I HAD FORGOTTEN all about this until seeing the story in Sunday's New York Times on the 30th anniversary of the craziest game in modern major league history: Phillies 23, Cubs 22. With an 18 mph wind blowing straight out at Wrigley Field, it was truly ridiculous: both starting pitchers knocked out in the first inning, the Phils holding a 21-9 lead in the middle of the fifth, the Cubs coming back to make it 22-22 in the eighth, Mike Schmidt winning it with a homer in the 10th, his second home run and the 11th of the day. Dave Kingman had three for the Cubs.
It was a where-were-you moment in my life: I was still in college, at the offices of the Daily Pennsylvanian, listening with some other people on the radio and then standing by the wire machine and waiting in anticipation for it to spit out the box score on a long roll of off-white paper.
Today, you can pay MLB.com a couple of bucks and listen to the Phillies' radio broadcast of the game. Just to hear the voices again yesterday was worth it. It will be my honor to have Harry Kalas, Rich Ashburn and Andy Musser write the rest of the column today - and, yes, there were some outta-heres and oh-brothers and hard-to-believes along the way. In a shocking development, most of the best lines belonged to Whitey.
Andy: "Mike Schmidt got that ball way up into the wind in leftfield and it's a three-run homer . . . "
Rich: "Boy, what an example of what the wind is going to do to the ball. I mean, that looked like a routine fly ball. [Dave] Kingman out there, he thought it was . . . Andy, I'll bet he got another hundred feet out of the wind."
Rich: "I have a feeling this might end up about 19-12 . . . "
Andy: "Good thing we have a late flight tonight."
Rich: "Makes you want to go down there and grab a bat. Never seen so many hard-hit balls early . . . "
Andy: "Long, towering drive to deep leftfield, way, way out of here, a mighty home run by Dave Kingman. There was no doubt about that one . . . "
Rich: "Oh boy, I'm telling you. Still nobody out. That ball almost hit the building across the street, across Waveland Avenue . . . "
Andy: "This has got to be one of those days where no lead is safe . . . "
Rich: "Oh, Andy, get the married men off the field today . . . "
Harry: "Again the 3-2 pitch . . . swing and there she goes if it's fair. It is way out of here, a tremendous home run that hits the building across the street. Kingman's second home run of the ballgame . . . he crushed it."
Rich: "There's a three-story building across the leftfield fence and he hit it up about the third story."
Rich: "Kingman has hit two home runs today and if you put them together you might end up in Milwaukee."
Rich: "This scorecard is undecipherable, if there is such a word."
Rich: "[Cubs reliever Willie] Hernandez taking some extra time, and why not? Every time you throw the ball today, something bad happens to it."
Rich: "[Tug] McGraw has loaded the bases . . . maybe a 12-run lead isn't going to be that much."
Rich: "Here's the 2-1 pitch. Fly ball, deep right-centerfield, this is going to be a grand-slammer. Ohhh, brother. A grand-slammer by Bill Buckner and it's now a 21-14 game. Unbelievable. Oh, boy . . . We're only in the bottom of the fifth . . . Thirty-four hits in the game. Thirty-five runs."
Rich: "Two-and-two the count, McGraw gets the sign, here's the pitch, Martin, long fly ball, centerfield, [Greg] Gross going back, still going, out of the ballpark, a home run. Ohhhhh, I can't believe it. Can't believe it. Jerry Martin has hit a two-run home run into the centerfield bleachers and it's now a 21-16 game. Ohhhh. Unbelievable. Unbelievable . . . "
Rich: "Kingman has hit two long home runs. He's knocked in five runs. The pitch to him, long drive, oh, way out of the ballpark. Unbelievable. Oh, right across the street. Oh, brother, now it's 21-19 . . . How many home runs is that hit against the Phillies in this game? Six. That's a record for the opposition against the Phillies . . . "
Harry: "The lead is down to one with first and second and two outs [in the eighth]."
Rich: "Harry, I'm speechless."
Harry: "Here's Barry Foote . . . 1-1 pitch, swing and a high bounding ball, a base hit to leftfield. Rounding third is [Steve] Ontiveros, the throw to the plate not in time, this game is tied at 22-22 . . . an incredible ballgame."
Rich: "Never seen one like it before. Probably never see another like it again."
Rich: "This kind of a game has just destroyed both bullpens today, but the Cubs have Bruce Sutter in here just when they need him, in a tie game in extra innings . . . 3-2 pitch, Schmidt, long drive to leftfield and this is going to leave the ballpark. Over the fence, a home run for Mike Schmidt, and the Phillies lead it 23-22. Oh, boy . . . "
Rich: "It's hard to see right now from up here with that shadow around home plate. You can hardly see the ball off the bat. Two young ladies, scantily clad, walking down below us and the fans are really reacting - along with a couple of people here in the booth who shall remain nameless. Two strikes on Kingman, [Rawly] Eastwick's pitch, Kingman swings and misses, he strikes out on some kind of an offspeed pitch."
Harry: "Here are the final totals, if you can believe it. Phillies, 23 runs, 24 hits, two errors and the Phils left 15. For Chicago, 22 runs, they outhit the Phils with 26, a total of 50 hits in the game, two errors and they left only seven . . . " *
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