Friday, October 20, 2006

"The Catch"

Endy Chavez's spectacular, leaping catch in the final NLCS game, doomed to be a footnote because of the Mets' loss, is compared in this Slate article to Willie Mays' magnificent running, reaching and pivoting catch in game one of the 1954 World Series.

I must have watched the '54 Series. My parents and I had just returned from England, where my dad had been stationed in the Air Force, and I was in third grade at Eglin Air Force Base Elementary School, where, during the World Series, we were excused from class to go to the "cafetorium" where a TV was set up (all Series games were played in the afternoon, then). However, I don't remember anything about it. I was just learning about baseball, while unlearning cricket and rounders. Neither the Giants nor the Indians captured my fancy.

The first Series I remember came the following year. By then I knew that the Yankees were the big, bad bullies, and the Dodgers the scrappy underdogs the Yanks had always slapped down. Besides, Brooklyn was the first place I'd touched U.S. soil after our return. So, I rooted for the Dodgers, and was rewarded. For me, "The Catch" will always be the one Sandy Amoros made in game seven of the '55 Series. (I love the Bob Gibson quote that starts the article.) The poet and Brooklynite Marianne Moore gave it a prominent mention in her celebratory "Hometown Piece for Messrs. Alston and Reese."

As a Mets fan - I consider them the Brooklyn Dodgers continued by other means - I am saddened that Molina's homer erased the prospect of Endy's catch becoming as iconic (if not as artful) as Sandy's.