Before Trump, there was John McGraw

John McGraw

President Donald Trump stirred up a hornet’s nest with another one of his tweets, this time second guessing Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts Saturday night.  Trump took Roberts to task for lifting starting pitcher Rich Hill in Game 4 of the World Series.

But long before there was Donald Trump, there was John McGraw, Hall of Fame manager of the New York Giants.  Nicknamed “Little Napoleon,” McGraw managed the Giants from 1902 to 1932, winning three World Series and 10 National League pennants.

McGraw, however, was not averse to criticizing managers of other clubs.  And so it was, in the Oct. 9, 1927 edition of the New York Times, on the day after the vaunted 1927 New York Yankees completed a four-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series, McGraw was out there criticizing Bucs manager Donie Bush.  Down 3-0 entering the seventh inning of the fourth game, the Pirates placed runners at first and second with nobody out.  That’s when Bush ordered future Hall of Farmer Lloyd Warner to bunt, illiciting McGraw to criticize the strategy.

“John McGraw was much upset when Lloyd Waner was ordered to bunt with men on first and second and nobody out in the Pirates seventh,” noted the Times.  “The Pirates got only two runs out of it and McGraw thought they might have made more if Waner had been allowed to hit.”

So 91 years before Trump, there was McGraw, quoted in the New York Times.  Presumably “Little Napoleon’s” Twitter account was not working that day.

You had to drive to Connecticut to watch Giants

Back in the day – long before the television-saturated era in which we now live – not every NFL game was on television.  For example, in the early 1960s – when the New York Giants were of championship caliber – their home games at Yankee Stadium were not televised in the New York market.

How to follow the Giants home games?  Well, there was radio.  The medium was around back then too and even in 2018 it is still a great way to follow a football game.   But Giants fans wanted to watch their favorites like quarterback Y.A. Tittle, no matter how much fun it was listening to a game on the radio.  (In 1962, by the way, the “Voice of the Yankees,” Mel Allen, broadcast Giants games on radio and Ballantine Beer was the sponsor.). If you lived in New York, however, and didn’t have a ticket to a home game at Yankee Stadium, you were out of luck.

Enterprising hotels and motels came to the rescue – especially those located in Connecticut.  As one ad in the Oct. 26, 1962 edition of The NY Times implored, take the short drive to Connecticut to watch Big Blue.

And many people did.  Some in New York, even went so far as to erect “high-powered” TV antennas atop their apartments in the hope of pulling in Hartford’s CBS affiliate, which televised the games.  Most of their attempts, however, ended with interference.

These days the New York Giants – who play in New Jersey – are readily available to watch on brilliant HDTV both home and away.  However, with another poor season droning on, there’s not much to see, when it comes to “Big Blue.”  Better that interference return to the screen, when a Giants game is televised.

Red Sox are relentless

The Boston Red Sox are relentless. They are, as their record reads, the best team in baseball. The Red Sox are showing the Los Angeles Dodgers what the rest of the American League has learned, when you score against them, they answer right back. That is the ultimate sign of a winner.

 I don’t know who is going to win this World Series, but I do know this, the Red Sox are the best team in baseball, until proven otherwise.