My 24th World Series – A Look Back

I’m looking forward to this coming Tuesday night as the New York Mets invade Kaufmann Stadium to take on the defending American League Champion Kansas City Royals.

Why?  Well, it will be my 24th World Series while working as a professional sports photographer, having covered the Fall Classic for The Sporting News, Sport Magazine, Major League Baseball and in 2005, my beloved Chicago White Sox.

For fun, I pulled some of my favorite moments/images to share.  The older I get, the more fun I get out of looking back in time.  Hope you enjoy the ride!

In no particular order…

 (© 2000 Ron Vesely/Major League Baseball Photos)

Hah… The last time the Mets were in the World Series was 15 years ago… Here’s the MLB Photo’s crew from 2000.. L to R: Rich Pilling, Marc Levine (Mets team photog), Paul Cunningham, Brad Mangin and yours truly hanging out in monument park at old Yankee Stadium.

Toronto would have been fun… I fondly recall a certain moment in October of 1993.

TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA - OCTOBER 23:  Joe Carter of the Toronto Blue Jays connect for a World Series winning walk off home run off of Mitch Williams during Game Six of the 1993 World Series at the Skydome on October 23,1993 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Blue Jays won the game 8-6, winning the Series 4-2.  (Photo by Ron Vesely) (Ron Vesely)

TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA – OCTOBER 23: Joe Carter of the Toronto Blue Jays connect for a World Series winning walk off home run off of Mitch Williams during Game Six of the 1993 World Series at the Skydome on October 23,1993 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Blue Jays won the game 8-6, winning the Series 4-2. (Photo by Ron Vesely)

TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA - OCTOBER 23: Pitcher Mitch Williams of the Philadelphia Phillies walks off the field as Joe Carter of the Toronto Blue Jays jumps for joy in the background after Carter hit a World Series winning walk off home run in Game Six of the 1993 World Series at the Skydome on October 23,1993 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Blue Jays won the game 8-6, winning the Series 4-2.  (Photo by Ron Vesely) (Ron Vesely)

TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA – OCTOBER 23: Pitcher Mitch Williams of the Philadelphia Phillies walks off the field as Joe Carter of the Toronto Blue Jays jumps for joy in the background after Carter hit a World Series winning walk off home run in Game Six of the 1993 World Series at the Skydome on October 23,1993 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Blue Jays won the game 8-6, winning the Series 4-2. (Photo by Ron Vesely)

I most certainly will never forget the afternoon of October 17, 1989 when at 5:04pm, while eating an ice cream cone and watching the Giants starting pitcher head toward the bullpen, I first heard, then moments later, felt what I can only describe as trying to maintain balance on a row boat as a a larger boat’s wake rocked the row boat uncontrollably, the earthquake that rocked the Bay Area.  My thought at the time was “Now?  Not NOW! The World Series is about to start”!  Yep.. Now…

SAN FRANCISCO, CA-OCTOBER 1989: Jose Canseco ot the Oakland Athletics leaves the field with his family after a 6.9 magnitude earthquake cancelled Game 3 of the 1989 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ron Vesely) (Ron Vesely)

SAN FRANCISCO, CA-OCTOBER 17, 1989: Jose Canseco ot the Oakland Athletics leaves the field with his family after a 6.9 magnitude earthquake cancelled Game 3 of the 1989 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ron Vesely)

Speaking of earth shaking moments, Dan Gladden and Greg Olson got together at the Metrodome in 1991. With the new rules now in place, I wonder if moments like this are a thing of the past…

MINNEAPOLIS, MN-OCTOBER 19:  Dan Gladden of the Minnesota Twins bowls over catcher Greg Olson of the Atlanta Braves during Game 1 of the 1991 World Series at The Metrodome on October 19, 1991 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Gladden was out on the play.  The Twins won the Series 4-3. (Photo by Ron Vesely) (Ron Vesely)

MINNEAPOLIS, MN-OCTOBER 19: Dan Gladden of the Minnesota Twins bowls over catcher Greg Olson of the Atlanta Braves during Game 1 of the 1991 World Series at The Metrodome on October 19, 1991 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Gladden was out on the play. The Twins won the Series 4-3. (Photo by Ron Vesely)

The 1991 World Series was one of THE BEST I’ve covered.  A great Series for sure, and a Series when the world got introduced to one Kirby Puckett.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN-OCTOBER 26: MLB Hall of Fame outfielder Kirby Puckett rounds the bases after hitting a game winning, walk off home run in the eleven inning off of Charlie Leibrant to win Game 6 of the 1991 World Series against the Atlanta Braves at The Metrodome on October 26, 1991 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins won 4-3 and tied the series 3-3.  (Photo by Ron Vesely) (Ron Vesely)

MINNEAPOLIS, MN-OCTOBER 26: MLB Hall of Fame outfielder Kirby Puckett rounds the bases after hitting a game winning, walk off home run in the eleven inning off of Charlie Leibrant to win Game 6 of the 1991 World Series against the Atlanta Braves at The Metrodome on October 26, 1991 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins won 4-3 and tied the series 3-3. (Photo by Ron Vesely)

The 2000 Mets/Yankees “Subway Series” had it’s share of drama. Mike Piazza and Roger Clemens had their moment during game 2.  I remember being aware of the  “rift” between the two, and was able to capture both participants by anticipating the volatility that might indeed combust.  Chalk one up to being prepared…

Roger Clemens of the New York Yankees fields the broken bat of Mike Piazza in the first inning of game 2 of the 2000 World Series. (© 2000 Ron Vesely/Major League Baseball Photos)

Roger Clemens of the New York Yankees fields the broken bat of Mike Piazza in the first inning of game 2 of the 2000 World Series. (© 2000 Ron Vesely/MLB Photos)

Mike Piazza angrily confronts Roger Clemens after Clemens threw Piazza's shattered bat at him in the first inning of game 2 of the 2000 World Series. (© 2000 Ron Vesely/Major League Baseball Photos)

Mike Piazza angrily confronts Roger Clemens after Clemens threw Piazza’s shattered bat at him in the first inning of game 2 of the 2000 World Series. (© 2000 Ron Vesely/MLB Photos)

My autofocus feature on my camera went kaput while using my 70-200 lens during the 2002 World Series, so I had to revert to using good old fashioned manual focusing if I wanted to use that lens. In Anaheim, the 70-200 was a “must have”, so I psyched myself up to “get er’ done and go back to the basics. The image below was one of the cooler end of game “jube” shots I’ve made at a World Series. Manual focus, too! Hah!

ANAHEIM CA- Troy Percival, Troy Glaus and Benji Molina of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim celebrate after defeating the San Francisco Giants to win the 2002 World Series. (Ron Vesely)

ANAHEIM CA- Troy Percival, Troy Glaus and Benji Molina of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim celebrate after defeating the San Francisco Giants to win the 2002 World Series. (Ron Vesely/MLB Photos)

End of game jube is such a crap shoot.. More often than not, it’s usually just a pile of athletes jumping up and down.  In other words, nothing memorable. Here are a few “jubos” that stand out from the 23 World Series I’ve been fortunate enough to cover.

 (Ron Vesely)

Jonathon Paplebon reacts… sequence at Coors Field to end the 2007 World Series.  (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos)

One of THE BEST EVER… this image of the Yankees winning the World Series in 2009. It has everything! Particularly, the ever elusive face(s)!  Arod’s first World Series too. This image worked.

 (Ron Vesely)

The New York Yankees celebrate winning the 2009 World Series. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos)

The 2003 World Series had it’s moments too… Perhaps a bit unconventional and unexpected, but interesting nonetheless.

2003 World Series-Florida Marlins versus New York Yankees. Game 5. PHOTO CREDIT:  Ron Vesely/MLB Photos (Ron Vesely/MLB Photos)

A streaker makes his way across the field during the 2003 World Series-Florida Marlins versus New York Yankees. Game 5. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photo)

A few more memories follow…

 (Ron Vesely)

Nick Swisher and Chico Ruiz, 2009 World Series. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos)

Making the photo below of the first pitch of the 2005 World Series was my most important and personal image I’ve made in my career as I was able to realize a life long dream of making this picture of my favorite team since childhood, the Chicago White Sox, at home, in the World Series! I was incredibly nervous making this image.. there wouldn’t be a “second” first pitch. I was in tunnel vision as Jose Contreras let it go. Then I heard the crowd roar. Strike one.

CHICAGO - OCTOBER 22:  Jose Contreras #52 of the Chicago White Sox delivers the first pitch of the 2005 World Series against the Houston Astros Craig Biggio at US Cellular Field on October 22, 2005 in Chicago, Illinois.  The White Sox defeated the Astros 5-3. (Ron Vesely)

CHICAGO – OCTOBER 22: Jose Contreras #52 of the Chicago White Sox delivers the first pitch of the 2005 World Series against the Houston Astros Craig Biggio at US Cellular Field on October 22, 2005 in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox defeated the Astros 5-3. (Ron Vesely)

The 2001 World Series was memorable in many ways. While taking the photo below, I had a plainclothes sniper seated right behind me. Intense.

NEW YORK-OCTOBER 30: President George W Bush gives everyone a "thumbs up" as he prepares to throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the 3rd game of the 2001 World Series between the NewYork Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks at Yankee Stadium October 30, 2001. (Photo by Ron Vesely) (Ron Vesely)

NEW YORK-OCTOBER 30: President George W Bush gives everyone a “thumbs up” as he prepares to throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the 3rd game of the 2001 World Series between the NewYork Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks at Yankee Stadium October 30, 2001. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos)

What will this year’s World Series bring? I can only hope to add to my collection of memories starting Tuesday night!

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