2. Denkinger’s debacle: 1985 World Series Game 6—Royals 2, Cardinals 1
Perhaps the most famous blown call in World Series history. But perhaps also the most overrated….
Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog went ballistic afterward. “The two best teams are supposed to be in the World Series,’’ he said. ‘‘They ought to have the best umpires in it, too. I think it’s a disgrace. It’s a joke. We haven’t got one call from the three American League umpires in this thing. You want my opinion? It stinks.”
“The whole inning was screwed up when he missed the call at first,” Herzog said in his office after the game. “I went out and asked why he was safe, and the umpire said he beat the throw. I said how the hell could he be safe when he stepped on Worrell’s foot going across the bag?”
Whitey wasn’t done.
‘‘When I went out, I thought it was a question of Worrell missing the bag. If he’d have said Worrell missed the bag, I’d have shut up. But he didn’t. He said Orta beat the throw. But he didn’t beat the throw. He was out by two steps. I’m not supposed to say anything about the umpires. But I sit here and manage this club, and I see what happens. We haven’t got one call from those guys, and I mean the three from the American League.”
Of course, it didn’t matter that Kansas City’s two previous wins were by 6-1 scores, so the umps clearly had little to do with those defeats. Or that if Clark had caught the foul pop or the passed ball hadn’t happened, the Cardinals likely would have escaped the inning anyway. Blaming Denkinger was the easy thing to do.