Sunday, April 05, 2015

The damndest things fall out of old books

Doing some casual research on a blog entry, I flipped through Jim Bouton’s classic “Ball Four” and this pass for Game Six of the 1977 World Series appeared: Dodgers vs. Yankees, the night of October 18—the game in which Reggie Jackson slammed three home runs to beat Los Angeles 8-4 and take the Series four games to two. I was there for the Daily News city desk to report events should the Yankees win—and what events there were. At the final out, chaos exploded as fans rushed out of their seats and stormed the field, hundreds of them, so many that most cops and Stadium security gave up. Bases, clumps of infield sod, even the rubber pitcher’s plate atop the mound disappeared in the avaricious hands of crazed fans. At least two guys had bloody scalps due to unfortunate encounters with NYPD billy clubs. I got to one of the bleeders who was so ecstatic over the Yankee victory and Jackson’s home runs that he cared nothing for his wound. Why would he? New York City in 1977 was a wild place, most notably for the homicidal stalkings of Son of Sam and July’s fiery, looting-plagued blackout. What did a few stitches mean after those dark days? History had been made that night at the Stadium, for Jackson had just tied Babe Ruth for most homers in a singe Series game, and as we all should know, Yankee Stadium was The House That Ruth Built. And being a reporter for a big city paper was damn fine, at least for me in 1977.


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