You’ll hear the word perfect tossed around quite a bit today. Nineteen football wins in nineteen football games, should the nineteenth of them come to pass, is admittedly awesome. Nevertheless, our idea of absolute perfection for a Super Bowl Sunday is transcribing the call of Hall of Fame broadcaster Lindsey Nelson for one half of one inning, specifically the top of the eighth from July 9, 1969.
Tom Seaver on the mound for the New York Mets. Through seven innings he has retired twenty-one consecutive batters, and Ron Santo, who leads the National League in runs batted in with seventy-four, is up to lead off. He has struck out and flied to center.
Rod Gaspar has come in in right field now in place of Ron Swoboda for the New York Mets. Rod Gaspar, that’s a defensive move by manager Gil Hodges.
Wayne Garrett comes in at second base now and Bobby Pfeil moves over to third as Charles comes out of the ballgame.
Here’s the pitch to Ron Santo. Swung on — hit in the air to deep centerfield, Agee going back, he has a bead on it, he’s there, and he makes the catch.
Listen to the crowd, riding on every pitch of the ballgame now, riding on every play as Tom Seaver has retired twenty-two consecutive batters at the start of the ballgame.
Wayne Garrett is playing second base. Bobby Pfeil is playing third.
In the history of the Mets, the longest that any Met pitcher has ever gone without allowing a hit, seven-and-one-third innings, by Al Jackson, in Pittsburgh against the Pirates. Seaver has gone seven-and-one-third here.
The pitch to Ernie Banks is high for a ball.
The crowd is humming.
Here is the one-oh pitch now to Ernie Banks. Swung on and missed, it’s one-and-one. Seaver has struck out nine and he’s walked none in this game tonight.
This will be a one-one delivery, it’s on the way — curveball, swung on and missed, GOOD curveball. One-and-two now to Ernie Banks, as Seaver faces the heart of the batting order of the Chicago Cubs.
Santo opening up with a LONG fly to center, Banks is at the plate and Al Spangler’s on deck.
Here’s a one-two pitch — swung on and fouled back, he’s still alive at one-and-two.
In the first inning, Kessinger struck out, Beckert lined out, Williams struck out. In the second inning, Santo struck out, Banks struck out, Spangler struck out. In the third, Hundley flied out, Qualls flied out, Holtzman struck out. In the fourth, Kessinger struck out, Beckert grounded out, Williams grounded out. In the fifth, Santo flied out, Banks grounded out and Spangler struck out.
There’s a swing and a foul ball back and out of play.
In the sixth, Hundley grounded out, Qualls grounded out and Abernathy struck out. In the seventh, Kessinger lined out, Beckert flied out, Williams grounded out. Here in the eighth, Santo has flied to center.
The count is one-and-two to Ernie Banks and Seaver’s pitch is on the way — curveball misses WAY outside, caught in the webbing of the glove by catcher Jerry Grote, who leaned WAY out. Count goes to two balls and two strikes now.
Here is a two-two delivery to Ernie Banks. Swung on, fouled back, it’s out of play, the count HOLDS at two-two, as 38-year-old Ernie Banks continues to foul that ball off.
The Mets lead by a score of four to nothing. Here’s the two-two pitch — swung on and missed, he struck him out! Listen to the CROWD! Strikeout number TEN for Tom Seaver.
He has retired twenty-three consecutive batters from the start of the ballgame.
Left-hand batter Al Spangler’s coming up. He’s been up twice and he struck out swinging both times. The Cubs are batting in the top half of the eighth inning here at Shea Stadium.
There’s a swing and a miss at strike one!
Seaver again takes the sign from Jerry Grote, two men out and nobody on base. He’s into the motion again and here’s the strike one delivery.
It’s in there for a called strike two!
Oh-and-two the count now, to Al Spangler. Seaver again takes the sign. Here is the two-strike delivery — it’s high and away for a ball, one-and-two.
Nancy Seaver, Tom’s wife, seated in one of the lower field boxes, on the EDGE of her seat, RIDING with every pitch of this ballgame. Here’s a pitch now — swung on and missed, he struck him out!
The side is retired. Seaver has gone through EIGHT innings; he has retired TWENTY-FOUR consecutive batters; he has not allowed a HIT or a BASERUNNER; he’s getting a STANDING OVATION; he’s gone LONGER…without allowing a hit than any MET pitcher in the history of the New York Mets.
That was his ELEVENTH strikeout.
No runs, no hits, no errors and none left. In the middle of the eighth inning, the score IS the Mets FOUR and the Cubs nothing.
Cap tip to Joe Dubin for passing along this greatest of baseball broadcasts. And, though we choose to salute baseball on this particular Sunday as we would any partcular Sunday, we are not completely tone deaf to other pursuits of local sporting interest. Go You Giants!