Happy birthday to Ralph Terry who pitched for the Yankees, Athletics, Indians, and Mets from 1956-1967.
Terry holds a special place for me as a walkoffs, last licks, and final outs aficionado since the baseball life of Yankee pitcher Ralph Terry would hold two very distinct moments in time.
You might recall that in October of 1960, in the bottom of the 9th inning of Game 7 of the World Series, Terry was on the mound of a game tied 9-9 between the Yankees and the Pirates. The Pittsburgh leadoff batter was a lifetime .266 in his baseball career to that point. He had hit 48 homers in his 667 game career and so far in this Series he was 7-for-24 with a homer and four RBI. Up to this point, and most of the time thereafter, Bill Mazeroski would always be known for his play at second base.
But on this day, at this moment, he became a bold face name in baseball history. With the count 1-0, this unexpected hero hit a flyball over the ivy covered left field wall of Forbes Field as Yankee left fielder Yogi Berra could only look up in vain at the World Series championship walkoff homer.
Fast forward to Game 7 in October 1962. The Yankees this time are in San Francisco leading 1-0 in the 9th inning. The Giants had the tying and winning runs on base with two outs with starting pitcher Ralph Terry still on the mound. Yankee shortstop Tony Kubek indicated to his second baseman Bobby Richardson to move over a step or two. That put him in perfect position to catch Willie McCovey‘s game-ending line drive just before it reached the outfield for a game-winning, Series winning hit.
One Game 7 loss. One Game 7 win. It feels right that Terry is 77 today.
Happy birthday, Ralph.