Another Catch

One of the most famous catches in baseball history is the “The Catch” by Willie Mays in game 1 of the 1954 World Series . That catch has somehow become one of the more overrated and underrated catch in World Series history as there has been attempts to demean it made on modern social media (I’ve gone into those claims a little bit in this post), however at the time there were claims that it turned the World Series (a claim that makes little sense to me as it was a catch made in the first game of the series) but in either sense it’s one of the most famous plays in baseball and World Series history and it’s one of the plays symbolic to one of the greatest players to ever play the game.


But the catch made by Sandy Amoros in the 1955 World Series, while I don’t believe is quite as impressive, was definitely more important and deserves a little bit more fame than it has received. Just to set the scene a little bit in regards to this catch, The New York Yankees were just removed from winning their 5th straight championship (they were interrupted in 1954 when the Cleveland Indians won the AL pennant and lost to the aforementioned Giants in that series.) They were trying to win their 6th championship in 7 years and 7th in 9 years. The Brooklyn Dodgers, who had faced the Yankees 5 previous series and had played in 7 overall series without ever winning one, were a great team with 5 Hall of Fame players who had not won a championship and thus a diminished legacy (plus they were a franchise who moved cities just a few years later and were very close to never bringing a title home to Brooklyn.)

In this series the Dodgers had come back from a 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 lead that they had lost to force a game 7 and in this game 7 once the bottom of the 6th inning came around the Dodgers were trying to hold onto a 2-0 lead in what was a very tight game. In the bottom of the 6th Amoros was brought in to play defense in left field. After a lead off walk and a bunt single the Yankees has 1st and 2nd and no outs with a legendary hitter in Yogi Berra at the plate. You can see the play in the link posted earlier but he hits a slicing line drive in which Amoros makes a long run as he looks to be playing Berra to pull the ball and grabs it in the corner with one hand (and for context the corner seats are very close to the foul line at Yankee Stadium and the gloves used in 1955 are definitely different from the ones used today and announcers would be surprised at any catch not made with 2 hands. Many infield pop ups and throws to first even would be made with 2 hands just because the gloves weren’t entirely reliable.)

Yankee Stadium left field
Credit: Espino Family; Flickr

The catch alone was a solid catch and important because if the ball lands the Yankees definitely score a run and probably two if it doesn’t bounce into the crowd because on the catch Gil McDougald, the runner at first, was running and had a good chance at scoring but instead because he was way off first base it was an easy play to double him up at first and the double play was made. On the next at bat Hank Bauer grounded out and the Yankees scored 0 runs in a very advantageous situation.

In the remaining game the Yankees have one more inning where they get more than one runner on base but no threat was even close to this one and the Dodgers get over the hump and finally beat the Yankees. This play had no nickname. The starting pitcher Johnny Podres is named the first ever series MVP (and even in my personal awards I pick Duke Snider) and ultimately there’s very little fan fair given to this catch in modern times. Even in the link above which is title “The Greatest Double play in World Series History”, which does give it some love, the comments on the video are immediately saying that’s impossible (I plan to examine the factuality of this statement as I continue my World Series project as well) All this kind of shows how the play has kind of got lost over time. At least Sandy Amoros will have this article to remember him and that makes us all winners.

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