Wednesday, August 09, 2017

We remember Tommie Agee (1942-2001)




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We remember Tommie Agee today.   He was born in Alabama on this day in 1942.    He died in 2001.

Like many others, Tommie had a decent career:  .255 average, 130 hr & 433 RBI.   He broke with the Indians in 1962 and retired with the Cardinals in 1973.

Agee's moment came in the 1969 World Series against the Orioles.  

It was game 3, as remembered by SABR:   
Agee took over Game Three and the Mets shifted into another gear. Sports Illustrated labeled Agee’s October 14 performance, “The most spectacular World Series game that any center fielder has ever enjoyed.” Agee led off the first World Series game played at Shea with a home run against Orioles ace and future Cooperstown entrant Jim Palmer. Agee had been 0 for 8 in the two games in Maryland.
New York was up 3-0 in the fourth inning, but the Orioles threatened with runners on first and third and two outs. Baltimore catcher Elrod Hendricks hit a Gary Gentry pitch to left-center. It looked like a double or even a triple for the Baltimore backstop. As Agee sprinted toward left field, Cleon Jones knew his old friend would make the play. “I saw him pound his fist into his glove,” Jones said. “Whenever he got ready to make a catch, he would pound his fist into his glove.” Agee reached out and grabbed the ball backhanded as he came to a halt before slamming into the 396-foot sign—with plenty of white showing as the ball lodged in the glove’s stretched webbing.
Baltimore loaded the bases in the seventh with two outs. Orioles center fielder Paul Blair represented the tying run as Nolan Ryan came in to replace Gentry. Blair slammed a drive to deep right-center field as Agee again sped in pursuit. At the warning track he dove for the ball as if he were an Olympic swimmer. The ball landed in his glove as he sprawled prone to the ground. Agee later said, “I thought I might get it without diving, but the wind dropped the ball straight down and I had to hit the dirt.”
The 56,335 at Shea gave him a standing ovation when he led off in the bottom of the frame. Later on he related, “Words can’t describe how that made me feel. I felt like I wanted to hit two home runs in that one time at bat.” He walked—the Orioles weren’t taking any more chances with Agee.
Press box sports scribes immediately considered Agee’s catch that denied Blair of a sure triple or inside-the-park homer with other key Series plays: great grabs like Al Gionfriddo off Joe DiMaggio (1947), Willie Mays off Vic Wertz (1954), or Sandy Amoros off Yogi Berra (1955). After the contest Agee said, “The homer meant only one run. The catches saved more than that.”
Agee’s leadoff homer accounted for one run and the catches saved at least five runs in the 5-0 win that put the Mets ahead of the overwhelming favorite Orioles in the World Series. Agee had just two more hits in the Series and finished with a .167 average in the five-game victory, but he was still as much a hero as anyone on a team suddenly overflowing with supermen.
Agee was something else that day, as any Oriole fan will reluctantly agree.




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