Will McEnaney 1980 Topps – Sully Baseball Card of the Day for September 5, 2017

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Well, I covered the three people who made the final outs of the 1975 World Series. Might as well honor the pitcher who got the three outs to clinch possibly the greatest World Series of all time.

He only played 6 seasons in the major leagues but man he shoved in some serious glory along the way.

McEnaney was from Springfield, Ohio, which is somewhere between Columbus and Cincinnati. He was drafted out of high school by the Reds in 1970, a good time to be drafted by the Reds.

At age 18, he flopped badly as a starting pitcher in Single A Sioux Falls. But the next year he got another chance and pitched well as a starter in Tampa. By 1972, he was a prospect as the left hander threw to a 2.80 ERA in 138 innings at Double A. He spent all of 1973 as a starting pitcher for Triple A Indianapolis but never did crack the big league roster.

In 1974, at age 22, he got his first taste in the majors. He had been converted to the bullpen and found his way into manager Sparky Anderson’s rotation of relievers.

In 1975, McEnaney made the club out of spring training. The team did not have a dominant ace starter. But with Rawly Eastwick, Pedro Borbon and Clay Carroll, they had an enormously deep bullpen. Fred Norman would sometimes relieve but with the emergence of McEnaney, he was inserted into the rotation for most of the year.

This was before managers had to constantly insert the same closer day in and day out. The save total among Reds relievers was spread out. Eastwick led the club with 22 but McEnaney picked up 15, Borbon got 5 and Carroll got 7.

On May 10th, McEnaney threw 3 2/3 innings for a save against the Mets. He had 2 other 3 inning saves and a 3 1/3 inning hold. The formula worked as the Reds won 108 games, more than any other National League team in the 1970’s.

In the NLCS against the Pirates, Anderson called in McEnaney to pitch with a 1 run lead in the 8th. He got out Rennie Stennett, Richie Hebner and Al Oliver. No easy task.

In the 9th, with the Reds 3 outs from the World Series, McEnaney let up a single to Willie Stargell before striking out Dave Parker. Rawley Eastwick came in to close out the pennant but allowed the tying run to score.

The Reds would take the lead and Pedro Borbon would get the save. I’m telling you, they used relievers differently then.

Truth be told, he had a rough post season. That run in the NLCS was charged to him. He also let up runs in his 2 innings of work in Game 1 of the World Series and his 1 2/3 innings in Game 3.

In Game 6, he came in with the bases loaded and nobody out in the bottom of the 9th with the game tied at 6 after the Bernie Carbo homer. Fred Lynn hit a fly ball to left field that looked like it was deep enough to score Denny Doyle. But George Foster threw him out at home and McEnaney got Rico Petrocelli to make the final out of the inning.

It would be his only inning in that classic game.

In Game 7, Sparky Anderson had Rawley Eastwick and Pedro Borbon available to close out the greatest World Series of all time.

Instead he handed the ball to McEnaney. And if you have been reading these entries, you know that he got out Juan Beniquez, Bob Montgomery and Carl Yastrzemski to clinch it. He jumped on Johnny Bench and appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

The Reds fought through some slumps and injuries in 1976 but still won 102 games and ran away with the West.

McEnaney slumped badly, posting a 4.85 ERA and getting only 7 saves. Eastwick took the bulk of the work. McEnaney did not even appear in the NLCS sweep of Philadelphia.

The Reds took the first two games of the World Series from the Yankees without McEnaney throwing a pitch.

In Game 3, with the Yankees clinging to hope that they could get back into the World Series, Pat Zachry started. He saw the Yankees pull closer and with the score 4-2 Reds in the 7th, they had the tying runs on base and the go ahead run at the plate. The batter was ALCS hero Chris Chambliss. He got Chambliss to ground out.

After the Reds extended the lead to 6-2, McEnaney stayed in, working around hits in the 8th and 9th to earn the 2 1/3 inning save.

Game 4 was delayed a day and Anderson had a fresh bullpen for the clincher. Once again, McEnaney came into the game in the 7th, this time relieving Gary Nolan. Once again he had to retire Chris Chambliss who was again the potential go ahead run.

He did and threw a scoreless 8th to make the score 3-2 heading to the 9th. Johnny Bench hit a 3 run homer to put the game away.

McEnaney came out to pitch the 9th. He got Otto Velez, Mickey Rivers and Roy White out 1-2-3.

He became the third pitcher in the history of baseball to throw the clinching pitch of the World Series in back to back seasons. Art Nehf and Bob Kuzava were the first two. Mariano Rivera would eventually become the fourth to.

That would be his final pitch as a member of the Reds. In the off season, he and Tony Perez would be traded to the Expos. He had one decent but unspectacular season there. He was traded to the Pirates in 1978 but suffered through an injury plagued season.

In 1979, he wound up with the Cardinals and had a nice comeback year. His 2.95 ERA was his lowest since 1975 and he appeared in 45 games in relief. But that would be the of his big league career.

He played 1980 in the yankees system and then missed all of 1981. He tried comebacls with the Rangers in 1982 and the Independent Miami Marlins in 1985 before calling it quits.

One of the players he played with on that 1985 Marlins team was Mike Torrez. Now remember, McEnaney threw the clinching pitch of the 1975 and 1976 World Series. Torrez threw the clinching pitch of the 1977 World Series.

Those are some choice stories they could tell on the bus of an independent minor league team.

Teams with multiple pitchers with post season saves since 1969

(Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

(Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

The Rangers have played two game in the post season and have two saves from two different pitchers. And neither of those pitchers are named Shawn Tolleson who led the team with 35 saves.

It is refreshing when managers make decisions based on the situation rather than just drag the closer out in the 9th as a default. (Sam Dyson pitched the 9th in Game 1 instead of Tolleson. Manager Jeff Banister used Tolleson in Game 2 when it was NOT a save situation.)

The save became an official stat in 1969. Teams in the post season initially played to the situation instead of using the closer in all close 9th innings. But as saves began to pile up (especially after Tony LaRussa began using Dennis Eckersley one inning at time) and the prices of an innings closers sky rocketed, managers seemed to manage by the book and stick the closer in no matter what.

Every once in a while, a team will have multiple pitchers record a save in a post season. It does not happen often, but they pop up. Just last year, the Giants had 3 different pitchers credited with a save. If Tolleson saves a game, then the Rangers will match that total.

So here are all the teams to use more than one pitcher to save a game since 1969.

Teams with multiple pitchers with post season saves since 1969
1969 New York Mets – Ron Taylor (WS), Nolan Ryan (WS)
1970 Baltimore Orioles – Pete Richert (WS), Dick Hall (WS)
1970 Cincinnati Reds – Clay Carroll (NLCS), Don Gullett (NLCS)
1972 Oakland A’s – Vida Blue (ALCS), Rollie Fingers (WS)
1972 Cincinnati Reds – Clay Carroll (WS), Jack Billingham (WS), Tom Hall (WS)
1973 New York Mets – Tug McGraw (NLCS, WS), George Stone (WS), Ray Sadecki (WS)
1973 Oakland A’s – Rollie Fingers (ALCS, WS), Darold Knowles (WS)
1974 Oakland A’s – Rollie Fingers (ALCS, WS), Catfish Hunter (WS)
1975 Cincinnati Reds – Pedro Borbon (NLCS), Rawly Eastwick (WS), Will McEnaney (WS)
1976 Cincinnati Reds – Pedro Borbon (NLCS), Will McEnaney (WS)
1978 New York Yankees – Ken Clay (ALCS), Rich Gossage (ALCS)
1979 Pittsburgh Pirates – Don Robinson (NLCS), Kent Tekulve (WS)
1980 Philadelphia Phillies – Tug McGraw (NLCS, WS), Ron Reed (WS)
1981 Los Angeles Dodgers – Bob Welch (NLCS), Steve Howe (WS)
1982 Milwaukee Brewers – Pete Ladd (ALCS), Jim Slaton (ALCS), Bob McClure (WS)
1983 Baltimore Orioles – Sammy Stewart (ALCS), Tippy Martinez (WS)
1984 San Diego Padres – Rich Gossage (NLCS), Craig Lefferts (WS)
1985 St. Louis Cardinals – Ken Dayley (NLCS), Todd Worrell (WS), Jeff Lahti (WS)
1986 Boston Red Sox – Calvin Schraldi (ALCS, WS), Bob Stanley (WS)
1987 Minnesota Twins – Juan Berenguer (ALCS), Jeff Reardon (ALCS, WS)
1987 St. Louis Cardinals – Ken Dayley (NLCS, WS), Todd Worrell (NLCS, WS)
1988 Los Angeles Dodgers – Alejandro Pena (NLCS), Orel Hershiser (NLCS), Brian Holton (NLCS), Jay Howell (WS)
1990 Cincinnati Reds – Randy Myers (NLCS, WS), Rob Dibble (NLCS)
1990 Pittsburgh Pirates – Ted Power (NLCS), Bob Patterson (NLCS)
1990 Oakland Athletics – Dennis Eckersley (ALCS), Rick Honeycutt (ALCS)
1991 Pittsburgh Pirates – Bob Walk (NLCS), Roger Mason (NLCS)
1992 Toronto Blue Jays – Tom Henke (ALCS, WS), Mike Timlin (WS)
1992 Atlanta Braves – Jeff Reardon (NLCS), Mike Stanton (WS)
1993 Philadelphia Phillies – Mitch Williams (NLCS), Larry Andersen (NLCS)
1995 Atlanta Braves – Mark Wohlers (DS, NLCS, WS) Greg McMichael (NLCS), Pedro Borbon (WS)
1995 Seattle Mariners – Norm Charlton (DS, ALCS), Bill Risley (DS)
1996 Baltimore Orioles – Randy Myers (DS), Armando Benitez (ALCS)
1997 Cleveland Indians – Jose Mesa (DS, ALCS, WS), Brian Anderson (WS)
1998 San Diego Padres – Trevor Hoffman (DS, NLCS), Donne Wall (NLCS)
1999 Atlanta Braves – Kevin Millwood (DS), John Rocker (DS, NLCS), John Smoltz (NLCS)
1999 New York Yankees – Mariano Rivera (DS, ALCS, WS), Ramiro Mendoza (ALCS)
2000 New York Mets – John Franco (DS), Armando Benitez (NLCS, WS)
2003 Florida Marlins – Ugueth Urbina (DS, NLCS, WS), Braden Looper (NLCS)
2003 Chicago Cubs – Joe Borowski (DS), Mike Remlinger (NLCS)
2003 Boston Red Sox – Derek Lowe (DS), Scott Williamson (ALCS)
2005 Chicago White Sox – Bobby Jenks (DS, WS), Mark Buehrle (WS)
2007 Colorado Rockies – Manny Corpas (DS, NLCS), Ryan Speier (NLCS)
2008 Tampa Bay Rays – Dan Wheeler (DS), David Price (ALCS)
2009 Philadelphia Phillies – Brad Lidge (DS, NLCS), Ryan Madson (WS)
2010 Texas Rangers – Darren Oliver (ALCS), Neftali Feliz (WS)
2011 Detroit Tigers – Jose Valverde (DS, ALCS), Phil Coke (ALCS)
2012 Detroit Tigers – Jose Valverde (DS), Phil Coke (ALCS)
2014 San Francisco Giants – Santiago Castilla (DS, NLCS, WS), Hunter Strickland (DS), Madison Bumgarner (WS)
2015 Texas Rangers – Sam Dyson (DS), Ross Ohlendorf (DS)

 

Sully Baseball Presents…PITCHERS WHO CLINCHED BACK TO BACK WORLD SERIES

I have a fascination with the last out of the World Series. It was my fantasy moment that I would reenact in my front lawn as a kid… getting the last out and having the team mob me on the mound.

I used to throw my arms up a la Tug McGraw.

Brad Lidge had the honors of being mobbed last October and if the Phillies win the World Series again, there’s the chance he could clinch back to back World Series.

And that got me thinking, who ELSE has clinched World Series in back to back seasons?

Now seeing this is Sully Baseball, I can’t have an idle thought like that without writing a list.

By clinching it, I mean throwing the last pitch of the World Series for an out… not necessarily being the winning pitcher or even getting the save… but getting the final out.

As I write this, I don’t know what the answer will be.

I know Mariano Rivera clinched three straight and would have clinched four straight had the Diamondbacks not rallied in 2001.

I also know off of the top of my head that Rollie Fingers did NOT clinch two World Series in a row even though he was the closer for the 1972, 1972 and 1974 World Champion A’s. Dick Williams had Darold Knowles clinch the 1973 World Series against the Mets.

Also, the closer role wasn’t a dominant position until the late 1960s and 1970s… so I am guessing that most World Series were clinched by starting pitchers.

So, let’s look back at…

PITCHERS WHO CLINCHED THE WORLD SERIES IN BACK TO BACK SEASONS

ART NEHF, 1921 and 1922 NEW YORK GIANTS

The 20 game winner pitched a complete game shutout in Game 8 of the first All New York World Series in 1921. (It was the last year of the best of 9 format.)

The Giants scored the only run of the game on a 2 out error in the first inning. Nehf held the Yankee lineup to only 4 hits as they played without an injured Babe Ruth. Ruth eventually pinch hit for Wally Pipp (what is it about Yankee legends subbing for Pipp?)

THE LAST PITCH (1921): With Aaron Ward on first with one out, Frank Home Run Baker came to the plate as the winning run. Baker grounded out to second and Ward tried to take third where he was gunned down to end the World Series.

A year later, the Yankees and Giants met up again. With one game called for darkness, the Series went to Game 5 with the Giants up 3-0-1. Nehf pitched well but the Yankees had the lead until the Giants rallied off of Joe Bush for a 5-3 lead.

THE LAST PITCH (1922): Aaron Ward again made the final out, this time in a more traditional way. With two outs and nobody one, Ward flew out to right fielders and future Hall of Famer Ross Youngs to give the Giants back to back titles against the Yankees.

BOB KUZAVA, 1951 and 1952 NEW YORK YANKEES

Kuzava was a mediocre spot starter and reliever who the Yankees plucked from Washington midway through the 1951 season.

He made only one appearance in the 1951 World Series and only one in the 1952 World Series… but Casey Stengel must have had confidence in him because his lone appearances were the assignment of clinching the World Series

Once again the Giants and Yankees were facing off in an all New York 1951 World Series. Kuzava was brought in to relieve Johnny Sain and stop a Giants rally as they were hoping to tie the series at 3 a piece.

THE LAST PITCH (1951):

After letting up a pair of sacrifice flies that cut the Yankee lead to 4-3 and had the tying run on second, Kuzava got pinch hitter Sal Yvars to line out to right fielder Hank Bauer to end the series.

A year later, the World Series again stayed within the bounds of New York City. The 1952 Series was between the Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers and is considered to be one of the best of all time. Kuzava worked out of a bases loaded jam in the 7th inning, aided by Billy Martin’s running catch on Jackie Robinson’s pop up. After working around an error in the 8th, Kuzava retired the first two in the 9th.

THE LAST PITCH (1952): Kuzava faced Pee Wee Reese with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th. He got a weak pop fly to left fielder Gene Woodling to end the series and have the honor of Yogi Berra jumping on his back.

WILL McENANEY, 1975 and 1976 CINCINNATI REDS

For all of the books and documentaries and retrospectives of the 1975 World Series, it is amazing how infrequently the last moment is shown.

Yeah Pete Rose, Carlton Fisk, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, Luis Tiant, Bernie Carbo, Ed Armbrister, Dwight Evans and Fred Lynn all had amazing highlights…

But it was Will McEnaney who got the final word (and the cover of Sports Illustrated.)

THE LAST PITCH (1975): After the Reds scored off of rookie reliever Jim Burton in the 9th inning, they were poised to clinch their first World Series since 1940. McEnaney got pinch hitters Juan Beniquez and Bob Montgomery for the first two outs. The third batter was a little more challenging: Carl Yastrzemski, who was having a terrific series. With a 2-1 count and Carlton Fisk on deck, McEnaney got Yaz to pop up to Cesar Geronimo, ending arguably the greatest World Series ever played.

A year later, the Reds seemed poised to repeat and have their place in history as one of the greatest teams of all time. They faced the Yankees in the newly remodeled Yankee Stadium (not to be confused with the newly built Yankee Stadium of this year.) It was no contest as the Reds won the first three games and came from behind to take the lead in the 4th game. The Reds pulled away with a 4 run 9th and McEnaney took the mound in the 9th with a 7-2 lead.

THE LAST PITCH (1976): After quickly retiring Otto Velez and Mickey Rivers, McEnaney went 2-0 on Roy White. He flew out harmlessly to George Foster in left field to give the Reds their second straight title and the right to be called a dynasty.

MARIANO RIVERA, 1998, 1999 and 2000 NEW YORK YANKEES

The only one to do it three years in a row and would probably love to see Lidge NOT make this list.

It’s amazing when you consider how quickly closers flame out that 13 seasons after exploding onto the scene as John Wetteland’s set up man that he is still the best in the business.

He is so cool and so effective than the few times he DID fail are considered to be two of the biggest post seaon upsets in history (the 2001 World Series and the 2004 ALCS.)

And yet there are still morons out there who consider him to be overrated.

The 1998 team is considered to be one of the great teams in baseball history and rightfully so. The Padres actually put up a fight in games 1, 3 and 4… but couldn’t hold onto a lead in any of those games. Rivera came into game 4 in the 8th inning and got out of a bases loaded jam. He actually came to bat in the top of the 9th.

THE LAST PITCH (1998): After getting a double play off of the bat of Carlos Hernandez, Rivera faced Mark Sweeney with the bases empty and a 3-0 lead in the game and the series. I remember when I was watching the game I thought “The Padres have the Yankees JUST WHERE THEY WANT THEM!” Sweeney grounded out to third base, completing the sweep and the coronation of the 1998 Yankees.

The 1999 Yankees were great again. They made it past the Rangers and my Red Sox in the playoffs with only one loss and faced the Braves in what was supposed to be a dynasty showdown. It wasn’t a contest. The Yankees won game 1 in come from behind fashion, crushed the Braves in Game 2 and won Game 3 on a walk off shot by Chad Curtis.

Game 4 was a formality and it looked like Roger Clemens was going to throw a complete game shutout for his first ring (and denying Rivera a spot on this list.) But for the second straight year, Rivera came into the game in the 8th inning to get the Yankees out of a jam.

THE LAST PITCH (1999): Rivera got two quick outs before facing Keith Lockhart, who flew out harmlessly to Game 3 hero Chad Curtis. Rivera went 1-0 with 2 saves and a 0.00 ERA to earn MVP honors in the World Series.

The 2000 Yankees limped into their title defense with an 87-74 record, but after a scare from the A’s made it back to the World Series. And like in 1921, 1922, 1951 and 1952, it was a Subway Series. This time it was the Mets who clashed with the Yankees. While the games were competitive, all but one went to the Yankees.

After scoring 2 in the 9th off of Al Leiter in Game 5, the Yankees gave the ball to Rivera again. Were you expecting Allen Watson?

THE LAST PITCH (2000): With a runner on third and 2 outs, Rivera faced off against Mets hero Mike Piazza, representing the tying run. On an 0-1 count he hit a deep drive that for a moment looked like a game tying homer. But Bernie Williams tracked it down to give the Yankees (and Rivera) 3 in a row. Little did they know that it would be their last title until at least this year.

AND THAT’S IT!

It thought for sure there would be a few more in there… but alas that’s it.

Yeah the Yankees won back to back titles in the 1970s… but in 1977 Mike Torrez closed out the World Series and in 1978 he was too busy serving up home run balls to Bucky Dent.

The Blue Jays won back to back titles in the 1990s, but Mike Timlin clinched the 1992 series and was merely watching in 1993 as Joe Carter slugged that homer.

So maybe Brad Lidge will be added to this list this year…
Or maybe it will be another notch on Mariano Rivera’s belt.

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