Louis Gerard, cameraman who captured iconic Series moment, dies
When Carlton Fisk was jumping and waving and using body English while attempting to get his long drive to leftfield to stay in fair territory in the 1975 World Series, it became the camera shot heard 'round the television industry for three-time Emmy Award-winning NBC cameraman Louis Gerard.
Gerard was stationed in Fenway Park's Green Monster and followed the reaction of the Red Sox hitter instead of the ball. He wound up with a classic reaction shot as Fisk hit a dramatic home run in the 12th inning to win Game 6.
"It was one of those moments that changed the direction of how sports were covered," said John Filippelli, now the program director for the YES Network who was at Fenway that night. "I can say with certainty there was no such thing as a reaction shot before that. It was a revolutionary moment in baseball history. He was a great cameraman. He was an intuitive guy."
Gerard, 86, a former resident of Flushing who lived in Levittown the past eight years, died Feb. 8 of a heart attack, said one of his daughters, Julie Hartley.
Gerard, who grew up in the Bronx and was a Yankees fan, was a veteran of World War II and earned a degree in electrical engineering from Syracuse. He worked at NBC for 35 years and also was behind the camera for the Super Bowl, hockey, golf and the soap opera "Another World."
But Gerard was most widely known inside the business for capturing Fisk's famous reaction to his game-winning homer off the leftfield foul pole. The indelible moment in baseball history also made Gerard's name the answer to a trivia question on TV's "Jeopardy!"
The story took on a little extra lore when it was reported that Gerard was confronted by a rodent before Fisk's homer. Gerard often denied the rat story, but his family believes that was to spare his wife, Bettyann, who was terrified of the thought. Interviewed by The Sporting News in 2011, after the death of his wife, Gerard said director Harry Coyle told him to " 'follow the ball if [Fisk] hits it.' I said, 'Harry, I can't. I've got a rat on my leg that's as big as a cat. It's staring me in the face. I'm blocked by a piece of metal on my right.' So he said, 'What are we going to do?' I said, 'How about if we stay with Fisk, see what happens?' "
Fisk said in a statement, "Though I never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Gerard, I am forever grateful to him for capturing my reaction to the home run. Rest in peace."
Before Gerard captured Fisk, cameramen mainly concentrated on the trajectory of the ball. "People just covered games," Filippelli said. It led to the isolate-the-reaction-of-the-athlete now commonplace in replays.
"I think he appreciated how important it was," said Marcia Dooley, Gerard's other daughter. "I also think to him, it's what he did. 'That's my job. That's what I'm supposed to do.' "
Retired NBC cameraman Frank Gaeta of Huntington said former employees met for lunch several times a year and that Gerard's shining moment always was brought up. "It was such a novelty," Gaeta said. "He made himself famous."