Ten Months In A Tent And A Sudden-Death Playoff
Two newlyweds spent most of their first year of wedded bliss living in a tent, questioning their decisions…and listening to baseball. Let’s just say the epic 1962 season was a bright spot.
60 years ago my mom spotted a fairly handsome gentleman on an airplane flying to Hong Kong. He was carrying a stuffed koala. She thought it was cute (she never made mention if she thought he was cute). They struck up a conversation. He changed his flight plan and tracked her down at her hotel where he asked her out to dinner. Some people today might call that, “stalking.” Back in the old days they called it “courting.” The Moffitt men have always been good at “courting.” Just a few months later they were married. The marriage got off to an amazing start involving the purchase of land in the heart of California’s Gold country, Mariposa. It involved a master plan to buy land, build a home and launch the Moffitt Land & Cattle Company. The plan went into action after the new year and included about ten months of living in a tent while the house was being built. I am sure my dad failed to mention this part of the plan to my mother or at the very least made it sound like it would be a heck of a lot more fun than it was. By day they did fun stuff like dragging trees around and hand-digging wells. At night they counted mosquito bites allowed by virtue of the hole in the tent (a pistol may have fired during a lesson in handling. At least that was mom’s story). And they listened to the Giants and Dodgers battle for the National League pennant.
So when the Giants pulled into a tie with the Dodgers on the final game of the 1962 season, game 162, there was a three-game playoff. San Francisco won the first 8-0 behind two home runs by Willie Mays. L.A. came back in the second game and took that 8-7 behind a three-run double by pinch-hitter Lee Walls. Finally, my parents decided to get a firsthand look at the team that they have been listening to all summer. If you knew my father then you know this did not mean actually going to the game. This did mean driving to Fresno and renting a hotel room so that they could watch the game on the black-and-white TV in the room. The Giants won 6-4. Harvey Kuehn went 2-for-5 with a run and and RBI. Maury Wills, Duke Snider and Tommy Davis had all eight of the Dodgers’ hits and runs, but Ed Roebuck and Stan Williams gave up four runs in relief of Johnny Podres to blow the save and lose the game. The Giants went to the World Series where they lost to the Yankees. Neither my Mom nor Dad would ever spend another night in a tent, but as payback for making her live in a tent for 10 months, Mom would later become a Dodgers fan as her young son picked his favorite sports teams by the color of their uniforms and whether there was a player on the team who wore glasses. I still have a piece of stationary with the name of the Moffitt Land & Cattle Co. Unfortunately, no cattle with the Moffitt brand ever graced the land. Some plans are never quite carried out in full.
Likewise, on this 59th anniversary of that famous series, one team’s plan will not be carried out in full. But we celebrate two great seasons nonetheless, the unlikely marriage of two people and the conversion of one of them to become a Dodgers fan.