“… till it’s over”

April 19, 2010

JACK REED

The 20-inning game the Mets won on Saturday got me to thinking about a 22-inning game between the Yankees and the Tigers in June 1962. I was watching that game at home, but I left, drove about 10 miles to visit a friend for several hours, and then drove home and found my brother watching the Yankees and the Tigers. That was long before VCRs and the YES Network’s “encores,” and I was dumbfounded when Tony told me it was the same game I had been watching before I left. It ended exactly seven hours after it had started. The Yankees won, 9-7.

As if the game wasn’t enough of a curiosity in itself, the way it ended was one of those delightful surprises that baseball is so good at providing. For a few years back then, the Yankees carried on their roster an outfielder named Jack Reed, whose job was to play center field in the very late innings so that Mickey Mantle, near the end of his career, could rest his battered and diseased legs.

CLETIS BOYER

Nothing more was expected of Reed, and usually nothing more was forthcoming. But the young man from Silver City, Mississippi, picked the top of the 22nd inning in that game to hit the only home run of his career, providing the Yankees with the runs they needed to win. Reed, incidentally, may not have spent much time in major league baseball, but he is one of a handful of players who can boast of appearing in both the World Series and a college bowl game – three games with the Yankees in the 1961 fall classic, and the 1953 Sugar Bowl with Ole Miss.

Yankee third baseman Cletis Boyer had hit a three-run homer in the first inning off Tigers starter Frank Lary, who was usually hard on the Yankees.

ROCKY COLAVITO

And while Rocky Colavito probably would have said that he’d rather the Tigers had won, even if he had gone hitless — ballplayers always say things like that — he had one of the biggest days of his career, collecting seven hits in ten times at bat. Meanwhile, the Tigers pitchers held the Yankees scoreless for 19 consecutive innings in that game — two shutouts, end to end.

Another note: Yogi Berra, who was 37 years old, caught the complete game.

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2 Responses to ““… till it’s over””

  1. gloria Says:

    Hi ~ Amazing story. I remember reading about this unbelievable game; mostly because I followed the Tigers’ Rocky Colavito from my perch in Chicago.

    A bunch of us Rocky fans are campaigning in hopes the Veterans Committee of the HOF will consider Rocky for enshrinement this year. Hope you’ll check out our website http://www.rockycolavitofans.com and consider signing the Petition.

    Wow! that Yogi Berra caught that entire game. Another amazing fact. Thanks.

  2. charlespaolino Says:

    Thanks for your comments. I’ll be sure to visit the web site. I saw Rocky Colavito play at Yankee Stadium many times. He had an arm like a Howitzer. He’s the only player I can remember who would bring the crowd to its feet with a throw from the outfield to home on a fly.

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