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Remembering Game 6 of the 1981 World Series

Pedro Guerrero and Ron Cey were two of the three tri-MVPs of the 1981 World Series, along with Steve Yeager.
Pedro Guerrero and Ron Cey were two of the three tri-MVPs of the 1981 World Series, along with Steve Yeager.
Photo: Focus on Sport via Getty Images

34 years ago today, the Dodgers avenged losses to the Yankees in 1977 and 1978 with a 9-2 win in Game 6 of the 1981 World Series at Yankee Stadium, capturing their first championship in 16 seasons.

It might have happened one night earlier, but rain caused Game 6 to get postponed one day, to Wednesday, Oct. 28.

The delay helped Ron Cey, who was hit in the head by a fastball from Goose Gossage in the eighth inning of Game 5. Cey would not have started Game 6 had weather allowed the game to be played on Tuesday.

"I felt good this morning and I was optimistic about playing, but this afternoon changed my mind," Cey told the Associated Press on Oct. 27. "There was some dizziness and lightheadedness. I was not in good shape."

Cey did start on Wednesday, and went 2-for-3, driving in the go-ahead run in the fifth inning.

Pedro Guerrero hit a two-run triple in the fifth inning, a three-run inning that saw the Dodgers break a 1-1 tie. He added a two-run single in a four-run sixth inning that put the game away, and he added a home run in the eighth inning for good measure to close out the scoring.

With five RBI, Guerrero tied a Dodgers postseason record, set also by Davey Lopes in Game 1 of the 1978 World Series.

Since then, two Dodgers have come close, with four RBI in a postseason game. Eric Karros homered twice in Game 2 of the 1995 NLDS against the Reds, and James Loney hit a grand slam in Game 1 of the 2008 NLDS against the Cubs.

Guerrero was 7-for-21 (.333) with two home runs, a triple, a double, two walks and seven RBI in the series, and shared series MVP honors with Cey and catcher Steve Yeager.

Burt Hooton pitched 5⅓ innings, allowing two runs for the win, and second-year relief ace Steve Howe recorded the final 11 outs for the save, the final out a fly ball by Bob Watson into the waiting glove of Kenny Landreaux in center field.

"This is heaven," Guerrero told the AP.

Guerrero and Yeager hit back-to-back home runs in the seventh inning of Game 5 at Dodger Stadium, turning a 1-0 deficit against Ron Guidry into a 2-1 Dodgers victory. It was one of several comebacks by the Dodgers in 1981.

Because of the baseball strike, the 1981 season was split into two halves, necessitating the first-ever divisional series. The first-half National League West champ Dodgers trailed the second-half champ Astros two games to none before winning the final three games to advance.

In the NLCS against the Expos, the Dodgers trailed two games to one, only to win the final two games in Montreal to get back to the World Series, facing the Yankees for the third time in five seasons. Then, the Yankees captured the first two games at home before the Dodgers won the final four games, the finale coming 34 years ago today.