Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Hoss' Take: "Didn't we used to have some fun with this team?"

From the ever-challenged computer of HoraceClarke66...

The Master took us back through the annals near the start of Sunday’s game, helped by his crack research staff—or maybe just personal memory.

 

He reminded us that it was April 18th. And on that day in 1923, Babe Ruth hit a game-winning, three-run homer against the Red Sox, before a reported 74,200 at the very first, regular-season game at the Original Yankee Stadium. 

 


The Babe had said before the game that, “I’d give my left nut to hit a home run today.” No testicle required, Bambino, not even from the juju gods. (That's Warren Harding whose hand he's shaking—no doubt why the Babe, a lifelong Democrat, looks so glum. Not saying anything!)

 

Moving right along, on this same day, April 18th, in 1950, the Yanks played their season opener IN Boston—the two teams’ first encounter since the Bombers ground Boston hearts into little pieces, beating the Red Sox in the last two games of the 1949 season to win the pennant.

 

Up at Fenway in 1950, the Sox jumped off to a 9-0 lead behind their best pitcher, Mel Parnell—a lead they still held going into the sixth. The Yanks scored 4 runs in the 6th, 9 in the 8th, and 2 in the 9th, for a 15-10 win, one of the greatest comebacks in club history.

 

Billy Martin, came into his first major-league game as a sub and hit a double and a single in that big, 8th-inning rally, driving in three runs. He was reportedly singing in the showers afterwards.

 

 Then one I didn’t remember. April 18th, 1978. Yanks and Orioles tied 3-3 in the ninth, after Sparky Lyle had walked in a run, depriving Ron Guidry of what would have been yet another win in that remarkable season.

 

In a weird and eerie presaging of things to come, old friend Tippy Martinez starts the 9th going 3-0 against Reggie Jackson—who just five days earlier had whacked his unforgettable, game-winning “Reggie bar” homer in the Yanks’ home opener.

 

Now, Jackson seems to be paying a lot of attention to the third-base coach (Dick Howser?). He calls time, goes down to argue vociferously with him. Walks back to the plate, scowls into the dugout at Billy Martin.

 

Everyone in the ballpark assumes that he’s been given the take sign, and that’s that. Relieved, Tippy floats the next one down the middle. Reggie hits it to about the steps of the Bronx Country Courthouse. It was all a trick!  The Yankees win, thuuuuuhhhhh…

 


Sigh. 

 

One day. A single day, in a century and more of Yankees thrills.

 

Didn’t we used to have some fun with this team, and this game? I don’t know what’s going on now, but it’ll be a long time before we see anything like those April 18ths again.

8 comments:

Local Bargain Jerk said...


Loved this. Nice job, HC66.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Thanks, LBJ!

Ken of Brooklyn said...

LOVE these stories Hoss, thanks!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Seriously, well done! Perhaps one day this team will be fun again but not until they stop playing scared and not to lose.

Doug K.

ranger_lp said...

Great post Hoss. Alas the pastime is not fun any longer. We're trying to fix a washed up 2B, we're dealing with an error prone SS, we have a CF whose head is not into it, a starting C who is trying to turn things around, and the rest of the team in the doldrums. And to top that off, pitching that is not to be relied on. Not a pleasant prospect...

But as The Master would say...that can all change with one win...

TheWinWarblist said...

You move me Hoss. Which was timely; I was so constipated today. I have my vaccination passport loaded on my phone already. Pick a date people. You. Me. Stadium. Ethanol. Dysentery. Botulism.

Anonymous said...

Ah, the good old days. I wasn't a Yankee fan until '81 but it's still great to reminisce, or to imagine that I'm reminiscing.

The Hammer of God

HoraceClarke66 said...

Oh, Warbler, you silver-tongued devil!

Thanks, folks—but it really was The Master going through the "This Day in Yankee History."

Hey, I get it. Not even the Yankees are going to win every year anymore. But to put together a team this inept and this...joyless? I'd rather have them fighting and scrapping with each other.