DEC: THE 154th ARTICLE FOR BASEBALL GURU
PART FOUR OF MY BASEBALL INTERVIEWS OVER THE YEARS
GEORGE "SHOTGUN" SHUBA, MEL ALLEN
Many of the part time players of the Brooklyn Dodgers from the late 40s and the 5Os are still remembered by old Dodger fans. Players like Erv Palica, Rocky Bridges, Billy Loes, Sandy Amoros, Rube Walker, Bud Podbelian, Cal Abrams, Gene Hermanski, Clyde King, etc.
George "Shotgun" Shuba was one of them. I had a chance to interview him a few years before he passed away and it was like being in a Time Machine.
He seemed to remember everything that happened in his career….Dodger pitcher Irv Palica hitting a ball that bounced off the left field foul pole that the umpires ruled was foul. Manager Walt Alston was thrown out of the game because he argued against the call…..Billy Loes being a loner during his career with Brooklyn…..According to Shuba Bud Podbelian had the best changeup that he saw during his career in the Majors as well as the Minors……Jackie Robinson putting up with vicious behavior during his two first years from most of the teams he faced in the Majors and early on with the Dodgers as well.
And then there was….
While both Shuba and Robinson were in the Minors with Montreal, Robinson was having a difficult time with the players. When he would do something spectacular the players would ignore it. Shuba mentioned to me that he felt enough was enough.
When Robinson hit a crucial homerun a few days later Shuba was next in line to bat. When Robinson circled the bases Shuba met him and shook his hand. It was photographed and made all the papers the next day and for several days later.
The photo is in THE HALL OF FAME
It can be seen on line….put in SHUBA SHAKES HANDS WITH JACKIE ROBINSON.
He told me that was the proudest day of his baseball career.
When I ended the interview his son got on the phone and told me that George was practically blind and had been for quite awhile but was dealing with it heroically.
I interviewed him twice in 1999.
He passed away in 2014.
In my day Mel Allen was considered (along with Red Barber) to be the VOICE of baseball.
After many years of doing play by play for the Yankees he was let go. There are many rumors as to why that happened but so far none of them have been substantiated.
He then spent many years doing THIS WEEK IN BASEBALL. That's when I interviewed him for ONE MORE INNING. I was one of many people who were waiting to talk to him.
I asked him to tell me who was the best Yankee team that he saw as a broadcaster. I expected a short answer. Instead he spent a half hour talking to me about the 1953 Yankees to the annoyance of the people behind me.
He emphasized that although the Yankees won 99 games that year they could easily have gone 4 or five games over that mark. They lost several game in '53 in the late innings on misplays and relief pitching that gave up 8th and 9th inning leads.
By the time he started telling me how good the pitching staff was (RASCHI, LOPAT, FORD, REYNOLDS, and SAIN) I could see people waiting in line were getting restless. He then went on to tell me that Berra, McDougald, Woodling, Mantle and Bauer had outstanding seasons with Berra coming up with one key hit after another. This was about 15 minutes into our talk and some body called out, "THERE ARE OTHER PEOPLE IN THE LINE."
Allen ignored the remark and went on for another 5 minutes are so. When he finished he thanked me for asking the Question. When I walked away I got glares from everybody behind me and some interesting comments as well.
Next month Armando Cassans and why he counts in Yankee history