“Did you hear Bob Murphy last night?” Billy asked the group of boys hanging out on the corner of Windsor Place and Ninth Avenue right outside Red’s shoe store.
Besides the schoolyards at Holy Name, someone’s stoop or over on the Parkside, a street corner in the neighborhood was a popular spot for teenagers.
“Yeah baby, we heard him alright!” Michael acknowledged as he swung his stickball bat in the air just missing Billy’s head.
“Yo motherfucker, watch where you’re swingin’ that thing!” Billy shouted.
Billy, Michael, Peter and JC were so excited that the Mets had beaten the Reds last night in game five of the NLCS. They couldn’t stop talking about it.
(Courtesy of the NY Daily News)
“Back to McGraw, he is going to take it to the bag…ooh Mets win the National League Pennant, the Mets have won the National League Pennant, and there is a wild scene here at Shea Stadium, the fans pouring on to the field, unbelievable!” said Billy, trying to imitate Bob Murphy’s voice. Murphy was the Mets radio broadcaster.
Jimmy, the lone Reds fan in the group stood there watching cars, busses and people go by on the avenue. The four Mets fans wanted to rub it in so bad.
“Hey Jimmy, how did you and your dad feel last night after the Reds lost?” Michael asked sarcastically as he bounced his pink spaldeen ball on the sidewalk.
Jimmy didn’t answer, he acted like he couldn’t hear Michael. But deep down he was hurting; hurting so much he asked his father this morning if he could stay home and not go to school because he knew his friends would be all over him. His dad wasn’t having any of that.
“Guess he is mute,” JC added as the boys laughed.
Pattie was across the avenue coming out of Ballard’s Pharmacy carrying a small bag, walking towards Prospect Avenue.
“YO PATTIE, YOU SEE THE AMAZIN’ METS LAST NIGHT?” Billy shouted across the avenue.
Pattie, like Jimmy, ignored him.
The group of boys loved to break balls.
The Mets fans in the neighborhood, as well as all over New York city were excited. Their team had won the pennant. Farrell’s Bar, over on the corner of sixteenth street was going crazy after the Mets recorded the last out of the game last night. You could hear the roar of the crowd up and down the avenue. It was now time to see who their opponent would be in the World Series; the Baltimore Orioles or the Oakland A’s as the two teams played the fifth and deciding game of their best of five American league championship series later that night.
“Looks like Mr. Cincinnati over here is pretty quiet today,” Michael joked.
Jimmy ignored the cheap shot.
“The Reds had their chance in the top of the first when they loaded the bases against Seaver but couldn’t do anything,” added JC.
“After the Mets got two runs in the bottom of the first, I knew it was over,” Billy pointed out.
Red, the owner of the shoe store came walking out of his store with Carmine, a guy that hung out in the store all day. Carmine thought he was Tom Seaver.
“Yo, Carmine, you pitched a great game last night,” shouted Michael.
The boys wanted to laugh because they always thought it was funny that Carmine thought he was Seaver.
Carmine flashed a smile but didn’t say anything but his friend Red laughed.
“That’s my boy Carmine,” Red added.
The boys walked over to him and lined up to give him five.
“Hey why don’t you guys head over to the school yard and play,” Red said as he clearly didn’t like the group hanging out in front of his store; it was bad for business.
“Alright Red, no problem,” Peter said.
The boys crossed Windsor Place straight for the girls schoolyard.
Jimmy didn’t follow, he walked across the avenue and down Windsor Place.
“Hey Pete Rose,” Billy called out. “See ya next year!”
The boys laughed as they approached the entrance to the yard.
Jimmy made the walk down Windsor Place towards his house. His team’s season was over. The Big Red Machine was shut down for the rest of the year by Tom Seaver and Tug McGraw.