Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Rest In Peace

The baseball world -- especially the Brooklyn baseball world -- was saddened this week by news of the death of Johnny Podres.

Podres, of course, was the legendary Brooklyn Dodger who, at 23 years old, was named the 1955 World Series MVP after helping bring the borough its only world championship with two stellar victories against the hated Yankees. Growing up, I had heard stories about him from my dad -- about his facing down the Bronx bombers, about his brash "just give me one run and I'll do the rest" pre-game statements, and about his blue-collar aura and attitude.

I remember meeting Mr. Podres at KeySpan Park -- it was either '01 or '02 -- and being fortunate enough to be within earshot of a conversation between him and our then-pitching coach, Bobby Ojeda. Podres had been Ojeda's pitching coach when he was in the New York-Penn League, with the Red Sox' Elmira affiliate.

These two were ballplayers through and through. Hearing them talk about the game, and about how it had changed, how the league had changed, and retelling some stories of the old days was great for me, as a fan. I remember thinking that these were two guys who lived, and played, hard. And that they had given everything they had to the game of baseball, and still loved it and talked about it like they were two little kids.

50-plus years after his World Series heroics, Podres' performance, and that of his teammates, still defines the Brooklyn baseball landscape and still puts smiles on the faces of millions.

We at the Cyclones mourn the passing of a true Brooklyn legend.

-- Dave

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