’75 GAME SIX NAMED MLB’S GREATEST GAME OF LAST 50 YEARS

From MLB Network…

1975 WORLD SERIES GAME SIX NAMED MLB’S GREATEST GAME OF THE LAST 50 YEARS

Hall of Famer Johnny Bench and 1975 MVP and Rookie of the Year Fred Lynn Join MLB Network’s Bob Costas and Tom Verducci In-Studio

Pete Rose, Bernie Carbo, Dwight Evans, Pat Darcy and Denny Doyle Featured in the Final, Three-Hour Episode
of MLB Network’s 20-Part Series on Sunday, May 22 at 8:00 p.m. ET

Secaucus, NJ, May 19, 2011 – MLB Network has named Game Six of the 1975 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds as the number-one game of the last 50 seasons in its series MLB’s 20 Greatest Games. Hall of Famer and former Reds catcher Johnny Bench and 1975 MVP and Rookie of the Year Fred Lynn join MLB Network’s Bob Costas and Tom Verducci in-studio to discuss the game while interviews with former Reds and Red Sox players Pete Rose, Bernie Carbo, Dwight Evans, Pat Darcy and Denny Doyle are featured throughout the series’ special three-hour finale on Sunday, May 22 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

In a 12-inning game that featured five future Hall of Famers and 13 All-Stars, the game has achieved legendary status thanks to an iconic game-ending home run by Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk. Throughout the episode, Bench and Lynn discuss the significance of Game Six to each club, the groundbreaking use of pitchers, Lynn’s dangerous crash into the outfield wall, key home runs by Carbo and Cesar Geronimo, and the sustaining legacy of the game and the series 36 years later.  

“You could make a case for a number of different games, but we decided on this one at number-one not only because it had such a dramatic ending in a classic setting like Fenway Park, but because there were so many ins and outs within the game itself, so many potential turning points, so many nuances,” said Costas. “The game and the series involved some of the most significant personalities of that era in baseball: Bench, Morgan, Rose, Perez, Sparky Anderson, Carl Yastrzemski, Fred Lynn, Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, the list goes on. In the series itself, although this is the most famous game from the series, five of the seven games were decided by one run. There were lots of comebacks, lots of twists and turns. It was actually a significant game in television history, too, because of the rating it got and the way it was produced and directed. It had everything. And that’s why it emerged as number-one.”

MLB Network began its countdown of MLB’s 20 Greatest Games  in January 2011. The complete list of MLB’s 20 Greatest Games features nine World Series games, six League Championship Series games, two League Division Series games, two Division tiebreakers and one regular season game. Episodes throughout the series featured interviews with guests including Jack Morris, John Smoltz, Bill Buckner, Andy Van Slyke, Darryl Strawberry, Aaron Boone, Pedro Martinez, Joe Torre, Kirk Gibson, Bucky Dent, Joe Carter and David Cone. 

Highlights from MLB’s 20 Greatest Games #1 include:

On Playing in Game Six:

Johnny Bench:
“Boston was playing without Jim Rice, which was [a] big advantage to us, but at the same time, it was still the Boston Red Sox trying to win a World Series, which made it even more compelling for most of the fans, and everybody really was pulling for the Red Sox. … But here we were with an opportunity and a chance and we felt like the ‘Big Red Machine’ was not going to be big anymore if we didn’t win.”

Pete Rose:
“I went up to bat and I looked back at Carlton Fisk and I said, ‘Man, isn’t this the most exciting game you ever played in?’ … I was telling the truth, I was having fun. I mean, win, lose or draw man, I was happy to play in this game. Let me tell you something man, I played 3,500 games and that’s the most exciting game I ever played in.”

“I told Sparky [Anderson] after the game – Sparky is down there, he’s all worried and I said, ‘But Sparky, don’t worry about it man. Did you see how they reacted to that home run? We got them right where we want them, don’t worry about it. He said, ‘You guys are the ‘Big Red Machine,’ you never won nothing.’ I said, ‘Just relax, take it easy, just go get in a good night’s sleep, come back tomorrow.’ And we went and got a good night’s sleep, came back tomorrow and won the World Series.”

Fred Lynn on crashing into the outfield wall in the fifth inning:
“When I went down, I had absolutely no feeling from the waist down. I thought I had either cracked my back, broken [my] back. I didn’t know what was going on. I had no feeling, so I just lay motionless. I was very alert, I knew what was going on, I listened to my teammates around me and when the trainer came out, I was fully conscious, but I took quite a whack, there’s no question. There was no padding in those days, it was just concrete. … If I left anything to baseball, my legacy would be that play right there got padding on the walls. The Commissioner of baseball was there, everybody in the world saw it, and then the next year padding, albeit thin padding, was on the walls.”

Bench on Cesar Geronimo’s home run in the top of the 8th inning:
“I thought that was really the sealer right there. I mean I thought that was absolutely a World Champion home run, we were going to be the World Series champions.”

Bernie Carbo on his crucial at-bat in the bottom of the 8th inning:
“In this situation, I thought, ‘You know what? I don’t want to take just a third strike, I think he’s going to come back with a fastball.’ I just kind of made up my mind. If he would have thrown it behind my back, I would have swung at it. That’s the way I felt. I said, ‘I’m going to be swinging at this ball.’”

“When I hit it, I really didn’t think the ball was out of the park. As I rounded first, I saw Geronimo turn his back and I said, ‘Man, this ball has got a chance.’ Next thing I know it’s a home run. … When I came around second, I’m looking at Pete [Rose] saying, ‘Hey Pete, don’t you wish you were this strong? Don’t you wish you were this strong, Pete?’ Pete’s yelling back at me man, ‘Isn’t this fun Bernie, isn’t this fun? This is what [the] World Series is about. This is fun Bernie.’ As I came around third and touched home plate I got into the dugout and realized, ‘Wow we tied this game, I can’t believe it.’ It was just fantastic.”

Carbo on his drug and alcohol addiction during the Series:
“The bad thing [was] we had three rainouts and we were supposed to go to Tufts University to work out and I was into the wind. There was no way that I even knew where Tufts University was or be able to get myself into the condition to go to Tufts University to work out. Those three days, rainouts and things, my life started with a drink, a drug, from morning to night and with those three days of rainouts, I was totally wasted. And when I got to the ballpark, I wasn’t really together, and maybe it was better that in the sense that’s basically how I played every game of my baseball career, my Major League career.”

Lynn on Carbo’s addiction:
“Bernie’s locker was next to me and I had no clue. In fact, I didn’t know about this until many, many years later about his addiction and how he came to the ballpark. I mean, I was stunned when he told me about it. I can’t even imagine performing like that, but he was able to do it. I’m happy to say that he’s clean now, but it was a shocker when I first heard about it.” 

Denny Doyle on misinterpreting Don Zimmer’s base-running call:
“All I heard was the word ‘go’ and I heard it twice. … What eventually was said – [Zimmer] was quoted in the newspaper the next day – was that he said to me, ‘You can’t go, don’t go.’ And I heard the word that I wanted to hear. When it boils down to it, I screwed it up because he was the man. He was the authority and I counted on him for everything and I just assumed that was it and I was doing the right thing.”

Pat Darcy on Carlton Fisk’s game-winning home run:
“It kind of hung up in the air because the wind was blowing to fair territory and I thought, ‘It’s going to go foul,’ and then it clipped the foul pole.”

“I never realized that [George] Foster caught the ball and he ended up selling the ball about 20 years later. At the time I said, ‘How did you convince somebody that was the ball?’ Then I realized from watching right now, that it hit the foul pole and he caught it. That was the real ball, whoever bought it got the real one.”

Lynn on winning the game:
“It was euphoric obviously in the clubhouse, but all that allows us to do is play Game Seven so we have to regroup as well. They’re regrouping, we’re regrouping, we’re moving our emotion aside, at least I was. … Yeah, we have some momentum on our side, but we’ve seen during the course of this series, momentum doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to win.” 

On the legacy of the 1975 World Series:

Lynn:
“I didn’t know the ramifications of that game and that series until later in my career. Again I was a rookie, these are all new experiences for me and I was taking it for granted that we would be back again. Turned out this was my first and only World Series so now I really look back on it fondly. I think we did some really good things, both teams, we put baseball back on the map in the forefront with the NBC production and all the things that happened there. It was just a great experience and I’m glad I was a part of it.”

Bench:
“I had been the MVP twice and Rookie of the Year, but when I walked into that clubhouse after the seventh game, there’s nothing else I’ve ever experienced that really meant what the whole game meant. … When you went in there, 25 players were the World Champions. The coaches, the trainers, the equipment men, the sponsors, there’s really nothing like it. That’s what the worst part of that whole sixth game was. [It] was the fear that we wouldn’t win the seventh game. Yeah, you’re confident you will, but here you were, [you] let a game get away already and we’ve lost two. I heard about those two World Series we lost as well so now I’m going to hear about this game, but if we don’t win it, it’s really going to be devastating. … It was supposed to be a day game at one point on the weekend, now it’s a night game. It’s gone into 12:30, almost  one o’clock in the morning and still nobody has gone to bed. I mean, everybody in America saw that game and all of the sudden baseball was great again.” 

MLB Network is the ultimate television destination for baseball fans, featuring live games, original programming, highlights, and insights and analysis from the best in the business, including Bob Costas, Harold Reynolds, Al Leiter and Peter Gammons. MLB Network launched on January 1, 2009 as the largest launch in cable television history and is currently distributed in approximately 57 million cable, telco TV and satellite homes throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. For more information and to find MLB Network in your area, go to www.mlbnetwork.com.

3 Comments

My heart still races thinking about this game, about this series. I grew up watching the Big Red Machine, I was there for Father-Son day when little Ken Griffey, Jr., I think about 4 years old, took the field with his father. I was there when Joe Morgan hit his home run in 1st at bat of the ’76 World Series. And now I am married to someone from Boston and we talked about this series 20 years after the fact – when we met – both cheering for opposite sides. Now looking forward to the Reds coming to Tampa to play the Rays and wearing my Cueto jersey – no matter where my seats are. Root the Reds home! My husband sees Zimmer regularly – who is from Cincy and was on his team’s side during this series, so truly full circle.

It was a great game, no question. However, it always cracks me up to hear people talk about how the Red Sox had this amazing walk-off win in the greatest World Series game ever played…leaving out the fact that the Reds won Game 7.

I couldn’t agree more with you Russell. Great game, yes. But in no way is it the number 1 game of all time. There are many more on MLB’s show that are deserving of number one status. You’d think that Fisk’s home run won the game and the World Series, like Mazeroski’s, or Carter’s.

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