PITTSBURGH—Seamus reporting, because Lester is off drinking pints of Dunkelweizen at Max’s Allegheny Tavern with both of the other Royals fans who showed up at Three Rivers, while I’m here by Doc Sheila’s bed watching the poor girl vanish into the sheets.
It was a pretty anti-climactic seventh game, as far as seventh games go, but because it WAS a seventh game in the first place, I think I’ll just shut up and let Red Barber call every inch of the action. Got this right off his broadcast on the Twitter Radio Network today and wrote it down as fast as I could. If there’s one thing I learned in my years with the CIA it’s shorthand…
KC LINEUP: Otis CF, Cowens RF, Brett 3B, McRae LF, Porter C, Wathan 1B, Patek SS, White 2B, Leonard P
PIT LINEUP: Stennett 2B, Oliver CF, Parker RF, STargell 1B, Robinson LF, Ott C, Garner 3B, Taveras SS, Candelaria P
Howdy folks, this is Red Barber, speaking to you from a packed-as-punch Three Rivers Stadium, for Game 7 of the Funkyball World Series…One more time it’ll be Leonard for the Kansas Citians, and Candelaria for the Pittsburghers. Will the third time be the charm for Candy Man?
A big change in the Royals lineup finds John Wathan for some extra batting average against the lefty Candelaria…John Mayberry’s a paltry 4-for-23 so far, and can always go in for defense later on…Every reliever is available to go…
Pretty amazing that after 157 games for each team, it can all come down to this one big simmering pot roast…
Anyway, we’ll be back with the opening pitch after this word from Prell!
Back in Pittsburgh, and Amos Otis stepping into the box…Candelaria winds and gets him on strikes! That was sure quick…Cowens now,…flies out to Parker in right, two gone…George Brett up there, only at .259 but with some big hits…And he SINGLES! And here’s Hal McRae, 7-for-21 with all kinds of production…Candy Man had no answer for him in Game 1…and there’s a HIGH FLY BALL—deep to left…Robinson back and it is GONE for a HOME RUN! Hoo-boy, right out of the starting gate and it’s 2-0 Royals! Porter flies out to right to end the top of the 1st but this black and yellow nest is a-buzzing…
Leonard against Stennett to lead off the Pirate half of the 1st and there’s strike three!…Oliver sails one out to McRae, looking a bit wobbly again…but this time he makes the catch for the second out. Herzog knows he’s taking a risk with McRae out there, but oh that offense of his…Parker now, a ferocious 12-for-25 in the Series…grounds to Patek and that’s the first inning, with the score KC 2-2-0, PIT 0-0-0
Here’s John Wathan, the second game he’s started…the other at catcher…and he grounds to short, one away…Patek fouls to Mr. Ott…White is gone on strikes and we go to the bottom of the 2nd.
Willie Stargell…had a fine Game 6 with a sac fly and double, but he is out on swinging strike three!…Roninson with a hard liner—but right to Brett at third…Ott SINGLES sharply up the middle for the first Pirate hit…Here’s Garner, also with a fine Game 6…triple and homer…hits one out to Otis here, who puts it away. After two innings, folks, it’s KC 2-2-0, PIT 0-1-0
Leonard starts the 3rd…with an easy little pop to Taveras…Otis grounds it back to Candy, out number two…Cowens grounds to short for a 1-2-3.
Taveras rips a SINGLE to right to open the last of the 2nd…Pirate fans try to get it going…clapping in rhythm to some soul music number…Candelaria bats, a very decent hitter and a lefty to boot…But he grounds one to Patek, who flips to White and on to first for a double play…That sure hurt…And Stennett flies out to end the inning. After three now, it’s KC 2-2-0, PIT 0-2-0
Brett leads off the 4th, singled his first time…Grounds one to Taveras for out number one…And here’s that little big man McRae! Starting to boo him more now…sign of respect…but McRae answers back with a LINE SHOT to deep right-center, bounding around out there—and McRae into third with a sizzle of a TRIPLE! I’ll tell ya, he is putting on a Clemente-esque performance in this Series. 9-for-23 now…And Porter strokes a SINGLE into right, 3-0 Kansas City as McRae SCORES!…Bullpen’s up for the Pirates early…Wathan grounds one through into left for another SINGLE, Porter hustling and gets to third…Pitching coach Larry Sherry is out…Patek due at the plate…Candy throws to Freddie and Patek BOMBS it deep to left, off the wall for a double as Porter SCORES! 4-0 Royals!
Four straight hits and that is going to be it for Candelaria. Tanner not messing around and is bringing in Goose Gossage…Big man hasn’t pitched since Game 3 and with Leonard out there, the Bucs certainly can’t afford to slide down the laundry chute any further…Infield comes up for White, who grounds to short and the runners hold at second and third…Leonard at the plate…but there’s a WILD PITCH—right past Ott and here comes Wathan with run number five! Leonard bounces to third but this was one upside down disaster cake! 5-0 Kansas City as we go to the last of the 4th…
Oliver to lead off for Pittsburgh here, after getting hit with a pretty large mallet…Al’s at .440 for the series but I’m sure he doesn’t care a crumb….Grounds out to first and there’s one gone…Parker lines a SINGLE into center…Stargell again, whiffed against Leonard his last five times…And he does it again, strike three! Boy o boychick…Robinson SINGLES, though, Parker over to third base…Here’s Ed Ott…grounds one to Patek, who KICKS IT AWAY! Parker SCORES and the Buccos are on the board the cheap way! Error number 5 on Patek for the Series…Garner stands in…Crowd’s getting all hot and loud again…but Phil grounds to Patek who steps on the bag to end the inning…After four innings now, it’s KC 5-6-1, PIT 1-4-0
Gossage blows away Otis on strikes to begin the 5th…Cowens is gone in the same fashion…Brett SINGLES though with two away, and guess who’s up…Harold Abraham McRae of Avon, Florida…32 years young…personally owned Candelaria in this Series but now he faces the Goose…and it doesn’t matter as he WHACKS one down the left field line, pulls into second with a DOUBLE, as Brett SCORES all the way from first…and McRae is one measly single away from the cycle, folks! More important, it’s 6-1 Royals now…Porter pops to Stennett, for the inning.
Taveras grounds to White…Pinch-hitter for Gossage here, gotta get something going…and it’s Ken Macha, utility fella…and he lines to third…Stennett bounces to first, Leonard covers, and after five innings, it’s now KC 6-8-1, PIT 1-4-0
Tekulve the new hurler for Pittsburgh…Which means Mayberry will bat for Wathan, and will surely go afield…flies to Parker for the first out of the 6th…Patek nearly homered last time…grounds to short this time…White with a broken bat SINGLE into left…Leonard fans and that’s that.
Oliver takes a leadoff WALK in the last of the 6th…Pirates down by a big five…Parker at the plate, and there’s a WILD PITCH by Leonard…Oliver up to second…and here’s ANOTHER WILD PITCH, Oliver to third! Dennis just shaking his curly top out there…Parker LINES A SHOT—deep in the right field gap for a clean DOUBLE and it’s 6-2! Boy that Cobra can sting. 14-for-28 now, an even .500…Look out, here’s Stargell…and would you believe he’s out on strikes again?? Seven straight times to Mr. Leonard! Robinson grounds to short…Ott flies to right. After six it’s KC 6-9-1, PIT 2-5-0, but it probably should be closer.
Seventh inning now, and they’re getting as nervous as squirrels in autumn around here. Four runs off Leonard in three innings won’t be the easiest thing to pull off, y’know…Amos Otis with a LINE SHOT into left center, skipping it’s merry way to the wall! He’s around second, into third with another Royal TRIPLE! Infield’s all the way up for Cowens, who’s been quiet lately…Tekulve delivers, and it’s strike three called!…One away to George Brett, 2-for-3…and Brett BLASTS ONE, last seen heading for the upper deck in three seconds for a long HOME RUN and 8-2 Kansas City lead! Good gracious golly…won’t see Brett hit a ball that hard until he faces Goose Gossage three years from now…McRae up there, needing just a single for a cycle…he grounds to second and the crowd boos him. Well, that figures…Porter with a fly to center to end the top of the 7th.
Tell ya what, that moon-skipper by Brett just about took the starch out of this crowd…Garner with an easy grounder to third, one away…Taveras gets HIT BY A PITCH…Wouldn’t be surprised if he just stuck his rib cage out there…Fregosi now to hit for Tekulve…But Jim grounds to second, Taveras advancing…Stennett lines to third and that’s the 7th, folks. KC 8-11-1, PIT 2-5-0
Mayberry starts the 8th, and fouls out to third…Patek with a SINGLE, hit no. 12 for the Royals…and Freddie ROBS second base without a throw! Oooh boy, stealing a base up by six? Not advised…White pops to short…and here’s Leonard, getting a big hand by the enemy fans…Ain’t that nice? He grounds out to short, and gets an even bigger hand. 8-2 Royals to the last of the 8th.
Six outs left for the Pirates to come alive. Mark Littell waiting in the wings if needed…Oliver’s first, 0-for-2 officially…and he dribbles one out in front of Porter, who fires to first…Dave Parker now, 2-for-3, and he looks at called strike three! And here’s Willie! Leonard has punched his clock seven times in a row between this contest and the fourth one…AND DOES IT AGAIN on a windmill swing! Two yellow and black sombreros for Mr. Stargell in this Series…After eight innings, folks, it’s looking grim in Steeltown, KC 8-12-1, PIT 2-5-0
Top of nine…the witching hour around here…and Otis with a line SINGLE off new pitcher Grant Jackson…Cowens whiffs again, his third…And here’s Brett with another SMASH down the right field line! Cowens around third, Brett into second with a DOUBLE and it’s 9-2!
Brett 4-for-5 in his climactic game…Jackson won’t mess with McRae at all, as he throws four wide ones to put him on…He’ll face Porter instead…But Porter SINGLES up the middle! Brett scores and they’re in double digits, folks!…Mayberry with a little foul pop for the second out…Patek WALKS, taking all four pitches under his little chin, and they’re loaded up…Bruce Kison will come on to face Frank White…Kison got bumped from yesterday’s start for Reuss, and I guess that was a good thing…and he gets White on a pop to center. Here we go to the last of the 9th!
Dennis Leonard going for a complete game here, and why the heck not? Got himself an 8-run lead…He’ll face Robinson, Ott, and Garner….Here’s Robinson…the crowd standing, for the lack of anything better to do at this point…and Robinson SINGLES, a bullet into left!…Well, that gets the home folks jumping a bit…These Pirates came from behind to win 36 times, second in the league to Philly’s 44…Got a long hike up a rocky ravine here, though…Ed Ott, 1-for-3 on the day…and Leonard strikes him out! That’s no. 7 for Dennis, 4 of them Pops…Garner to the plate now…zero-for-3 after that big Game 6…and he skies one out to left, where Hal McRae, left out there for his heroics, no doubt…makes the catch for out number two. And the Funky baseball season is one out away from crowning a champ…Batter will be Frank Taveras…
Leonard shakes off sign or two…glances over at Robinson on first…Third base coach Alex Monchak claps his hands at Taveras…hoping to get some more business down there..and here’s Leonard’s pitch…
Hit on a line out to left…McRae races back five yards, snags the ball and the KANSAS CITY ROYALS ARE YOUR ’77 FUNKY WORLD CHAMPIONS!!
They’re all out on the field now, mobbing Leonard…Couple of young Royal fans are out of the stands, pounding Brett on the back, shaking Porter’s hand…As Walt Whitman may have said, they came to play this sunny day and made some hay! And Leonard beats the Candy Man all three times they meet…Not only that, but cleanup Pirate Wilver Stargell goes a combined 1-12 against Leonard with nine big whiffs…
But how about that Hal McRae? 10-for-25, with 1 double, 3 triples, 4 homers, 10 RBIs, and a 1.679 OPS, whatever in tarnation that thing is…Looks like he and Leonard will be the co-MVPs….
Final totals…For the Champion Royals, 10 runs, 15 hits, 1 error…for the Pirates, 2 runs, 6 hits, 0 errors. Quite the decisive tilt…
Thanks for following the World Series, folks. This is Red Barber, saying goodnight, and have a nice, short rest of your winter!
ROYALS 200 310 202 – 10 15 1
PIRATES 000 101 000 – 2 6 0
W-Leonard L-Candelaria HRS: McRae, Brett GWRBI-McRae (third of the series)
Serious congratulations go out to Kansas City “absentee manager” Rany Jazayerli. His beyond-thorough analysis and passion for his Royals certainly paid off, and his team showed incredible balance in very department. And kudos as well to Pat Lackey and his Pirates. May the ’77 Bucs’ gallant efforts inspire him to carry on through the entire 2011 season.
TOMORROW: The Epilogue, in which I attempt to tie a bow around this wacked-out narration.