Monday, October 25, 2010

Particles Happening to 2010 San Francisco Giants

This may be a title for a future SF Examiner headline, if the Giants are leading the series. The best of seven, World Series.

But what I have personally gone through, just making good use of my time (between games) is also filled with premonitions. And a lot of this is because I just took a book out of a library by James S. Hirsch, authorized by Willie Mays entitled, Willie Mays- The Life. The Legend.

As the Giants of 2010 were preparing for the Phillies- in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series- I was reading that Willie Mays would be getting the call in May of 1951. He was to be at Philadelphia.

And as the Hirsch book will do, it leads up to each event with baseball stories and so-called legends. Stuff baseball is made of!

So I'm flipping the pages, totally into what the Hirsch-man is saying (you'd think the open window caught a stiff breeze, the way those pages were turning) and he starts giving his Leo Durocher stories.

As told in the book, by James S. Hirsch:

At the time of lyrical nicknames, Leo Durocher's was simply "the Lip," from which obscenities constantly roared.

According to Leo: His first rule was, "Don't clutter your brain with ethics."
"Good sportsmanship is so much sheep dip. Good sports get that way because they have so much practice losing."

Dick Young, the abrasive Daily News columnist, prepared a young reporter for his first meeting with Durocher: "Figure you and Durocher are shipwrecked and you both end up on this little raft with sharks swimming around. Leo slips into the water. A shark closes in. You dive in and pull him out. But while you are rescuing him, the shark comes up and takes your right leg. You bleed like hell, but somehow you survive. The next day, you and Durocher start even."

Dodger general manager, Branch Rickey observed: "Leo has an infinite capacity for going into a bad situation and making it worse."

Willie Mays got called up on May 24, 1951. Hirsch poses the question with his articulate prose, is that where #24 Mays got it's call? (As a member of the Minneapolis Millers, for whom he was playing before the call-up, he wore #28...who wears #28 and is a rookie for the 2010 San Francisco Giants?)

After going 0-12, Mays was to face Warren Spahn and the Boston Braves in the Polo Grounds.
Spahn would become the winningest left-handed pitcher of all-time. In his first at-bat, this is what Giant announcer, Russ Hodges said. "If it's the only home run he ever hits, they'll still remember him."

Pitcher Warren Spahn said, "For the first sixty feet, it was a helluva pitch."

The book mentions how the organist at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn would play "Three Blind Mice," as the umpires appeared from the home team's dugout. Or how Dusty Rhodes described himself as "Horace Stoneham's bartender."

I'm only at the beginning of this story, as Willie is still playing at the Polo Grounds. It's chocked full of good particles.

About Willie Mays' first major league home run, Leo "the Lip" has the last say in this baseball story-filled lovefest. "I never saw a fucking ball, leave a fucking park, so fucking fast, in my fucking life."

(the book is Willie Mays-The Life. The Legend, by James S. Hirsch. Authorized by Willie Mays.)

Kevin J. Marquez