As a 23-year-old rookie in 1978, Doyle shuttled between the Yankees' big club and their Triple-A team five times and hit .192 with zero RBI in 52 at-bats. The Yankees kept Doyle in Triple-A for that league's playoffs, making him ineligible for the major league postseason. With standout second baseman Willie Randolph manning second base in the Bronx, though, that hardly seemed to matter.Grr. The Dodgers certainly didn't think they were sowing the seeds of their own demise by agreeing to allow Doyle on the roster, but it just goes to show that October can make for some unlikely heroes.
But just before the end of the season, fate intervened, as an injury felled Randolph for the duration of the regular season and playoffs. The Yankees lobbied the league and the Royals, their ALCS opponents, to allow Doyle onto the postseason roster. Doyle responded by going 2-for-7 with a run knocked in, as the Yankees knocked out Kansas City. After the Dodgers also granted Doyle special permission to play in the World Series, the Yankees started Fred Stanley at second in Game 1, an 11-5 New York loss. Doyle returned for Game 2, but the Yanks lost again, falling behind 0-2 in the series. Doyle went 0-for-4 in Game 3 and was on the bench for Game 4, both Yankee wins to square the series.
But in Game 5 and Game 6, Doyle and light-hitting double-play partner Bucky Dent took over. Batting in the No.8 and 9 spots, Doyle rapped out six hits and scored four runs in the two games, while Dent went 6-for-8 with two runs scored and three RBI. On a team that featured Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson, Lou Piniella and other stars, the two little guys loomed largest.
If the recent past has colored our view of the A's, led by Bash Brothers Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire, as juiced-up wonders, then it's only fair to admit that after watching this, one comes away with the sense that the Dodgers weren't skimping on the pharmaceuticals either. They look greenied to the gills from the moment Steve Sax, after getting drilled in the back by fearsome A's hurler Dave Stewart, sprints to first base in the home half of Game One's first inning. Indeed, what looked like a mismatch on paper between the heavily favored A's and the underdog Dodgers turns out to be one going in the opposite direction because of the super-energized play of Dodger scrubs such as Mickey Hatcher (who runs the bases with abandon, arms aloft, after homering) covering for the absence of injured Kirk Gibson.My affection for Hatcher goes back nearly a decade before that series. In August of 1979, on a road trip to California in the back of my parents' station wagon -- the kind with the faux wood grain down the sides, of course, to preserve the illusion that those mechanics at Chevrolet carved the chassis out of oak -- I heard Vin Scully call a game for the first time, his distinctive voice cutting through the tedium of our nighttime travels. Hatcher, a week into his major-league career, went 3-for-3 with two walks and hit his first major-league homer, a solo shot off of Tom Griffin to lead off the fifth. Accompanied by homers from Ron Cey, Davey Lopes, and Derrell Thomas (who hit a grand slam), they smoked the Giants 9-0, with Don Sutton completing his 50th career shutout. Damn straight you could look it up.
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