MLB’s expanded playoffs and three game series are a travesty. Or maybe not.

MLB’s expanded playoffs and three game series are a travesty. Or maybe not.

The New York Evening World, 18 Oct 1889. The cartoon marks the Giants victory in the first ever World Series game. I argue we should have emulated the 1889 series in our current 2020 pandemic season.

This is the last week of the major league baseball season, the final leg of season long pennant races as the languid pace of the summer months gives way to a week of manic intensity, desperation and exultation.

It’s the week to remember great races of yore and lore: in 1951 when the Dodgers and Giants played a tie-breaking series where Bobby Thompson hit the shot heard round the world; in 1978 when the Yankees and Red Sox also tied and met for a single game and I left school early enough the watch Yaz pop up to Nettles in the ninth with two out and two on; in 1967, when entering the last week of play, four teams had a chance to reach the World Series and the same Yaz essentially willed the Sox to victory in the last two games, going 7-for-8 with a homer and six runs batted in; the two great collapses, first in 1964, when in a three team race to the wire, the Phillies lost 10 of their last 12, blowing a 6 1/2 game lead, and in 1987 when Toronto lost its last seven games, including a three game set to the Tigers who won the title thanks to the Blue Jays’ implosion.¹

(t-b, l-r) Carl Yastrzemski at the plate, 1967 (baseballhistorycomesalive.com); Yaz popping up to Graig Nettles with two men on for the last out of the 1978 tie-breaker game (theatletic.com); New York Giants’ third baseman Bobby Thomson on Oct. 3, 1951 after his homer that gave his team victory over the Brooklyn Dodgers and the National League pennant. The radio broadcast of this famous moment sports history is among recent additions to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry. (Bettmann Archive/Getty Images) (rollcall.com); the Red’s Chico Ruiz, right, steals home in a 1-0 victory over Philadelphia, the start of a 10 game losing streak that cost the Phillies the National League pennant (Associated Press) (delcotimes.com); from Ian Hunter’s “Acid Flashback Friday: The Blue Jays Lose the Pennant at Tiger Stadium in 1987” (jayhunter.com)

Except not this year.

Earlier in the summer major league baseball faced the prospect of a severely truncated 60 game season. On the one hand, this unprecedented season seemingly transformed baseball from a marathon into almost a sprint. The shortened season — each single game carrying the weight of 2.7 normal games — presented possibilities for tantalizingly new twists and turns.  On the other hand, to avoid the curse of the asterisk — even if only in the public imagination — MLB needed to anoint a legitimate and deserving champion.

At first, MLB, made the right move. The playoff format would stay the same, three division winners and two wild card teams meeting in a single elimination game. Then, just as the season neared, MLB reversed course, expanding the playoff field to 16 teams in which all sixteen play in a best-of-three opening round.

In one moment — a travesty on several levels — MLB ruined its regular season and potentially, if not likely, compromised its postseason.  The expansion of the playoffs has made MLB into the NBA and NHL with their bloated postseasons rendering the regular season basically meaningless as the drama is reduced to jockeying for seeding position and uninteresting competitions for the final 16th spot.  (Full disclosure, in Say it aint so Joe. Could I like MLB’s proposed playoff changes?, I said I might accept an additional wild card in each league, but that change could potentially enhance the late season races.)

MLB standings, 9/24/20, Wednesday games not included (The New York Times)

So, in this last week, the drama has been largely denuded. How excited are you about the epic race between Houston and Los Angeles for the eight seed? At least the National League has four teams vying for the last two spots. But one of them is below .500. Can you imagine a sub .500 team winning the World Series? Travesty.²

It gets worse. In normal NBA and NHL seasons, at least teams are jockeying for high seeds that come with home field/ice advantage. In the covid season, however, given that fans are not allowed, home field advantage is noticeably lessened. In addition, the last three rounds of the playoff are to be at neutral sites where the only, and very minor, home advantage is batting last.

Initially, MLB planned an innovative wrinkle to the postseason. The top three seeds would choose their first round opponent. Hence, the top seed picks what it considers to be the worst team from the bottom five. Unfortunately, the idea was dropped. As such, given that home field advantage is lessened without fans, teams might actually have an incentive to lose. That is, say a # 2 seed is likely to face a # 7 seed on a hot roll. The # 2 might decide it’s better to face a #6 seed not on hot streak. Hence, the ostensible # 2 could deliberately lose games to avoid playing the # 7 because dropping to the 3rd seed would barely matter.

In addition to diluting the regular season with playoff expansion, MLB has made the opening round a best-of-three series. A travesty. During the regular season, the lesser team very frequently wins a best-of-three set; it’s so commonplace as to barely merit attention.  Defenders say the college baseball uses three game series in its postseason and still anoints a legitimate champion. But the talent gap between college teams is much more pronounced than between professional teams. (SEE HISTORY OF THREE GAME SERIES AT END)

Originally, MLB was going to play the opening round in a neutral site bubble, rendering home field advantage virtually non-existent, hence making the regular season that much more irrelevant.  At least now that the Wild Card round will be played at the field of the higher seed, the better team will have some home field advantage, albeit diminished without fans.  Nonetheless, the ultra-short opening round will likely see a better team unceremoniously eliminated.

I argue that this season the playoffs should not have been expanded; instead, the playoff field should have been contracted. The primary goal of this season should be to produce a World Series champion worthy of the name. The fewer the teams in the playoffs, the better chance the title will be deserved.

Here’s what I would have done.

At the very least, I would eliminate the second wild card and the wild card play-in game. Instead, while I like the drama of a five game series, I would make the Division Series a seven game affair to lessen the chances of a worse team advancing. (I’ve long called for ridding baseball of the second wild card as seen in Eliminate the Wild Card Game, please.)

Actually, I would even go much further.

The challenges of this unique season deserved a unique solution. I would have looked back to 1889 to what was touted as the very first World Series, pitting the Brooklyn Bridegrooms vs. the New York Giants. That very first series was a best of eleven.

(left) the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 17 Oct 1889. Note the use of the term, World’s Series; (middle) the New York Evening World, 18 Oct 1889; (right) the New York Evening World, 30 Oct 1889

To emulate that series, I would have eliminated interleague play and also the playoffs.  The 15 teams in each league would battle for a “real” pennant. True, an imbalanced schedule due to limited travel during the pandemic might have allowed a slighter lesser team to win the league pennant; nonetheless, only very top tier teams would play in the World Series.

In keeping with the spirit of 1889, rather than making the DH universal as did MLB, I would eliminate the DH for this season.

The best of eleven 1889 World Series captivated fans. Ultimately, the Giants prevailed in 9 games over the Bridegrooms.  The series was marked by the Brooklyn’s stalling tactics. Given that sunset is early in late October, if the Bridegrooms were ahead in the late innings, they stalled in hopes the game would be called by darkness with themselves holding the lead. One game only lasted 6 innings. The Giants complained, and the umpires pushed back against the Bridegrooms’ procrastinations. Perhaps fittingly, it was the Bridegrooms who stalled, like a hapless fiancé trying to drag out his engagement ad nauseam.

Think of how compelling an 11 game series without playoffs would be. Baseball starved fans riveted to every pitch. In an 11 game series without travel breaks because of the neutral site, each team would probably use a five man staff, setting up an unprecedented possible game eleven featuring each team’s ace pitcher.

I vividly remember what is dubbed “the Last Great or Last Real Pennant Race,” the epic 1993 down-to-the wire contest between the Atlanta Braves and the San Francisco Giants in the National League West. 1993 was the last two division, no wild card season. So, while both teams won over a hundred games, the Giants missed the playoff despite 103 victories, well surpassing the NL East champion Phillies who won 97. My radical plan would allow another “Great Pennant Race.”

In September 1993, I moved to Narragansett, Rhode Island to attend graduate school at URI. All summer I followed the back-and-forth race, but while my new home overlooked the Atlantic Ocean, we did not get cable and I only had a small black and white tv.

Happily, I discovered that the Ocean Rose Inn, just across the street from us, had cable and big screen color televisions where I watched the final dramatic showdowns.

(top) The Last Real Race (espn.com); (bottom, l-r) Ocean Rose Inn, 113 Ocean Rd, Narragansett, RI (facebook); David Kramer, 9/12/93, Ocean Rose Inn in background. The day before my 30th birthday. Shirt given by Sarah Lum from her travels in the old Soviet Union. That night, I swear, I met a group of itinerant actors at Ocean Rose. A little after midnight on the 13th, we all went skinny dipping in the Atlantic Ocean, the troupe singing merry and sometimes ribald songs. From 30 years ago when Billy Buck broke Rhode Island’s heart

I distinctly recall the game of September 12th on the eve of my 30th birthday. At Ocean Rose, I was watching the Giants lose to the Cubs on the west coast. During the game, I met a group of itinerant actors.  I missed the end of the Giants-Cubs game because a little after midnight on the 13th, we all went skinny dipping in the Atlantic Ocean, the troupe singing merry and sometimes ribald songs.

Interestingly, 1995, the first year of three divisions and the wild card (there were no playoffs in the strike shortened 1994 season), produced a pennant race even closer than in 1993. In the new American League West, California and Seattle ran neck in neck down the home stretch while also battling the Yankees for the Wild Card spot. The teams were tied at the end of the regular season. Seattle won the elimination games, while California did not make the postseason, falling a game behind the Yankees.

But, while exciting, the 1995 AL West race does not compare to 1993. California and Seattle were only the 4th and 5th best teams. If played under the current (bad) two wild card system, the race would have been anti-climactic as the losing team would also make the playoffs.

OR MAYBE NOT

As much as my arguments about the various travesties are rock solid , I have some misgivings and self-doubt. Maybe the playoff expansion — if limited to a single season — might not be so bad.

No matter what, I would not follow this season closely.

In my anti-playoff expansion jeremiad, I rant that expansion makes the regular season close to irrelevant.  But, in fairness, I must confess I have not at all been captivated by the covid season, expansion or not. MLB has tried, but a baseball season needs to be long, like a enduring marriage with its ups and down, in which attention oscillates, peaking at a July 4th double header with lulls like 4 hour games lasting past midnight. This short season feels like dating someone for a year in college, a passing experience and one to be forgotten when the long commitment to marriage — and a 162 game season — beckons.

Furthermore, games without fans, especially in the postseason, are pale substitutes. For example, recently I planned to watch Houston play Los Angeles in Dodger Stadium. Given the bad blood between the two because the cheatin’ ‘Stros who stole a World Series from the Dodgers, normally this would be a scintillating matchup. But I skipped watching. With no fans to boo the Astros, the blood lust appeal of the game was lost. One Dodger fan did pay to have an a plane fly over the stadium with a sign: HOUSTON CHEATS BANG BANG

Ashley Landis/Associated Press, 9/12/20

But, of course, no fans could cheer on the pilots’ exploit, no less exciting than Lindbergh’s Atlantic crossing.

Also in fairness, I bemoan the lack of compelling races this season. But looking at the standings and truth be told, the old format would not have produced much drama: only one division race is close.

Furthermore, I must admit, covid or not, I follow the regular season less and less. The games are too slow and long. I don’t like the current overload of home runs and strikeouts. I miss games where ace pitchers go deep into games, if not complete them, rather than leave after a set pitch count to be followed by a stream of relievers.

Eugene and David Kramer watching the 2016 postseason. (l-r) Mets v. Giants Wild Card Game 10/05/16 We mixed feelings on this game. My father had predicted the Mets to win it all. But his granddaughter living south of SF roots for the Giants. I am wearing SF football 49ers hat and Stanford University shirt. Eugene has on a generic NY sports hats and holding picture of Yogi Berra when he managed the Mets in 1973; Toronto vs. Texas, AL Division Series. This series was a rematch of the three Rangers vs. Blue Jays game we saw in 1977 at the old Exhibition Stadium. I am waving Canadian flag. Eugene has a Texas Ranger pennant from the 1970s. He is also wearing an authentic Texas Ranger hat; Cleveland vs. Boston 10/07/16 Eugene was for Boston. He is holding picture of Ted Williams and Babe Ruth, using a red mitt to cover Ruth. I am wearing a Cleveland Browns football shirt and a baseball figurine that looks like the great Indian, Nap Lajoie. From Grading Kramer & Kramer’s 2016 baseball predictions

I confess that for all my purist talk, I mostly tune in for the adrenaline rush of the postseason.

I have not entirely abandoned regular season baseball. I still enjoy listening on the radio while biking. On the radio, while the crowd noise is fake, I can’t see the lack of fans. On Sunday August 16th — a day that was a brief respite from the searing heat wave — I cycled on the Genesee Riverway Trail up to Charlotte and then over to Durand Park with a hand held radio in my shirt pocket tuned to the Red Sox – Yankee game. I find the that flow of passing landscape and the flow of the baseball game are complimentary.

Recently, the Sony Portable AM/FM Radio I used during the summer broke. I learned that in our area only Best Buy actually carries one in store stock. The salesman says the radios very rarely sell.

At Durand, I hid my radio under a log and went for a cooling swim. Given how long Red Sox-Yankees games are, I didn’t miss much. Upon return, the radio was safely under the log, although if someone from the current generation found the hand held device, they might find it a mysterious object, much less steal the analog throwback. I returned home just as the postgame show was rehashing the Yankees 4 – 2 victory in which several late inning Red Sox rallies were squelched. Glad that baseball was back.

The Yankees made the playoffs

Like many fans, I mostly focus on my teams, first the New York Yankees and then the New York Mets if they are doing well.

New York Yankee cards from ’69 and ’72 (Topp’s and Milton Bradley), during the 1965 – 1976 period when the Yankees failed to make the postseason [David Kramer’s collection] From Street and Smith’s is back and so is Bill Pruitt with “Pennant Race 18: Curses Laid and Lifted”

from the 1969 edition of

Some rare Met cards from the 1969 edition of the Milton Bradley OFFICIAL Baseball Game, the year the Mets won the World Series [David Kramer’s collection]  From The wait is over. Adding ’69 to the Series.

This gimmicky season I hypocritically accept the gift of the Yankees in the postseason. Under the old format, they would fighting with two other teams for the wild card spots (or in one of my scenarios, a single wild card spot). Under my radical reworking of the season, the Yankees would be out of the pennant race.

Baseball might get lucky as it did in 1981

As seen in The 1981 baseball strike comes to Rochester. When Dave Winfield made 1.3 million a year!, the last time baseball had to drastically refigure its format was during the 1981 strike season when a split season was played. The system was flawed; the division winner in the first half had limited incentive to win in the second half and the Cincinnati Reds actually had the best overall record but failed to make the postseason.

That season the playoffs were expanded from four to eight teams. The experiment worked. The playoffs were exciting.

Trading Cards from the eight 1981 playoff teams: Topps, Fleer, Score, Kelloggs, Donruss and Pacific. Card of the same players from other years are included. [From David Kramer's collection] (l) Los Angeles Dodgers beat the New York Yankees in the World Series, 4-2, beat the Montreal Expos in the NLCS, 3-2; (r) New York Yankees lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series, 4-2, beat the Oakland Athletics in the ALCS, 3-0, beat the Milwaukee Brewers in the ALDS, 3-2

(left and right) the 1981 Dodgers and Yankees, including Topps, Fleer, Score, Kellogg’s, Donruss, Pacific and Milton Bradley.  {David Kramer’s collection] From The 1981 baseball strike comes to Rochester. When Dave Winfield made 1.3 million a year!

Most importantly, the World Series featured two top teams, the Dodgers and the Yankees in an rematch of the Yankees victories in 1977 and 1978. The Series was compelling and the expanded playoff were forgiven by purists.

If the 2020 season produces a Yankees-Dodgers matchup, all will be again forgiven. As see in Looking through the glass half full, the 2020 baseball preview, Street & Smith’s predicts the Yankees will beat the Dodgers in the World Series.

The playoffs will be must see TV

The 2020 season is a season of novelties — expanded and reserve rosters, seven inning double headers, starting extra innings with a runner on second³ — with the biggest novelty being the three game Wild Card series.  We haven’t had a three game elimination series since 1962. (SEE BELOW) The Wild Card round — September 29th – August 2nd if necessary — may well undermine the legitimacy of the eventual champion — but will be compelling. September 30th will be an eight-game day with every Wild Card Series in action.

The division and league series will also be different.  To be played at a neutral site, no off days are scheduled.  This compressed will lead to new pitching strategies. And the World Series will end before Halloween.

NOTES

¹ The 1973 American League East race produced an oddity when Detroit won the Division with the smallest margin possible, one half game, over Boston. In April, the players had gone on strike resulting in teams playing between 6 and 9 less games than scheduled, allowing the Tigers to win by that one half game over the Red Sox.

The Timeline at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Highland Park [Photo: David Kramer] From Baseball at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Highland Park (1960 – 1972)

1972 Detroit Tigers (Topps 1973) In 1972, Baltimore was expected to win its fourth straight AL crown. But the Tigers, led by aging stars Lolich, Kaline, Freehan and Cash, proved they had one more run in them after winning the 1968 series. [David Kramer’s collection] From Baseball was better 45 years ago

² As we approach, the final weekend, the National League races have tightened, and are actually interesting. Eight teams are chasing four spots.

As of 9/25, eight teams are still alive in search of four spots. C-2 and E-3 indicate that St. Louis and Miami are currently leading the race for the second place divisional bearth. Cincinnati and San Francisco currently lead in the Wild Card races. Note that a sub-.500 team can quite easily make the postseason. (mlb.com)

³ These innovations have baseball junkies imagining unlikely but possible new scenarios. For example this season a pitcher could pitch a perfect game — and lose! A pitcher could enter the bottom of 10th inning with a perfect game. Under the new rule, a base runner is put on second base. The pitcher throws two wild pitches and the game is over. The pitcher retired all 27 batters he faced — a perfect game — and he lost.

Postscript: history of the National League’s best-of-three tiebreaking series

Before division play, four times, the National League held a best-of-three tiebreaking series to determine the pennant winner. Interestingly, each time involved the Dodgers, in 1946 and 1951 when the franchise was in Brooklyn and in 1959 and 1962 when in Los Angeles.

The series produced many dramatic finishes.  1946 was one sided with the Cardinals winning in two.  1951 featured what some consider the greatest home run in baseball history: Bobby Thompson’s three run shot to win the pennant for the Giants. In 1959, the Dodgers won in two against the Milwaukee Braves, but both were one run affairs. In game two, the Dodgers rallied for three runs in the ninth before winning on Felix Mantilla’s error in the 12th. In 1962, the Giants gained revenge for 1951, winning in three games. Game two — Dodgers by 8 – 7 — was, at the time, the longest nine inning game in major league history. The Giants won game three 6 – 4 after a four run 9th inning rally that included a walk that forced in the go-head run and an error by Jose Pagán to extend the Giants lead.

1946 St. Louis Cardinals vs. Brooklyn Dodgers

Notably, as seen in 70 years ago today when Jackie Robinson broke the color line at Red Wings Stadium, in 1946 Jackie Robinson played at Red Wings Stadium when a member of the International League Montreal Royals.

The Cardinals won the first game, 4-2.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October, 2nd 1946. Photo captions (l-r) JOE GARAGIOLA (left), kid” catcher for the Cards, who made three hits and batted in two Redbird runs; HOWIE POLLET (center), who pitched for the Cards; and EDDIE DYER, who piloted his team to victory, are exultant over beating the Dodgers in the first play-off game here yesterday; TED WILLIAMS, ace hitter for the Red Sox, taking treatment for his elbow, injured in a tune-up, game by a pitched ball, yesterday. Ted has been declared okay for the world series, but will play no more practice games;  MARTY MARION, Cardinal shortstop and middle man in three double killings in the Brooklyn play-off game, yesterday, relays to first base for a double play in the third inning, after Pollet’s throw to second on Lavagetto’s grounder had forced out ED STANKY, Dodger infielder.

New York Daily News, Oct 2nd, 1946. Photo captions (l-r): ‘OUCH!’ Red Sox slugger Ted Williams tenderly rubs his elbow which was nicked by pitched ball during exhibition game in Boston. X-ray showed no fractureMEN WHO COUNTED St. Loo’s Captain Terry Moore zips into third in 1st inning, barely beating ball which Cookie Lavagetto is about to clutch. Ump Boggess eyes play closely. Moore went on to score Cards first run;  Howie Schultz, who opened Brooklyn’s third inning with a homer, gets the glad hand from Stanky. Red-birds took first playoff game, 4-2, at Sportsman’s Park. Next act Thursday at Ebbets Field.

The Cardinals won the second game 8 – 4.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October, 4th, 1946. Photo caption: Dodger fans reported around midnight yesterday and formed a line at the Ebbets Field ticket windows for the second. game of the pennant play-off series today, between the Redbirds and the Dodgers

New York Daily News, Oct 4th, 1946. Photo captions (l-r): (left, top-bottom) Toeing In Eric Dusak, Card outfielder, skims into third on a triple in the second inning as Aupie Galan awaits the ball (arrow). ‘Twas a Very close decisionPraying? Ed Stanky’s supplicating attitude must have helped, ’cause ‘ Marty Marion is forced at second in 4th inning; Dorocher Objects  Doing what comes natur’lly, Leo points out to Ump Beans Reardon that Dusak was out. Even Pee Wee Reese (right J is there to help his bossLeaping up to avoid Edwards’ spikes, Marion takes throw to force him at second in 2d inning. Cards won, 8-4.  (right, l-r,t-b) CAPACITY UNLIMITED  These bleacher fans came early and find that sandwiches and beer go far toward filling in the wait till game time; GOING WILD Dodger rooters cheer like anything . EARLY in the game, when Brooklyn’s chances looked fair. Later on . . . well . . .; DISTAFF DEVOTION to the Dodger cause is exhibited by Mrs.  Rube Melton, Mrs. Hank Taylor and Mrs. Howie Rchullz. Their hubbies all saw action — Cards’ action, that is; QUOTE Wait till next year! end quote;  A NEUTRAL  Fred Walker Sr. is strictly a middleman between sons Harry and Dixie

1951 New York Giants vs. Brooklyn Dodgers

Notably, as seen in Baseball at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Highland Park (1960 – 1972), 1951 was the rookie season for Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays who met in World Series.

The Timeline at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Highland Park [Photo: David Kramer] From Baseball at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Highland Park (1960 – 1972)

The Giants won the first game 3 – 1.

(top) the Brooklyn Eagle, October 1st, 1951; (below) The New York Times, October 2nd, 1951

The New York Times, October 2nd, 1951 (Worthpoint.com)

The Dodgers won game two 10 – 0.

New York Daily News, October 3rd, 1951. Photo captions (top, bottom l-r): On Top of the Play Duke Snider of the Dodgers slides into home plate but his leg ig deftly blocked by catcher Westrum’s leg and the Duke is out. He’d tried to come all the way from 2nd base on an error, but a quick recovery brought this result. Snider, however, not seeing the play action from such a vantage point as ump Goetz, is not convinced;  As Goetz signals out, Snider lets out howl. Westrum, on ump’s side, keeps quiet; Dodger brain trust joins in, but Goetz’s say-so prevails.

The Giants won the third game 5 – 4.

The New York Times, October 4th, 1951 (left, Mitchellarchives.com; right, Worthpoint.com)

The New York Herald, October 4th, 1951 (Walteromalley.com)

New York Daily News, October 4th, 1951. Photo caption: A Laugh for His Pains Mueller, who sprained his ankle sliding into 3d during Giants’ 9th inning rally, grins despite his pain. With him (left to right) are Coach Fitzsimmons. winning pitcher Jansen, winning hitter Thomson and winning owner Stoneham in Polo Grounds clubhouse.

1959 Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Milwaukee Braves

The Dodgers win the first game 3- 2.

September 29th, 1959. Los Angeles Times (left). Left photo caption: ROSY PICTURE Catcher John Roseboro is Dodger hero in Dodger dugout after clouting sixth-inning homer that beat Milwaukee, 3-2, in first play- Ready to shake his hand rre, from left, coach Chuck Dressen, Don Zimmer, manager Walt Alston and pitchers Don Drysdale and Roger Craig; (right) Wisconsin State Journal. Photo caption: Here’s How Sherry Looked to Braves Larry Sherry, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 24-year-old pitcher, twists as he delivers the ball toward the plate in Monday’s playoff game against the Milwaukee Braves. He took over tn relief and in 7 2/3 innings allowed four hits while holding the Braves scoreless

The Dodgers won the second game 6 – 5 in twelve innings.

Wisconsin State Journal, September 30th, 1959. Photo caption: Hodges Crosses Plate With Fateful Run Dodger Gil Hodges crosses home plate with the winning run in the 12th inning Tuesday, greeted by teammate Maury Wills 38 and a jacket tossed out oi the I . Angeles dugout. The umpire is Al Barlirk. Hodges scored from second when Carl Furillo singled and Felix Mantilla threw wild to first base.

Los Angeles Times, September 30th, 1959. Photo caption: VICTORY HUG — Happy Dodgers mob Gil Hodges, who come in with run thot won the National League pennant, and Carl Furillo, i who hit the grounder thot scored him. On fringes of crowd are man-oger Alston, left; Fairly (8), Moon (9), Craig (38) and Neal (43)

From the Archives: Dodgers win 1959 pennant playoffs, Los Angeles Times (May 2017)

1962 San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

The Giants won the first game 8 – 0.

Los Angeles Times, 02 Oct 1962. Photo caption: ‘NICE GOING, WILLIE ‘That’s what Giants’ Felipe Alou seems to be saying to Willie Mays after, the” Say-Hey Kid clouted first inning home run with Alou on base in Monday’s Giant-Dodger game.

San Francisco Examiner, 02 Oct 1962. (left caption) THREE GOOD FRIENDS MEET AT CANDLESTICK . . , Willie May, Jacob Shemano, president of the Golden Gale National Dank, and Dodger Coach Leo Durocher; (right caption) TOOTS SHOR: “ATAWAYWILLIEBABY” . . . he flew from New York to watch the Giant) win

The Dodgers won the second game game 8 – 7.

The Los Angeles Times, 03 Oct 1962. Phot0 caption: SWEET VICTORY Dodger fans, many with looks of disbelief over team’s 8-7 conquest of Giants, wave and shout as do-or-die, marathon game comes to end.

San Francisco Examiner, 03 Oct 1962. Left photo caption: WHEN MAYS WAS CALLED OUT AT THIRD BASE IN EIGHTH INNING RHUBARB . . . Willie tingled tilth Davenport also on. Bailey also tingled, Davenport scoring. But Mays was called out.; Right photo caption: The Giants Willie Mays (r.) and Whitey Lockman argue violently with umpire Jocko Conlan in Los Angeles after Conlan called Willie out in a close  play at third base during the eight inning. Conlan wouldn’t budge on his decision.

The Giants won the third game 6 – 4.

The Los Angeles Times, 04 Oct 1962. Right caption: DODGERS’ LAST SPARK Maury Wills steals his 104th base as the throw eludes Giants Jim Davenport in the seventh inning. Wills got up and scrambled home to give the Dodgers a 4-2 advantage.

San Francisco Examiner, 03 Oct 1962. Left photo caption: THE FACES OF VICTORY BILLY PIERCE, ORLANDO CEPEDA AND WILLIE McCOVEY IN THE LOCKER ROOM AT LOS ANGELES; Right top photo caption: JOYOUS CROWD WAITING FOR ‘OUR GIANTS” AT TOWELL AND MARKET STS. BUT THE GIANTS DIDN’T COME; right middle: 4:12 P. M. YESTERDAY, 7 MINUTES AFTER THE GIANTS WON, THIS WAS MONTGOMERY ST.; right bottom:  Rain of TICKER TAPE AND CONFETTI ALONG MONTGOMERY ST.

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About The Author

dkramer3@naz.edu

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, and the CITY.  My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.

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