Saturday, November 7, 2009

Hideki Matsui's World Series Performance Evokes Memories of Dusty Rhodes 55 Years Earlier

Hideki Matsui earning the 2009 World Series MVP as a designated and pinch hitter drums up memories of another New York World Series hero. A year before the World Series MVP award was created, and over 20 years before the emergence of the designated hitter, James "Dusty" Rhodes terrorized the pitching of the American League champions, the Cleveland Indians. Rhodes hit a pinch-hit homer off of Bob Lemon in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series with two runners on in the 10th inning to win the game 5-2. In game 2, he had a pinch hit single off of Early Wynn in the 5th inning, and then followed it up with another homerun off of Wynn in the 7th. In game 3, he had a pinch-hit single that drove in two runs in a 6-2 Giants victory. In the 3 games he played, he was 4-6 with 2 homeruns and 7 RBI. The Giants swept the series in 4 games over the Cleveland Indians.

Matsui had a homerun, a single and 2 RBI as a pinch-hitter, and was 8-13 overall as a DH / PH en route to his award winning performance. While many remember the 1954 World Series for Willie Mays' catch of Vic Wertz's smash; if a World Series MVP had existed in 1954, it would have gone to Rhodes for his timely hitting off of the bench for the Giants. The parallel to Matsui, plays out similar in their roles of "professional hitter" for their respective teams in World Series victory.


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