Last week, as Workman posed for pictures, he made a quiet statement: "I don't go to the races too much anymore. When my friends are going I might send along a bet. But I don't go. I don't like crowds." And he added in the tone of a man explaining his compensating interests: "I have two daughters who are happily married. I have a son, too, Raymond Jr. He's 18."
Someone asked Workman if his son would be a jockey. "No, I don't think so. He's 6 feet one and weighs 180 pounds. He looks down at me and says, 'Hi, Daddy.' It scares me."
Game No. 73" was the laconic listing on the ticket. But for the sentimentalists in the stands—who ranged from Toots Shor to the gauntleted motormen on hand to pilot the special subway trains after the final out—the game last Friday night was far more than that: it was the last night game that the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants would ever play against each other in the Polo Grounds.
The game was as routinely played as a spring exhibition—no ceremony, no lump-in-the-throat handshakes, no backward look at a great tradition and rivalry that dates into baseball's antiquity. The Brooklyns' Johnny Podres shut out the Giants quickly and humiliatingly 2-0 with three hits, sometimes throwing so quickly his catcher barely had time to squat between pitches.
In the right-field stands the young man with the yellow sport shirt and the bold eyes watched contemptuously. Wasn't he upset at the imminent departure of the team for San Francisco? "Me?" he snapped. "Naw! Why should I be? Here's the way I look at it. If I want to go to San Francisco, I don't hafta ask Horace Stoneham. 'N' if Horace Stoneham wants to go to San Francisco and take the whole flimflamming Giant team, he don't hafta ask me. Ya know what I mean? I mean, sure, I like the Giants, but if they're not here I'll go see the Yanks."
Farther back, three taciturn oldsters with rimless glasses and pale, wrinkled city faces sat quietly smoking pipes. They sat apart from each other and watched the game without emotion. An intruder wondered if they were holdovers from the McGraw era. The first one smiled. "No," he said carefully. "It's just a nice night for a ball game and it's the only one in town." The second shook his head. "I'm from the Willie Mays era," he responded. "I'll miss him. Not the rest of these donkeys." The third twinkled in the eyes. "I started coming here when Mel Ott played. And I guess I got in the habit. Now, I'll have to get out of it."
Finally, it was the ninth inning and Willie Mays had just struck out on three pitches. The loudspeaker sputtered. "Attention, please. At the conclusion of this evening's game, spectators will please remain off the playing field. Thank you." The remark stirred the fan in the yellow sport shirt. "Now, if that ain't a hot one," he pronounced. "Whotta they saving it for? Gonna graze cows here next year?"
A QUESTION, PLEASE, ON THE RED MYSTERY SHOE (SI, SEPT. 9)
When Stepanov and Kashkarov
Step into their shoes,
Stepanov steps high enough
To create front-page news.