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Articles by Gabriel Schechter

From 2002–2010 Gabriel Schechter was a researcher at the National Baseball Hall of Fame Library. His first book, Victory Faust, published in 2000, was a finalist for the Society for American Baseball Research’s (SABR) prestigious Seymour Medal Award. He is also a dedicated blogger and the author of Unhittable! Baseball’s Greatest Pitching Seasons, as well as This Bad Day in Yankees History. Gabe also wrote the captions for collections of Neil Leifer’s baseball and football photos as well as photographs from the lens of baseball photographer Charles Conlon.

Historian's Corner

The Miraculous Comeback of the New York Mets:
The National League Pennant Victory of 1969

As fans of the original 1962 New York Mets, my parents and I quickly learned to redefine the word “miracle.” On April 27, my mother and I attended a thrilling game that dropped our fledgling heroes’ record to 1–12. Trailing the Phillies, 11–1, in the sixth inning, the Mets rallied to make it 11–9 in the bottom of the ninth and brought the tying run to the plate. Don Zimmer took a called third strike, and home we went.

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Historian's Corner

How the Boston Red Sox Won the 1967 Pennant

One month remained in the 1967 season when Al Naples explained why the Boston Red Sox would prevail in the hotly contested American League pennant race. We saw no reason to dispute his analysis. We were 11th graders in the wilds of suburban New Jersey, and Al Naples was our math teacher. Once, he had played in the Major Leagues. Or, more precisely, twice. You could look it up.

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Historian's Corner

The Forgotten Near Miss of the 1964 Cincinnati Reds

Entire books have been written about the collapse of the Philadelphia Phillies in the final two weeks of the National League’s 1964 pennant race and the St. Louis Cardinals’ win, but lost in the crossfire of tragedy and triumph is the team that was in first place with just five games left—the Cincinnati Reds.

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Historian's Corner

The 1942 Brooklyn Dodgers: Dress Rehearsal for Disaster

Most baseball fans can give you the gist of the historic collapse of the 1951 Brooklyn Dodgers, who led the National League by 13 games on August 11 and somehow frittered it all away before the New York Giants delivered the coup de grâce on Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ’Round the World.” Nearly forgotten, however, is the dress rehearsal for the famous 1951 nightmare—staged by the 1942 Brooklyn Dodgers, who enjoyed a 10-game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals on August 5 yet failed to claim the pennant.

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Historian's Corner

How the 1934 New York Giants Blew the Pennant

The Gashouse Gang—the 1934 St. Louis Cardinals—remains one of baseball’s fondest legends. The name conjures up the image of a rabble-rousing, rough-hewn group of misfits who played a brand of baseball formidable enough to win the World Series. Their symbol was “Dizzy” Dean, whose 30–7 record in 1934 made him the last National League pitcher to reach that milestone.

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Historian's Corner

Chicago Cubs’ World Series Win of 1908?
The American League Pennant Race Was Better!

When the 2016 Chicago Cubs finally got off their 107-season schneid and won the World Series, it brought renewed attention to the franchise’s previous title in 1908. That year’s National League pennant race is still remembered for the so-called “Merkle game,” in which the Cubs’ Johnny Evers pulled a sore-loser stunt and got away with it.

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Historian's Corner

Babe Pinelli: Far From a One-Pitch Posterity

Posterity has long since declared that Babe Pinelli will be remembered solely for his controversial call of strike three on Dale Mitchell to finish off Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series. But that would be unfair. For one thing, the implication is that because it was Pinelli’s final game, consciously or subconsciously he widened his strike zone to end his career with a bang. Stephen Jay Gould, for instance, maintained that Mitchell was right to say the pitch was outside, but “Pinelli was more right. . . .

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Historian's Corner

Lon Warneke: A Most Judicious Pitcher

In a 1944 interview near the end of his pitching career, Lon Warneke summed up the attitude of a consummate professional:

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Historian's Corner

Ken Burkhart: The One-Call Legacy and Instant Replay

Although it is manifestly unfair, it is the fate of many players to be remembered only for one ill-timed mental error or physical gaffe. Merely mentioning their names—Fred Merkle and Bill Buckner, for instance—will cause most fans to recall only the disaster and not the players’ long, successful careers. Umpires can suffer the same fate, as Don Denkinger will tell you.

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