Game 7: This Club Makes a Guy Proud Just to Be Part of It ...
We'd read the Post-Gazette yesterday -- you bet we did. We'd read where Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle said the Yanks are a better club than we are, and that regardless of who won the World Series they'd still be the better club.
Well, don't tell me the Yanks got a better club than we do. If Berra and Mantle still think so, they're welcome to their opinion. We've got the winning check and they've got the losers opinions.
This World Series victory was one of the greatest team efforts I ever saw. Every man in the club played in the series. Smitty comes off the bench and gives us the lead with a home run that Mantle himself might have hit. I saw it take off and I said, "Oh, baby, they'll catch you in Russia."
Maz is eighth in the batting order, a spot that doesn't exactly rank him as the greatest hitter of all time, yet he comes up after the Yanks have tied the score in the ninth, and bam! I said, "get out of here, you rotten, stinking, beautiful baseball."
I tell you, this is a ball club that makes a guy burst with pride just to be a part of it. All season long we came back and came back. In that seventh game yesterday we gave 120 percent.
Man, you talk about tension -- this was the worst tension I've ever experienced. I mean, there's little Harvey Haddix making that long walk from the bullpen with two runners aboard in the ninth and nobody out. I said to him: "Dammit, Harv, we've come this far. Let's get those guys out of here and go home."
Harvey is as cool as a fish on ice. He's just chomping on his gum and saying to himself, "well, I've got Maris up there and I just better pitch him low and see what happens."
Well, Harvey did just that, and you can read about the rest in the baseball writers' stories.
I don't have to be psychic to know that some of those stories are going to say we were lucky. They'll go back to that eighth inning when Bill Virdon hit a hard double play bouncer that hopped up and smashed Tony Kubek in the Adam's apple. They'll say it took that lucky break to start our rally.
Certainly we got a lucky break. That wasn't the only one we got either.
But how about the Yanks? How about the sixth inning when they got four runs -- when Mickey Mantle gets a single on a roller that Dick Groat touches with his glove but can't stop because the ball is hit two inches too far to his left?
How about the eighth inning when Skowron helps them get a couple of runs with an infield single that takes an elevator hop?
They had another break in that ninth inning when, with Mantle on first, Berra grounds to Rocky Nelson, who steps on first but fails to get a double play because Mantle makes a nifty slide to get back to first without being tagged.
The game would have been over and we'd have won, 9-8, but Mantle made a beautiful sneak back to first. I don't mean that was lucky. It was a lucky break for the Yank team.
The story is this: The Yanks weren't able to win with their breaks, but we were. We're the champs. Now let the experts replay the game or the whole doggone Series, but we're still the champs. We did it with some luck, yes, but mostly with guts.
First Published October 13, 2010 12:00 am