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Take me out to the ballgame!

October 26th, 2015 · No Comments · Books, Children, City Library, Events, Grades 6-12, Local History, Main Branch, News, NH Room, Teens, Trustees

“The trouble with baseball is that it is not played the year round.”

– Gaylord Perry, pitcher, 1991 Hall of Fame inductee, 5-time All Star

The Fall Classic. That time of year when the Boys of Summer look to wrap up the season and chase the dream of a championship ring. As we head into the pennant race and the start of the World Series, let’s take a look back at some memorable moments in the history of this pinnacle achievement of America’s pastime.


The first official World Series was held in 1903, pitting the Pittsburgh Pirates against the then Boston Americans (now the Red Sox). Boston won five games to three, in part due to the pitching of Cy Young.


No series was held in 1904, but during that winter, new rules were established and in 1905 the Series became an annual tradition.


One of the more infamous matchups was the 1919 Black Sox scandal, when seven players of the Chicago White Sox allegedly conspired to throw the World Series. Among the seven was Shoeless Joe Jackson, portrayed by Ray Liotta in the 1989 movie “Field of Dreams.”


Bill Wambsganss became the first and only player to make an unassisted triple play in a World Series in 1920. He was the second baseman for the Cleveland Indians that year and in their matchup with the Brooklyn Robins (later the Brooklyn Dodgers, now the LA Dodgers) Bill caught a line drive, stepped on 2nd for the putout and then tagged the runner coming towards him from 1st base.


While many regular season games had been played after dark since the first in 1935, the first scheduled night game of the World Series was October 13, 1971, at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, PA. The Pittsburgh Pirates won that game 4-3 over the Baltimore Orioles. That year, Roberto Clemente, right fielder for the Pirates, became the first Spanish-speaking MVP.


Game 6 of the 1975 Series, held on October 21 at Fenway Park in Boston, is considered by many to be the greatest game ever played. Boston beat the Cincinnati Reds in the 12th inning due to a walk off home run by New Hampshire’s own Carlton Fisk. The footage of him waving the ball to stay fair is still shown as one of the greatest plays in baseball. Cincinnati would go on to win the Series the next night.


The San Francisco Giants were scheduled to host the Oakland Athletics for game 4 of the 1989 series when the game had to be postponed due to an earthquake. The 7.1 magnitude quake struck as the players were warming up. Commissioner Fay Vincent rescheduled the game for ten days later, and Oakland ended up winning the game and the series.


It wasn’t until 1992 that the World Series actually became an international event when the Toronto Blue Jays won the American League pennant and faced the Atlanta Braves. The Blue Jays won four games to two that year, as well as in 1993 when they beat the Philadelphia Phillies by the same margin.


For more trivia about the Fall Classic, check out the Eric Enders book 100 years of the World Series.


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