Congratulations! You are the winner of baseball’s ChronoPass contest of 2402! You have won the coveted ChronoPass, which allows you to travel back in time and take a seat in the stands of any 15 historical Major League baseball games from the 1876-2001 seasons (including postseason and All-Star - excluding exhibition games).
Of course, there is one rule. You cannot do anything to alter the course of any historical event. You cannot alert George Brett that Billy Martin knows he’s using an illegal bat. You can’t tell Merkle to make sure he steps on second base. You can’t even tell Ray Chapman to duck. You can’t tell Ed Delahanty not to get himself kicked off the train later that night. You certainly cannot tell Chuck Dressen not to bring in Ralph Branca to pitch to Thompson.
That said, what games (up to 15) do you want to see?
My list (in no particular order)
Oct 15, 1986
Game 6 of NLCS Mets vs. Astros
The game dominated by the man who didn’t even play in it.
The Mets had a 3-2 lead in the Series. They lost games 1 and 4 to Mike Scott, who allowed only one run in eighteen innings pitched. The Mets knew that if they lost Game 6, they were going to have to face Scott in Game 7; and if that happened, the series was as good as over. The Mets had to win Game 6. However, it’s looking bad for the Mets. Going into the top of the 9th, the Mets are down 3-0. However, they rally back and put three up on the board to tie the game. The Astros fail to score in the bottom of the inning and the game goes into extra innings for the second day in a row (Game 5 went 12 innings). The game continues scoreless until the Mets push a run across in the top of the 14th. The Astros respond with a home run by Billy Hatcher. The game presses on. The Mets push through 3 more runs in the top of the 16th to seemingly put the game away. However, the Astros put two more on the board in the bottom of the inning, but leave runners stranded to end one of the most exciting games I ever saw and send the Mets to the World Series. Even though the Astros lost, Mike Scott still won the series MVP.
Jul 4, 1939
Yankees vs. Senators
The Yankees split a doubleheader with the Senators, but it’s not the games I’m interested in here. The day is Lou Gehrig day at Yankee Stadium. Lou Gehrig, dying of the disease that would bear his name, said his farewell to Yankee fans. His uniform number (4) is retired – the first person in professional sports to have his uniform number retired. From all reports, there wasn’t a dry eye in the place when he delivered his “Luckiest Guy” speech. I still get a lump in my throat when I hear it today.
May 1, 1920
Dodgers vs. Braves
A marathon 26 inning game that ended in a 1-1 tie. What’s even more remarkable about the game is that the starting pitchers --Leon Cadore and Joe Oeschger went the entire way for both teams.
Oct 3, 1951 - National League Playoff - Game 3
Dodgers vs. Giants
The famous “shot heard around the world” capping the Giants remarkable 1951 comeback.
Apr 8, 1975
Dodgers vs. Braves
Hank Aaron hits his second home run of the year off Al Downing.
May 25, 1935
Braves vs. Pirates
Babe Ruth is playing in the last week of his career. He forty, fat and can no longer play. However, at Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field, the Babe has one last burst of glory. On that day, he hits three home runs, the last one going out of the stadium, the only person to ever hit one out of Forbes Field.
Sep 29, 1960
Red Sox vs. Orioles
Ted Williams hits a home run in the final at-bat of his career. It’s not like he can’t play anymore. That was his 29th of the season. However, he had already announced that he was hangin’ 'em up after the season.
Apr 18, 1940
Indians vs. White Sox
Bob Feller pitches a no hitter on Opening Day.
Jul 10, 1934
Second All Star Game - American League vs. National League
Carl Hubbell, starting for the National League, strikes out Ruth, Gehrig and Fox to stop a two-on no out rally in the first. Then he strikes out Al Simmons and Joe Cronin to start the second.
Oct 8, 1956
Yankees vs. Dodgers - World Series Game 5
Don Larsen’s World Series perfect game. I want to see if the last pitch to Dale Mitchell really was a strike.
October 14, 1976
Yankees vs. Royals (sorry, Chaim)
Chris Chambliss’ home run in the bottom of the ninth off Mark Littell sends the Yankees back to the World Series for the first time in thirteen years.
July 4-5, 1985
Mets vs. Braves
In what was truly a surreal game, the Mets beat the Braves. The game lasted 19 innings AND had two rain delays. Twice the Braves rallied in extra innings to tie the game. In the bottom of the 18th, with two outs, the batter was relief pitcher Rick Camp, a lifetime .060 hitter. Camp had never had an extra-base hit in his career. However, the Braves are out of position players, so Camp has to bat. With two strikes on him, Camp hits a home run to tie it up, stunning everyone in the ballpark. The Mets put five more runs on the board in the top of the 19th. The Braves responded with two more in the bottom of the inning, but who should come up as the tying run in the bottom of the inning with two outs? Rick Camp. You can’t write a better script than this! Unfortuantely, this time Camp goes down on strikes as the game ends at 3:55 am. Keith Hernandez hit for the cycle in this game too. What’s more, the Braves had promised Fourth of July fireworks after the game. So, at 4AM, they set them off. This resulted in lots of Atlanta residents calling their local police precints thinking that the city was being bombed!
Aug 19, 1951
Browns vs. Tigers
In the second game of a double-header, a 3’7" midget named Eddie Gaedel comes to bat for the Browns. Tiger’s pitcher Bob Cain and catcher Bob Swift confer for fifteen minutes on how to pitch to Gaedel. It does no good. Gaedel walks on four pitches, all high.
May 26, 1959
Pirates vs. Braves
Harvey Haddix pitches 12 perfect innings for the Pirates, but loses the game in the 13th on an error, intentional walk, and a home run which turned into a double when the batter passed a runner on the basepaths. Has to rank as the worst “hard luck” loss of all time.
Oct 3, 1947
Yankees vs. Dodgers - World Series Game 4
The “pre-Don Larsen” game. Bill Bevins of the Yankees loses a no-hitter in the ninth inning to a Cookie Lavagetto hit. He also ended up losing the game. Interestingly, this is the final major league game for both Bevins and Lavagetto.