The Catch

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For other uses: see The Catch (disambiguation)
The Catch: Willie Mays hauls in Vic Wertz's drive at the warning track in the 1954
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The Catch: Willie Mays hauls in Vic Wertz's drive at the warning track in the 1954 World Series

The Catch refers to a memorable defensive baseball play on September 29, 1954 during Game 1 of the 1954 World Series between the New York Giants and the Cleveland Indians at the Polo Grounds in New York. The score was tied 2-2 in the top of the eighth inning. Starting pitcher Sal Maglie walked Larry Doby and gave up a single to Al Rosen. So, with runners on first and second, Giants manager Leo Durocher summoned lefty relief pitcher Don Liddle to replace Maglie and pitch to Cleveland's Vic Wertz, also a left-hander.

Wertz worked the count to two balls and a strike, before crushing Liddle's fourth pitch over 450 feet into the deep center field. In many stadiums, the shot would have been a home run, giving the Indians a 5-2 lead. However, this was the spacious Polo Grounds and Giants center fielder Willie Mays, who was playing in, made an on-the-run, over-the-shoulder catch to make the out. Having caught the ball, he immediately spun and threw the ball, losing his hat in characteristic style. The throw nearly caught Doby, who had been running in the belief that the ball would not be caught, before he returned safely to second base. Liddle was then relieved by Marv Grissom, to whom he supposedly remarked "Well, I got my man."

The play prevented the Indians from taking the lead and in the bottom of the 10th, the Giants won the game on their way to sweeping the Series. The Catch is often considered to be one of the best and most memorable plays in the history of baseball because of the difficulty of the play and the importance of the game itself.

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