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NEWS OF COSMIC IMPORT
SITE OF DISTRACTION
The election took a pause, too. As it must in October of every election year, there came the period when the U.S. grows stone-deaf to political utterance between the hours of 1 and 4 (Eastern Daylight Saving Time) in the afternoon; last week, aware that the time had come again, three presidential candidates—two big ones and a little one—surrendered with a smile and made a pilgrimage to the site of distraction, Brooklyn's Ebbets Field. It must be confessed that almost nobody noticed Henry Krajewski, a Secaucus, N.J. pig farmer who is the presidential candidate of the Poor Man's Party, although it was nice to know that he was out there, somewhere in the bleachers, when the first ball was pitched. But both Ike and Adlai, each of whom picked a fine, sunny autumn day for his appearance—contributed nicely to the all-America excitement and all-round interest of the 1956 World Series.
It was love at first sight with Ike and the Dodgers. He was the first President to attend a World Series in 20 years (F.D.R. was at the Polo Grounds in 1936), and he got a warm and noisy ovation as he was driven into the ball park and trundled slowly past bleachers and box seats. He stood, waving, in his bubble-topped limousine, got out, hat less and smiling, at home plate, and shook hands with the players of both teams who were lined up to receive him. He made no secret of his partisanship after he had thrown out the first ball (a looping, 20-foot lob to Brooklyn Catcher Roy Campanella who received it, negligently, with a bare hand) or of his admiration as Dodger Pitcher Sal Maglie cunningly set the Yankees down, inning after inning.
The President, who had a bet (amount undisclosed) on the game with Press Secretary and Yankee Fan Jim Hagerty, came to his feet as Mickey Mantle hit a booming first-inning home run over the right-field screen but barely patted his hands as Mickey crossed home plate. The Yankee batter who stirred him most, as a matter of fact, was Yogi Berra, who hit a foul tip toward the President's box in the first inning. A Secret Service man, stationed near Ike with a glove (borrowed from Pee Wee Reese) to protect him from being inadvertently skulled, got the ball and handed it to the President, who took it with a grin, doubtless as a gift for his grandson David.
It was the Dodger hitters, however, whom the President applauded. He stood in the Dodger seventh inning and, after Brooklyn had won, turned to President Walter O'Malley and said, "I wish you would tell Sal that I thought he pitched one hell of a ball game." The Dodger fans reciprocated; not a soul left his seat before the President's departure, and as he was driven away—with Dodger Organist Gladys Gooding whanging out Hail to the Chief over the Ebbets Field public address system—34,000 fans stood and filled the stadium with roaring applause.
Adlai Stevenson's visit to the Series, two days later, was considerably quieter. He sat, between Mrs. Averell Harriman and New York's Mayor Bob Wagner, in the same area, near the Dodger dugout, which Ike had occupied, but he entered the park conventionally from the street and was cheered only by crowds in the vicinity of his seat. He was also carefully nonpartisan. "I am," he said, "for the Chicago White Sox," and was forthwith photographed wearing a Yankee cap and a Dodger cap, simultaneously. Nonetheless, he may have delivered one of the best lines of the whole Series. It was his luck to see that second game—the one in which the Dodgers utterly routed the proud Yankees 13-8, in which Casey had to use seven pitchers (a record) over three hours and 26 minutes (another record). "This," Adlai is credited with saying, "could never have happened under a Democratic Administration."
THE DIGNIFIED BUM
Before one of the series games, Casey Stengel pleaded with a mob of sportswriters surrounding him in the dugout to stand a little to one side so he could keep his eye on the Dodgers as they took batting practice. At no time during the Series was Casey's opposite number, the manager of the Brooklyn Bums, Walter Alston, ever denied an unobstructed view in any direction he chose to look. Casey draws interviewers like a puddle of beer draws flies; Alston repels them like Flit.