On September 29, 1954 — In a game which will be best remembered for Willie Mays making a spectacular over-the-shoulder grab of a ball hit to deep to center field, robbing Vic Wertz of an extra-base hit, Dusty Rhodes becomes the second player in World Series history to end a game with a homer. The Giants pinch-hitter’s walk-off three-run home run off Bob Lemon beats the Indians 5-2 in Game 1 of the World Series. Mays will give the glove to teammate Don Liddle’s 6-year son. When he gets older, Craig Liddle will use the immortal piece of leather in Little League games.

Here is the recap” Cleveland got on the board right away against Sal Maglie. Leadoff man Al Smith was hit by a pitch, Bobby Ávila singled and Vic Wertz brought home both with a triple to right. Don Liddle and Marv Grissom held them scoreless for the rest of the game.

Bob Lemon gave two back in the third on singles by Whitey Lockman and Alvin Dark, an RBI groundout by Don Mueller, a walk to Willie Mays and a Hank Thompson RBI single.

Mays saved the day in the eighth after leadoff singles by Larry Doby and Al Rosen led to starting pitcher Maglie being lifted for Liddle. Wertz’s drive to deep center field would have scored both if not for Mays’ memorable catch.

Wertz opened the 10th inning with another hard-hit ball in Mays’ direction, which again would have required a great defensive play by the Giants’ centerfielder but landed for a double.(Wertz thus ended his afternoon having gone 4-for-5 with three extra-base hits and batting in the Indians’ two runs.) However, this potential 10th-inning rally was to no avail, as the Indians batted only 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position in the game, and went hitless (0-for-13) in such situations after Wertz’s two-run triple in the first inning.

Lemon went all the way for Cleveland, losing it in the 10th when Dusty Rhodes, pinch-hitting for Monte Irvin with two Giants on base, hit a walk-off home run.

J. Edgar Hoover, Chief of the FBI, watches the New York Giants score a 5-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians today in the opening game of the 1954 World Series.

 

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