Results tagged ‘ 1978 World Series ’

Classic stories from Paul Blair

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

The gold ring on his pinkie finger sparkled in the morning sun as Paul Blair signed one autograph after another.

03-19-10-Muder_Blair.jpgSome remembered Blair as the Gold Glove centerfielder of the 1960s and 70s Baltimore Orioles. Others recalled him as the super-sub on the New York Yankees’ title teams of 1977 and 1978.

But all the fans who lined up to purchase tickets for the Hall of Fame Classic on Saturday enjoyed listening to Blair’s stories – and eagerly anticipated his appearance in the Father’s Day legends game at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown.

Blair, who will join Hall of Famers Gary Carter, Bob Feller, Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage, Harmon Killebrew, Phil Niekro and Ozzie Smith at the June 20 Classic, posed for pictures and signed balls and caps for fans waiting to purchase tickets at the Baseball Hall of Fame. The four-time World Series champion was easily identifiable with his 1978 World Series ring, but admitted that the 1966 title he won as a member of the Orioles is his favorite baseball memory.

“We beat the Dodgers, not by scoring a bunch of runs but by playing winning baseball,” said Blair, an eight-time Gold Glove centerfielder. “We shut them out for the final 33 innings of that World Series because our pitchers had two goals when they went to the mound: Don’t walk anyone, and keep the ball in the ballpark. They knew if they did that, we’d make the plays behind them.”

03-22-10-Muder_Blair2.jpgBlair’s fifth-inning home run in Game 3 of the 1966 World Series provided the only run in a 1-0 Orioles’ win, putting Baltimore up 3-games-to-0 and effectively clinching the Series. He would finish his 17-year big league career with two All-Star Game appearances and more than 1,500 hits. Only seven players have ever won more Gold Gloves for their outfield play.

This summer, however, Blair expects to man the infield at the Hall of Fame Classic on Father’s Day.

“I started as an infielder, and that’s where I’m playing now,” said the 66-year-old Blair, who today carries a six handicap on the golf course. “I’m looking forward to coming back in June.”

Participants the Hall of Fame’s Membership Program can purchase tickets for the June 20 Hall of Fame Classic exclusively through March 28 by calling 1-866-849-7770 or visiting www.baseballhall.org. For more information about becoming a Member, please visit http://www.baseballhall.org.

Any tickets remaining on March 29 will be made available to the general public.

Craig Muder is director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Rock-tober comes to an end

Hayes_90.jpgBy Trevor Hayes

While Jim Tracy’s Colorado Rockies won’t join the likes of Jack McKeon’s 2003 Florida Marlins and Hall of Famer Bob Lemon‘s 1978 Yankees, the skipper certainly made headlines before his team was eliminated from the playoffs on Monday by the defending World Champion Phillies.

10-13-09-Hayes_Lemon.jpgBoth Lemon and McKeon, however, claimed the unique accomplishment of leading their team to a World Series title during a season in which they didn’t start the year as that team’s manager.

Lemon, elected to the Hall of Fame as a pitcher in 1976, was hired by the Yankees shortly after the White Sox fired him in the summer of 1978. His new team trailed the Red Sox by nine-and-a-half games when Lemon was hired on July 25, but future Hall of Famers Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter and Goose Gossage helped the team surge back into contention to catch Boston. The chase was highlighted by a four-game sweep of the Sox known as the Boston Massacre and a one game playoff which featured Bucky Dent’s historic home run. The Yankees then went on to defeat the Royals in the American League Championship Series and the Dodgers in the World Series.

McKeon’s Marlins were much quieter in qualifying for the postseason via the Wild Card – but used an infusion of stellar play from young talents like Josh Beckett, Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis. Riding the youth wave, McKeon let veterans like Ivan Rodriguez and Mike Lowell pace the team – pushing the Marlins from 19-29 in late May to 91 wins and a World Series title.

10-13-09-Hayes_Tracy.jpgTracy, who took over the Rockies in May, accomplished quite a bit in his first season at Colorado’s helm. The Rockies finished 22 games over .500 (92-70), making Tracy the first in-season replacement to take a team that was 10 games under .500 to 20 games over .500. He set several other records, tying the modern mark for wins (41) in a team’s first 60 games after getting the job in midseason. With 50 wins through 75 contests, he matched Lemon in 1978-79 as the first mid-season replacement to post a .667 win percentage through that many games.

Entering this year, 30 managers were replaced during the season since 2000. Only eight of the new skippers posted winning records – and only one, McKeon with the 2003 Marlins, actually won the World Series.

Just 15 midseason managerial changes, prior to Tracy, resulted in a playoff berth.In fact, only two teams in history have changed their manager midseason and won the World Series – McKeon’s Marlins and Lemon’s Yankees.

Trevor Hayes is editorial production manager at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Mr. October is 63

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

Clutching the pack of Topps baseball cards my mother had just agreed to buy for me, I rushed past the candy display at our neighborhood market that spring day in 1978 — only to stop with a startled shake.

Like any kid, I had the candy rack memorized: Hershey bars here, Three Musketeers there — all in their usual place. But then I saw it: This square, orange wrapper with the baseball player on it, disrupting the order I knew so well.

5-18-09-Muder_Jackson.jpgThe Reggie Bar had arrived.

At 9 years old, I had yet to grasp the magnitude of Reggie Jackson‘s Game 6 performance in the 1977 World Series. But I could tell this was someone special. And that fall, when Reggie had two more homers and eight more RBIs against the Dodgers in the 1978 World Series, I thought greatness was simply Jackson’s birthright.

But Jackson’s career was much more than those two unbelievable World Series. He appeared in the postseason in more than half (11) of his 21 seasons, winning five World Series rings. He was a 14-time All-Star, and he still ranks 19th all-time with 1,075 extra-base hits.

It is the home runs, however, that everyone remembers: The towering shot that nearly left Tiger Stadium in the 1971 All-Star Game; his third homer of Game 6 in 1977, deep into the black of Yankee Stadium’s former bleachers; that go-for-broke left-handed stroke that seemed to bring out every ounce of power in the man. His 563 home runs still rank No. 11 on the all-time list.

Today, on Reggie’s 63rd birthday, much of that history is just memories. But the aura surrounding Jackson still remains.

As for the swing, it’s still there — though now it’s on the golf course. The stride, the follow-through, the power.

Ping! And that white ball is majestically flying.

Just like it was in 1977.

I never did care for the candy. But long after the Reggie Bar left supermarket shelves, the sweet taste of success still belongs to Reggie Jackson.

If you want to keep up with Reggie, visit his Web site and blog.

Craig Muder is director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 63 other followers