Strike Three, It’s Outta Here (ms)

Jose Pagan was a former major league baseball player. When he died recently a newspaper I read showed a picture of him at a dramatic moment in his career.

Pagan was playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates, the year was 1971. The photo is of him hitting a double in the eighth inning of Game 7 in the World Series. His double put Pittsburgh up by two and they held on to beat Baltimore 2 – 1. It isn’t a remarkable shot but it documents the moment in history and gives Jose Pagan a fitting tribute.

I have always enjoyed looking at photographs, especially sports pictures. They capture a time less than a second long, the blink of an eye, the time it takes to swat a mosquito. They often show, as was said during  ABC’s Wide World of Sports, “…the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” but they can show something else as well.

I took a magnifier to the Jose Pagan photo and what was going on behind him at that moment is worth noting. A woman apparently smokes a cigarette but all eyes are focused on the Pagan as he is in mid-swing. The men are wearing ties, jackets and hats. Now, how about that!

Of course it is directly behind home plate so my guess is that some of the people shown had a few bucks in their collective pockets and often wore such clothing to their jobs but to a ball game? Well, I guess at least to this one.

I’ve seen photos of fans at Yankee Stadium in the fifties and the men, the majority of them, along with the boys were wearing business clothing. Apparently that standard held on longer than I recalled. So, when did it end?

As it is today we wear shorts to church, grungy cutoffs to the mall, jeans with holes in them out to supper. Dress Down Day has been extended to seven days a week any week of the year. In fairness much the same thing happened in the sixties when Army field jackets became popular as the clothing style but overall the formal look of suit and tie was the norm and it obviously held into the seventies. Truth be told I suspect many men are happy it went away.

I am fortunate and do not need to wear a tie very often but to put one on and keep it there all day five days a week must be dreadful. It would be akin to purposely choking yourself for eight hours but there are times when it is necessary to just bite the bullet and do it. Funerals, weddings, church on Sunday and I think it makes you look good and thus feel good when you go out to a pleasant dinner. Special events are appropriate too but I don’t think the World Series fits into that category.

So, the photo of Jose Pagan’s critical hit in the 1971 World Series is likely the last of its kind. Not because there will never be another play like it but because of what went on in the background. That has gone away and likely will stay that way.

–Mike Stevens


~ by admin on June 11, 2011.

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