Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Dark Day In Cleveland Sports History

“Drew three loads of wheat today.  And cleaned up all except 10 bags that was done this morning.  The day has been very cool.”

Willie Mays
The Catch refers to a memorable defensive baseball play by Willie Mays on September 29, 1954, during Game 1 of the 1954 World Series between the New York Giants and the Cleveland Indians at the Polo Grounds in New York on a ball hit by Vic Wertz. The score was tied at 2 in the top of the 8th inning. Starting pitcher Sal Maglie walked Larry Doby and gave up a single to Al Rosen. With runners on first and second, Giants manager Leo Durocher summoned left-handed relief pitcher Don Liddle to replace Maglie and pitch to Cleveland's Wertz, also a left-hander.
Wertz worked the count to two balls and a strike before crushing Liddle's fourth pitch approximately 420 feet to deep center field. In many stadiums the hit would have been a home run and given the Indians a 5-2 lead. However, this was the spacious Polo Grounds, and Giants center fielder Willie Mays, who was playing in shallow center field, made an on-the-run over-the-shoulder catch on the warning track to make the out. Having caught the ball, he immediately spun and threw the ball, losing his hat in characteristic style. Doby, the runner on second, might have been able to score the go-ahead run had he tagged at the moment the ball was caught; but as it was, he ran when the ball was hit, and then had to scramble back to retag and only got as far as third base. (Rosen stayed at first on this play.) Liddle was then relieved by Marv Grissom, to which he supposedly remarked "Well, I got my man!" (The next batter walked to load the bases, but the next 2 batters were retired to end the inning with no runs scored.)

The Catch: Willie Mays hauls in Vic Wertz's drive at the warning track in the 1954 World Series
Leesah

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