On the star-laden '72 A's, 26-year-old catcher Gene Tenace was an unlikely World Series hero. A .225 hitter, he wasn't even a starter until July. But his fortunes changed in Game¬†1 at Riverfront Stadium, two hours west of his Lucasville, Ohio, hometown: He became the first player to homer in his first two at¬†bats in the Fall Classic. Tenace, now 60 and a roving hitting instructor with the Cardinals, played 11 more big league seasons, but no memory is as special as his breakout in front of friends and family. "When I was a teenager, Pete Rose gave my team a clinic at the Reds' ballpark," he says. "Not so long after I'm winning the World Series MVP award at the Reds' ballpark--against Pete Rose. That was the biggest thing."
A force behind the plate and with the bat against the Reds, the unheralded A'scatcher (tagging out Dave Concepcion in Game¬†5) earned Series MVPhonors.