- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Two rare plays by the Brooklyn catcher, similar in intent but dissimilar in execution, nearly transformed the big series between the Dodgers and the Braves last week. After tying the second game up in the ninth at 2-2, the Braves had loaded the bases with one out.
Walker whirled toward first and cocked his arm for the expected throw to double the batter. But Walker didn't throw. "The runner was in my line of fire and I sure wasn't going to throw the ball away in that spot."
Joe Adcock, who had been on second base when the play started, and thinking Walker was throwing to first, rounded third under a full head of steam and streaked for home. Walker waited, and although the impact of Adcock's stand-up charge was felt across the Jersey flats, he held onto the ball. The potential big inning was over, and the Dodgers went on to win by one run.
"How can I get mad at Joe? He's won us so many games," Manager Fred Haney philosophized afterward.
The next night the situation was the same but the cast was different. It was the top of the seventh and the Dodgers were leading 1-0. The Braves had the bases loaded and there was one out. This time the ball was hit to First Baseman Gil Hodges who threw quickly to Roy Campanella, now catching for the Dodgers. The runner from third was forced and Campy faked a throw to first. Sure enough, Wes Covington, the runner from second tonight, was drawn home.
Now the script changes. As Campy feinted, the ball inexplicably squirted from his hand and rolled aimlessly toward the empty pitcher's mound. The embarrassed Campanella could only watch Covington come over with the tying run.
"There was nothing funny about it at the time. That was my trick fake. Rube makes the play better because he's smarter. He doesn't have to think about it," growled Campanella.
The Dodgers, however, still won by one run.——L.W.