Sunday, April 24, 2005

George "Shotgun" Shuba

George "Shotgun" Shuba Posted by Hello

George Shuba, pinch hitting for Don Zimmer, grounded out to first to end the sixth inning and left three men on base. That was his last at bat in the majors. It also helped set up the Dodger victory in the 1955 World Series.

There are many plays in a game that affect later events, of course, but why did Walt Alston put in Sandy Amoros in left field? For defensive purposes, but it was also because Zimmer, playing second, was now out of the game and Jim Gilliam was moved to second from left field.

Minutes later in the Yankees 6th, Billy Martin walked, Gil McDougald singled sending Martin into second. Yogi Berra steps into the batters box and hits the fly ball to left that was slicing away from Amoros. But because Amoros was left handed, his glove in his right, he was able to stretch out and catch Berra's fly ball and double up McDougald. Hank Bauer then grounded out to the shortstop ending the Yankee threat.

Would Jim Gilliam have been able to catch that fly ball? Many say it was doubtful, but then what if Shuba was able to get a hit with the bases loaded in the sixth? Baseball is filled with What Ifs. That's why it makes good fodder for discussion.

George Shuba played for seven seasons, all with Brooklyn and was also known for trying to negotiate his contract with Branch Rickey and was outfoxed by the slick Rickey, whose nickname was "El Cheapo." Shuba wanted an increase to $23,000. During the meeting, Rickey was summoned to another office for a phone call. As he waited, Shuba noticed a contract with Jackie Robinson's name on it for $21,000 on the desk. When Rickey returned, Shuba agreed to take $20,000. Later, he found out that the Robinson contract was a phony and that Rickey's phone call was a setup.

George Shuba was also the first to congratulate Jackie Robinson in a major league game. In the famous photo "Handshake For the Century" Jackie Robinson scores after homering in his debut with the Montreal Royals at Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, on April 18, 1946. Congratulating him is teammate George "Shotgun" Shuba.

Handshake For the Century Posted by Hello

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