S P A R K YThe game was telecasted locally by WPIX (Channel 11) and Dave was savvy enough to hold it up at the exact moment they would come back from the commercial break heading into the top of the ninth. With Lyle warming up, a camera swung toward us, and on came the red light. Ray was beside himself — we were pretty sure that it was getting on television. It was then that they unfurled the remainder of the banner. It read:
S T I N K S !
B R I N G B A CK
D A N N Y C A T E R !The exclamation points may or may not be an accurate recollection, but the wording is exact. There was some definite disapproval from the crowd but nothing quite like you’d expect, probably because the proposition was so ridiculous. (For his part, Lyle was his usual competent self, striking out two of the three men he faced.) I wasn’t certain we had gotten on television until the next day at school. Given the time of the season and the Yankees being just barely over .500, I can’t imagine that too many people were watching the game. One of my classmates was, though. His name was Scott and the one thing I remember about him is that he used to wear wrestling shoes every day even though he wasn’t on the wrestling team (now people wear shoes that look like that all the time, so he was way ahead of the curve on that one). “Hey, were you at Yankee Stadium yesterday?” he asked me. They had showed us, all right, and commented on it as well. I asked Scott what the announcers’ reaction was, but I can’t remember what he told me. I’d like to think that Phil Rizzuto was confused by it, though; that he said something like, “Holy cow, that’s a bad idea right there.” We tried the absurd banner trick one more time the following season, this time at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. It read NOME, ALASKA LOVES THE BREWERS. No reaction. No television time. It failed because it was just silly. The Lyle/Cater banner, though . . . that one had relevance! Jim Baker thanks Retrosheet and Dave Ringel for filling in the gaps in his memory.