TOYS AND GAMES: Research, Pops…
If there’s one skill any sportswriter worth his next blank receipt has, it’s an ability to research old games, players, coaches, etc.
On many occasions I’ve nabbed tellers of tall tales — “I played football at Such-and-Such U” — by simply looking at the school’s media guide. “Hmm, you played football, but you didn’t letter?”
Which brings me to my father’s story about watching a Yankees-Red Sox game in the waiting room on the day I was born, April 19, 1957. Every birthday he would recount that grand occasion: “I’ll never forget the day you were born. Ole Hank Bauer hit a home run in the 12th inning and the Yankees beat the Red Sox. Bobby Shantz got the win.”
Remember, that was back in the day when fathers didn’t go into the delivery room. They stayed in the waiting room with the other fathers-to-be then they handed out cigars once they received the good news.
Which brings me back to Pops. Uh, the Yankees did not play on April 19, 1957.
Upon further review, Bauer hit a two-run homer in the 12th on April 20, 1957 and Shantz pitched five scoreless innings of relief to get the win.
I finally ended up telling Pops the truth. Typical of his sense of humor, he laughed his ass off. Later I regretted spilling the beans. He told that story so well, I wished I had been born on April 20.