October 20, 2011 by David Gillaspie
originally posted on http://www.oregonsportsnews.com/
A WORLD SERIES OF OREGONIANS
The World Series once held the title as most important event in sports. Before the Super Bowl, before the NCAA Final Four became a dramatic mini-series, baseball’s finals were all that mattered.
It was a special time before streaming video and pod casts, before smart phones and tablets.
Recreate the magic by inviting your family out for a drive so you can all listen to a game on the radio together. Their response will tell you all you need to know about Major League Baseball’s popularity inOregon.
You’ll need to use all the finesse you can muster; the World Series is a time for bonding.
Pick one game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers and lure your family to the car with the wild exploits of Oregon-born players in the Series. If they don’t get in, promise to share more history with them.
Start withPortland’s Mickey Lolich.
As a Detroit Tiger in 1968, he pitched on a staff that included Denny McLain, the last man to win thirty games in one season. Lolich, at 17 – 9, seemed to shrink in the shadow of the mighty McLain.
But the ’68 World Series between the Tigers and the Cardinals added a high-beam spotlight to Mickey’s season. All he did was pitch three complete games, winning them all. He even faced a blowtorch named Bob Gibson and sent him home a loser.
For his strong-arm feats, Lolich won the World Series’ MVP. Forty-three years later he is still the last man to win three complete games in the Series.
If your family isn’t in the car clawing to turn on the radio by now, start explaining your theory about pitchers who win thirty games. McLain’s arm went dead and Mickey Lolich logged double-digit wins for the next seven years.
In the end, Lolich didn’t just emerge from McLain’s shadow, he threw an even bigger one. In the all-time Tiger’s pitching records he is at the top of the list in strikeouts, shutouts, and games started, as well as number one for giving up home runs and number two in wild pitches.
After delivering your Mickey Lolich lecture make sure your family doesn’t run to the car and lock you out with the windows rolled up.
If you haven’t motivated them enough, move on to Hillsboro-born Scott Brosius.
The names of New York Yankees define greatness in Major League Baseball. Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Joe DiMaggio; Mickey Mantle, Reggie Jackson, and Derek Jeter.
And Scott Brosius?
Make that World Series MVP Scott Brosius. All he did was what every kid dreams of doing.
Imagine a team picking up their first Little League uniforms in a crowded gym. The equipment man announces their team name, the Yankees, and all the other kids slap them on the way out yelling ‘Damn Yankees.’ (I’ve been a Yankee fan ever since.)
All summer long the Little League Yankees practiced their clutch hitting with a play-by-play whisper.
“Bottom of the ninth, down by two with two on. The wind-up. The pitch. A long fly ball. Going. Going. Gone. Game over. Yankees win.”
The Brosius bomb wasn’t exactly like that in the 2001 Series, it was better. Baseball magic struck the night before when Tino Martinez went yard with two out and two on in the ninth inning and tied the game. The Yankees won in a draining effort.
Could lightning strike twice?
The next night in Game 5, Scott Brosius came to the plate with one on and two out in the bottom of the ninth. He is Scott Brosius from Rex Putnam and Linfield taking center stage in the biggest game of anyone’s life.
With all eyes on him he tied the game with a blast over the fence. The Yankees took it in extra innings.
Check on your family before continuing.
If they’re waving from the car with smiles on their faces, you’ve done your job. You won’t have to tell them Mr. Brosius retired after the Yankees lost the 2001 Series. You won’t have to remind them he won three in a row until then to cushion the blow of losing.
Before you tune in the Series on your car radio, tell your family Scott Brosius came home from the big city to coach at his old college. Tell them he’s good, that his teams have made two world series appearances on his watch.
Then start humming ‘Take Me Out To The Ball Game’ and don’t stop until everyone breaks into song.
It World Series time.