Poland’s John Hirschbeck retires after thriller

By Tom Williams



Poland’s John Hirschbeck went out in style.

Wednesday’s World Series Game 7 — a Chicago Cubs 8-7 win in 10 innings — was the final game of Hirschbeck’s 34 years as a Major League umpire.

Hirschbck, the series crew chief, was at second base when the Cubs ended their historic drought.

Before the game, Hirschbeck said he was “still trying to wrap my arms around finishing” with a World Series Game 7.

“Amazing,” he said. “I’ve been so fortunate throughout my career.”

After Game 6, Hirschbeck drove home then returned Wednesday afternoon with his family one last time to Progressive Field.

“I said to Denise as we were driving ‘can you believe how many times I’ve made this trip in the past 34 years?’” he said. “For my last game to be in Cleveland and the 7th Game, it couldn’t be more perfect.”

Hirschbeck said he has no regrets about his retirement that kicks in today.

“I’m very happy with the decision,” he said. “It’s been a long month and it takes a lot out of you.”

Hirschbeck umpired the Cubs’ Division Series against the San Francisco Giants. He later was named crew chief for his fifth World Series. His others were in 1995, 2006, 2010 and 2013.

He went out with a game that appeared to be over long before midnight.

The Cubs seized control in the fourth inning with two runs after Kris Bryant singled and Indians ace Corey Kluber hit Anthony Rizzo.

Series MVP Ben Zobrist reached on a fielder’s choice, sending Bryant to third.

Russell hit a liner to shallow center field where Rajai Davis caught it and threw high to home plate, allowing Bryant to score. Russell doubled off the right-center field wall to send Zobrist home.

Hope disintegrated for the hometown fans in the fifth inning. Baez made amends for his two errors with a homer to lead off the frame and end Kluber’s night at 57 pitches and no strikeouts.

With two outs, Rizzo doubled to score Zobrist from first for a 5-1 lead.

But the Indians weren’t dead yet, chasing Cubs starter Hendricks and scoring twice on a wild pitch.

Kipnis’ infield single is followed by Ross’ wild throw that put Santana at third. A wild pitch bounced off Ross’ mask far enough to allow Santana and Kipnis to score to slice the Cubs’ lead to 5-3.

They added three more improbable runs off Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman in the eighth inning to tie the game 6-6.

It wasn’t enough as Zobrist connected in the 10th.

But it was memorable.

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