The internet is a wonderful thing. A couple of weeks ago I found a very cool site called Eephus League. Through that site I found another one called The Baseball Enthusiast. One of the first posts that I saw on there was one where he took a look at the second game of the 1985 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals. His site is all about going to ball games and keeping score. That got me thing about the first games that I scored. They were during that same series, and I still keep score to this day. I find that the longer I attend ballgames the more I notice how crazy people think I am for keeping score. They ask me why I bother? My explanation is simple. I always have.
It all started in 1985 during the World Series. While shopping at our local grocery store. While going through the store I came across scorecards as part of a Budweiser display. I had never kept score so I picked up a handful of the scorecards. I guess I wanted to learn how to do it. My father did teach me how to keep score during that 1985 World Series. We watched many games down in our basement, but those seven games really seem to stick out to me. That seemed to be a magical summer for me with baseball. I remember the layout of the basement, and certain baseball cards and other memorabilia will bring back specific memories. When I hear certain names today they bring back memories of this great series. As a nine year old child these guys were my heroes. I never had a doubt in my mind that I would not make the Major Leagues. Of course I was in t-ball then, and the ball is much easier to hit standing still. Once the ball was thrown at me things changed dramatically, and the dream of playing in the bigs went down the drain.
Looking through my scorecard I realized how far I have come over time. I have picked some things up, but some things have never changed. Part of the beauty of keeping score is that everyone does it differently. There is an official way to do it, but I have always stuck close to what my father taught me almost 26 years ago. A lot of my core baseball knowledge started with this scorecard. The records on the right I still think about every fall. I also love reading the one liners on the left side of the page. My favorite as an adult has to be the one by Tim McGraw. When asked about his $75,000 salary he said “Ninety percent I’ll spend on good times, women, and Irish whiskey. The other 10 percent I’ll probably waste.” There is so much to say about that. First of all a Major League veteran making $75,000 is laughable now with salaries where they are. The quote itself though is classic.
I found game six online as part of the Baseball’s Best series on MLB.com. For $7 you get access for a year to some of baseballs greatest games. I decided to re-watch the game last night and score it to see how much things have changed over time. I have tried to make my own scorecard by altering one that I found on The Baseball Scorecard. Everyone has their own way to do things so I tried to make one that featured the kind of things that I like to keep track of. As the game progressed I found a few things with the scorecard that I would like to change. I may try and score a couple more games before the season starts to get the thing dialed in. Another thing that I noticed was that I was not exactly accurate with my original scorecard. As you can see above Tommy Herr struck out to end the fourth according to me, and then popped up to short to start the fifth inning.
I really enjoyed going back and re-watching this game. I know that the game was an archive, but did the news feed at the bottom have to be? Here are some of the news items that popped up while I was watching the game:
- Bryce Harper tearing up the Arizona Fall League
- Football at Wrigley has a storied past
- Stan Musial to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom
- Who do you think was manager of the year?
- Then they had the stories of the manager of the year
I am glad that I was able to watch the game, and learn about news that was over four months old. Some highlights of the broadcast include:
- A cut to Tony LaRussa who was watching the game from the stands. They talked about what a great manager he was, and how he had just signed an extension with the White Sox. Looking back now that is interesting because he did not last the next year with the team.
- In the sixth inning Charlie Liebrandt had a perfect game going. Lonnie Smith dogged a ball hit to him and let it hit the turf when he could have caught it. I guess he was being Manny before Manny was.
- I loved how the catchers were wearing a regular cap under their masks instead of a hard helmet.
- It reminded me just how hard Jack Clark swung at the plate. He really never was cheated. Remember when sluggers struck out a lot, but it was swinging hard. After watching Thomas, Thome, and now Dunn it is weird to watch a slugger strike out looking.
- How much trouble scoring a game with National League rules can be. In the bottom of the ninth Pat Sheridan was replaced by Darryl Motley. Whitey Herzog countered the move by Dick Howser by bringing in Todd Worrell. Howser then pinch hit for the pinch hitter with Jorge Orta.
- Of course Orta then was clearly out at first, but first base umpire Don Denkinger clearly blew the call. Watching that it reminded me of the play at first that cost Armando Galarraga his perfect game.
- That play helped the Royals rally, and set up Dane Iorg the brother of Garth to win the game.
Of course the Royals won the game, and then went on to win game seven of the World Series for their first championship with Brett Saberhagen outdueling John Tudor. That was the first time that I really noticed/cared who won the World Series. I was able to see that trophy in 2005 when I was watching the White Sox play the Royals. It was the 20th anniversary of that classic series. I have always followed both teams a little since then. It was cool to see the trophy that was the result of that series. As I was looking at it and ultimately taking pictures of it I ran into another Sox fan. I remarked to him how nice it would be to win one of these in Chicago. Of course six months later the Sox would win the World Series, and I would get to see another World Series trophy for my favorite team. As a person who likes both history and baseball it was very nice to see the trophy from the first World Series that I watched in it’s entirety. It was even better that my own team won the same year that I saw the trophy in Kansas City. In the twenty years in between championships a lot had changed for me. One thing that hadn’t changed though was my love for baseball. It is a game that I will always love watching. That love affair really started in 1985, and has been going strong ever since.
Right now I am planning on making these classic scorecards a regular feature. From September until March I write a weekly preview for both college football and basketball. I was thinking last week how weird it is not to have something to write at the end of the week. By putting one of these out every Friday I have something to look forward to writing each week. I really wanted to do the no-hitter that Bob Feller threw against the White Sox next week, but I cannot find anything to go off of I tried to find a play by play, radio or tv archive, or even a picture of the scorecard. I came up empty on all accounts. With the Sox Opening up against the Indians for the second year in a row I thought it would be perfect. I will have to come up with something else though unless I can find a scorecard for the game.
This site changes as the seasons change. I am not talking about Fall, Winter, Spring, or Summer. I am talking about the seasons of baseball, football, and basketball. As the Purdue men’s and women’s basketball seasons are now over this blog will start to look to baseball. The changing of the picture on the header is a start to that process. Now we have beautiful days and nights of sitting in the stands watching baseball to look forward to.