SI Vault
October 13, 1958
Lucy to the Shower The National Anthem is meant to rouse feelings of pride and re-dedication in American listeners, not to provoke laughter. It is our duty to report that the Lucy Monroe public address system version of The Star-Spangled Banner at the World Series in Yankee Stadium last week was a musical fright which brought embarrassment, smirks and giggles to attending thousands and listening millions across the country. It's time to send Lucy to the shower.
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October 13, 1958

Events & Discoveries

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The old man was there to throw out the first pitch of the 1958 World Series. He threw the ball right-handed with a two-finger grip and a lot of wrist action, an action practiced from dealing five-card stud on the green baize poker table of the Phoenix Press Club. The pitch went 15 feet and Braves Catcher Del Crandall caught him fine and brought the ball back to the old man so he could give it to his grandson, Jodie Hayes.

Jim Crusinberry got to throw out the first ball because 50 years ago, on the last day of the 1908 Series (the Chicagos took the Detroits, four games to one), in a Detroit hotel room, 40 men sat down, hoisted a few and then formed the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Jim was one of the 40; only a handful are left.

Later, after covering baseball for the old Chicago American, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Chicago Tribune—where he broke the details of the Black Sox scandal—New York Daily News and Chicago Daily News and writing sports for CBS in Chicago, Jim retired. Since 1948 he has been wheeling a Ford Tudor right behind the flocking birds, to a two-room apartment in Phoenix in mid-October, to roosting places in Chicago and other parts of the Midwest in mid-May.

After Bill Bruton hit one true and clean to the fence in the 10th inning and the first game was over, Jim Crusinberry lit a cigaret and sat back at his ease. In 43 years of baseball writing, he had asked the questions. Now, someone was asking him. He kind of liked it.

"The games drag out too long," said Jim. "Pitchers have a tough time because of that lively ball. That lively ball! The people just wait for someone to hit the ball over the fence and jog home.

"I'd rather see a three-base hit finish in a cloud of dust. Why, I haven't seen an outfielder throw a man out at the plate in 10 years. They have to play out too far with that lively ball. There was more strategy, more base running, more thrills with that old ball. That's the game I prefer. I like to see 'em battle for that one run."

The old man looked up to the press boxes where a few reporters lingered over their typewriters. Most of them were in the clubhouse now or headed for the Schroeder Hotel's Crystal Ballroom for food and drink.

"Haven't had a drink of whisky in 22 years," said Jim Crusinberry. "Got disgusted with the way my hands shook some mornings. You know, sometimes at night I dream about working on the Trib again, and I'm having a hell of a time getting my story in the paper, bucking the deadline. Sometimes I wish I were a young man today...."

The old man tugged his topcoat about him with slender, veined hands.

"I hope that press bus is right outside the gate this time," he said. "I hate to walk across all that gravel. Hurts my legs. The legs aren't what they used to be."

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