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49 Consecutive Opening Days

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  • 49 Consecutive Opening Days

    Yet another year goes by without a Giants opener. The occasion is wistfully commemorated here:

    Faith and Fear in Flushing: The Blog

    Faith and Fear in Flushing: The Book

  • #2
    Very nice piece.

    The Polo Grounds was a unique ball yard. I was there for Wes Westrum Day in August '51 and a doubleheader against the Phillies (the ceremony was between games). The Jints took two and that was the start of their climb from 13 and one-half back against the Dodgers. I was, coincidently, also at a night game in Septemeber '64 at Shibe Park in Philadelphia, the home nine six games ahead with ten to play. A utility player for the Redlegs (the cold war still raged) named Chico Ruiz steals home in the first inning, the run stands up and the Phils lose eight out of ten and the pennant. I have long made the claim to have been the only fan present at the beginning of the two biggest comebacks, possibly in baseball, certainly in the Senior Circut.

    I was also at a weekday game in the Polo Grounds in the Summer of '51 when the rookie centerfielder for the home team made what was simply the best play I have ever seen. Furillo is up for the Dodgers, Cox is on third, one out. Furillo goes the opposite way to the right center gap, Mays takes off at the crack of the bat, appears to outrun the line dry and, at the last second, stretchs full length, catchs the ball, just as it appeared to be going past him, in the web of his glove, somehow stops in two steps, turns 360 degrees and throws a strike to home plate to get Cox by five feet. As with his catch off Wertz in the '54 Series, the fact that Willie made the play was remarkable, but the throw was what made the play spectacular.

    It was a unique park with great memories, even for a Dodger fan. I think it's uniqueness extended even to the fact that I believe it was the only park, certainly in my experience, where the bullpens were both in fair territory and on the playing field.

    Again, nice column and thanks for the trip back.
    After 1957, it seemed like we would never laugh again. Of course, we did. Its just that we were never young again.


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