Our first game back without COVID-19 restrictions started out the way we have traveled to the games for over thirty years on Metro North. Mask are still required on Metro North, and we are okay with that. The station platform was full of fans waiting for the train. It was good hearing the conductor say next stop 153rd St Yankee Stadium.

We treated as opening day with a few opening day ritualized,leaving Metro North; one is we walk over to River Ave to see what has or has not changed. Stan;s Sports Bar history goes back to 1976 under its old name, the Scoreboard. Always loud but not out of control. It’s been a few years since being inside, but I remember the days when the patrons would stand on the bar leading crowd in Yankee cheers.

Stan’s Sports Bar

For the past forty-two years, we have had a New York Yankees ticket plan. However, it’s our first game back in our seats since October 18, 2019.

Section 217

After our first and only hotdogs, we eat at the stadium during the regular season. If the Yankees make the playoffs, we eat another hotdog first game. Yesterday, some of our other favorite foods were not available. Maybe the next game. After all, the teams are also adjusting to getting back to normal.

The most significant adjustment for us was the noise level. Life has been quiet for the past 15 months. This video is from first inning of the game. In the last three innings, I was thinking baseball not my iPhone.

Yankee Stadium

For us getting back to normal started this past week.

Tomorrow June 19th, we will be taking the Metro-North Train to Yankee Stadium to see a ballgame. A first since March of 2019. The State of New York has lifted restrictions on the capacity for events. At Yankee Stadium tomorrow, we anticipate a large crowd in attendance. Though it will seem like old times, I think it will take time to get back to how life was before COVID-19.

 In March, on my Twitter account, with the help of The New York Times Time Machine, I started recreating the New York Yankees 1961 baseball season.

 It was Major League Baseball’s first season of expansion to ten teams in a league. 1961, the American League is the first to expand to ten teams, with the National League expanding in 1962. This expansion also created an unbalanced number of the game each league would play in 1961. Ten teams had to alter the traditional 154 game schedule and extended it by eight games to 162. The addition of those eight games would haunt the 1961 season and Roger Maris for years.

Screen Grab One: Yankees Season

On Memorial Day 1961, the Cincinnati Reds sweep a doubleheader from the San Francisco Giants, leaving both teams tied for first place, with Los Angeles Dodgers just 0.10% behind. Until late September, the Dodgers teams would be chasing the Reds. In the American League, the Detroit Tigers, with a 4.5 game lead over the Yankees, continue to play well with their heavy-hitting lineup carrying them. The Yankees have started to improve. On May 30, 1961, Mantle and Maris each connected for two home runs apiece. From this point, forward Mantle and Maris would continue to hit home runs at a record pace, ultimately with Maris hitting 61 and Mantle 54 home run.

Screen Grab Two: SF Giants, Dodgers Reds

May 5, 1961—I’m a freshman in high school. It’s 10:34 AM. We were all standing huddled around a small TV in the classroom. Many of the teachers brought in TVs’ that day to witness and historical moment. We watched in silence as Navy Commander Alan Shepard lifted off. Next, you could hear the excitement of that moment in the school building.

The New York Times May 6, 1961 America’s First Manned Space flight
New York Time May 6, 1961—Pictures From May 5, 1961

October 4, 1957, is when the Space age began with Sputnik 1 by the USSR. This event led to the Space Race.

I was already an avid reader of science fiction; I started reading all the articles in the newspapers on Space.

Then in 1959, America and the world were introduced to seven astronauts. There was soon a flood of books to choose from about them, and I read as many as possible.

The New York Times—Time Machine news clips and timely placed advertising reflected what we woke up to on May 6, 1961.

The New York Times May 6, 1961 Ads

I never lost my affection for science fiction or interest in Space.

A night game at San Francisco AT&T Park in Black & White. When I started in photography, all I could afford to shot was Black & White. A few years ago, I dusted off my Nikon F5 and started reshooting film. At first, I shot 35mm color slides, then next, color negative film, and finally Black & White negative film. Of course, slide and film processing was an issue that ironically was solved next door to the building where I worked from 1971 – 1993. Now, this particular picture was originally in color. I discard it for one reason the color balance was not appealing, the shot had no drama.
Shooting film and digital have reenergized my thinking of looking at shots and rethinking how I want them to look. My approach to pigment-ink printing has always been to recreate the color of Kodachrome. Now, I will again think of Silver Highlight Black & White prints.

Night Game AT&T Park San Francisco California

P.S. For Sale https://fineartamerica.com/featured/att-park-b-w-night-game-paul-plaine.html

As I did last year and followed Babe Ruth’s first year with the Yankees 1920 season, through The New York Times—Time Machine this year 2021, I picked the 1961 Yankees. This year marks the 60th anniversary of Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris home run chase to break Ruth’s record of 60 home runs. I was a freshman in high school, and for a class, we had to read The New York Times. It was also one of the many newspapers that were part of my daily reading at home. 1961 is my favorite baseball season. Baseball fans and none fans became involved in the daily news of did Mantle or Maris hit a home run. Lost in the home run chase was the battle for first place with the Detroit Tigers. It was in doubt until early September. But more on those storylines to follow this baseball season.

Reading the 1961 times stirs up memories. April 12, 1961, Yuri Gagarin becomes the first spaceman to orbit the earth. May 2 Alan Shepard space flight delayed until May 5. In the article, John Glenn was his backup and for breakfast, at 2 am they had, filet mignon wrapped in bacon, eggs, and tea. Besides tracking the Yankees, Mantle, Maris, and other base games, I read all sorts of articles and advertising ads. Today a few ads:

When a Yankee homered, Mel Allen called it a Ballantine Blast. He also would pour a glass of beer, and always with a perfect head to the top of the glass.

One of the original New York City sporting goods stores. Closed in the 1990s. I shopped there for sneakers, sweatshirts, etc.

Through The New York Times, Time Machine archives on Twitter, I’m recreating the Yankees 1961 season. Mickey Mantle hit 54 home runs, and Roger Maris hit 61, breaking Babe Ruth’s record 60. Also lost to time, the Detroit Tigers (101-61) incredible run and pressure they put on the Yankees (109-53) into early September.

But on this day, April 22, 1961, New York State approved the building of Shea Stadium in Flushing Queens, NY. Reading the articles reminded me of grandma.

Shea Stadium 2008

My grandmother loved the Dodgers, as did dad. In 1962 grandma pours her heart and soul into the Mets. She went to church every day, but when the Mets lost, and they lost a lot back then. I would talk baseball with her all the time, and when the subject hit the Mets, and they lost that day or evening, with a cigarette in hand or lip, “those dirty bastards lost again” would pierce through the smoke. Grandma went to church every day until she couldn’t; baseball can really grip one’s soul.

Shea Stadium November 2008

April 17, 1951, seventy years ago today, at Yankee Stadium, Mickey Mantle made his major league debut. It would also be Joe DiMaggio’s last opening day game. Since spring training DiMaggio has been hinting 1951 would be his last season. The Yankees, opening day opponent was the Boston Red Sox lead by Ted Williams.

Before the game: Joe, Mickey, and Ted were put together for a photograph by the photographers. As Joe and Ted greeted each other, Mantle shifted awkwardly, as Joe forgot to introduce him to Williams. It was Williams who stuck his hand. “You must be Mick,” he said. Does he belong in the same picture with such super-stars as DiMaggio and Williams? The next 153 games will go a long way toward deciding that question. Arthur Daley April 18, 1951.

Mickey Mantle’s first MLB game boxscore line in his first game, 4AB, 1R, 1H 1RBI.



Sixty years ago, the New York Yankees were on the eve of a new season. Last year on Twitter, I covered Babe Ruth’s first season with the Yankees, 1920, through The New York Times——Time Machine—— Archives. I heard from many how much they enjoyed reading daily articles. It was historic not only because of the home run chase of Babe Ruth’s home run record but also a battle for first place between the Detroit Tigers and the New York Yankees.

*That positive feedback inspired me to cover the 1961 season.

The 1961 baseball season was the start of expansion in MLB, first the American League was expanding to ten teams. A new team in Washington D.C. replacing the original franchise that relocated to Minnesota and is now known as the Twins. The other new addition is the Los Angeles Angels, the first west coast team in the AL. Another change is the 154 game schedule is now going to 162. The newly expanded schedule had already started many debates surrounding one recorded, Babe Ruth’s 1927 60 home runs in 154 games.
On April 10, 1961, the season of change in the AL started. With the Chicago White Sox defeating the (new) Washington Senators.

**April 11, 1961, The New York Time full page coverage.

Tomorrow April 11, the Yankees home opener vs.Minnesota Twins.
*Every morning, I read 1961, The New York Time sports coverage. I then prepare the articles for capture and create my Twitter posts.
** When I looked at the Times sports page today, I thought the full page deserved to be shared. Unlike last year I will add from time to time an extra element, the entire page.

Washington Senators 1971 Spring Training

Spring Training 2021 comes to an end on March 30, and the 2021 MLB season officially begins April 1, with the Yankees vs. Blue Jays at 1:05 at Yankee Stadium.

My archives are a series of Ozzie Sweet original film/pictures taken in 1971 at the Washington Senators Training camp. This year made it 50 years ago. Since 90-percent of those pictures have not been seen in public, I thought, time to share them. On March 22, I began posting pictures of Ozzie Sweets 1971, Washington Senators, photoshoot for Sport magazine on my Twitter page.

Why 1971? In February 1971, the Washington Senators spring-training camp opened, helmed by manager Ted Williams.

Ted Williams Ranked the fourth greatest ballplayer in the history of MLB

In camp is Curt Flood, who lost his challenge to baseball reserve clause in court. And Denny McLain, who broke baseball’s rules associating with gamblers.

Curt Flood, age 33, left the team 13 games into the season, never to play again. Denny McLain fought with Ted Williams all season, winning only 10-games, losing 22. By the age of 28, 1972 playing for two other teams, 2x Cy Young and 1x MVP, and last pitcher to win 30 games going 31-6 1n 1968, was out of baseball forever.

For more information:

Curt Flood https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/07/how-curt-flood-changed-baseball-and-killed-his-career-in-the-process/241783/

Denny McLain https://www.freep.com/story/sports/mlb/tigers/2018/09/06/1968-detroit-tigers-denny-mcclain/1195283002/