Thursday, October 21, 2010

October 21, 1975: If it stays fair...

BOSTON - It is the mother of all reaction shots, one of the most famous in baseball history. It is because of this one moment, lasting just a few seconds, that sports telecasts now dedicate at least one camera to follow the player instead of the ball, in the hope that another shot will come around like that one. So in short, one player's gestures changed how sports were televised.

And it all happened by accident.

Because of the limitations brought on by the stadium's design, there was very little room for a left-field camera in Fenway Park. About the only place there is room is inside the Green Monster itself, where a camera man could peek the lens through a hole in the wall to cover some of the action.

That's where NBC cameraman Lou Gerard spent game 6 of the 1975 World Series - stuck in the cramped quarters of the Green Monster and trying not to get distracted by the rats that lived there. So while Gerard's training told him he had to follow the ball no matter what, he had no choice but to keep the camera trained on Carlton Fisk in the bottom of the 12th. As a ball Fisk hit flew deep and toward the Green Monster and started hooking toward the foul pole, Fisk started hopping and waiving his arms, trying to will the ball to stay fair. When it did, careening off the foul pole to force game 7, Fisk leaped in the air, both hands closed in fists as he punched the sky. And Gerard was there to capture it all.


The 1975 World Series was recognized even as it was happening as one of the best of all time. Three of the first five games had been one-run games, with the lead changing hands in the late innings of all three. Cincinnati had won two of those tight ones and entered game 6 with a 3 games to 2 lead in the series. The Reds took a 6-3 lead into the bottom of the eighth of game 6 before the Red Sox got two runners on base. Enter Reds closer Rawly Eastwick. Eastwick quickly got two outs, then worked a 2-2 count against Boston's Bernie Carbo. Carbo looked terrible on the first 2-2 pitch, fouling one off with an awkward swing. He has since admitted that he was stoned during this at bat, which could explain the awkwardness, but it doesn't explain the 420-foot home run he hit to straightaway center on the next pitch.

Given new life in the eighth, the Red Sox had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the ninth. With Denny Doyle on third, Fisk hit a shallow flyball to center field. Third base coach Don Zimmer was yelling "No, No, No," indicating that Doyle shouldn't try to score, but Doyle heard "Go, Go, Go," so he went, easily getting thrown out at the plate.

The next good chance to score came for the Reds in the top of the 11th. With Ken Griffey Sr. on first, Joe Morgan hit a line drive that seemed destined to land in the first row of the right field seats, but Boston right fielder Dwight Evans made a running catch right at the foul pole, then fired to first to double off Griffey.

The Reds got two more runners on base in the 12th but couldn't score. Leading off the 12th was Fisk. After taking a ball, Fisk swung. And he watched it fly, and he hopped, and he waved. And he entered into history.


Fisk's home run has come to define the series, providing the most exciting moment of one of the most exciting championships ever played. It instantly became the most famous home run in Red Sox history, tying the series and giving Boston one chance to win the World Series at home. After a classic series, game 7, scheduled for the next night, was expected to be just as exciting. It certainly lived up to the expectations.

No comments:

Post a Comment