Archive for February 5th, 2011
For the next week or two, WC will be revisiting earlier posts to Wickersham’s Conscience. For most readers, these older essays will be new. For those who have read them, well, WC thinks they are good enough to be worth reading again.
Dave Winfield was a superb member of the Alaska Goldpanners 1971-72, a summer league team in WC’s hometown. He’s the only pitcher to ever throw a no-hitter for the team (13W-4L), he was most of the offense (.308 BA, 72 RBI, 8 SB), and he was a great guy. WC has his autographed Goldpanner jersey somewhere. But WC made him commit an error in 1974.
It was the second games of a Cubs’ home stand against the Padres. June 18, 1974. By the seventh inning, the Cubs were trailing 7-1, and WC had been drowning my sorrows in lukewarm Falstaff beer in the front row of the bleachers for more then two hours. Another ex-Goldpanner, Rick Monday hit one his patented, towering, warning track fly balls. LF Dave Winfield was camped under it, waiting for it to come down. He was maybe ten feet from WC.
WC screamed, “Goldpanners,” as loud as he could. Winfield looked over his shoulder at WC, and the ball dropped in front of him. He was still a few years from his Golden Glove string, but still. He picked the ball up and threw it in to hold Monday at first. He glared at WC and shook his head.
The Cubs still lost, despite a small rally in the bottom of the 8th inning. And Dave Winfield is in the Hall of Fame. But WC can take credit for causing a Hall of Fame baseball player to commit an error. If WC ever meets him in person, WC will blame the beer…