Where Were You in 1968?

molina315x260gm7hr102006.jpgBaseball is one of those sports where King Superstition reigns supreme. Just to prove the point, I’ve intentionally avoided mentioning baseball and my team, the St. Louis Cardinals, on this blog for fear of jinxing my boys.

The moratorium ends today–Cards win, Cards win, Cards win!

In a dramatic conclusion to game seven of the NLCS, Yadier Molina struck the decisive blow with a 2-run shot in the top of the ninth inning to finally bring down the New York Mets 3-1. After Endy Chavez robbed Scott Rolen of another home run in what will go down as one of the greatest catches in baseball history, and after Albert Pujols failed yet again to produce with men on base, I thought the Cards were done for. But Jeff Suppan pitched his second brilliant game of the series (for which he was awarded MVP) and then the most unlikely of heroes, Molina, stepped up to the plate for his moment in history.

The drama extended to the bottom of the ninth with bases loaded for the Mets and Carlos Beltran, the one person the Cardinal Nation did not want at the plate, contemplating his own rendevzvous with destiny. But Cards reliever Adam Wainwright held fast, and Beltran went down on three pitches, the last one a sharply breaking curve ball for a called third strike.

This sets up a rematch of the 1934 and 1968 World Series between the Cards and the Detroit Tigers. The Cards won in seven games in 1934, and in 1968, behind the stellar pitching of Mickey Lolich (who won three games in the series) the Tigers returned the favor. Now the Tigers, who have played brilliantly for the most of the season and have the benefit of nearly a week of rest, are licking their chops in anticipation of Saturday night’s opener. My head tells me that the Tigers will win in five games; my heart tells me Cards in seven. The Tigers will be heavily favored, but like I always say, “on any given day, anything can happen.”

We had a great time watching the game last night. Eyegal is a native St. Louisan and we invited her parents over to watch the game. We laughed a lot, ate dessert and drank decaff, groaned, pleaded and cajoled as our Redbirds trudged on toward victory. We talked about Cardinal teams and players from the past (do you think they could clone Bob Gibson?) and the boys asked how I became a Cardinal fan (I pointed at Eyegal and shrugged my shoulders resignedly).

The only one in the house who wasn’t rooting for the Cards was Number Three Son, who was still sore about his Yankees losing, so he pulled for the Mets out of spite. Number Three is a master at talking smack, but it wasn’t enough to pull his last-minute adopted team through to victory. I suppose he’ll be pulling for the Tigers now. But if he wants to come back to the fold, all will be forgiven.

Speaking of forgiveness, did anyone watching the game notice the Great Awakening which broke out in Shea Stadium last night? From about the 5th inning on, the camera kept panning throughout the crowd, showing hundreds of Mets fans with hands folded and eyes turned heavenward in divine supplication. I didn’t know there were so many religious people in New York City. If I hadn’t known better, I would have swore it was a Billy Graham Revival.

Here’s the theological question of the day: Does God care who wins?

Dear God, if you’re looking for a team, you know where to find one.

And, in conclusion, another question: Where were you in 1968?

In 1968, I was busy trying to learn the intricacies and politics of 1st grade in Mrs. Witcher’s class at Burnt Chimney Elementary School in Burnt Chimney, Virginia. The one thing I learned very quickly about first grade was that if you’re going take a nap on one of those little red and blue mats, you’d better keep one eye open and watch your back–or more precisely, backside.

You see, one day I was napping blissfully when Mrs Witcher spotted a horsefly landing on my cute little first grader rump. Grabbing the flyswatter from her desk, she proceeded to swat the horsefly, and by virture of my proximity, me, until the insect was dead, dead, dead. Needless to say, despite her apologies and insistence otherwise, I thought that I had been unjustly attacked and proceeded to have one of my patented emotional meltdowns. I guess I should have been thankful that she didn’t use the paddle with the holes in it (less wind resistance) which she kept in her desk. If she had pulled a stunt like that today, I’m betting she would be doing 5-10 in the state pen.

So, where were you in 1968?

Just for your information, the first person who chimes in with a chirpy, “Well, I wasn’t even born in 1968,” will be forthwith banned from this blog.

  1. lAURA

    Whew they made me nervous but they pulled it through. I have always liked them and I guess they were the first team I ever pulled for. I think 1968 was the year me and my fam went to St. Louis to see them. I was about 6 we lived in KY which was where I was born and around there everyone is a Card fan. I don’t remember much about the game but I remember my bro and I having alot of fun at the hotel pool. We didn’t go on fam. vacations just got to go with dad on business trips. I do remember it was very hot because it was Aug. That is my memory of the cards and 1968.

  2. Brady

    The only thing I remember about ’68 besides Robert Kennedy’s death and my fourth grade teacher Mrs Wyatt’s legs is eating a sack lunch in the school cafeteria because the World Series was on and the Tigers were playing the Cards. I remember it because I NEVER ate in the cafeteria and the teachers NEVER had a TV on. But not for that series.

    Wife and I didn’t know each other at all then, but she was sitting in her school, in fifth grade up there in Michigan, watching the same World Series. But I think we were spiritually connected that year, because, ask me who played in ’67 or ’69 and I couldn’t tell you. But I know who played in ’68 and who won.

    Sorry, Mike. We’re pulling for the Tigers.

  3. Mike the Eyeguy


    The Cards were not the first team I rooted for. I grew up a fan of the Big Red Machine out of Cincinnati. The very first baseball card I ever owned was Johnny Bench, and in my mind, that settled the matter.

    It seems that Kentucky is pretty much split between the Reds and the Cards, with Western KY being heavily for the Redbirds.


    That’s Ok, the Holy Spirit will work overtime and keep us all together in the long run.

    I have vague memories of the deaths of both MLK and Bobby Kennedy that year. I just remember everyone being very upset. Even in Roanoke, Virginia, not exactly a hotbed of racial strife, everyone was on edge.

    BTW, the Cards over the Red Sox in ’67 and the Amazing Mets over the Orioles in ’69.

  4. lAURA

    yes you are right about KY being split. I was born in Western KY. Most in our area and my 94 year old granddad still for the cards.

  5. Mike the Eyeguy

    That’s it, the Cards are going to win it for your 94-year-old grandad!

    You heard it here first.

  6. Ed

    Bet it was nice on the big screen. I noticed all the praying too and wondered if some were trying to cut some deals – “Dear God, if you let us win, then I will be good for the rest of my life!” What you didn’t see, of course, was all the fans in St Louis praying too πŸ™‚ This would be an interesting discussion in sunday school class – i.e., are there boundaries on praying? At the end of the game, as usual, the camera panned the stunned Met’s fans. I wonder what that did to their faith?

    1968 – barely out of diapers

  7. Brady

    Of course, the Amazing Mets of ’69. And my mom loved Brooks Robinson, native of Arkansas. I’ve been out of the country too long.

  8. Mike the Eyeguy

    Dear “barely out of diapers” (yeah, right),

    That’s a great idea about Sunday school. With any amount of luck, we should be able to spend the whole class period on that one!


    We aim to keep you expatriates updated and reminded of all things America.

  9. Jason Bybee

    I wasn’t even born in 1968.

  10. Jason Bybee

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist!

    Your moratorium on the Cards has been balanced out by my over-the-top Cards blogging this week. I’ve had other things I wanted to write about this week, but the Cards just took too much out of me. I’m pretty much spent and the Series hasn’t even started yet.

    Go Cards!
    Viva El Birdos!

  11. Mike the Eyeguy

    It figures you would be the one to do that.

    Although we’ll be on opposite ends of the gridiron tomorrow, on the diamond, we are one.

  12. Jon

    Not only was I not born I wasn’t even a glimmer in my dad or moms eye, especially since they weren’t married until 1977.

    I’m just glad they one, now the questions is whether or not Jason and I will be on speaking terms if the others team wins.

    GO TIGERS!!!

  13. Jeff Slater

    Mike —

    As someone who was born in Detroit and raised in the suburbs, I am rooting hard for the Tigers. However, I was glad to see the Cards win last night (what a game!). It’s good to have two midwestern teams in the series. I know that drives the TV executives crazy.

    My heart tells me the Tigers will remain on a roll and sweep the Cards. But my head tells me it will be a hard-fought 7-game series. I’m going to have to watch at least one of the games from my original Tiger Stadium Seat.

    Bob Seger will be sining “America The Beautiful” before Game One. Sparky Anderson will be throwing out the first pitch for Game Two.

    I was 4-years-old in 1968, so I don’t remember that Series. I do remember many of the Tigers on that team, as they were my favorite players in the early ’70’s. I once saw Mickey Lolich taking out the garbage at his donut shop in the northern suburbs of Detroit years later.

    GO TIGERS!!!!!

  14. Mike the Eyeguy


    Research has proven that you are a glint in your father’s eye even years prior to marriage. Trust me on this.

    What’s your Tiger connection (aside from simply getting Jason’s goat)?


    I too am elated to see two midwestern teams in the Series. I have a feeling that the TV ratings will be good regardless.

    I plan to blog soon on my baseball card collection. I’m pretty sure I have a Mickey Lolich and maybe even an Al Kaline. If so, I’ll post pictures in your honor.

    May the best team win, and may it be enjoyable for all.

  15. Donna

    I am going to enjoy this series…it is fun to have friends pulling for both teams…and not be emotionally involved.

    I have no recollection of 1968… I guess I was listening to Mrs. Harbison read “Little House on the Prairie” to us after lunch and learning to write cursive…. I did get into an argument with my favorite cousin that year….we figured out boys and girls were not supposed to like each other…yet.

  16. Jon

    My dad and my wife are from Detroit so I grew up liking them and the Royals (since we lived in Topeka till I was in 5th grade). Then I went and married a yankee and have been to several games at Comerica but unfortunatley we didn’t hook up soon enough to catch a game at Tiger Stadium.

  17. Mike the Eyeguy


    Sounds like your recollections of 1968 are quite clear. You can’t fool me.


    Ok, so they’re in your blood, plus you married into it as well. That makes sense.

  18. DAVID u

    I was in Sheffield, Alabama. I was pulling for Bob Gibson and the Cards to win back-to-back World Series! It broke my heart they lost 2 in a row to lose the Series.

    What was I doing in Sheffield? Probably drooling over Raquel Welch in “ONE MILLION YEARS BC”. Or worrying if our country was about to implode. 68 was like NO other year in our lifetime. Some universities have a semester study on the year: 1968.

    God is good.


  19. Mike the Eyeguy


    I bet Curt Flood’s dropped fly ball really sent your reeling in despair.

    Ah yes, Raquel Welch! I remember that movie poster, although at age 7 that sort of thing had yet to make an impact on me. My vision was Farrah Fawcett. Of course, I was never allowed to put up a poster of her in my room. Thank goodness for Spencer’s Gifts at the mall.

    I have vague recollections of the ground-moving events of ’68. I do remember being at church functions and watching as the young fathers gathered in worried clusters, all wearing the same short-sleeve white shirts and black, skinny ties, and discussed in grave and hushed tones the “issues of the day.”

  20. Terri

    I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now and I just had to comment on this post. GO CARDS!! I am a native St. Louisian, but in 1968 I was a second grader living in Independence MO not paying attention to the World Series. I later moved back to St. Louis and have great memories of the Cards in the 80s. BTW I think we knew each other at HU and I think your wife was friends w/ my sister at CA. I was in Omega Phi and graduated in 83. I’m hoping for a Cardinal victory this year!

  21. John

    I’m just glad the Mets are gone, can’t stand the smugness of New Yorkers and how they think the world revolves around them. As for the outcome of the series I would prefer normally to see the NL team win but I don’t want to see Scott Rolen win since the way he spurned the Phillies. Even if I did agree with a lot of the remarks he made about the management on the way out. In the same vain I would love to Placido Planco from the Tigers get the ring. I loved him as a Phillie and was sorry to see him go.

    As for 1968 I really don’t remember much since I was 2 and most of my efforts were directed to trying to get rid of my newborn brother. How dare he take my parents attention away from me.

  22. Mike the Eyeguy

    Hey Terri, I remember you!

    I just spoke with Eyegal and she remembers hanging out with your sister and even coming to your house. She went to Parkway North, not CA, but she hung out with the CA crew so much everyone thought she did.

    Ok, I’m having another flashback–I think I went to an Omega Phi banquet one time (Spring of ’82 maybe?). I can’t remember the name of my date, but as I recall, she had red hair. But the kicker is that I think you and Bill R. were also a couple that night and rode with us to Batesville. Does that jog a memory or two?

    Thanks so much for reading my blog and taking the time to comment!

    Go Cards! May it be like 1967 (or’82) and not like ’68!

  23. Mike the Eyeguy


    Rolen seems to have his issues with “management” doesn’t he? Although it appears he and LaRussa have patched things up, I hope none of that ill will carries over into the series.

    A longsuffering Phillies fan, huh? Let’s see, as I recall, they last won in, what was it, ’83? Well, that’s still not as long as the Cardinal drought–’82.

    Since the Tigers last won in ’84, if there is a personal and loving God who has any interest whatsoever in fairness and justice, then the Cards should win. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for stopping by and giving me a read.

  24. John

    Actually the last and only series win for the Phillies was 80 with trips to the show in 83 and 93. Plus they are the first sports team that will reach the carrer 10,000 losses mark in the next year or two. Not a record you want to be stuck with.

  25. Mike the Eyeguy


    My condolences; I didn’t realize it had been so long.

    Of course it could be worse–you could be a Cubs fan.

  26. Terri

    Yes, Mike, you got it right about the banquet. I was w/ Bill R. & you were w/ Liz B. and we all rode together. I don’t remember much else. It was probably 82 as I was dating my future husband in 83. In 82 I made my parents send me a Cardinal shirt. That was my first memory of really getting into the World Series. I probably watched every game on my roommate’s little 13″ TV in Sears dorm w/ Rita P. who was also a St. Louis girl. What fun!

  27. Mike the Eyeguy

    That’s right, it was Liz B, not the redhead. Lord, there were just so many of those banquet dates that it was hard to keep track of them all. πŸ˜‰

    Speaking of redheads, I remember Rita P, and of course, Leonard.

    I think Eyegal must have dated every one of those CA boys at one time or another.

    But I got still got 1st prize.

  28. lAURA

    Just talked with my 94 yr old granddad and he is very excited about cards. Said he didn’t get to set up and finish watching last night because he had a physical therapy appt this am. but looks forward to watching world series. GO CARDS!

  29. Mike the Eyeguy

    Hey, sometimes those PT appts have to take precedence over baseball. I bet he was pleased this AM when he awoke to yet another Cardinal pennant!

  30. Scott

    I remember it well. I was 4 months old, gourging myself on milk (breast) and deciding whether or not to take the pacifier. I opted against it.
    Although it’s the year I was born, you can’t say it was a good year historically.

  31. Nancy

    Interesting. I was looking up what happened in 1968 — SINCE I WASN”T BORN THEN AND DIDN”T WANT TO BE BANNED FROM THIS BLOG — and I read this:

    July 17 – Saddam Hussein becomes the Vice Chairman of the Revolutionary Council in Iraq after a coup d’Γ©tat.

  32. Mike the Eyeguy


    The fact that you were being offered both a pacifier and a breast explains a lot. You need to read the chapter from Nancy’s new book on nipple confusion. It helped me, and I think it could help you too.


    As you can tell from my reply to Scott, I never miss an opportunity to plug your book.

    Another 1968 event was the Tet offensive. I found it ironic that this week that that piece of history came up again in conversations and reports regarding Iraq and current operations in Baghdad at the same time that everyone suddenly started talking about 1968.

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