Sunday, October 23, 2011

One For The Ages

Gosh, you know, it seems like only yesterday that Jayson Stark of was saying that this year's World Series was going to be must–see television ...

Wait a minute. It was only yesterday. And Stark was writing in the context of the first two games, which were low–scoring nail–biters. Each was decided by a single run.

That really seems remarkable to me in hindsight, though, because Stark wrote that before Albert Pujols did something that no other non–New York Yankee had ever done.

He hit three home runs in a single World Series game.

Babe Ruth did it twice for the Yankees in the 1920s. And Reggie Jackson did it once for the Yankees in 1977.

Ruth, of course, achieved it in the days before television — so, other than the fans sitting in Sportsman's Park on Oct. 6, 1926 or the fans sitting in Sportsman's Park on Oct. 9, 1928, no one saw it.

I suppose the people of that time might have been able to witness either of those accomplishments on the newsreels at their local theaters — except they didn't really come along until a few years later.

Consequently, Ruth's achievements — which sandwiched his historic 1927 season, in which he hit 60 home runs and set a record that stood for more than 30 years — were seen by a comparatively tiny sample of America's population.

Any baseball fans who were not fortunate enough to be in Sportsman's Park (which, ironically, was in St. Louis) on either of those days had to wait nearly 50 years to see that accomplishment matched.

What viewers saw last night is something exceedingly rare, something that sports fans have witnessed en masse only once before — on Oct. 18, 1977, when Reggie Jackson hit three home runs and drove a huge stake through the hearts of Dodger fans (and I know because I am a Dodger fan).

Needless to say, I guess, Game 3 of this year's series wasn't as close as the first two games were.

Well, the experts were saying that the warmer temperatures and the hitter–friendly park would lead to more runs.

Maybe that is what it was.

But I'm more inclined to think it was Albert being Albert.

He's a difference maker.

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