You’d think the Yankee brass would’ve given me a choicer seat after my killer-catching heroics out west. I guess sticking me out in the right field bleachers was how they felt about anyone from the National League.
I was surrounded by wall-to-wall hooligans out there. Most of them had camped out the night before to buy tickets, and many with hidden flasks to lubricate the experience. The good thing was that none of them recognized me or even knew who I was. The bad thing was that I still had to listen to them.
“Spahn? He’s a bum! Whitey’ll mop his clock.”
“You told me three Ballantines, a Coke and a red hot.”
“No, meathead. I said two Ballantines, two red hots and a Crackerjack!”
“Mathews? He’s a bum! What’d he hit this year, .195?”
Actually, it was .215, but what difference did it make? With a half hour still to go before the first pitch, I dreamed about being up in the press box beside Liz.
Five minutes after the first pitch, Warren Spahn was wishing he was dead. Carey laced a double down the line with one gone in the Yankee 1st. Slaughter singled him in. Mantle singled Slaughter to third. Berra dumped another single into center to make it 2-0. Skowron walked. I had a full house of cheering nuts shaking the bleachers and dozens of rollicking armpits in my face.
Fred Haney came out to calm Spahnie down, and it worked, because Warren got McDougald on strikes and Richardson on a dinky fly to end the inning. Logan got them a run back against Ford with a two-out single in the 2nd, but then Spahn was back on his slippery slope. He started by whiffing Whitey, but Siebern blasted a ball that landed two deafening rows behind me, Carey ripped the next pitch into the left field stands, it was 4-1, and Spahnie was gone for the day.
“It’s ovah!!” one of them yelled to Aaron out in center, “Ya hear me Henry?? O-VAH!!!”
What was really over was the Yankee offense for the rest of the game. Spot starter Juan Pizarro took over and pitched one-hit ball for four and two-third innings before Bob Rush escaped jams in the 7th and 8th.
Crandall socked a solo homer in the 6th, and after Roach singled and Mathews walked in the 7th, Aaron strode up there as the go-ahead run. All mouthy shenanigans ceased in the bleachers. You had the certain Cy Young winner (23-8, 2.56) facing the possible NL MVP (.336, 40 homers, 120 RBIs, 17-game winning hits) with the game on the line. Breathing was suddenly a luxury.
Aaron worked Ford to 3-2, then rapped a ball up the middle that McDougald grabbed and flipped to Richardson to start a killing double play. Ford snuffed out the last six Braves with ease, and New York had first blood in the Series.
I had to wait around forever for Liz to finish her game story, and we were both too drained to do anything but return to the Picadilly and order room service. Tomorrow it would be Burdette against Ditmar, with Wes Covington back in action, and I told Liz if she couldn’t get me into the press box or a grandstand section containing actual adults, the marriage was off.
MLW 010 001 000 – 1 5 0
NYY 220 000 00x – 4 11 0
HRS: Crandall, Siebern, Carey GWRBI-Slaughter
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Don’t forget, game reports will be filed EVERY DAY until the World Series is completed. So I’ll be back tomorrow, after this message from Ballantine beer…