In baseball, October 6 always brings with it the hope and excitement of the playoffs, or the final push to the postseason. And some players answer the bell in stunning fashion.
Here are a few of the highlights from this momentous day throughout the last 60 years or so …
Jim Palmer, 1966 World Series
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In Game 2 against the Dodgers, 20-year-old Jim Palmer becomes the youngest pitcher to toss a shutout in the World Series. The 6-0 victory is another step in the rung of the Orioles’ sweep ladder, which they will complete with two 1-0 squeakers in Games 3 and 4.
Willie Davis, 1966 World Series
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In that very same game, Dodgers centerfielder Willie Davis commits three errors, establishing the Series mark for miscues in a single game.
Bob Gibson, 1968 World Series
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The 1968 World Series was one of the classics, stretching the full seven games before the Detroit Tigers could dispatch the St. Louis Cardinals. Game 4, though, was a complete blowout, with the Cards routing their Motown rivals, 10-1, on the strength of Bob Gibson’s dominant complete game AND his leadoff home run in the fourth inning. That blast made Hoot the first pitcher to connect twice in Fall Classic play — the first had come in Game 7 of the 1967 Series against the Red Sox.
George Brett, 1978 ALCS
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George Brett, the young superstar third baseman for the Kansas City Royals connects on three solo homers off fellow future Hall of Famer Catfish Hunter in the Game 3 of the American League Championship Series. Alas, Yankees dingers by Reggie Jackson and Thurman Munson propel the Bombers to a 6-5 victory and set up their series clincher in Game 4.
Joe Niekro, 1980 Clincher
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In their 163rd game of the season, the Houston Astros defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers in a tiebreaker, 7-1, on the back of Joe Niekro’s complete-game effort. It’s victory number 20 of the season for Niekro, making him a 20-game winner for the second time in as many summers. More significantly, the Astros clinch their first-ever division title.
Mike Norris and Billy Martin, 1981 ALDS
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After the player’s strike renders the 1981 season in two, the A’s and Royals square off in Game 1 of the first-ever American League Division Series. Oakland’s Mike Norris hurls a six-hit complete game for the win, and manager Billy Martin becomes the first skipper ever to lead four franchises — Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Oakland A’s — into the postseason.
Mike Boddicker, 1983 ALCS
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After dropping Game 1 to the Chicago White Sox, the Orioles even the 1983 ALCS with a 4-0 win in Game 2, the first of three straight victories to take the series. Mike Boddiker gets the O’s going in the right direction by tossing the shutout and recording a playoff-record 14 strikeouts.
Phil Niekro Knocks ‘Em Down
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At age 46, Phil Niekro shuts out the Blue Jays on the last day of the 1985 season, as the Yankees pick up an 8-0 victory. That effort is Niekro’s 300th victory, making him the oldest to reach the milestone. It also makes him the oldest pitcher to hurl a shutout, surpassing Satchel Paige by 113 days of, um, wisdom.
Wow! Wax of the Day
One of the darkest chapters in October baseball history, of course, was the 1919 Chicago Black Sox scandal. The 1988 film Eight Men Out chronicled that story, and Pacific released a set of trading cards to commemorate the move. You can still find wax packs and boxes for sale today, as in this eBay lot (affiliate link).
It’s a classic-looking pack from the heart of the Junk Wax Era, yet marking events from more than 100 years ago. Steeped in history, for sure! Check out the full listing here (affiliate link).
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