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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
A-Mays-ing catch Wertz a World Series ring
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

Sept. 29, 1954

The greatest defensive play in baseball history? What about the catch that Willie Mays makes today? The first game of the World Series between the New York Giants and Cleveland Indians is tied 2-2 in the eighth inning when Don Liddle relieves to face Don Wertz, who already has a two-run triple, with runners on first and second and nobody out.

Wertz cracks a drive to deep center field in the Polo Grounds, far over Mays' head. But Mays, traveling on the wings of the wind, races after it and with his back to the infield, catches the ball facing the right-center field bleachers, an estimated 450 feet from home plate. Then he swiftly turns and fires the ball back to the infield.

"I had it all the way," Mays says later with a grin.

In the bottom of the 10th, Mays walks and steals second. After an intentional walk, Dusty Rhodes pinch-hits a three-run homer barely over the right-field wall to give the Giants a 5-2 victory on their way to a surprising Series sweep.

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