The First Major League Game I Ever Saw

September 28, 2015
 The First Major League Game I Ever Saw

 

               I saw Joe DiMaggio play; yes, I did, it was the first major league game that I ever saw, and I shall never forget it.    It was during the War; DiMaggio wasn’t supposed to be with the team, but he was in Washington on leave or something, or else he was playing on that service team and the service team was in town the same time’s the Yankees were, and the rumor started about 11 o’clock in the morning that DiMaggio would play that day for the Yankees.    Washington was a smaller city then, and if you were connected—my Dad was connected, because he worked for the Washington Post selling advertising—if you were in the loop, as they say, by 3 o’clock you knew it was true.   The game was supposed to start at 5:00; they hadn’t started this nonsense of starting games at 5:05 or 5:07 then; it was a five o’clock start.    Dad called home from work and told Mama to get me dressed warmly and ready to go to the ballgame, and then he cut out of work about 3:30, took the train home, picked me up and we got right back on the train headed back downtown.  

               DiMaggio couldn’t wear his own uniform, of course; he wasn’t on the active roster and he was supposed to be with the Army, so he wore the uniform number 9, which belonged to an outfielder named Hersh Martin, who was about DiMaggio’s size.     He was pretending to be Hersh Martin, just for the day; course I wouldn’t have known one way or the other, but my Dad had seen DiMaggio play many times, and he knew for sure it was him; everybody did, and Hersh Martin couldn’t take a step forward or backward or sideways that night without the stadium just roaring with excitement.   One time the Public Address announcer said, "Now batting for the New York Yankees, JOE . . . .uh, uh, I’m sorry, Hersh Martin."      

               Well, it started to rain about 5:30; of course in those days the weathermen didn’t have any more idea when it was going to rain or when it was going to stop raining than they did when a monkey would take a piss, so that held up the game all of a sudden for about 20 minutes, and then they cleared the field and poured sand on the base paths, and 20-30 minutes they were ready to play.   They played another inning; it rained again, held up the game another hour, better part of an hour, then they played a couple of innings and it rained again, but nobody went home.    Crowd of 30,000 people there, maybe more.   Every time the game restarted everybody was anxious that maybe DiMaggio had cut out and gone home, since he wasn’t supposed to be there anyway, but here he’d come, popping out of the dugout and running to center field like there was snakes on every step.   That was the way my Uncle Fred described the way DiMaggio ran, like there was snakes on every step but as long as he didn’t look down at them he would be alright.   He always ran with his head high, looking straight ahead.  He probably didn’t even know that the infield was just mud and sand.    I remember Hersh Martin had hit a double in that game and a tremendous hard drive to left field, and the first thing you know it was close to midnight and the game was in the fifth inning, and that was when all the trouble started.   

               In those days you didn’t have replay, of course, but what the Senators would do is, they’d hire a team of little people to rush on to the field and re-enact the play for you.   ‘Course they didn’t call them little people at that time, and you wouldn’t do that for entertainment now, but. . . .so there’d be a close play at first, and the first baseman and the first base coach would be yelling at the first base umpire, and while that was going on these little guys, 3-foot-5 and such, would all run out, and one of them would slide into the base and another one would tag the base and another one would play the umpire and would give this exaggerated "safe" sign, and then they’d hop up and run off the field, and the crowd would just yell and scream and carry on like the war was over.   With all the rain delays we had seen a lot of the little people that night; they’d been re-enacting scenes from the game in center field during the rain delays, and one of them had a number 9 uniform and he would prance around like he was DiMaggio, and carry this monstrous big bat; it was probably the same size as DiMaggio’s bat, only it looked like a telephone pole when this guy had it.   Why in the hell DiMaggio didn’t go home, I don’t know, but I guess he was there to play a baseball game, and by God, he was going to play a baseball game.  

               A bank of lights went out on the third base side but almost behind home plate; they just went out all of a sudden, and the umpires called the managers out of their dugouts and there was a confab at home plate, and then they started playing again, but without those lights.    It turned out, of course we didn’t know this at the time, it turned out that that bank of lights was pointed right at the White House and right at the window in the bedroom where Churchill was staying.    FDR was dead by then; FDR and Hitler had both died a few weeks earlier, and Churchill was staying there, getting to know Truman, only he couldn’t sleep with those lights on, and if Churchill couldn’t sleep, nobody could sleep.   So about 11:30, 11:45 Harry called Clark Griffith and told him to turn off those God Damned first base lights so that Churchill would go to bed and he could get some sleep, he had a God Damned country to run and a war to fight.    So they turned off those lights, and you know, the lighting in old Griffith Park wasn’t that good to begin with, but what are you going to do?

               So the next time Hersh Martin comes to the plate, he hits this pop up, highest pop up you’ve ever seen, I guess; well, we’ll never know for sure, because he hits this pop up a mile high to third base, looks like it might have been in fair territory, and the ball just disappears in the air.   To this day nobody knows what happened to that pop up; it got to about 150 feet in the air, and it just vanished into the night.  Harlond Clift was the third baseman for the Senators at that time, Clift is just standing there and waiting for the ball to come down, only it never does.  DiMaggio gets to second base and holds up, looks like "what’s happening here?", and Clift is waving his arms like "Where’d the ball go?", and this little man in the Number 9 uniform comes dashing out of the stands, crosses home plate, runs to first, turns left, runs to second, swats DiMaggio on the butt like "Let’s go; what are we waiting for?", and runs to third.   DiMaggio decides he might as well run, too, so he starts chasing the midget, pardon my language but that’s what we called ‘em then, he starts chasing the little guy to third, passes him and beats him home.  

               Well now, nobody has any idea what to do; everybody is yelling at everybody and the Senators Cuban shortstop, who was a real hothead, I forget his name,  is chasing the little man with the Number 9 uniform and absolutely determined to kick his ass.   Torres; that was his name.    Torres is just in a rage; finally the little man reaches the safety of the stands and heads up a runway, and everybody in uniform is screaming at the umpires, who don’t really have any idea what they are supposed to do.   Finally one of them points at home plate, which at first people think is supposed to mean that DiMaggio has to come back and hit the ball again, but eventually they figure out that he means to say that DiMaggio is entitled to home plate; it’s an inside-the-park home run, because he hit the ball and ran the bases and nobody ever put him out.   

               Now the Yankees are happy but the Senators are mad as hell, and they all start yelling at the umpires; the home plate umpire throws out one of the coaches, and the first base umpire throws out one guy, and then the third base umpire throws out one guy; by the time the dust settles there’s been seven Senators thrown out of the game, not counting a coach or two.   Funny thing was that Torres wasn’t one of the guys who was thrown out at that time, and he was the craziest guy on the field, but anyway he didn’t get thrown out, which is how the later things came about.  The Yankees keep scoring and scoring, and by the 7th inning or so it’s one o’clock in the morning and the Yankees are ahead 9 to 1, but nobody has gone home because DiMaggio is still playing, and everybody knows this is the only chance you’ve got this year to see DiMaggio play.  

               Top of the 7th inning, there’s runners on first and second, and there’s another high pop up to third base.   Torres is going to catch this one, because Harlond Clift’s been thrown out of the game and there’s some rookie playing third base who is not even really an infielder, so Torres runs over to make the catch, and this ball comes down out of the sky like it is supposed to. 

               Only just about as Torres is going to catch it, he collides with the third base umpire, and the ball drops.   In fair territory.  Now it’s 10 to 1 and runners on second and third, and Torres just goes ballistic.   I mean, he just totally loses it; screaming at that third base umpire so loud that he probably woke up Churchill, I don’t know.  The third base umpire is a big guy, an old football player, way bigger than Torres, and he ain’t backing down, he’s got his face right in Torres’ face and he’s giving as good as he gets.  

               So finally Torres decides that he’s going to fight the umpire, only if it was a fair fight he didn’t have much of a chance.   At that time the player’s uniforms had belts in them, leather belts, so Torres pulls out his belt and starts swinging it over his head like a calf roper in a rodeo.  The umpire retreats, but Torres comes after him, the umpire moves away again, and finally the umpire is running top speed toward second base with Torres right behind him, snapping that belt on the umpire’s backside and screaming and hollering.    When the umpire got to second base he stepped on the base and turned right, heading to first base.   I always wonder why he did that, funny thing to wonder about under the circumstances, but it was like he had to stay in the base paths, even though he wasn’t really a ballplayer and he was running the bases backward and being chased by a crazy man swinging a belt, but I suppose it was just instinct; you touch the base, you turn and head to the next base.  

               So he gets to first base, he touches first, heads for home, touches home, heads back to third base, Gil Torres two steps behind him with the belt, all the way, and there’s a crowd of players all gathered along the third base line just trying to stay out of the way and looking on in some amazement, but just three or four feet away from the baseline, and out of this crowd of players here comes the little man in the number 9 uniform, that Torres had tried to beat up an inning or two earlier.   He puts a rolling block on Torres, and Torres goes flying ass over tea kettle, and as he does his pants come off because he’s not wearing any belt; not all the way off, but all of a sudden they’re down around his ankles.   Turns out Torres isn’t wearing any underwear; he’s got a jock strap on, but that’s all; I can still see it, been 70 years now.  

               The umpire gets away, but Torres gets to his feet, and he’s not giving it up.   Of course he’s been thrown out of the game by now, but he won’t leave the field.   At that time there wasn’t any security in the park, weren’t any cops on the field or anything like we have now, but fortunately there were a couple of paying customers who had brought handguns to the park, and they got out on the field and pointed their weapons at Torres and marched him off the field.   His uniform was long enough that it covered his privates most of the time, but he’s still steaming so as he is being marched off the field at gunpoint he pulls up his uniform and shows the crowd his willie.    Fortunately there wasn’t no women in the crowd by that hour.  

               End of the inning it was 14 to 1, Yankees, and the Senators had pitchers playing here and there, they’d run out of position players by now.   The Senators had some good hitting pitchers that year, though; Sandy Ullrich hit .270 something, and Mickey Haefner hit close to .250.  Dutch Leonard and Marino Pieretti hit over .200, and by this time several of these guys are playing in the field, and they start hitting.   They score five runs in the bottom of the seventh, and then in the eighth they score a couple more.   By the end of the eighth inning it is 14 to 8.    Actually it’s 14 to 7, and Joe Kuhel, who was the Senators’ first baseman and maybe their best hitter, hits a nice drive to center field, probably would have been a triple except that Kuhel trips in the sand and mud between first and second and sprains an ankle, real badly.   A run scores on the play, making it 14 to 8, but Kuhel can’t get to a base, so he’s tagged out as he lays there, and then he is carted off the field.  

               Well, the Senators manager looks around the dugout, and he realizes that he’s run out of players.    He doesn’t have anybody to play first base.    We’re sitting right behind the Senators dugout, and he looks over the dugout at us, and he says "Can any of you guys play baseball for an inning or two?"  Ossie Bluege was the manager; it’s pronounced Blue-Gee, hard G.   Of course all of the little people with the uniforms on are all waving their arms; they all want to go in and play, but Bluege isn’t going for that, so there are several guys in the first two or three rows waving their arms, too, and saying how much they’d like to get in there and play an inning, but for some reason, never know why, he picks my Dad, who was just sitting there minding his own business.   He looks him over closely and he says "You’re a white guy, ain’t you?   Hard to tell in this light."   My Dad said usually if somebody asks you that you’re supposed to knock their teeth out, but under the circumstances he lets it go and assures Bluege that he’s a white guy, and they come up with the top half of a uniform and a glove and send him out to first base.  

               By this time it’s like three o’clock in the morning, but there’s still about 15,000 people there, although, as we were to learn later, all of the reporters had gone home; the lights were on in the press box but there wasn’t a soul up there other than the PA announcer, who by this time is only announcing about every third batter.  First batter hits a line drive right at the first baseman, and my Dad sticks out his glove and catches it.   Crowd goes wild; everybody’s excited to see the old man make a play like that.    Second batter hits a ground ball to short; I think Sandy Ullrich is playing shortstop by then, he’s another Cuban.   He fields the ball, throws it to first, Dad catches it, two away.   Crowd applauds.

               Then things start to go bad.   Ground ball right at Dad; he kicks it, runner reaches.   DiMaggio hits a single, which is like his sixth hit of the game or something, and Dad gets to meet Joe DiMaggio face to face, which of course he would talk about until the day he died.   Then there’s a ground ball to second.    Second baseman throws it to first, but it nearly hits Dad in the face and he doesn’t catch it, so a run scores and now it’s 15 to 8.     The crowd boos Dad, but it’s kind of a good-natured boo, and then the Senators get the third out somehow.  

               Well, by now the Yankees are pitching an outfielder; I think the guy who was pitching then was the actual Hersh Martin, wearing somebody else’s uniform because DiMaggio is in his.   Martin can’t throw a strike; he walks the first guy, he walks the second guy, throws a couple of wild pitches, hits a guy with a pitch.    You remember that Joe Kuhel made the last out of the 8th inning, and my Dad replaced Joe Kuhel, so he’s the 9th batter up in the 9th inning.   By the time he gets to the plate it is 15 to 13, two runners on base, one out.   There wasn’t any on base circle at that time, I don’t think; as he’s coming out of the dugout he talks to Bluege a minute, and Bluege says "He’s not throwing any strikes; just stand there and he’ll probably walk you."   First pitch is a fastball, right over the heart of the plate.   Strike one.   Second pitch is the same thing, borderline, but strike two.   Dad looks over at Bluege; Bluege nods and makes a little swinging motion with his hands.   

               Pitch comes in.  Dad swings as hard as he can, and the pitch knocks the bat clean out of his hands.  When the ball hits the bat the bat just goes flying over the catcher’s head, over the umpire’s head, halfway to the screen behind home plate.   The ball rolls forward about 30 feet, and Dad stands there dumbfounded for a second, not sure what he should do, but he sees the Yankee catcher, Garbark, running out toward the mound to field the ball, and finally he takes off for first base.  

               Garbark has the play, but the outfielder who is pitching, Hersh Martin or whoever he was, tries to field the ball as well.   In the mud the pitcher slides and wipes out the catcher, and nobody can make the play.   It’s 15 to 15, and Dad’s on second base with the winning run.   Next batter up is Hilly Layne.   Layne hits a line drive into the right field gap, and Dad slides home with the winning run. 

               In those days they’d get stuff in the newspapers an hour after it happened; I don’t know how they did it, but they did.    By this time all the trains had stopped running for the night, so we had to get a taxi cab home, and it wasn’t easy to get a cab; took us about an hour.   By the time we’re riding home, I’m in the back seat with my Dad, and the sun is coming up.  

               "If Mom asks you how the game was," he says, "You just tell her it was exciting to see Joe DiMaggio, OK?"

               "Do you think Gil Torres will be thrown out of baseball?" I asked.

               "He might be," said Dad, "If the commissioner was alive.   But the commissioner is dead."  

               "Lot of people dead," I said.   "Hitler, Roosevelt, the Commissioner, Uncle Tony." 

               "Yeah," he said.   "A lot of people dying lately."

               As I walked to school a couple of hours later there was a big newspaper headline, says "OLD FAT GUY SAVES GAME FOR SENATORS".     They didn’t get my Dad’s name, and Ossie Bluege told the reporters that that guy was an old friend of his who had played first base for the Senators years before and was now a Judge or something.  He was an experienced major league player, and there was no way Bluege would put some total amateur on the field.  He also said he didn’t know who the man was who had run onto the field naked, and he thanked the volunteer sheriff’s deputies for their help with crowd control.   It may be that the reports the Senators and Yankees filed with the league offices were not totally accurate on every detail. 

               Well, that was the first major league game I ever saw.   I am sure everybody remembers the first game they get to see, and I’m sure everybody’s game is as special to them as mine was to me, but this is my precious memory, and I thought I would share it with you, just to help you remember how great baseball used to be.  

              

               

 
 

COMMENTS (41 Comments, most recent shown first)

mauimike
The Britannica thing was written in the spirit of Bill's story, Maris.
9:48 AM Oct 6th
 
MarisFan61
(sorry that I doubled the t instead of the n :-) ....I guess I didn't want to put too much emphasis on 'n' in view of the subject)
5:48 PM Oct 4th
 
MarisFan61
Re those old Encyclopedia Brittanicas (or maybe it would be Brittanicae): :-)

Before you decide how much faith you have in it, maybe check out their article on "Negro" (or whatever they called it; I think it's that).

I'm not 100% sure that the 1911 edition had the kind of stuff I think it does, but I do know that editions around that time did. Some of the science in there is entertaining, if you're ready not to take it too seriously, and definitely embarrassing.
5:46 PM Oct 4th
 
mauimike
MattGoodrich, "From each according to his need." "Although Marx is popularly thought of as the originator of the phrase, the slogan was common to the socialist movement and was first used by Louis Blanc in 1851."

Matt, do you have any faith in the 1911, Encyclopaedia Britannica? I do. I have a set near my desk and I checked it, that night before I wrote what I wrote.
1:00 AM Oct 3rd
 
flyingfish
And, of course, Bill isn't old enough for this to be about him.
6:53 PM Oct 1st
 
flyingfish
"You Could Look It Up" by James Thurber.

www.saturdayeveningpost.com/2010/01/09/history/post-perspective/post-story-changed-baseball.html

Beautiful, Bill, just beautiful.
4:28 PM Oct 1st
 
niigii
Thank you Bill James for 'My First Game." Is there any possibility you might develop this into a series of games that you have 'seen' in the historic past of baseball? So we remember how the game used to be through your lens.
12:50 PM Sep 30th
 
bjbrown
I was born in 1971, but I think I was at that game. The way I remember it the other team was also short of players and my dad had to simultaneously play all 9 positions
12:19 PM Sep 30th
 
iramatetsky
Another giveaway is that the story has innings starting after the old American League 1 a.m. curfew.​
6:17 PM Sep 29th
 
jrickert
>The comments are like all-star quality. The story is like MVP candidate.
Are you sure what does "Words Above Replacement" have to say about this WAR story?
5:01 PM Sep 29th
 
MarisFan61
The comments are not more entertaining than the story. :-)
The comments are like all-star quality. The story is like MVP candidate.
11:29 AM Sep 29th
 
wovenstrap
I see the paywall is actually down for it -- so we agree!
11:02 AM Sep 29th
 
wovenstrap
A lovely yarn, Bill. Thank you.

You might consider taking the paywall down for that one. I can think of a couple of non-BJO subscribers who might enjoy it.
11:01 AM Sep 29th
 
MattGoodrich
I think the comments are more entertaining than the story.

"From each according to his needs" is Marxism, not socialism.

Do most people actually remember their first game? I don't.

Did they ever actually reenact plays with 'midgets'? I'll bet some team did that somewhere. That's too demeaning by today's standards, so now we have people dressed up as hot dogs, running races instead. You can't stop progress.


10:29 AM Sep 29th
 
esolo25
"The Aristocrats."
9:15 AM Sep 29th
 
r44fletch
it's an allegory, man. It's the bourgeoisie throwing off their oppressors, the corporate titans, and overcoming all so that we become one with the universe. I thought it was obvious.
8:53 AM Sep 29th
 
jimgus
Man, that was BEAUTIFUL!
I'm partly embarrassed to say that I was pretty much of a believer until, "...there wasn't no women in the crowd..." I don't think I have ever seen Bill use improper grammar like that (in about thirty years of reading him!). Although it did occur to me (after about the third or fourth, "Well, by this time" twist) that this story was a lot like something by Ring Lardner.
Thanks for being you, Bill. I love you, man!
Cordially,
JimmyG
7:52 AM Sep 29th
 
mauimike
"Artists use lies to tell the truth." Alan Moore

6:04 AM Sep 29th
 
mauimike
In the first paragraph, "my Dad was connected because he worked for the, "Washington Post," selling advertising." I knew it was BS. When have we ever read anything about Mr. James growing up anywhere, but Kansas and there's never been any indication that his Dad, was a white collar worker. Mr. James has been fairly open about his life, through his writings and I think he would have mentioned that his Dad had worked at the, "Washington Post," before this and that he grew up in Washington, DC. I knew he was born in 1949, I've been trying to figure out if he was the last guy from Kansas, drafted during the Vietnam Era.

I think you're on to something Maris. I think this is Mr. James doing a Ring Lardner tribute, along the line of, "You Know Me Al." Al, is one of the biggest BS'ers in the history of American baseball writing and that covers a lot of ground.

As an aside, Ring Lardner Jr., who was blacklisted during the McCarthy Era, wrote one of the greatest anti-war movies of all time, "M*A*S*H," and he won an Academy Award for it, if you're into that.

M*A*S*H, played for about a year at our local drive-in theater. Whenever we had nothing going on, we'd load up the beer and go and watch M*A*S*H again. I must have seen it 10 times before I got drafted. I based my Army career on it.

The Army is full of incompetent fools. Hopefully they won't get you killed. I was stateside so I wasn't in too much danger of that. Since most of the people in the Army either didn't care or didn't know how to do a good job, and here's the secret, if you could do a good job, if you could actually get things done you were golden and you could get away with a whole bunch of stuff. Like Hawkeye and Trapper John.

It didn't hurt if you worked in supply, which meant that you were a major crook. I always thought that I wasn't stealing. Since we all belonged to the the Army, our bodies, minds and all that equipment, I was just re-distributing it. I was a socialist in those days. Each according to his need.
2:22 AM Sep 29th
 
villageelliott
For PM Churchill to visit Washington during the War "to get to know President Truman", it would have to be after FDR died on April 12th and VJ Day, Sept. 2. 1945. If both "FDR and Hitler (April 30) died a few weeks earlier", it would have been before the Potsdam Conference in mid-July. But Churchill first met "and got to know" Truman at Potsdam. Midway during the conference Churchill was defeated for re-election and replaced by Atlee. Thus for the few weeks between the end of conference and VJ Day, Churchill was out of office. On Mar. 5th, 1946 during Citizen Churchill's first post[war US visit, both he and Pres. Truman received honorary doctorates at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., Truman's (and my) home state. Churchill delivered his only major address of his weeks long North American visit, his famous "Iron Curtain" speech. I consider this Bill's use of artistic license to set up an excuse to include Truman's well-documented hands-on administrative style and creative profanity. He "Showed" me.
1:45 AM Sep 29th
 
MarisFan61
Confession time, perhaps: Who else has ever mixed up Ring Lardner and James Thurber?
Or thinks that someday they might? :-)

The only reason I realized Lardner wasn't the right guy was that I was inspired to go and read up a little on him, since I didn't know much about him, and when I saw that nothing was mentioned about Squawks McGrew or "You Could Look It Up"......
12:33 AM Sep 29th
 
jemanji
Whoops, if Bill had been born in 1950 that would make him 65 now, not 75. :- ) The perils of surfing (and writing) too fast ....

Lessee, wiki says Bill was born in 1949. I hadn't remembered DiMaggio being in Korea, but if Joe D hadn't retired so much younger than Ted and Willie, the story coulda synched. Didn't think about it while reading through.

Never mind that such an Eddie Gaedel moment in baseball shoulda registered... was a little bleary from sleep deprivation

... oddly enough, what did have me scratching my head right away was the unlikelihood of having your first ballgame be an Eddie Gaedel game :- )

11:42 PM Sep 28th
 
jemanji
Right, though I figured he was talking about the Korean War. Ted Williams was in Korea and I didn't remember off-the-cuff when DiMaggio retired.

Skimmed by it, figured we were talking 1954 or so. Now that I think about it, it still would have required Bill to be 75 years old now and about 4 years old then.

But yeah.
11:35 PM Sep 28th
 
Brock Hanke
This may be the best description of a game I've ever seen, real or imaginary. I caught on as soon as he said he'd seen DiMaggio during the war. I'm a couple of years older than Bill, and I was born in 1947. But knowing that turned out to be a good thing, as it allowed me to focus on the story as a story. Damn good story.
10:57 PM Sep 28th
 
BobGill
Aside from the fact that Bill wasn't alive during World War II, the first giveaway that this wasn't on the up-and-up was the mention of commuter trains in Washington. There weren't any. Of course these days we have the Metro trains, but those didn't appear until about 1976. In the 1940s the big public transportation system in D.C was trolley cars. I'm not sure if they still had any of them in operation by the time I came along, but I remember the trolley lines in the middle of the streets, which were still around for quite a few years afterward.

10:18 PM Sep 28th
 
MarisFan61
You could tell right away if you even just sort of know Bill's age. He couldn't much have been going to games in the early '40's.
8:12 PM Sep 28th
 
jemanji
I only realized it was satire when Bill said that a popup disappeared and never came down. Until then, I was going, "Wow, back then they let you get away with stuff like that?"

When Bill tells us something about baseball history, it takes a violation of an actual law of physics before I question anything :- )


8:01 PM Sep 28th
 
MarisFan61
.....I actually was able to find that item online, and it doesn't exactly say that. It says that the original reporting of it was "I will return" but that the army currently was saying a check of historical records showed he said the more known version. I'd go with the original reporting.
7:49 PM Sep 28th
 
MarisFan61
When MacArthur died, in addition to the obituary and various tributes, the New York Times had one of those little "filler" pieces, that what he had actually said was, "I will return."

MacArthur missed out on calling his autobio (if he wrote one) "I Didn't Say Everything I Said."
7:14 PM Sep 28th
 
steve161
When I was in school about 55 years ago, the teachers and the style manuals asserted that "I shall" is less emphatic than "I will"--usually accompanied by a gratuitous swipe at Gen Douglas MacArthur. No idea if this is still the convention.
6:32 PM Sep 28th
 
bjames
Well, I just checked the 134,000 word manuscript of The Man from the Train, and, sure enough. . .never used the word "shall".
5:41 PM Sep 28th
 
chuck
I didn't even have to do a tracer on this hooey. EVERYbody knows DiMaggio never popped a ball up in his life.
4:23 PM Sep 28th
 
337
The "shall" in the first line should have tipped me that something screwy was coming. I think it's Bill's first "shall."
3:39 PM Sep 28th
 
TKissane
I was thinking Philip Roth. Actually, I was at least half on the hoook till Churchill came up. No way you'd have to kill the lights for him till way after midnight.
1:48 PM Sep 28th
 
MarisFan61
I didn't get it either till you did that extra post. Thanks for not getting it right away. :-)
1:37 PM Sep 28th
 
337
Didn't realize you'd written "characters", tigerlily. Sorry.
1:34 PM Sep 28th
 
337
You get all the space you want here in the "Comments" section. It's in "Hey Bill" that you're limited to 500 characters (not words). Knock yourself out.
1:02 PM Sep 28th
 
tigerlily
That's nothin' compared to the first major league game I ever saw! I'd tell ya' about, but it'd take a lot more than 500 characters.
1:00 PM Sep 28th
 
MarisFan61
(I meant James Thurber, but Ring Lardner will almost do.)
12:51 PM Sep 28th
 
DanDanDodgerFan
Yep, that's pretty much how I remember it, too--more or less.
12:07 PM Sep 28th
 
MarisFan61
Actually ghost-written by Ring Lardner, I think. :-)
11:41 AM Sep 28th
 
 
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