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During the 1975 World Series Game 6 between the Boston Red Sox and the Cincinnati Reds, Carton Fisk scored one of the most famous homeruns in MLB history. The Homerun, scored during the 12th inning of the four hour long game saw the Red Sox win the game 7-6. A mix-up from the cameraman who failed to keep the camera on the ball’s trajectory as was customary then, made TV operators change their approach, having cameramen from then on focus on the players themselves.
The Run-up to the Carlton Fisk World Series Foul Pole Homerun
Red Sox catcher had recovered from being told his career was over following reconstructive knee surgery in 1974 to hitting .331 in the 1975 regular season. Three days of torrential rain had left Fenway Park soggy and unusable leading to the game being postponed three times. The three day postponement was a blessing in disguise for the Sox as it allowed starters Luis Tiant and Bill Lee to recover sufficiently from injury.
The Red Sox came into game 6 trailing the Reds 3-2 in the series, losing that would have seen the Reds take the World Series. The urgency was palpable as the Sox brought their game face out of the blocks to take a 3-0 lead in the first inning. However after three innings where neither side was able to score, the Reds came to life and responded with 3 runs of their own in the fifth inning to tie up the scores.
They added two more in the seventh inning to take a two point leading into the eighth. At the top of the eighth inning, Cincinnati added one run that took their lead to 6-3 and were seemingly within touching distance of the win. However the Sox tied up the game with a dramatic three run homer from Bernie Carbo at the bottom of the inning.
The ninth, tenth and eleventh innings passed in futility for the two teams which meant that the already drawn out game was heading for yet another inning. An acrobatic catch and throw from Reds Dwight Evans in the 11th inning that saved the Red’s from sure defeat had already made this one of the greatest games in history but what transpired in the 12th is what cemented its status as that.
With the teams tied at 6-6 at the bottom of the 12th inning, Fisk moved into the on-deck circle to hit against 25-year-old Reds pitcher Pat Darcy. The first pitch was a fastball which Fisk failed to make good contact with. Darcy put his second pitch low and fast sinking, and Fisk was able to connect solidly with a powerful swing. His hit sent the ball high into the night sky but as it soared it appeared to be heading outside the left-field foul line.
Fisk wished it hard to return back to fair bounds, even waving his hands frantically. Eventually it stuck the foul post on the inside and bounced on to the left field where it was caught by George Foster of the Reds. Fisk had scored a last gasp home run and Fenway Park exploded into a rapturous roar. The game ended 7-6 in Boston’s favor.
As the ball was soaring towards the post, cameraman Louis Gerard had kept the camera constant on Fisk instead of following the trajectory of the ball. What resulted was a shot of Fisk watching the balls trajectory and hoping tentatively and then erupting into wild cheers and jumps. That shot was gold to broadcasters and from then on it became practice to the cameramen to focus on the players instead of the ball itself. The shot had actually been accidental; Gerard later said that a rat that wandered near him had distracted him while his camera was focused on Fisk and so he failed to pan away as the ball was struck.
Aftermath of the Carlton Fisk World Series Foul Pole Homerun
In game 7 of the World Series, the Red Sox were defeated by the Reds 3-2, making for somewhat of an anticlimactic ending to the game. This however did not diminish the admiration of Fisk’s dramatic home run and to date remains one of the most memorable plays of all time. George Foster who had caught the home run ball sold it for $113,273 in 1999.