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#7 Greatest HR in Yankee History

October 28, 2012

Chambliss and the Yankee bench watch as his shot carries to right-center

Chris ChamblissALCS Game 5 | vs. Kansas City Royals | 10/14/1976

In the deciding game of the American League Championship Series, the Yankees and Royals battled in what would be come a regular October occurrence.  The contest pitted two teams against each other who were thirsty for late season competition.  The Royals, in their 8th year as a franchise, were in their first ever postseason, while the Yankees were in the playoffs for the first time in 12 years.  Neither team was going to go down without a fight as 56,821 fans packed the newly renovated Yankee Stadium.

Momentum swung back and forth in the early innings.  The Royals scored 2 runs off of Ed Figueroa in the top of the 1st on a home run by John Mayberry, but the Yanks responded with 2 in their half of the frame on a single by Roy White and a sacrifice fly by Chris Chambliss.  Kansas City grabbed the lead back in the 2nd when Buck Martinez singled in Cookie Rojas for a 3-2 edge.

The pendulum swung back the other way in the 3rd when the Yanks scored 2 on a Thurman Munson single and a Chambliss groundout.  They added 2 more in the 6th when Munson singled to score Mickey Rivers and an error by George Brett allowed Chambliss to score.

The Yanks carried a 6-3 lead into the 8th when Al Cowens led off the inning with a single that chased Figueroa from the game, bringing in Grant Jackson.  Jim Wohlford singled to put 2 runners on for George Brett who pounded a game-tying, 3-run blast that knotted the game.  Jackson got the next 3 outs to end the inning, but the Bombers failed to respond in their half of the 8th, going down in order against Mark Littell.  In the 9th Dick Tidrow held the Royals at bay, giving the Yanks a chance to win it with a score in the 9th.  They didn’t have to wait long.

Littell, who had allowed only 1 home run all season, watched as his first pitch of the 9th to Chambliss was taken to right-centerfield and just over the wall to give the Yankees a 7-6 victory and their first pennant since 1964.  As the ball sailed just out of the reach of Hal McRae, Chambliss extended his arms skyward, but he did not have long to enjoy his moment before fans poured onto the field.  They leapt the outfield wall, they flooded the base paths, and Chambliss had to turn into a football player, lowering his shoulder into delirious revelers, just to keep the helmet on his head.  At one point, just after he rounded 2nd base, his legs were taken out from under him by a renegade fan.  Toilet paper streamed from the upper deck, beer showered down, and the crowd roared over the Yankees’ first pennant since Mickey Mantle wore the pinstripes.

The home run gave Chambliss, the ALCS MVP, a .524 average for the series.

Watch Chambliss’ unforgettable blast here.

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