One thing that we lost in the fire during the Year from Hell that I haven’t replaced is my collection of books about the early years of the New York Giants (the baseball team). I have no idea why I first became interested in the Giants, much less the turn-of-the-20th century Giants, but once I started, I was absolutely hooked. I spent months learning about John McGraw, Christy Mathewson, Fred Merkle (and his famous “boner“), Iron Man Joe McGinnity and their huge rivalries with the Connie Mack-led A’s, Cubs, and the upstart Yankees.
The two people I found most interesting were John McGraw and Christy Mathewson. McGraw, a rough, pugnacious, hard-drinking, horserace-gambling little cuss of a man, was manager during those glory years. Mathewson, a (rare) college-educated (Bucknell, no less), devoutly Christian pitcher who refused to play on Sundays until late in his career, was the anchor of the team. That the two were such a contrast, yet together they were an unstoppable force for their team. The fact that the two men were friends, good friends, despite their differences still warms my heart today.
There might be modern parallels, but they are hard to find. Maybe Vince Young and Pacman Jones? I don’t know. it’s an imperfect analogy because they are both players.
I don’t know why I thought of John and Christy tonight. I DO know I’m going to order those books I used to have. Anybody else a student of baseball history?
BTW, somebody should do a movie about the Merkle Boner. It’s one of the strangest, funniest sports moments ever.