Interruptions part of Series history
From Fisk to Larsen, delays have played role in previous Classics
Without a World Series interruption, who's to say whether Carlton Fisk would have had the chance to dance his way up the first-base foul line at Fenway Park?Without a World Series interruption, who's to say how Don Larsen would have been prepared for his perfect start in 1956, which came a few days after a rainout set up a not-so-perfect start?
While Monday night's Game 5 became the first World Series game to be suspended, the 2008 World Series is not the first to be affected by delays. Some of those interruptions have lasted only a day, some longer.Nothing in terms of time or shock value can match the 1989 World Series and its 10-day suspension of play. That came after the Loma Prieta earthquake that postponed Game 3 between the A's and Giants before it ever began. But rain -- baseball's more familiar adversary -- has played havoc with the Fall Classic many times before, postponing games 22 times for a day or more, including a (gasp) six-day delay in Philadelphia in 1911. In fact, rain has played a part in some of the sport's most historic moments, perhaps realigning the stars while rearranging the schedule. Certainly, Game 6 of the 1975 World Series may not have turned out the same way had it been played on schedule on Oct. 18. But when it was played on Oct. 21 -- yes, after three days of rainouts -- it ended when Fisk's 12th-inning homer over the Green Monster and just fair beat the Reds and sent the Series to a Game 7. More indirectly, one has to wonder how Larsen's abbreviated start in Game 2 of the 1956 World Series might have had an impact on the rest of his Series. Starting after being rained out the day before, Larsen walked four of the 10 batters he faced in Game 2 and got the early hook after 1 2/3 innings -- only to return three days later to pitch the only perfect game in World Series history.
One-Day World Series Postponements
|Date||Team @ Site||Gm.||Cause|
|10/05/1903||BOS (AL) @ PIT||4||Rain|
|10/09/1903||BOS (AL) @ PIT||7||Cold|
|10/12/1903||PIT @ BOS (AL)||8||Rain|
|09/04/1918||BOS (AL) @ CHI (NL)||1||Rain|
|10/14/1925||WAS @ PIT||7||Rain|
|10/04/1931||STL (NL) @ PHI (AL)||3||Rain|
|10/01/1936||NYY @ NYG||2||Rain|
|10/03/1941||NYY @ BKN||3||Rain|
|10/07/1951||NYY @ NYG||4||Rain|
|10/04/1956||NYY @ BKN||2||Rain|
|10/09/1962||SF @ NYY||5||Rain|
|10/10/1971||PIT @ BAL||2||Rain|
|10/17/1972||CIN @ OAK||3||Rain|
|10/20/1976||CIN @ NYY||4||Rain|
|10/09/1979||PIT @ BAL||1||Rain|
|10/27/1981||LA @ NYY||6||Rain|
|10/26/1986||BOS @ NYM||7||Rain|
|10/19/1996||ATL @ NYY||1||Rain|
|10/26/2006||DET @ STL||4||Rain|
Of course, these are imponderables. The rain came when it came, the delays were the delays and nobody can take away Fisk's and Larsen's immortality -- not that anyone would want to do so.The larger point is rain has stuck its nose rudely into the World Series' business many times before. The most recent of the 19 World Series games postponed for one day due to weather came in Game 4 of the 2006 World Series in St. Louis between the Detroit Tigers and the Cardinals. Perhaps due to technological advances that have led to fields that drain faster and better, only three of the postponements have occurred in the last 27 years. The 1903 World Series had three postponements of its own, and now 2008 becomes the sixth October party in which a postponement -- or in this case, a suspension -- has kept a potential clincher hanging in the wet air. No World Series game, once begun, has ever been shortened by rain. That will be the case this year as well, but the suspense of a day -- or more -- to play on from the bottom of the sixth is possibly just as rough. The possibility of the delay lasting more than one day exists, and if so it would become the fifth World Series interrupted by more than one day, including the 1989 Series. Before that 10-day break in action, the longest stretch was six days in the 1911 World Series between Game 3 and Game 4 -- in Philadelphia, where the A's waited to get Chief Bender on the mound against the Giants. He wound up being fine on the extra rest, outdueling Christy Mathewson with a complete game in a 4-2 A's victory. The A's won the World Series that year, the second of three out of four years. The Series was held for three days on two other occasions, the first time coming in 1962 when rains in San Francisco kept the Giants from playing Game 6 against the Yankees. Although Billy Pierce pitched the Giants to a Game 7 once play resumed, the Yankees took a 1-0 victory in the clincher. The second three-day delay came in 1975, and we all know what drama ensued from there. But never before has a World Series game started with the drama already in motion, albeit held in suspended animation for an as yet undetermined time. Once it's toweled off and unleashed, Game 5 can't help but provide a new World Series memory.
John Schlegel is West Divisions editor for MLB.com. Reporter Tom Singer contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.