Great blog post by Hal McCoy today about a dinner with Tony Perez. If you like baseball, read this.
Perez and Murray were trying to top each other with their entertaining behind-the-scenes stories when Perez came up with this one about the 1976 World Series against the New York Yankees, a Series the Reds swept in four games.
“It was Game 2, and man it was cold in Riverfront Stadium that night,” said Perez. “We were in the ninth inning of a tie game, 3-3, with two outs and nobody on. Catfish Hunter started that game and he was still in there.
“Ken Griffey (Sr.) hit a ground ball to shortstop Fred Stanley and he threw the ball into the dugout and Griffey ended up on second base,” Perez continued.
“Then you know what they did? They walked Joe Morgan on purpose to pitch to me,” he said. “I never liked it when a team walked somebody to pitch to me. And I never liked to make the last out of a game.”
As the Yankees were walking Morgan, Perez was standing on deck.
“I turned to the batboy and I said, ‘Put away all the bats but mine. This game is over.’”
And it was. Perez lashed a searing single that one-hopped the outfielder and Griffey, “The fastest guy I ever saw,” said Perez, scored from second to end the game.”