Lidge Versus Pujols
One of the most amazing moments in baseball history, right up there with Bobby Thompson or Kirk Gibson. Pujols just creamed that ball; I'm sure it's one of the longest homers ever at that ballpark.
Although it isn't commonly noted, the Astros appear to have a hex on them every bit as bad as the Red Sox had until last year. In 1980, the Astros seemed to have wrapped up the National League pennant with a 5-2 lead heading into the top of the eighth, when the roof caved in on them as the Phillies scored five times. The 'stros managed to put together two runs to send the ballgame into extra innings but the Phillies won it with a run in the tenth. If I recall correctly, the Astros should have gotten out of the eighth inning with a bizarre triple play that the umpires disallowed. The hitter hit the ball directly back at the pitcher. It caromed off his shoe without hitting the ground and the pitcher caught it, wheeled and caught the man off second. The ball was relayed to first, to apparently end the inning. But the umpires ruled that they had signaled no out on the catch by the pitcher, thereby convincing the runners that they were forced to advance.
In 1986 the Astros led Game Six of the NLCS 3-0 all the way to the top of the ninth, when the Mets came back to tie it. In the 14th both teams scored once and the game went on. In the 16th inning, the Mets scored three, then watched as the Astros notched two. But they got the final out, thereby preventing a Game Seven against the Astros' Mike Scott, who had been unhittable that year and had already beaten New York twice in the series. Here's a terrific description
of that game, which Jerry Izenberg, a columnist for one of the New York tabloids, called The Greatest Game Ever Played
in a book of the same name.
Prediction: Reporters will start asking the Astros if the Cardinals are a team of destiny. Answer: Only if they win six more games this year, which is hardly guaranteed.
Correction: After some digging around I was able to check on the (almost) triple play
. It actually occured in the fourth game and didn't lead to any Philadelphia runs being scored. This is a pretty good example of a phenomenon that baseball writer Bill James has often noted: After a passage of some years, events that were memorable are often confused with events that are significant. A good example in contemporary politics: Ten years from now, people will think that Howard Dean's "Eeeeyyaaaahhh!" scream cost him the Iowa caucuses, although in fact it came after that defeat.