Sandy Amoros, whose catch saved 1955 World Series, died 18 years ago today

June 27: On this date in 1992, Sandy Amoros died at age 62 in Miami, Fla.

Amoros is best remembered for what was the defining moment of the 1955 World Series (shown in this Life magazine photo on the right), his running, one-handing catch of Yogi Berra’s drive down the left field line.

With the Dodgers up 2-0 in the decisive Game 7, Amoros came in as a defensive replacement in left field to start the sixth inning. After the first two Yankee batters of the inning reached base, the left-handed hitting Berra sliced toward the left-field corner for an apparent double that would have tied the game.

Instead, Amoros raced toward the line, extending his gloved right hand at the last instant to snare the drive. He then threw back to the infield, where a relay throw by Pee Wee Reese doubled Gil McDougald off first base.

The Dodgers got the final out of the inning without surrendering a run and would go on to win the franchise’s only World Series title in Brooklyn.

Never more than a part-time player in seven major-league seasons, Amoros was a star in the Cuban League with Almendares and Habana and was elected to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1978.

Amoros, who went on to live in Tampa, Fla., after his playing days, suffered from diabetes, and doctors amputated part of his left leg in September 1987.

During a 2008 interview, Glorida Mayor, the widow of Cuban baseball legend Agapito Mayor recounted the friendship between Amoros and her husband while the two former players lived in Tampa.

Mayor adored Amoros. He helped him a lot. Amoros was in Tampa for 11 years, and for 11 years Mayor was fighting to help Amoros. When they amputated his leg we were with him in the hospital. Mayor would go every day to the hospital. Mayor would buy his groceries, buy him food until his daughter took him back to Miami. He died in Miami. Mayor loved Amoros, even though there was a big age difference. Amoros started playing just as Mayor was finishing his playing career. But he was so fond of Amoros and Amoros was so fond of Mayor. Amoros used to say that Mayor was his brother. One of the last times, he saw Amoros, Mayor went to get Amoros at his home and took him to the stadium to one of the Cuban legends games. Amoros had a prosthetic leg. He found Amoros and took him to the stadium. Mayor would never leave Amoros behind.

Sunday, June 27, 2010   ()