Carpenter’s Defensive Play Already Among Most Memorable

By Unknown author
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The Catch

What’s The Situation: With the score tied 2-2 in the top of the eight in Game One of the 1954 Series Indians had put runners on first and second and finally chased Giant starter Sal Maglie from the game. Leo Durocher replaced Maglie with lefty Don Liddle to pitch to the left-handed Vic Wertz.

What Happened: Wertz crushed a Liddle pitch approximately 420 feet to deep center field. In nearly every other stadium the ball would have cleared the center field fence for a home run and given the Indians a 5-2 lead. However, inthe spacious Polo Grounds, the warning track was 475 feet from home plate and Giants center fielder Willie Mays, who was playing in shallow made an on-the-run over-the-shoulder and immediately spun and threw the ball. Doby, the runner on second, might have been able to score the go-ahead run had he tagged at the moment the ball was caught; but instead ran when the ball was hit, and had to scramble back to retag getting only as far as third base.The next batter walked to load the bases, but the next 2 batters were retired to end the inning with no runs scored.

What It Meant: The Giants held on to the 2-2 score into the tenth inning where pinch-hitter Dusty Rhodes hit a three-run homer to win Game One 5-2. New York went on to win the series in four game sweep, and Mays’s catch would go down in history as the best defensive play ever.