October 17, 1976: Tony Perez singled home Ken Griffey with the winning run as the Cincinnati Reds won the second game of the 1976 World Series, 4-3, in Cincinnati. The World Series win gave the Reds victories in the first two games of the Series.
The Reds scored first in the game when they scored three runs in the bottom of the second inning off Yankees starter Jim “Catfish” Hunter. Dan Driessen led off with a double to centerfield and scored the game’s first run on a single by George Foster. Foster was thrown out trying to steal second, but Johnny Bench doubled to restart the rally. Cesar Geronimo walked and Dave Concepcion singled to score Bench with Geronimo moving to third base. Concepcion stole second and Pete Rose drew a walk to load the bases. Griffey then scored Geronimo on a sacrifice fly to centerfield to give the Reds a 3-0 lead.
The Yankees got one run back when Graig Nettles singled off Reds starter Fred Norman in the fourth inning to score Thurman Munson to make it 3-1. The Yankees tied the score at 3-3 in the seventh. Willie Randolph singled to center field and scored on a double by Fred Stanley. One out later, Roy White singled with Stanley advancing to third base and chasing Norman. Jack Billingham came on in relief and induced Munson to ground into a force out at second base with Stanley scoring and tying the game.
The Reds won it in the ninth when Griffey advancing to second on a two-out error throwing error on a ground ball by Yankees shortstop Stanley. Joe Morgan was intentionally walked before Perez lined a single to center field to win the game for the Reds.
Billingham was the winning pitcher with 2 2/3 innings of hitless relief. Morgan, Perez, Bench, and Driessen all had two hits for the Reds.
October 17, 1990: Joe Oliver singles home Billy Bates with the winning run in the bottom of the tenth inning as the Reds take a 2-0 World Series game lead with a 5-4 win over the Oakland A’s in Cincinnati.
After being shut out in the first game, the A’s scored in the top of the first inning when Rickey Henderson scored on a Jose Canseco ground out. The Reds scored twice in the bottom of the first to take a 2-1 lead Barry Larkin led off with a ground rule double down the right field line. Larkin scored on a Billy Hatcher double to tie the score at 1-1. Hatcher moved to third on a fly to center and scored on an Eric Davis ground out to give the Reds the lead.
The A’s chased Red starter Danny Jackson with three runs in the third on a Canseco home run, a Ron Hassey sacrifice fly, and a single by Mike Gallego. The Reds made it to 4-3 in the bottom of the fourth when Oliver doubled and scored on a Ron Oester single. The Reds tied it in the bottom of the eighth when Hatcher tripled and Paul O’Neill walked. One out later, Rick Honeycutt replaced A’s starter Bob Welch, and Hatcher scored when Glenn Braggs forced O’Neill at second base to tie the score at 4-4.
The Reds won it in the bottom of the tenth inning when Bates reached base on an infield hit with one out, the only Reds hit of Bates’s brief career. Chris Sabo singled with Bates stopping at second. Bates then scored the winning run when Oliver grounded a single into left field off A’s closer Dennis Eckersley making a winner out of Reds reliever Rob Dibble and the Reds.
Hatcher had four consecutive hits in the game, tying a World Series record of seven consecutive hits. Hatcher had a triple, two doubles, a single, and a walk. Larkin and Sabo each had three hits and Oliver had two. Meanwhile, Reds relievers Scott Scudder, Jack Armstrong, Norm Charlton, and Dibble combined to pitch 7 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing four hits, walking two, and striking out seven.
As for Bates, he had only played in eight Reds regular season games, going 0-5 in in his five plate appearances. Bates and Braggs had been acquired in trade from the Milwaukee Brewers on June 9, 1990, for Reds pitchers Ron Robinson and Bob Sebra. In his eight games, Bates made one start, pinch hit once, and was used as a pinch runner in six games, scoring two runs. He had batted .103 in 14 games with the Brewers, compiling an .088 average for the season. In his major league career, Bates played 29 games, collecting six career hits, and batting .125. But, his career World Series batting average is 1.000 (1 for 1).
Besides his game-winning run, Bates is best known for racing a cheetah from the Cincinnati Zoo. From baseball-reference.com’s bullpen:
To Reds fans, Bates is best remembered for an infamous foot race against a cheetah from the Cincinnati Zoo. Looking for an extra late-season promotion, the Reds decided to have a foot race before a 1990 home game. The Reds, who were not tremendously concerned with Bates being mauled, staged the race across the outfield. Bates won the race, but only after his hat came off his head and the cheetah mistook it for food.
At least the cheetah didn’t mistake Bates for food.