Thursday, June 30, 2005

 

June 30th, 1944

Ron Swoboda Born


Ron Swoboda is best remembered, probably only remembered, for the diving catch he made of Brooks Robinson's line-drive in right-centerfield of Shea Stadium in the ninth inning of Game Four, saving the game for the Mets. In a twist, Swoboda had actually been born in Baltimore, but his most famous moment did as much to break the heart of his hometown as anything else that year.

More generally, this raises the interesting question of how many other players there are like Ron Swoboda, that is, remembered for one sterling defensive player and nothing else. There are some who are remembered for one lousy defensive play and little else, Bill Buckner being the most prominent example, and boatloads remembered for one shining offensive moment, Bucky Dent, Francisco Cabrera, and those remembered for all-around defensive excellence in a series, like Graig Nettles. (And of course, Willie Mays' catch in the 1954 World Series, but that's hardly the only thing remembered about Willie.) However, so far as I can think of, only Sandy Amoros is also specifically remember exclusively for one great defensive play. His came in the bottom of the sixth of Game Seven of the 1955 World Series. The Yankees were down 2-0 to the Dodgers but had runners on first and second with one out, and Yogi Berra up. Berra hit a looping fly ball down the left field line. Amoros had been positioned in extreme left-center in the hopes of neutralizing the pull-hitting Berra and therefore had a mad dash to catch the ball. He tracked it down however, making a great catch with his outstretched arm and throwing into the infield to double-up the runner, snuffing out the rally. The Dodgers would go on to win the game and the series, their only World Series in
Brooklyn.

So there's Ron Swoboda and Sandy Amoros. Players little remembered but for that moment of glory in the field, a category they seemingly have all to themselves.





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