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  #1  
Old 10-26-2008, 09:20 AM
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Default Tommy "Old Reliable" Henrich....1941

Posted By: Ted Zanidakis

Tommy Henrich earned the nickname of "Old Reliable" for being a tremendous clutch hitter for 11 seasons
with the Yankees (1937-1950).

Ironically, Tommy's most famous "clutch" at bat was "striking out" in the 4th game of the 1941 World Series
vs the Dodgers.
Dig this scenario......Tommy was at bat with 2 outs and a 3-2 count on him in the 9th inning with Brooklyn
ahead 4-3. Hugh Casey pitches a dipping curveball to Mickey Owen......Tommy swings and misses it, but so
does Owen in catching it. Tommy ends up at 1st base; subsequently, DiMaggio, Keller, and Joe Gordon rally
the Yankees to a 7-4 victory. And , go on to win this World Series.

This set the stage for, arguably, the greatest October rivalry Baseball has ever known. The NY Yankees and
Brooklyn Dodgers were to compete again for the World Championship crown in 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955,
and 1956. I have seen all 6 of these World Series; and, in my opinion, they were the greatest I've ever seen.

Tommy, at age 94, is now the oldest living Yankee. I met Tommy at BB card show 10 years ago. We had a
great conversation, reminiscing over the "good ole days". I found it quite amazing how clearly he recalled the
events of that day in October 1941. He alluded to the fact that it wasn't all Mickey Owen's fault....and, that
Owen was expecting to see a fast ball....but, Hugh Casey threw him a curve that fooled both Owen and him.








TED Z

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  #2  
Old 10-26-2008, 09:43 AM
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Default Tommy "Old Reliable" Henrich....1941

Posted By: john/z28jd

Ted,don't shortchange Billy Werber who played for the Yankees in 1930 and 1933,he's got 4 1/2 years on Mr Henrich. Billy is also the oldest living former major leaguer at 100 years of age. Also slightly older than Henrich is Lonny Frey who played for the Yankees in 1947-48. As the 3rd oldest living major leaguer,Frey about a month or so ago turned 98 years old.

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  #3  
Old 10-26-2008, 09:58 AM
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Default Tommy "Old Reliable" Henrich....1941

Posted By: Ted Zanidakis

We already had several threads on Billy Werber....I don't recall any other threads on Tommy Henrich.

Here is an excerpt from my Cooperstown thread this past summer.



And, 1934 Goudey Hi #....Billy Werber....who just turned 100 years old last month.



And, here is one of several Net54 threads......

http://www.network54.com/Forum/153652/message/1214011541/Happy+100th+Birthday+to+Billy+Werber


TED Z

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  #4  
Old 10-26-2008, 10:15 AM
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Default Tommy "Old Reliable" Henrich....1941

Posted By: john/z28jd

I wasn't trying to change the subject,I just meant that I've heard other places as well that Henrich is the oldest living former Yankee player and the other 2 guys are still alive. They obviously didnt contribute to the Yankees history like Henrich did,but they still played.

Im sure you remember game 6 of the 1947 world series,Frey had the rbi groundout in the 9th to make it 8-6 and was the tying run on base when the aforementioned Hugh Casey got Snuffy Stirnweiss to groundout to end it and send it to a game 7. Henrich was the man on deck when the game ended.

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Old 10-26-2008, 01:44 PM
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Default Tommy "Old Reliable" Henrich....1941

Posted By: Fred Y

--in Major Lg baseball. In 1949, at age 9, I watched the 1st game of the World Series w/ my Dad on a small round screen TV. I asked my Dad who he was rooting for and he said "the Yankees"! That was it for me--I was a Yankee fan from then on!

A sterling pitching duel between Allie Reynolds & Don Newcombe-8 innings of 0-0 baseball, w/ only 4 hits for the Yankees & just 2 for Brooklyn until the last of the 9th. First batter Henrich hits a HR to end it.

Fast forward to the late '80's-early '90's. I was set up at one of Mike Riccio's weekend card shows in Stratford CT--Tommy Henrich & Mickey Owen were there to sign.

After the show I went to the motel lounge and sidled up to the bar for a couple of cold ones--Tommy had the seat right next to me & for the next 2 hours I had the greatest conversation w/ a ballplayer a fan could ever hope for! No matter what question or player I brought up, from Ruth to Mantle, Tommy had a fascinating story to tell!

I'll never forget that experience or Tommy's graciousness EVER!

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Old 10-26-2008, 03:06 PM
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Default Tommy "Old Reliable" Henrich....1941

Posted By: Ted Zanidakis

I wasn't as fortunate as you to have a few beers with Tommy, "talking baseball" for 2 hours.
Nevertheless, the 1/2 hour conversation with Tommy sitting down at my booth at the show
was unforgettable.

So, I know of what you are saying. Of all the BB players that I have been lucky to have con-
versations with, besides Tommy Henrich.....Phil Rizzuto and Ted Williams have been the most
engaging. These guys could talk with you for many hours, if time permitted.

TED Z

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  #7  
Old 10-26-2008, 04:49 PM
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Default Tommy "Old Reliable" Henrich....1941

Posted By: Fred Y

My wife was w/ me on that trip to Stratford (from Providence), as she was quite often when I did out-of-town weekend shows to help me man the tables.

She patiently sat w/ us the whole time, knowing what a time I was having just talking to Tommy, even tho I'm sure she would just as soon be having dinner!

For Christmas that yr she gave me the famous picture of the "Dropped 3rd Strike", all framed & matted, dually signed by Tommy & Mickey, which she had unknowingly to me, gotten before we returned home.

This would have qualified for the "You know you have a great wife" thread, I certainly believe!

NOTE: Mickey Owen passed away in 2005 at the age of 89.

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Old 10-26-2008, 05:38 PM
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Default Tommy "Old Reliable" Henrich....1941

Posted By: barry arnold

great stories, Trex et al.
it's always moving to hear how wonderfully and engagingly human our heroes really are.
i'm sure this is why i read 'The Glory of Their Times' again and again.
many, many thanks for sharing.

all the best,
barry

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Old 10-26-2008, 06:35 PM
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Default Tommy "Old Reliable" Henrich....1941

Posted By: Ted Zanidakis

Great story, guy.

In the course of your 2 hour conversation with Tommy, did he talk about the "3rd strike" event ?

It appears like Mickey Owen was totally blamed for the"passed ball" incident. Ironically in 1941,
Owen set a new record for the most error-less fielding chances by a catcher with 508 perfect
attempts and finished with a .995 Fielding Avg.
After, his military service in WWII, the Dodgers wouldn't sign him. So, he left the Majors and went
to play professional ball in the Mexican League. Returned to the Majors in the Spring of 1951 with
the Cubs. I'm happy to hear he that lived a long life.

Unfortunately, Hugh Casey did not enjoy a long life. He died in 1951 at age 37. Apparently, des-
pondent over the breakup of his marriage, he shot himself.

Thanks for sharing your story with us.

TED Z



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Old 10-27-2008, 11:53 AM
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Default Tommy "Old Reliable" Henrich....1941

Posted By: Fred Y

Now that I have thought about it for a while, the yr of that show might have been 1991, the 50th Anniv. of the passed ball incident.

Tommy mentioned that he & Mickey had done & were doing several shows together around that time---and yes, he pretty much said the same thing he told you--that it certainly wasn't all Owen's fault as the pitcher Casey had crossed him up as well as fooled Tommy himself!

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Old 10-27-2008, 12:02 PM
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Default Tommy "Old Reliable" Henrich....1941

Posted By: Jodi Birkholm

Hugh Casey managed to stand out as a very unique individual on a team comprised mostly of eccentric charaters! Apparently, he had no concept of how to save money or travel properly. He started out each road trip packing only his toothbrush. He would buy his clothes every day as he needed them, before giving them away to whoever wanted them! The next road trip would start the cycle anew! Needless to say, I think financial, along with marital problems, contributed to his suicide. I hate to get overly detailed on this, but it's been published before--Casey actually called his wife and was on the phone with her when he pulled the trigger. Excuse the morbidity, but I just write that to illustrate that Casey's mental faculties were certainly not running at full capacity at the time of his self-inflicted demise.

Jodi

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Old 10-27-2008, 01:21 PM
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Default Tommy "Old Reliable" Henrich....1941

Posted By: Ted Zanidakis

JODI B

Yes, Casey was was quite a character. Quite a friendly guy when not in the ballpark, as some of his drinking buddies included Ernest Hemingway.
But, when he was on the mound he was very aggressive....batter beware. He was known to throw at them, just as soon as pitch to them.

His starting stats are mediocre....but, as a reliever, he was very effective. I think he still holds the all-time Major League W-L percentage record
(for relievers with at least 50 decisions) of 51-20....a .727 pct.





TED Z

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Old 10-27-2008, 01:31 PM
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Default Tommy "Old Reliable" Henrich....1941

Posted By: Jodi Birkholm

Papa and Hugh, two very talented, but troubled men. I have both read and heard first-hand accounts of the one infamous drunken boxing match between the two in Hemingway's Havana cabana. Mrs. H was in hysterics about the broken porcelain and furniture! Quite a funny tale! Glad I had the chance to know someone who was an actual witness to the event. I would have paid money for a ringside seat, though! Oh well. I'm more of a Steinbeck connoisseur, anyhow.

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Old 10-27-2008, 06:40 PM
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Default Tommy "Old Reliable" Henrich....1941

Posted By: Ted Zanidakis

JODI

Here's an excerpt, describing that that drunken duel between them......

A tough competitor, and a heavy drinker, Casey became friends with Ernest Hemingway.
At Hemingway's house during spring training in Cuba, the drunken pair once put on box-
ing gloves. Teammate Kirby Higbe later recalled, "Ernest would belt Casey one, and down
he would go. Casey would belt old Ernest, and down he would go....The furniture [really
took] a beating."


TED Z

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