By Mike Harrington
BOSTON -- I only need to think back two years for how crazy Game Six of the World Series can be. Remember that one? Rangers-Cardinals in St. Louis.
Texas is a strike away from winning in the ninth, only to see David Freese's two-run triple to right over a braincramped Nelson Cruz tie the game. The Rangers take a 9-7 lead in the 10th on Josh Hamilton's home run but the Cardinals, again down to their last strike, tie it again on Lance Berkman's single. Then they win it in the 11th on a Freese home run on to the Busch Stadium grass berm in center.
(I think I wrote about eight stories that night, constantly changing the narrative. I collected myself enough the next day heading into Game Seven to summarize things with this story.).
In these parts, of course, everyone is looking back at Game Six in 1975, the last time a Series got this deep at Fenway. As I blogged this morning, '75 Game Six hero Carlton Fisk is throwing the first pitch tonight. The 7-6, 12-inning win over Cincinnati on Fisk's home run off the foul pole is the time-tested classic for a World Series game.
Hall of Fame writer Peter Gammons described the moment this way in the Boston Globe the next morning:
"And all of a sudden the ball was there, like the Mystic River Bridge, suspended out in the black of the morning.
"When it finally crashed off the mesh attached to the left-field foul pole, one step after another the reaction unfurled: from Carlton Fisk's convulsive leap to [my note: organist] John Kiley's booming of the "Hallelujah Chorus'' to the wearing off of numbness to the outcry that echoed across the cold New England morning.
"At 12:34 a.m., in the 12th inning, Fisk's histrionic home run brought a 7-6 end to a game that will be the pride of historians in the year 2525, a game won and lost what seemed like a dozen times, and a game that brings back summertime one more day. For the seventh game of the World Series."
Talk about some incredible column writing in the dead of night. That line about the Mystic River Bridge still resonates here in New England as one of the most famous ever written in a sports section. A framed copy of that page is on the wall about 10 feet to my left (above left) here in the Fenway press room.
For whatever reason, '75 seemed to spark a run of incredible stuff in Game Six of the World Series Consider:
1977--Reggie Jackson's three home runs.
1980--Tug McGraw saves the Phillies' first Series clincher ever.
1985--The Donn Denkinger call at first base saves the Cardinals and costs the Royals.
1986--Buckner. If you need an explanation, you're on the wrong blog.
1991--Kirby Puckett climbs the Metrodome plexiglass for a great catch and hits the game-winning homer in the 11th as the Twins beat the Braves.
1992--Dave Winfield's double in the 11th snaps a tie and the sends the Blue Jays past the Braves for their first title.
1993--Joe Carter Touches 'Em All. See 1986 points above if you don't know.
2002--Spurred on by the Rally Monkey, the Angels wipe out a 5-0 deficit and beat the Giants, 6-5.
2003--A 23-year-old rookie named Josh Beckett pitches a 2-0 shutout at old Yankee Stadium as the Marlins clinch their second title.
Here's MLB.com's look at some great Game Six moments involving the Sox and Cardinals:
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