Neyer: Joe Black, Bobby Bonilla, and a little adjustment

From SABR member Rob Neyer at on February 12, 2015:

Before we leave Joe Black, I was tickled by this story, which somehow I’d never heard before … It’s Game 7 of the 1997 World Series, Marlins trailing the Indians in the bottom of the seventh, 2-0. Bobby Bonilla’s leading off against Jaret Wright, and Bonilla’s been scuffling: 0 for 2 tonight, 2 for his last 23 in the Serious. Anyway, Joe Black’s sitting near the Marlins’ on-deck circle with National League president Leonard Coleman. From the book:

Professional athletes seem to have this knack for recalling events in precise detail from their past, and as Bonilla swung his weighted bat, Joe remembered how he had handcuffed Mickey Mantle with inside pitches in the 1952 World Series—until the slugging center fielder came to bat in the sixth inning of game seven. Mantle had stepped back from the plate slightly, a move so subtle that neither Joe nor catcher Roy Campanella noticed.

“I threw that same pitch and he hit it out,” Joe said. Mantle’s blast over the Ebbets Field scoreboard in right field and onto Bedford Avenue broke a 2-2 tie; the Yankees went on to win 4-2 and claim their fourth straight World Series title. That memory prompted Joe, who at that time was working for the Arizona Diamondbacks, to call Bonilla over and offer some advice.

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Originally published: February 12, 2015. Last Updated: February 12, 2015.