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Time out of mind

‘May you live in interesting times.”

Well, we’ve got that one covered, don’t we? Now the really important question of the day is, “What will take the place of all those games I’m used to watching?”

Naturally, the sports channels have classic games lined up for us, but somehow I wish for something, well, a bit more historic than rehashes of contests that should have been allowed to lie in storage forever more.

I want H.G. Wells’ time machine to zip me back to the real classics. Let’s make a fantasy list of games none of us has seen in person and to which every true bleacher bum would love to find holding a ticket.

For me, the first game involves the Babester, the Sultan, the Bambino himself: that’s right, Babe Ruth, the most important player to ever don a set of baseball knickers. His list of achievements, both on and off, way off, the field, are legendary; but the one I want to see takes place not in New York but in Chicago at fabled Wrigley Field.

I want to see whether he “called the shot” or not.

For anyone who has somehow not heard of this controversy, the play took place in the fifth inning of game three of the 1932 World Series with New York leading the series 2-0. Ruth had hit a home run in the first inning, and when he came up in the fifth, the Cubs bench and the crowd as well were all over him.

In those days, “riding” a player was a baseball tradition, one that today would simply not be allowed. Political correctness was not on the agenda, but comments about Ruth’s, shall we say, portly form certainly were.

According to Ruth, he had had enough and pointed to the flag pole to tell everyone where the next pitch was going.

Now I know there are videos available that were taken at the time, but none of them are very clear, and everyone knows that Ruth was of that school that never let the facts get in the way of a good story. Still, there are testimonials of those who were there that go both ways. Some think he pointed at the bleachers, others think he pointed at the Cubs bench.

What is beyond dispute is that the next pitch headed right for that flagpole; some estimate that Ruth hit that ball most of 500 feet, and the Yanks won the game.

I would love the chance to make up my own mind. So, Mr. Wells, if I could borrow the keys to your machine, I’ll report back to all my bleacher friends what the verdict will be.

Where and to when would you pilot that machine? Whatever the destination, it would make for a fantastic story whenever we are allowed back in the bleachers. See you then.


Millerton resident Theodore Kneeland is a retired teacher and coach — and athlete.

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