12 Oct

dream denied

The image is one that diehard fans of a certain age remember well, one that lives on in World Series highlight reels. Bob Gibson rocks and fires, the batter swings and misses, and the St. Louis Cardinals rush the infield to celebrate the 1967 World Series championship. The game was played on Oct. 12, 1967. The Game 7 defeat at Fenway Park crushed the Boston Red Sox’s “Impossible Dream” season during which they won a thrilling race to the American League pennant. The batter who made the final out was Greenville native George Scott. The ’67 Series was Scott’s only postseason appearance over a 14-year career. In Game 7, he had one of the three hits – a triple – and scored one of the two runs the magnificent Gibson yielded in a 7-2 win, Gibson’s third W of the Series. Scott was 6-for-26 without an RBI in the Series after batting .303 with 19 homers and 82 RBIs during the season, his second in the majors. Despite that grand disappointment – immortalized in the clip of Gibson’s final punchout — “Boomer” produced a lot of highlights in his big league career. He blasted 271 home runs, drove in over 1,000 runs, won eight Gold Gloves and made three All-Star teams. It’s a shame he never got another moment in the Fall Classic.

21 Oct

looking ahead — and back

If you are a baseball fan, you’ve got to like a World Series that features the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals, two of the game’s truly storied franchises. (And the best teams, by record, in their respective leagues this season.) This will be the fourth time the Red Sox and Cardinals have met in the Fall Classic, and two of the previous three were indeed classics in which Mississippians played significant roles. In 1967, the year of The Impossible Dream in Boston, the Cardinals took down the Red Sox in seven games behind the brilliant pitching of Bob Gibson, who won three times. McComb native Dalton Jones, an infielder for the BoSox, went 7-for-18 in that series, and the late, great George Scott was 6-for-26 with a double and a triple (but no taters or even RBIs). Scott managed one of the three hits Gibson allowed in Game 7, a 7-2 Redbirds win at Fenway Park. Back in 1946, the Cardinals and Red Sox also played a seven-game grinder, with St. Louis winning the finale, 4-3 at Sportsman’s Park, thanks to one of baseball’s historic moments. Enos Slaughter scored the game-winning run in the eighth inning, racing around from first base on a hit by Harry “The Hat” Walker, a native of Pascagoula. Walker had a great series, going 7-for-17 with three runs and six RBIs. Dave “Boo” Ferriss, the Shaw native and legendary Delta State coach, made two starts for Boston, including Game 7. He was 1-0 with a 2.03 ERA in 13 1/3 innings. He left Game 7 after 4 1/3, trailing 3-1. Boston tied the score in the top of the eighth, but Slaughter’s famous mad dash put the Cards back on top. In 2004, when Boston finally ended its 86-year curse with a World Series sweep of St. Louis, there were no Mississippians on the roster of either club. Vicksburg’s Ellis Burks, the slugging outfielder, did start that season with the BoSox, and Meridian native Jamie Brown also made a handful of pitching appearances that year. P.S. On the subject of championships, former Nettleton High star Bill Hall earned a ring with the Long Island Ducks, who won the independent Atlantic League championship. The veteran Hall, who played briefly in the Los Angeles Angels’ system this year, hit .239 with 16 homers for the Ducks.