Friday, May 29, 2009

Picture Of The Day--August 23, 1942

Long after their playing careers ended both Walter Johnson and Babe Ruth could still pack a crowd into a ballpark. With World War II in full swing, the rationing of supplies in The United States and night time curfews in effect, arguably Baseball's Greatest Pitcher and Slugger got together once last time on the baseball diamond at Yankee Stadium. On August 23, 1942, in an effort to raise needed donations for The Army Navy Relief Fund, these two Original Members Of The Baseball Hall Of Fame & Museum squared off in The Bronx before a scheduled doubleheader between The Washington Senators and The New York Yankees.

Walter Johnson was 55 Years Old. Babe Ruth was 48. Each would sadly pass away within six years.

But on this hot summer's New York City afternoon, 69,136 baseball aficionados showed up to watch the spectacle. The second largest home crowd all season for The Yanks, one of only six turnouts above 50,000 at the venerable ballyard that year.

"The Big Train" hurled 21 of what was left of his famous fastballs right down the middle of the plate to "The Bambino". And as everyone on hand watched with rapt attention--The Babe launched Johnson's third pitch into the rightfield bleachers at Yankee Stadium for a home run. Mostly though, Ruth struggled with his swings--Walter's rusty arm getting the best of Ruth's rusty swing. But never one to lose his flair for the dramatic, on Johnson's final pitch--Babe Ruth flat out HAMMERED "The Big Train's" offering HIGH, DEEP & INTO THE THIRD DECK of Yankee Stadium. A colossal blast, JUST FOUL, but good enough for "The Bambino" to trot around the bases to great applause--feeling the love of so many faithful that had adored him those many years.

Walter Johnson meeting "The Babe" at home plate, congratulating him on his effort--letting his friend live in the moment.

Walter Johnson's and Babe Ruth's Final Face-Off, August 23, 1942. The Picture Of The Day.

The Video NewsReel Of The Event


paul said...

I hate to bring this up, but I don't know if any of you saw this video of Murphy's "home run" the other night. This video seems to be conclusive. You also get a replay of Manny's impassiveness.

SenatorNat said...

Note that WJ sports Number 30, and uses but one right arm to pitch and only one ball emerging from his hand, and no tree limbs or folliage; since I have been to the arboretum in Centerfield Plaza at Nationals Park, I question the validity of this purported newsreel. Perhaps an internet hoax.

Trust in statuesque depictions. And the Jolly Walter Johnson Giant. All niblets.

SenatorNat said...

Incidentally, having read carefully the feature in the Post Sports Page on Manny and Boswell's attendant column, I am convinced that Manny feels that he is marked for All-Star Break departure that the shoe dropping will only enable him to move on in his career path upwards.

He truly likens himself to Joe Torre, and you get the clear sense that he feels like he has drawn a very bad hand and asked to pull off a miracle. In a way, he is the adult version of FLOP, not actually dogging it to hasten the process of departure to greener pastures, but taking the spirit out of the balloon for certain. Auditioning still, leading not, with bags half packed. Next stop, third base coach, manager in waiting at CitiField...

No energy, much less fire: he is the custodian, not the catalyst. He is uncreative. Much is made of his relievers costing Nats possible respectability, but keen observors know that were Manny to have his way, Milledge, Kearns, Belliard, and Cintron would be on the roster, and, if healthy, playing regularly (in Cintron's case, pinch-hitting); that he does not blow-up over missed assignments in the field; that he does not ask for or assign leaders on the field; that he removes starters for pinch-hitters who never deliver, since he is apparently auditioning for a job in NYC where the players would deliver in those situations, and my religiously doing things "by the book." And he is impersonal and hand-off - these "kids" he constantly refer to need some hands-on mentoring, and some butt-kicking, too.

He may liken himself and his career to Joe Torre, but true Washington fans recall another man of quiet integrity and cool fire, who led with the right instincts and creativity with a team not as talented as current Nats, also Number 14, named Gil Hodges. Hodges would be .500 with this team. Based on his great work in D.C., he was tapped by a NYC ML team in 1968, and led the Amazing Mets to that miracle WS win in 1969.

Manny - we knew Gil Hodges. He was a friend to the knothole gang. And believe us - you are no Gil Hodges.

Trust in the Plan. And the book. Company Man -all Gray.

An Briosca Mor said...

" Hodges would be .500 with this team."

Even though in this day and age he would not be able to smoke in the dugout? Would he really be able to manage from that little smoker's pen at the base of the grand staircase? (And would he sign autographs from there if he did?)

SenatorNat said...

And borrow Eddie Brinkman's cigs when he was out! You got it right- on once more ABM!

Trust in a Great Society. And Teddy being Teddy Ballgame thereafter. All the best.