ALCS Game 5
Yankee Stadium, New York, NY
The infamous Rout in Yankee Stadium was (as most of these classics are) thrilling to watch, even though the outcome is widely known. I remember this era as a Royals fan at the time (before moving to the East Coast the following year and moving to the dark side for a couple of years) – George Brett was nothing less than a madman, with that wild look in his eyes and his mega-aggressive game attitude. Playing baseball UFC style. No steroids, just GUTS. George Brett!!!
Brett’s opening double made good by John Mayberry’s HR in the opening inning gave KC the first shot. The Yankees answered in the bottom of the first and maintained a small threshold of control of the game until Brett’s 3-run HR exploded in the 8th,, tying the game at 6-6. I thought we had ‘em, 3 up 3 down kept the Yanks scoreless in the bottom of the 8th. When Buck Martinez reached on a base hit and Al Cowens walked after 2 outs, it should have been Jim Wohlford’s turn to reach safely and then Brett’s opportunity to finish them off. Wohlford grounded 5-4 to force out Cowens and end the Royals’ 9th.
Then Chris Chambliss steps into the box. After a 5 minute garbage delay (it had begun to accumulate on the field rapidly) he takes the first pitch over the RF wall, walk-off HR, the game is over, the Yankees win the pennant and the field is instantly covered with people. Remember, ‘Mr Rulebook’ Graig Nettles sent Chambliss back out to the field to touch home base, as the umpires were waiting for him to do so in order to make the run OFFICIAL.
ROYALS 6 11 1
YANKESS 7 11 1
Brett was the true baseball stud in this game, hitting 2-4 with 2 runs scored, 2 RBIs and that beautiful HR off of Grant Jackson. John Mayberry also batted 2-4. Although it wasn’t their best game, it was great to see Dennis Leonard and Paul Splitorff in action. Quite a scary moment when Thurman Munson (batting 3-5) was nearly shelved by a foul ball that bounced back at him – not a great deal of body armour. Mickey Rivers was the Yankees’ batting leader (4-5, 3 runs scored); Chris Chambliss joined Munson at 3-5. Where the Royals pitching wasn’t particularly, Ed Figueroa allowed 4 runs, no BB and 3K in 7 innings…Billy Martin took him out at 97 pitches to give Jackson the ball (the second batter Jackson faced was Brett and his big ol’ HR).
The game was called on CBS by Keith Jackson, Howard Cosell, and Reggie Jackson.
Scoring Notes: I used a slightly different scoresheet for this one because I wanted to pay less attention to the pitch count and more attention to the novelty and nostalgia of the game. As you can see, I really couldn’t help myself – I started with the has marks and ‘hinomarus’ almost immediately. The averages on the left of each batter represent those batters’ AVG in the ALCS series at the start of the game; I also noted the pitchers’ W-L, ERA and K total for the season.
One interesting comment, the box score on baseballreference.com and retrosheet both credit Chambliss with only (4) at bats. I’m thinking it just may be an error but here’s what I have:
• 1st inning: Flies out to LF (AB #1)
• 3rd inning: Reaches 1B on FC (G4-6, Thurman Munson force out at 2B) (AB #2)
• 5th inning: Doubles to RF (AB #3)
• 6th inning: Singles to CF (AB #4)
• 9th inning: GW Home Run (AB #5)
Still with me? The FC counts as an AB, so 3 hits, 5 AB. It’s got to be a typo or something on their part, but I believe I’m right and I’m not changing it.
This is also the first time I recorded opposing pitchers stats on the same page as the offensive batters, instead of keeping ‘the team’ on the same page (which is how I continue to do it to this day).
(I scored this game 5/23/2009)