Time heals all wounds. This much, I know. We have a tendency to scrub our memories clean, leaving a foggy & romantic view of the past that isn’t exactly accurate. Watch how quickly any “steroids are cheating” truther shoves aside the inconvenient truth of greenies or amphetamines in baseball.

The Golden Age was golden, perfect and shiny as it reflects a simpler time in the world in which everybody gets along and everything was just as it should be. Except, of course, that it wasn’t.

The San Francisco Chronicle re-posted an article from 1962 on their website this weekend and it is amazing. Reading like a discarded chapter from L.A. Confidential, it recounts a conversation between Charles McCabe and a known gambler and degenerate known only as “Manny the Noodle”.

The Noodle, playing the 1962 role of the 99%, details how “the Money” wants the Dodgers and Yankees to meet in the World Series because ESPN is always trying to shove the same big market teams down our throat that’s just what The Money does. The Noodle doesn’t mince words when describe the invisible hand of the market.

“So baseball is different from everything else? Honest or something? Money wins every time, kid. You ride with the money or you’re dead.

Yeah, seee. These wiseguys are all about the lettuce, seeee. And how does The Money conspire to ensure the two biggest markets meet in the Fall Classic? Do they add additional Wild Card games or limit the way small market clubs can spend in the draft?

Nope. They drug Willie Mays, the best player on the only team standing between the Dodgers and the National League crown, of course!

It’s an amazing story, one that stands a zero percent chance of running in any newspaper today. Which is good because it is almost assuredly not true. Not only is it so outlandish that I cannot bring myself to believe it but the Giants ended up winning the NL pennant in 1962. Meaning all the best laid plans of men willing to stage an extravagant drugging of the best player in baseball didn’t realize it takes more than one player to change the course of a baseball season. It might take as many as eight, I hear.

It sure makes for good reading, I tells ya. Clicking through this link to the original (reprinted) story is certainly worth the 5 minutes it takes to read. And you’ll be talking all cool to the dames at work for the rest of the afternoon, too. Everybody wins then you drink at your desk. The Sixties, baby. They were the best of times1.

1 – Does not apply to any non-straight, non-white males or women of any kind.

Comments (3)

  1. So I wrote about a movie this morning at The Platoon Advantage called “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” a fun, fluffy 1949 musical starring Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly. The big twist comes when gamblers conspire to hamper Kelly’s character’s play on the baseball field (not by poisoning him, but by convincing him to stay up half the night rehearsing for a vaudeville act) and eventually get him kicked off the team to (hopefully) cost the team the shot at the pennant.

    And my only comment on the plot was actually the same thing — it’s ridiculous to think one player would have that much impact on a few games. Thanks for that knowledge, Concept of Wins Above Replacement!

    • Fair, but I have a feeling that the average seedy gambler in the ’40s is more of an RBI guy . . . .

    • That film is ridiculous. I love how at the end, Kelly is so furious with Sinatra, that he wants to charge onto the field to kick his ass. But with Sinatra on base already, Kelly needs to pick up a bat and hit his way on. Climactic!

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