Puzzling evidence

From the 1985 Bill James Baseball Abstract, which I know from the sticker inside the back cover that my father purchased at Haslam’s Book Store in St. Petersburg, Florida, which within a few years would be located in the shadow of the Florida Suncoast Dome/Thunderdome/Tropicana Field (well, the shadow’s not that big, but it’s close enough)…

Fate, or chance? The Cubs in 1945 met the Tigers; the Cubs in 1984 would have met the Tigers if they had won one more game. Chance, or destiny? A new commissioner of baseball, Happy Chandler, was named in April of 1945, but had other commitments that kept him busy until that October; a new commissioner of baseball, Peter Ueberroth, was named in March of 1984, but prevented from beginning the job until October by other commitments. Coincidence, or fortune? Steve Trout pitched a 5-hit, complete-game victory for the Cubs in the 1984 playoffs; his father, Dizzy Trout, pitched a 5-hit, complete-game victory against the Cubs in the 1945 World Series. Luck, or predetermination? The 1945 season was the last hurrah for a popular Cub infielder named Stan Hack; the 1984 season was the last hurrah for a popular Cub infielder named Larry Bowa. “Hack” and “Bowa” each have four letters in their names, even if you spell them backwards. Coincidence, or sheer pap? The 1984 Cubs fired their television broadcaster, Milo Hamilton; the 1945 Cubs released a catcher named Len Rice; it goes against my grain to accept

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that as a mere coincidence. Goodnight.

After that, Bill James goes into a paean to Milo Hamilton’s replacement on the Cubs TV broadcasts, Harry Caray, which I’ll post later.

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