“In 1969, the year after Mickey Mantle took his final cut, the franchise of Ruth, Gehrig and DiMaggio was in a decline not seen since the 1920’s. But in a strange way to a boy on Long Island, that team was still worth loving.”
Those could almost be my words, as a writer from that area and having used the word ‘love’ to describe my feelings for sport’s greatest team, but I am not Dan Barry and I don’t work for the New York Times. Oh, if I only did … . Barry’s story, that ran on Sunday, was about having baseball cards of some not so great Yankees.
Yes, even with all those world championships the Yankees have had their Horace Clarke’s, Fritz Peterson’s and Dooley Womack’s … and Barry still owns their cards. Clarke, a second baseman and Peterson, a pitcher, I have heard of … but Dooley Womack? Who the heck is Dooley Womack?
Womack, I have since learned, was a pretty good Yankees pitcher during one of the team’s pretty rare dry spells … the late 1960’s. He sported a 19-18 record with 24 saves and an ERA to brag about of 2.95. The hard-worker, who sold men’s clothing in the offseason, actually had something in common with Clarke, too, in sharing a “real” first name of Horace.
So, in effect, Horace Dooley Womack pitched during the Horace Clarke era, considered the time period from 1966-73. If Womack wanted to stretch the truth, the South Carolinian could say HIS name was used to describe an era of Yankee baseball.
And Horace seemed like such an average name at first … but in Yankee Universe nothing is quite what it seems.