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Only Me: Notes On Braves/Dodgers April 8, 1974-The Night Henry Hit It “OUT” Under the “Lights In Georgia”

April 14, 2021

One day all my knowledge and dedication to sports, however little important, will be recognized.

Alone, empty and up in the middle of the night, I ascertain these facts, you will not get elsewhere.

Some of you are bigots, many of you are successful and please realize, I do not dip into that horrible vat of thinking, though my personal life and non career, haunt me each and every day.

Without citing recent events, (when asked once, regarding recent events, Mr. Santasieri said they were “recent”), I cite Mr. Aaron started in left, not right, on the night he hit home run #715, to pass the great Babe Ruth, on April 8, 1974.

The eventual ’74 season, baseball runner up team, the L.A. Dodgers, had gone (15-2) with a tie vs the Braves in ’73. Atlanta (Braves) won that night by a (7-4) “tune.”

L.A. made 6 errors. The franchises were involved in great pennant races vs each other in both 1956 and 1959 and in at least one other year, that in 1982, the Braves clinching on the final day of the season, on which, Laura and Jeff Lovins wed.

There were only 3 games in the “bigs” that Monday April 8, 1974, involving the Yankees, Indians, Giants and Reds in addition to the Braves/Dodgers tilt.

Largely because of the Yankees, from (’47-’66) those teams combined to at least make all 20 World Series in that span, winning 17.

The Indians won it all in ’48, their last crown, also were swept by the Giants in ’54. The Braves won it all in ’57 and then lost in ’58, each W.S. vs the Yankees, who won 15 pennants in 18 seasons (10 titles) from ’47-’64. Meanwhile the Dodgers won 10 pennants and 4 titles in the 20 year/seasons span (’47-’66).

Finally, pitcher Buzz Capra finished the Atlanta win that historic night of Henry’s record breaking home run in April/1974, pitching 3 scoreless innings and fanning 6.

When the Dodgers clinched their first top finish in 8 years on baseball ’74’s penultimate “reg” game on October 1st, it was Capra, who pitched and finished in their first loss, that got the “spoiler” clinching win vs the Reds.

Capra’s first inning that April 8, 1974 night was the 7th, and he fanned Von Joshua and then Lee Lacy to start the frame.

When the A’s clinched their third straight crown to end baseball ’74, the great Roland Fingers (remember the Rolaids relief pitcher award and please at least consider Mr. Fingers, so long shamelessly denied the Hall of Fame, as baseball’s best relief pitcher ever. Unlike the man considered so by proclamation, (nobody is that great or clear cut!) Mo Rivera, Fingers never blew a big game. Rivera blew such games in ’97, ’01 (THE game, #7 W.S.) and ’04 and I maintain the Yankees would have won more titles, with a good but lesser relief pitcher, sans him. Of course he was great, maybe and in some ways, clearly, the best reliever, but again not by proclamation, especially when one considers the so overlooked Mr. Fingers) got Von Joshua to ground out Fingers to Fury “Gene” Tenace to end it.

In their next W.S. appearance in ’77, vs the Yankees, for a third straight time in that event, L.A. (Dodgers) lost. Mike Torrez got Lee Lacy on a pop up to him, to end the game.

By the way, in that historic game, Reggie Jackson made history with 3 home runs in that W.S. clinching game. Until that time, only Babe Ruth, who did it twice, was the only player to accomplish that feat. (Since Albert Pujols and Pablo Sandoval joined the list).

Jackson’s final at bat resulted in his third home run. He hit it off the Dodgers’ Charlie Hough. On April 8, 1974, two at bats after his historic home run vs one time Yankees’ pitcher, Al Downing, Aaron grounded out vs Charlie Hough.

One more, the next year, the Yankees again beat the Dodgers in the World Series. It ended when Ron Cey, 6th in the L.A. batting order (Garvey batted 7th, Bill Russell 8th that April 8, 1974 night), popped out to Thurman Munson.

It really ended for Munson, an arrogant, truly outstanding player, in a small plane crash on August 2, 1979, 11 years after my Aunt Jeanne died. There should be perspective there.

 

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