Boros was part of a scout team that filled out reports that fall on the Athletics, the Dodgers’ opponent in the World Series. Among the traits that Boros and his co-workers noticed: Oakland relief ace Dennis Eckersley tended to throw a backdoor slider on 3-2 counts to left-handed hitters.
That was exactly the pitch that pinch-hitter Kirk Gibson launched off Eck for a two-out, bottom-of-the-ninth homer to win Game 1. The Dodgers went on to upset the mighty A’s in five games.
I can’t imagine a situation that would give a bigger rush to a scout. I mean, yes, finding an obscure player, getting him signed and watching him turn into an MVP may be a bigger accomplishment, but that happens over years. With the homer, in one moment Boros and the guys he worked with were able to whoop it up over a series of feats: finding the chink in the mighty Eck’s armor, successfully communicating it to the Dodgers and having a player put it to use.
How many tells like that are missed? How many that are caught get lost someplace between the scout’s notepad and the player in the batter’s box? A bunch I bet. And if Gibson was flying blind up there against Eck, is there any way that he hits that homer? It’s not like he could adjust or muscle a ball out with that gimpy leg of his. The only shot he had was to know where the pitch was going to be before it was thrown. Go watch the replay. He doesn’t put a powerful swing on the ball. Just a perfect swing. Because he knew exactly what was coming.
R.I.P., Steve Boros.