When it was a game.net


Welcome
Whenitwasagame.net themes and content are dedicated to the remembrance, celebration and preservation of our baseball heritage.
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Unnatural
disaster
threatens
baseball

We the fans, the true “owners” of baseball, must hold the commissioner, the team owners, the players and their union accountable.
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Power surge
The '50s was the decade of power and the numbers put up by the untainted athletes were impressive.
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Your stories
Send us your stories and memories from when baseball was a game and not a business.


INSIDE:

CLUBHOUSE
CRONICLES

Jimmy Palermo, during a historic 7-day span in May, 1939, saw the meteoric rise of Williams and tragic decline of Gehrig.

THE GAME'S
GOLDEN ERA

An exclusive WIWAG ongoing feature.


MEMORIES
The field seemed vast to a 7-year old who had looked forward to this day for two months.

BREAKING THE COLOR LINE
The year marks the 60th anniversary of the first major league tryout for black players.

SPECIAL COLOR
LINE TIMELINE

Bud Fowler is the first know black players on an integrated team.

BOOMING BATS
of the '50s

Qualify as Grade A10.


AMERICA'S ORIGINAL
SPORTS BAR
First sports bar featured 12-inch Farnsworth TV.

BASEBALL
HISTORIANS

Two unsuspecting vintage baseball fans rediscover a "National Treasure."
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AARON


MATHEWS




MOON


LOGAN



SNIDER

HOWARD



MAYS


WHEN IT WAS A GAME: It was a time when, while hanging precariously over the railing, if you asked a super star like "Stan “The Man" to sign your program he would smile and ask, “Who to?!” - and not expect to be paid $49.99, plus tax.

REMEMBERING WHEN IT WAS A GAME

BIG LEAGUE DREAMS: Like millions of my contemporaries in 1956, I had aspirations to play Major League baseball - and all my heroes were ballplayers.

Like it or not, ballplayers are role models for the youth of America

After walking up the cool, dark ramp to the reserved seats on the third base side of old Busch Stadium, I emerged into the open, and the brilliant, searing heat of the early afternoon July sun in St. Louis hit me full force. The field seemed vast to a 7-year old who had anticipated this day for two months: A Sunday double header with the Braves!

 

Burdette and Spahn going against Jackson and Mizell. Heaven surely couldn't have provided the pure joy and elation that overwhelmed me as I peered out over the acres of green where Musial, Boyer, Moon, Cooper and company were taking batting practice and Aaron, Mathews, Logan and Adcock were busy at a game of pepper, preparing for a day’s work.

These were my heroes. Don't let anyone ever suggest, as many athletes do today, that these men and many other ball players of the era were not role models to millions of us classified as "Baby Boomers." Professional athletes cannot relinquish, off-hand, their responsibility to the youth of America.

Of course, these men were human and far from perfect. However, their personal discretions never threatened the integrity of the game or the well-being of the youth striving to emulate them on the field. It was a time when "the game" was respected by players, owners, major league governance and the fans.

THE 1950s WAS A TIME when "the game" was respected by players, owners, major league governance and the fans.

There were no multimillion-dollar contracts, no free agency, no cable TV, no performance-enhancing drugs, no bikini-clad plastic surgery queens extolling the virtue of drinking low-carb, low-cal pseudo-brew, no player's union and no attorneys interfering with a deal and a handshake.

There were no swimming pools, video game arcades, sky boxes or skytrons within the "friendly confines." The fare for the afternoon was hot dogs, peanuts and cracker jacks. If you were looking for sushi or nachos you were not only in the wrong place, but in the wrong country, in 1956.

The players sported no beards, corn rows, shaggy hairdos or piercings. The only glove used in baseball was a fielder's, catcher's or first-baseman's mitt. Other gloves were used when it was cold or on the golf course.


EBBETS FIELD was a shrine to baseball in the 1950s.

That was a time when ballparks were called County Stadium, Connie Mack Stadium, Ebbets Field and The Polo Grounds, rather than being named for banks, animal supply outfits or cellular phone companies whose only interest in baseball is to have a venue to market on the “big screen.”

That was a time when the Commissioner of Baseball had some “cojones” and took his responsibility to protect the integrity of the game seriously.

Player to fan: "Show me the money."

Fan to player: "Show me some class."

In 1956, major league baseball was not an industry being suckled by hundreds of disparate parasites, performing like a phony professional wrestling troupe and living by the adage: "Show me the money!"


FANS COULD ALWAYS COUNT on the Mick and Yogi - both on and off the field.

Ball players didn't come and go at the whim of an agent or owner. The great teams of the '40s and '50s maintained their nucleus of star players and earned the adoration of their fans.

I always knew that Musial and Boyer would be in the Cardinal line-up; Spahn, Burdette, Aaron, Mathews, Logan, Adcock and Crandall in the Braves line-up; Snider, Reese, Robinson, Furillo, Hodges and Campy in the Dodger line-up; and Berra, Ford, Mantle, Richardson and Howard in the Yankee line-up.

Ask yourself if you, as a fan, are better off now (free agency, dominance of large media markets, minimal regard for cohesive team building by owners, and huge salaries that have led to player's "excel at any cost" attitude) than then.

That was a time when, while hanging precariously over the railing, if you asked a super star like Musial or Mays to sign your program, they would smile and ask, “Who to?!” - and not expect to be paid $49.99, plus tax.

That’s when the game was played by naturally hard-hitting, hard-driving men who respected the game and it's heritage, and who didn’t mind taking a minute to make the dreams of a 7-year-old fan come true.

Do you remember WHEN IT WAS A GAME?!

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BUSCH STADIUM, July 1956; Cardinals vs. Braves. That's me 10 rows up behind the dugout eating a hot dog and yelling for Jackson to throw it by him. I remember WHEN IT WAS A GAME. Do you?

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