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02/26/09 7:20 PM EST
Relive Cooper's heroics in '82 ALCS
Baseball's Best to air dramatic conclusion of Brew Crew's comeback
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
The 1982 American League Championship Series between the Milwaukee Brewers and the California Angels was a series of many firsts. It was the first series to feature two expansion teams created in the 1960s and the first five-game series to see a team come back from a 2-0 deficit to win in five games. The Brewers were in a 2-0 hole but won the next three games, including the pivotal Game 5 behind Cecil Cooper's two-run single in the seventh inning in Milwaukee's 4-3 win. The win set up another first -- the Brewers' first trip to the World Series in franchise history. Every day from now through Spring Training, MLB.com/Live will air a classic game on Baseball's Best. The Brewers' Game 5 win can be seen on Friday at 9 a.m. CT. The 1982 Brewers were a high-powered offensive team featuring five players -- Gorman Thomas, Ben Oglivie, Robin Yount, Ted Simmons and Cooper -- with at least 23 home runs. But the Brewers quickly lost the first two games of the series against the Angels and appeared to be headed home early. The Crew, however, came back to win the next two games to set up the crucial fifth game at Milwaukee's County Stadium. The Angels struck first on an RBI single by Fred Lynn in the first inning against starter Pete Vuckovich, but the Brewers struck back with a run of their own on a sacrifice fly by Ted Simmons, scoring Paul Molitor, who doubled earlier in the inning. The Angels then made it 2-1 in the third with another run-scoring single by Lynn and then scored another run in the fourth on an RBI single by Bob Boone. The Brewers cut the lead to one run with a solo home run by Oglivie, who had 34 homers during the regular season. And then Milwaukee finally took the lead for good in the seventh inning with two runs against Angels reliever Luis Sanchez. Cooper hit a two-run single with the bases loaded on what proved to be the game-winning hit. The Brewers bullpen held the Angels scoreless the last two innings and Milwaukee won its first American League pennant in franchise history. Milwaukee ultimately lost in seven games to the Cardinals in the World Series and didn't make the playoffs again until 2008.
Rhett Bollinger is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.