“Just your basic 8-2-5 double play”

The Red Sox dispatched the Cardinals last night to win the World Series. It was also Tim McCarver’s swan song as a big-league broadcaster — a career that spanned three decades. You can see his touching farewell here. McCarver has gotten more than his share of (often deserved) criticism in recent years, but I remember his early work, particularly as a local Mets broadcaster on Channel 9 in the 1980s, quite fondly.

My favorite McCarver memory is from August 27, 1986. For some reason I was up (very) late to see a West Coast Mets match-up with the San Diego Padres. Ironic now, I know.

The Mets built a 5-0 lead for Dwight Gooden before the bullpen blew it and the game went into extra innings. Tony Gwynn had three hits, threw out 3 baserunners, stole two bases and made an unbelievable diving catch at the wall in right. Darryl Strawberry hit his 100th career home run. Goose Gossage pitched for the Padres and took the loss. Besides Hall-of-Famers Gwynn and Gossage, Steve Garvey was also in the San Diego line-up that night. The 1986 Mets were, of course, to go on and win 108 regular season games, the National League pennant in an epic NLCS versus the Houston Astros and the World Series in a famous 7-game stand-off with the Red Sox.

In the 11th inning, Gossage — in his third inning of work — gave up two singles and then a sacrifice fly to Keith Hernandez, giving the Mets a lead. Garry Templeton led off the bottom of the 11th with a double for the Friars. Pitcher Craig Lefferts hit for Gossage and struck out. But Tim Flannery came up and ripped a base hit to center. Enjoy McCarver’s call of the game’s very unusual ending.

“Just your routine double play.”

The full bottom of the 11th follows.

“Just your basic 8-2-5 double play.”

Enjoy your retirement, Tim.

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