Oct 10, 2014 3:53 AM
Gore, Young the latest subs to impact postseason
The Associated Press
Delmon Young is a power hitter without much speed. Terrance Gore can breeze around the bases but he might never be good enough with the bat to play consistently at the major league level.
Young and Gore, with their specialized skill sets, may not spend much time on the field this October, but if used properly, they can both make a difference in the late innings. Already, Gore has made his mark as a pinch-runner for the speedy Kansas City Royals, while Young provided perhaps Baltimore's biggest swing of this postseason so far, a three-run, pinch-hit double in Game 2 of the AL Division Series against Detroit.
A dependable bench can be a major asset during the playoffs, giving managers more flexibility in tight games. In honor of Young, Gore and the rest of baseball's super subs, here are a few of the most famous postseason performances by position players who weren't in the starting lineup:
COOKIE LAVAGETTO and AL GIONFRIDDO, DODGERS (1947 WORLD SERIES)
Brooklyn was one out from being no-hit by Bill Bevens of the Yankees in Game 4 when Lavagetto stepped up as a pinch-hitter with two on. His double scored both runners to give the Dodgers a 3-2 win over New York. It was the final hit of Lavagetto's career.
Gionfriddo scored on that play as a pinch-runner, but his most famous contribution came in Game 6. After entering as a defensive replacement, he ran down Joe DiMaggio's deep flyball for a catch that had the Yankee Clipper kicking the dirt in exasperation.
DUSTY RHODES, GIANTS (1954 WORLD SERIES)
Rhodes homered as a pinch-hitter to give New York a 5-2 victory over Cleveland in the series opener a game remembered more for Willie Mays' over-the-shoulder catch of Vic Wertz's long drive to center. Rhodes would also come off the bench to hit a single and a homer in Game 2, and a two-run single in Game 3.
SANDY AMOROS, DODGERS (1955 WORLD SERIES)
With the Dodgers trying to protect a 2-0 lead in Game 7 against the Yankees, Amoros came on as a defensive replacement and made a terrific running catch of Yogi Berra's flyball down the line in left. The two-run lead held up, and Brooklyn finally won its first World Series title.
BERNIE CARBO, RED SOX (1975 WORLD SERIES)
Carlton Fisk won Game 6 against Cincinnati with his 12th-inning homer, but the game probably never reaches that point without Carbo's three-run shot as a pinch-hitter in the eighth. That homer tied the game, setting the stage for a long night in Boston.
DAVE HENDERSON, RED SOX (1986 ALCS)
Henderson's ninth-inning homer in Game 5 against California with Boston one out from elimination is one of the most memorable hits in team history. What's often forgotten is that he was not in the starting lineup that day. Henderson entered in the fifth after Tony Armas injured his ankle.
KIRK GIBSON, DODGERS (1988 WORLD SERIES)
Gibson was too injured to start Game 1 for Los Angeles, but he hobbled to the plate in the ninth as a pinch-hitter and hit a two-out, two-run homer off Oakland's Dennis Eckersley for a 5-4 victory in what became the defining moment of the fiery outfielder's career.
FRANCISCO CABRERA, BRAVES (1992 NLCS)
Cabrera had all of 11 plate appearances during the regular season that year, but he was the man pinch-hitting for Atlanta with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth of Game 7. Cabrera's single to left scored two runs and gave the Braves a 3-2 victory over Pittsburgh.
AARON BOONE, YANKEES (2003 ALCS)
New York had already tied Game 7 with three runs in the eighth off Boston's Pedro Martinez. Then Boone came on as a pinch-runner and was stranded on base.
His spot in the order didn't come around until the 11th, when Boone led off with a pennant-winning homer and etched his name permanently into Yankees lore.
DAVE ROBERTS, RED SOX (2004 ALCS)
Boston lost the first three games of the series and trailed by a run in the ninth inning of Game 4 with Mariano Rivera of the Yankees on the mound. Then Roberts came in as a pinch-runner and stole second, and he scored the tying run moments later.
The Red Sox would rally to win the pennant in improbable fashion Roberts would score the tying run as a pinch-runner in Game 5 as well and Boston eventually beat St. Louis to win its first World Series title since 1918. Roberts never actually batted for the Red Sox in the postseason, but his impact was immense.
RAUL IBANEZ, YANKEES (2012 ALDS)
New York trailed Baltimore by a run in the ninth inning of Game 3 when manager Joe Girardi boldly pinch-hit for star Alex Rodriguez. Ibanez came through, homering to tie the game. Then he added another solo shot in the 12th to win it.
Information from Baseball-Reference.com was used in this report.