History That Never Was: 1951

As promised yesterday, perhaps the real piece of “History That Never Was”: a 1951 Yankees-Dodgers World Series Program. Another fully-printed edition, not just a cover. This is the Yankee Stadium version. To my knowledge, no copies of the Ebbets Field edition are still in existence, though at least the cover must have been printed. 

1951yankeesdodgers.jpg
The content is fascinating, of course. Mini-biographies of all the Dodgers, including a very unfortunate photograph (under the circumstances) at the lower corner of page 25:
1951branca.jpg
It wasn’t a precise substitution, but, as you see, in the actual 1951 World Series program, Mr. Thomson replaced Mr. Branca:
1951thomson.jpg

5 Comments

“Thomson is a native of Staten Island.”

Actually, while Thomson lived on Staten Island since early childhood he was a native of Glasgow, Scotland. The UK chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research, in fact, is named for him.

Reading about Branca was a punch in the gut. A couple of bits of trivia from all that. One is that Branca talked once about how he was a young pitcher then and someone should have settled him down–except that he was 25 and had had considerable success already. That’s the only time I thought he was less than totally stand-up in taking the opprobrium associated with that moment.

Another is that the Dodgers then had a 23-year-old #3 announcer named Vin Scully, who has said that over the years, he has been socially close to one player, even double-dating with him: Branca. He said when Thomson hit the ball, he just put his hands over his face and said, “Poor Ralph,” and he was so glad not to have to call it.

Which brings me to Red Barber. His call was classic Barber: informative, technically perfect, and when the crowd noise kicked in, he just shut up. Russ Hodges made a classic call, and I’m not knocking it. But it’s fascinating to hear the contrast.

Also, before the game, a Gillette executive leaned in and told Red he was telling “both of you boys,” meaning him and Hodges, the same thing: the winning team’s voice would do the World Series with Mel Allen. It helped drive Barber toward his decision in 1953 to turn down the World Series when Gillette offered him the grand sum of $200 a game.

Amazing how much of this stuff is out there.

I noticed in the MLB Network add for their Hot Stove show where some guy is talking about all the places he goes for offseason baseball moves (including knowing someone who rides the bus with Derek Jeter’s doorman) there’s a 1968 St Louis Cardinals World Champions pennant!

Whoops.

As a Red Sox fan, I wonder if any Braves-Red Sox World Series programs were printed for 1948.

Keith, you mention 1967. I remember visiting the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, sometime around 1973, before the museum there was “modernized”. They had a cabinet with memorabilia from the 1967 World Series — for the three teams in the American League that DIDN’T make it.

For those who weren’t around then, the 1967 American League pennant race was arguably the wildest of all time. With around ten days to go, five of the ten AL teams were still alive; heading into the final weekend – four, and the final day = three, with the Red Sox knocking out Minnesota and then listening to the radio as the Tigers lost the second game of their doubleheader – and the pennant.

At least four of the AL teams were ordered to print tickets and prepare for a potential World Series at their respective parks.

I noticed in the MLB Network add for their Hot Stove show where some guy is talking about all the places he goes for offseason baseball moves (including knowing someone who rides the bus with Derek Jeter’s doorman) there’s a 1968 St Louis Cardinals World Champions pennant!

Whoops.

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