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Yankee4Life

It was forty years ago today

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Fair warning here. This post has nothing to do with the Mvp 18 mod or the MLB2k18 mod since both of them do not exist and it does not deal with where you can download one game or the other or support for your pirated copy because you can't get something to work. Finally this is not the place to ask where something is in the download section or to make a request for a cyberface for a rookie who had a good year in A ball. What this post is about is baseball. There, I said it. That should get rid of 98% of the people here and they'll wander off waiting for the next cyberface of Shohei Ohtani to come out because four of them aren't enough.


MONDAY, OCTOBER 2ND, 1978, UPSTATE NEW YORK: For a day in early October it was all you could ask for. You never knew how the weather would turn when this month began. It wasn't uncommon to see cold, rainy days or overcast ones or like the one we had that day forty year ago. It was like the weather did not know what to do. Did it want to hang on and provide us with one more day of summer or give us a glimpse of what was to come in the form of cooler temperatures? Turns out we got both. It was a day to wear a sweater out, but not a heavy one and normally it was a day that someone would bring out a football and we'd occupy ourselves for a few hours scoring touchdowns against each another.

 

But not on this day.

 

It was a school day and that is where I was when the game for the American League's Eastern division began. My mother did not let me stay home to watch the game, not appreciating the significance of it. Maybe she did me a favor because if I had stayed home I would have not known what to do before the 2:30 p.m. start. School work suffered because this game was all everyone was talking about from the first class in the morning until we got out. I still consider myself lucky that day that I did not have to take any tests because every answer I would have given would have been "Ron Guidry."

 

After what seemed like an entire month, school was let out and I rode the bus home. My mother, repentant for her sin of not letting me remain at home, met me at the bus stop and drove me home. Driving home with her that day I noticed something odd. No one, and I mean no one, was outside. You'd expect to see this on a cold winter day with everyone locked away inside but not on a gorgeous day like this.

 

When I got home it was already 1 - 0 Boston and Mike Torrez was not even breaking a sweat. For the first six innings the Yankees couldn't touch him as they were only able to collect two hits. Then in the bottom of the sixth the Red Sox pushed across another run and with Torrez looking that good the 2 - 0 lead they had appeared to be too much.

 

It was at this point in the game that I can now look back and laugh at but when it was going on I was doing anything but. Relatives began calling my house asking my parents if I was ok. Fortunately the phone calls stopped at the top of the seventh.

 

As long as I live I will never get tired of hearing Bill White say "deep to left...Yastrzemski will not get it...it's a home run!" Every time it is on TV I stop to watch it. I view it on youtube over and over. But on that day, October 2nd, 1978, I did not hear it even though I saw Bucky Dent's home run sail over that thirty-seven foot eyesore. Back in those days baseball telecasts were a lot different. The call that everyone always hears is from the WPIX channel 11 broadcast that was shown in the New York city area. Phil Rizzuto, Frank Messer and Bill White alternated on radio and TV and it was White's good fortune that he was in the TV booth when the seventh inning rolled around.

 

The broadcast that I and the rest of the country heard was from ABC TV and Keith Jackson and Don Drysdale were in the booth. I like White's call a lot better but Jackson's version had the same result so I had no complaints. The ABC network covered baseball very well back then because along with NBC TV they covered and promoted the game while FOX uses all nine innings to plug their shows.

 

Going into the bottom of the eighth the Yankees held on to a 5 - 2 lead but on that little league field a three run lead is as safe as sticking your finger in a power socket. By the time the eighth inning was in the books the lead was cut to 5 - 4 and Rich Gossage, New York's high-priced free agent signing from the winter before was struggling to hold on. That's when the phone calls started again. Is he ok? Tell him it's just a game. When my mother was out of the room I unplugged the phone from the socket so I could panic and pace in peace during the ninth inning. Remember, no cell phones back then!

 

The bottom of the ninth inning was going to let me know if I was going to have a good or bad winter. With one out Rick Burleson and Jerry Remy reached base. Boston has always had players like this, guys you'd like to take out hunting and then leave in the woods. Jim Rice then flew out to right field and Burleson slithered his way over to third base. He then remained there all winter after Gossage got Carl Yastrzemski to pop out to third baseman Graig Nettles.

 

It was that good of a game. It was that exciting. And as the years have marched on I consider myself lucky to have witnessed that when it took place.

 

Russell Earl "Bucky" Dent. Forever a Yankee hero.
01 The Home run.jpg

 

Just like that a 2 - 0 deficit is now a 3 - 2 lead.
02 Dent touches home after his HR.jpg

 

Another angle of Dent being greeted at home plate.
03 Another angle of the same shot.jpg

 

Reggie Jackson got a hold of one in the 8th.
04 Jackson Homers in the 8th.jpg

 

Graig Nettles catches the final out of the game. Yankees 5, Red Sox 4.
05 Nettles.JPG

 

The Yankees mob each other by the third base dugout.
06 Jubilation.jpg

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Fall 1978 was the beginning of my senior year of high school.  I grew up in Central Connecticut, so half my friends were Red Sox fans and the other half were Yankees fans.  My Red Sox friends did a lot of trash talking the previous June, at the end of our junior year, as the Yankees fell further and further behind the Red Sox in the standings.

 

By the time school started again in September, I was the one who was able to do the trash talking, as the Yankees had started moving back up the standings.  The famous "Boston Massacre" from Sept. 7-10, when the Yankees outscored the Red Sox 42-9 and pulled even with them in the standings was especially enjoyable.

 

The teams went back and forth the rest of the month as neither one could pull away and it all came down to Game 163 to determine the AL East champion.  I  remember that playoff game vividly like it was yesterday.  Like you, I went to school that day and when the school day ended at 2:10 p.m., I raced home, wondering how much of the game I would miss.  I remember the roller coaster of emotions during the game, worrying when the Red Sox took the lead and Torrez shut down the Yankees for so long and then the joy when Bucky Dent and Reggie Jackson hit home runs.  Nervousness crept back in the bottom of the ninth when it looked like the Red Sox might mount a comeback, but this was replaced by a mixture of joy and relief when Graig Nettles (my favorite Yankees player) caught the Yaz pop out for the final out.

 

That 1978 Yankees team is my favorite Yankees team and was the main reason that my first Total Classics mod was Total Classics 1978.  :)

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