The fact is, a curious fan who had seen the excitement on TV might have lived a long life without ever learning what these debates were all about were it not for Mr. Happy Felton, an out-sized and effusive fellow who puts on a quiz show with the players of the opposing teams after every Dodger home game. Following this particular contest his guests were Duke Snider, the Dodger center fielder, and Smokey Burgess, the Redleg catcher. For those who couldn't or didn't tune in, here is a brief summary of the intriguing information given on Happy's program more than an hour after the regular announcers flubbed the opportunity.
On the Gilliam play in the fifth inning, Junior had collided with Redleg Pitcher Raul Sanchez, who thereupon dropped the ball while attempting to cover first on an infield grounder. Gilliam had overrun the bag on his way down to first, which was perfectly all right, but hurrying back to the bag he overran it again. This time he was tagged by Redleg First Baseman George Crowe, who had by now recovered the ball. The resulting palaver, as Burgess explained, was over the claim that Gilliam had been caught off first. And the reason he hadn't been called out, Burgess went on, was because the umpire had simply not been watching. Even Snider admitted as much.
As for the Zimmer pickoff, that occurred just after the plate umpire had thrown a new ball out to Pitcher Sanchez, who immediately wheeled and threw to first. The Dodgers were wild over this one, and even Gil Hodges, the mild-mannered Dodger first baseman, acted as if he might tear the umpire in two. On the Felton show, Snider finally explained the Dodger case: that time was out, because the pitcher had not yet toed the rubber after receiving a new ball. But, countered Burgess, Sanchez had had his foot on the rubber when he caught the new ball, and so time was automatically in. Apparently the Dodgers hadn't noticed this, but the umpire had.
This is the sort of inside baseball that every true fan gobbles up, and heaven only knows how the announcers can sit there guffawing over a rhubarb as if it were some sort of sideshow when they could be telling their audience the fascinating facts behind it.
DAY TO REMEMBER
In that fertile land near the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, the good burghers of St. Louis long ago invented a delightful expression to indicate that all is well—or even a little better than well. They say you have an egg in your beer.
Well, the other day they were playing the 1957 All-Star Game in St. Louis. All the finest players from both major leagues—even the great American League fellows like Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams, who had quit calling on St. Louis when the Browns died—were there and most of the team owners, league officials and Toots Shor, too. Everyone was in an appropriately festive mood. To make things just about perfect a pleasant breeze blew into the valley on the day of the game and cooled off Busch Stadium to just the right temperature for baseball.
Oh, yes, and there were several other items of local cheer. Stan Musial was having his best season in some time, a rookie pitcher named Von McDaniel and his brother had everyone talking in terms of Dizzy Dean and his brother, and the Cardinals were leading the National League by 2� games. As if that weren't enough, Budweiser sales were at an alltime high, and Boss Gussie Busch's pretty wife had just delivered him his fourth child.
It was no exaggeration to say, as the
St. Louis Globe-Democrat so aptly did, that St. Louis had an egg in its beer. So much so that hardly anyone seemed to notice or care that the American League beat the Nationals 6-5.
PERSONA NON GRATA