Remember when we had really good, entertaining and informative sports writers in the baseball world?
Well, we do. And, as if we needed it, we got a reminder of our singularly great Houston’s Mickey Herskowitz was to that end when he paused last night to comment on our column about the passing of former 1926 Colt .45 Bob Cerv.
There was no one who did it better than Mickey. And that’s still true today. If there were a news rag job out there in today’s mostly ADD on steroids-limited texting market for a real sports writer, Mickey Herskowitz could still be the bomb of visual suggestion he always was, but there ain’t. – And that just all the more underscores the reason we thank him for what he added to our humble Pecan Park Eagle effort to keep the old flame alive here with his commentary on Bob Cerv as a Houston Colt .45. If you didn’t see it, here’s what Mickey Herskowitz wrote as a comment on that column, one that was datelined April 15, 2017 by the Internet time stamp at WordPress:
“Bill, couldn’t resist sharing an odd, random thought on Bob Cerv. His claim to fame as a Colt .45 was the size of his thighs. He had grown so big and heavy that the equipment man, Whitey Diskin, had to rip up two sets of trousers so he could sew them together to fit over Cerv’s upper legs.
“He was also the only player, certainly up to time, to get thrown out at home trying to score from second on a triple. Al Spangler banged one off the centerfield wall with Cerv perched on second. When he rounded third, Al was just a few steps behind him. He was tagged out easily at the plate. Did I mention in addition to gaining a whole lot of weight, he had lost a whole lot of speed. Best. M.”
WOW! Do those few carefully scripted words set off an animated version in the mind of that entire silly scene? How slow do you have to be to not score from second on a triple? What was the look on triple-hitter Al Spangler’s face when he rounded third base and suddenly found himself blocked from scoring by the man who had been on second when he hammered his blast down the right field line? What did anybody have to say about the play in the game’s post-mortem comments?
Maybe not much. The Cincinnati Reds already were on their way to a 6-1 dicing of the Houston Colt .45s at Colt Stadium in Houston when the play occurred on July 1, 1962, but their was definitely the possibility of some residual ego-bruising as a result of how things unfolded. How would any of us like to be remembered as the guy who couldn’t score from second on a triple – even when many of us are now at an age in which we could not score from third base on a triple? We’ve got an excuse. Cerv was 37 at the time and had a player’s contract, at least, for one more month beyond this memorable day. Bob Cerv would be released by the Colt .45s from his last active service in the big leagues on July 30, 1962.
We’ve had neither the time nor the technical access to run down local news coverage of the Spangler/Cerv Disservice, but we did run across an AP report that appeared the following day, July 2, 1962, in the Sandusky (O) Register on Page 16:
Does Player Always Score From Second On a Triple? HOUSTON, Tex. (AP) – Baseball Question: How can a player fail to score from second base on a triple? The Houston Colts furnished the answer Sunday. The incident occurred in the seventh inning in what turned out to be the Houston’s only strong inning against the Cincinnati Reds, who coasted to a 6-1 victory. Houston trailed by five runs as Bob Aspromonte opened the inning with an Infield hit. After Don Buddin struck out. Bob Cerv came through with a pinch single. Aspromonte moved to third and Cerv to second as Frank Robinson bobbled the ball in right field. That brought up Al Spangler, and he sent a line drive screaming into the right field corner for a certain three-bagger, which is what the official scorer called it. Aspromonte scored Houston’s first run easily, but Cerv, hesitating as he rounded third base, was thrown out at home as he lunged for the plate. “There was a mix-up in signs,” explained Manager Harry Craft. “Billy Goodman (the next batter) thought the umpire called a foul ball, and he flashed the sign for Cerv to hold up. Anyway, it was something like that.” Cerv had little to say. “I’d rather not say anything,” he said.”
“It was just one of those things. I should’ve slid.”
Or maybe he should’ve slud. Whatever. The Pecan Park Eagle greatly prefers Mickey Herskowitz’s treatment of the play. Watching the man with pontoon legs trying to score from second on a ball hit hopelessly far down the right field line, as Spangler, the triples hitter, finally appears on his tail with no prospects for passing the tortoise is a far more legendary and hilariously engaging visual story line.
Here’s the Baseball Almanac box score to the July 1, 1962 game in which the Spangler/Cerv Disservice took place:
Thanks again, Mickey, and please check in with us more often. And remember too. – Any time you choose to write a guest column for The Pecan Eagle, please know that it shall be most welcomed with humble appreciations by all of us who still miss reading you on a regular basis.
Forever Your Fan,
Publisher, Editor, Writer
The Pecan Park Eagle