The “Fall Classic”

 

Carlton Fisk hits historic walk-off homerun in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series.
Carlton Fisk hits historic walk-off homerun in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series.

Mike Moffett

 by Mike Moffett
Weirs Times Columnist

The World Series is upon us—a belated reminder of how the Red Sox so-teased us with such a strong regular season finish only to be swept out of the playoffs by Terry Francona’s Cleveland Indians. Many of us were anticipating a special October with Boston again participating in a Fall Classic that would hopefully pit the Sox against Theo Epstein’s Chicago Cubs. Alas and alack.
Still, the World Series deserves at least the partial attention of local sports fans—while gearing up for the next Patriots game.
While Super Sunday has certainly eclipsed the Fall Classic in terms the ultimate American sports event, the World Series does bring back poignant memories of Octobers past. And while many of those Octobers involved the Yankees, we DO have those special Red Sox memories.
Next year marks the 50th Anniversary of Boston’s Impossible Dream season and its improbable participation in the 1967 World Series. Back then every World Series game was played during the day, and schools and businesses throughout New England were distracted if not shut down by everyone trying to get the latest score. Boston eventually fell to the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 7.
It’s also been over 40 years since the 1975 Boston/Cincinnati Fall Classic and those wonderful Game 6 home runs by Bernie Carbo and Carlton Fisk—perhaps the greatest game ever played. Boston then fell in Game 7.
It’s been 30 years since the epic 1986 World Series. Again it was Game 6 that defined that classic confrontation with the New York Mets. Boston was a strike away from the championship before the Mets rallied for three runs in the bottom of the 9th inning. Boston then fell in Game 7.
More recent October memories are happier. Most readers remember exactly where they were in 2004 when pitcher Keith Foulke fielded Edgar Renteria’s groundball and threw to Doug Mientkiewicz for the final out in St. Louis as the BoSox won their first title in 86 years.
Boston followed up with wins in 2007 over the Colorado Rockies and 2013 over the Cardinals. Thank you Big Papi.
So while 2016 ended in disappointment, it’s always fun to share a bit of the excitement with fans from cities that DO get to participate in the Fall Classic—especially cities that aren’t used to success.
While much was made of the Red Sox World Series title drought, the Chicago White Sox had a longer dry spell, having gone without a title for 88 years—from 1917 until they beat Roger Clemens’ Houston Astros for the 2005 title. Yes, the Astros were once in a World Series. In fact, every franchise but two has made the Fall Classic at least once—including the Milwaukee Brewers (1982), the Arizona Diamondbacks (2001), the Anaheim Angels (2002) and the Tampa Rays (2008). Even the Florida Marlins claimed a couple World Series triumphs (1997 and 2003).
And while the much-maligned Chicago Cubs may not have won a World Series since 1908, they HAVE played in ten Fall Classics.
The Yankees, of course, have played in 40 World Series, winning 27 for a percentage of .675, just ahead of Boston’s .667 (8-4). The Giants have played in 20 World Series (8-12) while the Cards have played in 19 (11-8).
Then there are the Cleveland Indians, who can claim only two World Series triumphs—most recently in 1948. One has to empathize a bit with that franchise and with its lone New Hampshire fan.
As for our Beloved BoSox … just wait ‘till next year!

Sports Quiz
What ARE those two MLB franchises that have never participated in a World Series? (Answer follows)

Born Today …
That is to say, sports standouts born on Oct. 20 include Yankee baseball slugger Mickey Mantle (1931) and Hall-of-Fame pitcher Juan Marichal (1937).

Sportsquote
“A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall.” – Notre Dame football coach Frank Leahy

Sportsquiz Answer
Neither the Seattle Mariners nor the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals have ever been to a World Series.

Michael Moffett is a Professor of Sports Management for Plymaouth State University and NHTI-Concord, while also teaching on-line for New England College. He co-authored the critically-acclaimed and award-winning “FAHIM SPEAKS: A Warrior-Actor’s Odyssey from Afghanistan to Hollywood and Back” (with the Marines)—which is available through Amazon.com. His e-mail address is mimoffett@comcast.net.


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