BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
It was ironic seeing a No. 29 on the mound as the winning pitcher in Game 7 of the World Series in St. Louis.
Friday night, the man I'm referring to was Chris Carpenter.
Back in 1968, former Detroit Tigers left-handed pitcher Mickey Lolich wore No. 29 proudly as he pitched a complete game, and defeated St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame Pitcher Bob Gibson in Game 7 of the World Series at Old Busch Stadium. The Tigers won the World Series 4-3. Lolich won three games in that series.
Gibson's catcher was Fox Color Analyst Tim McCarver, whose first of two playing stints with the Cardinals was from 1959-1969. The Tigers rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to win the Fall Classic.
The Cardinals broadcaster was Jack Buck.
Now in 2011, McCarver, was in the booth with Buck's son Joe, watching his former team overcome a 3-2 series deficit as the Cardinals won it's 11th World Series Championship, the most in the National League.
There is no doubt that the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers World Series will go down as one of the best ever.
But I'll never forget a Spring Training Game between these two franchises in Pompano Beach, Florida., in the early 1980's. The Rangers played their home games at Pompano Beach Municipal Stadium from 1972-1986.
Texas hosted the Cardinals and Jack Buck was calling the game with legendary St. Louis Blues and Cardinals Announcer Dan Kelly. From 1980-84, Kelly worked Cardinals games for KMOX Radio.
Buck decided to take a window section out of the press box so he could call the game easier. The press box at the stadium was real low and a foul ball flew in and hit Jack right in the arm. The bruise he received was quite evident.
But one thing that wasn't bruised was Buck's sense of humor. He walked out of the radio booth, laughed and shrugged it off and went back to work.
That press box no longer exists at the stadium. The game ended in a tie in front of a crowd of about 750 fans. Joe was born on April 25, 1969 and was in grade school at the time.
However, on Friday night, Joe Buck, who was about six months old when the Tigers defeated McCarver's Cardinals, was in a State Of The Art Press Box with 50,000 fans at New Busch Stadium educating millions of viewers on television.
There would be three guarantees on this night.
1) His press box was high enough to avoid getting drilled in the arm.
2) The attendance was much higher in October then in a meaningless March Spring Training Game, plus Friday nights game was televised.
3) Friday nights game wasn't going to end in a tie.
Somewhere in heaven, Jack Buck and Kelly had to be looking down at the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers match-up much differently as it hit the big stage.
Meanwhile, every time I drive by that stadium, it will go down as one of my most enjoyable Spring Training Memories, which included these two teams that were showcased Friday night.
It was reinforced by an unforgettable World Series and I wouldn't be surprised if they ever met again for a rematch.
Scott Morganroth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and his blog can be seen at www.scottsports33.com.
- Scott Morganroth
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