Tenace's Magic Works Even in Lockerroom
Article taken from The Elyria Chronicle, October 23, 1972
CINCINNATI (AP)- Nothing could go wrong for Gene Tenace in the 1972 World Series.
The unlikely hero of the Oakland Athletics triumph over Cincinnati in the seventh game even psyched the Reds in his dressing room.
Tenace had finished his work for the day yesterday - Batting in two runs and leaving his pinch-runner to score the third in the A's 3-2 clincher over the National League champion Reds-and went to the dressing room to watch the windup on television.
Cincinnati had the potential tying run third and the winning run on second in the eighth with two outs. Denis Menke was the Cincinnati hitter. As Rollie Fingers prepared to pitch to Menke. Tenace looked at the TV screen and screamed "pop up."
Menke swung and popped the ball to A's shortstop Bert Campaneris to end the inning and the last big Cincinnati threat to the American League champion A's.
"How did you know he would pop up?" Tenace was asked. "I was watching him swing and the way we were pitching him, and I just knew it, I felt i,." replied the guy whose four Series home run put him in the record book with Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and several others.
TENACE, who hit .225 in the regular season with five home runs, dominated the Series, He had eight hits in 23 at bats for a .348 average, slammed four homers and drove in nine of the 16 runs scored by the A's in the seven games. He had 30 total bases.
"I guess," he said, "anything can happen in a short series. It's one of those things. Fortunately I got hot like I did."
Tenace, 26, was the catcher in the first six games of the Series. Manager Dick Williams told Tenace Saturday night he would play first base in the seventh game. It didn't phase the young man from Lucasville, Ohio.
"I was just happy to be here." he said in the rollicking champagne A's dressing room. "I play where the manager wants me to play. If he has enough confidence in me then I go out there, although I would rather catch."
Tenace, who played first base in only about 10 games during the regular season, and didn't take over regular catching duties until the last two months of the season, recalled that during the season he became discouraged at his utility role. But he said A's captain Sal Bando, his roommate, told him to keep his head up, his chance would come.
"It sure did," said Tenace.