Denny Doyle came from the generation of Phillies that immediately preceded me. He is also one of a dwindling number of players who spent part of their career at Connie Mack Stadium. I feel drawn to that era and that stadium. I’ve probably mentioned it before, but I’m obsessed with the idea of the Philadelphia Athletics. What would the city’s sports culture, and what would my sports fandom be like if the Athletics had never left for Kansas City? How would my appreciation of baseball been different had the A’s stayed in town and played in Connie Mack through the 80’s and 90’s? It’s likely that as a natural contrarist, and a traveler of the road not taken, that I would have been an A’s fan. Mostly because my grandfather was a Phillies’ guy through and through, and being an A’s fan probably would have gone right up his ass.
This will continue to be off point, but I have been playing Out of the Park since…I don’t know, it’s been over a decade, for sure. One of the things I’ve been doing lately is to set up a new world that kicks off in the late 40’s. The Athletics don’t move to KC and the Pacific Coast League matures from an Open Class to a full fledged major league.
Back to Doyle though, Denny ended up in Boston and was part of the ’75 World Series team. He famously ran through Don Zimmer’s hold sign at third base and was thrown out at home in Game 6. Obviously, as any Red Sox fan will tell you, Game 6 ended with Carlton Fix willing a ball around the foul pole for a win. Then a Reds fan will remind you that the Big Red Machine won Game 7 anyway. The interesting thing is that Doyle claims he didn’t hear Zimmer yelling “No No No”, he heard “Go Go Go”. What strikes me about that is that it actually betrays Doyle’s hubris in the moment. Doyle absolutely thought in that he could be a George Foster throw. Zimmer gave no physical signal to stop, so anything that would affirm his desire to test Foster would have let Doyle loose.
And let’s be honest. If Denny Doyle throws a little hook slide in there and shoots for the back corner of the plate, he may have gotten the job done.