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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
World Series magnificent seven
By Bob Carter
Special to ESPN Classic

Some of the greatest moments in World Series history have been provided by the most unlikely players.

Cookie Lavagetto
In 1947, in his last season of a 10-year career, Brooklyn's Lavagetto delivered one of the most stunning blows in Series history. The New York Yankees' Bill Bevens was one out from the first Series no-hitter, one out from victory in Game 4 when Lavagetto took it all away at Ebbets Field. Lavagetto, who had four extra-base hits in 69 at-bats that year, pinch-hit for Eddie Stanky with runners on first and second and the Dodgers trailing 2-1. He hit Bevens' second pitch off the rightfield wall for a two-run double, lifting the Dodgers to a 3-2 victory and tying the Series at 2-2.

Al Gionfriddo
A seldom-used Brooklyn outfielder, Gionfriddo made his last major league appearance of a four-year career memorable in Game 6 of the 1947 Series. After the Dodgers took an 8-5 lead in the sixth, manager Burt Shotton inserted in Gionfriddo in leftfield for defense in the bottom of the inning at Yankee Stadium. With two runners on and two outs, the Yankees' Joe DiMaggio drove a Joe Hatten pitch deep to left. Gionfriddo hustled to within steps of the low railing, leaped and caught the ball, robbing DiMaggio of a tying homer. DiMaggio kicked the dirt near second base in disgust, a great chance gone. The Dodgers won 8-6, tying the Series at 3-3.

Dusty Rhodes
A lifetime .253 batter, the Giants' Rhodes had the best pinch-hitting performance in Series history in 1954 against the 111-win Cleveland Indians. In Game 1, his three-run pinch-homer in the 10th inning gave New York a 5-2 victory. In Game 2, Rhodes tied the score with a pinch-single in the fifth and homered for an insurance run in the seventh as the Giants won 3-1. In Game 3, his two-run pinch-single in the third gave New York a 3-0 lead in a 6-2 win. Rhodes, who hit .667 (4-for-6) and had seven RBI in the Series, rested in Game 4. The Giants won 7-4 for a sweep.

Sandy Amoros
One play in Game 7 of the 1955 Series turned this journeyman outfielder into a Brooklyn hero forever. With the Dodgers leading the Yankees 2-0 in the sixth inning, manager Walt Alston put Amoros in leftfield as a defensive move. After the Yankees put runners on first and second with no outs, Yogi Berra sliced a Johnny Podres pitch down the leftfield line. Amoros made a superb running catch, his glove outstretched, and threw to shortstop Pee Wee Reese, whose throw to first doubled off Gil McDougald. Podres won 2-0 for Brooklyn's first and only World Series title.

Larry Sherry
A Los Angeles rookie reliever, Sherry had a hand in each Dodgers victory over the Chicago White Sox in 1959. In 12 2/3 innings over four games, he went 2-0 with two saves and a 0.71 ERA. He saved Game 2 for Johnny Podres and Game 3 for Don Drysdale. He won Game 4 with two scoreless innings and finished off the White Sox in Game 6, pitching 5 2/3 scoreless innings. Sherry also went 2-for-4 as a hitter and was voted Series MVP.

Gene Tenace
In the 1972 regular season, Oakland's backup catcher hit five homers in 82 games and batted .225. In the '72 Series against Cincinnati, Tenace homered in his first two at-bats, the first player ever to do so. He hit .348 (8-for-23) with four homers and nine RBI as the A's scored a seven-game upset. His two homers accounted for all of Oakland's runs in a 3-2 opening-game victory. In Game 4, he homered for a 1-0 lead in the fifth, then had one of four A's hits in a two-run winning rally in the ninth. Tenace hit a three-run homer in a Game 5 loss and capped his Series MVP performance in Game 7 with two hits and two RBI in a 3-2 win.

Billy Hatcher
A .276 hitter during the 1990 season, the Cincinnati outfielder batted a Series-record .750 (9-for-12) in the Reds' surprising sweep of Oakland. Hatcher had four doubles and a triple and scored a Series-high six runs. He went 4-for-4 in Game 2, a 5-4 Reds victory and set a Series record with seven consecutive hits in the first two games. After tripling for his seventh hit, Hatcher scored the tying run in the eighth inning. A .264 lifetime batter who was once suspended for using a corked bat, Hatcher left the Reds' 2-1 victory in Game 4 after being hit by a pitch in the first inning.

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