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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Precognition Or Coincidence And Al Luplow's Catch For The Cleveland Indians

A diversion from things political and economic and part two of the promised excursion into things metaphysical as described previously http://recovering-liberal.blogspot.com/2010/04/coincidence-i-dont-think-so-non.html


I set out that whilst not a believer in the sort of miracles as described in the magical staircase example there have been examples of "coincidences' so extreme in their lack of probability as to perhaps be what the late Bernard Levin described as "the brief pulling back of a curtain". In my previous exposition I set out one example-to do with Keith Olberman and James Thurber and my youthful reading habits which I felt was beyond coincidence.


I did not however posit what the explanation was for my experience as I am unable to, and further, there was one more example of, to me, an experience of "precognition" which transcended coincidence even more. This was the "Al Luplow's catch" conundrum.


In my youth I was a keen Cleveland Indians fan-even though I lived in New York.This was because I was an admirer of great pitchers of which the Cleveland  team abounded-Lemon/Garcia/Feller/Wynn the tragic Herb Score/Mossi/Narleski/Grant and so many more. Being in the same league as the Yankees meant that the Tribe had limited success even with these great pitchers except for the wonderful 1959 season, and of course the pennant year of 1954 (the first year I became  aware of baseball).


Being a fan meant of course keeping a diary of the pitching rotations ( and planning them out) and following the fortunes of all the players-one of whom was an outfielder Al Luplow. Luplow had a promising start but never really blossomed as a hitter (lifetime average .235), although an outstanding fielder (second in the A.L. in 1963), and had a brief career, but for one moment he was the talk of baseball.


I didn't see the game and hopefully my memory serves me well about the moment that "Al Luplow's catch" gained a toehold in the collective memory of baseball. I believe it was against Boston in Fenway Park that Luplow made what was described as one of the greatest catches of all time. I remember ballplayers describing it so and one ruefully saying to the effect it was sad that Luplow was a nobody, as if he were a great, his catch would have been of historic proportions.


As a young fan this of course made an impression on me and stuck in my mind.The passage of time, parental and job responsibilities, moving to the other side of the world, meant a disassociation with baseball and the forgetting of the things of youth.


Twenty Seven years later I was sitting in the waiting room of a Doctor in a provincial town in the depths of the South Island of New Zealand- about as far away from the USA and anything to do with baseball in America as can be imagined. Whilst waiting to see the Doctor and for no reason that can be imagined the phrase,which I hadn't heard or thought in all those years "Al Luplow's catch" popped into my mind. I gave it a moments thought and reminisced about my youth and the thought passed.


Time passed and I got bored and looking around for something to read I noticed  that under my chair there was a pile of magazines and grabbed a bunch and started whittling though them. There were the usual "Woman's Day" sort and about 8 layers down (where I could not possibly have seen it ) was an old issue of Sports Illustrated (how that got to rural New Zealand I have no idea) which I opened and the first article I saw was "Remembering Al Luplow's Incredible catch".


Coincidence? Frankly that is impossible.That experience, and the Thurber/Olberman one described previously are indeed "the drawing back of a curtain" or the working out of a chain of events so extreme in its randomness as to be beyond computation.

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