A Yankee Fan Recalls the 1962 World Series

by on December 1, 2009

Fan Dave Schaub’s submission to Baseballisms.com reprinted with permission.  Note – Author Cecilia Tan discusses this World Series Game 7 during her appearance on our Cover the Bases podcast. Giants fan’s emotions are expressed in this Peanuts Comic Strip. Thanks Dave!

Trying to think back on that autumn day in October of 1962…I was a transplanted Canadian, having just moved to the U.S.A. in July…but baseball was already in my blood.  Beginning with the 1960 season, I’d followed the game with a quasi-religious passion.  Nothing compared to baseball’s grip on the sporting world then…well, in team sports…in America.  In Canada, we had hockey, and I’d lived my first 11 years in Toronto, still hallowed hockey ground…but I wasn’t good enough to play.  And hockey was just another sport in the U.S., as I was quickly coming to learn.

Now, baseball.  That was different.  Back then, the only reliable game to see on TV was NBC’s “Game Of The Week.”  And in Toronto, where there would surely never be BIG league baseball, we watched and listened to Pee Wee Reese and Dizzy Dean, two delightful old ex-ballplayers, on a station we picked up from Buffalo every Saturday; and almost every week, or so it seemed, they were in Yankee Stadium.  Just like “Hockey Night In Canada” every Saturday night was ALWAYS from Maple Leaf Gardens.  Symmetry.  Predictable.  As I became a Yankee fan, their fabulous history was slowly recounted to me…or else I’d read all about it in the sports magazines.

By ’62, I was already a “grizzled veteran” as a fan of the 1960 pennant race with those pesky Orioles; a heartbreaking World Series loss to those darned Pirates; an incredible Year of the Home Run in ’61 with the M&M Boys; and My First Taste of Glory, in five games, over Cincinnati.  Little did I know that most baseball fans didn’t get to have two seasons in a row that good for their team, sometimes ever.  So all was going well as the Yanks advanced to their 3rd straight Series.  But this year, it could be tough again.  Willie McCovey.  Willie Mays.  Jim Davenport.  The Alou Brothers.  They won a 3-game playoff with the Dodgers, who I liked better back then (prettier uniforms; I really didn’t know the history).

It was a classic series.  Has there been one other one when the teams won every other game?…Yanks won Games 1, 3, and 5…Giants responded each time, winning Games 2, 4, and 6.  And now, Game 7.  It should go our way, right?  Symmetry.  Predictable.  Yeah…right.  That afternoon, as usual, the game began before school let out.  I hurried over to my friend Paul’s house.  He lived close to the school, and was a baseball fan too, but not a Yankee fan.  Paul didn’t care that much…to him this game was boring…0-0 going into the sixth inning.  I was an 11-year-old wreck.

Finally in the 6th, the Yankees pushed across a run.  One run.  On a double play.  Kubek was involved, I think he scored the run.  On and on it went.  Getting near dinner time, but I didn’t wanna leave.  I couldn’t.  Not yet.  Years later, I saw a picture of an amazing catch that Tom Tresh made in left field to rob Mays of extra bases.  Why I forgot that, I’ll never know.  Ralph Terry, The Goat of 1960, was still pitching.  And still pitching.  Where’s our bullpen?  Well, Terry still had a shutout.

I remember the weird logic I had back then.  As long as my team was ahead, I didn’t care if they didn’t score anymore.  It was like, “hurry up and make outs – we have to get THEM out.”  So with my goofy 11-year-old logic, there I was, wish fulfilled, facing the bottom of the 9th of Game #7, and my team leading 1-0.  And Terry is STILL pitching.  My friend Paul went to get a snack or something (turns out he was a Red Sox fan)!

So here I am, sitting alone in Paul Anderson’s rec room, nervous as a cat, watching the bottom of the 9th.  Too old now to remember all the details – just the critical ones.  Matty Alou got a single at some point, before, during or after two outs were made.  We’re one out from Victory, but Mays and McCovey are coming up.  Mariano Rivera hasn’t even been conceived yet.  And Ralph is STILL PITCHING.  Oh, what a different time.

Mays RIPS a double to the opposite field.  Omigod.  Heart in my throat.  Alou will surely score, game tied, winning run on 2nd, maybe 3rd base.  But the Giants HELD ALOU at 3rd…!!  Why? Look at it from their side…if Alou is tagged out, the Series is over…and they all respected Roger Maris’ arm. So instead, here we are…tying run on 3rd, Series-winning run on 2nd, and Willie McCovey coming to bat.

It was like Babe Ruth, Casey At The Bat, King Kong…all wrapped up into one monstrous slugger, one at bat, one swing…and against a pitcher who had pitched the ENTIRE game…the same guy who had given up The Mazeroski HR just two years ago.  Too nervous, too excited, too scared to think.  And I’m almost as alone as Terry.

Terry pitches.  McCovey swings.  It was a FEROCIOUS line drive, fast or faster than the best Maple Leaf slap shot.  In less than the blink of an eye…Bobby Richardson reaches up to snare it out of the air…and the game is over.  For a second or two, I think every heart stopped beating.  I know mine did.

And then there’s celebration.  Omigosh…we WON!  AGAIN!!  Can I breathe now?  I jumped up, surely shouted, and don’t remember even looking for Paul.  Said g’bye and thanks to Mrs. Anderson, and ran?…floated?…hopped/skipped and jumped the two or three blocks to home.  Came in the back door, and I remember shouting something like “Take out some steak, Momma…we’re gonna celebrate tonight!”  And I wasn’t like that.  Certainly not at the tender age of eleven, just down from quiet polite Canada.  My Canadian mom thought me to be more than a bit rude, so I had a lot of apologizing and explaining to do.  But left with a lot of indelible memories, for the next 47 years or so…

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