- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
MANY WORDS, were spoken during the drama that was the 1956 World Series, and the principals, besieged by reporters, said many more in the sown epilogues. Somehow a week of insulation between the last act and a round of recall gives the best and most telling of those utterances a certain interest as footnotes to history.
Casey Stengel led off and set the tone with this pre-Series profundity: "I expect to win every day, but we may have to play more than four days." To which Walter Alston, the Brooks' quiet bard, replied: "I'm counting on momentum to carry us through. We have the psychological edge." With those pistols hung on the wall, the first act began, and when it was over, Dodger Duke Snider vouchsafed, "The Yankees are no better than either the Braves or the Redlegs." After the 13-8 rout, Casey Stengel first cracked, "We needed another touchdown," then muttered, "My Yanks were never worse." But a ray of Italian happiness was provided by Frank Crosetti who said, "We got beat, but the sun will come up tomorrow morning as usual I guess."
Meanwhile, back at the Stadium, Billy Martin was telling them that the "Dodgers don't make me see blood, but they do make me mad." And Enos Slaughter indignantly denied he took vitamin pills: "What do you think, I'm old or something?" Mickey Mantle, working two shifts, one as ballplayer and one as journalist, held off questioning newsmen by saying, "I can't talk too much, since I'll scoop myself." A day later, with the Series at two-all, Casey observed: "The Series is more even now than it was."
Then there was an omen. A happy Swede predicted: "I'm gonna beat those guys tomorrow, and I'm just liable to pitch a no-hitter doing so." That Don Larsen did. Empathy from Sal Maglie: "Gee, I felt sorry for you in the ninth." The chorus cried: "Perfect...unbelievable...terrific...man!...he really had it!"
Now the Dodgers turned to humor. Don Zimmer was looking for bats the day following the no-hitter and could find none. "Hell," he yelled, "what do we use to hit with?" Joe Becker, Dodger coach, hollered back, "Use the same things you did yesterday."
The declining action followed. "When I hit the ball," said Jackie Robinson of his game-winning single, "I was rooting for it to sink." It didn't, but on the next day the Dodgers themselves sank 9-0, and a separate drama involving Don Newcombe (reported elsewhere in this section) developed. Cantankerous Casey, grudgingly happy with victory, said, "Our pitchers finally came through." New York City's Mayor Wagner, a man running for office, said he was "proud of both teams."
IN THE 19TH CENTURY, Alice stepped through a looking glass into a world of make-believe. In the 20th, you don't have to step through; you just turn the knob and a flimsy, pale-gray wonderland jumps right at you. On rare occasions, though, the television audience feels itself drawn through its looking glass, past the everyday shoddy, and into the realm of the genuine.
This happened last Thursday night when CBS offered its audience a 90-minute play called Requiem for a Heavyweight. It was a story about a boxer who never quite made it; about the things that 14 years and 111 fights did to his body and his life; and about the dead end of hopelessness and humiliation he reached when the 14 years were over.
Several of the people involved in the making of Requiem for a Heavyweight were working from experience. Rod Serling, who wrote the script, and Jack Palance, who played the part of the fighter, are both ex-boxers who used to know a broken nose when they had one. Max Baer and Maxie Rosen-bloom were in the cast. Others—Ed Wynn, Keenan Wynn, Kim Hunter—were simply actors of ability and taste.