Wednesday, June 16, 2010

How the Pennant Was Won

One subset of the '73 Topps set spotlighted the 1972 postseason. Each LCS got a card and the World Series was given eight cards. For the NLCS card, Topps used a picture of the exact moment the pennant was won:

Card #202 - N.L. Playoffs

What a great picture of the pennant-clinching moment. George Foster is undeniably thrilled after crossing the plate, Pete Rose is the first to congratulate him and we see that Reds third base coach Alex Grammas ran the 90 feet to home plate with Foster. While the blue Helvetica type pretty much sums up Foster's significance it doesn't express just how dramatically the game was won.

The 1972 National League Championship Series went right down to the wire. In the fifth game (the Championship Series were still best-of-5 contests then), the Reds went to the bottom of the ninth down 3-2 to the defending World Series Champs from Pittsburgh. It was do-or-die time, and Johnny Bench led off the Reds' side of the inning by hitting a home run off Dave Giusti and tying the score at 3. Tony Perez followed that up with a single to center. Needing some extra speed on the basepaths, Sparky Anderson sent George Foster in as a pinch runner. Denis Menke notched another single, sending Foster to second. With a tie game and two baserunners on, Bob Moose was sent in to relieve Guisti. Next, Cesar Geronimo flied out to left, Foster tagged up and ran to third. After that, Darrell Chaney grounded to short and Foster was held at third. With Hal McRae coming up to pinch hit for pitcher Clay Carroll, Moose just needed to get him out to send the game into extra innings. Instead, he uncorked a wild pitch and Foster came in to score. A great comeback for the Reds and a huge crushing defeat for the Pirates.

Pete Rose was in the on-deck circle and right there to congratulate Foster as he crossed the plate. If you look closely, you'll also see that the Riverfront Stadium faithful were also celebrating the win. Just above Rose and Grammas, there is a guy in a long-sleeved white shirt that looks to be leaping over the wall and onto the field. Wonder how soon it would be before he was introduced to the business end of a policeman's billy club.


  1. I don't think they did anything to fans who jumped onto the field back then. If old baseball films is any indication, he was joined by 100s more. It's crazy to see the mayhem at the end of big baseball events back in the '70s.

  2. Now why don't we ever see any video replays of this walk-off victory?