J. D. Thorne, speaker and author of the new book Baseball’s Winning Ways (Available on Amazon Books).
“Late Season Comebacks”
Although achieving over a .500 record this season, the Cardinals as of this writing are eleven games behind the Brewers for first place in the NL Central Division. As a Brewers fan, I ask myself if I am in heaven or is this Kansas? Is there “a man behind the curtain” like the Wizard of Oz who can change things capriciously at his whim with the pulling of a lever or the waving of his hand?
Indeed, there have been great comebacks in the history of baseball that seem miraculous. Some remember the one that involved the Cardinals themselves in 1964. They found themselves with six weeks to play and they were 11 games behind in the standings–behind a good Phillies club that had dominated the National League all season. Yet they ended the season as World Champions after winning the pennant when the Phillies fell apart, losing most of their remaining games.
Many baseball fans have read about the New York Giants in 1951. It was at this time of year that the Giants were 13 games behind the Brooklyn Dodgers of Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campanella, Gil Hodges, and “Duke” Snider. Ending the Pennant race, however, was Bobby Thompson’s “home run heard ‘round the world’” over the head of Dodger left fielder at the time, Boyceville, Wisconsin, “Bulldog” native Andy Pafko. I heard Andy speak about this legendary time before the Milwaukee Braves Historical Association. When both he and Thompson were together at spring training playing for the Braves in 1954, Pafko insisted that Thompson buy breakfast every day because of all the money that home run cost him! Shortly thereafter Thompson broke his ankle, and a rookie named Hank Aaron joined the roster.
And then there’s the “Amazin” Mets of 1969 who seemingly with ease erased an eight game mid-August deficit by winning 39 of their last 50 games. The Mets overtook the Chicago Cubs of Ron Santo, Sweet Billy Williams, Ferguson Jenkins, and Ernie Banks. I still find it hard to discuss.
But there is lots of fun ahead yet this season.
My senior year in college, my roommate was a Mets fan from New York. I razzed him in the spring, but in September he gave it back to me in spades, especially when his team with Tom Seaver and Tommy Agee triumphed over everyone, not only the Cubs.
J. D. Thorne
Copyright 2021, Sporting Chance Press
Baseball’s Winning Ways is written for enjoyment, inspiration, and information by the author of The 10 Commandments of Baseball, J. D. Thorne. Winning Ways explores baseball history and high profile players both current and past. American history highlights provide a more complete point of reference. The drama of the game, its history, baseball superstitions, statistics explained, and more provide features of interest to all fans from age 12 on up. The central theme of the book is baseball’s winning ways, those principles essential to the game itself–values that parents, grandparents, teachers and coaches want to pass down that are as important now as ever.