Carlton Fisk Waives Home Run to Victory
Game 6 of the 1975 World Series began on October 21, but would not end until the wee hours of the next day. An epic battle that culminated with one of the most famous World Series home runs when Carlton Fisk’s walk off homer in the 12th won it for the Red Sox. The irony is that the Game 6 heroics overshadow Game 7 in which the Reds, not the Red Sox won the World Series. The game and the World Series are consistently voted as among the best ever played.
Major league baseball final standings
|Boston Red Sox||95||65||.594||—|
|New York Yankees||83||77||.519||12|
|Kansas City Royals||91||71||.562||7|
|Chicago White Sox||75||86||.466||22.5|
|New York Mets||82||80||.506||10.5|
|St. Louis Cardinals||82||80||.506||10.5|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||88||74||.543||20|
|San Francisco Giants||80||81||.497||27.5|
|San Diego Padres||71||91||.438||37|
Series Summary and Season Stats
|1||October 11||Cincinnati Reds – 0, Boston Red Sox – 6||Fenway Park||2:27||35,205|
|2||October 12||Cincinnati Reds – 3, Boston Red Sox – 2||Fenway Park||2:38||35,205|
|3||October 14||Boston Red Sox – 5, Cincinnati Reds – 6 (10 innings)||Riverfront Stadium||3:03||55,392|
|4||October 15||Boston Red Sox – 5, Cincinnati Reds – 4||Riverfront Stadium||2:52||55,667|
|5||October 16||Boston Red Sox – 2, Cincinnati Reds – 6||Riverfront Stadium||2:23||56,393|
|6||October 21†||Cincinnati Reds – 6, Boston Red Sox – 7 (12 innings)||Fenway Park||4:01||35,205|
|7||October 22||Cincinnati Reds – 4, Boston Red Sox – 3||Fenway Park||2:52||35,205|
†: postponed from October 18 due to rain
|WP: Luis Tiant (1–0) LP: Don Gullett (0–1)|
Luis Tiant and Don Gullett were locked in a scoreless pitching duel until the seventh. Tiant, batting in this game for the first time all season (pitchers didn’t bat in the American League due to the designated hitter rule), led off with a single. He later scored the Red Sox’s first run on a single by Carl Yastrzemski. From then on in the seventh, the floodgates opened. Reds reliever Clay Carroll walked Carlton Fisk to force in a run, Rico Petrocelli slapped a two-run single, Rick Burleson had an RBI single, and Cecil Cooper ended the scoring with a sacrifice fly.
|WP: Rawly Eastwick (1–0) LP: Dick Drago (0–1)|
In another stellar pitching performance for the Sox, Bill Lee held the Reds to four hits and a run through eight innings, the Reds’ run scoring in the fourth whenJoe Morgan walked, went to third on a Johnny Bench single, and scored on a Tony Pérez forceout. The Red Sox sandwiched the Reds’ run with single tallies of their own in the first on an RBI single by Carlton Fisk and in the seventh on an RBI single by Petrocelli. The Reds, however, rallied in the ninth to tie the series. Bench led off the inning with a double down the right field line. Dave Concepción tied the game by singling in Bench and then stole second. With two outs, Ken Griffey doubled in Concepción with the go-ahead run. Rawly Eastwick retired the Sox in the ninth to get the victory and close the win.
|WP: Rawly Eastwick (2–0) LP: Jim Willoughby (0–1) Home runs: BOS: Carlton Fisk (1), Bernie Carbo (1), Dwight Evans (1) CIN: Johnny Bench (1), Dave Concepción (1), César Gerónimo (1)|
Back at home, the Reds prevailed in another squeaker that showed just how much this Series was destined to become a classic. For nine innings, the game was a homer-fest. Carlton Fisk put the Sox on the board in the second with a solo homer off Reds starter Gary Nolan. The Reds countered by taking a 2–1 lead in the fourth when Tony Pérez walked and Johnny Bench hit a two-run shot off Sox starter Rick Wise. The Reds then chased Wise in the fifth when Dave Concepción and César Gerónimo hit back-to-back solo shots. Pete Rose followed with a one-out triple and scored on Joe Morgan‘s sacrifice fly to give the Reds a 5–1 lead.
The Sox scratched back in the sixth when Reds reliever Pat Darcy issued consecutive walks to Carl Yastrzemski and Fisk, wild-pitched Fisk to third, and then gave up a sacrifice fly to Fred Lynn. In the seventh, Bernie Carbo closed the gap to 5–3 with a pinch-hit solo homer off Clay Carroll.To close out the inning Will McEnaney would enter. In the ninth, with ace reliever Rawly Eastwick on the mound, the Reds looked poised to close the game out and take a 2–1 Series lead. But, Eastwick gave up a single to Rico Petrocelli and a tying two-run homer to Dwight Evans, sending the game into extra innings. Eastwick retired the Sox in the top of the tenth, setting the stage for a wild and controversial finish.
Geronimo led off the Reds’ half of the tenth with a single off Jim Willoughby. Manager Sparky Anderson then sent Ed Armbrister up to bat for Eastwick. Armbrister attempted a bunt that bounced high near the plate toward the first-base line. Armbrister hesitated before running, apparently thinking the ball would go foul, and Carlton Fisk appeared to collide with him as he was retrieving the ball. Fisk attempted to fire to second to force out Geronimo, but his throw sailed high over shortstop Rick Burleson. As Geronimo went to third and Armbrister pulled into second, a brouhaha ensued, with Fisk and Sox manager Darrell Johnson arguing that Armbrister should have been ruled out for interference. Umpire Larry Barnett ruled otherwise, however. Now, the Reds had the winning run on third with no outs. Willoughby then intentionally walked Pete Rose to load the bases and set up a force play situation. Johnson then brought in left-hander Roger Moret, and Anderson countered by pinch-hitting Merv Rettenmund for Ken Griffey. Rettenmund popped out, but Joe Morgan knocked in Geronimo with the winning run by hitting a deep fly to center over a drawn in outfield.
|WP: Luis Tiant (2–0) LP: Fred Norman (0–1)|
With the Reds leading the series 2-1, Luis Tiant would pitch his second complete game win of the Series. More importantly, this win would force the Reds to have to win at least one of two games at Fenway Park to win the Series. The Reds struck first off Tiant in the first on RBI doubles by Ken Griffey and Johnny Bench. The Sox, however, would get all the runs they needed in the fourth. Dwight Evans tied the game with a two-run triple, then Rick Burleson put the Sox ahead by doubling in Evans off Reds starter Fred Norman. Tiant, continuing his surprising hitting, singled Burleson to third. Burleson then scored on a Tony Pérez error on a ball hit by Juan Beníquez, while Tiant went to second. Carl Yastrzemski drove in Tiant with a single for what would turn out to be the winning run. The Reds were able to counter with two runs in their half of the fourth on an RBI double by Dave Concepción and an RBI triple by César Gerónimo, but that was it as Tiant gutted it out the rest of the game. The Reds had a shot at winning the game in the bottom of the ninth when, with two on and one out, Ken Griffey sent a deep drive into left-center that Fred Lynn made an over the shoulder catch of. Joe Morgan then popped out to first on Tiant’s 163rd pitch of the game.
|WP: Don Gullett (1–1) LP: Reggie Cleveland (0–1) Sv: Rawly Eastwick (1) Home runs: BOS: None CIN: Tony Pérez 2 (2)|
The Reds salvaged their home stand by winning Game 5 as Tony Pérez picked the right time to shake a batting slump. Pérez, who had no hits in the Series up to this point, rectified that by slamming two home runs and driving in four runs off Sox starter Reggie Cleveland. Pete Rose contributed an RBI double and Dave Concepción a sacrifice fly for the other Reds runs as Don Gullett pitched eight strong innings and won with relief help from Rawly Eastwick in the ninth.
|WP: Rick Wise (1–0) LP: Pat Darcy (0–1) Home runs: CIN: César Gerónimo (2) BOS: Fred Lynn (1), Bernie Carbo (2), Carlton Fisk (2)|
This game would go down as one of the greatest games not only in World Series and post-season history, but baseball history as well. Thanks to three days of rain in Boston, Sox manager Darrell Johnson now had the luxury of both of his best starters, Luis Tiant and Bill Lee, available for Games 6 and 7 at home to try to stave off the Reds. Fred Lynn opened the scoring in the first with a two-out, three-run homer off Reds starter Gary Nolan. Meanwhile, the fresh Tiant breezed through the first four innings, holding the Reds to all zeros. The Reds finally broke through in the fifth. With two on, Ken Griffey sent a drive to deep center that Lynn almost made a spectacular leaping catch on against the wall. Lynn would suffer a rib injury, but would continue the game. Lynn told moderator Bob Costas during MLB Network’s “Top 20 games in the last 50 years” that, for a short time, he was barely conscious and couldn’t feel his legs. Both runs scored as Griffey ended up with a triple. Johnny Benchsingled Griffey home to tie the game at 3–3.
In the seventh, George Foster put the Reds ahead with a two-run double and, in the top of the eighth, César Gerónimo hit a solo homer to chase Tiant and give the Reds a 6–3 lead. In the bottom of the eighth, Pedro Borbón was on the mound, with Rawly Eastwick warming up in the Reds’ bullpen. Borbon gave up a single to Fred Lynn, and then walked Rico Petrocelli. Eastwick was brought in to pitch, and proceeded to strike out Dwight Evans and retire Rick Burleson on a line-out to left. Eastwick looked on his way out of the inning. Bernie Carbo, a former first-round pick of the Reds, who had a pinch-hit home run in Game 3, was called on to bat for Roger Moret. Sparky Anderson was on the top step of the dugout, ready to call in left-hander Will McEnaney to pitch to the left-hand hitting Carbo. Anderson said later that he was concerned that the Sox would call on Juan Beníquez to pinch hit for Carbo if he made the move. Carbo looked hopelessly overmatched by Eastwick, and on a 2–2 pitch, fouled off a pitch on a swing that was described as having “all the athletic grace of a suburbanite raking leaves.” On the next pitch, however, Carbo tied the game with a three-run home run just to the left of dead center field. Supposedly, as Carbo approached third base on his home run trot, Carbo yelled out to former teammate Pete Rose, “Hey, Pete…don’t you wish you were that strong?” To which Rose replied, “This is fun.” Carbo admitted in an interview with ESPN in 2010 that he was stoned on drugs and alcohol during this at-bat as well as in Game 7.
The Sox looked poised to win the game in the bottom of the ninth. With McEnaney, the Reds’ seventh pitcher, on the mound, the Sox loaded the bases with no outs. Denny Doyle walked and went to third on a Carl Yastrzemski single. McEnaney then intentionally walked Carlton Fisk to load the bases to face the left-handed hitting Lynn. Lynn flied out on a short fly ball to Foster in left, and Foster gunned down Doyle, who tagged up and attempted to score. McEnaney then retired Petrocelli, ending the jam. Doyle would later admit that, when he tagged at third, he thought he heard Sox third-base coach Don Zimmer yelling “Go, go, go!”, when, in reality, Zimmer was screaming, “No! No! No!”.
In the top of the eleventh, with Ken Griffey on first, Joe Morgan hit a deep drive to right off Dick Drago that looked to be headed over the fence. Evans, however, made a spectacular catch near Pesky’s Pole in right to rob Morgan and double Griffey off first. The Reds mounted another threat in the top of the twelfth. Tony Pérez and Foster slammed one-out singles off Rick Wise, but Wise retired Dave Concepción on a fly to right and struck out Geronimo. Finally, Fisk faced Pat Darcy, the eighth pitcher that Reds manager Sparky Anderson used. Fisk took Darcy’s second pitch and lifted a high drive down the left-field line. The ball struck the foul pole just above the Green Monster. In what has now become an iconic baseball film highlight, the NBC left-field game camera caught Fisk wildly waving his arms to his right after hitting the ball and watching its path while drifting down the first base line, as if he was trying to coax the ball to “stay fair”. The ball indeed stayed fair and the Red Sox had tied the Series. (According to the NBC cameraman Lou Gerard, located above the third base stands, cameramen at the time were instructed to follow the flight of the ball. Instead, Gerard was distracted by a rat nearby, thus he lost track of the baseball and instead decided to capture the image of Fisk “magically” waving the ball fair). The game was ranked Number 1 in MLB Network‘s 20 Greatest Games.
|WP: Clay Carroll (1–0) LP: Jim Burton (0–1) Sv: Will McEnaney (1) Home runs: CIN: Tony Pérez (3) BOS: None|
After an exciting Game 6, there was no worry about Game 7 being anti-climactic. Reds starter Don Gullett started having control problems in the third inning. After giving up an RBI single to Carl Yastrzemski, Gullett walked Carlton Fisk to load the bases. He then walked Rico Petrocelli and Dwight Evans to force in two more runs. However, that would be the only Sox scoring of the game. Bill Lee shut out the Reds through five innings, but, in the sixth with a man on, he threw a slow, lobbing pitch (his famous “Space ball” or “Leephus pitch”, anEephus pitch) to Tony Pérez. Pérez patiently waited, blasting it high over the Green Monster for a two-run home run, his third HR in three Series games. The score was then 3–2, Red Sox. The Reds tied it in the seventh when Ken Griffey walked, stole second, and scored on a two-out single by Pete Rose. In the ninth, Griffey led off with a walk, was sacrificed to second by César Gerónimo, and went to third on a groundout. Sox pitcher Jim Burton then walked Rose to set up a forceout, but then gave up a bloop single to Joe Morgan to score Griffey with the go-ahead and Series-winning run. In the ninth, Will McEnaney retired the Sox in order – last-chance batter Carl Yastrzemski flying out to center – to end a thrilling World Series.
|Playoff Series Stats||Regular Season Stats|
|Playoff Series Stats||Regular Season Stats|
Boston Red Sox
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|Playoff Series Stats||Regular Season Stats|