Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My First World Series

(PHOTO: Library of Congress)
At the end of the World Series game on October 8, 1956, between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Yankees, Yankee catcher Yogi Berra leaped into the arms of pitcher Don Larsen to celebrate Larsen’s pitching a perfect game in defeating the Dodgers 2-0. For those who are not baseball fans, a ‘perfect game’ is one where a pitcher completes a full game without allowing any player of the opposing team to reach first base by a base hit, base on balls, error, or any other means. Only 23 perfect games have been thrown in regular season play, and none had never been done before 1956 in a World Series game; it hasn’t been done since.

Today’s opening of World Series play brings to mind my first World Series in 1956 growing up in Hawaii. Games on ‘the mainland’ were televised on a one-day delayed basis since game films had to be flown in to local stations. News that Don Larsen had pitched a perfect game sparked my father to hunt down and borrow a used television set from the mercantile division of the company where he worked and invite his shop workers over for beer and to watch the game.

Everyone gathered at my grandmother’s house and began watching but the black and white set’s picture grew darker and darker and went to black. Amidst groans and beer, the set was turned off, then back on and the picture returned before again growing darker and fading to black. “It’s the tube,” someone said, and the solution became to turn the set off when it went to black and to vigorously fan the tubes to cool them, then turn the set back on.

I’d like to say that I recall the thrill of watching the final pitch and seeing Yogi race out and leap into Don’s arms but honestly, I don’t remember any of the baseball game but can see my father with a smile on his face, fanning away at the television set.

--Mike Sato