Sunday, October 29, 2000

1975 World Series: Game 7

With clutch hits, Reds are champs

        Boston, Oct. 23, 1975 —The hit that Boston and Cincinnati fans best remember is Joe Morgan's flare single to center in the top of the ninth inning that drove in Ken Griffey Sr. and put the Reds ahead to stay, 4-3.

        But it was Tony Perez who made it possible with what he did in the sixth inning.

        The Big Red Machine was trailing the Red Sox 3-0 and was on the verge of losing its third World Series (it lost in 1970 and '72).

        It is doubtful the team would have stayed together had it lost this game; Perez probably would have been traded.

        Instead, Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee, who twice had been successful when using blooper pitches against Perez, tried to sneak another past him. But this time the Reds first baseman timed it perfectly and hit a two-run homer to left-center to make the score 3-2.

        When that happened, the Reds knew one thing for certain: They were going to be World Series champions.

        This past summer, 25 years later, Pete Rose was autographing memorabilia on a street corner in Cooperstown, N.Y., when somebody reminded him of Perez's home run.

        “You know what made that possible, don't you?” said Rose.

        It was Rose's hard slide into Denny Doyle at second base on Johnny Bench's would-be inning-ending double-play groundout to shortstop that allowed Perez to come to bat.

        In the seventh inning, Rose's two-out single scored Griffey, who had walked and stolen second, to tie the score at 3.

        Game 7 of the 1975 World Series helped put Perez and Sparky Anderson into the Hall, and contributed mightily to Morgan's first-ballot election.

        Without Rose's hard slide, and Perez's home run, the Big Red Machine might have been a disappointment. Instead, it is regarded by many as one of the five greatest teams of all time.

       — John Erardi

        • PreviewGame 123456

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