About This Episode
Just in time for the 2017 World Series, hosts Gary O’Reilly and Chuck Nice revisit the most iconic plays of the Fall Classic. Helping them “go the distance” are physicist John Eric Goff, Houston Astros Announcer and 2005 World Series winner Geoff Blum, Lehman College Baseball Coach DJ Price and Yankees fan Neil deGrasse Tyson. First up, we examine Willie Mays’ legendary catch in the 8th Inning of Game 1 of the 1954 World Series. Prof. Goff breaks down the science of spectacular catch and the even more impressive throw, which saved the game and led to the Giants’ sweep of the Cleveland Indians in the series. Next, we leap forward to 1977, when the New York Yankees’ Reggie Jackson earned the nickname, “Mr. October” by hitting 3 home runs during Game 6 of the series, the first to do so since Babe Ruth, and only one of 4 players ever to do it. Then it’s on to 1988, when Los Angeles Dodger Kirk Gibson hit a 2-run, pinch hit, walk-off home run off Hall of Fame closer Dennis Eckersley to win the game over the Oakland Athletics. Explore the science of the hit, which was voted by Los Angelinos as their greatest sports moment – made even more amazing by the fact that Gibson was hobbled with injuries to both legs. Last up, it’s Kirby Puckett’s 11th inning home run in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series between the Minnesota Twins and the Atlanta Braves, voted the “greatest World Series of all time.” You’ll learn why bat speed is more important to home run hitting than the speed of the pitch, and how the diminutive Puckett (he was 5’8”) was able to blast the ball into the stands, forcing a 7th game which the Twins went on to win. Finally, Chuck and Gary are joined by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Geoff Blum, and Neil’s personal trainer Coach DJ Price, to answer a few Cosmic Queries and discuss the impending World Series. You’ll hear about the differences between cricket balls and baseballs, how the original Yankee Stadium was built to favor left handed power hitters like Ruth and Lou Gehrig, why Aaron Judge struggled in the post-season, and why Jose Atuve is such a great hitter. Plus, Neil describes how a whiffle ball would behave on Mars, and how you could play baseball across the universe via a wormhole.
NOTE: All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: World Series Throwback Special.
In This Episode
Sports Analyst, Broadcaster, Professional Soccer Player
GuestNeil deGrasse Tyson
Houston Astros Announcer, former MLB Baseball Player and 2005 World Series winner
GuestJohn Eric Goff
Physicist, Author of “Gold Medal Physics: The Science of Sports”
Lehman College Baseball Coach (and Neil’s personal trainer)