IMPORTANT LESSON LEARNED. I sat down last night and typed in a new entry. As you may be able to tell already, I am not a great typist, so a page takes me a LONG time. My fingers were getting tired, so I saved the entry as a draft. Up pops an error message that said something to the effect that I was once again wrong, and the entry did not save. I should have known better. From now on, I will compose offline and just cut and paste back online.
I also just realized that this "Background" is going to be a lot longer than I thought it would be. Just so you know that I am paying attention to "real time" – I know that Lee Mazzilli was "relieved" of his duties as the Oriole’s manager today. I’m sure I will have something to say about that later, but not tonight.
On to 1961. This was the year that I found out that I was one of those people who don’t like change in baseball. The new owner of the Tigers (I have no idea who he was) changed the name of the stadium to “Tiger Stadium.” Until the day they closed it, I have never called it anything except Briggs Stadium, with a comment that “You might know it as Tiger Stadium”.
The previous paragraph brings to mind some of the guidelines I intend to follow in this electronic media. First, I will have guidelines and not rules. Guidelines give me direction – rules constrict me. Next, this is not a research project. I will not look up anything, with one exception. If my memory is wrong, so be it, it’s the way I remember it. The exception is that I will look up the spelling of people’s names. It seems the least you can do for someone is to spell their name right.
In 1961, the Tigers had the best year in what was then my short lifetime. I still remember a lot of the players on that team; Jim Bunning, **** McAullife, Norm Cash, Chico Fernandez, Hank Aguirre, Bill Freehan, Don Mossi, Bubba Morton, Frank Lary, Paul Foytack, Phil Regan, Steve Boros, Ozzie Virgil, and of course Al Kaline. I even learned not to hate Rocky Colavito. They won 101 games but finished 2nd. There was no such thing as a wildcard. There were no Divisions. Either you won the American League Pennant or you lost it. We lost it. That year I learned not to like the Yankees.
Funny thing is that I remember all of their position players:Elston Howard, Moose Skowron, Bobby Richardson, Clete Boyer, Tony Kubek, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, and Roger Maris. As for the pitchers, I can only remember two: Whitey Ford and Luis Arroyo. There was a joke that year that went “Whitey Ford is going to write a book called “How I won 20 Games.” Luis Arroyo is going to write the last 10 chapters.” I don’t remember how many games they won. All I knew was that they went to the World Series and we didn’t. Oh – Roger Maris hit 61 home runs.
The rest of the decade will follow…….