Baseballs

June 9, 1949

Ah, there really was a time when baseball was the National Pastime. Anyone arguing the point could get a swat on the noggin with a rolled-up newspaper.

This Thursday morning edition of the Boston Globe featured three baseball stories:

A 15-inning, 8-7 win for the Boston Braves over the Cincinnati Reds.

A Red Sox loss to the St. Louis Browns.

An NBA player working out at Braves Field who says he yearns for a big-league career because there is so much more money in baseball.

Starting from the bottom:

The NBA was in its infancy, so Ralph Beard, a guard for national champion Kentucky, worked out around second base before the Braves and Reds began their marathon. The man was honest enough to say it was all about the money, which earns him points for the honesty that now eludes so many pro athletes.

There was a Ralph Beard who played big-league ball. A pitcher, he made 13 appearances with the Cardinals while serving in their farm system from 1947-1956.

The Red Sox were a top-shelf contender, losing the American League pennant to the Yankees on the last day of the season. The Browns were a bottom-shelf punching bag who beat them in two straight games.

Had the Red Sox beat the Browns in those two games, the final weekend at Yankee Stadium would have been trivial.

As for the Braves, with the bases loaded and none out in the bottom of the 15th, Jim Russell lined a shot off the center-field fence for a long-distance single and game-winning RBI.

The game took 4 hours, nine minutes. Modern Red Sox-Yankees games have been known to take that long to play nine innings.