Old Timer’s Games

Newk, oh, so many years ago

I got to watch the Old Timer’s Game the Dodgers did recently. It was a fairly standard type of these games. They went two innings, no body cared who won, no body played very well, and everybody seemed to have fun. It was interesting as far as it went.

They’ve had these a long time. I remember them from back in the 1950s when they’d show them just before beginning the Game of the Week on TV and it was always fascinating to see what some of these guys that my Grandfather talked about actually looked like. I’d never seen them play so it was a close as I could get to watching them perform, even if it wasn’t at the highest level anymore.

But as I watched the old Dodgers play I began to realize I’m of two minds about these kinds of games (and most people have trouble dealing with me having one mind). On the one hand it’s nice to see some of the guys you remember. But on the other hand, they’re a shadow, baseball-wise, of what they’d been. I remember them as great athletes who could hit, run, pitch, throw, do all the things ball players do. Now they couldn’t do that anymore. They’d joined me as gray (or bald) and overweight and needing glasses in order to find the bag at first base. Don Newcombe was there. He’s 90 and looks it (he turned 91 yesterday, but was 90 when I saw him). I¬†remember him as a great hurler who was a stalwart of the teams I rooted for in the 1950s and it almost hurt to see him look old (and of course he didn’t play).

So this is just a short note about my reactions to the recent Old Timer’s Game in Dodger Stadium. I’m glad they have them. I’m equally sorry they have them.

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7 Responses to “Old Timer’s Games”

  1. glen715 Says:

    Don Newcombe could have been one of the greats if he didn’t have the alcohol problem. Newk was a three-time 20 game winner, and also just missed one year, getting 19 wins. He missed two years because of military service in 1953 and 1954. His 27-7 season in 1956, in which he had a 27-7 record and gave up only 219 hits in the 268 innings that he pitched, was one of the most incredible pitching achievements ever. Unfortunately, it was the year after that that his downward spiral started, and he was subsequently traded to Cincinnati, and things didn’t improve there, either.

    Glen

    • verdun2 Says:

      Newk had the alcohol problem early and it finally took its toll. He’s done a good job since in helping new players deal with the pressures that can lead to alcohol abuse.
      Unfortunately for the Dodgers he never could win a World Series game, going 0-4.
      Thannks for reading, Glen.
      v

  2. glen715 Says:

    I was just thinking about Pete Rose. You mentioned that nobody really cared who won, but Pete MIGHT have. Would he have knocked over the catcher? We’ll never know.

  3. rjkitch13 Says:

    I would have much rather been at that game than the Dodger game I went to on June 9, when my Reds were destroyed by the Dodgers and it was a day honoring, well, I won’t get into it. Of course, lately, everybody is destroying the Reds.

  4. Gary Trujillo Says:

    I saw Bob Welch (R.I.P.) pitch in one at Dodger Stadium in what was probably his last time stepping on a mound around 2015. I thought it was great fun.

  5. keithosaunders Says:

    Who were some of the players? Was it the Garvey-Cey-Lopes vintage?

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