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A CALIFORNIA SPLIT FOR OPENERS
Ron Fimrite
October 21, 1974
Against a slightly zany backdrop cluttered with Frisbees, fistfights, lawsuits and at least one goddess, the World Series got under way, each team squeezing out a victory
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October 21, 1974

A California Split For Openers

Against a slightly zany backdrop cluttered with Frisbees, fistfights, lawsuits and at least one goddess, the World Series got under way, each team squeezing out a victory

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The A's final—and deciding—run came in the eighth, which Campaneris led off with a single. He was sacrificed to second by Bill North and he ran all the way home when Dodger Third Baseman Ron Cey threw wildly to first base after fielding Sal Bando's high bouncer.

A home run, a squeeze play, an opponent's error: three runs. As usual, the A's hit not often but well, leaving only six runners on base, half as many as the Dodgers, who were able to score only when the A's erred.

With one out in the fifth inning, speedy Dave Lopes reached first when Campaneris bobbled his ground ball. Bill Buckner then bounced a single over First Baseman Gene Tenace's head into right field, and when Jackson, attempting to field the ball barehanded, fumbled it, Lopes scurried home.

"When I missed the ball Lopes was rounding second," Jackson recalled. "The next thing I knew he was crossing home plate. He must have a jet on him somewhere."

The Dodgers scored for the last time in the ninth when Jim Wynn hit a home run that might not have cleared the fence had not Leftfielder Joe Rudi and Centerfielder North collided in pursuit of it. The ball actually ticked off North's outstretched glove.

"If we hadn't run into each other," said North, "either of us could have had it."

When Steve Garvey followed Wynn's homer with a single to right field, Dark replaced Fingers—who had replaced Holtzman in the fifth inning—with the potential defector, Hunter. Catfish promptly ended the game by striking out the powerful Joe Ferguson.

"It was the perfect time to bring the Catfish in," said Dark in self-congratulation. "He isn't scheduled to pitch until Tuesday. We wouldn't have brought him in earlier, but with only one out to go, we figured he was our man."

The first game had gone pretty much as many knowledgeable baseball people had expected. The Dodgers did most of the hitting but not most of the scoring. The A's played with their usual economy of effort, doing just enough to win. On the field the Dodgers are the more spectacular team—both good spectacular and bad spectacular. If Cey's error cost them the game, a phenomenal throw immediately afterward by Rightfielder Ferguson kept them in it for the moment. Bando reached third on the Cey error, and after Jackson lofted a fly ball to right center he tagged up with every expectation of scoring. Centerfielder Wynn had called for the ball, but he has had arm problems all year that have sorely restricted his throwing. So Ferguson stepped in front of him to make the catch, reasoning that his was the more reliable throwing arm. As Bando raced for the plate, Ferguson uncorked a 300-foot strike to Catcher Steve Yeager. The ball reached the plate on the fly well ahead of the base runner. Bando tried to bowl Yeager over, but the catcher held fast. Bando was an easy out.

"That," said Wynn in wonder, "was the best throw I've ever seen."

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