Friday, September 29, 2017

We Have A Winner!

Ermagerd! We have a winner! As those few haggard and heavily medicated souls who keep tabs on my replays know, the last position player--on a roster from opening day--to not have a hit wins the coveted (?) Paul Schaal Award. The award is so named because, in my very first Cadaco All-Star Baseball spinner league, Paul Schaal was that guy. Don't be that guy! (But someone always is. Someone always must be!)

On July 1st, 1956, the New York Giants played the Pittsburgh Pirates at Forbes Field. The race for the PSA was down to two contestants: George Wilson of NY and Gino Cimoli of Brooklyn. As the Giants pounded Pirate pitching for four home runs (Mays 16, White 13, Thompson 13, Rhodes 3) and sprinted out to a big lead behind their ace Johnny Antonelli, the rest of the story was that NY outfielders were getting scarce. Brandt batted once before getting injured for 6 games. Then Mueller got tossed by plate umpire "Hell" Enkeller for beefing about a called third strike. With Dusty Rhodes already in the game in place of Brandt, the choice was between Lennon and Wilson. Seeing that Lennon was still in bed with Yoko, Giants skipper Bill Rigney gave the nod to George Wilson. His second trip to the plate, with two runners on, George muscled a long drive to the far depths of spacious Forbes Field. He didn't stop until he was standing on third base with a triple and two rbi! You can see the look of wild excitement on his face:
The fact that George never hit a triple in his entire--albeit brief and unheralded--career does not diminish his moment of glory! He got his hit off of the Orsino Board, the potential inside the park HR. "If only I hadn't stopped for sandwiches," lamented George, "I might have gone all the way!"

And so, the Paul Schaal Award for 1956 NL goes to Gino "Not Ready For Prime Time" Cimoli, a raw kid who has only had two official at bats so far, draped in failure though they may have been.  Congratulations, Gino! Kind of.

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