The saying "What goes around comes around" has many applications in baseball.
One of those that I experienced took place with an outstanding pitcher, Johnny Sain. He was a standout with the Boston Braves, along with Warren Spahn. Their
pitching rotation was "Spahn and Sain, then pray for rain." Johnny won a
World Series game, beating Bob Feller, 1-0, in the first game of the 1948
World Series. The winning run for Boston was scored by Phil Masi after a
controversial call by umpire Bill Stewart. Masi had clearly been picked off
second base by Feller, as Lou Boudreau put the tag on Masi. Bill Stewart,
however, called Masi safe. He then scored on a base hit by Tommy Holmes to
make Sain the lucky winning pitcher. Feller was the unlucky loser.
In the 1952 World Series, fifth game against the Yankees, I gave up five
runs in the fifth inning. Manager Charlie Dressen surprised the world by
leaving me in the game. The game went 11 innings and we won, 6-5. From the
fifth inning to the 11th inning, I did not allow another Yankee base runner-19
consecutive outs. However, right in the middle of that string, Johnny Sain,
who was in relief of Ewell Blackwell, hit a ground ball back of second base.
Jackie Robinson made a great stop and throw. Art Passarella, the first-base
umpire, called Sain out. Bill Dickey, coaching first, and Sain argued
fiercely, but the out stood. Pictures in the papers the next day showed Sain
was clearly safe at first base.
Johnny Sain was waiting for me the next day and gave me a real chewing out for
getting such an undeserved win. He was really worked up over that call. After
enduring his sour grapes for several minutes, I said, "Johnny, who got the win
in the 1948 World Series when Masi was picked off second base?" What goes
around comes around.
[Editor's note: Interestingly, it wasn't until later that Carl Erskine learned
that his nine nonconsecutive no-hit, no-run innings were only one inning shy
of Babe Ruth's World Series record of 10 nonconsecutive no-hit, no-run innings
in a 14-inning game, set in 1918 against-who else?-the Dodgers. Of course,
four years later, the Yankees' Don Larsen pitched the first and only perfect
Series game ... alas, against the Dodgers.]
From Tales from the Dudger Dugout by Carl Erskine.
Copyright © 2000 by Carl Erskine. Reprinted with permission.