During the deciding game of the 2014 World Series, SF Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt threw 2.1 innings without one of a pitcher’s most important tools.
The San Francisco Chronicle has run an interesting series by Henry Schulman, with 10 key members of the 2010 World Series team speaking in depth about their experiences that year and in the years after. It’s a great interview, filled with all sorts of fun stuff — including his … disagreements … with manager Bruce Bochy in 2010.
But back to the topic at hand: Affeldt couldn’t see. In the deciding game of the World Series.
"I had an eye problem. … For whatever reason, one eye was picking up stuff that was close and the other eye was picking up far, and I wasn’t getting to where everything was coming together.I’m picking up two of Buster (Posey). I can see him in 3D. I don’t know if I’m seeing the Buster image that’s close to me or the one that’s farther away."
You already know how it ends. Working the second through fourth innings against the Royals, bridging the gap between an inning thrown by Tim Hudson and five by Madison Bumgarner, Affeldt threw 2-1/3 scoreless innings.
He gave up a hit to Lorenzo Cain in the third, but erased it by forcing Eric Hosmer to ground into a double play. He hit Alex Gordon to lead off the fourth, but got Salvador Perez to ground into a double play.
Posey knew, but Affeldt wouldn’t let him tell Bochy. It wasn’t until later that the skipper found out.
"We win and Bochy comes back to me on the plane and says, “You couldn’t see? Maybe you should pitch all the time when you’re blind. You threw more strikes than you usually do.” We’re all laughing."
For the postseason, Affeldt gave up five hits and no runs in 11-2/3 innings of work. He struck out two, walked two, and hit just the one.
It was his 22nd consecutive scoreless appearance, dating back to Game 1 of the 2010 World Series.
Affeldt retired a year later, finishing a 14-year career with a 3.97 ERA and 720 strikeouts.