Our games against the Yankees were always the best although we hardly ever won. We’d made four World Series in the late forties and early fifties and lost them all to the Yankees. My dad was distraught. I remember the second time, in 1953 when we lost. He locked himself in his den and didn’t come out for three days. The first words he said were “Next year kid.”
Next time was two years later. 1955. The Dodgers had a great season and won their division with ease. We had great hopes going into the World Series again to face our nemesis, the damned Yankees. We lost the first two games and it seemed we’d be the bridesmaid again. Then things began to click. We won three straight with the Duke of Flatbush, the great Duke Snider giving the Yankees hell. Dad puffed his way through his three cigars and screamed and hollered louder than most. The Yankees won game 6 and it was all set for the final showdown. Yankee Stadium. October 4 1955.
I was eleven years old and I’d never seen so many people in my life. We took the subway to 125th Street and started walking. Dad had checked his wallet at least ten times that afternoon to make certain he had the tickets and man, was he nervous. He began looking around at the thousands making their way to the game.
“We’re gonna be late,“ he said then grabbed my hand and started to run. I never knew Dad could run so fast. We made it with half an hour to go. Dad was sweating and blowing and started smoking before the game. He'd never done that before.
“This is our next year son,” he muttered. “This is it.”
He rocked in his seat all the way during the game, mulling over bad decisions, softly cussing so I couldn't hear. I did of course but I never let on. Johnny Podres shut the Yankees out. We won 2-0. Game over. Our first World Series!
Dad never left his seat. They said it was a heart attack brought on by the excitement but I guess he had nothing left to live for. A policeman took me home to my mom. She cried a lot. I told her we'd won the World Series but she still cried.
Brooklyn never won another Word Series although we came close and a few years later the Brooklyn Dodgers left for the sunshine of LA. It was never the same after that.
Nobody smokes at ball games anymore of course but I still carry three cigars in my pocket just for dad. I watch the Mets now, not every game though but when I do, I walk.
I always walk.
Alun Williams is Welsh and a Bukowski lover with a penchant for noir stories and films and is a member of Crittersbar, Zoetrope, and Scrawl, the writers asylum. Williams's credits include A twist of noir, Secret Attic, Twisted Tongue, Cambrensis, The Legendary, Bonfire, Darkest before Dawn and Write Side up among others.