We have reached the bottom of the 9th inning, and now it is happening, what we normally experience at any ballpark when a visiting pitcher is so close to greatness, even the hometown fans come to root for him. He has come too far, he has journeyed too long to drop it. Foul by a foot, and now the crowd seems to be inspired. It’s as if they take it as a sure sign that Dennis will get what he wants, and what he wants is suddenly what they want. 47,224 on their feet. One pitch away from a pitcher’s absolute Nirvana. The pitcher’s dream: A perfect game. Dennis Martinez has reached the ultimate, a perfect game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Nothing scratchy, nothing flukey, it was a masterpiece! And with tears pouring down his cheeks, he goes down the steps and into the Expo dugout. And, with two out, you talk about a roll of the dice . this is it. If he hits the ball on the ground, I would imagine he would be running 50 percent to first base. So, the Dodgers trying to catch lightning right now!
He was, you know, complaining about the fact that, with the left knee bothering him, he can’t push off. Well, now, he can’t push off and he can’t land. . 4 3 A’s, two out, ninth inning, not a bad opening act!
Mike Davis, by the way, has stolen 7 out of 10, if you’re wondering about Lasorda throwing the dice again. 0 and 1.
Fouled away again. . 0 and 2 to Gibson, the infield is back, with two out and Davis at first. Now Gibson, during the year, not necessarily in this spot, but he was a threat to bunt. No way tonight, no wheels.
No balls, two strikes, two out.
Little nubber . foul and, it had to be an effort to run that far. Gibson was so banged up, he was not introduced; he did not come out onto the field before the game. . It’s one thing to favor one leg, but you can’t favor two. 0 and 2 to Gibson.
Ball one. And, a throw down to first, Davis just did get back. Good play by Ron Hassey using Gibson as a screen; he took a shot at the runner, and Mike Davis didn’t see it for that split second and that made it close.
There goes Davis, and it’s fouled away! So, Mike Davis, who had stolen 7 out of 10, and carrying the tying run, was on the move.
Gibson, shaking his left leg, making it quiver, like a horse trying to get rid of a troublesome fly. 2 and 2! . Tony LaRussa is one out away from win number one. . two balls and two strikes, with two out.
There he goes! Wa a ay outside, he’s stolen it! . So, Mike Davis, the tying run, is at second base with two out. Now, the Dodgers don’t need the muscle of Gibson, as much as a base hit, and on deck is the lead off man, Steve Sax. 3 and 2. Sax waiting on deck, but the game right now is at the plate.
High fly ball into right field, she i i i is gone!!
(67 seconds of cheering and organ music)
In a year that has been so improbable . the impossible has happened!
And, now, the only question was, could he make it around the base paths unassisted?!
You know, I said it once before, a few days ago, that Kirk Gibson was not the Most Valuable Player; that the Most Valuable Player for the Dodgers was Tinkerbell. But, tonight, I think Tinkerbell backed off for Kirk Gibson. But tonight, September the ninth, nineteen hundred and sixty five, he made the toughest w baby ugg boots alk of his career, I’m sure, because through eight innings he has pitched a perfect game. He has struck out eleven, he has retired twenty four consecutive batters, and the first man he will look at is catcher Chris Krug, big right hand hitter, flied to second, grounded to short. Dick Tracewski is now at second base and Koufax ready and delivers: curveball for a strike.
Oh and one the count to Chris Krug. Out on deck to pinch hit is one of the men we mentioned earlier as a possible, Joey Amalfitano. Here’s the strike one pitch to K baby ugg boots rug: fastball, swung on and missed, strike two. And you can almost taste the pressure now. Koufax lifted his cap, ran his fingers through his black hair, then pulled the cap back down, fussing at the bill. Krug must feel it too as he backs out, heaves a sigh, took off his helmet, put it back on and steps back up to the plate. Tracewski is over to his right to fill up the middle, (John) Kennedy is deep to guard the line. The strike two pitch on the way: fastball, outside, ball one. Krug started to go after it and held up and Torborg held the ball high in the air trying to convince Vargo [the umpire] but Eddie said no sir. One and two the count to Chris Krug. on September the ninth. The one two pitch on the way: curveball, tapped foul off to the left of the plate.
The Dodgers defensively baby ugg boots in this spine tingling moment: Sandy Koufax and baby ugg boots Jeff Torborg. The boys who will try and stop anything hit their way: Wes Parker, Dick Tracewski, Maury Wills and John Kennedy; the outfield of Lou Johnson, Willie Davis and Ron Fairly. And there’s twenty nine thousand people in the ballpark and a million butterflies. Twenty nine thousand, one hundred and thirty nine paid.
Koufax into his windup and the one two pitch: fastball, fouled back out of play. In the Dodger dugout Al Ferrara gets up and walks down near the runway, and it begins to get tough to be a teammate and sit in the dugout and have to watch. Sandy back of the rubber, now toes it. All the boys in the bullpen straining to get a better look as they look through the wire fence in left field. One and two the count to Chris Krug. Koufax, feet together, now to his windup and the one two pitch: fastball outside, ball two. (Crowd booing on the tape.)