Lawrence of Pennsylvania refused to skip the World Series to go politicking
with Vice-presidential Candidate Lyndon Johnson. Whereupon Johnson canceled his
Pennsylvania trip. This is one of the smaller disturbances caused by that
annual phenomenon, the World Series. One of the larger ones is going on, day
and night, in Pittsburgh. Offers of $100 each for tickets are being turned
down. A Pittsburgh sportswriter called friends on the Chicago Daily News to ask
if they could fix him up with a ticket. The only groups in town satisfied with
arrangements are the judiciary and the crooks. The courts are closing at noon
during the Series, because almost every Pittsburgh judge has a ticket.
unticketed, there are special blessings in the form of super-duper newspaper
and radio-TV coverage. Yogi Berra is covering for Hearst. A kindly sportswriter
agreed to dot Yogi's i's and cross his t's. The Pittsburgh Press is using Dick
Groat and Vernon Law; Press Writer Les Biederman is doing both columns. This
gives Groat time to do a nightly radio analysis of each game, and maybe to play
a little shortstop.
The Rotary Club
of Kansas City ordered six television sets for its meeting this week, and the
guest speaker will be told to sit down and shut up. If the Series goes seven
games, two guest speakers will be told to sit down and shut up.
Mission North High School in Kansas, the games are being piped into classrooms
in an attempt to improve the students' health. In years past, flu epidemics
have hit the school at World Series time. A similar step has been taken at the
Pittsburgh post office to improve the health of the employees'
Betting has been
restrained, bookmakers report. Before the first game, the Pirates were
sentimental favorites, but betting them was to ignore (or sneer down) the
Yankees' winning streak at season's end (see below). Maury Schwartz, a Las
Vegas odds-maker and bon vivant, noted that New York held strong at 7-to-5
favorites, but "the bookmakers are jittery about it." Explained
"I think some
group in the East made these prices; they don't reflect the true situation.
Over the past 10 or 12 years the Yanks have always been able to come up with a
rally. But the Yankee players are big moguls sitting in overstuffed chairs with
big cigars in their mouths. The Pirates are hungry. I personally expect them to
take the Series in from five to seven games." You should remember you heard
it from Maury.
In the last of
the ninth, Ken Hunt beat out a beautiful backspinning bunt. The crowd began the
rhythmic clapping. Then Dale Long hit the fifth pitch on a flat arc into the
right-field bullpen, and the crowd roared its appreciation as it tumbled toward
the exits. The Yanks had beaten Boston 8-7 to close out the season with a
15-game winning streak, longest pennant-winning finish in history.
How did it feel
to be riding a giddy wave into the World Series? Catcher-Coach Jim Hegan,
mindful of baseball superstition, said he "almost wished we'd lost
one," and Casey Stengel was scornful. "Psychological edge?" snorted
Case. "If their pitchers don't curve and if they're wild, if they don't
play as well as we do, then we got the edge."