Two Lists for Saturday; Watching Game 2 of the ’72 World Series

— Struck TV gold late Friday night; a replay of Game 2 of the 1972 World Series, A’s-Reds; I hadn’t seen this game since I was 12 years old. Watching it in the same room, too.

— Curt Gowdy, Tony Kubek, Al Michaels in the booth; when I post my list of best-ever or favorite TV announcers, this is why Michaels will be #1— he almost has to be the only person who was there the first time the Oakland A’s won the World Series, and first time the Rams won the Super Bowl.

— Back then, World Series games started at 1:oo; Gowdy is giving NFL scores during the game. Dolphins’ QB Bob Griese just chipped a bone in his ankle. No problem, Miami would go on to win the Super Bowl that year, going undefeated, with Earl Morrall at QB.

— Dick Williams was the A’s manager; his first year as a minor league manager was in Toronto in 1965. Who did he take over for? Reds’ skipper Sparky Anderson.

— Catfish Hunter is pitching for the A’s; my all-time favorite baseball player. Why, you say?

When I was five, I got a box of baseball cards; back then, rookie cards had four prospects on a card, all from the same team. I noticed Catfish because:
a) His name was spelled Jim Hunter on the front, Tim Hunter on the back.
b) Three guys had their minor league records on the back; Catfish Hunter never pitched in the minor leagues, so that stood out to me.

When I showed my dad the card and declared Catfish to be my favorite player, I got that look, like “Did we bring the right kid home from the hospital?” Not the last time I saw that look.

— Reggie Jackson didn’t play in this World Series; he tore his hamstring sliding into home in Game 5 of the ALCS. George Hendrick took his place.

— Before this World Series, A’s owner Charlie Finley got them to agree to a rule where the manager could visit the mound more than twice in a game, without removing the pitcher. Williams went to the mound 55 times in seven games, and I’m not exaggerating. Last time that rule existed.

— Some umpires wore the outside chest protector, with jackets and ties. This guy hides behind the catcher way more than current umpires do.

— Weird watching baseball with no graphics. They only put the score up at the end of every half-inning.

— Dave Duncan was the A’s starting catcher during the year, but Gene Tenace’s hot bat made him the starter during the Series. Duncan would start Game 7 and throw Joe Morgan out stealing at a key juncture; he would later become one of the game’s great pitching coaches, working for Tony Larussa.

— I met Pete Rose a few years ago in Las Vegas; resisted the temptation to ask him about this World Series, since he made the last out of Game 7. He was pretty cool to talk to, but then again it cost me $98 to get a baseball signed, so he was just doing his job.

— Matty Alou was the only A’s player that year who had previously experience in a World Series; he played for the ’62 Giants. 12 Reds had played in a Series- they lost to Baltimore in 1970.

— This game was played on Astroturf, which made for a different game; at one time, half the fields in the major leagues had Astrotruf fields. FieldTurf has taken over now, but think there are only four stadiums that use it; Toronto, Arizona, Texas and Tampa Bay.

— Bullpens were on the field down each foul line at Riverfront Stadium; Oakland Coliseum is one of the few stadiums that still has their bullpens on the field.

— Curt Gowdy just referenced that the A’s were an underdog in Game 2; never heard stuff like that back then. Wonder if he took some grief about saying that.

— George Hendrick is wearing his cap under his batting helmet; some guys did that, with no ear flaps on the helmets back then.

— Bottom of the 9th, A’s up 2-0; Catfish is still on the mound, no mention of pitch counts, or load management or any of the modern buzzwords.

Gowdy mentions that Catfish threw five no-hitters in high school, before getting hurt in a hunting accident, which is why he never pitched in the minors.

Tony Perez lines a single to left, then Joe Rudi makes one of the greatest catches in World Series history, to rob Denis Menke of a double. Rudi was an excellent player, a quiet guy who was very dependable.

Catfish has just given up two shots in a row when Cesar Geronimo is robbed of a hit by 1B Mike Hegan, a defensive replacement- another line drive, but Williams leaves Catfish in— the game sure has changed a lot. Hal McRae’s ground-ball single makes it 2-1, A’s. Williams brings Rollie Fingers to get the last out; can you imagine a pitcher today getting 26 outs in a playoff game?

Julian Javier is the pinch-hitter; his son Stan would later play for the A’s for parts of seven seasons, including playing for the ’89 World Champs. Dave Concepcion pinch-runs for McRae, Vida Blue warms up in the bullpen, and Javier fouls out to first base.

12-year old me was very happy that day, and even happier a week later, when Rollie Fingers got Rose out for the last out of Game 7. Was fun seeing this game again, for sure. 

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.