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64 Years Since Willie Mays Catch And Throw

September 29, 2018

Sixty four years ago today, the New York Giants on their way to a 4 game sweep, defeated the Cleveland Indians (5-2) in the 1954 World Series opening game.

Dusty Rhodes’ pinch hit, tenth inning home run ended the game and note the World Series started 24 (a relevant number, it in view but more and more faint, as he raced in the words of the television broadcaster at the time, Jack Brickhouse, “way back in center field,”) days before it will start this year.

In defeat, Bob Lemon pitched the whole game. That feat has gone the way of the dinosaur, that not a good thing.

Cleveland squandered opportunities and as in any games there were vicissitudes.

Nothing one can see is available, but Willie Mays himself, the above referenced #24, one of baseball’s greatest players of his or any time, says he made better catches, one off the bat of Bobby Morgan, referenced the most often.

However, that game 1 of the ’54 Fall Classic will rightfully be remembered more for Mays’ over the shoulder catch of a drive hit off the bat of Vic Wertz (the only “failed” at bat in Mr. Wertz’ 4 for 5 game) and perhaps more important and difficult, the great throw by Willie, back to the infield.

Yes, as Mr. Brickhouse intoned “Doby is(was) able to go to third” referencing the often forgotten superb player, the first black man to play in the American League, but that throw, (subsequent and previous Cleveland failures and Mays himself walking and stealing second ahead of Rhodes’ blow all were factors), that play by that player will resonate across time because it was truly great and more than any other, ignited the truly improbable Giants’ 4 game sweep which yielded their last New York title and last franchise crown for 56 years.

Need I cite, 70 years have passed since the Cleveland Indians “titled.” They get another ‘offs crack, as they will be one of the eight teams entering quarterfinal series play.

Click below to view Willie’s catch with Jack Brickhouse’s masterful call.

Willie Mays makes “The Catch”, an amazing over-the-shoulder grab



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