Author Topic: 30th September 1971: A Date Which Will Live In Infamy  (Read 225 times)

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Offline OldChelsea

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  • Nats Supporter in Exile
https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2021/09/29/washington-senators-final-game-rfk-1971-bob-short/ - I realise the actual 50th Anniversary is tomorrow, but the online Post posted this article today.

Truth be told, I wasn't residing in this area when Senators v2.0 blew town. My first live sporting event was Senators-Red Sox at the then-DC Stadium in 1963; we moved out of the area in 1966 as my father (a career Navy officer) had gotten orders and I was still living the peripatetic life of a service brat. By the time of the Senators' departure I was beginning my sophomore year at university (meanwhile my residence had shifted again to Hawaii, where the Senators once had a farm club). To be perfectly honest I thought little of the shift at the time.

That changed in 1977 when my current residence in this area began. This was two or three years after the attempt to move the Padres here fell through, and we were still getting teased by rumours of the Giants, Astros et al moving here. I still clung to the hope that baseball might return someday (I even established one of those 'baseball savings accounts' that came out in the late 80's), but the years dragged on, other cities got expansion teams, and DC continued to serve a useful 'stadium blackmail' prop for owners trying to wheedle new ballparks from local governments...meanwhile we were constantly being told by everyone and his brother that 'the Orioles are your team', as Edward Bennett Williams' vision of a regional Orioles club had wide support among much of the establishment here. (For the record, I've never set foot in Baltimore, although I've passed through it in trains and buses many times.)

Then came 2004 and the rumour mill began hotting up about the Montreal/San Juan Expos possibly relocating here...and the long-awaited return finally did come off, and I became one of the Nationals' charter full season ticket holders. So the story ultimately had a happy ending...but 33 seasons is a long time (way too long) to wait between baseball teams.

Offline welch

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  • 2019: Won the fight
I listened to that last game through the Yankee broadcast. Impossible. I swore off baseball until the middle of the '73 season, when the Mets began climbing toward a National League East championship. For younger folks, note that the leagues had divided into east and west around 1969, after the expansion franchises, including Montreal and Seattle, pushed the ten-team leagues beyond a convenient schedule.

The gods of baseball have punished the "Texas Rangers" ever since. They have never gotten to the World Series.

That summer of 1971, as Bob Shorted Washington, a new football coach of the Redskins proclaimed that the Skins would go to the playoffs to compensate for what MLB had done to the Capital of the USA. Everyone though he was crazy to say it, since the Redskins had not made the playoffs since about 1946. He was crazy, but he got the Redskins into the playoffs as the NFC wildcard team. 

Washington became 150% an NFL town.

 

Online HondoKillebrew

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It was a shame that they left and a shame that it took so long for MLB to return. 

Offline welch

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Maybe the gods of baseball have also punished the team in Minneapolis by pushing Calvin "The Thief" Griffith out of baseball. and then by choking the team, in its small market, so that MLB considered contracting it around 2002. If only MLB had let the Lerners buy that team and move it back home. We would be spared all these idiotic "franchise record" riffs. 

Offline Senatorswin

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My avatar was taken from the outfield wall that day. I was one of the guys who ran on the field in the 9th inning.

Offline hotshot

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Enjoyed all your accounts. I moved back to the area in 1966, after graduating from college.   

Went to many Senators games from 1966-71. It was SO easy to park in what was usually an almost vacant parking lot and, once in the park, to move to a prime seat of my choice (once the sleepy ushers mentally checked out).

I recall one mid-week game where I was able to move down to a vacant box seat right behind the home dugout, directly behind Shirley Povich and General Elwood "Pete" Quesada, first FAA Administrator under Ike and JFK, and a former part-owner of the expansion Senators.

The fact we were never in a pennant race seemed unimportant; still got to follow the exploits of our guys and see all the visiting stars. Back then, never thought I'd live to see a World Series championship for DC.


Offline welch

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My avatar was taken from the outfield wall that day. I was one of the guys who ran on the field in the 9th inning.

Good for you! And for "Baseball Bill", the guy who hung the banner saying "Short stinks!"

Offline welch

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Comments from a few who were Senators fans then:

Richard Brown:
Quote
When radio broadcaster Ron Menchine signed off 50 years ago tonight after the Washington Senators forfeited their final  game to the Yankees due to fans running on the field and refusing to yield, Menchine  mentioned that he hoped someday Washington would have another baseball team and win the pennant. Though he wouldn’t live to see it, 48 years and one month later to the day Washington had not only won a pennant but its first World Series in 95 years. Those of us who remember that night in 1971 never imagined it would take 33 years to get a new team or that a Word Series Championship was coming. That’s why those who remember that night treasure the Nationals  through thick and through thin.

Sean Grogan:
Quote
Some of us had given up hope for a team again. It’s made the Nationals that much more appealing.

Richard Burka:
Quote
That night was devastating

Johnny Holiday:
Quote
On my On Deck pre game show that night, I got reaction on the move from every single player on that team. Ifigured we would get another team in oh a couple of years. Litttle did I know. Ron Menchine was a wonderful human being as was Tony Roberts his broadcast partner. Doing the pre game show for the last 2 seasons the Senators were here and interviewing Ted Williams for every show was one of the hi lites of my career.

Sean Grogan and Johnny Holiday:
Quote
Sean Grogan:
Johnny Holliday, what was the general feeling among the players?

Johnny Holliday:
Every single one was devasteted..they hated the move to Texas!!!

Offline 1995hoo

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….

The gods of baseball have punished the "Texas Rangers" ever since. They have never gotten to the World Series.

….

Don’t you mean they’ve never WON the World Series? If I’m not mistaken, they’ve made it twice and lost both times.

Offline hotshot

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Senators were up, 7-5 over the NYY, when the fans actions forfeited the game. A fitting end.

Offline welch

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Don’t you mean they’ve never WON the World Series? If I’m not mistaken, they’ve made it twice and lost both times.

Yes.

Online Natsinpwc

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Well the Senators will never win another World Series. That’s for sure.

Offline welch

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Equally infamous: October 2, 1960. But we didn't know, or even guess, as Calvin Griffith was telling everyone he was almost agreed with the Interior Department on the rent for the new DC Stadium...while he was secretly persuading his brother-in-law, Joe Cronin, and other AL owners to let him move to Minneapolis.

Consider the tearing at our guts as the core of that 1960 team went to the World Series in 1965.

(It is a pleasure to see that Minneapolis / Saint Paul make the Twins a small market team. Nearly contracted by MLB.

Offline machpost

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I'm in the middle of reading a book by 1969-70 Senators play by play man Shelby Whitfield called Kiss It Goodbye. Whitfield was close friends with Ted Williams and the book is a real tell-all that dishes all the dirt about those teams' idiosyncrasies and goes into great detail about how horrible a human being Bob Short really was. It's eye opening. It looks like it's been out of print since 1973 but it's worth hunting down a copy if you're interested at all in the inner workings of the team and their departure.

Offline welch

  • Posts: 14431
  • 2019: Won the fight
I'm in the middle of reading a book by 1969-70 Senators play by play man Shelby Whitfield called Kiss It Goodbye. Whitfield was close friends with Ted Williams and the book is a real tell-all that dishes all the dirt about those teams' idiosyncrasies and goes into great detail about how horrible a human being Bob Short really was. It's eye opening. It looks like it's been out of print since 1973 but it's worth hunting down a copy if you're interested at all in the inner workings of the team and their departure.

Take a read through "Snake Jazz", by the Nats relief pitcher, Dave Baldwin. From the back blurb: 
Quote
Dave Baldwin is the only geneticist and only systems engineer ever to play major league baseball. In Scientific American (May 2000), Steve Mirsky wrote, "Dave Baldwin... is surely the only person to publish in the Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington and to pitch for that town's team."

I remembered Dave Baldwin as one of the Nats' two best relief pitchers. It was Baldwin and Darold Knowles in the late innings. Then read this and enjoyed every bit. Including the time Ted Williams challenged the team: "Who knows why a curve-ball breaks". Baldwin spoke up, and, of course, Baldwin knew exactly why. That infuriated Ted.

Another time, Williams was explaining something about hitting to the team-ful of smart alecks. "OK," said somebody, "lets see you hit something." Baldwin says that Ted Williams picked up a bat, having not hit since he retired in 1960, and proceeded to hit a dozen line drives off the DC Stadium right-field wall...the one behind the fence marking a home run. (Might have been the wall with the People's Drug advertisement). Nobody doubted Williams after that.

https://www.amazon.com/Snake-Jazz-Dave-Baldwin/dp/1425790534/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=