|NOTE: eventually, all killers|
end up with their mug shot
on the post office wall, or
in the newspaper sports section .
It was the last time the Twins would play in New York during the 1961 season. In a deflating series, the Twins lost four games that weekend to the eventual World Champs; the last three were by one run. The game in focus was the first of a Sunday doubleheader, which the Twins lost in extra innings on a fielding decision by Harmon Killebrew.
The Aug. 6, 1961 box at BBRef is a fine stop to catch the sequence of events. In short: right hander Ray “Old Blue” Moore was pitching for the Twins in the bottom of the 15th inning, the game tied at 6 each. The Yankees had loaded the bases for Yogi Berra with one out, following a walk to Mickey Mantle. The eventual Hall of Fame catcher slapped a grounder at fellow future Hall inductee Killebrew at first. The conventional play would have had him throwing home to cut off the winning run (Bobby Richardson).
The game record at BBRef says Killebrew, instead, chose to go for the inning-ending double play. It is likely he factored the old-timer Berra into the split-second decision; the left fielder that day was playing his 1,927th game since 1946, the majority of which he played as a catcher. But the Baseball Gods made Killebrew pay for that...his throw to shortstop Zoilo Versalles forced out Mickey Mantle, but the gamer Berra wrested every bit of energy he could from his 36 year-old legs to beat the return throw. Richardson scored the winning run. The Bombers basked in their accustomed glow while the upstarts from Minnesota limped down the coast to begin a weekday series in Boston.
|Killebrew with The Mick, Jim Lemon and Roger Maris at Yankee Stadium,|
in August of 1961. I'm getting a Mount Rushmore effect!
Doing what comes naturally: Harmon being harmful on the Senators and catcher Gene Green, 1961 (Sports Illustrated Archive Photo). I can watch video of him regularly from the '60s and still feel awe at how hard he swung. Paul Bunyan indeed.
"So long, everybody." - TT