In one of the classic struggles of a classic pennant race, the New York Yankees subdued the Boston Red Sox again last night when Reggie Jackson pounded a 400-foot home run in the ninth inning of scoreless pitching duel. Jackson struck his tie-breaker just after Thurman Munson opened the inning with a single. Jackson also made two key defensive plays in right field.
The Yankees finally beat Reggie Cleveland who had pitched seven straight victories against them in two years. The Red Sox fell to third place while the Orioles advanced to second, only 2 ½ out.
“I’m not Joe DiMaggio, I’m not Mickey Mantle, I’m not Lou Gehrig. I never will be. The thing that stands out in my mind is that I went for the most money and got the money and landed here in New York. So I have to perform, and I’m glad the people got something back.”
“The bunt was on,: Martin remembered later, “then off, the on, the off. I was hoping then that the pitcher would lay one in there and he might rip one.”
It was a bunt situation, so I wasn’t troubled by that. I was only troubled that I didn’t know the signs that well.”
On a full count, Cleveland fired a fastball that Jackson bombed into the night sky. “It should have been ball four. Low and outside, where I wanted it to be, looking for the ground ball.”
“I crouch at the plate so to me it was the perfect pitch. Religion teaches you ask and you shall receive. And I asked. That may have been the best game I ever played in, great plays, no mistakes by anybody. “
“Last night I met George Steinbrenner in PJ Clarke’s and he told me I’d win the next game with a home run. He also picked up my tab so that’s another $30 in the package. I hit the ball on the screws and I knew it was gone.”
So intense is the rivalry between the teams that when it was announced that the National Anthem had been recorded by the Boston Pops Orchestra, partisans in the crowd booed.
NYT Durso 9/15/77