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On This Day In History | 1962

October 16, 2012

The Yanks celebrate moments after Richardson’s catch (NY Times)

On this day 50 years ago the Yankees won a thrilling game 7, 1-0, at Candlestick Park to take the 1962 World Series.  Both Ralph Terry for New York and Jack Sanford for San Francisco were masterful on the mound.  Terry was perfect through 5.2 innings, when Sanford, of all people, stroked a single to centerfield to break up his bid for perfection.  Over 9 innings Terry allowed just 3 more hits and no runs as he lowered his 1962 postseason ERA to 1.80.  Sanford matched Terry nearly pitch for pitch, but finally flinched in the 5th.  Bill Skowron and Clete Boyer singled, then Terry walked to load the bases with nobody out.  Tony Kubek followed with a groundball to the shortstop that was turned for a double play, though Skowron was able to score from 3rd.  It would be the only run of the game.

Terry continued to cruise.  The Giants had a chance to tie the score in the 7th, but a 2-out triple by Willie McCovey was wasted when Orlando Cepeda struck out.  In the 8th he induced 3 flyball outs, 2 in foul territory, to bring the Yanks within 3 outs of a 20th World Series crown, but drama awaited in the 9th.

Terry had pitched in the 9th inning of a game 7 before.  It was the 1960 World Series and the Yanks and Pirates were locked in a 9-9 stalemate when Bill Mazeroski hit a ball over the tall left field wall at Forbes Field to win the title.  It was the only time Mickey Mantle’s teammates ever saw him cry.  Terry had a chance at redemption.

Leading off the inning Matty Alou bunted and beat out the throw to first, but when Terry followed with back-to-back strikeouts things looked bleak for the 43,948 in orange and black, even with 2 future Hall of Famers coming up.  Willie Mays and his 49 home runs and 141 RBIs dug into the box and doubled to right to put the tying run at 3rd and the winning run at 2nd with Willie McCovey at the plate.  The game would have been tied had Roger Maris not made a glittering cutoff throw to Bobby Richardson.  The Yanks were still just 1 out away from the Promised Land, when McCovey put a charge into Terry’s final pitch of the game.  Yogi Berra would later remember, “When McCovey hit the ball, it lifted me right out of my shoes.”  McCovey laced the 1-1 pitch past the pitcher’s mound and looked destined for the outfield grass when Richardson, who had positioned himself perfectly, moved to his left, thrust up his glove, and snagged it in one of the most important defensive plays in Yankee history.

I was thankful to have the opportunity to pitch a seventh game and have a real shot at redemption.

| Ralph Terry |

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