Wednesday, January 26, 2011

GAME #7 - 1962 ALCS - Wagner's Power paints victory for Halos

GAME 7 - Dodgers Stadium - LAA 5, CHW 2
Juan Pizarro vs Ken McBride
With all the hyperbole surrounding game 7 the fans of this newly christened expansion club, the Angels, were just not sure how to react.  After 3 1/2 scoreless innings even the novice baseball fan began to feel the tension mount.  The home team was able to load up the bases with one out in the bottom of the 4th, but all Felix Torres could do was lift a sac fly to left to score Billy Moran.  The Angels had Pizarro on the ropes and more often than not when you squander those opportunities in big games it comes back to bite you.  This time however the bottom of the fourth served merely as the appetizer for the meal that was going to be served up by Pizarro in the 5th.  Buck Rodgers, who struck out to end game 6, opened the 5th with a clean single right back through the originator.  Albie Pearson, who was batting 8th today vs a lefty, showed he can hit anyone with a rocket to right center that culminated in a stand up RBI double.  LA was now up 2-0.  Pitcher Ken McBride, who was doing a wonderful job on the hill, grounded weakly to short for the first out.  Young Fregosi, who looks to be a star in the making, lined a single to left to score Pearson to make it 3-0.  Moran would ground to Smith at third for the second out and up came Leon Wagner.  Odds heavily favored the left handed Pizarro vs the lefty batting Wagner, who hit in the low .200's all year vs southpaws.  Today turned out to be the day that Wagner solved his portside jinx as he launched a mammoth opposite field homer to left center that only a man with power and timing could hit.  LA was now up 5-0 and as hard as it is for me to say it fans back in Chicago could have turned off their Dumont consoles and found other tasks at hand to be more rewarding than watching this agony.  Chicago threatened in the 6th but a tailor made DP by Hershberger ended an inning that netted just one run and started out looking like it had possibilities.  Tom Morgan would start the 9th for LA and easily get 2 quick outs.  Dom Zanni, the Chisox reliever, was allowed to hit for himself in a situation which his team looked to have thrown in the towel.  Morgan let his guard down and Zanni wound up with a Texas leaguer that flared into right center for hit.  Aparicio's one hopper to short was booted by Fregosi and Fox's single to center scored Zanni to make it 5-2, which shouldn't have panicked anyone, but after all the great comebacks in this series nothing could be taken for granted.  The Angels went to the pen one more time and this time it was veteran Don Lee who got the call.  Lee warmed up quickly and was ready to face Al Smith, who was sporting a 2-3 with a walk day.  On Lee's third offering Smith hit a one hop bullet back to the box that easily found Lee's glove.  The veteran righhander took three strides toward first, then flipped a perfectly timed underhand toss to Tom Burgess who was covering the bag to end the series.  The LA Angels improbable run to the 1962 AL Pennant would now setup the first ever All-SOCAL series as the Angels will face their landlord, the Dodgers in a series that will be played entirely in Dodger Stadium.  Just five years earlier major league baseball wasn't even played on the West Coast.  Now the World Series would be played in it's entirety here.  Boy has the world changed !
Angels win series 4-3.

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