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Everybody who attended Sunday’s alleged last baseball game at RFK Stadium got a free T-shirt. I didn’t go, but my mom did, and yesterday she gave me the shirt.
On the back it’s got a list of a dozen “Baseball Milestones” that took place at the stadium. The lameness of the list is appropriate, given the lameness of the teams that called the place home over the last 45 years.
Sample lameness: “June 18, 2006: Rookie third baseman Ryan Zimmerman stuns the Yankees with a walk-off two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth before 45,157.”
But the list got me thinking about the most amazing baseball-at-RFK moment I ever witnessed. It came in May 1971, when three Cleveland Indians—-shortstop Jack Heidemann and outfielders Vada Pinson and John “Tonight, Let it Be” Lowenstein—-were hospitalized after running into each other while chasing the same pop-up.
From the lede of the Washington Post‘s game story:
Three Cleveland Indians, intent on catching a short fly ball, collided with the force of demolition-derby automobiles at RFK Stadium last night. All three collapsed on the grass, in a scene reminiscent of a war-movie tableau after someone steps on a landmine.
Flowery typing, for sure, but pretty much as I remember it. While Indians ran to their teammates’ side, the Washington Senators batter, Tom McCraw, touched all the bases, and his 140-foot blast is surely the shortest home run in stadium history.
That’s a milestone. It didn’t make the shirt.
The Senators lost the game, 6-3. But of course.