September Swoon: Richie Allen, the '64 Phillies, and Racial by William C. Kashatus

By William C. Kashatus

Every little thing appeared to be going the Phillies?’ approach. Up through 6 0.5 video games with simply 12 left to play within the 1964 season, they looked as if it would have clinched their first pennant in additional than a decade. Outfielder Johnny Callison narrowly overlooked being the nationwide League MVP. 3rd baseman Richie Allen was once Rookie of the yr. however the "Fightin?’ Phils" didn?’t make it to the postseason?—they misplaced 10 instantly and complete a online game in the back of the St. Louis Cardinals. in addition to engineering the best cave in of any group in significant league baseball historical past, the ?’64 Phillies had one other, extra very important contrast: they have been Philadelphia?’s first actually built-in baseball staff. In September Swoon William Kashatus tells the dramatic story?—both at the box and stale the field?—of the Phillies?’ bittersweet season of 1964. greater than the other group in Philadelphia?’s activities heritage, the ?’64 Phillies saddled town with a name for being a "loser." even if victory appeared guaranteed, Philadelphia stumbled on the way to lose. regrettably, the cave in, dubbed the "September swoon," used to be the start of a self-destructive skid in either group play and racial integration, for the very issues that made the gamers distinctive threatened to rip the staff aside. An adversarial press and contentious lovers blamed Richie Allen, the Phillies?’ first black megastar, for the team?’s wasting methods, accusing him of dividing the workforce alongside racial traces. Allen manipulated the ensuing controversy within the hopes that he will be traded, yet within the method he controlled to additional fray already tenuous race kinfolk. in accordance with own interviews, participant biographies, and newspaper bills, September Swoon brings to existence a season and a workforce that acquired such a lot of Philadelphians, either black and white, to care deeply and passionately in regards to the video game at a turbulent interval within the city?’s?—and our nation?’s?—history. The homeland lovers reveled of their triumphs and cried of their defeat, simply because they observed in them a mirrored image of themselves. The ?’64 Phillies not just gained over the loyalties of a racially divided urban, yet gave Philadelphians a cause to dream?—of a pennant, of a contender, and of a urban of cohesion.

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In that year, Carpenter hired Roy Hamey as general manager. Hamey, a veteran baseball executive who had worked in the New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates organizations, realized the necessity of scouting the game’s most recent pool of talent. He immediately ordered an extensive scouting of the Negro Leagues and hired Bill Yancey, a former Hilldale player, to conduct it. ”94 “Up at the plate, he meets the ball well,” said Manager Mayo Smith. qxd 16/12/2003 8:53 AM Page 36 SEPTEMBER SWOON Image not available Fig.

94 “Up at the plate, he meets the ball well,” said Manager Mayo Smith. qxd 16/12/2003 8:53 AM Page 36 SEPTEMBER SWOON Image not available Fig. 9 Signed by the Phillies in 1957, inWelder John Kennedy was the Wrst black player in the history of the franchise. 98 Claude Harrison of the Philadelphia Tribune, Philadelphia’s African American newspaper, noted the inconsistency. ” he asked. “At the beginning of the season word came out of Clearwater that he couldn’t hit. 333 is the second highest on the team.

To be sure, the two men were completely different in their approach to hitting. Benson sported one of the most unusual batting stances in the game. Turning his body almost a full 90 degrees so that he was facing the pitcher, he held the bat near his waist. This allowed him to keep his hands still as long as possible, waiting until the last second to drive pitches to the opposite Weld—something that enabled him to become a great curveball hitter. 48 Robinson, on the other hand, held the bat over his right shoulder.

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