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That Time the Yankees Had to Fight Through the Fans – Literally – to Walk Off the 1976 ALCS

Interesting

Back in 1976, MLB’s Championship Series was a best of five games (increased to seven in 1985) series, featuring the Reds and Phillies in the NL and the Yankees and Royals in the AL.

Despite playing two out of their three games on the road, the Reds made quick work of the Phillies, sweeping the first three games of that series while locking up their seat at the World Series table. The Yankees and Royals, however, had themselves quite a match up.

Here’s how the first four games shook out:

ALCS Game 1: Yankees Win
Yankees: 4 (W)
Royals: 1

ALCS Game 2: Royals Win
Yankees: 3
Royals: 7 (W)

ALCS Game 3: Yankees Win
Royals: 3
Yankees: 5 (W)

ALCS Game 4: Royals Win
Royals: 7 (W)
Yankees: 4

Series tied: 2-2


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The whole series (tied 2-2) was turning into a real nail-biter, and game five was no exception. Both teams scored two runs in the first inning, and both added on before the end of the third.

Then, with the Yankees leading Kansas City 6-3 heading into the eighth, the Royals exploded for three more runs to tie the game.

Score: 6-6

The Royals held the Yankees quiet in the bottom half of the inning, and the 56,821 fans in attendance watched nervously as the game moved into the ninth.

The Royals managed to get two runners on base in their half of the inning, but couldn’t push a run across the plate. And soon enough, it was the Yankees turn.

Without wasting any time, the first Yankee up to the plate, Chris Chambliss, took Mark Littell deep to right field for a walk-off, dream-worthy, pennant-clinching win at Yankee Stadium.

Sounds exciting, right?

Well, the fans at Yankee stadium agree, because they made it onto the field – and I mean quickly – and surrounded Chambliss before he could even make it to the plate.


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In fact, he never even wound up touching home (or third base, from what I can tell) at all, because the fans had completely mobbed the field … and no one seemed to think it was much of a big deal:

By the time he rounds second base, the fans are already everywhere – many of which are actually grabbing and mobbing Chambliss in pure bliss of their walk-off win. Chambliss, rightfully, decided to skip his trip home, and made a straight line into the dugout.

And the Yankees moved onto the World Series … where they promptly got swept in four straight games. Happy Tuesday!


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Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami writes about MLB at Baseball Is Fun. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami.

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