Mickey Owen

“The condemned jumped out of the chair and electrocuted the warden.” That’s how one writer described the Yankees’ ninth-inning comeback in Game Four of the 1941 World Series, after catcher Mickey Owen let the apparent game-ending third strike on Tommy Henrich get by. Had Owen held onto Hugh Casey’s pitch, the Dodgers would have won, 4-3. Instead, the Yankees rallied to win, 7-4, and became World Champions the next day. Rumor had it that Casey had thrown a spitter; Leo Durocher said no, Pee Wee Reese called it “a little wet slider,” and Billy Herman thought that Owen might have “nonchalanted” it. Ironically, that season, Owen had set the National League catchers’ record of 476 consecutive errorless chances accepted while setting a Dodger season record by fielding .995. A scrapper who batted as high as second in the order, Owen was blackballed after leaving the Dodgers in 1946 to be a player-manager in the Mexican League. He returned in 1949 with the Cubs, coached, scouted, ran a baseball camp, and was still playing in oldtimers’ games in his seventies.