With congrats to Roy Halladay for his no-hitter, here's a bit of perspective on perfection. Good luck to the 2010 Phillies and their fans in making the final game a victorious one!
Dad took me to my first Phillies game in 1965 at Connie Mack Stadium. Old, corrugated steel wall in right field where Johnny Callison would patrol beneath the Ballantine Beer sign. Line drives he couldn't run down would make a "BONK" sound when they bounced off it.
The big home run threat on the club was third baseman Richie Allen. Awesome power, but he managed to cultivate a great love-hate relationship with the fans by striking out almost every time he didn't go deep. Like at that night game in '65.
San Francisco Giants All-Star pitcher Juan Marichal was on the hill that night, aiming for a complete game as the Phillies trailed in the bottom of the ninth. Down by a run and with the speedy Callison at second base, Richie Allen steps to the plate. Two outs. Allen was 0-for-3 on the night...yep, all K's.
When the count went to 1-2, the boos began. They started like small eddies, growing to form a giant wave that seemed to lift and rock the stadium. The sound bounced off the old steel wall, which stood in contempt of the slugger who hoped to surpass it.
Marichal winds, kicks, delivers. Allen swings. "THWACK," as the fastball punched into catcher's mitt for strike three.
And from above the roar produced by 30,000 of Philly's finest, the storm began. Hot dog wrappers, peanut bags, and Ballantine beer cups by the thousands drifted down from the upper deck as every Eddie and Sam joined the salute. It looked like a blizzard, covering the field in defeat on this warm summer evening.
Tugged by my sleeve through the elements, we reached street level before Dad turned to me.
"Some game, huh?"
Thanks, Dad. It was a perfect game. I'll never forget it.
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