Fantastic home runs never die or even fade away; they just make great footage for World Series specials. Remember Pirate second baseman Bill Mazeroski’s title-winning smash against the Yankees in the final game of the 1960 Series? Or Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk’s 12th-inning shot against the Reds in game six in 1975, when he could be seen frantically waving the ball fair while bounding down the first-base line?
These show-stopping hits and other great Series moments will be replayed as part of two hour-long ESPN specials airing the nights before this year’s first and third Series games. The shows will also include the most spectacular plays and comical mishaps of this season, special features (including tips for baseball-card collectors), and memorable announcing calls from past Series, including the usually unruffled Vin Scully’s fevered description of Dodger Kirk Gibson’s bottom-of-the-ninth, game-winning homer in the ’88 Series against the A’s. The show will also look at the season’s turning points in each of the four divisions, analyze the play-offs, and make predictions about the Series. ”We’ve covered the sport every day,” says Eric Schoenfeld, coordinating producer of ESPN’s Baseball Tonight, ”so we can follow the thread of the season.”
Baseball Tonight anchor John Saunders will be the host for the shows’ live segments, joined by Peter Gammons, former author of Sports Illustrated‘s weekly ”Inside Baseball” feature; Ray Knight, 1986 Series MVP for the New York Mets; and Joe Morgan, two-time National League MVP for the Cincinnati Reds.
All in all, a perfect Series warm-up for those who associate cool October evenings with talk of ERAs, Ks, steals, ribbies, and, of course, taters past and present.