ST. LOUIS (AP) – Bruce Hurst walked around Manhattan for a bit, trying to keep his mind occupied. After a while, he gave up.

“All those Mets fans recognized me and you can only take, ‘You’re going to get crushed,’ for so long,” the former Boston pitcher recalled Thursday. “It was time to get back to the hotel and get ready.”

The next day, given a chance to start Game 7 of the 1986 World Series because of a rainout, Hurst kept the Red Sox close. He left after six innings with the score tied, but the Mets wound up winning the championship.

As much as baseball roots for clear skies and crisp conditions in October, bad weather often intrudes. There have been 32 rainouts in Series history – but never a rain-shortened game.

The Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals added to that total this week. Game 4 was rained out Wednesday night, and more showers were in the forecast.

“You sit around, you want to play, you’re very anxious,” Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge said. “It’s a World Series baseball game and something you’re very excited for and you have to wait and wait and wait. It’s very tough to do.”

Then again, that’s barely what the New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants went through in 1962. Postponed once in New York, the teams had three straight rainouts at Candlestick Park before Game 6.

When the Series resumed, the Giants won. That forced a classic Game 7, and the Yankees won 1-0 when future Hall of Famer Willie McCovey lined out with runners on second and third to end it.

McCovey sympathized with what the Cardinals and Tigers are wading through.

“They haven’t gotten quite that far yet,” he said with a chuckle. “It’s kind of funny. I started thinking about that last night when they said the World Series might be extended.”

McCovey said Willie Mays, Juan Marichal and his Giants teammates spent part of their off-time in a rural town about an hour east of the Bay Area.

“There wasn’t a lot we could do, really. We had a lot of meetings and we had to show up every day,” he said. “We found a dry spot in Modesto for both teams to work out.

“It was a big deal for the World Series teams to show up in the little town of Modesto. They turned up in droves every day to watch us work out,” he said.

In 1975, Boston and Cincinnati waited through three straight rainouts at Fenway Park. When they returned, they played one of the greatest games ever, with Carlton Fisk’s homer in the 12th inning lifting the Red Sox.

“We were a veteran team, too. We had had adversity before,” Reds Hall of Famer Joe Morgan said. “So we knew we just had to adjust – and it helped that we had the best team.”

The record for consecutive Series rainouts was six in 1911. Manager Connie Mack and the Philadelphia Athletics weathered the weather and eventually beat Christy Mathewson and the New York Giants.

In 1981, the Los Angeles Dodgers traveled to New York with a 3-2 lead, hoping to wrap up the Series at Yankee Stadium. Rain caused a one-day delay, then the Dodgers won Game 6.

“One day wasn’t bad,” said Dusty Baker, who got two hits and scored twice for the Dodgers in the clincher. “A couple of days would’ve been tough. That’s when anticipation would start turning to anxiety.”

“I think the rain this week helps the Tigers. The Cardinals kind of had them on the run a little bit,” the former Cubs manager said. “It gives the Detroit guys a chance to rest psychologically.”

In 1986, the Red Sox and Mets played a wild Game 6 – the Bill Buckner game – that evened the Series. The next day, rain intruded and forced the teams to wait.

Oil Can Boyd had been set to start Game 7 for Boston before the steady showers. Given a chance to reshuffle his rotation, Red Sox manager John McNamara chose Hurst, who had already beaten the Mets twice.

“It was the opportunity of a lifetime, to pitch Game 7,” Hurst said. “When you’re a kid playing in the backyard, nobody dreams about pitching Game 1.”

Hurst said the Red Sox, despite coming off a difficult loss, were disappointed about the rainout.

“Believe it or not, we still had momentum and we were in a rhythm,” he said. “We’d played well the day before, all except the bottom of the 10th inning. So we wanted to get back out there.”

So did the Mets.

“We didn’t care about who was pitching,” said Mookie Wilson, who hit the famous grounder through Buckner’s legs. “Didn’t matter. That’s how high we were at the time. If we could pull out Game 6, Game 7 was a piece of cake.”



AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley in San Francisco contributed to this report.

AP-ES-10-26-06 1953EDT


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