Playful, Pius or Remembered Stuff

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Baseball lore

Pie Traynor was known as a very mild mannered, good playing third baseman for the old Pirates about a generation or so ago.  He was clean of reputation until so offended by a decision of the famous Beans Rearden, that he spoke one note of severe criticism and was thrown out of the game.  When Rearden called "safe" a sliding runner whom Traynor had clearly tagged out, he screwed up his rebel spirit to say, "Mr. Rearden, I'm getting sick and tired of your stupid decisions!"

When the famous Dizzy Dean was pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals, he was seriously beaned by a line drive back to the mound.  The game was stopped as his team mates gathered around the sprawled pitcher.  His brother, Paul Dean, asked, "Diz, are you hurt?"  Staggering to his feet, Dizzy said, "Shucks no, Paul.  It were just a glansin' blow."

In 1935 (I recently read, and no, I wasn't there) at Crosley Field in Cincinnati, they had an overflow crowd at the stadium, and fans spilled onto the field.  They say it was rather chaotic.  A local burlesque queen by the name of Kitty Burke, ran up to the batter, Babe Herman, grabbed the bat out of his hand and dared the pitcher, Paul Dean, to pitch to her.  He did.  She hit his underhand toss back to the mound and was thrown out at first base.

Some upstart catcher kept muttering complaints about the way Beans Rearden was calling balls and strikes.  Finally Rearden tore off his mask and barked at the catcher, "Shut up and play the game or I'll bite your head off."  The provoked and eloquent retort was, "If you do, you'll have more brains in your stomach than you do in your head."

When you mention "the catch" to a real baseball fan, everyone knows you are talking about the famous catch made by the "say hey kid", Willy Mays on September 29, 1954.  The New York Giants were playing the Cleveland Indians in the first game of the World Series.  Sal Maglie was lifted in the 8th inning with two men aboard and heavy hitting Vic Wertz coming to bat.  Manager, Leo Durocher, brought in Don Liddle, a lefty, to face him.  When the count drew to 2 and 2, Wertz hit a very long and high drive to deep right center field.  Anywhere but the cavernous Polo Grounds it would have been a home run.  But Willie Mays turned and sprinted straight back to the warning track to catch the ball over his shoulders, whirl and throw it back to the infield to prevent the stunned base runner from advancing more than one base.  Durocher then brought in another relief pitcher, Marv Grissom.  As Don Liddle handed Marv the game ball, he said, "Well, I got my man."

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