DANNY COX – Unsung Post Season Hero of October 26

Photo by Mike Yoder

Photo by Mike Yoder

OCTOBER 26, 1985 – World Series Game 6

When a controversial play happens or a team has an epic collapse, inevitably a player’s terrific play is overshadowed. The narrative of the breakdown obscures the clutch performance of someone who was a face plant away from being an immortal to a fan base. Such is the fate of Cardinals pitcher Danny Cox in the 1985 World Series.

St. Louis won 101 games, out playing a strong Mets team. Then they stunned Los Angeles in a memorable NLCS, highlighted by Ozzie Smith and Jack Clark’s home runs.

In the World Series they would face their fellow Missourians, the Kansas City Royals, who did their own Houdini act against a superior Toronto Blue Jays squad.

St. Louis won the first two games. Starter Danny Cox pitched well in Game 2 but it was a late 9th inning rally that sealed the game for the Cardinals.

Up 3-1, St. Louis went for the Series victory at home in Game 5. But Bob Forsch did not pitch well and Danny Jackson threw a complete game victory to send the series back to Kansas City.

Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog handed the ball to Cox for Game 6. 1985 was a breakout season for the 25 year old Cox. He pitched to a 2.88 ERA over 241 innings, winning 18 games along the way, completing 10 of them. Along with 21 game winners John Tudor and Joaquin Andujar, Cox gave the Cardinals a formidable 1-2-3 punch in their rotation.

The Royals would counter with Charlie Liebrandt, who pitched well in Game 2 but would be undone by the late Cardinals rally.

From the start, Game 6 was clearly going to be a pitchers duel. Liebrandt retired the first 15 batters he faced.

Cox was not as dominant but wiggled out of a few rallies and kept the Royals off of the board.

The Cardinals finally got a pair of hits in the 6th but could not score. They went in order again in the 7th. Meanwhile the score was still 0-0 because Cox matched Liebrandt, inning for inning.

With 2 outs and 2 on and the game still scoreless in the 8th, Herzog went to his bench and sent Brian Harper up to bat for Cox. He responded with a 2 strike single that scored Terry Pendleton and gave St. Louis the lead.

Cox was out of the game but his linescore was terrific. With the World Series title within their grasp, Cox went 7 shutout innings, allowing 7 hits and a walk and striking out 8.

Ken Dayley relieved Cox in the 8th and young Todd Worrell took the hill for the 9th. Then came the disaster for St. Louis. A blown Denkinger call at first base opened the Royals offense. Some shoddy defense set up Dane Iorg’s pinch hit walk off single that sent the series to the seventh game.

Game 7 was a travesty for the Cardinals, still smarting from the blown call the night before. Kansas City won 11-0.

Cox would later throw a complete game shutout to clinch the 1987 NLCS for St. Louis before injuries derailed his career. Eventually he would earn his World Series ring as a reliever for the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays.

But had the Cardinals hung on to win in 1985, Cox would have been remembered as a great champion in St. Louis who pitched his club to the crown. As a consolation prize, I am naming him as a Sully Baseball Unsung Post Season Hero.

There are now no longer any valid reasons AGAINST instant replay



Don’t even bother writing a comment because you are wrong. It has moved beyond opinion… it has entered the world of fact.

Tim McClelland was standing right THERE and saw what we all saw with out bare eyes… Mike Napoli tagged Robbie Cano and Jorge Posada and neither were standing on the bag.

It looked that way in regular speed.
It looked that way from a high and awkward camera angle.
And guess what? The replay showed it… WHILE THE MANAGER WAS STILL ON THE FIELD ARGUING.

So there goes the whole “it will slow down the game” argument. NOT having instant replay slowed down the game.

And the call was wrong.
Now did it cost the Angels the game? No… they were already down 5-0 to Sabathia and they lost 10-1.

But as I argued in my 1987 World Series post about instant replay, a game is the sum total of all the plays. And alter one play here or there could have a great impact on the later parts of the game. And shouldn’t there be as few blown calls to mess up that sum total of plays?

In 1987, there were 3 blown calls in Game 7 of the World Series… a game that ended with a close 4-2 final score. Who knows how the game could have unfolded differently if the calls were made correctly.

Yeah two years earlier, Don Denkinger didn’t cause the Cardinals to let up the two runs in the 9th of Game 6 and he didn’t let up 11 runs in Game 7… but his rancid call and the inability to correct it disrupted the sum of the plays.

Maybe the Royals score two… maybe they don’t. But why is it left to human error?

This post season we’ve seen the Tigers denied a go ahead run in an extra inning winner take all playoff game that they would lose…

A series of blown calls at first base in the Red Sox/Angels series…

The Twins denied an extra inning lead off double in a game they would lose…

The Phillies catching a break when a batted ball hit Chase Utley and should have been called foul was called fair and sparked a game winning 9th inning rally.

And now a call that would get a little league umpire fired.

It’s going to happen in the World Series folks… there will be a new Denkinger… or maybe a Todd Tichenor who is eager to put his own stamp on the series.

The solution is so easy. Have another umpire in the booth and if a big call is missed, the video ump can call down to the crew chief and say “Hey… you missed it…and nobody will remember you missed it.”

It will be an ump, not Jack Buck, Chip Carey or some other son of an actually talented broadcaster who will be making the call.

And that ump will be in the umpire union! Hey! A new job!

And during the 30 second huddle, the TV station can run a beer ad!

See, it pays for itself. And we get to see fewer blown calls.

Isn’t it better to take those 30 seconds (and it never takes that long) to prevent us from EVER knowing the name of an Umpire ever again?

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