SOX Sweep ROX

I had an eery feeling things would turn out this way after the first game, a blowout, and an almost predictable result after not playing for eight days, especially after winning a dizzying 21 of 22 games before that long layoff.

That kind of trip needs almost daily fixes. Any baseball team capable of winning 21 of 22 games could easily lose 4 in a row.

This picture just above is of Main St in Hustisford, more accurately Lake Street, but everyone called it Main St in those days and probably still do. It looks about the same as it did in the 40s. The picture to the right is from a recent entrance into that fair village. In the 40s the population was 564.

I was reminded of my rough introduction to beginning statistics by the Sox sweep of the Rockies. I was 10 years old. I had lied about my age to get a paper route. My father had not yet hit upon the idea of using my profits from delivering papers from 5 to 6am every day of the year in deepest Wisconsin to pay for my orthodontic beautification. So I felt fairly fat in the wallet in early October 1950.

Murphy the barber had one of the few TV sets in the village. He had it brought down from the apartment above the shop (we lived above the meat market too) and set it up in the barber shop (a little further down the road on the picture above) so his customers could all watch the Series. In those days that was all that happened in the world for that week or so, or so we thought.

The picture to the left is the house we lived in in the 50s. I remember drinking pop and sitting on the front porch in the cool evenings. Mr Johnson, our upstairs lodger, and the high school band and choral director and history and civics teacher, would join us. We thought we were fairly advanced in those days.

Perhaps you remember or may have read of the 1950 Philadelphia Phillies, the Whiz Kids they were called. They were to play the hated Yankees for the World Championship. In those days upstarts like Cuba and Japan were not even heard of in our baseball world. I was so convinced that the Phillies would humiliate the Yankees I bet Murphy the barber $1 on the first game. I couldn’t believe it when the Phillies ace, Robin Roberts, lost that first game.

Murphy kindly offered to double my bet on the following day. I was a little wary but since my income in those days was about $3 per week, I thought I would take the chance. Double or nothing, how could I lose? Of course, by this time I was deeply hooked and eventually out $27 by the end of the fourth and final game. That was 9 weeks of delivering papers in the damp, dark days of 1950!

So then I learned something about statistical arguments the hard way. After that I took to learning things the easy way: in school.

The picture above right is of the cemetery, duh, though I suppose it could easily be a setting for the 3rd Act of Wilder’s Our Town, a play I am reminded of everytime I visit this particular graveyard because I knew so many of the people whose names are carved on the headstones. I loved the idea of a Stage Manager and particularly one who could violate the fourth wall at will, and could speak to his audience.

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