When Chris Jaffe of the Hardball Times sent a message about the Cincinnati Reds making an appearance in his list of the top 10 worst endings to postseason baseball games, thoughts of the ugly sweep at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies last year swept through my mind. But it wasn’t like that.
The Reds were number four on Jaffe’s list for the National League championship series finale against the Pittsburgh Pirates from October 1972.
The defending world champion Pirates entered the bottom of the ninth leading 3-2. A leadoff homer by Johnny Bench tied it, and then back-to-back singles put the winning run on second with no out. A flyout advanced lead runner George Foster to third, but the next batter popped up. With two outs and the game still tied, extra innings seemed to beckon. Or not.
Reliever Bob Moose threw a pitch in the dirt that took a crazy hop over catcher Manny Sanguillen’s head and rolled to the backstop. Thus, the Reds claimed the pennant on a wild pitch.
Definitely a much happier ending than the one we witnessed in 2010. Be sure to check out the rest of the list. The number one worst ending has got to be the best/worst example of a team snatching defeat from the jaws of victory I’ve ever heard of. And that includes all of the Reds games from the 2000s.