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A Phillies fan with a NY Giants Memory

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  • A Phillies fan with a NY Giants Memory

    SCANNING the list of surviving New York Giants on this website stirred some memories. Although I've been a lifelong Phillies fan I've always had a soft spot in my heart for the old New York Giants team.
    As a just--turned 6-year old, Northern New Jerseyan, I attended my first major league game at The Polo Grounds. Of course the attraction was that the Phillies were the visiting team.
    My father had acquired tickets for himself, my mother and myself to attend the last regular season game of the 1955 season (Sunday, Sept. 25). Happily, a Saturday rainout turned that first visit to a major league park into a doubleheader.
    Of the list of surviving NY Giants I counted 9 players who were with the team in 1955: Willie Mays, Gil Coan, Joey Amalfitano, Billy Gardner, Wayne Terwilliger, Pete Burnside, Foster Castleman, Windy McCall, and Johnny Antonelli. All of them appeared in that doubleheader except pitchers, Castleman, McCall and Antonelli.
    Surviving Phillies who played that day were Curt Simmons, Bobby Morgan, Bobby Bowman, Bob Miller, Jim Greengrass and Ted Kazanski.
    The Phillies, entering the day at 76-76, needed a sweep to finish over .500 and a split to at least have a .500 season. A split is all they managed to achieve.
    Unknown, Pete Burnside, in the second major league game of his career, outdueled future Hall Of famer Robin Roberts to get a Complete Game victory. The Giants were always a team that gave Roberts difficulty. A year later on the last day of the 1956 season, the Giants would again defeat Roberts and this time they would deny him a 20 win season. Roberts would have to settle for 19 wins thus ending a streak of six consecutive 20-win years.
    The Giants built an early lead of Game One largely on the strength of Willie Mays 51st home run of the season. Stan Lopata hit a late inning home run for the Philles, but it wasn't enough and the Giants had taken game one 5-2.
    The usually light-hitting Phillies shortstop, Ted Kazanski turned out to be the star of the nightcap, along with Curt Simmons. Kazanski hit an inside-the-park home run (one of only 13 home runs he'd hit in his career). Then Kazanski would spear a Bobby Hofman line drive and turn it into a Triple Play (SS- Kazanski to 2B Morgan to 1B Marv Blaylock).
    SIMMONS WOULD OUTDUEL FUTURE PHILLIE , JIM HEARN IN GAME TWO. Simmons held the Giants in check for 8 innings and then got ninth inning relief help from Jackie Meyer as the Phillies won a tight ball game 3-1.
    The Phillies finished at 77-77 in fourth place.
    The Giants' front office disappointed that their team had slipped from the 1954 world's champs to a third-place 80-74 finish fired manager Leo Durocher right after the doubleheader concluded.
    The Phillies weren't able to go 78-76 and finish over .500 with a sweep, but I couldn't have asked for a better introduction to attending major league games than I was given by The Polo Grounds that day.
    Last edited by philliesfiend55; 12-01-2016, 10:12 AM.

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