a coat of paint," he pointed out.
Driving back and
forth from the Hotel Roosevelt to Yankee Stadium, we were reassured by visible
facts that New York is smaller than Los Angeles, less obviously cosmopolitan
than San Francisco and dirtier than Pittsburgh. During the 1961 season we'd
made out all right in those towns. An analysis of the Yankees during a
clubhouse meeting October 3 made the players out to be human beings. We were
Roger Maris, for
instance, may have an aspect of immortality, but he can be pitched to.
"Don't let him hit a fast ball. Keep sliders, all hard stuff up and in.
Change up on him. Throw strikes." He sounded like Sammy Taylor of the
" Maris hits
the long ball," said the report solemnly.
Terry," the scout had written, "is a cutie pie. Everything has to be
just right with him, immaculate. He'll pick up the rosin bag, set it down just
so, pick it up again, rearrange it two, three times. His pitching delivery is
just like the Spalding Guide. Battle him all the way, get him mad, he'll
explode. Call him 'Sweets.' " Terry, the No. 2 Yankee pitcher, looked like
At a crowded
breakfast table on the morning of October 4, I felt abnormally hungry.
"What does a starry-eyed young ballplayer have for breakfast before the
Series?" I asked. "This is my first game."
An amiable if
sharp-witted sportswriter clicked his memory and recalled: " Dick Groat had
coffee, juice and two screaming kids. That was in Pittsburgh last year and that
was my first game."
and covered with wives' kisses and friends' well-wishes, we bused to the Bronx.
A posted warning in the ramp to out dressing room said: NO WOMEN ALLOWED BEYOND
THIS POINT. We strode onward like men, dressed, warmed up and listened to the
public address announcement of the starting lineup. Our side got as much
applause as the Yankees. The general atmosphere was awesomely blas�. "Poor
babies," I thought sympathetically, watching the Yankee dugout. "They
deserve some recognition."
The first game
was a conservative, expert, professional exhibition. The nationwide telecast,
sponsored by Chrysler and Gillette, enabled the provinces to see a cool
performance by the efficient, compact Ford, a New York left-hander. He worked
swiftly, picked up the only two runs of the game on long balls hit by Howard
and Skowron and sent us all to the showers by 3:15. Half our team played, the
others watched, happy to see so many paid customers, disappointed but hardly
demoralized by the score. The Yankees were not particularly impressive.
Pondering a can
of beer and the pleasurable sense of participation in one inning of a World
Series, I thought, "It was a kick just being in; tomorrow we win."