Picture a boy of 16 -- he will be 17 in two months -- who has just witnessed his Boston Red Sox become baseball's world champions by beating the Chicago Cubs.
With that strong team -- it had inherited the role of Mack's Athletics when Connie took the members of his world champs and sold them all off -- plenty more championships seemed to beckon.
That boy would have had to wait 86 years for a repeat of what he saw in 1918. He never made it. I said good-bye to Dad in 1973. In 1918 he probably would never have believed that 86 years of pain and disappointment would go by.
Put it this way -- tell some 16 year old Red Sox fan now that the next time Boston has a World Series championship it will be 2090 and he will be almost 103 years old. That gives you the perspective.
When that boy of 1918 departed in 1973, 55 years after the 1918 success, he probably figured the Red Sox were spooked, jinxed, dogged by bad karma. Or something.
But no one ever talked of the "curse of the Bambino." This is balderdash. Total nonsense. It was something made up by a sports writer of recent vintage. Anyone who has been around more than 20 years never heard of such foolishness.
But the guy wrote a catchy phrase and it has become gospel.
For one thing, why would Babe Ruth put a curse on the Red Sox? He had some lovely years in Boston. He was headed for New York -- the Big Apple then, just as it is now.
This poor boy from Baltimore, virtually abandoned to the brothers at St. Mary's Industrial School, didn't care where he played. He was in the big leagues.
In fact, for the rest of his life, he kept his home in Duxbury, Mass.
Harry Frazee, typical of baseball team owners of the day, traded in human beings -- players -- to put money in his pockets. Dunn in Baltimore had done that with Ruth, selling him to Boston.
Up until the time of the passing of old man Griffith, the Comiskeys and Mack that's how it was done. A guy bought young talent, developed it and then sold it. The reserve clause made players virtual slaves to their owners.
When Ruth was sold to New York, Waite Hoyt, Herb Pennock and Carl Mays went with him. Did the Red Sox also suffer from the curse of Hoyt, Pennock and Mays?
Mays, incidentally, was involved in the only death that has occurred in the playing of major league baseball.
He was a submarine, sidearm pitcher and one of his heaves decked Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians. Chapman, a shortstop for Cleveland, was killed. That was in 1920.
Joe Sewell, who later was the baseball coach at Alabama, took Chapman's place. Sewell almost never struck out -- like two times in a season. (Please stop me; I could go on like this all day.)
A Red Sox fan of some vintage, now having just completed his 65th season, can tell you a story of heartbreak, pain, disappointment, disillusionment.
Pesky holding the ball an instant too long in 1946, the wipeout in 1948 by one-man wrecking crew Lou Boudreau, the stumbles in 1949 and â€˜50, the Bill Buckner debacle, the Bucky Dent killer home run, the Aaron Boone home run. And there is more.
Now the long drought has ended.
I wasn't in St. Louis for the grand coup last week, but I was there for all the other things hereinabove mentioned.
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