On Second Thought
OAKS' "NINE OLD MEN" DELIVER 48 PENNANT
By ALAN WARD
Tribune Sports Editor
For a bunch of old men, the Oaks have done pretty well!
For a team of venerable geezers, earlier in the season derided by some of our more vehement citizens and even, I regretfully confess, by certain members of the press, our Acorns have come through admirably.
A few months ago the tag "the nine old men" was hung on Casey Stengel's boys - pardon, adults - and if the sneers and jeers bothered Case he didn't let on. Neither did the veterans toward whom the snide remarks were directed.
So yesterday the Oaks won the 1948 Pacific Coast League pennant, nudging aside their favorite enemies, the San Francisco Seals, an organization composed principally of young bucks who considered their Acorn contemporaries doddering old fogies ready for the athletic boneyard.
Now the Seals know different.
Realization that the "nine old men" whipped em up and down the line must be galling to the San Francisco Seals. And the moans of transbay baseball writers - those confident lads who for awhile had so much fun with the definition "nine old men" - are even louder and more disturbing than the sullen tones of the foghorns which disturb the gentle slumber of Eastbay residents.
Several of the Oaks "old men" played major roles in the final nerve-wracking week of a hectic flag gallop.
In fact, the patriarchs, no less, WON yesterday's opening game of a double header with the Sacramento Solons to give Oakland its first pennant since 1927. No?
Wasn't it Cookie Lavagetto and Ernie Lombardi, long past their competitive prime, who hit at just the proper time to drive runs across the plate and keep the Oaks in the running against a club which was playing sensational baseball - a brand of ball which, had it been the rule rather than exception during the season would have given the Solons and not the Oaks the pennant?
No Callow Youth
Wasn't it Ralph Buxton, certainly no callow youth, who shuffled to the mound and saved the game for the Stengels when it weemed to be slipping away?
And didn't another baseball elder, Jim Tobin, pick up where Buxton left off, setting down the Solons one, two, three in the ninth inning and providing a final dramatic touch when, after fielding a slow roller, he personally made the putout at first base for the third ut?
Dario Lodigiani, Nick Etten, Les Scarsella, Floyd Speer, Brooks Holder - none of tese can be termed striplings, but each through the season and yesterday provided the spirit and punch and knowledge which gave Oakland the pennant.
Yes, and come to think of it, a baseball pappy-guy during the past week hurled a pair of splended games to provide the Stengels with the two game margin they possessed moving into their final double header.
I refer to Jack Salveson. Jack has been in baseball quite awhile. He won Monday night and
Saturday, and each mound job was excellent.|
Wonder if a younger fellow could have done as well?
Journalistic fervor might be served were it to be stated here pandemonium reigned in the Oaks' dressing room after the Oaks copped the baseball burgee.
. . . Journalistic fervor, but certainly not the truth.
There was jubilance, a happy exchange of congratulations, considerable back slapping and hand shaking, but no wild eyed emotion.
Perhaps Buxton best expressed the sentiment of the club when he said seriously:
"I'm tickled we won, but I'm glad its over. It has been the toughest experience I've had in baseball."
State of Emergency
For the most part the players, some of whom were slated for the nightcap, seemed content to change their uniforms, take a few grateful drags at cigarettes and long draughts of cool beer. The beer was standing by for just such a state of pleasant emergency. And the state of emergency certainly existed!
The players, individually and collectively, posed for dozens of news photographs. Each was asked to express his feeling and the quotes collectively added up th this:
"It was great winning the pennant. I feel great. Casey Stengel is a great manager. I'm sure happy."
Stengel had little to say once he reached the home team's dressing nook. Earlier on the radio he had stated, in a voice thick with emotion:
". . . I want to pay tribute to all my players. They won the pennant for me. I'm proud of them all."
From no less an authority than Mrs. Casey Stengel, perhaps the happiest woman in the Oaks' park yesterday, I learned her spouse's outer calm didn't reflect his inner turbulence.
"My husband," explained Mrs. Stengel, "has not eaten well nor slept a great deal the past week."
Well, the Stengels might enjoy being informed there were hundreds, even thousands, of others in the same fix for many days. The Oakland area possess many ardent baseball fans. Ardent hardly is the word. Fanatic is more descriptive.
It will be Stengel night at the Oaks park tomorrow evening, when the Acorn regulars play a picked team from the farm clubs.
One week later, October 5, a civic celebration, complete with a dinner, and parade will be sponsored by the city honoring Casey Stengel, his "nine old men," the very young and the intermediate members of the club and all the rest of the Acorn organization.
We've waited 21 years for this triumph, we of Oakland and the rest of the Eastbay.
The accomplishment, it can be predicted, will be observed for a full week in robust fashion.