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35 Years Ago: 1975 World Series – A Timeless Classic

Posted on October 22, 2010 by Dean Hybl

Carlton Fisk's dramatic home run in game six is the most vivid memory of the 1975 World Series.

It was 35 years ago today on October 22, 1975 that one of the most exciting World Series of all-time ended with a game seven that would propel the Big Red Machine to immortality while adding another tale of woe for fans of the Boston Red Sox.

From the very beginning, there was something about the 1975 World Series that brought it to the national forefront like no other World Series since the hey days of the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers.

With superstars Pete Rose, Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan, the Cincinnati Reds were baseball’s best known team, but two previous trips to the World Series had resulted in a pair of defeats and questions as to whether the Reds could win the big one.

The Boston Red Sox were back in the spotlight buoyed by the play of flashy young outfielder Fred Lynn, who would become the first rookie in baseball history to be names American League MVP. He was joined on the roster by future Hall of Famers Carl Yastrzemski and Carlton Fisk as well as charismatic pitcher Luis Tiant.

With weekday World Series games now being played primarily at night, it provided fans (both young and old) who in the past had needed to play hooky from work or school to watch the World Series to now be able to enjoy the games from the comfort of home.

Behind the brilliant pitching of Tiant, the Red Sox won the first game and gave long-suffering Red Sox fans hope that they might claim their first World Series title since 1917.

They then looked poised for a sweep of the first two games as they led 2-1 in the ninth inning of game two. However, the Reds, who had last claimed the title in 1940, rallied for a pair of runs to win 3-2 and set in motion the elements that would make this one of the most dramatic series in history.

In game three, being played at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, the Reds led 5-3 entering the ninth inning. But a two-run home run by Dwight Evans knotted the score and forced extra innings.

The controversial bunt by Ed Armsbrister set up a game-winning hit by Joe Morgan in game three.

It was in the 10th inning that a Series of memorable moments had one of its most interesting. With a runner on first and nobody out, pinch hitter Cincinnati Ed Armbrister attempted a sacrifice bunt. On his way to first, he became entangled with Fisk, whose errant throw led to runners on second and third.

Fisk claimed batter interference, but to no avail. Joe Morgan soon ended the game with a game-winning single to give Cincinnati a 2-1 lead.

Tiant claimed his second win of the Series in game four as the red Sox won 5-4 to even things at two games apiece.

Cincinnati then won game five 6-2 as Don Gullet pitched the Reds to within one victory of the championship.

As the teams headed back to Boston for the climactic conclusion of the Series, also invading Boston were torrential rains. With expectation at a fevered pitch, the two teams had to wait three extra days before the sky cleared and the teams were able to return to play.

Game six didn’t disappoint as many have called it the greatest single game in World Series history.

Boston jumped out to a lead in the opening inning as Lynn blasted a three-run homer to give the home team an early advantage. However, Cincinnati answered with three runs off Tiant in the fifth inning to tie the game.

It looked like Cincinnati would finally claim their World Series title as they scored twice in the seventh inning and once in the top of the eighth to take a 6-3 advantage.

The Cincinnati bullpen had been stellar throughout the Series, but in the bottom of the eighth inning Pedro Bordon allowed the first two batters to reach. Rawly Eastwick then recorded two outs before pinch hitter Bernie Carbo strode to the plate. Carbo blasted a pitch into the stands to tie the game and give the Red Sox new life.

The game remained tied until the bottom of the 12th inning when Carlton Fisk led off the inning with a long blast off Pat Darcy that hit the foul pole to give Boston the victory. The dramatic shot of Fisk frantically waving his arms to will the ball fair is one of the classic moments in World Series history.

Joe Morgan twice produced the game-winning hit in the 1975 World Series.

Following that amazing ending, there was great anticipation for game seven the following night. Boston broke out early with three runs in the third inning. Two of those runs scored on bases loaded walks allowed by pitcher Don Gullet.

Boston starter Bob “Spaceman” Lee pitched five scoreless innings, but in the sixth inning surrendered a two-run homer to Tony Perez on his famous blooper pitch. The Reds scored again in the seventh to tie the game at 3-3.

In the top of the ninth, Ken Griffey led off the inning with a walk and then reached second on a sacrifice bunt by Cesar Geronimo. Dan Driessen grounded out to second base, moving Griffey to third base with two outs.

Pitcher Jim Burton then walked Pete Rose to bring Joe Morgan to the plate. Already having one game-winning hit in the Series, Morgan singled to score Griffey and give the Reds a 4-3 lead.

In the bottom of the ninth, Will McEnaney sat down the Red Sox in order to secure the title for the Reds.

Cincinnati went on to claim a second title in 1976 while the Red Sox would wait 11 years to play in another World Series and 29 years before claiming that elusive championship.

With tight games, controversy and dramatic endings, the 1975 World Series will forever be remembered as one of the greatest Series in history.

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