There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
The Thought Heard
Round the World
By John B Holway
To many fans, the greatest season ever played was the 1951 National League race, when the Giants charged from 13½ games behind and caught and tied the Dodgers on the final day. Those same fans believe the greatest game ever played was the final play-off game between the two. Roy Campanella sat out with an injury, and Rube Walker caught in his place.
The Dodgers were leading the rubber game 4-1with two out in the 9th when the PA in the press box announced: “Press credentials for the World Series in Brooklyn may be picked up at six o’clock.”
In the bullpen Carl Erskine (16-12) and Ralph Branca (right, 13-12) were furiously throwing. Branca, one of 13 kids in his Brooklyn family, had pitched eight innings two days before.
Dressen phoned the bullpen, and at that moment, Erskine happened to break a curve in the dirt. “Erskine’s bouncing his curve,” coach Clyde Sukeforth said.
“Give me Branca,” Dressen barked.
Should they walk Thomson, setting up a double-play with the nervous rookie, Willie Mays (.274), on deck? Dressen shook his head – it was against the book to put the winning run on.
Branca threw a fastball, down the middle. Strike one. Thomson rolled his eyes.
Walker put down one finger for another fastball. At that moment, Thomson says, he had a sudden flash of inspiration:
Bobby swung and hit a line drive that skimmed over the low wall 315 feet away, perhaps the most heart-breaking home run of all time.
Several Giants later admitted that they posted a spy with binoculars in the team’s office in centerfield. I asked Paul Haas, the go-to-guy for questions about the Giants. He told me Thomson agreed that they were stealing signs but insisted that he didn’t want to get them. (Other batters have said the same thing, especially after being told a curve was coming, and it turned out to be a fastball aimed at their heads.)
Dave Smith of Project Scoresheet also doubts the story. First, the Giants hit better on the road than at home after the alleged cheating began. Second, their big improvement came from their pitchers, not their batters.
Did Bobby have a better way to steal the sign? I suggest that as soon as Walker (left) wig-wagged fastball, Thomson picked up the powerful emotional vibes that crackled between them. (Question: Could Campy have sent the same powerful message that Walker did?)
If this is indeed what happened, it was surely not the first time in the decades of play, the millions of pitches since baseball was invented. Nor the last.
When I was about 17 at summer camp, one boy amazed the rest of us by repeatedly calling the correct card among three we selected on a table behind his back. He never missed. Of course we suspected a trick, but he smiled, “You can do it too. Just concentrate, and you’ll know.”
When it was my turn, I guessed, and I was wrong. On the next one I concentrated, and suddenly I knew! I didn’t guess – I knew! The correct card grew larger, vibrated, shone. It practically waved its arms and shouted: “It’s me! It’s me!” And it was. I did it again and again, and so did each of the other guys.
This is a party game you can do with your friends. The more people, the stronger the vibes.
When my wife was dying of cancer, she was in and out of the hospital. When she was home, she slept in a hospital bed across the hall from me. One morning about three, I heard her voice, loud and sharp: John!”
I leaped up and started for her room when the phone beside my bed rang. I turned to answer it. It was Eileen, calling from the hospital, begging me to come over.
September 1960. Ted’s final at bat came on a dark, cold, drizzly day in Boston. “The wind was blowing a gale,” recalled Oriole Pitcher Fat Jack Fisher (12-11).
It was eerie and damp. I had chills up my spine, thinking how much I wanted to put one out of there – and knowing what the odds were.
Then Ted had a Bobby Thomson moment:
I saw Fisher hump up…. I had an inkling. I could see it all develop in his head. It flashed through my mind: “This guy thinks he can throw it past me.”
Since 1876, Gabriel Schechter says, there have been “millions” of pitches thrown, yet we know of only two that were so uncannily called. Surely there were infinitely more. If we can identify and develop this skill, we can revolutionize the game. Everyone can do it, just as every kid in summer camp did it.
This is not a called shot. A called shot is predicting the future. This is reading another’s mind. Nor is it reading body language. This is done without the five senses; you do it with your eyes closed.
Reader Clay Marston writes:
“My mother had a knack for knowing when someone was going to call. A number of times I saw her pick up the phone before it rang, and the person she was thinking of was on the line.”
It can be tested in a lab. One person sits across the table from another, who takes the top card from a deck and concentrates. The other writes down what he thinks the other sees.
I once tested volunteers from the ’76 NBA champion Washington Bullets, though the number of trials was too low to be significant. Center Mitch Kupchak said his high school coach had used psychic techniques. And if the Bullets coach gave permission for the experiment, then other teams may be equally curious about the practical implications.
In another example, one person takes a taxi a few miles away and concentrates on what he sees; the other, back in the lab, draws on a paper whatever comes to mind. The results are often surprisingly similar.
Could two athletes be identical clones physically, but success goes to the one who can tap into his psychic abilities best?
It can be applied to other sports. In football, 11 guys huddle. The quarterback calls the play, and suddenly 11 minds all focus on the same thought. Can the opposing linemen pick it up?
I’ll bet chess masters can do it. And good poker or bridge players? “You bet they can!” says Gabriel Schechter, a former poker dealer. Carl Yastrzemski’s teammates insisted he could “draw” good bridge hands.
Decades ago it was called “hunches,” and some players and managers – Joe Cronin of the Red Sox was one – were called “hunch players.”
In ’76 an old girlfriend, who got me interested in the subject, sent psychic vibes 3,000 miles to the Redskins, who were sleeping unaware in their hotel rooms in San Francisco. They won the game. This was not the only time she did it, but never before at such a distance.
(Rosemary claimed that coach George Allen promised to pay her $2,000, but he welched, so she put a curse on the team. They didn’t get into the playoffs again for about three years, when she said she took it off.)
If you think I’m nuts, I don’t blame you. I know where you’re coming from, because I came from there too. If it’s never happened to you, of course you think it’s impossible. So did I – arms firmly folded, jaw set, saying “Keep out!”
But now it doesn’t scare me. I feel every team should hire a psychic coach. They’d have to overcome the “giggle factor,” but the first team that does will have a great advantage – until the others figure out what is happening and hire their own coaches.
Tigers owner John Fetzer believed strongly in both science and in what could be called “non-normal reality.” His team won the ’68 world championship.
The universe is not only stranger than we suppose; it’s stranger than we can suppose.
Nobel physicist JBS Haldane
Ask Questions. Question Answers
I once used mind control. We had a softball game scheduled. I took about 45 minutes to picture myself hitting the ball over the fence. I did. I was shocked! I had never done it before.
I wonder if there is a place where I can find the pronunciation of our great ball players. Terry Turner
(Contact email@example.com. Gabriel Schechter)
You mention that poker players could do that. You bet they could! One year at the World Series of Poker, a new player sat down in a game where guys had been playing all night. They all knew each other. The new player refused to look at his own hole cards but relied simply on body language and intuition to figure out what everybody had. Then he’d tell them – and beat them.
Even I have had epiphanous moments at the poker table when I saw and heard everything clearly even though nobody was moving.
(That’s a great story. But it’s ambiguous whether he was using psychic skills or reading body language, or both. By the same token, we don’t know if Ted was getting non-psychic or psychic clues, or both, from Fat Jack.
In either case, if I owned or managed a big league club, or played on one, it would behoove me to learn as much as I can about the whole subject. It would work in business, diplomacy, courtship, parenting etc. George Patton said he could do it on the battlefield. Some husbands and wives say they can tell what their partners are thinking before the other says a word. John)
The October Crapshoot
Playoff success depends on momentum of the teams, two strong starters, bench depth, solid relief, and play-off experience. Rowdyrichard
(My point. The tournament doesn’t measure the same thing the first six months do. I say 162 games are more significant than seven – or five. This is the second time Washington has lost to a fourth-place club in five games. What is the rationale for not having a seven-game opening series? In fact, how about nine games for every series? No “travel” days.
The commissioner hints that they’ll add two teams in ’18. Then they can go to four leagues of eight teams. The two western champs meet while the two eastern champs meet. Then the winners play a World Series. John)
I do believe the Indians can win with ole Wahoo. I live in Oklahoma and am a member of the Choctaw Nation. In Oklahoma we appreciate the Indian culture and have many athletic teams with Indian names. Enjoyed reading your article. Earl Raleigh
(Indian names are fine. The Enid Choctaws, for example. What about the logos? The Washington football team has a very flattering image. It’s the name that seems to cause anguish with some people.)
See A Movie Classic
The Battle of Algiers dramatizes the vicious decade-long fight for freedom from France. Shot in the 1960s in the style of a black and white newsreel by a neutral Italian film-maker, it details the violence from the Algerian point of view. It’s the fourth time I’ve seen it – about once every decade – and it’s still one of the most powerful films ever made. To me it has three messages:
1. The French called them “terrorists,” though the terror seemed to be equal on both sides. The French had the advantage in fire power and could therefore wreak more terror – the guillotine, electrodes on the ear lobes, blow torches on the chest. One Arab, asked why they throw bombs, replies, “Because we don’t have airplanes.”
2. Like our own history, the Algerians were fighting for independence. If they were Americans, we’d build statues to them.
3. Algeria did win its freedom a decade later. Since then it has been an oasis of peace in a turbulent part of the world – you never read about it: They got what they wanted. Ditto South Africa and Kenya, two other violent cockpits of half a century ago. I, for one, don’t know why ISIS hates us today. If they’d simply tell us, that problem might be solved too.
It’s a Big World –
Outside the Stadium
Donald Trump says “they let him” do it.
Who are “they?” Every woman who let him do it is just as guilty as he is when he molests the next woman against her will.
It is time to say what no one has dared say:
Donald Trump is uttering a clear, anguished cry for help.
At Wednesday’s debate, Secretary Clinton should step away from her lectern, walk over to him, and say, in a calm and sympathetic voice, “Mr. Trump, you need help. I ask those who love you to answer your call. I also ask the professional community to suggest the best way to help you. God bless you.”