Tag Archives: New York Yankees

Babe Ruth And Lou Gehrig Comedy Record -1927

A Commercial Recording Release By The Bambino and The Iron Horse

Gehrig and Ruth at League Park Cleveland 1927 photo L Van OeyenRecently I was reading an old New York Times column from October 7, 1956 by Gay Talese in which he wrote about the history of baseball records. Not home run or pitching records, but baseball related music and spoken word records.

In the article Talese mentions that one of the first record companies to release a baseball record was Pathe records in 1928 when they got Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig to make a recording explaining how they hit home runs. It did not sell very well. Almost all baseball related recordings have traditionally done poorly with sales, with the exception of Take Me Out To The Ballgame written in 1908 by Albert Von Tilzer and Jack Norworth. Incredibly neither Von Tilzer or Norworth had ever attended a baseball game prior to writing their hit song.

So I searched for the Ruth – Gehrig recording on youtube and couldn’t find the exact recording mentioned in the article, but came up with this version instead. (Click on the youtube video below). Apparently it is the exact same record as in the Talese article, but Talese is mistaken about  the content and the date.

It’s a comedy skit (which is not very funny) advertised Continue reading

An Interview With Avery Corman “My Old Neighborhood Remembered A Memoir”

Avery Corman, Author of Kramer vs. Kramer, Talks About His Latest Book: My Old Neighborhood Remembered A Memoir

My Old Neighborhood RememberedThe neighborhood is the Bronx. The time is World War II and the post war years. And the writer is Avery Corman. His newest book My Old Neighborhood Remembered A Memoir (2014) Barricade Books, is his first non-fiction book and is filled with wonderful recollections of growing up.

After graduating college Corman was working on the fringes of advertising and with the encouragement of a friend, Herb Gardner (A Thousand Clowns; I’m Not Rappaport; etc), he took a stab at writing a book. That effort was published as Oh God! A Novel (1971). After that hurdle Corman never looked back and he became a full-time novelist. Oh God! was eventually made into a very popular movie in 1977 starring George Burns and John Denver.

Some of Corman’s other acclaimed novels include The Bust-Out King (1977), The Old Neighborhood (1980); 50 (1987); Prized Possessions (1991); The Boyfriend from Hell (2006) and his most famous work, Kramer vs. Kramer (1977) which was adapted into a movie in 1979 and was the winner of five Academy Awards including Best Picture.

Avery Corman’s success must partially stem from his middle-class upbringing in the Fordham section of the Bronx during the 1940’s and 50’s, where he admits he was not the best student when it came to math and science, but did well in the humanities and was surrounded by a loving, extended family.

My Old Neighborhood Remembered A Memoir is more a series of vignettes rather than a straight autobiography and that style comes off well. Corman shares his memories of childhood during World War II up until he becomes a successful author in the late 1960’s. He paints beautiful word pictures, sometimes tinged with sadness, of growing up in a wondrous place that no longer exists. Most of the stories offer short bursts of family life, games, food, education, sports and all the things that contributed to making the Bronx a special place to grow up in.

Corman’s stories resonate with a tender glow of friendships, family and the feeling that neighborhoods were once really neighborhoods, where the familiarity of rituals, people and places were ingrained in the surroundings.

Here are parts one and two of an exclusive interview with Avery Corman.

Part I, Avery Corman talks about what made the Bronx a special place during the war. His unique living situation and school life.

In part II Corman Continue reading

Thurman Munson And Billy Martin Argue A Call

Thurman Munson Is Out And Billy Martin Does Not Agree

Thurman Munson Billy Martin argue call July 21 1978

There was no instant replay back when this scene occurred on July 21, 1978 as Billy Martin pleads his case in vain to umpire Durwood Merrill. Believe it or not, they are arguing that Munson should have been called safe when he attempted to steal home.

The Yankees were playing the Minnesota Twins at Metropolitan Stadium, a place very familiar to Yankees manager Billy Martin and the theft of home. When Martin managed the Twins in 1969 he taught Rod Carew how to swipe home and Carew ended up with a record seven steals of home.

It was not a big deal that Munson was called out in this instance, as the Yankees won the game 4-0.

1949 Yankees All-Stars – DiMaggio, Berra, Henrich, Reynolds & Raschi

New York Yankees All-Stars Of Yesteryear

Vic Raschi Tommy Henrich Joe DiMaggio Allie Reynolds Yogi Berra Yanks All Stars July 6 1949 photo © Acme

In 2014, the struggling New York Yankees have three players that were named to the All-Star team: Derek Jeter, Dellin Betances and Masahiro Tanaka, who will not play because of an elbow injury.

In 1949 the Yankees had five players play on the All-Star team. Seen in this photo from left to right are Vic Raschi, Tommy Henrich, Joe DiMaggio, Allie Reynolds and Yogi Berra.

There were 32,577 fans in attendance in what turned out to be a slugfest at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, as the American League topped the National League 11-7. Joe DiMaggio drove in three runs and Vic Raschi pitched three scoreless innings to get the save.

Scorecard! Who Needs A Scorecard?

The Death Of The Scorecard At The Ballgame

Scorecard vendor at the Polo Grounds 1949 - photo William C. Greene

Scorecard vendor at the Polo Grounds 1949 – photo William C. Greene

Recently I went to a baseball game at that imitation ballpark in the Bronx they call Yankee Stadium. After being gently frisked at the admission gates and going through the turnstiles, the thing that did not greet me was what you see above: a vendor selling scorecards.

You could buy a scorecard, but not for 10 cents as it was at the Polo Grounds in 1949. The archaic idea of a scorecard costs $10 at Yankee Stadium and is available at the souvenir shops spread throughout Yankee Mall Stadium. The scorecard is buried in some glossy souvenir publication which I did not purchase, nor did anyone else.

When I used to attend a lot of games in the 1970’s and 80’s buying a scorecard was a no-brainer. From anywhere from a reasonable 25 cents in the early 1970’s to two dollars in the late 80’s, filling out that scorecard and having a program was a nice memento of a game I went to. There is a certain enjoyment derived from scorekeeping and having a permanent record of a game you are attending.

I just dug this program of my closet from a game I went to on Thursday evening September 6, 1973. The Yankees came back in the bottom of the eighth inning after trailing 6-5 on a three run home run from Mike Hegan to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 8-6. Bobby Murcer and Roy White also homered for the Yanks. The time of the game was 2:22.

In my childish way I merely recorded outs as fly outs, ground outs or line outs without denoting the fielders who made the play. As you can see my scorekeeping leaves a lot to be desired, but for a little kid I think I did a pretty good job. Eventually I learned to score correctly.

For 30 cents they packed a lot into 28 pages. Continue reading

The Moment Lou Gehrig Stepped Down “For The Good Of The Team”

The Story Of The End Of Lou Gehrig’s Consecutive Game Streak – May 2, 1939

Yankee captain Lou Gehrig stuns Tigers manager Del Baker, home plate umpire Steve Basil and umpires Red Ornsby and Bill Summers as Gehrig informs them he has benched himself.

Yankee captain Lou Gehrig stuns Tigers manager Del Baker, home plate umpire Steve Basil and umpires Red Ornsby and Bill Summers as Gehrig informs them he has benched himself. (photo AP)

Almost everyone knows something about Lou Gehrig, the Iron Horse, and his consecutive game playing streak. But you’ve probably never seen the dreaded moment when Gehrig took himself out of the lineup ending his streak, except by seeing actor Gary Cooper do it in the famous 1942 movie The Pride of the Yankees.

This photograph above shows that actual moment that occurred 75 years ago today.

Since June 1, 1925 Lou Gehrig had appeared in 2,130 straight games over the past fourteen seasons with the Yankees. Gehrig played with sprains, concussions, back spasms, broken bones and illnesses that would have had a lesser man take at least a day off, go on the disabled list or convalesce in a hospital. But Gehrig didn’t just play. He played exceptionally, putting up outstanding numbers offensively and defensively while always conducting himself with grace and humility on and off the field.

So on Tuesday, May 2, 1939 at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, nothing seemed out of the ordinary when Yankee captain Lou Gehrig came to home plate to deliver the starting lineup card.

But earlier in the locker room in a private talk, Gehrig informed Yankees manager Joe McCarthy that he was removing himself from the lineup because he “wasn’t doing the team any good.” McCarthy asked him if he was serious and Gehrig replied that he was. McCarthy then told Gehrig it would be as he wished.

Gehrig approached the plate and handed the lineup card without his name on it to home plate umpire Steve Basil and Tigers manager Del Baker. On the photo, you can see the shock and disbelief on the faces of the men gathered around Gehrig whose expression is one of complete dismay.

The thunderbolt news raced through both teams, then around the stadium and finally throughout the baseball world through the newswires that Lou Gehrig had taken himself out of the lineup and was ending his famous streak.

When the announcement was made over the public address system to the 11,379 fans in attendance of Gehrig’s voluntary withdrawal, it was suggested that he get a “a big hand.”

The New York Times reported a deafening cheer resounded as Lou walked to the dugout, doffed his cap and disappeared in a corner of the bench.

Lou Gehrig consoles  Babe Dahlgren about replacing Gehrig in the Yankees line-up, May 2 1939

Lou Gehrig consoles Babe Dahlgren about replacing Gehrig in the Yankees line-up, May 2 1939

Ellsworth “Babe” Dahlgren who had waited since 1937 to start at first base for the Yankees, finally, but reluctantly got his chance. “I hated to break his streak,” said Dahlgren.

”I remember Lou taking the lineup card up to the plate that day. When he came back to the dugout he went over to the water fountain and took a drink. He started to cry. Lou stood there with a towel on his head, taking the longest drink I’ve ever seen anybody take.” Continue reading

Dodgers In Spring Training – 1963

Podres, Koufax And Perranoski Get Ready For A Great Season – March 1963

Podres Koufax Perranoski 1963 March

Three of the anchors of the Dodger pitching staff, Johnny Podres, Sandy Koufax, and Ron Perranoski reach for the same ball at spring training in March 1963.

This trio of Los Angeles Dodgers hurlers would play a big part in helping propel the Dodgers to a World Championship in 1963. The 99-63 Dodgers would humble the 104-57 Yankees in a four game World Series sweep holding the Yankees to a measly four runs.

Johnny Podres hero of the Brooklyn Dodgers 1955 World Series Championship would go 14-12 in 1963 and win game two of the World Series against the Yankees pitching eight and a third innings and allowing just one run in a 4-1 Dodger victory at Yankee Stadium.

Sandy Koufax had his breakout year in 1963 going a magnificent 25-5 with a 1.88 ERA and chalked up 301 strikeouts in 311 innings pitched. He won the Cy Young Award and National League Most Valuable Player Award. In the World Series he won game one and game four allowing just three runs while striking out 23 batters!

Dodgers relief ace Ron Perranoski had his best season ever in the majors with a 16-3 record and 21 saves to go along with a miniscule 1.67 ERA. He received the save in Podres’ victory.

Don Drysdale pitched the third game in the World Series and shut out the Yankees 1-0.

Yankees In Spring Training -1954

Jerry Coleman & Billy Martin, Yankees Spring Training, St. Petersburg 1954

Billy Martin Jerry Coleman 3 2 1954

Two Men Holding The Bag

St. Petersburg, FL – March 2 – Jerry Coleman, left, and Billy Martin, hero of the New York Yankees’ 1953 World Series victory, indulge in some training camp antics as both squat on second base at today’s workout. Billy playfully plunks ball in Jerry’s mitt. Should Martin go into service Coleman is expected to take over Billy’s second base spot. (AP Wirephoto) 1954

Sure enough Billy Martin did indeed miss the entire 1954 season to serve in the military. Coleman had missed most of  the previous two seasons serving in the military, flying combat missions in Korea. In 1954 Coleman played in 107 games, 79 of them at second base, but the versatile Gil McDougald was the Yankees primary second baseman for the season. The Yankees unprecedented run of five consecutive world championships came to an end even though they won 103 games.  The Cleveland Indians won the 1954 American League championship with a record 111 victories.

Can you imagine today’s ballplayer’s having to interrupt their careers by having to perform military service?

Jerry Coleman Baseball Legend Dies At 89

Ballplayer, Broadcaster, World War II and Korean War Combat Hero, Jerry Coleman Passes Away

Jerry Coleman Phil Rizutto 1949

Vaudeville Tactics

New York: Jerry Coleman, second baseman for the Yanks does a nip-up like a vaudevillian to get the ball down to first after putting out Bobby Dillinger of the Browns in the first inning of the game at Yankee Stadium on August 6. The throw was not fast enough to get to first before George Elder who had grounded out to Bobby Brown at third. Yankees won, 9-8. That’s Phil Rizzuto, Yankees shortstop lurking in the background. Credit: (ACME) 8-6-49

Jerry Coleman died at Scripps Hospital in San Diego, CA January 5, 2014 of complications from head injuries he suffered in a fall last month.

In his major league baseball career he hit only 16 home runs and batted just .263, but the slick fielding Jerry Coleman was a beloved baseball legend by fans on both coasts.

Coleman played his entire career for the New York Yankees from 1949 -1957. He appeared in six World Series, was the MVP of the 1950 World Series and appeared in one All Star game.

After his playing career ended Coleman worked in the Yankees front office. In 1960 he became an announcer, first with CBS television on the Game of the Week, then in 1963 he rejoined the Yankees and stayed with their broadcast team for the next seven years. Continue reading

A Close Play At The Plate In Game 3 Of The 1951 World Series

Alvin Dark Slides In Safely As Yogi Berra Drops The Ball And The Yankees Fall Apart

Giants shortstop Alvin Dark is safe at home plate as Yankees catcher Yogi Berra can't handle the ball

Giants shortstop Alvin Dark is safe at home plate as Yankees catcher Yogi Berra can’t handle the ball

NEW YORK: ERROR FOR BERRA – Giant Alvin Dark is safe at the plate as Yogi Berra drops the ball trying to tag him. Bobby Brown threw to Berra from third on Monte Irvin’s grounder in the Giants big five-run sixth inning. The National League champs made it their second victory over the Yankees in the third game of the 1951 World Series at the Polo Grounds, Oct 6, with a 6-2 score.  Credit (ACME) 10-6-51

The New York Giants had every reason to believe that this was the year they would win the World Series. They had defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers just days before in a best of three tie-breaker playoff series. On October 3, Giants fans witnessed the “Miracle of Coogan’s Bluff” – Bobby Thomson’s dramatic 9th inning home run off of Ralph Branca that propelled them into the Series against the Yankees.

The World Series would be a match-up between cross-river rivals and their respective rookie stars Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle and it would end up being the finale for Joe DiMaggio’s career.

On October 6, 1951 with 52,305 fans packed into the Polo Grounds, the largest crowd ever to see a World Series game in a National League ballpark, the Giants fans were cautiously optimistic.

The series was tied at one game apiece and the Giants were holding a slim 1-0 lead in the fifth inning, when depending on how you look at it, the Giants erupted or the Yankees fell apart. Continue reading