In the first game of a double-header on September 10, 1919, Cleveland right-hander Ray Caldwell no-hit the New York Yankees, 3-0. After having been released by the Red Sox in July of that year, Caldwell won five of his six starts with the Indians, posting an ERA of 1.71.
My mom and I recently returned from a week-long trip to Saskatchwan (hence the sporadic posting lately). Honestly, I’m still exhausted and recovering from our little jaunt, but promise to get back on the ball with my posts pretty quickly.
For now, here is a little joke to help tie us over. Poor Yankees — though I imagine, in a lot of ways, they and their fans might get a kick out of being hated so much.
Two boys are playing hockey on an inlet on a pond in suburban Chicago when one is attacker by a rabid Rottweiler. Thinking quickly, the other boy takes his stick and wedges it down the dog’s collar and twists, breaking the dog’s neck. A reporter who is strolling by sees the incident and rushes over to the boy. “Young White Sox Fan Saves Friend from Vicious Animal,” he starts writing in his notebook.
“But I’m not a Sox fan,” the little hero replied.
“Sorry, since we are in Chicago, I just assumed you were,” said the reporter, and he began writing again.
“Cubs Fan Rescues Friends from Horrific Attack,” he continued writing in his notebook.
“I’m not a Cubs fan either,” the boy said.
“I assumed everyone in Chicago was either for the Cubs or the Sox. What team do you root for?” inquired the reporter. “I’m a Yankees fan,” the child responded.
The reporter turned the page in his notebook and wrote “Little Bastard from New York Kills Beloved Family Pet.”
This piece by Louis Phillips was published in Spitball Magazine in December 2014. I like the contemplation of that moment as soon as a perfect game has come to a close. In between that final pitch and the outburst of celebration, there must be a moment in the pitcher’s mind where they are thinking … something. Honestly, I cannot even fathom what one would think in that brief winking transition from being a pitcher who might pull off one of the most difficult feats in baseball to a pitcher who has actually completed it. I imagine no small dosage of relief is mixed in there, and perhaps a sprinkling of disbelief. Perhaps even the pitcher doesn’t know what he’s thinking.
When you came to the end of your perfect game,
And you stood alone with your thoughts,
While your chums sang out “Hurray, Hurray!”
For the joy your feat had brought,
Did you think what the end of a perfect game
Had meant to the baseball crowd?
Watching the batters go down in flame
Had made your teammates proud.
Well. it was the end of a perfect game.
At the end of the Series too;
And it left its mark in the Record Book
Where every stat is true.
My memory recalls that day
Every pitch, catch, & out,
With Yogi running out to the mound,
To leap & hug & shout.
When we think on the glory of your perfect game
Does it make us young again?
The 1952 World Series featured a matchup between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Yankees. Brooklyn’s right-handed pitcher Billy Loes had concluded the season with a 13-8 record that included four shutouts and a 2.69 ERA. Prior to the start of the World Series, Loes was asked in an interview how the Dodgers would fare.
After the interview, Dodgers’ manager Charlie Dressen cornered Loes, demanding to know why he predicted that the Yankees would win the Series in seven games. Loes protested, “I was misquoted.” He then clarified, “I picked them in six games.”
Loes’s mishaps continued into the Series itself. During the seventh inning of Game 6, Loes became the first pitcher in World Series history to commit a balk when the ball slipped from his hand while going into his windup. He later explained, “Too much spit on it.” Then, with two outs in the inning, Yankees pitcher Vic Raschi hit a grounder that bounced off Loes’s leg and into the outfield for a single, allowing a run to score. Afterward, Loes said he lost the ground ball in the sun. The Yankees won that game, 3-2.
The pre-Series quote printed by the papers ended up being more accurate than Loes’s actual prediction, as the Yankees won the Series in seven games.
On June 20, 1921, Babe Ruth hit his 127th career home run, moving him past Sam Thompson into second place all time for career homers and 11 homers behind all-time leader Roger Connor. His blast helped the Yankees on their way to a 7-6 win over the Red Sox in ten innings.
This piece by Paul Blackburn provides an abridged look at Game 7 of the 1960 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Living in New York, he describes the experience of Yankees fans, and there is something almost mystical about the City That Never Sleeps quieting down for a baseball game. I imagine that silence must have continued for a few days after that blast by Bill Mazeroski, the only winner-take-all walk-off home run in World Series history.
This infographic helps to put Joe DiMaggio’s 1941 56-game hit streak in a bit of perspective. Not surprisingly, most of these games, DiMaggio continued his streak with a single hit. Still, in a sport where failing 2/3 of the time still means you are a success, one hit is a major contribution. During this streak, DiMaggio blew the 33% success rate out of the water. The statistic that struck me the most, however, was the fact that he struck out a mere five times in these fifty-six games. Talk about being on fire!