Someday, if San Francisco wins the 1959 pennant, people will remember the night of August 28 and, more particularly, the first inning of the game that evening between the Giants and the Dodgers at Los Angeles. It was over so quickly that fully one-third of the 66,068 fans who fought their way through frustrating freeway traffic to Memorial Coliseum arrived too late to be eyewitnesses of what happened. Whatever else is forgotten, this should be remembered: bone-weary, driven by raw desire and rare determination, the Giants met the challenge of a Dodger ball club which was healthy and rested. And the Giants destroyed the Dodgers 5-0. It was a frightful mismatch.
Resting comfortably in Los Angeles and gaining ground while they rested, the Dodgers had been reading accounts of San Francisco's four losses in five days, and the Dodgers chuckled in excited anticipation. How could they lose? Duke Snider and Gil Hodges were ready. Wally Moon was riding the crest of an 11-game hitting streak. And Don Drysdale, the Giant killer, mainstay of the Dodger staff, would be on the mound.
The Dodgers' reliance on Drysdale has been an insidious corollary to the team's success this season. When he is winning, he is calm and friendly. But when he is losing, he is mean and ornery. Last week, after a bad road trip Drysdale blasted his own team: "I'm getting sick and tired of writers quoting people on our ball club about what's wrong with Drysdale." Publicly, the Dodgers shrugged it off. Said Coach Pee Wee Reese: " Drysdale's not the kind who can lose a game and just forget it. He's got to do something, smash something. Maybe this will help. Maybe the rest of us will realize this is no high-school championship we're fighting for."
For a while it looked as though Drysdale's irascibility had helped. The normally affable Jim Gilliam, his features grim with concentration, turned angrily on a photographer who had asked him to smile, thundered: "When you put on this damn uniform, man, you don't smile!"
But then the game started and the Dodger bubble burst. Willie Mays doubled. Willie McCovey doubled. Orlando Cepeda doubled. Two runs. In the second inning Eddie Bressoud doubled, Sam Jones walked and Mays belted Drysdale's first pitch over the left-field screen. In two innings the game was over. Sam Jones coasted to a shutout.
Pee Wee Reese and the Dodgers apparently decided Drysdale's diatribe hadn't helped after all. On a locker room bulletin board, under Drysdale's name, appeared a neatly lettered sign:
"To be seen, stand up. To be heard, speak up. To be appreciated, shut up."
Of course, if San Francisco loses the pennant, people will be more apt to remember the afternoon of August 30, when three errors by the Giants, two of them by the hitherto heroic Willie McCovey, gave a 7-6 win to the Dodgers. It was a miserable display, but it served to show the pes simistic Angelenos that the pennant still remained to be won—or lost.