I have previously written about the Old Timers Baseball Classic held at RFK Stadium during the 1980s. While it is best known for Luke Appling’s home run in 1982, it continued for several years. A recently posted video on YouTube shows Sandy Koufax facing three former Washington players in one inning in 1984.
Harmon Killebrew, who came up with Washington, homered to left off his 1965 World Series rival. Left field was shorter than standard dimensions since the stadium was not moved to true baseball configuration. Killebrew was just starting to come into his own with the Senators when Cal Griffith moved them to Minnesota following the 1960 season.
Mickey Vernon, who played for the Griffith Nats franchise and managed the second franchise batted second. Koufax struck Vernon out on eehphus pitch.
Killebrew and Vernon both wore #3.
Two batters later, Chuck Hinton of the expansion Senators and long-time Howard University coach, walked.
Koufax had previously been at the 1962 All-Star Game in then D.C. Stadium, but did not appear in the game.
Two Baltimore players, including Brooks Robinson, also faced Koufax. He flied out to Henry Aaron, who homered in that game as well. In 2004, Robinson said that Washington deserved a team, breaking ranks with his former franchise, their owners and fans.
Jerry Coleman, who broadcasted with the New York Yankees when my mother worked for them, struck out to end the inning. Coleman played for the Yankees and later became the voice (and briefly manager) of the San Diego Padres. Frank Howard succeed Coleman as Paders manager.
I enjoyed meeting Coleman at a Nationals Park event in 2009.
The entire broadcast
George Grande and Jack Brickhouse on the call for the ESPN broadcast. Lou Palmer and Jim Price are in the dugouts.
Killebrew was interviewed 43:00.
Camilo Pascual, winner of 84 games between both DC AL franchises, pitched for the American League, starting at 50:27
Bring back OId Timers Games
As far as I can tell, the Yankees are the only team that annually holds Old Timers Day with a game. When I went a few years back, it was Yankees vs. former opponents, though now it’s intrasquad.
UPDATED 6/21/2022: A Washington D.C. Baseball – Yesterday & Today member shared this 2019 article from The Inky: Old-Timers Games, once a hit all over baseball, have almost disappeared
The Nationals just had a successful Ryan Zimmerman number retirement weekend with above average attendance. After 17 years, there are enough former players to “field a team” for a few innings of nostalgia. They should do it next year because the present hasn’t been great. I don’t know if they make it Nats vs. Nats or bring in some old division rivals as opposition. Either way would be fun.