All-State Tournament: California vs. Ohio
Of course, people forever will talk about the ending. That crazy ending. That impossible ending. But, before you can get to the end, you have to see the beginning and the middle and the extraordinary moments in this California-Ohio series.
You have to see Ohio centerfielder Garry Maddox racing back and leaping and stealing a home run from Gary Carter.
“What do they say?” Carter asked afterward. “Two-thirds of the earth is covered by water and the rest is covered by Garry Maddox? Well, I honestly thought I hit that one into the water.”
You have to see Barry Larkin ranging over the middle, diving, spearing a hot ground ball and taking a base hit away from Ted Williams.
“Hey Ted, if that guy had been around in ’41,” his teammate Joe DiMaggio joked, “you wouldn’t have hit .400.”
“@%#&^$^* (*&%$$# #$%@*!” Williams replied.
You have to see Pete Rose, bouncing around like a school kid, running out every ground ball — even ones he didn’t hit — and telling reporters, “This is the most fun I’ve ever had and I haven’t even been to the track once!”
The series did not start off as a classic. Top-seeded California came in a pretty heavy favorite, and they dominated Game 1. Ohio, the No. 8 seed, scored first — Barry Larkin led off with a home run against Tom Seaver, and then after Rose grounded out, Schmidt hit another home run. At that point the Ohio contingent probably felt pretty good about itself with Roger Clemens on the mound.
But California felt even better with Barry Bonds in their cleanup spot.
OK, hold on, let’s stop here, because I just ran across the most incredible baseball thing I’ve seen in a long time. In real life, Clemens and Bonds — surely the most dominant pitcher and hitter of their time — had one of the strangest head-to-head duels in baseball history. They faced each other eight times.
Check this out. You won’t even believe it:
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