These hitters were ‘classic’ in the ‘Fall Classic’
SHEPHERDSTOWN — The World Series is near. Some players enhanced their reputations with what they did in the so-called “Fall Classic.” Others failed to produce and are rarely mentioned when the games come on television.
Some of baseball’s most recognized names earned their plaudits when they tormented opponents in the World Series.
The following hitters had some of the best statistics in history for those who played in at least two World Series.
Babe Ruth was often at his best as both a hitter and pitcher. In two World Series’ with the Red Sox as a pitcher, Ruth went 3-0, pitched 31 innings and had ERA’s of 0.64 and 1.06. With the Yankees in his seven World Series with the Bronx Bombers, Ruth played in 41 games, batted .326 in 129 at-bats. He scored 37 runs, had 42 hits and 15 homers.
The Yankees had Lou Gehrig, who also was in seven World Series, playing 34 games and having 119 official at-bats. The Iron Horse scored 30 runs, had 43 hits and 10 homers while compiling a .361 batting average.
Another slugger from the era when there were only 16 teams in the majors was Al “Bucket Foot” Simmons, who didn’t run very well but could hit. Simmons was in four different World Series and had a career .329 batting average in 19 games. He had six home runs, 17 RBIs, six homers and six doubles.
Some 37 to 45 years ago it was Reggie Jackson, playing for Oakland and the Yankees, who owned the nickname “Mr. October” for his feats in his five different World Series. Jackson appeared in 27 games, had 98 official at-bats, scored 21 runs, had 35 hits, 10 home runs and a .367 batting average. Jackson played in the Fall Classic in 1973, 1974, 1977, 1978 and 1981.
The Wild Horse of the Osage was Pepper Martin of the St. Louis Cardinal Gashouse Gang teams.
The five-foot-eight Martin was in 15 World Series games and compiled a .418 batting average in his 55 at-bats. He scored 14 runs, had 23 hits in the three World Series he reached with the Cardinals.
Outfielder Lou Brock was often at his best in causing problems for the World Series opponents of the St. Louis Cardinals in the late 1960s. Brock was a base stealing genius during the regular seasons he played and did much the same in the post-season. He appeared in 21 games and batted a robust .391. Brock stole 14 bases, scored 16 runs, had 13 RBIs and even hit four homers from his leadoff spot in the batting order.
New York’s Derek Jeter was a latter-day “Mr. October” when he was on five World Series champions and batted .321 in his 38 games. Jeter had nine career doubles, three homers and scored 32 runs.
Paul Molitor was in two World Series and tied Martin for the best batting average for those reaching at least two series. With his 55 official at-bats, Molitor batted .418 in 13 games. Now the manager of the Minnesota Twins, Molitor played for Milwaukee and Toronto in his fall classics.
It seems appropriate that Ruth and Gehrig, two of baseball’s most enduring names, did so much slugging in their World Series appearances.