- The Washington Times - Monday, October 22, 2001

"This is some kind of game."
Pete Rose to Carlton Fisk,
Fenway Park, Oct. 21, 1975

Twenty-six years later, it remains one of baseball's most indelible memories.
The ball sailed toward the left-field foul pole. Boston catcher Carlton Fisk, the man who hit it, hopped two steps down the first-base line, waving frantically for it to stay fair. When it did, clanging off the pole, he jumped joyously and began his triumphant trot around the bases.
The game, regarded by many as the greatest one in the greatest World Series, was over in the bottom of the 12th inning at 12:34 a.m. of a chilly, damp New England morning. The Boston Red Sox had defeated the Cincinnati Reds 7-6 to send the 72nd Series to a seventh game.
Throughout Boston and environs, bells rang and glasses were hoisted. Not since 1918, when the Sox won their fourth Series in seven years, had baseball occasioned such an uproar in Beantown.
It was, of course, sadly premature. The following evening, Cincinnati's Big Red Machine won 4-3 for its first Series championship since 1940. The Red Sox's own drought extended through a 57th season and now through an 83rd. But nobody can deny that the Sox fought as valiantly in '75 as any loser possibly could.
Game 6 was described as well as anyone by Pete Rose, the Reds' feisty third baseman who later would break Ty Cobb's major league record of 4,191 hits and then be tossed out of baseball for gambling. Said Charlie Hustle (the "r" will come later): "If this game didn't turn the country on, there is something wrong. After that game, the Super Bowl … is going to have to be spectacular to compete with what we did. I think the Cincinnati Reds are the best team going, but where does that leave the Boston Red Sox?"
The fans' appetite for Game 6 was whetted by a four-day delay in the Series because of foul weather after the Reds took a 3-2 Series lead by winning 6-2 at Riverfront Stadium on Oct. 16. And there was short-lived ecstasy in all New England when the Red Sox snatched a 3-0 lead in the first inning on a home run by center fielder Fred Lynn, who would become the American League's Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player after batting .331.
The Reds tied it in the fifth, two runs scoring on a triple by Ken Griffey Sr., then took a 6-3 lead on a two-run double by George Foster in the seventh and a home run by Cesar Geronimo in the eighth. But in the bottom of the eighth, pinch hitter Bernie Carbo got the Red Sox even again with a two-out, three-run homer off Reds reliever Rawly Eastwick as the Fenway faithful erupted. Would this drama ever end?
The Red Sox missed a chance to win it in the last of the ninth when Denny Doyle foolishly attempted to score from third on Lynn's short fly to left and was thrown out easily by Foster. Explained third-base coach Don Zimmer: "I said, 'No, no,' but apparently he thought I said, 'Go, go,'"
Into extra innings, the teams struggled. The Reds had their own chance to win it in the 11th when, with one on and one out, Joe Morgan slammed a line drive toward the right-field stands. But Dwight Evans made a leaping, one-handed catch and fired to first to double off the runner.
Now in the bottom of the 12th, there were ominous portents for the Reds as Fisk led off against Pat Darcy, beginning his third inning of relief. Recalled catcher Johnny Bench years later: "Pat's warming up, and he can barely get it over the plate. I looked over at [manager] Sparky [Anderson] and shook my head. His arm was sore he didn't have anything. It didn't matter whether it was Carlton or whoever. We weren't going to get out of that inning alive."
Fisk, aka "Pudge," had batted .331 with 10 home runs in a season reduced to 79 games by injury. He would go on to play through 1994, a total of 24 seasons with Boston and the Chicago White Sox, and set a major league record for home runs by a catcher with 376. But this was his golden moment.
Standing in the on-deck circle, Fisk recalled, "you just had a feeling something good was going to happen. And I told Freddie [Lynn], 'I'm going to hit one off the wall drive me in.'"
Lynn never got the chance. On Darcy's second pitch, Fisk drove the ball into horsehide history. He left the batter's box, hopped those few steps, then waited and waved. When he finally jumped, all New England jumped with him.
And from Maine to Connecticut wherever older sports fans congregate, the events of that epochal evening spring to memory with the uttering of only two words: Game 6.

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