GOODBYE, RED

The groundskeepers must bring out that old canvas, and they are working like beavers. Now they're going to cover first and second. Yes, they've definitely got the right side of the infield covered. That's first and second. Now they're working on third and home. That's on the left side. There goes third. There goes home. Now they've got third and home covered. Now they've got the entire infield covered. And even though it's raining pretty hard, that infield is nice and dry.

There's a little thunder to be heard now, but no lightning. However, where there's thunder, there's bound to be lighting. Or so they tell me. The only lightning seen around here, though, was that homer li'l ole Mickey Mantle blasted in the second. Well, with the way things stand at the present moment, how about returning to the studio for a little music until the game starts again?

Another day, Red described the old Ebbets Field, legendary home of the Dodgers, long since demolished and turned into an apartment complex. Notice how he combines his word picture of Ebbets with his description of Roy Campanella at bat for the Dodgers:

For those of you who haven't seen Ebbets Field, it's a double-decked stadium and the double decking begins at the right-field corner. In other words, there is no stand in back of right field; that's the famous fence . . . the right-field wall. . . .

Campanella fouls this one back . . . in back of right field is Bedford Avenue . . . curve ball outside . . . ball two . . . that's a big thoroughfare . . . it's about a six-lane street in Brooklyn . . . and that's a 40-foot-high wall. If you want to be exact, 39 1/2 feet . . . 19 1/2 feet of concrete and then 20 feet of wire panels. . . .

The pitch is way outside for ball three. The field is in wonderful shape. The ballpark is just as pretty as a brand-new bug. Got a lot of baseball going today. . . .

Red arrived at the ballpark three hours early and talked to the players before the game began. So he always had plenty of things to talk about in the booth during the course of the game.

Here's an example:
One day Stan Musial came up in a clutch situation in the late innings of a St. Louis Cardinals game. Red recalled for his listeners a conversation Musial had in the dugout before the game. Another Cardinal player, Wally Westlake, had told Musial he felt so good that he thought he might be able to get three hits.

"Do you ever feel that way, Stan?" Westlake asked Musial.
"Every day," Musial said.
The point of the story is that Red waited until the relief pitcher was advancing toward the mound, at the high point of the game, before he told us a story that would show us how confident Musial always was when he came to bat.

@rule:
@body:Red was a white man raised in the segregated South. He doubted, at first, that the Jackie Robinson experiment would work. He didn't think black players could be integrated into a sport which was at that time made up largely of white Southerners. Then, seeing how Robinson was treated by some racists that first year, he said: "I began to be ashamed of the white people I grew up with."

Roger Kahn, author of The Boys of Summer, remembers Red's radio description of Robinson's first moments on the field in baseball.

"Red interrupted the game and said a few things about human dignity and human rights . . . I remember the end exactly. Red said, 'And I hope he bats a thousand.' "I think that was Red's greatest moment on the air."
But there were so many of them. I forgot, for example, to tell you why he was finally fired by the Yankees in 1965. At the conclusion of a listless season, Red infuriated Yankee owners by reporting that only 413 fans had shown up to see their last-place team on a glorious September afternoon.

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