* National Pastime Radio: Gibson and Jackson

October 13, 2009

Bob Gibson and Reggie Jackson, collaborators in the new Sixty Feet Six Inches, were the guests on yesterday’s Fresh Air.

The host, an awestruck Dave Davies, asked several questions that one would expect from non-fans, and that’s fine, given the nature of the outlet; I’m sure sports radio hosts would ask more hard-hitting questions designed to stir controversy.

A couple of items caught my attention. One was how old the former ballplayers sounded. These were the guys I grew up watching in the 1970s: the Gibsons, and Jacksons, the Roses and Seavers, and it’s hard for me to reconcile that they are getting old, most of them are in their sixties and seventies by now.

The other thing was — and here we go again — paying close attention to thei game memories. Davies said that Jackson homered in four consecutive at bats. That didn’t sound right so I looked it up on Retrosheet.  Jackson homered in his final at bat in Game 5, but in his first time up in Game 6, he walked, then hit three straight homers. Technically, the statement is correct: he hit four home runs in four at bats, but five plate appearances, which in my opinion, speaks to the spirit of the matter if not the letter of the law.

At one point,

DAVIES: The fascinating thing hearing you two talk is that you never faced each other either in the postseason or in the regular season, right?

Mr. JACKSON: All Star game.

DAVIES: In the All Star game, right? And…

Mr. GIBSON: Yeah. He keeps telling me he hit a double off of me and I don’t remember.

Jackson was right. It came in the first inning of the 1972 contest. It was the only hit Gibson gave up in two innings.

Later, they discussed the broken leg Gibson sustained off the bat of Roberto Clemente in 1967. Those are the kinds of things you don’t forget; Gibby got the details correct.

You can listen listen to the segment via the show’s web site or download the podcast from iTunes.

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