Thursday, November 21, 2013

Round 1: Bosox hold on to defeat Bombers in 5

GAME 1 - Fenway Park
Stottlemyre vs Culp
Red Sox 2, Yankees 1
"Hawkish Feeling" Welcome to the mini-dead ball era of the late 1960's, which was also an era where the smoldering embers of the Yankee dynasty faded into mediocrity, while the dormant Red Sox nation began it's rebirth.  This bitter and historic rivalry features a number 4 seed (Boston) taking on a number 5 seed (New York).  To start things off the Yankees sent Mel Stottlemyre to the hill.  Mel had the misfortune of arriving on the scene in 1964 just in time for the final pennant this dynasty would win for 12 long years.  He would pitch for some of the most pedestrian Yankee teams in history and still look great.  Sadly for him his arm gave out just before the mini-dynasty of the late 1970's began.  Today Mel would duel Ray Culp for 9 innings where the teams finished hopelessly deadlocked with both offense posting just one lone run.  Boston would score in the 5th when Mike Andrews singled home the man with the gold capped tooth (George Scott).  Ray Culp would protect that lead until the top of the 8th when Tommy Tresh scored on a slow roller to third off the bat of Horace Clarke.  With runners on 2nd and 3rd the great Mickey Mantle hit an opposite field shot to left that narrowly missed hitting the green monster, and instead landing safely in Yaz' glove.  Both teams went nicely in the 9th as did the Yanks in 10th.  Dooley Womack replaced Mel in the top of the 10th. The first batter he faced, Andrews, singled to start things off.  Yaz then came up in a big spot and went down looking on strikes.  Joe Foy followed by working out a walk, which pushed Andrews into scoring position.  The Hawk, Ken Harrelson followed with a clean single to score Andrews and help Boston to draw first blood in this series between bitter rivals.
Boston leads series 1-0

Bahnsen vs Santiago
Red Sox 5, Yankees 4
"The Dalton Gang"

Boston scored 4 in the bottom of the first then held on for dear life to take a commanding two games to none lead over the Yanks.  Yankee starter Stan Bahnsen, who did go 7 innings gave up 4 of the 5 runs he allowed in the first to put his team in a deep hole.  New York battled back to a 2 run deficit entering the 9th.  By this time Red Sox starter Jose Santiago was gone and Landis was now on the hill to close it out, having rescued Lee Strange who gave up a run in the 8th.  A 2 out single by Bobby Cox put the Bombers 1 run away from tying it.  Andy Kosco came to the plate with a chance to tie the game, but struck out on 4 pitches to end it.  Dalton Jones, subbing for Scott at first base, was a perfect 3 for 3 with 2 RBI's and run scored hitting out of the 8 hole.  The Bombers out hit (10-8) the Sahx, but could not push across the big run when it was most sorely needed.
Boston leads series 2-0

GAME 3 - Yankee Stadium
G.Bell vs F.Peterson
New York 6, Boston 4
"Rag-edy Andy" Down two zip the Bombers headed home to the Bronx to try and stave off elimination.  The usually packed House that Ruth built barely had enough fans in it to make one think it was actually a game day.  By 1968 Yankee fans fully lost interest in the men in Pinstripe suits.  After 3 years of being out of contention and a litany of retirement they didn't have much to cheer for.  Still the faithful rooted hard for #7, who by this point was on his proverbial last legs.  That strong young boy from Oklahoma with the matinee idol gap toothed smile was now a broken down old man who went from paroling the largest centerfield in baseball to hacking his way around 1st base.  Yes fans still came to root on the Mick, but it would take a late arriving crowd off the IRT to make the crowd look like a crowd on what just might be his final game in pinstripes.  On the hill for the Bombers was left Fritz Peterson.  Boston would counter with Gary "Ding Dong" Bell.  The Bombers would score 3 runs over the first 2 innings and the Sahx would tie them by doing the same in innings 2 and 3.  New York would then get 3 in innings 4 and 5 to go up 6-3.  On the day Mantle would fly to deep right, walk, ground to second and hit a clean single in the 7th.  After rounding 1st the 20,000 or so that finally arrived gave him a huge ovation, as if they knew that this could be the end.  Lindy McDaniel would come on in relief and shut the door on the visitors from Beantown to allow the Bombers to live for another day.  Interestingly there were 3 homers hit on the day and they were all hit by the losing team.  New York scratched and clawed for their runs as the Bronx Bombers were now morphing into the Bronx bunters.  Andy Kosco, who made the final out in game 2, went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI's.  Every other Yankee starter had 1 hit.  Bell took the loss and Peterson got the win.
Boston leads series 2-1

Culp vs Stottlemyre
New York 3, Boston 1
"The Mick Says Goodbye"

The mumblings and rumors surround The Mick's pending retirement were all abuz on 161st and River Ave.  It has finally started to sink in that the mighty Mickey Mantle's meteoric career would finally be coming to an end either today here in the Bronx, tomorrow in Boston or somewhere down the road if the Yankees somehow came back from an 0-2 deficit to advance.  Yesterday's sparse crowd of 20,000 was replaced by a sellout crowd of over 67,000 at the Big Ball Orchard in the Bronx.  Signs and banners said, "Stay Mick, Stay", "We Love Mickey", #7 in the scorecard, #1 in our hearts...Truly today was not about a must win game, but more about a love fest for a man who came to town 17 years ago being billed as the next DiMaggio, and leaving sometime this year being known as simply "The Mick".  Today was his day to summon all those great powers out of his failing body and for one last time thrill the fans.  Going 2 for 4 and knocking in the eventual winning run are the types of endings that only Hollywood could write.  In this case it was written by a humble country boy who was the son of a coal miner from Commerce, Oklahoma.  Today, September 23rd 1968 will forever be know in these parts as Mickey Mantle day.  The day he said goodbye to the fans in the Bronx on his own terms.
Series tied 2-2

GAME 5 - Fenway Park
Bahnsen vs Ellsworth
Boston 8, New York 6
"This Land-is your land" With the lovefest for "the Mick" in the Bronx behind us everyone began focusing on this epic series which was now entering a decisive winner take all game 5 up in Fenway.  Could the Yankees rally from an 0-2 series deficit to finish off the comeback and win 3 in a row and eliminate the Sahx, or would Boston right the ship and move on to the next round.  At the end of 7 innings with the score 8-1 Boston it looked like a sure thing for the home town boys.  Bylines were already written and celebrations on Newbury street were already taking place.  Beating the hated Yankees in a playoff series was one thing, but blowing them out of the building was another.  Boston fans were eating this up alive until the top of the 8th when New York batted around and scored 5 runs to make it a 2 run game.  At that point you could hear a pin drop.  Fenway was just that quiet, especially after pinch hitter Joe Pepitone hit a 3 run shot into the bullpen in right center.  Could New York come back and win it ?  After reliever Jim Lonborg gave away 5 runs in the 8th, Boston went to reliever Bill Landis who shut the door on the Yankees by striking out 3 of the final 4 batters to end it.  Boston wins, but it didn't come easy.  Hawk Harrelson (2-4) had 4 RBI's and homer to pace Boston's 12 hit attack.  The Mick (2-5) was greeted with cheers from the Boston crowd, who boed every other Yankees.  Sadly for the Mick, Hollywood endings don't happen every day.  With 2 out in the 9th he struck out swinging on a 1-2 pitch in the dirt to end the game, series and a legendary career.
Boston wins series 3-2
Click here to view Series Box Scores

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