October 17, 1976: Tony Perez singled home Ken Griffey with the winning run as the Cincinnati Reds won the second game of the 1976 World Series, 4-3, in Cincinnati. The World Series win gave the Reds victories in the first two games of the Series.

The Reds scored first in the game when they scored three runs in the bottom of the second inning off Yankees starter Jim “Catfish” Hunter. Dan Driessen led off with a double to centerfield and scored the game’s first run on a single by George Foster. Foster was thrown out trying to steal second, but Johnny Bench doubled to restart the rally. Cesar Geronimo walked and Dave Concepcion singled to score Bench with Geronimo moving to third base. Concepcion stole second and Pete Rose drew a walk to load the bases. Griffey then scored Geronimo on a sacrifice fly to centerfield to give the Reds a 3-0 lead.

The Yankees got one run back when Graig Nettles singled off Reds starter Fred Norman in the fourth inning to score Thurman Munson to make it 3-1. The Yankees tied the score at 3-3 in the seventh. Willie Randolph singled to center field and scored on a double by Fred Stanley. One out later, Roy White singled with Stanley advancing to third base and chasing Norman. Jack Billingham came on in relief and induced Munson to ground into a force out at second base with Stanley scoring and tying the game.

The Reds won it in the ninth when Griffey advancing to second on a two-out error throwing error on a ground ball by Yankees shortstop Stanley. Joe Morgan was intentionally walked before Perez lined a single to center field to win the game for the Reds.

Billingham was the winning pitcher with 2 2/3 innings of hitless relief. Morgan, Perez, Bench, and Driessen all had two hits for the Reds.

October 17, 1990: Joe Oliver singles home Billy Bates with the winning run in the bottom of the tenth inning as the Reds take a 2-0 World Series game lead with a 5-4 win over the Oakland A’s in Cincinnati.

After being shut out in the first game, the A’s scored in the top of the first inning when Rickey Henderson scored on a Jose Canseco ground out. The Reds scored twice in the bottom of the first to take a 2-1 lead Barry Larkin led off with a ground rule double down the right field line. Larkin scored on a Billy Hatcher double to tie the score at 1-1. Hatcher moved to third on a fly to center and scored on an Eric Davis ground out to give the Reds the lead.

The A’s chased Red starter Danny Jackson with three runs in the third on a Canseco home run, a Ron Hassey sacrifice fly, and a single by Mike Gallego. The Reds made it to 4-3 in the bottom of the fourth when Oliver doubled and scored on a Ron Oester single. The Reds tied it in the bottom of the eighth when Hatcher tripled and Paul O’Neill walked. One out later, Rick Honeycutt replaced A’s starter Bob Welch, and Hatcher scored when Glenn Braggs forced O’Neill at second base to tie the score at 4-4.

The Reds won it in the bottom of the tenth inning when Bates reached base on an infield hit with one out, the only Reds hit of Bates’s brief career. Chris Sabo singled with Bates stopping at second. Bates then scored the winning run when Oliver grounded a single into left field off A’s closer Dennis Eckersley making a winner out of Reds reliever Rob Dibble and the Reds.

Hatcher had four consecutive hits in the game, tying a World Series record of seven consecutive hits. Hatcher had a triple, two doubles, a single, and a walk. Larkin and Sabo each had three hits and Oliver had two. Meanwhile, Reds relievers Scott Scudder, Jack Armstrong, Norm Charlton, and Dibble combined to pitch 7 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing four hits, walking two, and striking out seven.

As for Bates, he had only played in eight Reds regular season games, going 0-5 in in his five plate appearances. Bates and Braggs had been acquired in trade from the Milwaukee Brewers on June 9, 1990, for Reds pitchers Ron Robinson and Bob Sebra. In his eight games, Bates made one start, pinch hit once, and was used as a pinch runner in six games, scoring two runs. He had batted .103 in 14 games with the Brewers, compiling an .088 average for the season. In his major league career, Bates played 29 games, collecting six career hits, and batting .125. But, his career World Series batting average is 1.000 (1 for 1).

Besides his game-winning run, Bates is best known for racing a cheetah from the Cincinnati Zoo. From baseball-reference.com’s bullpen:

To Reds fans, Bates is best remembered for an infamous foot race against a cheetah from the Cincinnati Zoo. Looking for an extra late-season promotion, the Reds decided to have a foot race before a 1990 home game. The Reds, who were not tremendously concerned with Bates being mauled, staged the race across the outfield. Bates won the race, but only after his hat came off his head and the cheetah mistook it for food.

At least the cheetah didn’t mistake Bates for food.

9 Responses

  1. Brian Young

    No to quibble with a great feature, but the recap of the bottom of the 10th is WRONG!! Bill Bates did NOT single to center! He chopped the ball off home plate. The ball bounced higher than I have ever seen a baseball bounce and Carney Lansford had no chance to throw Bates out. SIDE NOTE: I read an interview once where Dennis Eckersly said Chris Sabo should have ended the game since the pitch he threw him should have been deposited in the left bleachers!!

  2. Myles

    In later years Reds fans would lament the fact that the Reds had not decided to repeat the almost-ill-fated cheetah stunt with Darren Lewis or perhaps Deion Sanders.

  3. Steve Price

    Thank you, Brian….Bates did reach on an infield single that was chopped off home plate. Baseball-reference.com says he reached on an infield single to pitcher (ground ball to weak 3b). I have no idea why I typed cf.

  4. pinson343

    1976: A classic Reds win, game 2 of the 1976 WS. Billingham was a great pitcher in relief in the 1975 and ’76 WS. He was of course a starting pitcher.

    Some felt Stanley’s 2 base error on Griffey Sr. should have been scored a single and an error. In any case, Griffey’s speed helped him get on base, and he contributed in that series without getting many hits.

  5. pinson343

    The 1990 game, I caught the end of it in a hotel room. Our beating Eckersley with a rally started by Bates seemed unbelievable. But reading an acccount of that game shows what the 1990 team was: a team.
    So many “little guys” contributed to the win: Scudder, Armstrong, Oester, Braggs, not to mention Bates.

  6. pinson343

    Bates WAS food for the cheetah, I suspect the cat was drugged.

  7. dom zanni

    fred stanley hit a double amazing

  8. panama12

    Not sure where to post something like this, but figured I’d ask …
    I’m the Director of the Pete Rose documentary “4192: The Crowning of the Hit King”, and was hoping to get a little press for the film with hardcore Reds fans like yourselves. It is for folks on here, why I made the film! It is more than just a documentary covering the playing career of Pete, it is also a tribute to all those who came before him and of whom he played with and against. We cover greats like Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and many others. It is a film about Fathers and Sons, Work Ethic and a drive and desire to be the best!! I hope you guys will come and check out the film, regardless of your feelings about Pete and the Hall of Fame or whatever. It opens in Cincinnati this Friday, Oct. 22nd at the Esquire Theater, then will roll out Nationally! More info can be found at http://4192movie.com & http://www.facebook.com/4192Movie