Not a lot going on this afternoon, so how about a little history? First, Frank Fitzpatrick at the Philly Inquirer remembers the summer of ’69:
This is a remarkably rich anniversary summer. Even now, from the distance of 40 years, 1969′s seems a little unreal. There was simply too much jaw-dropping news to digest: Man on the moon, Woodstock, the Manson murders, Chappaquiddick, disclosure of the My Lai massacre, secret Vietnam peace talks, Hurricane Camille.
He forgot to mention how Jimmy quit and Jody got married. Should have known we’d never get far. Anyway:
But this was the summer of Dick Allen. Allen wanted out, a yearning he occasionally scrawled in the dirt near first base and one that would be granted at season’s end. He was acting out, downing a few beers before arriving at the ballpark, or showing up late for workouts and sometimes games. Fans booed him mercilessly. Some threw garbage on his lawn. Not surprisingly, in the NL East’s inaugural season, the Phils finished fifth, 36 games under .500, 37 games behind the seven-year-old Miracle Mets. Only 519,914 witnessed the misery at Connie Mack Stadium.
Much happier memories of 1969 (and 1959, 1979, 1989 and 1999) are to be had on the opposite coast, as the San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea catches up with Willie McCovey. Good stuff here:
It’s really been a love affair here with me and the fans. I don’t know why they adopted me so much, but they did. I guess because I started my career here and I stayed here and made it my home. Most ballplayers would leave and go different places in the offseason. I stayed out here and would attend all the events, and I think San Francisco people really like that. Heck, I would go the opening night of the symphony, and I didn’t know anything about the symphony.”
The only thing that happened relevant to my life in 1969 was that my folks moved back to Michigan after spending a couple of years living in Alaska for some strange 1960s kind of reason. I’ve wondered sometimes what my life would have been like if they had stayed and had me up there instead of down in the lower 48. I’m guessing you couldn’t get many ballgames on the radio up there circa 1978 — and certainly not Ernie Harwell — so it’s quite possible that I never would have become a baseball fan. If that had come to pass, instead of ShysterBall, you’d be reading ShysterSled or ShysterSalmon or something.
Or maybe not.