October and baseball go together like peanut butter and jelly, as the playoffs are in full swing and the World Series wraps up the end of the month. 29 years ago on October 12, when the World Series was played earlier in October, the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers were playing in game two of the World Series, a game that would become famous for a multitude of reasons.
Game two of the 1977 World Series has often been referred to and dubbed as the “throwaway game” due to the fact that Yankees manager Billy Martin sent out Catfish Hunter to start who was nursing a sore shoulder. The Yankees two best pitchers, Ron Guidry and Mike Torrez, both pitched in Game 5 of the ALCS, so the Yankees used this game to rest their pitchers and focus on the rest of the series.
The Yankees had won game one 4-3 on a walk-off in the 12th, but got smoked in game two as Hunter gave up three home runs in the first three innings. Dodgers Ron Cey hit a two-run home run in the first, Steve Yeager a solo home run in the second and Reggie Smith a two-run home run in the third, and the Dodgers went on to win the game 6-1.
The strategy of resting their star pitchers proved to be a smart one for the Yankees, as Torrez pitched and won in games three and six and Guidry won game four.
This game also gained notoriety for a non-baseball related incident. An hour before the first pitch, a fire had started in Public School three, an abandoned school blocks away from Yankee Stadium. During the game, the broadcast showed footage from helicopters over Yankee Stadium reporting on the fire and the surrounding neighborhood, leading to Howard Cosell’s famous line, “There it is, ladies and gentlemen, the Bronx is burning.” The line, the Bronx is burning, became the title of a famous novel and a television miniseries surrounding the Bronx in 1977.
The 1977 World Series was won by the Yankees in six games, it was their 21st World Series win, their first since 1962 and the first under the ownership of George Steinbrenner. Yankees right fielder Reggie Jackson earned the nickname Mr. October in this series as a result of winning the World Series MVP, and because he became the first player to hit three home runs in a World Series game since Babe Ruth did in the 1920s.
Matt Kren is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering UConn volleyball. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.