“It was all part of the plan.”
— Billy Beane
And on the final day of the 2012 season the Oakland A’s rally from a 5-1 deficit to sweep the Texas Rangers and capture the AL West title. A team full of rookies out playing the best team of the regular season. If you squint a little bit and back away from your screen you could convince yourself Yoenis Cespedes is a right handed Mr. October.
Perhaps the greatest underdog story in all of World Series history. In Game 1 of the 1988 Series the Dodgers trailed the A’s 4-3 in the bottom of the 9th. Dennis Eckersley came on to close out the game and made quick work of the first two batters. Nobody could hit Eck, he had 45 saves on the year. Meanwhile Kirk Gibson sat in the training room for the entire game. Nobody thought he could play after sustaining injuries to both legs in the NLCS. He wasn’t even part of the pre game introductions.
After the last out in the top of the inning Gibson realized that the pitcher was coming up fourth. So he told the bat boy to go get Tommy Lasorda and had Orel Hershiser set up a hitting tee for him in the clubhouse. With two outs and the tying run at the plate Lasorda had Gibson sit in the dugout because he didn’t want the A’s to know he could hit.
Eckersley walked Mike Davis and Kirk Gibson limped from the dugout to the plate with an injured knee and a bad hamstring. It was all or nothing. The guy could barely make it to the batters box, how can he possibly run the bases? Gibson fouled off several pitches nearly falling after each one, waiting for his pitch. Gibson took the count to 3-2 and stepped out of the batters box. He was certain he knew what was next, a backdoor slider. He was right. Kirk Gibson belted it over the right field wall and hobbled around the bases with that iconic fist pump.
“All year long, they looked to him to light the fire and all year long, he answered the demands, until he was physically unable to start tonight—with two bad legs: The bad left hamstring, and the swollen right knee. And, with two out, you talk about a roll of the dice… this is it.”
— Vin Scully
Coco Crisp rocking the blow out ‘fro. Oscar Gamble approves.
A Chitwood & Hobbs Field Report