Did Mays make great catch 60 years ago?
Considered better than Series grab
Good morning, all. I hope your week is going well!
It is still considered by many to be the greatest catch in World Series history. Game One of the 1954 Series at the Polo Grounds and Willie Mays made his iconic back-to-the-plate, running catch near the 440-foot mark, of the batted ball struck by Cleveland’s Vic Wertz. But was it his greatest catch?
Sixty years ago, on May 18, 1961, Mays made an over-the-shoulder grab by the 410-foot sign at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park of a ball hit by Dick Bertell of the Chicago Cubs. The sensational effort led Mays’ manager Alvin Dark to comment that the catch was more difficult than the one he made against Wertz.
The circumstances were different, but I think Willie’s catch here was more difficult than the one made off Wertz. Against Wertz, he had a look over his shoulder before he caught the ball with one hand. Here, it came over his head from behind him.
Dark was in position to make a comparison, having played shortstop for the Giants in that World Series. As for Mays, he added:
I don’t know. I just try to get that ball and throw it back to the infield. The wind made a difference. If it was blowing the other way, the ball is out of here. That wind changes all the time, makes it tough.
Whether the catch against Bertell was greater than the one against Wertz, there can be no doubt, playing center field in Candlestick Park, with those winds to which Mays alluded, was much more difficult than center at the Polo Grounds, even though the dimension’s at the New York ballpark were deeper.
Remembering Wells’ perfect game
Monday marked the 23rd anniversary of David Wells’ perfect game. Pitching for the Yankees on Sunday, May 17, 1998 at Yankee Stadium, the southpaw retired all 27 Minnesota Twins batters he faced. It was during this period, that I was not broadcasting professional baseball, but I happened to be listening to the game on a beach on Cape Cod.
After Wells finished his perfecto, I had to smile. When I was broadcasting games for the Kinston Blue Jays in 1983, Wells was a member of the Toronto Blue Jays A-ball affiliate. In those days, we all multitasked and I not only broadcast the games but drove the team bus. Invariably, Wells would sit right behind me and we would talk. He went to Point Loma High School in San Diego, the same high school Don Larsen attended. I would always tease Wells, telling him he had a tough act to follow because of Larsen’s World Series perfect game. He would alway counter by saying, “Yeah, he may have pitched a perfect game in the World Series, but I’m the only guy to pitch a perfect game for Point Loma High School.”
He was until he could say he was the only guy to pitch a perfect game for Point Loma High School and the New York Yankees.
Streaming is in
Whether it is ESPN, AT&T, Disney, pick your company or merger, all these moves are the result of the industry attempting to stay one-step ahead of the cable cord-cutters. Last week, Disney, the parent company of ABC and ESPN, announced it will have 260 million streaming customers by the end of 2024. ESPN+ already has 12 million subscribers for its service. Streaming is in and the communication barons know it.
Said New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft:
Our fans want this (streaming) option, and our media partners and the league understand that streaming is truly the future.
Expect more streaming announcements as the communication giants continue to position themselves in order to remain relevant.
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