Warning: If you plan to see the new Captain America movie you should not read the following entry
What do Chris Jaffe, Rob Neyer and Captain America have in common? Probably not much, especially given that Steve Rogers—that’s Captain America, rather than the former Expos’ righthander—doesn’t actually exist. But one thing they do have in common is that all know their way around a “tracer,” a story by an old ballplayer, or about an old game, which can be tracked down in the historical record. Rob liked them so much—initially doing legwork for Bill James’ tracers—that he wrote a whole book of tracers, while Chris has done some of his own.
But none of those are more impressive than the job done by Captain America. Waking up in “a recovery room in New York City,” after crashing the Red Skull’s Valkyrie Death Ship into the frozen north, Cap hears a Brooklyn Dodgers game being described on the radio. The Dodgers are playing the Phillies, and as he comes to, he hears Pete Reiser hit an inside-the-park grand slam, giving the Dodgers a lead. Putting the mental part of his Super Soldier skills to work on the play-by-play, Cap recognizes it as this game, which took place in 1941, two years before Steve Rogers became Captain America. As such, he quickly realizes the situation is a sham, which soon leads us to Cap in Times Square, talking to Nick Fury.
Despite some internet searching, I can’t tell if the filmmakers used the actual play-by-play of the game or recreated it. But I did think it was a nice touch to use an actual game, and perhaps the only time we’ll ever a tracer in a superhero movie.