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The Best World Series Ever Played GAME NO.7 --1975

         

   The Reds have been involved in the World Series eight different times, but none was as exciting as the 1975 seven-game affair with the Boston Red Sox. By many who watched and reported, it was called "the best World Series ever played."

 

It had everything ­controversial calls, fine defense, clutch hitting, tight pitching, 11th-hour heroes and plenty of Hollywood script like drama.

 

The Reds owned a 3-2 advantage after five games. The first two games were played in Boston's Fenway Park and the next three were played at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium.

 

When the two teams returned to Boston to finish up the Series, it rained and rained and rained. Three straight days the games were rained out and nearly a week went by without Game No. 6 being played. But that failed to dent the enthusiasm one iota.

 

It looked like the Reds would win in six games. They held a comfortable three-run lead late in the game, but Bernie Carbo, who had played on Cincinnati's 1970 pennant-winner and who was runner-up in Rookie of the Year balloting that season, came off the bench to hit a three-run homer and tie the game.

The two teams battled into extra innings. Finally, in the 12th, the Sox won. Boston catcher Carlton Fisk sent the Boston fans home happy. He hit a leadoff homer off Pat Darcy to give the Red Sox a 7-6 victory. The memory of his standing at home plate, using body English to keep the ball fair, then throwing up his hands as the ball went over the Green Monster ­Boston's big left field wall ­remains intact in many a fan's mind.

 

Boston had not won a World Series since 1918 but on October 22, 1975, there wasn't a Red Sox fan anywhere who was doubting the drought had been broken. It looked like the Red Sox had the Reds where they wanted them, and it seemed it would be the Reds who would be World Series winless for the fourth straight time.

 

The Red Sox hopes were reinforced early in Game No. 7 when Boston took a quick 3-0 lead off Don Gullett, Cincinnati's top left-hander, and knocked him out of the game. Jack Billingham came on, though, and gave the Reds a chance.

 

In the fifth inning with the Reds still trailing 3-0, Tony Perez got two runs back. Bill Lee, the Boston starter, threw Perez a slow ball, a pitch that Lee called his "Lee ph us" pitch. It was a takeoff on Rip Sewell's Eephus, a blooper that comes to the plate somewhat like a slow-pitch softball does. Perez wasn't fooled and cracked a two-run homer. It was suddenly 3-2 and the Reds were starting to rumble.

 

 

Pete Rose singled home a run in the top of the seventh to tie the game. The tide had turned. Boston couldn't score and the Reds were on the move. In the ninth, rookie Boston pitcher Jim Burton faced left-handed-hitting Joe Morgan. Rose was on second base. Morgan grounded a single up the middle, Rose scored and all the Reds had to do was hold the Sox.

 

That chore was entrusted to Will McEnaney, a young left-hander who had teamed with Rawly Eastwick all season long to give the Reds baseball's best bullpen. He got two easy outs, then faced Carl Yastrzemski, Boston's aging superstar. Yaz couldn't handle McEnaney's offering. He lofted a short fly to center field. It was no problem for Cesar Geronimo. Seemingly before he caught the ball, McEnaney had leaped into the arms of catcher Johnny Bench.

 

The Reds had won the World Series and a wait of 35 years finally was over.


 

  

         
       

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