Sports

Heaven can wait on the Damn Yankees

Hal Quinn October 30 1978
Sports

Heaven can wait on the Damn Yankees

Hal Quinn October 30 1978

Heaven can wait on the Damn Yankees

Tom Lasorda called on the Dodger in the sky. The Yankees called on their bench. Lasorda cried because he couldn’t win it for the “great” suntanned fans in Tinsel Town. The Yankees ripped it out of the Dodgers’ hands and handed it to their marauding, pastyfaced vandals.

The Bronx Bombers became the first team in World Series history to lose the first two games then sweep the next four. And they did it without second baseman Willie Randolph, one of the best. They did it with spot duty from bat-twirling centre fielder Mickey Rivers and power-hitting first baseman Chris Chambliss. They did it without pitchers Don Gullett, Andy Messersmith and relief ace Sparky Lyle. They did it without these players who would make contenders of the Expos and a team of the Blue Jays. They won it with guys like Brian Doyle, Fred Stanley, Gary Thomasson, Paul Blair.

The Yankees tied the series in New York with the torn palm of Graig Nettles’s glove. They went ahead in game five on the bat of Thurmon Munson and

won it with their eighth and ninth hitters knocking in five runs in the finale. The fence-busting Bombers racked up 68 hits, 57 of which were singles (both records), but Reggie Jackson supplied a couple of tape-measure homers to keep up the image.

The Dodgers had the set infield with Mr. Clean, Steve Garvey, at first; the Penguin, Ron Cey, at third; Davey Lopes, a man imbued with the spirit of former Dodger coach and player Jim Gilliam, at second; and the Golden Boy, Bill Russell, at short. But Mr. Clean spent more time under the blow dryer than running the bases (five for 24 with no runs batted in) and Russell’s glove turned to stone.

With half their multimillion-dollar infield out, 'the Yanks inserted Jim Spencer at first where he’d played just five times this year, and Brian Doyle at second, who’s spent most of the year in Tacoma, Washington. Spencer made the stretches that completed the double plays started by Doyle and Series Most Valuable Player Bucky Dent (who hit .417 with seven RBls). Doyle played like he grew up with Dent and in the final game the pair went six for eight and knocked out the Dodgers.

Lasorda bungled the designated hitter rule (in force every other Series) with Lee Lacy going two for 14 with one RBI. Yankee DH Reggie Jackson hit .391

with eight RBIs. When Lasorda finally inserted Joe Ferguson’s bat, he added his arm and glove, costing him dearly.

Not all the Yankees sipping the champagne of a third pennant and second Series in succession will be back. Catcher Cliff Johnson is packing, Paul Blair will likely go to Texas in a deal for outfielder Juan Beniquez, and Roy White wants out if the Yanks pick up Pirate slugger Dave Parker. Owner George Steinbrenner is building his dynasty with a chequebook and a revolving door. Hal Quinn