It’s now falling leaves, Thanksgiving, colder temperatures, new hockey skates for your future NHLer, back to standard time, Hallowe’en and, of course, the World Series.
Let’s start by satiating the baseball diehards. Try these “series” questions (answers are at the end of the column):
1. Remember the Brooklyn Dodgers, who later moved to Los Angeles? They used to have great series battles with the Yankees, but did Brooklyn ever win the World Series?
2. Remember the story about Babe Ruth and the “called shot?” When was that, what happened and who was the opposing pitcher?
3. When was the first World Series and who was playing?
Note that the answers, “A long time ago,” and “two teams” are not acceptable.
Does the date October 4, 1957, ring a memorable bell? That was the beginning of the “Space Race.” The Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1 into orbit. The Soviets? Not the Americans? We were all in shock as that little “beeping basketball” orbited above us! Even though it was tiny, the first artificial earth satellite was a very big deal back then.
Seems pretty tame now when you think of all that has since happened in space.
And while we're on the subject of Space, there are two annual meteor showers in October. If the nights are clear on October 10 and 23, slip out for a late-night walk and have a look.
October 6, 1967 — Canada's greatest 24 hour rainfall occurred at Ucluelet, B.C., near Long beach on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Mother Nature sloshed down 475 millimetres (19 inches) of rain that day and night. Residents might have drowned, but they didn’t have to shovel it. The weather forecast, of course, had called for “scattered showers.”
October 14, 1899 — New York’s Literary Digest noted that they thought the price of the new “horseless carriage” (aka, the automobile) would probably come down, but they said it would never be as common as the bicycle.
Sure, a story like that is good for a laugh, but maybe in 1899 that skepticism wasn’t so laughable or surprising. It takes time for new-fangled stuff to catch on in any era. For example, I would never have guessed that I’d be tapping this out on a computer keyboard, let alone know how to get it out of the computer and on to old-fashioned paper.
October 23 — This is the day, every year, that the swallows check their daytimer and discover that it’s time to get airborne and wing south for the winter. But equally predictable in all seasons, they return to their cozy little time-share condo in San Juan Capistrano, California, on March 19 every year. Clever, those birds.
I always admired how smart birds were until a small bird flew into our garage and was unable to figure out how to escape. It flew back and forth inside the garage above the open garage door and side door, but would not fly down and out through these openings. How can a bird that navigates all that distance south for the winter have so much trouble with that? The garage made a pretty funny birdcage, but I remember the bird was part of the family for awhile until it got its bearings. No, I don’t know what kind of bird it was. We just called it, the “Garage Swallow.”
Baseball quiz answers
1. The Brooklyn Dodgers played in nine World Series — 1916, 1920, 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955 and 1956 — but, they only won once. It was in 1955 when they beat the Yankees, 4 games to 3.
2. The Babe’s “called shot” came in the 1932 World Series, whenYankees and Cubs, were in the fifth inning of the third game and the Cub pitcher was Charlie Root. The Babe pointed to a spot in the right-field stands and then crunched a home run that landed in that exact spot.
Well, it makes a good story.
Here’s extra trivia at no extra charge: the Yankees won that series in four straight. “Yeah, team!”
3. The first baseball World Series was played in Boston way back in 1903, when the Boston Americans played the Philadelphia Nationals.
More extra trivia at no extra charge: there was no series the following year. What? They didn’t think it would catch on? There was a baseball strike after only one year of the series? They forgot? Go figure.
The Boston Americans (now Boston Red Sox) repeated their 1903 American League championship and the National League champions were the New York Giants (now San Francisco Giants). Owing to business rivalry between the two leagues, especially in New York, and to personal animosity between Giants manager John McGraw and American League president Ban Johnson, the Giants declined to meet the champions of the “junior” or “minor” league. McGraw even said his Giants were already the World Champions since they were the champions of the “only real major league.” The series resumed the following year.