Saturday, October 18, 2014

MLB Postseason - Giant Royalty

by: Dan Howard
Staff Writer

It may sound a bit cheesy, but I’m a little disappointed that San Francisco’s play-by-play radio announcer Jon Miller (who should still be on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball) didn’t yell “The Giants win the Pennant” several times after Travis Ishikawa’s dramatic pennant winning home run like Russ Hodges did back in 1951 when Bobby Thompson hit the “shot heard ‘round the world” back in 1951.

Useless trivia; Russ Hodges jubilant description of Bobby Thompson’s blast is by far the most recognizable and arguably the greatest play by play call in sports history. Did you know that there were four different broadcast of that immortal game? Hodges was working for New York based WMCA-AM radio, the Giants flagship station. Ernie Harwell historically covered the game for NBC television, which was the first ever nationwide televised baseball game. Former Cincinnati Reds broadcaster Red Barber was working for the Brooklyn Dodgers, while little known radio network, Liberty Broadcasting System, broadcast the game nationally with Gordon McLendon behind the microphone. Prior to this digital age of recording, the only surviving copy of Russ Hodges legendary description belonged to the Miley Collection of Evansville Indiana.
I feel sorry for Baltimore manager Buck Showalter who, I’m afraid, is slowly becoming known as the best manager to never win a championship.

For the first time since 2002 two wild card teams will battle for baseball immortality. What a difference a year makes, last year the Red Sox and Cardinals tied for baseball’s best record at 97 – 65.

The Kansas City Royals are one win away from tying the record for most consecutive postseason wins at 12. The New York Yankees twice won twelve straight postseason games, from 1927 to 1932 and from 1998 to 1999. Prior to 1969, the league champion was determined by the season’s best record, and those teams squared off in the World Series.

If you’re scratching your head about the Royals eleven game streak, Kansas City trailed St. Louis in the 1985 World Series three games to one prior to storming back to win the title.

There have been several pennants, and two world championships won on a walk off home run, but the Reds are the only team to win a pennant on a walk off wild pitch, in 1972.

Had our beloved Reds not lost game 1 of the 1990 National League Championship Series, Cincinnati may well hold the playoff consecutive winning streak at 16. Going into the 1990 playoffs the Reds had won eight straight playoff games dating back to game 7 of the 1975 World Series. After losing game 1, 4 – 3 to Pittsburgh, a game the Reds led 3 – 0 early, Cincinnati reeled off three straight wins before falling in game 5. We all know what happened when the Reds faced Oakland in the Fall Classic.

More Useless Trivia; the Reds pitching was so dominant during the 1990 World Series, the vaunted Oakland Athletics offense never scored a run past the third inning in any of the four games.

Memo to Reds management; small ball wins championships. Look at the Kansas City Royals, prior to this playoff run, how many of you outside of Missouri knew any of their players? The Royals formula is simple, outstanding defense, shut down bullpen (no one named J.J. Hoover), blazing speed, and clutch hitting. Sure the big boppers who hit tape measure home runs is great, and it puts people in the seats, but exactly how many World Championships did Cincinnati win with Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr.? (As my friend in England would say – “naught”.)

I hope, during 2015, the Reds will recognize the 75th, 40th, and 25th, anniversary of three of their five World Championships. For the 2015 season I plan to do arandom “This Week in 1940, 1975, and 1990” column as part of my weekly posts.

Have a blessed week. GO BUCKEYES!!!!!

Dan Howard

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