Five big league wins was not supposed to be enough, but on this date ten years ago, St. Louis Cardinals rookie Anthony Reyes delivered a big performance on the mound to help his team take Game 1 of the 2006 World Series with a 7-2 win over the Detroit Tigers.
“Yeah, it’s one of those things where you get asked to do something and you try not to pay attention to how important it is,” shared Reyes this afternoon St. Louis Baseball Weekly. “Just try to go out there and think of it as a game and try to keep your nerves in check and just do your job.”
“I didn’t really have a whole lot of time to think about it, so in that respect it was nice,” he continued. “I tried not to think about the importance of the game, I just try to do my job and rely on my teammates for the support that I need. Especially being through it for the first time.”
A double, walk, and hit put Detroit up by a run in the opening frame, but Scott Rolen hit a solo home run to tie things up for the Cardinals in the next half inning. And a change in strategy led to Reyes retiring 17 straight Tigers hitters. No more changeups.
“After that 1st inning, I noticed it, Jimmy noticed it, Yadi noticed it and then we just kind of came in after that 1st inning and we were all on the same page,” said Reyes. “It was obvious that their game plan was to sit on changeups, so it ended up working out. It took all of us kind to rally up and get through that first one.”
When he exited in the 9th inning, Reyes had gone 8.0 IP allowing just 2 runs on 4 hits with 4 strikeouts. It wasn’t until later that the reality of what he accomplished set in. The 17 consecutive batters he sat down was a World Series record for a rookie pitcher.
“The point that it hit me was when we were driving back on the bus, back to the hotel, because everything happened so fast that you don’t really have a whole lot of time to just kind of sit and think about it,” said Reyes. “Once we got back, I was out eating dinner at the hotel and I’m like ‘oh wow’. You see some of the stuff on TV, you’re like ‘oh wow, I just played in that’.”
These days Reyes doesn’t watch much baseball–he doesn’t have time.
Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, Anthony is about to become a fully-commissioned firefighter in the Los Angeles area.
“It’s been a long road coming and finally got my offer with LA County Fire, I’m excited to start my second career,” said Reyes. “I’m excited, my family’s excited, my dad and grandpa are really excited. I’ve got four months of really intense, hard work and I’m looking forward to it with the rest of the class. It’s going to be another life-changing thing for me. It’s nice to be able to realize my second dream.”
“For me, it’s just a nice experience and a nice story I get to share with my son,” Reyes said. “All the things that I’ve collected–balls playing, it’s nice to be able to tell my son ‘yeah, I did this’. Hopefully, he’s proud that his dad played in the big leagues. He’ll have a lot of cool gloves and a lot of memorabilia I get to pass down to him. For me, it’s just sharing with my family that’s the most important thing.”
photo credit: Bill Greenblatt/UPI