Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Proof that God is a Yankees Fan

Bet you didn't know this:

As a student, Jerry Falwell was a star athlete and prankster who was barred from giving his high school valedictorian's speech after he was caught using counterfeit lunch tickets. He ran with a gang of juvenile delinquents before becoming a born-again Christian at 19. He turned down an offer to play professional baseball and transferred from Lynchburg College to Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Mo.

The baseball part, not the lunch ticket thing. I searched for a while to get more info, and found this quote from Calvin Falwell -- cousin of Jerry and namesake of Calvin Falwell Field in Lynchburg, VA -- regarding the good reverend's relationship to the national past time:

"Jerry's a baseball fan. Matter of fact, the Yankees tried to get him to sign up
years ago when he was a kid. He's a good ballplayer."

Assuming this is true, that would place a Yankees offer to Falwell in 1951 or 1952. I don't think I have to tell you what the implications for history would have been if Falwell had decided to answer the Yankees' call rather than Jesus's. That's right:

Johnny Blanchard never makes the team, Bob Purkey fans Falwell in the 8th inning of game three of the 1961 World Series, and the Reds use the momentum to stage a stunning come-from-behind 7-game victory. Having won the World Series recently, Bill DeWitt feels less pressure to trade Frank Robinson before the 1966 season, and he remains a Red. Having Robinson in the fold puts the Reds over the hump in 1969. There are no Miracle Mets, Sparky Anderson isn't hired before the 1970 season, and the Big Red Machine never exists, which throws everything that has happened in baseball since the 1970s out of whack.

Oh yeah, and there's no Moral Majority either, so Jimmy Carter wins the 1980 election, but I'm guessing that doesn't change things nearly as much as having Joe Morgan stay with the Astros.

Scary stuff.