Geez, Vecsey. You some kinda masochist?
I mean, I might have expected this from some gloating Giants fan. But from one of our own?
Seeing this awful picture, how can I help but recall the crushed little kid – me – who, sitting on the floor in front of the TV, couldn’t believe – didn’t want to believe – what he’d just seen?
Gene, we need to confront the pain in our life. It all comes back to me now. GV
Gene the Masochist then sends me a link to Alex Belth's revival of my two favorite columnists, Jimmy Cannon and Murray Kempton on an event of Oct. 8, 1956.
Two traumas in one day?
Yep - Playing catch on the sidewalk at 60th and Tracy, Kansas City. Throwing some with my neighbor Butch - no TV watching - maybe on radio?
Butch's Brother yelled out the front door -- "Hey the Giants just won the pennant." We were not devastated -- the upcoming World Series was on black and white 15 " Zenith TV and the Missouri Tigers had a football game that Saturday.
The Shot Heard Round The World Box Score
Was this the most dramatic home run ever hit? Several baseball historians rank it as one of the greatest ever and Baseball Almanac pays salute to the legendary "Shot Heard Round The World"
"The Giants win the pennant and they're going crazy. They're going crazy, I don't believe it, I don't believe it, I will not believe it." - Russ Hodges
The Shot Heard Round The World
Bobby Thomson vs Ralph Branca on October 3, 1951 at the Polo Grounds
Sometimes kid fans grow into major leaguers. Bill Wakefield pitched, quite well, for the Mets in 1964. GV
"This day will live in infamy." That was about this wasn't it?
Young folks may not remember 42, when the Dodgers won 104 games and lost 50 and the Cards won 106, coming from more than 10 games behind. They may also not remember 46, when the Cards and Dodgers tied, and the Cards won a playoff and then beat the Redsox, (Harry Brecheen wins 3 and Enos Slaughter scores from first on a single (some claim double) to win the Series. Or they may not remember 50, when the Phillies won on the last day over the Dodgers. Or they may not remember 41, 47, 49, etc. until 55 when the Dodgers finally beat the Yankees. So George, my friend, we old Dodger fans have calluses on our....As for Bobby T and his huge homerun into the left field corner, 279 feet (I think), fuggedaboudit.
George--Do you remember that on the way home from JHS 157 on Louie Oppenheimer's bus that afternoon, I told you that if the Dodgers lost I would give you a crying towel the next morning? And do you remember that I did just that, crudely drawing a picture on a paper towel of Bobby Thomson hitting the home run off Ralph Branca?
Alan: I have tried to put that suffering out of my mind. I thought we had given up on the bus by that time, and switched to subway, but you must be right. A lot of people on that charter -- Neal Pilson, Ken Iscol, and think of all the doctors and lawyers.
I remember Ira S. in shop class that day saying he couldn't imagine how I could come to school the next day if the Dodgers blew the lead. You gave me a drawing of Thomson? Thanks, man. GV
Alan D. I think toilet paper would have been more appropriate.
I was born in 1956, so I missed all of the fun of having two NL teams in our backyard. Mom was the Giants fan, Dad loved Dem Bums. I guess the West Coast move spared one of them some heartache, because I couldn't root for both teams. Anyway, the home run, as shocking as it must have seemed in the moment, was really a punctuation to a massive late season run by the Giants. The Dodgers weren't horrible down the stretch, according to the record, but they might've avoided the playoff with a timely hit at some point. The regular season matters, every game, every pitch. It's an old lesson and still teams have to relearn it around this time every year.
P.S. - I probably would've been a Giants fan. Sorry, Dad.
Charlie, that is what is known as a mixed marriage. `Have you asked yourself why you would have been a Giants fan? GV
GV - If I'm honest with myself, I'm a snob at heart. The real snobs are always Yankees fans, but back then I think the "somewhat snobbish" were Giants fans. I'd fit in with them.
It's a really good point. The family closest to us was a Giants family. They were living off the glory of past generations -- Matty, Terry, Ott, etc. That's what I thought in 1948 when two of my almost-uncles took me to the Polo Grounds, and the Giants beat my Dodgers on a cheapo PG home run. Man, did they let me have it. But they did have an attitude. Then along came Mays and Thomson and Dusty Rhodes and Leo....oy!
Forgive my frequent comments on this string-- how many times does an old guy get to talk about the Giants and Dodgers, five boroughs editions. As a kid I sat in Section 8 in Ebbets Field, with a bunch of older guys, mostly Vets and Section 8 had a special meaning, discharge from Army on psychiatric grounds, a self-derogatory label embraced by the Section 8 club. We had a passionate dislike for the Giants (don't even think about the Yankees), but it was a kind of "comic book" hate, based on humor, disdain, but no real hate. Don Mueller a singles hitter who always seemed to bounce a ball through the infield was "Mandrake". A fictional comic book figure, Mandrake the Magician. Catcher Ernie Lombardi, allegedly the slowest runner in baseball, was "Schnozzola" or "Schnozz.". First baseman Johnny Mize was too dangerous to make fun of, until he made out or, even better struck out, and then he would be piped to the bench by the "Brooklyn Symphony,, Shorty Laurice's Section 8 group, playing "The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out...". Ya shoulda been Dere.
Lot 's of good stuff, but I'm limited to about one minute internet time at the house we are at in Sarlet, France. The previous place was fine and hopfully we will be OK at the next location.
I have to cut and paste or this would have timed out by the third line.
Ernie Lombardi, who I enjoyed following, was once called out tagging up from first on a very deep fly to center at the Polo Grounds. When he claimed that he left after the catch, the umpire said the Ernie was so slow that he must have left early.
A good excuse for a blown call.
I'll pop in when I can.
Alan: you are a country-dropper. Bonne visite.
Telling stories about ballgames seen many years ago is one of the great pleasures in life. I remember being in Florida at a Spring training game in the 1980s and hearing two guys talking about the greatest catch they had ever seen. One of them related an account of seeing Dominick DiMaggio climb the chicken wire at Briggs Stadium in Detroit to take a home run away from someone.
The Ernie Lombardi stories remind me of a game I saw in 1952 at Braves Field in Boston. We were spending a few weeks on Cape Cos, so my father took my sister and me into The Hub by train to spend the day. The Braves were playing the Cardinals, whose catcher was Walker Cooper, nicknamed "The Barrel." Cooper hit a hard grounder to Boston second baseman Johnny Logan. Logan dropped the ball. He picked it up. He dropped it again. He picked it up again. He threw to first. Cooper was out.
These baseball stories are like Eastern philosophy. They could have happened yesterday. The game is a seamless web.
Alan L: the great thing about baseball is that the play is isolated in a mental scorebook. conditions are always the same. it is so hard to put together a goal in soccer -- who touched it, where, with what part of the body, who was defending? But in baseball, the conditions are the same forever...For my Musial book, guys like Branca, Torre, Garagiola, Newcombe, told me stuff that happened in games...and I could verify it. best, GV
One of those isolated mental scorebook. Jackie Robinson, pushes a bunt past the pitcher toward the second baseman and beats it out, not too many right hand hitters do that. Then steals second. An out or so later steals third. Dances off third half way, it seems, toward home. Pitcher rattled, throws it in the middle and a hit drives Jackie in. Sometimes he did this trick all by himself provoking a throwing error, wild pitch, balk, what have you. The memories of him running down the line from third and stealing home, memory says seven times, have blended together.
Memory did dim. Pete Reiser stole home seven times, Jackie 19 over the years.
At a JR Foundation outing a few years ago, they showed film of Robinson playing tailback for UCLA.....changing directions.
Willie Randolph, Joe Morgan and a bunch of others were raving. Baseball was said to be Robinson's fourth best sport.
Memories of Robinson and Hodges going up against Berra and Mantle in the World Series (or any World Series heroics) makes me grit my teeth when the broadcasters throw around "post-season statistics." People passing the Babe for home runs!!!! He did it 4-7 games per autumn. (well, maybe 8-9 a few years)
Uh-oh. Andy Pafko passed away yesterday. Is there a Vecsey jinx?
Ed Martin wrote about Jackie’s base running. I’m about 95% certain about this next one; can anyone else confirm it? It was in the late 40s, and I was listening to a Dodger game on the radio, and I’m almost sure I remember Jackie scoring from first on a Texas Leaguer blooped into right field. Ring any bells?
I can't swear to it, but I think you are right, Gene, I can picture it. he is breaking to steal, sees the pop and judges correctly it will fall and wheels around second, meanwhile panic ensues among the fielders and the throw home is off. If I madeitup I will swear to it.
Congrats to George, he led the way in American coverage of futbal when there were only three of us born in the USA of non-immigrant parents, (first generation that is) that played the game. I read about naked women in todays Times, George and have been holding out on us.
I know well what it means. In the other sport, at soccer World Cup - 1950, in the final, Brazil versus Uruguay. The Maracanā Stadium - Rio de Janeiro - was silent with the victory of Uruguay. My country never more was the same, even winning five World Cups.
Regards - Altenir Silva (from Brazil)
All this baseball stuff is great, but you will be interested to know that George received the Colin Jose Media award while being inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
A well deserved achievement!!!!
Alan, thanks. Actually, the award is given by the Hall (and federation) but it does not mean membership in the Soccer Hall. It is a lovely honor. They let me hang out with Hall of Fame footballers Friday night in Kansas City. Thanks for noticing, GV
Congratulations for the Colin Jose Media. You deserve that because of your passion by the sport. I loved know about that.
Regards - Altenir
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