September 1, 1961, the Yankees, with a 1-1/2 game lead over the Detroit Tigers, were now going to face off for the first time since a one-day July 4 doubleheader. On that day, the Tigers held a 2-game lead over the Yankees. The Tigers won the first game, with the Yankees taking the second. Resulting in no change in the American League standing. For the next eight weeks, the heavy-hitting Tigers and Yankees keep pace with each other leading up to this first of a 3-game showdown.

I

September 1, 1961, Young Fans Hoping To Get Mickey Mantle’s Autograph, As Roger Maris Slips By.

Seeing these photos of young fans wanting to get an autograph brings up fond memories of days after school and weekends chasing down ballplayers arriving at Yankee Stadium before a game, asking them, please sign.

“Mantle, Maris and a Few Others Stir a Potpourri of Fan EmotionThe players arrived at Yankee Stadium last night in bright, new automobiles. Dozens of small boys rushed toward them and pleaded, like supplicants, for autographs or for some word, some recognition”.

Mickey Please Sign


Foot Notes: Main NY Times Article Written by, Robert L. Teague 1929-2013. Bob Teague joined WNBC-TV in New York in 1963 as one of the city’s first black television journalists and went on to work as a reporter, anchorman, and producer for more than three decades

Mantle, Maris and a Few Others Ítir a Potpourri of Fan Emotion Written by Gay Talese: Gay Talese -1932- is an American writer. As a journalist for The New York Times and Esquire magazine during the 1960s, Talese helped to define contemporary literary journalism. He’s written 15 books, most noted for Honor Thy Father 1971, and Frank Sinatra Has a Cold with Phil Stern.

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

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/

Woke-up to the sad news Don Larsen passed away. October 8, 1956, was also the first time I would meet him in my aunt and uncle’s kitchen around 5:30. Back then, families lived within the same building, and my aunt and uncle lived a floor above us.

Aunt Anne come down while having dinner and ask if would okay for me to go upstairs and meet someone. Mom and dad knew and said okay. Leaving the dinner table back then was a big deal then. Sitting in there kitchen, having a beer with my uncle, was Don Larsen.

They had two season tickets to Yankee Stadium Section 5 club Lodge level. The seats were the first row seats1-2. They were directly behind Mel Allen and were all the sportswriters sat. Section 5 Lodge at the top of the stairs had a bar-clubhouse for the writers and the small group of ticketholders in that section. Back then, women were not allowed in any sports venue sportswriters bar/clubhouse.

My aunt often declined to attend games, sighting that Uncle Charlie would go up to bar for three or four innings, and she did not like sitting alone that long, and so I got to go to games. Many of the games I attended were Old Timers Day, Saturday and Sunday doubleheaders, and some World Series games. These games had a significant media presence. I did get to meet the writers in the beginning, and I was too young to realize the wow factor!

When my uncle died in1972 from cancer, Don Larsen sent my aunt a letter that she read I recall that he felt terrible that he could not make it to NYC for the funeral. Side note, my parents also knew him and never spoke of it.

Some years back, I went to Bryant Park to a Yankees event and spoke to Don Larsen and mentioned my Aunt Anne and Uncle Charles Shipp, and he stopped walking, and we exchanged a few words shook hand and parted our ways.

Baseball needs to stop picking on its self! The game is fine! We do not play by a clock. Tweaking is okay.

By the way: An average professional football game lasts 3 hours and 12 minutes, but if you tally up the time when the ball is actually in play, the action amounts to a mere 11 minutes.

So much for, four 15 minute quarters with a 15 half-time break. If I do the math that comes out to one hour and 15 minutes. I forgot the 3-time outs per team, per half. That must be where the other one hour of time is used.

Again Major League Baseball stop picking on the game and its player and promote the game.

Late yesterday the Mets signed Yoenis Cespedes for three years with an Opt-Out clause after one year. This made think of Charles Oscar Finley maverick owner of the A’s  who passed away twenty years ago. In March 1960, he purchased the Kansas City A’s and for the next 20 years, would be a thorn in the side of two Baseball Commissioners and the other owners.

As an owner, he was behind baseball playing World Series games at night, and the Designated Hitter. Now after 42-years it appears in 2017, the National League will finally adopt the DH. Other ideas, like using an orange baseball for night games were considered silly.

Courtesy of Nancy FinleyCharles O. Finley
Courtesy of Nancy FinleyCharles O. Finley

But, Charles Finley’s biggest contribution to baseball and all sports, is Free Agency. Through his failure during 1974, baseball season to meet certain obligations in Catfish Hunters contract, an arbitrator declaring Hunter, a free agent and his subsequence signing of a five-year contract with the Yankees. Following the 1975 season, a grievance was filed by Andy Messerschmitt of the Dodgers and Dave McNally of Expos, arbitrator, Peter Seitz ruled for the players declaring them free agents. This verdict ended the Reserve Clause that tied players to teams forever. Charles Finley then said what may be his boldest idea “Make Them All Free Agents Every Year”. Marvin Millet opposed this knowing it would it would keep player salaries low and the owners were afraid of the concept.

What was once scared owners and maybe the players is now taking hold in a unique concept, the opt-out after one to three years now being part of bigger contract signings.

It is early in the game, but as the opt-out becomes more attractive in contract negotiations, it will make for some exciting times in player and team moves.

 

 

I am a New York Yankees fan and have been for 60 years, and I’m rooting for the Mets, to win the World Series.
I grew up in Bronx section known as Highbridge between the Polo Grounds and Yankee Stadium.

The Red Dot was the building we live in

My father and grandmother were big Dodger fans. Except for my uncle taking me to Yankee games, (my first was Old Timers Day 1952) the Dodgers were the team on our television.

Sixty years ago on October 4, 1955, the Brooklyn Dodgers defeated the Yankees 2-0 to win their only Championship.

I remember it clearly I came home from school and watched the end of the game I was both happy and sad. October 4, 1955, was also my 9th birthday. That night my father and grandmother were very excited and my birthday took a back seat.

After the Dodgers had moved to Los Angles, my father and grandmother lost interest in baseball.

Then 1962 along came the Mets.

New York Mets Spring Training March 1963, the early years
New York Mets Spring Training March 1963, the early years

Those early years were rough, but my grandmother and I would talk baseball and about the Mets. She loved the Mets would watch or listen to every game on the radio. When they played, on the west coast she would stay up until the game was over. My grandmother went to mass every day, and the only thing that would cause her to swear was when the Mets lost a close game. Something they did a lot in 1960’s. She lived to be 92 and passed away in 1980 just before the start of the baseball season

So of course I will be rooting for the Mets tonight. Every year we go to Queens and see a few games. We have been to Citi Field more than many Mets I know.

The Yankees will always be my main team, but I will also continue to root for the Mets.

Lets Go Mets!

Some say the Baseball season is too long, no way. Look at the current changes that have taken place in the Standings from first place to the wildcard. It just doesn’t happen in the NFL or the NBA.
For me, it is the fun days, and not the dog days of August. It is scoreboard watching at its best.

Original Yankee Stadium Scoreboard  October 1937 www.ballparkprints.com
Original Yankee Stadium Scoreboard October 1937
http://www.ballparkprints.com