Bob Welch’s passing, for any Dodgers fan of age, calls to mind a classic World Series matchup — one with all the trappings.
Dodgers vs. Yankees.
Two outs, top of the ninth. Tying run at second, go-ahead run at first.
At the plate: Yankees slugger Reggie Jackson, in his prime and already an eight-time All-Star at age 32.
On the mound: Dodgers’ rookie Welch. Age: 21. Major-league experience: four months. It had been a little more than a year since the Dodgers had drafted him out of Eastern Michigan University.
The at-bat went like this:
—Fastball down the middle; and Jackson swings so hard that he staggers out of the batter’s box and nearly falls down. Strike one.
—Fastball up and in; and Jackson twists so hard to avoid the ball buzzing under his chin, he DOES fall down. Ball one.
—Fastball up and in; fouled back. One ball, two strikes.
—Fastball in; fouled back. Still one ball, two strikes.
—Fastball up; fouled back. Still one ball, two strikes.
—Fastball up; taken. Two balls, two strikes.
—Fastball middle; fouled back. Still two balls, two strikes.
—Fastball up and away; taken. Three balls, two strikes.
—Fastball middle; Jackson swings over it. Strike three. Game over.
Welch got the save, going the final two-thirds of an inning in a 4-3 victory.
See any trend in the way the rookie attacked superstar Jackson?
Yes, all fastballs. Unfortunately, there were no radar readings.
Otherwise we might have known how fast Jackson’s bat was traveling after he chucked it when he got back to the dugout.