The New York Yankees were trailing the St. Louis Cardinals, 2-0 in the top of the eighth inning of Game 5 of the 1964 World Series. It was time for me to leave the television and go to the bus stop. I had a five o'clock statistics class at NYU.
I took my books and, of course, my small, blue transistor radio. As I waited for the bus, I heard Harry Caray say that Pete Mikkelson was taking over for Hal Reniff with Cardinals' runners on first and second and one out. The radio reception on the bus wasn't good, but I managed to figure out that Reniff got out of the jam.
Bob Gibson retired the Yankees quickly in the bottom of the eighth inning and it took Mikkelson even less time to retire the Cards in the ninth.
I was feeling depressed because things weren't going well when, with two outs and Mickey Mantle on second base, Caray's voice made me feel happier than a fat kid whose mother had just given him a cookie and more tense than a father waiting the birth of his first baby.
Tommy Tresh had hit a home run to tie the game.
By the time I stepped off the bus and started walking to the subway, it was the Cardinals' half of the 10th inning. I walked very slowly because there would be no radio reception once I walked down the stairs.
It was a nice sunny fall day, but that was irrelevant to me. I didn't see people, I didn't see the traffic and the only reason that I almost saw the Ridgewood Savings Bank was because I had seen it so often.
There really was a problem. I had to go into the subway but I had to listen to the game. I really didn't care if I were late to the statistics class, but I knew that something would make me enter the subway and wait about 40 excruciating minutes before I found out what happened.
Mikkelson, whom I never trusted because he often lacked control, walked Bill White to lead off the 10th inning. White was fast and Mikkelson had trouble holding runners on.
Ken Boyer, the cleanup hitter, bunted. I'll repeat that for younger fans who will never see a cleanup hitter bunt. Boyer pushed a bunt toward the right side and beat it out.
Now we were in trouble. I stopped just before the entrance to the subway. The Ridgewood Savings Bank was to my right and the roar of Queens Blvd. traffic, which interfered with the sound coming out of my cheap $2 "Boy's Radio," was on the left.
I held the radio close to my ear. Bill White stole third to put runners on first and third with no outs, but Dick Groat hit a ground ball to Pedro Gonzalez to force Boyer at second. White held third.
I no longer was concerned about being late to class. I no longer felt any tension. I no longer felt any joy. To this day, I will never forgive Tim McCarver or Pete Mikkelson.
McCarver hit a three-run home run, Gibson pitched a complete game six-hitter, striking out 13, not allowing an earned run.
I raised the hand carrying the radio and turned toward the wall of the bank. As I was about to smash it to smithereens, I remembered that I would need it for the sixth game. It was not a happy subway ride.
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