Gene Tenace breaks out
OCTOBER 14, 1972
Oakland A’s catcher Gene Tenace picked baseball’s biggest stage to breakout as a power hitter on this date in 1972. He hit just 5 homeruns during the entire 1972 regular season, but in game one of the World Series he hit two home runs and drove in all three runs as the A’s beat the Cincinnati Reds 3-2.
Tenace ended up with four homers and nine runs batted in for the Series which the A’s won in seven games. He was named World Series MVP.
Up until the ’72 World Series, Tenace was Dave Duncan’s backup behind the plate. He hit just 20 homeruns in his first four years with the A’s. After his breakout World Series he became an every day player. He played a lot of first base, as Duncan – later Tony LaRussa’s pitching coach for several teams – was a pretty good receiver and not a bad hitter.
Tenace, born Fiore Gino Tennaci in
Pennsylvania October 10, 1946, finished his fifteen year career with 201 home runs, not bad for a catcher.
Sports Illustrated Greatest Teams,
by Tim Crothers, 1998