Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Last Out Makers

The last kwiz was solved rather quickly (by the author of this Sox blog). Last night I made a list of all the players who were the final batter of a World Series. I came up with some interesting stuff:

The Tigers lost three straight World Series from 1907 to 1909. In 1907, Boss Schmidt made the last out in the bottom of the ninth of the final game. The next year, his team at home and down to their last out of the series, Boss Schmidt again comes up, and ends the season. The year after that, once again the Tigers are at home, one out away from losing the series. Boss Schmidt is on deck. But Tom Jones makes an out, letting Boss off the hook. I can't imagine what he was going through in that on-deck circle. He probably told Jones before he went up that he'd give him 500 bucks if he'd make an out on purpose--they were down 8-0 anyway.

The man who batted before Jones also helped out Schmidt by making an out. His name was Charley O'Leary. Years later, while O'Leary was a coach with the Yankees, he switched from the first base coaches' box to the third base side, replacing Babe Ruth, who'd been coaching there all game long (in Game 8 of the '21 Series), signaling to the crowd that Babe would enter the game to pinch hit. Down by one, he led off the bottom of the ninth, but grounded out.

The man who hit after Ruth was named Aaron Ward. He was born in Boonesville, Arkansas. Yes, Aaron of Booneville. He walked, and then tried to go to third on a ground out to second. He was thrown out, ending the game, and giving the Giants the championship. The following year, 1922, the Yanks again faced the Giants, and Ward made the final out of that series, too--this time at the plate.

Goose Goslin ended two World Series eleven years apart, once making the final out, and once knocking in the series-winning run. Edgar Renteria, as we know, repeated that feat, doing it seven years apart. Edgar is also the active player who ended a World Series the longest time ago.

Pee Wee Reese made the last out of one World Series. Eleven years earlier, was pinch-hit for with his team one out away from the end--the pinch-hitter made the final out.

But this is the most amazing one: In 1924, the Giants' Jack Bentley gave up the game-winning hit in the bottom of the 12th inning of Game 7--a ball that took a bad-hop, giving the Washington Senators their only title. The year before, the Giants were down three games to two to the Yanks with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Bentley, a two-way player, was called on to pinch-hit, and made the final out of the series. So in two consecutive years, Jack Bentley was the last hitter of the season, and was on the mound for the final play of the season, and lost both times.

Here's the full list of final batters of World Series', in chronological order:

Honus Wagner, Lave Cross, Frank Schulte, Boss Schmidt, Boss Schmidt, Tom Jones, Johnny Kling, Art Wilson, Larry Gardner*, Larry Doyle, Stuffy McInnis, Bill Killefer, Mike Mowrey, Lew McCarty, Les Mann, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Ed Konetchy, Home Run Baker, Aaron Ward, Jack Bentley, Earl McNeely* (off Jack Bentley), Goose Goslin, Bob Meusel, Tony Lazzeri*, Frankie Frisch, Bing Miller*, Jimmie Wilson, Max Bishop, Riggs Stephenson, Joe Kuhel, Marv Owen, Goose Goslin*, Harry Danning, Jo-Jo Moore, Billy Herman, Wally Berger, Earl Averill, Jimmy Wasdell (ph for Reese), George Selkirk, Debs Garms, Mike Chartak (last ab ever), Don Johnson, Tom McBride, Bruce Edwards, Tommy Holmes, Gil Hodges, Stan Lopata, Sal Yvars, Pee Wee Reese, Billy Martin*, Dale Mitchell, Elston Howard, Jackie Robinson (last ab ever), Bill Skowron, Red Schoendienst, Luis Aparicio, Bill Mazeroski, Vada Pinson, Willie McCovey, Hector Lopez, Bobby Richardson, Bob Allison, Lou Johnson, George Scott, Tim McCarver, Davey Johnson, Pat Corrales, Merv Rettenmund, Pete Rose, Wayne Garrett, Von Joshua, Carl Yastrzemski, Roy White, Lee Lacy, Ron Cey, Pat Kelly, Willie Wilson, Bob Watson, Gorman Thomas, Garry Maddox, Tony Gwynn, Andy Van Slyke, Marty Barrett, Willie McGee, Tony Phillips, Brett Butler, Carney Lansford, Gene Larkin*, Otis Nixon, Joe Carter*, Carlos Baerga, Mark Lemke, Edgar Renteria*, Mark Sweeney, Keith Lockhart, Mike Piazza, Luis Gonzalez*, Kenny Lofton, Jorge Posada, Edgar Renteria, Orlando Palmeiro, Brandon Inge, Seth Smith, Eric Hinske.

The *s represent batters who knocked in the winning run to end the series as opposed to making the final out. You can see I made some notes, but the guys who ended the season and then never played again are just a few I noticed, not a comprehensive list.

The only controversial part of this list is how Babe Ruth made a final out stealing third with Bob Meusel up, and the following year, the winning run scored on a wild pitch with Tony Lazzeri at the plate. And as I said before, Aaron Ward once made the final out at third which was no fault of the batter. In those cases, I listed the last guy in the batter's box, though you could list Ruth, Ward, and the pitcher who threw the wild pitch, or the guy who scored on the wild pitch, as person who "ended" the series.


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Location: Rhode Island, United States