Pictures of Lou Gerard are proving hard to find. After all, he spent much of his life behind video cameras at some of the great sporting events of our time, the most notable of which was Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. And not only was Lou Gerard working the game, he was the cameraman who caught Carlton Fisk waving fair his iconic home run.
Gerard died Friday, the New York Post reports, at age 86. But he leaves behind some great stories, including one that you might not have heard about getting Fisk's homer.
NBC's famous director, Harry Coyle, put had Gerard inside the Green Monster in left field with instructions to follow action. Wherever it goes, so goes Gerard's lens. But by the time Fisk came to bat in the bottom of the 12th with the score tied, Gerard had been joined inside the Green Monster by another kind of beast.
A Fenway rat. And it was "sniffing about Gerard's shoes." Quite a distraction. But he played it cool, with Doyle telling the New York Times:
"On Fisk's at-bat," Coyle recalled, "Lou's instructions were that if the ball was hit at him, follow the ball. If not, stick with the batter. So Lou says to me, "Hey, Harry, there's a rat right here next to me and it's moving closer.'
"Well, it was a misty night and, with Lou looking a rat in the eye, it was tough to pick up the ball. So when Fisk swung, Lou stayed with him at the plate and got the whole bit -- Fisk frantically trying to wave the ball fair and then the home-run trot," Coyle said. "Give that rat credit, not me, for what may have been the greatest shot in televised sports."
And let's give Lou Gerard, the guy on the front lines risking bubonic plaque or whatever the rat might have been carrying, credit for staying at his post so that we might enjoy a historic baseball a little more thoroughly.
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