Bruce Sutter 1980 Kellogg’s 3-D Super Stars Card – Sully Baseball Card of the Day for February 16, 2017

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Bruce Sutter is my Go-To reference when I talk about players in the Hall of Fame that I would not have voted for if I had the vote.

Now let me be 100% clear. I have nothing against Bruce Sutter. He had a fine career. His peak was outstanding. And the next time I go to Cooperstown, I will see his plaque, nod and move on. I won’t egg it, cover it in toilet paper or stand by it with a megaphone protesting it.

If I were a Cubs or Cardinals fan, I’d love his inclusion. I am not. I am a Red Sox fan. I am sure some people feel that Jim Rice does not belong in, but I was thrilled at Rice’s election because he was one of my favorite players.

I am not one of those people who do not believe relievers should be in Hall or disrespect closers (or firemen as they were called in Sutter’s day.) I love closers. I wanted to be one growing up.

I just think only a handful of relievers in history belong in the Hall of Fame. Hoyt Wilhelm Rollie Fingers, Dennis Eckersley and Mariano Rivera would be my proverbial Mount Rushmore and probably the only 4 I would admit.

Sutter was an undrafted free agent out of Mount Joy, Pennsylvania signed by the Cubs in 1971. From the start, he was a reliever. A surgery on his arm in 1972 made him change how he gripped the ball. Sutter learned the split finger fastball and he was off and running.

In Single A Key West and Double A Midland and Triple A Wichita, he threw to microscopic ERAs out of the pen. This was at a time when teams were embracing the role of the relief pitcher, so Sutter went through the farm with only two career Single A starts.

Midway through 1976, he got the call to Wrigley. Right away, he became an elite reliever in the National League. He was selected to the 1977 and 1978 All Star teams. In 1979, he was teamed up with Dick Tidrow in the bullpen with Tidrow being the set up man and Sutter closing out the games.

The result of the Tidrow/Sutter combination was a lockdown pen for an 80-82 Cubs team. Sutter saved 37 games and pitched to a 2.22 ERA over 101 1/3 innings. He struck out 110 and walked only 32.

Sutter’s performance won him the Cy Young Award, a title that bolstered his Hall of Fame case. Today there would be no way that he would have won the Cy Young over J R. Richard’s dominant performance or Phil Niekro’s 342 innings (or the other Niekro, Joe, and HIS 21 win season.) But you can not remove Cy Youngs retroactively.

Sutter had another fine All Star season in 1980 but the Cubs were a rotten 64-98. It is amazing that Sutter led the league with 28 saves that year when you consider how infrequently his team had a lead. The Cubs realized they had a luxury they could not afford with a dominant reliever around a lousy team. They shipped him off to St. Louis for a package that included Leon Durham on December 9, 1980.

The Cardinals found themselves in a strange spot that day. The previous day, they made a blockbuster trade with San Diego to acquire Rollie Fingers. So they had the two best relievers in baseball under contract. On the 9th, 10th and 11th of December, Sutter and Fingers were teammates technically. The idea of that tandem must have been tempting.

On the 12th of December, it was over. The Cardinals forked over Ted Simmons, Pete Vuckovich and Fingers to Milwaukee. The Brewers would get 2 Cy Youngs and a MVP out of the deal. The Cardinals would get Dave LaPoint and a few others.

The Cardinals chose Sutter to be their closer. The 1981 Cardinals had the best record in the NL East overall, but they did not make the post season because of the absurd split season playoffs. Sutter won the Rolaids Relief award and led the NL in saves.

In 1982, everything came together for St. Louis. Another saves lead for Sutter, 102 1/3 innings logged out of the pen, and a third place finish for the Cy Young as the Cardinals won the Division.

Sutter closed out the NLCS sweep of the Braves and faced the Brewers in the World Series. An injury to Rollie Fingers made the Brewers bullpen vulnerable. Sutter won a game and saved 2 more as he got the highlight all closers wish for, the final out of the World Series.

In 1984, he had his last great season, matching the record for saves in a season, 45, and throwing 122 2/3 innings along the way. He left St. Louis for Atlanta for the 1985 season. He bombed in Atlanta, missed an entire season and never pitched after 1988, even though he collected a check through 1990.

He had a fine career. He had a fantastic peak. But it was not as long a peak as Rollie Fingers or Rich Gossage. Was his Cy Young what put him over the top?

His career seems more comparable to Dan Quisenberry, who also had a great peak, post season success and many top 5 Cy Young finishes. And yet Quiz was one and done on the ballot and Sutter hung around until he was voted in.

Again, I am not mad that Sutter got elected. I won’t get mad when Trevor Hoffman gets elected either. I just would not have voted for him with all due respect.

But let’s finish this positively and remember his greatest moment, confirming to St. Louis they made the right choice in bullpen closers at the end of the 1982 World Series.

Cardinals pitchers who clinched a post season Series: From Alexander to Rosenthal

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At the end of the World Series, I wrote a blog post where I paid tribute to every single Boston Red Sox pitcher who threw the clinching pitch in a post season series.

It was a fascinating walk down the proverbial baseball memory lane. But this is not exclusively a Red Sox blog. And with the St. Louis Cardinals making the World Series, there are many post seasons to revisit with them as well.

The Cardinals have one of the most storied franchises in history and some great Hall of Famers have thrown the final pitch in October, plus a few obscure names as well.

St. Louis fans cheered at the end of 27 total playoff series, including 9 Division Series, 7 NLCS, 11 World Series and the 2012 Wild Card Game.

No post season series won by the Cardinals finished with an offensive play. There are no series walk off hits in St. Louis history.

Here are the Cardinal pitchers who delivered the ultimate triumph.

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GROVER CLEVELAND ALEXANDER

Game 7, 1926 World Series

Cardinals 3, Yankees 2

October 10, 1926

At Yankee Stadium
2 1/3 innings of relief of starter Jesse Haines for the save.

FINAL OUT: Babe Ruth caught stealing, catcher to shortstop.
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BILL HALLAHAN
Game 7, 1931 World Series

Cardinals 4. Athletics 2

October 10, 1931

At Sportsman Park, St. Louis
1/3 of an inning of relief of starter Burleigh Grimes for the save.

FINAL OUT: Max Bishop flies out to center fielder Pepper Martin.
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DIZZY DEAN

Game 7, 1934 World Series

Cardinals 11, Tigers 0

October 9, 1934
At Briggs Stadium, Detroit

Complete game 6 hit shutout.

FINAL OUT: Marv Owen hits into a force to shortstop Leo Durocher who throws to second baseman Frankie Frisch to retire Billy Rogell.

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JOHNNY BEAZLEY
Game 5, 1942 World Series

Cardinals 4, Yankees 2

October 5, 1942
At Yankee Stadium

Complete game victory.

FINAL OUT: George Selkirk grounds to second baseman Jimmy Brown who throws to first baseman Johnny Hopp for the out.

 

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TED WILKS
Game 6, 1944 World Series

Cardinals 3, Browns 1

October 9, 1944
At Sportsman Park

3 2/3 innings of shutout relief of Max Lainer for the save.

FINAL OUT: Strikeout of pinch hitter Mike Chartak.

 

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HARRY BRECHEEN
Game 7, 1946 World Series

Cardinals 4, Red Sox 3

October 15, 1946
At Sportsman Park

2 innings of relief for starter Murry Dickson for the win.

FINAL OUT: Tom McBride grounds out to second baseman Red Schoendienst who throws to shortstop Marty Marion to force out Pinky Higgins.

 

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BOB GIBSON

Game 7, 1964 World Series

Cardinals 7, Yankees 5

October 15, 1964
At Sportsman Park

Complete Game Victory.

FINAL OUT: Bobby Richardson pops up to second baseman Dal Maxvill.

Game 7, 1967 World Series

Cardinals 7, Red Sox 2

October 12, 1967
At Fenway Park

Complete Game Victory.

FINAL OUT: Strikeout of George Scott.

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BRUCE SUTTER

Game 3. 1982 National League Championship Series

Cardinals 6, Braves 2

October 10, 1982
Atlanta – Fulton County Stadium

2 1/3 innings of relief for starter Joaquin Andujar for the save.

FINAL OUT: Chris Chambliss flies out to left fielder Lonnie Smith.

Game 7, 1982 World Series

Cardinals 6, Brewers 3

October 20, 1982
Busch Stadium, St. Louis

2 innings of relief for starter Joaquin Andujar for the save.

FINAL OUT: Strikeout of Gorman Thomas.

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KEN DAYLEY

Game 6, 1985 National League Championship Series

Cardinals 7, Dodgers 5

October 16, 1985
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles

1 inning of relief for starter Joaquin Andujar and reliever Todd Worrell for the save.

FINAL OUT: Pedro Guerrero flies out to center fielder Willie McGee.

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DANNY COX

Game 7, 1987 National League Championship Series

Cardinals 6, Giants 0

October 14, 1987
Busch Stadium

Complete Game 8 hit shutout.

FINAL OUT: Chili Davis flies out to left fielder Vince Coleman.

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DENNIS ECKERSLEY
Game 3, 1996 National League Division Series

Cardinals 7, Padres 5

October 5, 1996
Jack Murphy Stadium, San Dieg0

1 Inning of relief of four pitchers including starter Donovan Osborne for the save.

FINAL OUT: Steve Finley flies out to centerfielder Ray Lankford.

 

Cardinals pitcher Dave Veres in the sixth inning.

DAVE VERES

Game 3, 2000 National League Division Series

Cardinals 7, Braves 1

October 7, 2000
Turner Field, Atlanta

1 inning of relief for four pitchers including starter Garrett Stephenson and winner Britt Rheames.

FINAL OUT: Paul Bako strikes out.

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JASON ISRINGHAUSEN

Game 3, 2002 National League Division Series

Cardinals 6, Diamondbacks 3

October 5, 2002
Busch Stadium

1 inning of relief for starter Andy Benes and three other relievers for the save.

FINAL OUT: David Delucci grounds to second baseman Fernando Vina who throws to first baseman Tino Martinez.

Game 4, 2004 National League Division Series

Cardinals 6, Dodgers 2

October 10, 2004
Dodger Stadium

1 inning of relief for starter Jeff Suppan and two other relievers.

FINAL OUT: Alex Cora strikes out.
Game 7, 2004 National League Championship Series

Cardinals 5, Astros 2

October 21, 2004
Busch Stadium

1 inning of relief for starter Jeff Suppan and two other relievers for the save.

FINAL OUT: Jose Vizcaino grounds out to second baseman Tony Womack who throws to first baseman Albert Pujols for the out.

Game 3, 2005 National League Division Series

Cardinals 7, Padres 4

October 8, 2005
PetCo Park, San Diego

1 1/3 innings of relief for starter Matt Morris and three other relievers for the save.

FINAL OUT: Ryan Klesko grounds to Isringhausen who throws to first baseman Albert Pujols for the out.

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ADAM WAINWRIGHT

Game 4, 2006 National League Division Series

Cardinals 6, Padres 2

October 8, 2006
Busch Stadium

1 inning of relief for starter Chris Carpenter and two other relievers.

FINAL OUT: Dave Roberts grounds out to first baseman Albert Pujols.

Game 7, 2006 National League Championship Series

Cardinals 3, Mets 1

October 19, 2006
Shea Stadium, New York

1 inning of relief for starter Jeff Suppan and winning pitcher Randy Flores for the save.

FINAL OUT: Carlos Beltran called out on strikes.

Game 5, 2006 World Series

Cardinals 4, Tigers 2

October 27, 2006
Busch Stadium

1 inning of relief for starter Jeff Weaver.

FINAL OUT: Brandon Inge strikes out.

Game 5, 2013 National League Division Series

Cardinals 6, Pirates 1

October 9, 2013
Busch Stadium

Complete game victory

FINAL OUT: Pedro Alvarez strikes out.

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CHRIS CARPENTER

Game 5, 2011 National League Division Series

Cardinals 1, Phillies 0

October 7, 2011
Citizens Bank Ballpark, Philadelphia

Complete Game 3 Hit Shutout

FINAL OUT: Ryan Howard grounds out to second baseman Nick Punto who throws to first baseman Albert Pujols for the out.

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JASON MOTTE

Game 6, 2011 National League Championship Series

Cardinals 12, Brewers 6

October 16, 2011
Miller Park, Milwaukee

1 inning of relief for starter Edwin Jackson, winner, Marc Rzepczynski and three other relievers.

FINAL OUT: Pinch Hitter Mark Kotsay strikes out.

Game 7, 2011 World Series

Cardinals 6, Rangers 2

October 28, 2011
Busch Stadium

1 inning of relief for starter Chris Carpenter and three other relievers.

FINAL OUT: David Murphy flies out to left fielder Allen Craig

 

2012 National League Wild Card Game

Cardinals 6, Braves 3

October 5, 2012
Turner Field

1 inning of relief for starter Kyle Lohse and four other relievers for the save.

FINAL OUT: Dan Uggla grounds out to second baseman Daniel Descalso who throws to first baseman Allen Craig for the out.

 

Game 5, 2012 National League Division Series

Cardinals 9, Nationals 7

October 12, 2012

Nationals Park, Washington

2 innings of relief for starter Adam Wainwright and four other relievers for the win.

FINAL OUT: Ryan Zimmerman pops up to second baseman Daniel Descalso.

 

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TREVOR ROSENTHAL

Game 6, 2013 National League Championship Series

Cardinals 9, Dodgers 0

October 18, 2013
Busch Stadium

1 inning of relief for starter Michael Wacha and reliever Carlos Martinez.

FINAL OUT:  Mark Ellis strikes out.

 

That’s quite a collection of Hall of Famers and some relievers you may have forgotten. Alexander, Dean, Gibson, Sutter and Eckersley are all in Cooperstown as of now.

Alexander had thrown a complete game victory in Game 6 of the 1926 World Series and earned the save in Game 7.

Likewise, Breechen won Game 6 as a starter and Game 7 as a reliever.

Bob Gibson, Bruce Sutter, Jason Isringhausen, Adam Wainwright and Jason Motte clinched multiple series. Wainwright is the only one to do so as both a starter and a reliever.

With the Cardinals pitching staff as deep as it is, no doubt this list will be updated very soon.

Sully Baseball Presents… HALL OF FAMERS WHO CLINCHED THE WORLD SERIES

Sully Baseball’s obsession with the last pitch of the World Series continues.

Throwing the clinching pitch of the World Series would be the career highlight for anyone’s career. But how many World Series were ended by an All Time Great pitcher?

So today’s obsessive list is Hall of Famers who threw the clinching pitch of the World Series.

Now let me set the one ground rule: They have to be in the Hall of Fame RIGHT NOW.

Yes I know Mariano Rivera will be a Hall of Famer eventually, but the key word is “eventually.” And if I am still writing this blog 6 years after he retires, I promise to update this list.

Same goes if Jonathan Papelbon, Bobby Jenks, Josh Beckett, Adam Wainwright or Brad Lidge wind up having Hall of Fame careers.

So here we go… another list.

Some were complete game masterpieces by aces.
Some were slam the door 9th by closers.

And you’ll even see a legendary starter come out of the pen for one of the great moments in World Series History.

CURRENT HALL OF FAME PITCHERS WHO CLINCHED A WORLD SERIES


CHRISTY MATHEWSON, New York Giants1905 World Series

Matty threw a complete game 5 hit shutout with no walks to out pitch Chief Bender and beat the Philadelphia Athletics 2-0 in the Polo Grounds and win the World Series 4-1.

He got Athletics third baseman Lave Cross to ground out to third to end the game.

MORDECAI “THREE FINGER” BROWN, Chicago Cubs1907 World Series

“Three Finger” outpitched George Mullin with a complete game 7 hit shutout to finish off the Tigers in Detroit 2-0 and win the Series 4-0 with 1 tie.

Brown struck out Ty Cobb to lead off the 9th and with a runner on first and 2 outs, pinch hitter Boss Schmidt popped up to future Hall of Famer Joe Tinker to give the World Series to the Cubs. (That looks strange even typing it!)

CHIEF BENDER, Philadelphia Athletics – 1911 World Series

Bender took the hill for the 6th game after the Giants held off elimination in Game 5. The Giants scored in the first when right fielder Danny Murphy dropped Red Murray’s pop fly.

It was a short lived lead. The Athletics scored three runs on a Jack Barry bunt. Giants catcher Chief Meyers threw the ball into right field, allowing two runs to score. Then right fielder Red Murray threw the ball away allowing Barry to score on his own bunt play. That broke the Giants back and the Athletics cruised to a 13-2 win.

In the 9th, Art Wilson grounded out to third base and Bender and company won the World Series.

EDDIE PLANK, Philadelphia Athletics1913 World Series

It was Athletics-Giants again two years later and the Athletics prevailed again, this time in 5 games on the road in the Polo Grounds.

Future Hall of Famer Eddie Plank out pitched Christy Mathewson 3-1 with a complete game 2 hitter.

Giants second baeman Laughing Larry Doyle flew out to right fielder Honest Eddie Murphy (not the actor) to end the Series.

Man nicknames were cooler then!!!

RED FABER, Chicago White Sox1917 World Series

The White Sox took care of the Giants in 6 games… AGAIN winning in front of a disappointed crowd in the Polo Grounds. Faber won his third game of the series with a complete game 6 hitter.

Pinch hitter Lew McCarty grounded out to Eddie Collins who threw to Chick Gandil for the World Series clinching run.

2 years later Gandil would be one of the White Sox who conspired to throw the 1919 World Series. Surely an ace pitcher like Red Faber would have been included with the 8 Men Out… but he had the flu and was left off of the playoff roster.

If he was healthy, he may have gone along with the conspiracy. Instead he was ill, innocent and unlike Shoeless Joe Jackson, is in the Hall of Fame.

STAN COVELESKI, Cleveland Indians1920 World Series

The Indians won the first of their two World Series titles behind Stan Coveleski’s 3 wins in the 5-2 series win over the Brooklyn Robins. (It was best of 9 from 1919-1921.)

Brooklyn only put two runners in scoring position and Coveleski scattered 5 hits and walked nobody.

Big Ed Konetchy grounded out to short to clinch the only World Series the Indians have ever won at home.


GROVER CLEVELAND ALEXANDER, St. Louis Cardinals
1926 World Series

It remains one of the greatest and most dramatic relief pitcher performances in baseball history. Just 1 day after throwing a complete game victory in Game 6, Grover Cleveland Alexander was hungover in the bullpen while future Hall of Famer Jesse Haines fell into trouble against the heavily favored Yankees.

Up by 1 in the 7th inning, Haines loaded the bases with 2 out and Tony Lazzeri was due up. Cleveland was summoned out of the bullpen and struck out Lazzeri. After a 1-2-3 8th inning, Old Pete walked Babe Ruth with two outs.

Slugger Bob Meusel was at the plate representing the World Series winning run, but Babe Ruth inexplicably tried to steal second. He was caught and Alexander got the dramatic save and the Cardinals won their first ever World Series title.

WAITE HOYT, New York Yankees1928 World Series

Revenge for the Yankees against the Cardinals and Grover Cleveland Alexander came two seasons later. The Yankees pounded Alexander as a starter in Game 2 and as a reliever in Game 4 as they swept their second straight World Series.

Hoyt went the distance in the 7-3 win in St. Louis, a game that saw Babe Ruth homer three times.

Frankie Frisch flew out to Ruth to clinch it.

HERB PENNOCK, New York Yankees – 1932 World Series

The ace of the original Yankee World Champion was slowing down in 1932… but he still had enough in the tank to become a solid piece of the bullpen during the Yankees 4 game sweep of the Cubs. He saved Game 3, the game where Babe Ruth supposedly called his shot.

In Game 4, the Cubs tied the score in the 6th off of Wilcy Moore. The Yankees scored 4 in the 7th to take the lead for good.

In the 9th, Pennock got Riggs “Old Hoss” Stephenson to fly out to Yankee right fielder Ben Chapman to finish the series… the last one Babe Ruth would ever play in.

DIZZY DEAN, St. Louis Cardinals1934 World Series

The 1934 World Series was a knock down drag out fight until Game 7. Then it became the Dizzy Dean show as he threw a complete game victory in Detroit and the Cardinals wiped out the Tigers 11-0. Even Dean went 2-5 with a double and an RBI single.

In the 9th inning, Dean got Marv Owen to ground out to Leo Durocher who flipped to Frankie Frisch for the force out at second, clinching the World Series.

LEFTY GOMEZ, New York Yankees1937 World Series

Gomez threw a complete game victory in the Polo Grounds as the Yankees took out the Giants in 5 games. Gomez himself drove in the go ahead run in the 5th inning and the Lou Gehrig added an insurance run.

In the 9th inning, The Gause Ghost, Jo-Jo Moore, grounded to Gehrig and flipped to Gomez covering first base to finish off the series.

RED RUFFING, New York Yankees1938 World Series

The Yankees won their third straight World Series with a sweep against the Cubs. The finale in Yankee Stadium saw Red Ruffing go the distance in an 8-3 game that was a lot closer than the score would indicate.

A 2 run shot by Cubs catcher Ken O’Dea pulled the Cubs to within 1 in the 8th inning. But the Yankees unloaded on the Cubs bullpen, scoring 4 in the 8th.

Future Hall of Famer Billy Herman hit a grounder back to the mound with 2 outs in the 9th. Ruffing tossed to Gehrig for the final out of the Series. It would be Gehrig’s last World Series.

HAL NEWHOUSER, Detroit Tigers1945 World Series.

After the Cubs forced a seventh game with a dramatic extra inning Game 6 victory, the Tigers turned to Newhouser, who was bombed in game 1 and won Game 5. Detroit scored 5 runs in the top of the first and it was all Newhouser would need.

Don Johnson grounded to shortstop Skeeter Webb who tossed it to Eddie Mayo at second to clinch the World Series.

To date, it was the last World Series appearance by the Cubs.

SANDY KOUFAX, Los Angeles Dodgers 1963 World Series and 1965 World Series

Sandy Koufax made his transformation from very good pitcher with control issues to one of the greatest of all time with his World Series dominance in the 1960s. In Game 1 of the World Series, he shut down the mighty Yankees letting up only a home run to Tom Tresh, striking out 15 in the process.

He topped that in the Game 4 clincher in Los Angeles against Whitey Ford. Mickey Mantle hit a solo shot off of Koufax in the 7th but that was it as Koufax let up only 6 hits and walked none over 9.

With two outs and two on in the 9th, Koufax got Hector Lopez to ground out to Maury Wills who threw to former Yankee Moose Skowron to end the Series. (A movie note… this was the series that R. P. McMurphy wanted to watch with the boys in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.)

Two years later, Koufax took the ball on 2 days rest (!!) and threw a complete game shutout against a hard hitting Twins team that scored 5 or more runs in their previous three home games.

Koufax faced Bob Allison representing the tying run with two outs in the 9th. Instead of turning to Don Drysdale or Ron Perranoski, Walter Alston stuck with Koufax, who struck out Allison to clinch the World Series.

BOB GIBSON, St. Louis Cardinals1964 World Series and 1967 World Series

Gibson and the Cardinals locked horns with the Yankees, who won the last pennant of their great run. Gibson looked like he was going to cruise to a Game 7 victory with a 6-0 lead until Mickey Mantle hit a three run homer in the sixth. Gibson limped into the 9th with a 7-3 lead but let up homers to Clete Boyer and Phil Linz to cut the lead to two.

With two outs, Bobby Richardson popped up to second baseman Dal Maxvill to end the series and the Yankee dynasty.

Three years later, Gibson came back from a broken leg to shut down the Red Sox and their Impossible Dream pennant of 1967. With the series tied at 3 in Fenway Park, Gibson not only threw his third complete game victory of the Series, but homered off of Boston ace Jim Lonborg for good measure.

With two outs and nobody on, Gibson struck out George Scott to end the World Series and the Red Sox hopes.

ROLLIE FINGERS, Oakland A’s1972 World Series and 1974 World Series

The most dominating bullpen force of the 1970s clinched his first World Series in a back and forth game between the Swinging A’s and the Big Red Machine of Cincinnati. One future Hall of Famer, Catfish Hunter, came out of the pen in the fifth to relieve Blue Moon Odom.

In the 8th, Fingers came into a 3-1 game with runners on second and third and nobody out. He made it out of the inning with a 3-2 lead. In the 9th, Fingers had two outs and one on and faced Pete Rose. A home run would give the World Series to the Reds. Instead Fingers got Rose to fly out to Joe Rudi and the Bay Area had its first World Series Champion.

Two years later, the A’s were on the verge of their third straight title. Fingers came into the 8th inning of Game 5 against the Dodgers with a 3-2 lead and made it to the 9th with the lead intact, thanks in part to a base running mistake by Bill Buckner. With two outs and nobody on in the 9th, Fingers got pinch hitter Von Joshua to hit back to the mound. Fingers flipped the ball to Gene Tenace at first to clinch the A’s third straight series. Fingers was elected MVP for the Series.

GOOSE GOSSAGE, New York Yankees – 1978 World Series

Gossage finished off the Yankees amazing comeback 1978 season with a two inning save in Dodger Stadium to clinch a second straight title for New York. (Of course Gossage wasn’t part of the 1977 squad… he was brought in to be the new closer because evidently Sparky Lyle’s Cy Young Award winning season wasn’t good enough.)

Gossage relieved Catfish Hunter with 1 on and nobody out in the 8th. He enduced a double play by Bill Russell to get out of the small jam.

In the bottom of the 9th, Gossage got two quick outs before getting Ron Cey to hit a foul pop to Thurman Munson to end the World Series.

BRUCE SUTTER, St. Louis Cardinals – 1982 World Series

The former Cy Young Award winner for the Cubs found a new home in St. Louis, grew a cool beard and found himself on a pennant winner. In a wild back and forth series with the Brewers, Milwaukee had the lead in the 7th game. But without Rollie Fingers, the Brew Crew couldn’t hold onto the lead.

Meanwhile the Cardinals had THEIR Hall of Fame closer healthy. Protecting a 1 run lead, he retired two future Hall of Famers in Paul Molitor and Robin Yount and All Star Cecil Cooper. With some insurance in the 9th, Sutter got two quick outs before striking out Gorman Thomas to clinch his lone World Series title.

DENNIS ECKERSLEY, Oakland A’s 1989 World Series

A year removed from their shocking loss to the Dodgers (and Eckersley serving up Kirk Gibson’s homer) the A’s and Eck seemed poised to finish off their opponents in 1989. The Loma Prieta Earthquake postponed Game 3 for a week, but when play resumed, the A’s were unstoppable.

The Giants fell behind 8-0 in Game 4 but fought back to make it a 2 run game. Eckersley came into the 9th with a 3 run lead and got two quick outs. He got speedy Brett Butler to ground to Tony Phillips and covered first himself to put the “Bay Bridge Series” out of its misery.

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