A number of strange things happened. A man stood in line for two days to buy a $2 bleacher seat, then sold it to the first passer-by for $10. The passer-by was a cop on the scalping detail. Roses hung from lampposts all over Chicago, but there wasn't even a strip of bunting inside Comiskey Park itself. The American flag stuck at half mast and remained there all day. To handle an overflow traffic situation, streets around the ball park were made one-way, thereby so confusing the natives that traffic jammed up for miles. Bill Veeck, the White Sox president, refused to give Lou Perini, the Milwaukee Braves president, any extra tickets to the game because Veeck hadn't been given even one ticket the year before. A handful of musical organizations, led by Jump Jackson's Dixieland band, whanged and tootled their way through the stands, lending an air of hysterical unreality to the whole affair. A kid in the right field stands caught a home run ball and discovered the next morning that he was famous, his face peering happily forth from every newspaper in Chicago. He didn't want to be famous; with an excuse for illness, he was playing hookey from school.
But the strangest thing of all was the ball game itself.
"Keep Aparicio off the bases," Walt Alston had warned his Dodgers, "and we should win." The Dodgers took care of Aparicio, all right, but forgot about the other eight guys on the White Sox and lost 11-0. It was the worst World Series shutout since the Cardinals beat the Tigers 11-0 in 1934 and the worst defeat ever suffered by the Dodgers in a World Series.
Early Wynn, who won 22 regular-season games for the Sox at the age of 39, pitched magnificent!". His control was sharp, he was hitting the corners, and he held the Dodders to six measly singles in seven innings before his elbow stiffened in the cold 60° weather and sent him to the bench. "He wouldn't give us anything down the middle," the Dodgers said, "but he wouldn't walk anybody, either. That old guy knows how to pitch."
Jim Landis hit three sharp singles and Al Smith a pair of line doubles but the day's big man with a bat was Ted Kluszewski. This large collection of muscles hit two home runs and a single, tying a World Series record with five runs batted in. Previously Kluszewski had hit only four home runs all season, but last Thursday little time was spent dwelling upon that; the entire White Sox ball club was out of character from the first pitch.
They didn't steal a base, they drew only one walk, they made only one double play. All they did was hit the ball hard. They knocked out Roger Craig, the best Dodger pitcher in those last frantic weeks of the National League pennant chase, and they did it in a big way. For a team whose entire offense is supposed to be built around a walk, a stolen base, an infield single and a sacrifice fly, they connected rather well.
The Sox scored two runs in the first inning on a walk, singles by Landis and Klu, and Sherm Lollar's sacrifice fly. At this point the script was holding well. But in the third inning the show got out of hand. With one out, the Sox put eight straight batters on base, scored seven runs and humiliated a Dodger team as those powerful Yankee ball clubs of the past were never able to do.
The Dodgers helped, too. Duke Snider and Wally Moon ricocheted off one another pursuing a fly ball, and Snider was charged with an error. Minutes later Snider was charged with another error (it was a big day for records) when he threw behind a runner rounding second. Naturally, no one was there to catch the ball. Even this wouldn't have been so bad ecxept that Gil Hodges, who came forth alertly to retrieve the throw, slipped and bounced on the grass. White Sox runners poured across the plate. Then Charlie Neal, at second, took a slow, hopping ground ball and threw to the plate to get a runner heading for home. The ball hit the bat, lying on the ground, or it hit the ground, or it didn't hit anything—neither Neal nor Catcher John Roseboro nor Manager Alston nor anyone else could say later exactly what did happen—and slithered through Roseboro's grasp, and another run scored.
It was a rather woolly inning. By the time it was over, the Dodgers had figured out why the flag was flying at half mast.
Later, the White Sox were happy but not jubilant; the Dodgers unhappy but not downcast. The game, as both teams knew, was representative of almost nothing.
"They didn't win that pennant over there," said Al Lopez, "by playing like that."
"It was one of those things," said Alston, "that sometimes happen. Maybe it's better psychologically than to lose by 2-1 or 3-2, although I hated to see the ball club look so bad. The spirit on this team has been the best I've ever seen. I'm not worried about them getting very far down.
"The only thing I resent," the Dodger manager continued, "was that nobody told me about all that White Sox power."
And how did Bill Veeck feel about it? "Well," said Veeck, "in the third inning, when we scored seven runs, I almost left. I thought I'd gotten into the wrong park."
BIG KLU DOES A REAL CADILLAC JOB
It had been several years since Ted Kluszewski was a hero, and for a man used to the headlines, it was a long wait.
Crowds first cheered him as a star Big Ten end at Indiana in 1945, but it was on the baseball field that the cheers were loudest and longest. To fans of the Cincinnati Redlegs, he was Big Klu, a huge man of 240 pounds, with arms like an average man's thighs. For a decade he was their favorite, the greatest home run hitter in Cincinnati history. Then one spring day in 1956, the Big Man's back began to ache. It ached until he could hardly bear it. In 1957 he stopped hitting home runs and the crowds stopped roaring.
For the next two years the headlines he made were medical, though no one could find a reason for the ache. Kluszewski was traded to Pittsburgh, but he did little there. Last August 24 the White Sox, with nothing to lose, got him from the Pirates. Although he hit well for Chicago during their drive to the pennant, he hit only two home runs. Then came the World Series and he hit two in the first game. He thought the first one was going to be caught. The second was more like it, he said, a real Cadillac job (in picture above he crosses the plate to accept handshakes from bat boy, Jim Landis and Sherm Lollar). He felt good and his back did too. The crowds were cheering him once more and the next day he was in headlines across the country.
At 35, Ted Kluszewski had had his biggest day yet.