10/12/06 8:25 PM ET
A's-Tigers 1972 ALCS contentious
Campaneris-LaGrow bat-throwing incident marred Game 2
By Jim Street / MLB.com
Order was restored quickly, before any punches were thrown, and both combatants were ejected from the game by plate umpire Nestor Chylak, "so there wouldn't be any further mayhem, riot or whatnot," he said after the game.Cronin, who watched the incident from a box seat behind the A's third-base dugout, said he would make a decision the following day -- an off-day for travel. "I'll have to sleep on it for a while," he said.
Early the next day, Cronin fined Campaneris $500 and suspended him for the remainder of the series.That infuriated Finley and he decided to do something about it. "He called a meeting in my hotel suite and said we were going to go over to Cronin's hotel room and argue against the suspension," Williams recalled. "My wife already was in her nightgown, short with tiger stripes, and Charlie didn't like that at all. "Anyway, it was about midnight and Charlie told Tom Corwin, our traveling secretary, to 'go get the writers.' " Corwin knew exactly where to go -- Lindell AC, a popular sports bar located near Tiger Stadium. Corwin rounded up five of the Bay Area writers covering the Series and accompanied them to the hotel where Cronin was staying. It was almost 1 a.m. by now when the group -- five scribes, Finley, his two sons, Williams, Corwin and Campaneris -- took an elevator to the floor on which Cronin's room was located. Finley knocked on the door until it was answered. On the other side of the door was an elderly gentleman, dressed in a red and white nightgown with matching red and white night cap. "He looked like one of those guys holding a candle," Williams recalled. Finley asked permission for Campaneris to sit on the bench for the remainder of the Series, but Cronin refused the request. Campy was out of the series, period.
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Actually, the shortstop's ankle was so swollen that he wouldn't have been able to play for several days, anyway.The series resumed the following day and journeyman right-hander Joe Coleman blanked the Athletics, 3-0, before a less-than-capacity crowd of 41,156 at Tiger Stadium. "Now, we'll win it," Martin said after the game. The Athletics scored twice in the top of the 10th inning to grab a 3-1 lead in Game 4, only to have the Tigers rally for three runs in the bottom of the 10th for a stunning victory. "It's the worst loss of my life," Jackson said. "I couldn't believe it." That set up a winner-take-all Game 5 at Tiger Stadium. Williams started Odom instead of Blue in the finale and the right-hander held the Tigers to one run through five innings. "Odom complained of feeling nauseous so we took him out of the game," Williams said. Blue held the Tigers to three hits and no runs over the final four innings, protecting the 2-1 lead Odom had given the bullpen when he departed. Tenace had one hit in the series, a run-scoring single in the fourth inning off Woodie Fryman that snapped a 1-1 deadlock. As the Athletics headed to the visiting clubhouse after the game, Odom was sitting on an ice cream cooler. "He said, 'Nice goin' gang, we're going to the World Series!' " Williams recalled. "Vida grabbed his [own] throat and gave one of those 'choke' signs." Blue was quoted as saying, "Hey man, why the heck didn't you go nine innings?" Odom said, "I was gagging. The tension got to me and I was ready to [vomit]." The two had to be separated by teammates and later apologized to each other. Jackson, meanwhile, limped around the clubhouse with a torn left hamstring, an injury that would keep him out of the World Series. But Campaneris played. Commissioner Bowie Kuhn ruled that Campy could return to action in the Fall Classic against the Cincinnati Reds, who the A's defeated in seven games -- six decided by one run.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.