And luck? I've
always said about Dizzy Dean that if the roof fell in and Diz was sitting in
the middle of the room, everybody else would be buried in the debris and a
gumdrop would drop into his mouth. In the third inning I led off with a little
pop fly to the infield. Diz came up and hit a high foul behind the plate, which
just barely dropped into the front row of boxes. Easily playable, should have
been an out—except that Mickey Cochrane, a Hall of Fame catcher, the catcher
picked on everybody's alltime All-Star team, didn't bother to go after it. The
one time in his life probably that he so completely misjudged that kind of a
foul ball. On the next pitch Diz hits a dinky Texas Leaguer over third base.
Goose Goslin, the Detroit leftfielder, started in slow, because he never
figured on a pitcher running, but Diz was a real good base runner and, of
course, he was crazy, he'd take all kinds of chances. Diz rounded first in high
gear, and everybody in the ball park could hear Buzzy Wares, our first-base
coach, yell, "Whoa! Whoa!" Goslin, who had a great arm, fired to
Gehringer at second, and Gehringer had the ball waiting for him two feet away.
There was no way for Diz to get around him, and Gehringer, a Hall of Fame
second baseman, hadn't missed a tag on a runner or said a word to one in 15
As Diz would say,
he "slud" into second, there was a big cloud of dust, and I don't know
how, why or whether Gehringer missed him but the umpire is signaling that he's
Pepper Martin is
the next hitter. He tries to get away from a high inside pitch, the ball hits
his bat and trickles down between first base and the pitcher. The next thing
you know Pepper's on first and Dean is standing on third.
Now Pepper Martin
had picked up a lot of expressions from Branch Rickey. Pepper used to listen to
Rickey, write down a word and use it at every opportunity. You haven't lived
unless you've been to a banquet and heard Pepper Martin answer the inevitable
question about how he knew when to steal a base. "I believe in
intuition," Pepper would say. "As Mr. Rickey says, 'Intuition is the
subconscious acting in a time of duress.' " His favorite Rickey word,
though, was initiative. Pepper would drive Frisch crazy by getting up in
meetings and saying, "Frankie-boy, if you'll let me run on my own
initiative, I'll steal a base every time."
when I tell you," Frank would yell.
a good manager cultivates initiative."
"When I tell
you, and not before!" Frank would scream.
Well, Rothrock is
at bat, and Frisch is coming up next. As Frank leans over to pick out his bat,
Pepper steals second. First pitch. Clean as a whistle. Frank looks up, and he
still doesn't know what happened. Mike Gonzalez, the third-base coach, has his
hands spread wide as if to say, "I didn't give him any sign." Martin is
grinning from second base as if to say, "See, Frankie-boy, if you'd let me
run on my own initiative, I could do this every time."
The count goes to
two balls and no strikes on Rothrock, and they decide to walk him to get to
Frisch. Frank is coming to the end of his career, and when Auker gets two quick
strikes on him, he's up there swinging like a woman with four bales of laundry
in her arms. Just guarding the plate. But he keeps fouling off pitches, and he
finally rips one down the right-field line, just fair, and scores all three
runs. That's the end of Eldon Auker. Schoolboy Rowe gets Medwick for the second
out, but Rip Collins singles. DeLancey doubles. Orsatti walks. That brings me
up for the second time in the inning with runners on first and second, and I
hit a ball to right so hard that DeLancey has to hold up at third.
Get the picture?
The bases are loaded, and here comes Dizzy Dean again. This time he tops a ball
down toward third, and they can't make a play on it. Two hits in one inning.
He's tied a World Series batting record. The sixth run of the inning has scored
and the bases are still loaded. Pepper Martin walks and that makes the score
7-0. Twelve men go to bat before Tommy Bridges comes in and gets Rothrock