Monday, July 18, 2005

"The condemned jumped out of the chair and electrocuted the warden."

Mickey Owen
"The condemned jumped out of the chair and electrocuted the warden."

That's how one writer described the Yankees' ninth-inning comeback in Game Four of the 1941 World Series, after catcher Mickey Owen let the apparent game-ending third strike on Tommy Henrich get by. Had Owen held onto Hugh Casey's pitch, the Dodgers would have won, 4-3. Instead, the Yankees rallied to win, 7-4, and became World Champions the next day. Rumor had it that Casey had thrown a spitter; Leo Durocher said no, Pee Wee Reese called it "a little wet slider," and Billy Herman thought that Owen might have "nonchalanted" it.

Ironically, that season, Owen had set the National League catchers' record of 476 consecutive errorless chances accepted while setting a Dodger season record by fielding .995. A scrapper who batted as high as second in the order, Owen was blackballed after leaving the Dodgers in 1946 to be a player-manager in the Mexican League. He returned in 1949 with the Cubs, coached, scouted, ran a baseball camp, and was still playing in oldtimers' games in his seventies. (TG) (courtesy of

"(Mickey) Owen feared he would be a pariah for Brooklyn fans, but he was evidently forgiven. 'I got about 4,000 wires and letters,' he told W. C. Heinz in The Saturday Evening Post on the 25th anniversary of the passed ball. 'I had offers of jobs and proposals of marriage. Some girls sent their pictures in bathing suits, and my wife tore them up.'"
- Columnist Richard Goldstein in The New York Times (07/15/2005)

Mickey Owen Dies
MOUNT VERNON, Mo. - Mickey Owen, whose infamous dropped third strike proved costly to the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1941 World Series against the New York Yankees, died Wednesday after a long illness. He was 89.

He had Alzheimer's disease for a number of years.

In 1941, Brooklyn had a 4-3 lead in Game Four when Owen dropped a third strike on Tommy Henrich that would have been the final out. The Yankees went on to score four runs after the passed ball and won, 7-4, for a 3-1 lead in the World Series they eventually won in five games.
Owen had a .255 career batting average with 14 home runs and 378 RBIs in 13 seasons.
- From News Wire Services7/14/2005

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