Vic Wertz did much more than fly out to Willie Mays in the ’54 World Series
May 1st, 2021 Leave a comment
World Series heroics in a losing cause Vic Wertz played over 1,000 big league games by the time he reached his only World Series in 1954. Once he got to baseball’s biggest stage he was sensational. In Game 1 Wertz opened the scoring with a two-run triple to deep right. In his next two at bats, Wertz hit sharp singles. Then in the 8th inning and the score tied 2-2, Wertz came to bat with two runners on. The first baseman ripped a line drive to deep centerfield in New York’s cavernous Polo Grounds. Giants center fielder Willie Mays turned his back to the plate and sprinted toward the wall. Mays caught up to it and made a spectacular over-the-shoulder grab 450 feet from the plate. “The Catch” brought the 52,751 fans in attendance to their feet. The Giants won the game 5-2 in ten innings. Though his Indians were swept in the Series, Wertz went 8-for-16 with four extra-base hits. For Mays the Game 1 play was another memorable moment in a career filled with them. With 660 homers, 24 all star appearances, 12 straight Gold Gloves and two MVP Awards, he is regarded by many as the game’s […]Read More >
My favorite player of all time. To me Willie was the greatest to play the game.
It was 425 feet to the fence where Mays caught Wertz fly – not 450.
Looks like a good 450 to me
Greatest baseball player I ever saw. Shook his hand at a signing in 1979. Haven’t washed it since
Willie Mays certainly would be a top 10 player all time ! but baseball had many stars over the last 125 years ! and many in the hall of fame to compete ! but Willie was certainly as good as any of them !
Mays always said he knew he’d catch the ball but was trying to figure out how to step and angle his body so he could get the ball back to the infield. He only takes one step, pivots, makes the throw, and falls down.
In the bottom of the tenth, with the score tied, Mays bats with one out and draws an 11 pitch walk. He looks down and sees Cleveland’s great catcher, Jim Hegan, has been replaced and signals to Durocher that he thinks he can steal (he wasn’t stealing a lot in the majors yet).
Leo gives the okay and Mays cops second. This forces Indian manager Al Lopez’s hand and with first base open, they walk Hank Thompson. Up comes Dusty Rhodes who sends everybody home with a homer (off Bob Lemon, still in the game as the starter).
My #1 player. “The Catch” set me on fire when I was 8 years old. Joe Posnanski, author of The Baseball 100, rated Willie the best ever over the Babe at #2! 660 homers despite 2 lost years to military service makes me think Willie had a shot at exceeding 714. He was Mr Excitement! Thanks for the memories!