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Original Issue



The expression of the earnest gentleman at the left is not one of fear or worry. Call it anxiety, or concern. He is peering, not from a foxhole, but from a dugout. He is a major-league manager, caught in the act of doing something major-league managers never, never do. He is playing them two at a time. Managing a pivotal game in Los Angeles, he is peeking at the score of a game in San Francisco, and finding it good. Walter Alston of the Los Angeles Dodgers, senior member of a perpetually insecure fraternity, has won with teams that had no right winning (1959) and has also lost with teams that should have been arrested for losing (1961-62). He knows the fraternity slogans: "It's enough to worry about my own club.... I can't do anything about those other games anyway." But it was a time for peeking. All weekend the intelligence on the mammoth message board in Chavez Ravine was imposing, an electronic handwriting on a wall too big for even a crisis-conditioned Walter Alston to ignore.

Everybody was peeking Sunday, when at about 3 p.m. (P.D.T.) the National League pennant race attained an unprecedented peak of simultaneity. While Willie Mays was leading off second in Candlestick Park, preparing to steal third in an attempt to avert a 3-2 defeat by Milwaukee, somebody named Chuck Harrison was hitting a home run in Houston to frustrate the Cincinnati Reds 4-2. At the same time in Los Angeles, Maury Wills came through with a single that promised to increase Don Drysdale's 1-0 lead over the Cardinals. Joe Torre in San Francisco and Curt Flood in Los Angeles hit ground balls at almost the identical moment, and there was one out in the top of the ninth in two cities. The Giants had "locked" the pennant by winning 14 straight, but now the Dodgers were two outs away from their ninth straight and a tie for the lead. It was illogical that Juan Marichal could be beaten three times in a row, but it was happening. It was unlikely that weary Don Drysdale could hold yet another 1-0 lead. But it happened, and in two cities they dusted off a prewar phrase coined by Red Barber in Brooklyn. "It's a flat-footed tie," said Vin Scully in Los Angeles. In San Francisco, Russ Hodges said it twice. It meant the Giants and Dodgers, after 155 games, had identical won-lost records. Scully dragged out another Barberism to sum up the situation. "Tomorrow night," he said, "is like opening day."