t-2. Jack Billingham/Joe Morgan, 1972 Cincinnati Reds. Billingham was a rotation starter called on by Reds manager Sparky Anderson to relieve his beleaguered bullpen at a critical moment in the 1972 World Series at the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum.
The A’s led 5-4 with one out and Gene Tenace at first base when Billingham was summoned as Cincinnati’s sixth pitcher of the afternoon. Two days earlier he had worked eight shutout innings in Cincinnati’s 1-0 Game Three victory.
The first batter he faced on this day, pinch hitter Dave Duncan, singled, moving the tying run to third base with just one out. Bert Campaneris, Oakland’s shortstop and contact-hitting specialist, was next.
Campaneris managed a foul pop down the right field line that Reds second baseman Joe Morgan chased down. The pop up was just deep enough and Morgan’s momentum carried him just far enough away from the plate that Blue Moon Odom, pinch running for Tenace at third, broke for home with the potential tying run.
Morgan slipped but recovered and fired to catcher Johnny Bench just in time for umpire Bob Engel to call Odom out on a play that doubtless would have gone to replay review had such a thing existed at the time. Billingham/Morgan Win Probability Added: 43 percent.
t-2. Mule Haas, 1929 Philadelphia Athletics. The National League champion Chicago Cubs had a powerful lineup featuring Rogers Hornsby, Hack Wilson and Kiki Cuyler. But against the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1929 World Series, they were twice done in by late rallies, and Haas played a central role in both.
One day earlier at Shibe Park, the Cubs had carried an 8-0 lead into the seventh inning only to watch Philadelphia score 10 times thanks in large measure to a three-run inside-the-park home run by Haas. Two days later, back at Shibe Park, Cubs starter Pat Malone was two outs from victory when Haas struck again.
Following Max Bishop’s single, Haas homered over the high right field wall to tie the game 2-2. Moments later, Bing Miller wrapped up the Series for Philadelphia with a two out double that scored Al Simmons. Haas Win Probability Added: 47 percent.
t-2. Highpockets George Kelly, 1922 New York Giants. They called Giants first baseman George Kelly ‘Highpockets’ because he stood 6-4, a substantial height in those days.
Kelly leveraged his height well, batting .328 for the Giants, and helping John McGraw’s team to victories in three of the Series first four games against the Yankees, the other game having been called by darkness as a tie.
Eventually, Kelly’s abilities with the bat would earn him a Hall of Fame plaque.
Seeking to keep the Series alive, the Yanks led 3-2 behind Bullet Joe Bush as the ninth inning began. But with one out, things got lively. Within moments, the Giants had loaded the bases with two out for Kelly. His line single over the shortstop’s head scored both Frank Frisch and Irish Meusel, and giving the Giants a 4-3 lead. Moments later they won the game 5-3 and in the process wrapped up the Series. Kelly Win Probability Added: 47 percent.