Don Orsillo has been giving daily recaps of the 1975 Red Sox pennant drive on Red Sox broadcasts. He summarizes what the Red Sox did 40 years ago that date during his broadcast of the day’s game. Since it appears that the Sox may not be around in October for Orsillo to recap the Series, I thought I’d take a look at it myself.
The Sox won the American League pennant and swept the Athletics in the playoffs while the Reds were winning the National and swept the Pirates.
Luis Tiant and Don Gullett were wrapped up in a 0-0 duel for six innings
of Game 1. Tiant held the Reds scoreless in the top of the seventh.
In the bottom of the seventh, Tiant led off with a single to left field. Dwight Evans then attempted a sacrifice bunt and, when the Reds tried to get Tiant at second, both runners were safe. Denny Doyle then singled to left to load the bases and Carl Yastrzemski singled to left to score Tiant and leave the bases loaded.
Clay Carroll replaced Reds starter Don Gullett and walked Fisk to force in Evans with the second run. Will McEnaney was brought in to pitch and struck out Fred Lynn swinging. Rico Petrocelli then singled to left to score Doyle and Yaz and it was 4-0. Rick Burleson singled to right to score Fisk and Cecil Cooper hit a sacrifice fly to score Petrocelli and it was 6-0. It stayed that way the rest of the way as Tiant went the route, giving up just five hits.
In Game 2, the Sox got one in the first when Fisk singled to drive in Yaz who had hit into a ground ball double play when, after the force at second, Cooper had tried to score and was caught in a rundown. Joe Morgan scored in the fourth on a fielder’s choice to make it 1-1. In the sixth, Petrocelli drove in Yaz with a single to left to make it 2-1.
In the ninth Bench doubled to left, to lead off and Dick Drago replaced starter Bill Lee and got the next two batters. With the Reds down to their last out Dave Concepcion got an infield single to score Bench and Ken Griffey doubled to left to score him and make it 3-2. Rawley Eastwick, who had pitched a scoreless eighth, got the Sox in order in the ninth and the series went to Cincinnati tied one game each.
The Reds won Game 3, at Riverfront Stadium, 6-5, in ten innings. The Sox scored first on a solo homer by Fisk in the second but Bench hit a two run homer to put the Reds up 2-1 in the fourth. In the fifth, the Reds got three on homers by Concepcion and Geronimo, a triple by Pete Rose and a sac fly by Morgan. The Sox chipped away when Yaz scored on a sacrifice fly in the sixth and Carbo hit a pinch hit homer in the seventh. In the top of the ninth, Evans tied it at 5 with a two run homer. In the bottom of the tenth Morgan singled in Geronimo with the winning run and it was two games to one in favor of the Reds.
Despite giving up two runs in the first and two more in the fourth, Luis Tiant pitched his second complete game win in Game 4. The Sox got five in the top of the fourth to go up 5-2. Fisk and Lynn singled to start the inning and, with one out, Evans tripled to right to drive them in and Burleson doubled to left to score Evans.
Tiant then got a ground ball single moving Burleson to third and Beniquez reached on an error and Burleson scored and Tiant went to second. Yaz then singled to right to score Tiant with what turned out to be the winning run. Not only had Tiant pitched two complete game wins, he also scored what turned out to be the winning run in both games. He gave up two runs in the fourth but shut the Reds down the rest of the way as the Sox won 5-4.
In Game 5, Reggie Cleveland started for the Sox and gave up two homers to Perez, a solo blast in the fourth and a three run homer in the sixth as the Reds won easily 6-2 to go up three games to two going back to Boston.
After three days of rain postponed the game, Tiant started Game 6 and gave up five runs to trail 5-3 going into the eighth. He gave up a solo homer to Geronimo to lead off the eighth and was removed. In the bottom of the eighth, Bernie Carbo hit his second pinch hit homer of the series with Lynn and Petrocelli on to tie the game and set up one of the most memorable finishes in World Series history. In the bottom of the twelfth, Fisk, leading off, hit a long fly down the left field line that just stayed fair for the winning homer. The picture of Fisk trying to wave the ball fair as he began to run to first is one of the most viewed pictures in Red Sox and baseball history.
The final game went to the top of the ninth tied 3-3. The Sox got three in the third on an RBI single by Yaz and then, after Fisk was walked intentionally to load the bases, Petrocelli and Evans walked, forcing in two more runs. Perez hit a homer to make it 3-2 in the sixth and Rose drove in Griffey with the tying run in the seventh. In the top of the ninth, with Griffey on second after walking again, Morgan drove him in with what turned out to be the winning run.
Pete Rose, who hit .370, with 10 hits in 27 at bats, was named MVP. Five players who played in the series, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Tony Perez from the Reds and Carlton Fisk and Carl Yastrzemski from the Sox, were later named to the Hall of Fame.
The Sox had come so close but would not win a series until 2004. It was one of the most exciting and suspenseful series ever with five of the seven games decided by one run.