War Hero/War Criminal: Anton Migursky

June 23, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Ginger Russ

In case you were unaware, and shame on you if you are, today marks the 25th anniversary of the "Ryne Sandberg Game". Before this game, Ryno was a virtual unknown among most baseball fans. But the NBC Game of Week would change all that. Down by a run in the ninth inning and facing the Cardinal's ace closer, Bruce Sutter, Sandberg hit the game tying home run to put the game into extras. The Cardinals would come back in the top of the tenth, scoring 2 runs and seemingly putting the game out of reach.

But Ryno would have one more chance to beat Sutter, as he came to the plate in the bottom half of the inning with one runner on. What would happen next will be forever ingrained in the memory of Cub fans of my generation and baseball fans everywhere with Bob Costas' classic call, "Do you believe it?!"

Twenty-three years and two days later, Anton Migursky would get his own day. No, Anton did not play for the Cubs, and I highly doubt you have ever heard of him. You won't find his name in the record books or sports almanacs. But he did manage to make what Koyie Hill would call, "One of the best saves I've ever seen in my life."

Migursky's job was keeping Cubs players safe. He was a security guard at Wrigley Field, and just recently retired this past Sunday. Almost two years ago, though, he became known as the best tackler on Wrigley Field since Kyle Farnsworth.

The scene is Wrigley Field, Cubs vs. Rockies. The Cubs were in the lead starting the ninth inning, but Lou's relievers couldn't hold the game down. After giving up a three-run bomb that cost the Cubs the lead, a drunk fan ran onto the field towards the pitcher, yelling, "What are you doing?"

And just like that, Anton Migursky jumped into action, clothes-lining the fan just before he was able to physically assault the pitcher. Piniella was even quoted after the game saying, "Lovie Smith is looking for him."

Unfortunately for the Cubs, the man Migursky saved was "Brown Spot" Bob Howry. Howry began his career as one baseball's elite pitchers, garnering himself a lofty three-year, $12 million paycheck from the Cubs. But when Migursky saved Howry, he was already on the downward spiral of his career, one that cost the Cubs too many blown saves to count (or that I'm too lazy to look up). In 2008 Howry continued his suck-itude and finished the season with a 5.35 ERA. The Cubs were finally able to decline arbitration on Howry at the end of last season and he is currently "pitching" for the Giants.

So this Bud's for you, Anton Migursky. For doing your job above and beyond the call of duty, you are a War Hero. But you should have tackled Howry, or just not gotten there so fast. If you hadn't tackled that fan, it possibly would have ended the headache that was Brown Spot Bob for the next year and a half. And for that, you are a War Criminal.