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Ralph Terry, Yankee Hurler Acquired by One Pitch, Dies at 86

Terry bounced back the following year, going 16-3 despite missing six weeks with a sore shoulder. But his playoff woes continued: Cincinnati’s lone win over the Yankees in the 1961 World Series caught up with him.

For the 1962 pennant-winning Yankees, Terry went 23-12, the most wins for a Yankee right-hander since Waite Hoyt in 1928. But Jack Sanford of the Giants beat him with a three-hit shutout in the second game of this Year Series, bringing Terry’s postseason record to 0-4. It wasn’t until Game 5 that he snapped his streak, beating the Giants and Sanford 5-3. And after some rain, it was well rested for another Game 7 on October 16, 1962.

Candlestick Park’s famous winds were blowing, and for Terry, who had given up 40 home runs that year — still a team record — it was a blessing. As Don Larsen, who had pitched the only perfect game in World Series history six years earlier, watched from the Giants bullpen, Terry downed the first 17 Giants he faced until Sanford harvest a single one. But the Yankees led 1-0 as the Giants struck late in the ninth.

Matty Alou started with a bunt single. Terry eliminated Alou’s brother Felipe and Chuck Hiller, but then went up against three future Hall of Famers. The first, Willie Mays, doubled on the right; only Roger Maris’ quick stint kept Alou in third place. Then came McCovey, and Yankees manager Ralph Houk came out.

Several pitchers, including Whitey Ford, had warmed up, but Houk stuck with Terry, leaving it up to him, his starter, if he should walk left-hander McCovey and, playing percentages, throw right-hander Orlando Cepeda instead. .

McCovey had already hit Terry in the series and tripled earlier in the match, but Terry opted to throw at him anyway. He had learned his number, he thought – loud and tight – and would work his spots. With a National League umpire behind home plate in a National League park, he knew he wouldn’t get any close calls, but he would at least have a chance to get him out. And he felt Cepeda, without a hit that day, was due. Terry was concerned that his second baseman, Richardson, was overshadowing McCovey too close to first, but he said nothing.

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