‘Feel The History’ — Pitcher Dooley Womack Relives His Arrival In Yankee Stadium

His “D” still breaks
like a sharp curveball!

Pitcher Dooley Womack is like a superhero. Different name, different person.

For elementary-schooler me, I thought the name sounded like a movie star cowboy. When I found out he pitched for a team in Texas, it made even more sense.

I asked the hurler how he went from his birth name to DOOLEY. He replied:

“Horace Guy Womack is my given name. ‘Dooley’ is a nickname. When I reported to spring training in 1966, the reporters wanted to know which name I wanted to be called. I told them, ‘Dooley.’ I told them that Horace was a guy in a three-piece suite, dark horn-rimmed glasses, briefcase and umbrella. I’ve articles written about my name. In school I was Horace. In sports, I was Dooley.”

How did that spring training turn out, by the way? Womack added:

“When we left spring training, headed to New York, I was happy to have made the team after eight years in the minors. When we arrived at Yankee Stadium, instead of going in the clubhouse, I turned right, down the long tunnel to the dugout. I stood on the top stair and said, ‘I finally made it to the House That Ruth Built,’ whether it be for 30 days or longer.

The stadium was old, but you could feel the History.

Mantle’s 500th homer won the game for me. I pitched 3-1/3 innings in relief. Back then, we went as far as we could. I started the last triple play in the old stadium — Womack to Cox to Mantle. It lasted for 42 years, until last year in Oakland.”

Our friends at Baseball Almanac.com share this box score!

Coming Thursday: The record Womack helped set in Houston, along with the prize he did NOT receive.

Yankee Hector Lopez Predicted Records For Maris AND Mantle In 1961 Home Run Race

Watching history
happen  in 1961

Former Yankee Hector Lopez is a joy. He sounds more like a fan than a co-star in baseball history, someone grateful to have been part of it all.

How did it feel watching home run history being rewritten in 1961? He recalled:

“The Maris and Mantle home run derby in 1961: I thought both were going to do it, but Mantle got hurt.”

That same year, Lopez cemented his own bit of baseball history, becoming the first Panamanian-born player to win a World Series. One year earlier, Lopez became the first native to play in a Series. To this day, he shares the glory with other countrymen.

“About the attention I got in my hometown and the country was great. Panama is a small Central American county. It was always a baseball kind of country. They had some players, very good players, before me but never made it to the Big League.

By the way, Humberto Robinson was the first Panamanian to play in the ‘Big.’ He beat me by a couple of weeks in 1955.”

Reading the Wikipedia bio of Lopez, it’s important to note that he challenged one of baseball’s last color barriers. In 1969, six years before Frank Robinson landed his Cleveland Indians job, Lopez assumed the managerial helm of AAA Buffalo Bisons.

“Being named manager of the Buffalo Bisons, I had no idea I was making history.”

Tomorrow: What are the best bargains and worst deals for TTM signers? Veteran collector Rich Hanson makes his calls.

Roger Repoz Salutes Mickey Mantle

Not Mantle.
Not Murcer.
Still grateful.

Outfielder Roger Repoz did his best to ignore the New York media. However, he couldn’t help but be thunderstruck by his new place of employment in 1964.

Did he remember his Yankee Stadium arrival? His letter confirmed that the impression still remains:

“I remember walking out on the field like it was yesterday. The facade hung out over the field.

It was like being in a canyon.”

Repoz couldn’t just be another outfield prospect. For New York scribes, he had to be a future Mickey Mantle. Who could survive such high expectations. He explained:

“I tried not to notice because there wasn’t going to be another Mantle. He was so good!”

Repoz flashed occasional Mantle-like power in his career. Two homers and six RBI versus the 1968 Tigers in one game. A 1971 grand slam against the mighty Orioles. Neither power display tops his list, though.

“My first major league hit was a home run off Steve Barber. I still have the ball.”

And http://www.retrosheet.org/ has the memory. Flash back to July, 1, 1965.

Tomorrow: one of the 1953 Yankees explains his Topps card of that year, then ponders Casey Stengel.

When an Oriole Tamed the 1956 Yankees

The sloping sig remains the same!

He didn’t do it in front of a home crowd. Maybe, it wouldn’t have been as much fun.

Don Ferrarese pitched the game of his life May 12, 1956. The Baltimore lefty sparkled in front of a Yankee Stadium crowd, handcuffing the Yanks on two hits.

Imagine hurling a no-hitter for eight innings against the Bronx Bombers. Ferrarese started the ninth by surrendering an infield single to Andy Carey (a college teammate), a sky-high chopper off the plate fielded by the pitcher. A broken-bat single over third base by Hank Bauer followed.

Ferrarese picked up the play-by-play, writing:

“The most intense moment was the ninth inning. After the first hit and the second broken-bat hit, Mickey Mantle came up with two outs. I said, ‘Oh, my God.’

He flied out for the final out.”

A 1-0 win, his first in the major leagues. Ferrarese was being followed on national TV, as was another nearby hurler. Across town, Carl Erskine was no-hitting the Giants.

(Thanks for the memory, www.retrosheet.org!)

Don Drysdale’s Inside Pitch to Collectors

Don Drysdale saw the humor in autographs.

Mickey Mantle once said:

“I hated to bat against Drysdale. After he hit you he’d come around, look at the bruise on your arm and say, ‘Do you want me to sign it?'”

Before Drysdale’s 1993 death, he ended a years-long willingness to sign free through the mail. His 3-by-5 offer read…

Dear Baseball Fan:

Due to the increase in overhead (office space, secretarial service, postage and so on), from now on, it will be necessary to have a service charge of $3 per signature. No personal checks accepted.

Thank you for your understanding.

Don Drysdale

There was no pretense of an unnamed charity. Likewise, he didn’t rage about collectors who’ve sold his autograph and exploited his kindness. Additionally, he didn’t close the door like Andy Messersmith or Bill White, saying NO to all TTM collectors.

To the end, Double D was a no-nonsense guy dealing with hitters and collectors.

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