Sandy Amoros, who dashed across the Yankee Stadium outfield in Game 7 of the 1955 World Series and caught a piece of baseball immortality when he turned a deep Yankee drive into a spectacular Series-saving double play for the Brooklyn Dodgers, died yesterday in Miami. He was 62 years old.
He died of pneumonia at Jackson Memorial Hospital, said his lawyer, Rafael Sanchez. Mr. Amoros, who had a leg amputated in 1985, had been stricken with pneumonia on June 16, just a few days before he was to have been honored in Brooklyn.
There were many heroes in the Dodgers' victory over the Yankees in 1955, but it was Mr. Amoros, an otherwise obscure Cuban-born outfielder with a .255 career batting average, who nailed down Brooklyn's lone World Series championship with a single play that has unreeled across the minds of Brooklyn fans ever since. Sixth-Inning Heroics
It happened in the bottom of the sixth inning in Game 7 at Yankee Stadium on Oct. 4, 1955, as the Dodgers, who had come back from a 2-0 deficit to tie the Series at three games each, tried once again to do something they had failed to do five times since 1941: beat the Yankees in the World Series.
With the Dodgers clinging to a 2-0 lead, Amoros was sent in to play left field. Then, with runners on first and second and none out, the Yankee catcher, Yogi Berra, sliced a drive down the left-field line that seemed destined to score the tying runs, especially since Amoros had played the pull-hitting Berra toward left-center field.
But Amoros, hailed as the fastest man in the majors when he joined the Dodgers in 1952, streaked across the outfield, and the left-handed fielder snagged the ball on the run, his right arm fully extended. Then he whipped the ball to the shortstop, Pee Wee Reese, who relayed it to Gil Hodges, doubling Gil McDougald off first.
There were three more innings in the game, but the Yankee fire had been banked. Ended Career With Tigers
Edmundo Isasi Amoros, who was born in Havana on Jan. 30, 1930, and recruited by the Dodgers during a barnstorming tour of Cuba, finished his career with the Detroit Tigers after a midseason trade in 1960.
He never hit above .277, but at 5 feet 7 1/2 inches he had surprising power; his .430 slugging average in 1,311 times at bat included 55 doubles, 23 triples and 43 home runs. And for all his outfield heroics in Game 7, real Dodger fans will recall that it was Amoros's two-run homer that put the Dodgers ahead for good in Game 5 of the 1955 Series.
After his career, Mr. Amoros returned to Cuba, hoping to bring out his wife and daughter. But instead, he, too, was forced to stay until the family was allowed to leave in 1967. Mr. Amoros, who was then penniless, said he had angered Cuban authorities by refusing an offer from Fidel Castro to serve as manager of the Cuban national team. Forced to Retire
Mr. Amoros, whose marriage ended in divorce, sold radios and televisions in the Bronx until 1977 when he was stricken with circulation problems that forced him to stop work and led him to resettle in Florida.
Frequently asked about his famous catch, Mr. Amoros always tried to oblige, but as he once put it in broken English that drew no argument in Brooklyn, "It really too good to describe."
His survivors include a daughter, Eloisa, and four grandchildren.