Monday, May 4, 2009

The blob

This has nothing to do with the movie, its sequel, or an all-consuming force from outer space. Instead, this is about two boys, their interest in baseball, and their silly fascination with failure.

As boys, we would play baseball almost every day that we could. And when we couldn't, we would make up baseball games, whether it was in the backyard or with a pencil, piece of paper and a pair of dice. But we couldn't get through these games without injecting some humor into the proceedings.

Specifically, we became interested in the player who makes the last out of a game. To my brother and I, that person was the ultimate example of failure. Here was a person entrusted with a team's last gasp, and he goes and robs his own teammates of their final breath. No one wanted to be this person. It was such a horrible fate that we had to come up with a name for someone who would fail in such a fashion. For a reason that I will never know, we called that person "The Blob."

That name became known to our friends. We would play ball with the neighbor kids and no one wanted to be "The Blob." I remember one particular friend who would foul off pitch after pitch in a determined effort not to become The Blob.

We would watch major league games and note who The Blob was. But the ultimate ignominy, the ultimate Blob if you will, was the player who made the last out of the World Series. What a terrible consequence that was. I still remember harassing my youngest brother because Pat Kelly made the last out of the 1979 World Series when his team, the Orioles, lost to the Pirates in seven games. I never should have said a thing because one year earlier, my favorite player, Ron Cey, was the ultimate Blob of the 1978 World Series.

I've since stopped paying attention to who makes the World Series' final out. Until now. I went back through and figured out the last player to make an out in each World Series. But before I show the list, a few notable items:

-- There are 11 World Series in which there was no Blob. Of course, those are the World Series in which the winning team got a game-winning hit to clinch the Series. So no Blob for 2001, 1997, 1993, 1991, 1960, 1953, 1935, 1929, 1927, 1924 or 1912.

-- Edgar Renteria is the only player to end the World Series with a winning hit (1997) and end the World Series by making the final out (2004).

-- Boss Schmidt of the Detroit Tigers is the only player to be the World Series "blob" twice. And he did it in back-to-back Series in 1907 and 1908.

-- The Blob knows no race, color or creed. You can be a nobody or a Hall of Famer like Jackie Robinson, Carl Yastrzemski or Tony Gwynn and still be the Blob.

-- Although he's not the only example of this, Babe Ruth famously became the Blob while not batting. He was caught stealing for the final out of the 1926 World Series. There are two other examples of the final out being recorded on the bases, but both of those were the result of batters grounding into force plays.

-- Perhaps the most famous Blob was Willie McCovey in the 1962 Series. That was the one in which Tom Tresh jumped to snag McCovey's scalded line drive with runners on second and third and the Yankees up 1-0 in Game 7.

On with the list:

2008: Eric Hinske, Rays
2007: Seth Smith, Rockies
2006: Brandon Inge, Tigers
2005: Orlando Palmeiro, Astros

2004: Edgar Renteria, Cardinals
2003: Jorge Posada, Yankees
2002: Kenny Lofton, Giants
2001: none
2000: Mike Piazza, Mets
1999: Keith Lockhart, Braves
1998: Mark Sweeney, Padres
1997: none
1996: Mark Lemke, Braves

1995: Carlos Baerga, Indians
1994: no series (*sad*)
1993: none

1992: Otis Nixon, Braves
1991: none
1990: Carney Lansford, A's

1989: Brett Butler, Giants

1988: Tony Phillips, A's
1987: Willie McGee, Cardinals
1986: Marty Barrett, Red Sox
1985: Andy VanSlyke, Cardinals
1984: Tony Gwynn, Padres
1983: Garry Maddox, Phillies
1982: Gorman Thomas, Brewers
1981: Bob Watson, Yankees

1980: Willie Wilson, Royals
1979: Pat Kelly, Orioles
1978: Ron Cey, Dodgers
1977: Lee Lacy, Dodgers
1976: Roy White, Yankees

1975: Carl Yastrzemski, Red Sox
1974: Von Joshua, Dodgers
1973: Wayne Garrett, Mets
1972: Pete Rose, Reds

1971: Merv Rettenmund, Orioles
1970: Pat Corrales, Reds

1969: Davey Johnson, Orioles
1968: Tim McCarver, Cardinals

1967: George Scott, Red Sox

1966: Lou Johnson, Dodgers
1965: Bob Allison, Twins
1964: Bobby Richardson, Yankees
1963: Hector Lopez, Yankees
1962: Willie McCovey, Giants
1961: Vada Pinson, Reds
1960: none

1959: Luis Aparicio, White Sox
1958: Red Schoendienst, Braves
1957: Moose Skowron, Yankees
1956: Jackie Robinson, Dodgers
1955: Elston Howard, Yankees
1954: Dale Mitchell, Indians
1953: none
1952: Pee Wee Reese, Dodgers
1951: Sal Yvars, Giants
1950: Stan Lopata, Phillies

1949: Gil Hodges, Dodgers
1948: Tommy Holmes, Braves
1947: Bruce Edwards, Dodgers
1946: Tom McBride, Red Sox
1945: Don Johnson, Cubs
1944: Mike Chartak, Browns (last at-bat in majors)
1943: Debs Garms, Cardinals
1942: George Selkirk, Yankees
1941: Jimmy Wasdell, Dodgers
1940: Earl Averill, Tigers

1939: Wally Berger, Reds
1938: Billy Herman, Cubs
1937: Jo-Jo Moore, Giants
1936: Harry Danning, Giants
1935: none
1934: Mickey Owen, Tigers
1933: Joe Kuhel, Senators
1932: Riggs Stephenson, Cubs
1931: Max Bishop, A's
1930: Jimmie Wilson, Cardinals

1929: none

1928: Frankie Frisch, Cardinals
1927: none
1926: Babe Ruth, Yankees (caught stealing)

1925: Goose Goslin, Senators
1924: none
1923: Jack Bentley, Giants (pitcher)
1922: Aaron Ward, Giants
1921: Frank Baker, Yankees
1920: Ed Konetchy, Robins (Dodgers) (Konetchy grounded into a force play, Hi Myers forced out at second for last out)

1919: "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, White Sox
1918: Les Mann, Cubs
1917: Lew McCarty, Giants
1916: Mike Mowrey, Robins (Dodgers)
1915: Bill Killefer, Phillies
1914: Stuffy McInnis, A's
1913: Larry Doyle, Giants
1912: none
1911: Art "Dutch" Wilson, Giants
1910: Johnny Kling, Cubs (Kling grounded into force play, Johnny Archer forced out at second)

1909: Tom Jones, Tigers

1908: Boss Schmidt, Tigers
1907: Boss Schmidt, Tigers
1906: Frank "Wildfire" Schulte, Cubs
1905: Lave Cross, A's
1904: no series
1903: Honus Wagner, Pirates

It always begins with Wagner doesn't it?


  1. Great post!! Very interesting information.

  2. Is that George Scott available for trade? It is one of the last two 04 Fan favorites I need. (with #75 yaz being the other)

  3. When I saw the title, I thought you were going to mention Bob Lorenz's blog from the YES network. Though I would have been even more curious as to how you discovered that. He called his blog the "Blob".

  4. I made the final out at the state tournament all four years that I played American Leagion ball. Two of them are kind of weird since I made the third out, took the field, and then we got 10 run ruled. And another one I got called on to pinch hit in a game that I should have started anyway.

    But, needless to say, that is not one of my best memories from my playing days. I'm a blob x4. Ouch!


  5. I will return to the movie. several scenes from the Blob were filmed in the Philly suburbs. There is a scene where a bunch of moviegoers run out of a theater. Well that theater in Phoenixville PA reacreates the scene annually after screening the film for blobfest.

    I like the term and think It should definitely be added to the baseball lexicon.

  6. what a fantastic list of useless information, my favorite kind. i will no doubt develop many know-it-all trivia questions from it. thanks for the great post!

    p.s. "the blob" is a great name for the last out guy. we need as good a name for the anti-blob, the guy with the game winning hit.

  7. When I saw the title, I assumed this was going to be about Prince Fielder.

  8. Just a minor correction. The 1991 World Series was won on a single to right field, not a sacrifice fly. With one out and bases loaded in the top of the 10th, the Braves were forced to move the outfield in. Had the Braves been playing normal depth, it would have been a sac fly and the run still would have scored.

    Otherwise, great post!

  9. Great post, but I'm disappointed in the lack of Chris Olds jokes based on the title.