RACE WELL RUN
National League pennant race was a little like watching a fast game of tennis:
heads swung from Braves to Dodgers and back in a steady, hypnotic rhythm that
had the whole country spellbound. If Milwaukee had played baseball in September
as well as the sixth-place Giants played it (17 won, 13 lost; .567) the Braves
would have won the pennant. But Milwaukee didn't (14 won, 13 lost; .519). In
the same period Brooklyn, with many a creak and rattle, did very well indeed
(18 won, 10 lost; .643).
Down in St Louis,
the Cardinals' efficient two-out-of-three clobbering of the Braves was a
triumph of craftsmanship over self-interest. As fourth-place finishers, St.
Louis players stood to profit more from Series receipts in Milwaukee's County
Stadium (capacity 43,117) than in Brooklyn's Ebbets Field (capacity
But such matters
are only for the connoisseurs of statistics. For those to whom baseball is pure
excitement, the last week of the pennant race offered plenty: Maglie's
no-hitter capped by yet another victory; Amoros' dropped fly redeemed by three
subsequent homers. In St. Louis, the Saturday-night dead heat into extra
innings was a classic of tension, too. All things considered, the country
needed a pre-World Series rest almost as much as the aging, tired, triumphant
In the last weeks
of her life, at the end of a three-year struggle against cancer, Mildred
Didrikson Zaharias weighed less than 90 pounds. Doctors described her condition
as cachectic, which meant that her weakness had reached the stage where life
could hardly continue. They found no medical term for her courage, though; the
best they could do was to depart one day from the dry formula of hospital
bulletins and pay her a doctor's tribute: "She is one of the world's
And Mrs. Zaharias
went serenely from day to day proving that this was so. A month ago she planned
and gave—and enjoyed—a birthday party for her sister. A few days later she
announced, "I am going to win this battle yet. I am determined to get up
from this bed."
Tributes from all
over the world came to John Sealy Hospital in Galveston, sent by the friends
she made everywhere throughout her extraordinary life. (For an account of that
life, see page 66.) Honors and awards, telegrams, phone calls, visits, flowers
and gifts kept pouring in. When she died, Mildred Zaharias had seen, as perhaps
no other public figure of her time had ever seen, an overwhelming evidence of
the world's affection and respect.
In the bed room of
Joseph Skokan, 12, of Valley Stream, Long Island, two baseballs are on display.
Both of them are shellacked, and under the shellac are the autographs of Joe's
teammates, coaches, family and various friends. The balls were used in the two
no-hit games Joe has pitched in the Valley Stream Mail Baseball League.