Remember our telling you about Nancy Boeseke, the pretty blonde airline stewardess who stopped in to ask our advice because she had just been assigned to help fly the Yankees to Milwaukee and didn't know anything about baseball? Well, now she knows all about baseball, and she popped in again last week to tell us about it. We had to interrupt Nancy in the midst of a pretty technical discussion of Casey Stengel's field strategy to ask about her trip home with the Yanks.
"Well," she said, "it was quite a flight. Oh, my, I wish you'd had a reporter on board." As Nancy described the victorious return of the new world champions from the scene of their triumph we began to see what she meant.
The Yanks wasted no time getting back to the plane after the seventh game was over. Nancy, who had to leave County Stadium in the midst of the critical eighth inning, was scarcely settled in her galley when the boys came streaming across the tarmac. "At first they all just seemed sort of tired and glad to relax." The big DC-7 was barely airborne, however, when a subtle change began to be felt.
Well up in the nose of the plane as it headed for New York was a small group of conservatives making the usual preparations for a nice, lazy, feet-up, head-back-on-the-reclining-seat type flight. Somewhere amidships, the middle-of-the-roaders clustered uncertainly, riffling an occasional pack of cards and awaiting developments.
Toward the rear, in the neighborhood of Nancy's galley, were the ebullients, led by Whitey Ford and Don Larsen. It was in this charged area that the first explosions were heard as Ford, Larsen and Nancy began popping the corks of the champagne thoughtfully stashed aboard by United Airlines.
Before a dozen bottles had been broached, the celebratory group was in full charge. Yogi Berra and Andy Carey promptly appointed themselves assistant stewardesses to make sure that the remaining champagne was deployed to the best possible advantage. "It was kind of confusing in the galley at times," Nancy admitted. Meanwhile, scholarly, spectacled Ryne Duren moved up to take over the public-address system.
In the midst of the rising confusion that followed, grizzled Elder Statesman Casey Stengel was doing his level best to maintain a gruff exterior as he sat in deep confab with the Yankee front office boss, George Weiss. Nearby, good-natured Mrs. Stengel was beaming happily at her romping foster children.
Historians will probably never determine at precisely what moment Whitey Ford decided to set a match to the champagne cork he held in his hand and to decorate with the resultant charcoal the face of his nearest neighbor. Within seconds of this decision, however, black beards, goatees, sideburns, mustaches and Mephistophelean eyebrows were sprouting on all sides. Even old Casey's dignity was soon buried beneath a coat of warpaint that included a huge dollar sign on each of the ruddy Stengel cheeks.
"They were just a wonderful, wonderful crowd," said Nancy Boeseke as she recalled these heady events. We agreed in theory but, being journalists by trade, we had to probe further. Wasn't there anything wrong with the Yankees? Well, yes, there was, Nancy finally admitted, only slightly crestfallen.