George “Who?” Lost 3 Games for the New York Yankees in the 1981 World Series?

March 10, 2012   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

The 1981 strike resulted in a strange situation in which the season was split into two halves.

The teams that won the first half of the season would meet the team that won the second half in a best-of-five playoff series with the winners playing another best-of-five series for the pennant.

The New York Yankees, under Gene Michael, won the first half to qualify for the playoffs. They played poorly in the second half, which did not please George Steinbrenner, who summarily told Michael that his services would no longer be required. Bob Lemon replaced Michael for the rest of the season.

Under Lemon, the Yankees went 11-14 to finish at 25-26, which placed them sixth in the seven team Eastern Division.  Since they had won the first half of the season with a 34-22 record under Michael, they faced the Milwaukee Brewers in the first round of the playoffs and beat them.

In the second round, the Yankees beat Billy Martin’s Oakland A’s to win the pennant.

Lemon and the Yankees were now in the World Series. The 1981 World Series was one of the worst disasters in New York Yankees’ history.

In 1955, the New York Yankees won the first two games of the World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers at Yankee Stadium. The Dodgers won the Series.

In 1956, the Dodgers won the first two games of the World Series at Ebbets Field. The Yankees won the Series.

In 1978, the Los Angeles Dodgers won the first two games of the World Series at Dodger Stadium. The Yankees won the Series.

In 1981, the Yankees won the first two game of the World Series at Yankee Stadium. Logic dictates that it is better to win the first two games at home than to lose one or two of those games.  Sometimes logic is illogical.

In the third game at Dodger Stadium, the Yankees couldn’t hold an early 4-3 lead and lost, 5-4, when George Frazier, who had replaced starter Dave Righetti in the third inning, faltered and the Dodgers scored twice to take a one-run lead the Yankees could never overcome.

George Frazier was the losing pitcher in Game 3.

The next afternoon the Yankees had an early 4-0 lead. The Dodgers rallied and Lemon turned to Frazier with the scored tied 6-6 in the sixth inning.  He retired the side, getting the two outs he needed, but in the seventh inning the Dodgers loaded the bases with no outs. That was it for Frazier.

Two of the runners scored as the Dodgers took an 8-6 lead in what became an 8-7 Yankees’ loss.

George Frazier was the losing pitcher in Game 4.

Ron Guidry was out-dueled by Jerry Reuss in the fifth game, 2-1 to give the Dodgers their third consecutive win. Some fans remembered 1955, 1956 and 1978.

It rained in New York on Tuesday, Oct. 27, pushing the sixth game to Wednesday.

With the score tied 1-1 in the fourth inning, the Yankees had a runner on first base with two outs. Lemon sent Bobby Murcer to hit for starter Tommy John. Burt Hooten retired Murcer and Lemon brought in Frazier to pitch.

Of course, you know what happened.

George Frazier was the losing pitcher in Game 6.

George Frazier become only the second pitcher to lose three games in a single World Series. The pitcher he tied for the ignominious record was Left Williams, who lost three games for the 1919 Chicago White Sox.

Frazier pitched three seasons for the St. Louis Cardinals before moving to the Yankees. He was 3-11 with a 3.84 ERA and a 98 ERA+. 

One shouldn’t be too hard on Frazier. After all, it was Lemon that kept putting him into key situations.

What would the fired Gene Michael or Billy Martin have done?

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readers comments
  1. Eddie on July 28th, 2014 8:23 am


    tnx for info….

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