Monday, June 15, 2009

Holdin' Ballfield

Remember how we used to hear how Pesky "held the ball" in the 1946 World Series? At some point, though, people decided to stop blaming Johnny. I think it was when new video surfaced of the play, which showed that he didn't really pause for that long.

But sixteen days after the last game of the series, October 31st, 1946, a UPI story appeared in, among other papers, the Eugene Register-Guard:
Shortstop Johnny Pesky of the Boston Red Sox today took full blame for allowing Country Slaughter of the St Louis Cardinals to score the deciding play in the 1946 World Series.

"Slaughter simply outsmarted me, that's all there is to it," Pesky continued. "Harry Walker's hit was really just a single and I didn't think Slaughter would ever try to score. When I took the relay from Leon Culberson, I dropped my hands a little and when I realized Country was streaking for the plate I just couldn't get off a good throw in time. It was all my fault and I have no alibi."

Wow, so he admitted it was a mistake at the time. I never knew that. So what am I supposed to think now?

Contest Update: All Eyes on Cleveland. Only one team with a chance to take second place is in action tonight. The Indians need a 13, and have 12 runs right now, with their game in the seventh. Exactly one more run and Quinn takes second prize. Could the contest be minutes from finally ending? Bonus: I just noticed it's on ESPN. I'm tuned in. Will update this post.

Update, 10:24: As of the last update, it was 12-7 Cleveland after 7. Fielder just hit a grand slam to give the Brewers a 13-12 lead in the 8th. So now Cleveland knows they need that run.

10:37: 14-12, going bottom 8. Earlier it looked like the 8th would be the Tribe's last chance to get the 13th run. Now they will have two shots at it.

10:46: Indians booed as they don't score in the 8th. They've blown two five-run leads and trail 14-12. They have one more shot to reach the 13 mark.

11:05: Cleveland leaves the 13th run on third, game over. The contest goes another day.

11:09: Just realized the Dodgers can also win tonight with a 13. Okay, that's the last update. Unless LA gets close to 13. They have 3 in the 4th...

11:32: Well look at this--Dodgers ended up scoring 7 in the 4th and lead 8-0. They've got a shot!

Ummm...I think you meant the Angels. Or was this a test?
re: Pesky, I met Johnny back in 2000 in Spring Training back when he would still fungoes during the morning workouts. There was a Cardinal fan there who had to go and bring up the '46 Series and ask what happened on the Slaughter play. Johnny was very gracious about it, although he did point out (as many folks know) that because Dom DiMaggio had twisted his ankle in the top of the inning, Leon Culberson, who was a poor outfielder with a weak arm, was in CF. This meant that Johnny had to head a little farther out to get the relay than he normally would have. He was still caught off guard by Slaughter trying to score, but having watched the film of the play, he really doesn't pause more than a short moment, and in my opinion had absolutely no chance to throw him out. But, describing it, Johnny did say that he hesitated, and then stuck his fingers up above his head and said "if that makes me the goat, well then, okay, I'll wear the horns". He said it very good-naturedly with a big smile on his face...really, just a wonderful man.
Ok so I was right the first time when I said no other teams had a chance--then I guess I looked again, saw LA-, and what with IL play, got Dodgers back in my head..... they (Angels) didn't get 13 anyway..

Yeah I heard about that Dom thing a lot right when he died recently--that's definitely a key part of the play. I met Johnny too--will post a pic of it soon!
I was just impressed at the shout out to Holden Caulfield in the post title.
Ha. I was gonna try to further it with something like "shortstop in a lie," "country on the fly," etc., but I just left it plain and simple.

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