The “weakest team in the history of the World Series” won it Thursday night.
The team from Lourdes did it. They came in on crutches, so to speak, and went out dancing and wearing halos at a rakish angle. It was a script right out of “The Song of Bernadette.” As this is written, they’re throwing champagne around the visiting team clubhouse. They should be throwing holy water.
World champions!? The Dodgers!? You got to be kidding!
I mean, look, gang, we’re not talking the 1927 Yankees here. We’re talking more banjos than a minstrel show.
This wasn’t even the varsity. This was the Dodgers’ No. 1 farm club. This was the Los Angeles Scrubs. The B team. The one you send off on long bus trips in spring training when the A team stays at the base to play the Yankees.
Everyone thought this was a club running on empty. With their best pitcher and their worst lineup going, they were spotting the most physical team in baseball a lot of muscle, to say nothing of homers, doubles, triples and runs batted in. On paper, it looked like the Bayonne Bleeder vs. Mike Tyson.
Orel Hershiser for President! Orel, who has had a season that’s right out of Frank Merriwell, won it like Billy Graham. He stood out on the mound, thinking the good thought and humming hymns.
Ordinarily, when you face the Oakland lineup, the hymn that comes to mind is “Nearer My God to Thee.”
The game was won by the Bash Brothers--Mickey Hatcher and Mike Davis.
When you get beat on home runs by Mickey Hatcher and Mike Davis, you begin to listen for voices or watch for tables to start lifting by themselves and lighted saucers to begin landing on the front lawn.
Mickey Hatcher may be E.T. He came into this Series with a record of having hit exactly one (1) home run this season. I think it went out in the air. But Mickey doesn’t take any chances. He runs out home runs the way Carl Lewis runs out the relay. He looks as if the cops were after him.
Pete Rose used to run out home runs this way. Until one day, Frank Robinson who had hit almost 600, stopped him as he screamed across home plate and said, “Son, you better leave those home runs to those of us who can act them out.” Mickey Hatcher’s home run trot is a blur, too.
Of course, he hasn’t had too much practice. The home run he hit Thursday night was only the third all season and only the 11th lifetime in the National League. He’s no threat at all to catch up to the Babe or Henry Aaron.
But who would have bet Mickey (Himself) Hatcher would out-homer Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire in this Series?
Kirk Gibson hit a homer for the ages in this thing on opening night. But Mickey Hatcher validated it for him. Gibson’s homer turned this World Series around. But Mickey Hatcher kept it in the vault, so to speak. If it were to turn out to be in a losing cause, it would be as forgotten as Hoover’s Vice President. Now, it looms large, one of the great homers in baseball history.
So were Mickey’s 2. He was the batting star of the World Series, as unlikely a hero in a company of unlikely heroes as you’re likely to find.
Mickey (Himself) Hatcher is not in the mold of The Hero. He’d be the comic relief in the cowboy movie. You’re really not supposed to take Mickey Hatcher seriously. He doesn’t. Maybe that’s why the Oakland pitchers kept feeding him those gophers. They thought he’d play it for laughs.
Mickey was just supposed to be the manager’s good-luck charm. Mickey is the kind of guy you hide when company comes. Tell him not to put cayenne pepper in the boss’ tea or not to tell the vicar the one about the two priests and the prostitute.
Mickey is the logical successor to Jay Johnstone in the Dodger locker room, the guy who makes fun of the manager, disguises his voice on the phone. No one expected Mickey to play almost every inning of every game in this Series. That’s like expecting George Jessel to play Hamlet.
Mickey starring in a World Series is almost as big an upset as the Dodgers’ winning it. You figure Mickey might be a guy who would go up to the plate in a World Series and a bird would fly out of his hat, not a homer off his bat. Or he might stick a pillow in his belt and do shtick on the manager eating lasagna.
Mickey was a split end in college (Oklahoma), but no one ever mixed him up with Cliff Branch. But Mickey could really hit the baseball when he put his mind to it. Which wasn’t all the time.
You wouldn’t expect a World Series to choke Mickey Hatcher. Mickey treats every game with the disdain it deserves whether it is spring training or fall classic. I mean, him worry?! Mickey Hatcher?! About what?
When you got a World Series where a Jose Canseco can be the goat (42 homers, 124 RBIs during the season turning out to be 1-for-19 in a World Series) and Mickey Hatcher (1 home run, 25 runs batted in for the season) turning into the star with 2 homers, 5 runs batted in and a .368 batting average, you have a pretty good idea that somebody up there likes the Dodgers.
Maybe Mickey makes the Great-Dodger-in-the-Sky laugh. It’s a cinch the Oakland pitching staff didn’t find him funny.
It used to be when you said “Mickey” in baseball, you meant Mantle. Not in this man’s World Series. The Mick means The Hatch.
Maybe if Hershiser does run for President, this Mick could be his Vice President. At that, he’d be an improvement over what we’ll get. He’d keep the White House loose. He typifies the Dodger team that just won the World Series. Nobody took either one of them too seriously until too late. Mickey just may have to go to Steve Garvey to take serious lessons now. Like his home run trot, he may have to learn how to act out his world championship, too. It’ll be hard for him. But Baseball expects a lot of a guy named Mick.
HOW THEY DID IT
Game 1 Dodgers 5, Athletics 4 Game 2 Dodgers 6, Athletics 0 Game 3 Athletics 2, Dodgers 2 Game 4 Dodgers 4, Athletics 3 Game 4 Dodgers 5, Athletics 2
Dodgers win World Series 4-1