"What do you
think?" Bobby said.
I said, "I
think he'll throw you a fast one, high and tight, like they always try to pitch
you. Be ready for it, Bobby! Go to ripping at it! Get me a base hit
So the first
pitch came down Thomson's alley, right where he liked it, and he took it for a
Bobby looked at
me, his eyes wide in disgust, and I hollered, "Come on! He'll throw you
I'm not thinking
of a home run; a home run never occurred to me. This is the last inning. We've
got to get that tying run in, that's all I'm thinking. Now, when the ball left
Thomson's bat I thought it was going to hit the wall; it didn't occur to me
that it was going over. Very few home runs were hit into the lower deck at the
Polo Grounds because of the overhang from the upper deck. Only a line shot—a
rising line drive—ever went in there. This one was far too low to hit the
overhang, and it was a sinking line drive. I can't remember any ball hit like
that ever going in.
coaching at third. I've got work to do. As soon as I saw the ball was up in the
air, I automatically yelled for Hartung to tag up. A split second later, I
could see the ball wasn't going to be caught and I'm screaming for Lockman to
come on in from second.
Lockman came on,
and that's when I turned to spot the ball again...and all of a sudden there was
And that's the
last thing I really remember. I would have bet my life I would have kept my
head in any kind of crisis, but I didn't. I blanked out. The last picture I
have in my mind is the fans reaching in the left-field bleachers, frozen and
unmoving, like a still photo. Lockman is halfway down the line, caught in full
stride and—as improbable as it sounds—Pee Wee Reese is still in his normal
position at shortstop, with his hands on his knees, looking back, his mouth
open in surprise. All of it frozen, you understand, like one huge mural.
Now, I knew that
couldn't be right. Logic told me that Pee Wee had to have gone out to take a
possible relay. Still, that's what I saw then and that's the picture that is
still stamped on my mind.
That same fall I
went to a big luncheon for Pee Wee in Louisville and, to my utter astonishment.
Pee Wee told me I was probably right. His own memory was that he hadn't been
able to move. Pee Wee had gone into shock, too.