in scoring position and the tying run at the plate. Osuna then gets Morales, Moustakas and Salvador Perez in order and that’s it.
FIRST BORN 1 DAD 0 (Best of ?)
TOR 6 9 1 (11 innings)
KC 4 6 1
Jays 6 WP: Osuna Price (7.2 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 6 K, 4 ER)
Revere (3-6, 2 runs, 3 SB)
Royals 4 LP: Hochevar Young (4.1 IP, 5 H, 5 BB, 5 K, 4 R, 1 ER)
HR: Moustakas Hosmer (3-5, 3 RBI)