Texas Rangers: The Curse of Nolan Ryan. Real or Myth?
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
A lot of things went wrong for the Boston Red Sox during their prolonged absence from glory. In their first World Series appearance since the sale of Babe Ruth in 1946, Boston lost to St. Louis in 7 games after shortstop Johnny Pesky (yes, Pesky’s pole is named after him) hesitated on a relay throw that would ultimately allow Enos Slaughter to score after running through a stop sign at third base.
Fast forward 30 years to the 1975 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. In what many to believe to be the greatest World Series ever, Boston would lose a heartbreaker after blowing a 3-0 lead and allowing Joe Morgan to drive in the winning run on a walk-off single.
Now, the play, or inning I really want to get to. The game that so perfectly mirrors Game 6 of the 2011 World Series. It’s 1986, and Boston leads the New York Mets three games to two. The Red Sox took the lead in the top of the 10th and took a 5-3 lead into the bottom half of the inning. Cue the collapse.
After reliever Calvin Schiraldi retired the first two Mets batters, putting the team with one out and one strike away of winning the World Series (sound familiar?), Boston came unraveled. The Mets would get three straight hits, a walk, wild pitch and the ever infamous Bill Buckner error “behind the bag” to win the game 6-5 and force Game 7, a game the Red Sox would lose 8-5. Red Sox fans, you may want to avert your eyes.
I know that Nolan Ryan was with the team during their two World Series appearances. But now, after Ryan has left the organization, many Texas Rangers fans think the only thing that can explain the unexplainable, the missed fly ball by Nelson Cruz that cost the Rangers their first elusive title is the curse. Not to fill Ranger’s fans with heartache, but how similar is Game 6 of the 1986 World Series to Game 6 of the 2011 World Series? The answer is very.
Leading 7-5 in the Top of the 9th, Ron Washington brings in Neftali Feliz to shut the door. After getting the first out, Feliz gave up a single to Albert Pujols and walked Lance Berkman. With two on and one out, Feliz struck out Allen Craig, which brought up Rangers killer David Freese. We all know what happened after that. I’ll save everyone the agony of describing it. Here’s the Nelson Cruz debacle that is every bit as painful as Bill Bucker’s “behind the bag”
Next: History Repeats Itself