I’m watching another of the mostly spectacular ESPN series ‘30 for 30,’ with the 2004 ALCS featured in “Four Days in October,” a look back at the Red Sox comeback from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Yankees in the ALCS. As I watched the Dave Roberts Game Four stolen base unfurl, it struck me as to how memorable October can be.
Talk about moments that are just branded into the brain. Here in St. Louis, everyone remembers where they were when Ozzie hit his home run in 1985. We remember the situation, who the pitcher was, what the day looked like…as if it were an October day yesterday rather than twenty-five years ago.
The same with Jack Clark’s homer in Game Six. We remember what Dodger stadium looked like, what we thought when Tommy Lasorda didn’t walk The Ripper, and how we reacted when Clark ripped the ball over the left field wall and Pedro Guerrero threw his glove down when the ball cleared the wall.
There are so many more. I remember Bob Forsch knocking Jeffrey Leonard down in San Francisco after Leonard had homered three times in the first three games, and hot dogged around the bases with a “one flap down” trot. San Francisco had won Game Two, evening the series with a 5-0 win in St. Louis, and led 4-0 in Game Three. In the fifth, Forsch hit Leonard, then got out of a bases loaded jam. The Cardinals rallied for a 6-5 win, and went on to win the series in seven. After being hit, Leonard went 4-14 the rest of the way.
Who can forget Adam Wainwright striking out Carlos Beltran to end the 2006 NLCS? Or Wainwright getting Brandon Inge to end the World Series? Or Bruce Sutter striking out a gritty Gorman Thomas to end the 1982 Series?
There was the Yankees’ Aaron Boone beating Boston with a homer that won the 2003 ALCS. Who can forget the Bill Buckner game at Shea Stadium in 1986? Roger Clemens leaving the mound…and presumably baseball…to a standing ovation in Florida in 2003? The incredible Yankee wins over Arizona in 2001, after the 9/11 attacks? And Luis Gonzalez’ game winning hit for Arizona in that series?
Kirk Gibson’s dramatic, upper deck homer off Goose Gossage in 1984? Or Gibson’s memorable blast for the Dodgers to win Game One over Oakland in 1988? The Don Denkinger call? The Yankee rally from a 6-0 deficit in game four 1996 World Series, highlighted by Jim Leyritz’ homer off Mark Wohlers that tied it and sent it to extra innings? And then, Wade Boggs riding the horse and Joe Torre crying after New York had won.
Chris Chambliss’ homer off Whitey Herzog’s Royals to win the 1976 ALCS. Reggie Jackson’s three-homer game against the Dodgers in 1978. Kirby Puckett’s “we’ll see you tomorrow night” homer against Atlanta in ’91. Carlton Fisk waving his home run fair against the Reds in 1975. Barry Bonds looooong homer and heroic performance in a World Series loss to the Angels in 2002. The incredible sixteen inning Game Six of the 1986 NLCS in which the Mets advanced against Houston.
And, to conclude that Red Sox run in 2004, Keith Foulke throwing out Edgar Renteria to end an 86-year championship drought that ended the Curse of the Bambino.
So many moments that are there in any intense baseball fan’s mind’s eye. It’s amazing how we can so vividly envision those instances. It’s amazing.
And we’re in for another fall of them. My partner Bob Ramsey calls these the high holy days…and he’s right. I can’t wait for baseball to give me more memories this October.