While the first successful moon walk was underway on Sunday July 19, 1969 at 4:17 PM EDT; as is the case with every other Sunday in July, a full schedule of Major League baseball games was being played.
In the Bronx, the Yankees and the Senators were all tied at 2-2, in the 8th inning, when announcer Bob Sheppard told the 34,000 fans in attendance (who couldn’t give up seeing two mediocre teams play a meaningless game, rather than staying at home to watch a momentous event on TV) “You will be happy to know that Apollo 11 has landed safely.”
Not everyone was watching television at the time. In ten cities across the country, major league baseball games were scheduled, including five double-headers. The games did not all start at the same time, though, so the moon landing hit them all differently. In Seattle, for example:
“…pregame ceremonies before an American League baseball game between the hometown Pilots and the Minnesota Twins were interrupted by an announcement of the moon landing. The fans cheered, stood up and sang ‘America the Beautiful.'”
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The Mets Can Win, According Casey Stengel
Casey Stengel always said the Mets would win when they put a man on the Moon. Both miracles happened in 1969.
The whole world didn’t stop on July 20, 1969, when astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the Moon. It just seemed that way.
For even as astronaut Neil Armstrong was landing on the powdery surface of the Moon that day, uttering 11 of history’s most famous words – “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” – the sports world carried on.
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Last game of the 1954 season, Yankees vs. A’s. Casey Stengel “experiments.” Plays Mickey Mantle at Third Base, Yogi Berra at Shortstop, Moose Skowron at Second.
For the Philadelphia Athletics it’s the end of a 54-year run.
The New York Yankees won five consecutive World Series between 1949 and 1953. Their streak ended in 1954, even though the ’54 team posted a better record (103-51) that year than all of the championship teams of the previous five seasons. Despite posting the fourth best record in the history of the franchise, the Yankees closed out the 1954 campaign eight games behind the Cleveland Indians.
The Philadelphia A’s brought a record of 51-102 into Yankee Stadium that day. They were a mere 61 games out of first place. The game was played before a crowd of (if that’s what you want to call it) of 11,670.
For the most part, the Yankees re-positioned players did fine in the field. Berra handled his two opportunities at third without incident. Mantle had two put-outs and four assists, and even participated in a double play. Skowron, playing second base for the first (and next to last) time in his 15-year career, had six fielding opportunities and committed one error.
A month later, Connie Mack, the A’s iconic owner and former manager (1901-1950) announced that he had sold the team, and that Philadelphia Athletics would be moving to Kansas City at the start of the 1955 season.