"They were calling it the biggest bonehead play of the year," Denkinger recalls. "They must've shown it six times, from every angle. Well, it soon became obvious to me that, let's say, there was a very great possibility the ball beat the runner to the bag. In fact, I was astute enough to recognize that the man was clearly out. The call was wrong. I was in good position, but Worrell is a tall man, the throw was high and I couldn't watch both his glove and his feet at the same time. There was so much crowd noise I couldn't hear the ball hit the glove. Besides, it was a soft throw. My first responsibility is to make sure the ball is caught. Had I been maybe 15 feet back, instead of eight, I might have made the right call.
"I didn't like what I saw. No one wants to be embarrassed like that. My job is predicated on being right all the time, and I like to be right all the time. But [melancholy laughter] we're only human, and now it's history. I can't change anything. Even admitting I was wrong doesn't change anything. But I do know that I didn't cost the Cardinals the World Series, not with all that happened afterward. There were too many 'what ifs' in the game. I think what worries all umpires is the violent reaction to things now. In Yankee Stadium, God save us, there was even a shooting. Please tell me what a man is doing with a gun in the ball park? We have to be concerned about these things, because it's obvious the situation is getting worse. I love baseball and I'm not all that disillusioned by what's happened to me. I'll continue to do what I've always done, which is to take every game very seriously and do my best."
The calls and the letters keep coming in, but there has been no violence to his person, his family or his home. Denkinger is a man with a keenly honed sense of irony, and that has helped him ride over the rough spots. He observes, laughing, that his newfound notoriety has at least given him a certain cachet on the banquet circuit. And he takes special pleasure in one of the neon signs that flash behind the bar of his Silver Fox restaurant in downtown Waterloo. It's the first thing he'll show visitors to the place. "Gussie Busch's company [the Braumeister also owns the Cardinals] gave one of these to all the umpires," he says, standing beneath the glittering prize. The sign reads: THIS BUD'S FOR YOU.