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Thread: Tommy Heinrich

  1. #1
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    Tommy Heinrich

    This is the time of the year that I remember the old time Yankees who seemed to get better as the season ended and would make a difference in the World Series. When I started rooting for the Yanks, Henrich seemed to be that player. I believe it was the late Mel Allen who nicknamed him "Old Reliable" and it certainly fit! He was a tough and tallented outfielder for many years with NY and seemed to always come through in the clutch especially against the Dodgers. Do many of you older Yankee fans remember him? I believe he is still alive and living in the West.
    He also enjoyed telling stories about his days in NY and being a teammate of DiMaggio and Rizutto.

  2. #2
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    Heinrich was a solid player for the Yanks of the late 40's and 50's that always seemed to come through in the clutch.

    Tommy player RF with first Joe D and later Mickey in center with Bauer and Woodling platooning LF. Johnnie Lindell (a favorite of mine) was a great 4th outfielder on those clubs.

    Tommy played first, I believe, towards the end of his career.

    Those were some great clubs. During their 5 yr run of 1949 to 1953, not once were Casey's clubs favored to finish first in the AL. Those were some real exciting times with some colorful players.
    Yogi is a National Treasure. Let's put him in a National Hall of Fame. The man has no peers.

  3. #3
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    Along with Joe DiMaggio and Charlie Keller, Henrich formed one of baseball's most acclaimed outfields for the Yankees before and after WWII. Commissioner Landis ruled Henrich a free agent in April 1937 after he had been illegally hidden in the Indians' farm system, and he signed with the Yankees, hitting .320 as a part-timer. He helped the team to six pennants, and although he played in only four WS because of injury and military service, he was a key figure in two of the most famous Series games. On October 5th, 1941 with 2 out in the 9th inning, Dodger C Mickey Owen droped a 3rd strike on Tommy Henrich, which would have given Brooklyn a 4-3 victory over New York. The Yankees rallied for a 7-4 win in the 4th game of the WS.

    The Dropped Third Strike



    THE DATE
    October 5, 1941.


    THE PLACE
    Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, N.Y.


    THE SITUATION
    The ninth inning of Game 4 of the World Series between the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers.


    THE KEY PLAYERS
    Brooklyn's Hugh Casey and Mickey Owen and New York's Tommy Henrich.


    THE MOMENT
    The Dodgers were one out away from a 4-3 win in Game 4 of the World Series, a win that would tie the Series. Henrich was at bat with nobody on base. On a full-count pitch, Henrich swung and missed, but the ball eluded Owen, the Brooklyn catcher, and caromed to the right toward the Dodgers dugout. As the home plate umpire signaled strike three, police officers jumped onto the field to discourage swarming fans. Dodgers players bounded out of the dugout in jubilation. Amid the confusion, Owen chased after a bouncing ball as Henrich sprinted toward first.

    Owen had to fight his way through police as Henrich reached first easily to keep the game and the Yankees' chances alive. Stunned Dodgers players had to cut short their premature celebration while several Yankees -- who figured the game was over -- returned from the runway leading out of the dugout.

    The passed ball was devastating as Joe DiMaggio singled to left to continue the rally and George Keller crushed a double high off the right field wall to score Henrich and DiMaggio, giving New York a 5-4 lead. The Yankees scored two more runs and won 7-4 for a 3-1 Series lead.


    THE CALL
    "Casey goes into the windup, around comes the right arm, in comes the pitch. A swing by Henrich . . . he swings and misses, strike three! But the ball gets away from Mickey Owen. It's rolling back to the screen. Tommy Henrich races down toward first base. He makes it safely. And the Yankees are still alive with Joe DiMaggio coming up to bat." -- Mel Allen, Yankees broadcaster.


    DO YOU REMEMBER?


    It didn't appear the Yankees would need luck as they raced to a 3-0 lead against Brooklyn ace Kirby Higbe. But the hulking, round-faced Casey, who took the loss in a 2-1 Yankees win in Game 3, entered the game with the bases loaded in the fifth and induced Joe Gordon to fly out, ending the threat. Casey then shut down the New York attack, allowing only two hits until the fateful ninth inning.

    The Dodgers stole the lead on a two-run homer by rookie Pete Reiser over the right field fence in the fifth. NL batting champ Reiser's blow came an inning after pinch-hitter Jimmy Wasdell ignited the comeback with a two-run double. The score remained frozen at 4-3 until the ninth.

    Keller's clutch game-winning double with two strikes was his fourth hit of the day and barely missed being a home run. Joe Gordon followed two batters later with another double to score Keller and Bill Dickey, who had walked, with the final New York runs. As Hugh Casey crumbled, neither Dodgers manager Leo Durocher, an ex-Yankee, nor Owen visited the mound to help Casey recover from the tough momentum swing.

    Henrich hit only .167 (5-for-18) in the Series, striking out three times. He was Casey's only strikeout victim of the Series.

    IN THEIR WORDS>
    "Casey had two curveballs. One broke big and broke good and then he had a hard, quick curve that looked like a slider, only it was a curve. He switched to the one that looked like a slider and it worked beautifully. So that's what he threw after that, the one that went down quick, and they couldn't touch it." -- Owen.

    "We were one pitch away from victory. I gave Casey the sign for a curve, and I gave him the target for a low, inside pitch. Hugh rolled off the big one and I never figured he'd throw that one. I'm one of those guys with a one-track mind so I was looking for the same curve he was throwing to all those other guys. I never dreamed he'd roll off that big one." -- Owen.

    "It came in chest high and that ball broke like no curve I'd ever seen Casey throw. As I start to swing, I think, 'No good. Hold up.' That thing broke so sharp, though, that as I tried to hold up, my mind said, 'He might have trouble with it.'" -- Henrich.

    "When Henrich swung and missed, we all got up and started toward the runway that led out of the dugout. Some of us were already into it. I know I was. Then we heard all that yelling, and we jumped back. There was Tommy running down to first base." -- Yankee shortstop Phil Rizzuto.

    "I tell you, those Yankees have got all the luck on their side. Never saw a team get so many breaks as they have." -- Dodgers right fielder Dixie Walker.

    "Henrich missed (that pitch) by more than I did. He's the one who ought to be famous. I at least touched the ball. . . . It was like a punch on the chin. You're stunned. You don't react. I should have gone out to the mound and stalled around a little." -- Owen.


    AFTERMATH


    Game 5 was practically an anticlimax. Durocher tried everything to pick his stunned team back up, arguing with the umpires, baiting the Yankees, cajoling and threatening his own players, but the Dodgers were a defeated team. Tiny Bonham held Brooklyn to four hits to lead the Yankees to a 3-1 triumph and another World Series title.

    Henrich, who hit a career-high 31 home runs in 1941, played six more seasons with New York (he missed 1943, '44 and '45 seasons to serve in World War II), retiring after 1950. In his next World Series, Henrich batted .323 against Brooklyn in 1947. He was a .282 career hitter and five-time All-Star in an 11-year career.


    ==================================================

    An excellent fielder, Henrich lived up to his "Old Reliable" nickname with his bat, hitting 22 homers in 1938 and 31 in 1941. After the war, he had his greatest season statistically in 1948, leading the AL in triples and runs scored, and batting .308 with 25 homers and 100 RBI. But he was probably more valuable in 1949, when his consistent clutch hitting helped keep the injury-racked Yankees in the pennant race. In 115 games, he hit 24 homers, batted in 85, and scored 90. He finished sixth in the MVP voting.

    Notable dates:

    August 17th, 1948: Tom Henrich hits his fourth grand slam of the season, off the Senators Sid Hudson. to join Ruth, Gehrig, and York -- and, later, Al Rosen and Ray Boone -- for the AL record. Henrich, who broke in with the Yankees in 1937, had never hit a grand slam before this season.

    October 5th, 1949: In the Series opener at the stadium, the New York Yankees and Allie Reynolds beat the Brooklyn Dodgers 1-0 on Tommy Henrich's 9th-inning HR off Don Newcombe. Newcombe had struck out 11 and walked none before Henrich's blast. Allie Reynolds gives up only 2 hits and fans 9.

    April 18th, 1950: At Fenway, Happy Chandler gives Ted Williams his MVP Award, and then Governor Paul Dever tosses out the first ball. To the delight of 31,822 fans, Boston rips starter Allie Reynolds with a five-run fourth inning to drive the Chief from the game and take a 90 over the Yankees. But the Yanks score four in the sixth off Mel Parnell and then, down 104, New York unloads for nine runs in the eighth. 2B Billy Martin (2-for-2) becomes the first player in history to get two base hits in one inning in his first major-league game. He doubles against Mel Parnell on his first at bat in the eighth inning, and singles off Al Papai. Walt Masterson gives up Tommy Henrich's second triple of the game before giving way to four more Sox hurlers. Boo Ferriss, pitching in his last game, allows the last two runs in the ninth inning as the Yanks chalk up a 1510 win, the biggest blown lead the Sox have ever had at Fenway. DiMaggio, Berra, Vern Stephens, and Doerr each have three hits. Don Johnson is the winner, his last one for New York, with Joe Page pitching a perfect eighth and ninth in relief.

    December 18th, 1950: Yankee great Tommy "Old Reliable" Henrich calls it a career as a player. He accepts a coaching position with the Yankees.

    88 year old TOMMY HENRICH will be appearing at the Ukrainian Cultural Center, 135 Davidson Ave. in Somerset, New Jersey on December 2nd 2001 from 11am - 1:30 pm
    Attached Images

  4. #4
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    Tommy Henrich

    Thanks for all the great information, Gehrig. I knew some of it but not all. Since I'm new to this post, it's great to communicate with some intelligent Yankee fans for a change.
    By the way, Nome, wasn't it Johnny Lindell who was an outfielder, later turn to pitching inorder for him to stay in the majors or am I thinking of another Yankee outfielder? Also, since Henrich is going to be in Somerset, NJ in December not far from where I live I, I think I am go to see him.

  5. #5
    Old School Baseball Gehrig's Avatar
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    Re: Tommy Henrich

    Originally posted by Sixty one
    Thanks for all the great information, Gehrig. I knew some of it but not all. Since I'm new to this post, it's great to communicate with some intelligent Yankee fans for a change.
    By the way, Nome, wasn't it Johnny Lindell who was an outfielder, later turn to pitching inorder for him to stay in the majors or am I thinking of another Yankee outfielder? Also, since Henrich is going to be in Somerset, NJ in December not far from where I live I, I think I am go to see him.
    You're most welcome...and welcome to you...I'm looking foward to your posts !!
    "Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president" ~ Theodore Roosevelt
    UACC: Universal Autograph Collectors Club

  6. #6
    Old School Baseball Gehrig's Avatar
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    Tommy with his weapon of choice...
    Attached Images
    "Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president" ~ Theodore Roosevelt
    UACC: Universal Autograph Collectors Club

  7. #7
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    Nice to see images actually appearing, not just links!

    BTW, BAck in the Seveties, Henrich made the rounds of some TV game shows. Being slightly eccentric, and rather talkative, he was prefered by producers.
    Last edited by Slippery Elm; 09-08-01 at 05:20 AM.

  8. #8
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    Sixty One,

    Yes Lindell, who I thought was a decent enough outfielder and hitter wan nevertheless converted to a knuckleball pitcher. I'll have to look up his stats.

    Andy
    Yogi is a National Treasure. Let's put him in a National Hall of Fame. The man has no peers.

  9. #9
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    Thanks Nome! I do remember him becoming a pitcher and I think he later pitched for the Phillies but I don't remember what success he had.

  10. #10
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    Great thread guys!
    Land of the free?
    It's all about oil.
    Pray for the proud amerikans

  11. #11
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    Lindell played 14 years primarily as a reserve OF. He came up in 41 with the Yankees and played for them through into 1950 season.

    Hefinished up his career with the Cards Pirates and Phillies, retiring in 1954.
    Johnnie had a lifetime average of .273
    His best year was 1944 with a .300 avg in 149 games.

    He pitched in 23 games for the Yankees in 1942 (along with his LF duties) with a 2-1 W/L record with a 3.76 ERA in 53 innings
    He pitched in 33 games in 1953 with the Pirates and Phillies with a combined 6-16 record and 15 (!!) complete games.

    Lindell was an important cog in his years with the Yankees.
    Yogi is a National Treasure. Let's put him in a National Hall of Fame. The man has no peers.

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