A 3 games to 1 deficit is certainly a slippery slope but not the end of the world in the World Series. The Chicago Cubs – and their legion of fans – can find some measure of hope in the fact that five teams have crawled out of that hole to win the championship. The last two times it happened, Mississippi natives were on the winning side. In 1985, Greenville’s Frank White was a key contributor for Kansas City as it rallied past St. Louis in the Series many remember for umpire Don Denkinger’s bad call in Game 6. White batted .250 for the Royals with three doubles, a home run, six RBIs and four runs and had two hits, two runs and two RBIs over the final three games. He also played his usual stellar defense at second base. In 1979, Grenada’s Dave Parker (sometimes listed as being born in Calhoun City) had a big series for Pittsburgh as the “We Are Family” Pirates stormed back to beat Baltimore. Parker, the Bucs’ right fielder, hit .345 with three doubles, four RBIs and two runs in the Series and delivered a key knock in Game 6. The current Cubs do have a Mississippi connection in Ole Miss product Chris Coghlan, though his contributions to this point have been minimal. Maybe that’ll change. For the Cubs, something needs to change.
The last time – the only time, actually — the Kansas City Royals won a World Series, Greenville native Frank White played a big role for the champs. That was 1985. The last time the New York Mets won a World Series, a host of ex-Jackson Mets had a hand in claiming the ring. That was 1986. Of course, there are famous “goats” associated with both of those Series, umpire Don Denkinger for his missed call in Game 6 in ’85 and Boston first baseman Bill Buckner for his mishandled grounder in Game 6 in ’86. But remembering those Series for the so-called goats does a disservice to the players who shined in those seven-game Fall Classics. White, a five-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove winner over his 18 seasons, batted .250 with a homer, six RBIs and four runs for the Royals in the ’85 Series against St. Louis. In the ’86 Series, the second of the two titles won by the Mets, Wally Backman hit .333 with four runs, Lenny Dykstra batted .296 with two homers, Mookie Wilson hit .269 with three runs, Jesse Orosco pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings and Roger McDowell and Rick Aguilera botch notched wins. All these years later, mention the World Series of 1985 or 1986, and the names of Denkinger and Buckner will come up. That’s understandable, perhaps, but those two names shouldn’t be all we remember.