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Fisk left enduring image

Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Fisk waved it fair
By Mike Puma
Special to

Signature Game
Oct. 21, 1975 - The sixth game of the World Series belonged to Carlton Fisk, but even before his at-bat in the 12th inning, there was plenty of drama. The Cincinnati Reds rallied from a 3-0 deficit and were four outs away from the world championship when Boston's Bernie Carbo pinch-hit a three-run homer into Fenway Park's centerfield bleachers to tie the game 6-6 in the eighth inning.

The Red Sox had a chance to win in the ninth, but blew a bases-loaded, nobody-out situation. When Pete Rose came to the plate in the 11th, he said to Fisk, "This is some kind of game, isn't it?"

Fisk replied, "Some kind of game."

It got even better. That inning, Boston's Dwight Evans robbed Joe Morgan, preserving the tie with a sensational catch against the rightfield seats and starting a double play.

Leading off the bottom of the 12th, Fisk launched a long drive down the leftfield line off Pat Darcy. Worried that the ball might go foul, he furiously waved his hands for the ball to stay fair. It did, ricocheting off the foul pole. Boston's 7-6 victory evened the Series at three games apiece.

"I made sure I touched every base," Fisk said. "Even if I had to straight-arm people or knock them down, I made sure I touched every bit of white I saw out there."

Odds 'n' Ends

  • Growing up, Fisk had a paper route and worked odd jobs such as cleaning the city reservoir to make money.

  • When Fisk was named Rookie of the Year in 1972, he was the first unanimous vote in AL history.

  • Fisk stole 128 bases in his career, four times reaching double figures in a season (his high was 17, twice). He retired as the only catcher with more than 100 homers and 100 steals.

  • Fisk's brother-in-law is former Angels and Red Sox outfielder Rick Miller.

  • Despite his rivalry with Yankees catcher Thurman Munson - the two fought in 1973 - Fisk and Munson seemed to respect one another. "I have no ill feelings toward Carlton," Munson said in 1975. "I feel sorry for anybody who gets hurt the way he has."

  • In his first appearance against the Red Sox, on Opening Day 1981, Fisk hit a three-run eighth-inning homer at Fenway Park to spark a 5-3 White Sox victory.

  • A slumping Fisk was benched for both halves of a doubleheader on June 12, 1983, leading to an argument with manager Tony La Russa. In the ensuing 71 games, Fisk hit 16 homers and drove in 49 runs while raising his average more than 100 points. "He came out fighting, the way a winner reacts to a challenge," La Russa said.

  • Fisk often remained at the ballpark until after midnight to lift weights.

  • While with the White Sox, Fisk set a record for catching 25 innings in one game over the course of two days.

  • Fisk played 31 games in the outfield in 1986.

  • As a free agent in 1988, Fisk negotiated with the Kansas City Royals before deciding to remain with the White Sox.

  • Fisk went 5-for-5 for the first time in his career, against the Tigers in 1988.

  • In a 1990 game at Yankee Stadium, Fisk clashed with Deion Sanders after the Yankees rookie quit running on a routine pop to the infield. When Sanders batted the next time, Fisk told Sanders, "There is a right way and a wrong way to play this game. You're playing it the wrong way."

  • After his release from the White Sox, Fisk became upset with the organization for its refusal to grant him access to the team clubhouse during the 1993 playoffs. "I was crushed, absolutely crushed," he said.

  • In 1997, the White Sox retired Fisk's No. 72.

  • In 2000, the Red Sox retired his No. 27.

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