Fifty-four years ago a 27 year-old first baseman by the name of Bill “Moose” Skowron led the New York Yankees to a come-from-behind world series triumph over the Milwaukee Braves. Down three games to two and with the series hanging in the balance, Skowron singled home what proved to be the winning run in the tenth inning of game six. He then hit a three-run home run in game seven helping the Bombers to a 6-2 win and another baseball crown.
Yesterday “Moose” died at the age of 81.
Friday’s game had the makings of a pitching duel with starters Ivan Nova of the Yankees going against defending Cy Young winner, and MVP, Justin Verlander. Nova entered the game with a 3-0 record and a respectable 3.79 ERA and the Tigers ace came in at 1-1 with a 2.13 ERA. Both hurlers had been their teams most dependable starters in the early season. The game wasn’t what had been expected.
After jumping out to an early 1-0 lead in the first, the New York Yankees watched as the Tigers proceeded to score three over the next two innings. The Detroit lead wouldn’t last as the Bronx Bombers put a run on the board in the bottom of the 4th, then two more in the bottom of the 5th with a 2-run HR by catcher Russell Martin. Given the flow of the game, it was clear the scoring wasn’t over, and the Tigers showed why they are one of the most feared teams in the American League by knocking out Nova with a 3-run sixth.
Once again the New York Yankees found themselves two runs down to the best pitcher in the American League, and once again they showed their heart and rallied. With help from an error by Tiger left fielder Don Kelly, the Yankees got a run back in the bottom of the sixth, and in the eighth Mark Teixeira’s sacrifice fly off reliever Joaguin Benoit tied the game at six.
In the ninth manager Joe Girardi elected to use future hall-of-famer Mariano Rivera who, on 11 pitches, retired the side in order. In the bottom of the frame, the New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter scored the winning run on a wild pitch, completing the unprecedented comeback.
The baseball world may long forget the results of this game as it takes it’s place among other April decisions, but long-time New York Yankees fans may find it fitting that the day “Moose” Skowron died, a game was won with a comeback.