- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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The greatest game I've ever seen was the fifth and final one of the 1976 American League Championship Series. The Royals were an eight-year-old expansion team, playing in their first postseason and facing the Yankees in New York. George Brett homered for Kansas City in the top of the eighth inning to tie the score 6-6. Then, in the bottom of the ninth, Chris Chambliss homered off Mark Littell to win the game and the pennant for the Yankees. I was nine years old at the time, and I will never forget Al Cowens as he leaned against the rightfield wall and tossed his glove into the air in despair. It's the only time a sporting event has ever moved me to tears.
How can a team of baseball luminaries possibly put together a list of the greatest games they ever saw without including either Game 6 of the 1986 National League Championship Series or Game 6 of the '86 World Series? In the Championship Series the Mets rallied from three runs down in the top of the ninth to tie the score, the Astros tied it again in the 14th on a two-out homer by Billy Hatcher, and the Mets finally prevailed in the 16th inning to win the series and prevent Houston ace Mike Scott from getting a shot at pitching in Game 7. In the sixth game of the World Series, the Mets, having already come from behind in the eighth inning, overcame a two-run deficit in the bottom of the 10th to beat the Red Sox, thanks to Bob Stanley's wild pitch and Mookie Wilson's fateful grounder that went through Bill Buckner's legs. New York then went on to win Game 7.
Speaking of Buckner....
Lest Red Sox fans forget, Boston also squandered a 3-0 sixth-inning lead in Game 7.
Give me a break, all you Red Sox fans who can't forgive Buckner. This man was a great ballplayer. Without him Boston might not have been in the World Series. Instead of his wearing an E-3 on his chest everywhere he goes, Red Sox fans should encourage him to wear ALL-STAR, BATTING CHAMP, WORLD SERIES PLAYER.
A Summer Job
At 7:30 the next morning Williams appeared at the Hall for an early-morning meeting. Having read so many stories about his contentious nature, I was unsure what approach to take in congratulating him on his induction and for his eloquent speech. But Williams seemed quite humbled by his day and genuinely appreciative of my comments, responding with a warm smile and some words of thanks. His warmth has stayed with me to this day, and I want to thank him for giving me my favorite baseball memory.