In Storied History of Baseball, This Is a Pretty Big Day
It’s the last day of September, and in the history of baseball, perhaps no other day has produced as many memorable moments. Here are some Sept. 30 highlights:
1927--Babe Ruth hit his 60th home run of the season off Tom Zachary to lead the New York Yankees to a 4-2 victory over the Washington Senators. Walter Johnson, making his final major league appearance, pinch-hit for Zachary in the ninth inning and flied out to Ruth.
1934--Dizzy Dean beat the Cincinnati Reds, 9-0, for his 30th victory of the season as the St. Louis Cardinals clinched the National League pennant.
1945--Hank Greenberg hit a grand slam as the Detroit Tigers clinched the American League pennant with a 6-3 win over the St. Louis Browns.
1951--Jackie Robinson homered in the 14th inning to give the Brooklyn Dodgers a 9-8 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies and tie them with the New York Giants for first place in the National League, forcing a playoff which Bobby Thomson won with his historic homer.
1962--Willie Mays homered and gave the San Francisco Giants a 2-1 victory over the Houston Colt .45s on the season’s final day. That, coupled with the Dodgers’ 1-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, forced a playoff for the National League pennant, which the Giants won.
1972--Roberto Clemente hit a double off Jon Matlack in Pittsburgh’s 5-0 win over the New York Mets at Three Rivers Stadium. The hit was the 3,000th and last for Clemente, who lost his life in a plane crash during the off-season.
1984--Mike Witt pitched a perfect game as the Angels beat the Texas Rangers on the last day of the season, 1-0.
Dennis (Oil Can) Boyd, predicting Boston will be in the World Series, said of the Angels: “I haven’t seen no Supermen walking around. I haven’t seen anybody with an ‘S’ on their chest. I don’t think they have the ballclub to beat us now.”
More direct was pitcher Al Nipper who said: “We’re going to rip those halos off them.”
Trivia Time: What was the name of the New York nightclub in which Joe Namath gave up his part ownership under orders from Commissioner Pete Rozelle? (Answer below.)
Mike Ditka was upset Monday that his confrontation with a heckler was played up in the papers over the details of the 44-7 win by his Chicago Bears over the Cincinnati Bengals.
“My goodness, we beat a team by more than 30 points on their home field,” Ditka said. “That’s what’s important, the football team. Not some jerk making noise.”
The papers played the confrontation for laughs, but Ditka said: “If I had gotten hold of him, it wouldn’t have been so funny.”
Add Ditka: He also had a problem after the 25-12 win at Green Bay when Packer fans screamed vulgarities at him during his press conference.
After deciding he’d had enough, he reached in his pocket, pulled out a coin and flipped it to the rowdies, saying as he marched off: “Here’s a quarter. Call home and have your mommies come pick you up.”
Mr. Humility: Said Philadelphia Eagles’ Coach Buddy Ryan when asked how he would rate himself as a head coach after four games: “One hundred percent. I don’t make mistakes.”
Trivia Answer: Bachelor’s III.
Mike Maddux of the Philadelphia Phillies, after facing brother Greg Maddux of the Chicago Cubs Monday night: “The last time I faced him was in the backyard playing Wiffle Ball. I think we both hit .700.”