And That Happened: Classic!

Note: due to the All-Star break, we now bring you a special “Classic” version of “And That Happened.” The following originally ran on July 14, 1956.

Glad that All-Star break is over. Man, Griffith Stadium leaves a lot to be desired! Only 28,000 in attendance? Maybe they’d draw more people if they stretched the event out a bit and made a bigger to-do of it. For example, perhaps they could do some sort of radio-friendly skills competition the day before the game. Like a pepper contest or a bowling tournament. Whatever is decided, I’m about through with this All-Star business. Charlie Maxwell made the squad but didn’t even get in the game! History will remember that slight. Anyway, on to the yesterday’s scores:

Athletics 3, Orioles 2: A short day for Connie Johnson, as he only goes seven innings. Back when I was a kid, starters didn’t beg out so early. They stayed in, threw their 175 pitches, and were ready to go the day after tomorrow. I tell ya, things aren’t like they were back in the Golden Age. By the way, keep the name Lou Skizas (2-4, HR, 2 RBI) in mind, because that’s a fellow who’s really gonna set the world on fire one day. I can just feel it.

Yankees 10, Indians 0: Tom Sturdivant (CG SHO 2 H) dominates the Tribe. Lock him up to a long term contract now, Messers Topping and Webb, because the last thing you want is to see him wearing another uniform. From the game story: “Young Mickey Mantle declined this writer’s offer of dinner after the game, stating that he was due to go on a ‘beaver shoot.’ While I find it strange — there aren’t any woods close to gotham — it’s good to know that the slugger is out getting some fresh air instead of staying cooped up in an apartment building. I asked him to get a pelt for me, as I would love a nice winter hat, but the Commerce Comet found my request humorous for some reason.”

Cubs 7, Pirates 6: That Bob Clemente (3-4) and Erine Banks (2-4, 2 RBI) sure can rake. Quite the credits to their race, they are. And hey, here they are now! What say you, Bob and Ernie?

Ernie: Thank you, Mr. Shyster, sir! Bob and I are just here to thank you for all the hard work you do. And to tell you and your readers that lighting up a PALL MALL just naturally goes with that feeling of satisfaction you get from a job well done.

Bob: That’s right, Ernie. For PALL MALL pays you a rich reward in smoking pleasure — an extra measure of cigarette goodness.

Ernie: You said it, Bob. PALL MALLS are made longer – to travel the smoke further – to make it cooler and sweeter for you.

Bob: So let me get this straight, Ernie; if I smoke a pack of PALL MALLS, I won’t have a scratchy throat or have to deal with an unpleasant after-taste?

Ernie: That’s right, Bob. PALL MALLS have a such smooth, rich tobacco flavor, you’ll want to smoke two!

Phillies 6, Redlegs 4: Insult to injury here, in that immediately after the loss, the Redlegs were the subject of a speech by the recently-disgraced Senator Joseph McCarthy who, in what appears to be a shot at redemption and renewed relevance, said “The Cincinnati clubhouse is infested with communists. I have here in my hand a list of names that were made known to the Commissioner of Baseball as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still playing baseball in Cincinnati.” Redlegs manager Birdie Tebbetts in response: “We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men.”

Braves 8, Dodgers 6: It’s gotten to the point where I simply can’t listen to Dodgers games anymore. Red Barber was, bar none, the best in the business, and his putative replacement — this Vincent Scully character — saps the broadcast of all of its fun and enjoyment. No one’s tearing up the pea patch anymore. No more rhubarbs. No more catbird seat. Nothing but phony erudite professionalism from this new kid. Trust me: he won’t be broadcasting in Brooklyn much longer.

Braves 6, Dodgers 5: And Milwaukee sweeps the doubleheader. The second half was delayed a bit, as the between-game entertainment ran long. Seems that some local hood was worried that he was “losing his cool” and thus attempted to break a world record and leap his motorcycle over 14 garbage cans. The whole thing was filmed by the “You Wanted to See It” show. The filming itself went fine. The delay came when some local high school kids with strangely long, and seemingly blow-dried hair, launched into an impromptu performance of “Blueberry Hill” while playing electric instruments that weren’t plugged into anything.

Red Sox 5, White Sox 4: Sure, the BoSox take this one, but there’s no reason to believe that they’ll finish the year ahead of Chicago. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: the Pale Hose play in a bigger city and have ownership that simply cares more about the team. For that reason, they will be a better team than Boston for decades. Boston lost one team a few years ago, and I won’t be surprised if they lose the other sometime soon.

Senators 12, Tigers 11: No one represented themselves well in this one, but Steve Gromek and Duke Mass led the ignominious charge for the Tigers’ bullpen. Say what you want about this Senators team — and their record says plenty — but baseball is only one half skill. The other half is something else. Something bigger! They’ve got hope! They don’t sit around and mope. Probably because nuthin’s half as bad as it may appear. They wait’ll next year and hope. When their luck is battin’ zero, they get their chin up off the floor. Mister, they can be heroes. They can open any door.

Cardinals 7, Giants 5: Musial’s first game in 1941 featured him getting two hits. He had two hits again yesterday. Seems he hasn’t improved at all.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: I will be taking the following ten days off from writing this feature, as I recently won a contest for an all-expenses-paid cruise on a swanky Italian ocean liner. The missus and I will be returning to New York on the 25th.

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Comments

  1. MooseinOhio said...

    Love the throwback ATH – how long have your been planning it?

    In honor of your movie quotes after a Tribe loss I present a modified quote from a famous 1950’s movie:

    Al Lopez: Herb, call me a cab.
    Herb Score: OK, you’re a cab.

    Enjoy the time away scouting the Italian team for the World Baseball Classic 2012 – never to early to get the book on Giovanni Pantaleoni.

  2. Craig Calcaterra said...

    No planning, actually. The idea just kind of came to me at about the time Joe Buck showed up at the broadcast desk with Berman during the Derby last night. I figured there had to be a better use of my time than that, so I hit BR.com and went to town.

    Wish I would have thought to put in some retro movie quotes.

  3. Sara K said...

    Yet another advantage of the blogosphere over the MSM – the blogosphere is *waaaaay* more creative.  A delightful novelty, this!

  4. lar said...

    Great stuff, Craig! Happy birthday. I’m sure you’ll be slavishly keeping score by the tv, trying to make sure you get all the Freddy Sanchez and Brad Hawpe substitutions just right, rather than spending time with the ShysterWife and ShysterKids. Such is your devotion to the game, I know it.

  5. The Common Man said...

    Thanks Craig, and happy birthday.  I’ll light up a Pall Mall tonight in your honor (I have such a craving for its smooth, natural flavor for some reason).

  6. Sim said...

    Brilliant, Craig! 

    But since it’s 1956, it’s pretty unusual not to have two separate sets of game summaries for the two major leagues.

    Oh, and here’s a tip:  With Ike’s heart attack, Adlai’s got a real shot this fall.

  7. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Sim—I originally had them separated by leagues (as Baseball Reference.com did) but the N.L. summaries just read better so I decided to switch ‘em around a bit.

    And I agree on Stevenson, because I don’t think the American public feels comfortable with Richard Nixon being one heartbeat away from the presidency.

  8. Scarf said...

    Damn, Shyster. Between this and McSweeney’s article about how the Sotomayor hearings would be like if the Senate Judiciary Committee was replaced by the ‘77 Royals, it’s been a good day for baseball-related humor.

  9. Michael said...

    Awesome.

    The language kind of straddles the 50s and the turn of the century (the last century, that is) – did they really still call them the “Redlegs” in ‘56? – but the in-column cigarette sponsorship takes the old-time-metaphorical cake.

  10. Craig Calcaterra said...

    smsetnor: Thanks!

    Scarf: hadn’t seen the McSweeney’s thing, so again, thanks!

    Michael: Yeah, rather than try to actually ape any language, I simply tried to avoid most of my modern slang. Very uneven results in that regard, but I’ll get over it.  And yes, they were the Redlegs in the mid 50s, as a direct result of Red Scare garbage.

    TC: I knew that sounded weird, but I somehow wanted to riff on the fact that Sturdivant played for like 10 teams in 12 years.

  11. Greg Simons said...

    It’s ShysterBirthday?!?!  Happy birthday, Craig.

    Enjoy tonight’s exhibition…I mean, the “this-time-it-counts”…ummm, but-every-team-is-represented-and-everybody-plays-anyway… game.

  12. Kevin S. said...

    You’ve gotta have heart!  Love Damn Yankees.  Worked it as set crew back in high school, then got to see it on Broadway last summer.  Funnily enough, their Joe Hardy was a dead ringer for ours.

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