Wednesday, October 16, 2013

October 16, 1985: Jack Clark's Big Blast Send The Cardinals To The World Series

On October 16, 1985, with two on and two out in the top of the ninth inning of Game 6 of the NLCS in L.A., Jack Clark launched a Tom Niedenfuer fastball over the left field wall to give the Cardinals a 7-5 lead and an eventual victory that punched a ticket to the World Series for the Cardinals. The Dodgers showed up hoping to force a Game 7 and they looked like they had come to play after scoring a run in each of the first two innings. In the third inning the Cardinals starting pitcher Joaquin Andujar tried to help his own cause by leading of the inning with a double, a couple batters later Tommy Herr knocked the hurler in with an RBI single that cut the lead to 2-1. The Dodgers tacked on 3 more runs in the sixth on a sac fly by Pedro Guerrero, then a two run homer by Bill Madlock who was responsible for knocking in the first run of the ballgame. With the score 4-1 going into the top of the seventh the Cardinals needed to come up with a rally and that's exactly what they did. Darryl Porter and Tito Landrum began the inning with back-to-back singles, then Steve Braun moved both the runners to second and third on a groundout before Willie McGee knocked both men in with a one out single that moved the Birds to within one run of tying it up. The hit by McGee sent the Dodgers starter Orel Hershiser  packing and he would hand the ball over to Tom Niedenfuer in hopes that he would be able to preserve the lead. That hope didn't last long. Niedenfuer was set to face Ozzie Smith who had hit a dramatic walkoff home run against him just two days earlier. Smith might not have knocked this one out of the park but he did drill one all the way to the wall that brought McGee into score the tying run. After putting Herr on with an intentional walk Niedenfuer got out of the inning with back-to-back strikeout of Clark and Andy Van Slyke. In the bottom of the seventh Todd Worrell took over on the hill for the Cardinals and he had to navigate his way around a lead off triple by shortstop Mariano Duncan. After getting out of the frame with no damage done the Dodgers closer set the Cardinals down 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth. In the bottom of that inning Mike Marshall put the Dodgers in front when he led the inning off with a solo shot that gave them a 5-4 edge, they needed just three outs to force a Game 7 and all the pressure was on Niedenfuer to get those outs. The fateful ninth began with a strikeout by Cesar Cedeno before Willie McGee got on with a single. Neidenfuer had to face Ozzie once again, he walked the Cardinals shortstop then Tommy Herr moved both runners over with a groundout. Then came Jack The Ripper, with first base open some might have thought they would have walked the hard hitting first baseman but Tommy Lasorda decided to let his closer pitch to him. In the words of Jack Buck here's what happened next; "The Dodgers righthander is set and here's his pitch to Jack Clark. Swing and a long one into left field!! Adios, goodbye, and maybe That's a Winner!!! A three run homer by Clark and the Cardinals lead by the score of 7 to 5 and they may go to the World Series on that one folks!!!" It was an epic moment that Ken Dayley capped off with a 1-2-3 inning that ended with the Cardinals as Champions of the National League.

Watch the shot here:

Check out the box score:

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