Skip to main content
Original Issue


The effect of baseball's Great Diaspora on the people of San Francisco has been, as we say in the West, something to pass the chocolates about.

Old ladies atop Nob Hill are tardy with their tatting because Russ Hodges, mellifluent as ever, has entered their lives.

Their men, who haven't thought about baseball since a farouche old Irishman named McGraw dominated the game, wonder if Orlando Cepeda is a flash in the pan.

The downtown brokers, the only men who wear vests in the city, study the Dow-Jones ticker with a show of interest, before they sneak a guilty sidelong scowl at the just-installed sports wire.

Longshoremen, who lay off work when they please, tote portable radios to Aquatic Park, soak up sun and listen to the crack of bats.

Bartenders are becoming as learned as Erasmus in the minutiae of triples to date, runs batted in and the private life of Willie Mays.

Models who skitter around in chemises in the elegant purlieus of Maiden Lane have been known, eyes batting prettily, to ask their escorts, "Who was hit today?"

A sportswriter for one of the mornings busted a gusset describing a Giant victory: "The way it was accomplished, like a painter adding tints to the sunset over the Golden Gate, gave the game that master's touch and made it a candidate for the Louvre."

A housewife in suburban San Mateo, for many years a client of the Brooklyns, had a budgie trained to shout, "Come on, Bums." She loyally switched allegiance when Les Giants came here in April. Now the creature caws, "Come on, Willie."

The town is hooked.

The Giants, as of the first quarter of the season, have given us all a notable civic strut. San Francisco has been saying for decades that it is big league. In its secret heart it has never been quite sure. These days it is. A winner will do wonders.

in the New York Herald Tribune