Quote of the Day: “What if this weren’t a hypothetical question?” –Unknown (the Great)
Who wins a best of seven series between the 1983 Pascagoula Panthers Mississippi State Baseball Champs and the 1996 Panther Baseball Champs?
I have to go with 1983, and here’s why. Blair Varnes, the greatest of all Panther hurlers in my estimation, will prevail in low scoring games one and four against Mike Thomas, and John Jordan will split Games 2 and 5 against Jeffrey Ellis. But Games 3 and 6 are blowouts for ’83 as Mike Moreland, Paul Tanner and Thomas leave the yard and Keith Coleman goes on a triples binge to light up Enrico Jones and others, while Mike Seaman paints the corners and makes jam sandwiches out of ’96 bats. Chris Fishburn out shines Pork Chop Holifield at short in a series within a series, but Holifield is constantly on base and in the heads of the youngsters.
In Game 7, a tired Varnes and Thomas take the hill, but neither has the gas to get through the 4th. A few doubles, some bloop singles and a few walks do them both in and its up to the bullpens to settle a late 5-5 tie. The ’83 veterans are deeper in crafty lefties though, and no offense to the titans of 90’s Mississippi baseball, but the old guys are tougher. Robbie Weihing is thrown out sliding at the plate trying to score from first on a double by Fishburn, then Fishburn misses third base on a Jones single in the top of the 9th. In the bottom of the inning, Bubba Holifield is called out for catcher’s interference, making Moreland’s steal of home and near death on the same pitch all for naught and leaving the game tied. Finally in the 12th, Jimmy Dufault tags from third on a short fly and eschews the hook slide in favor of barreling over the much larger ’96 (clutch hitting, I can’t recall his name right now) catcher. The ’83 cats pile on a bloody-faced Dufault in celebration while the kids head for the dugout and stare blankly at the pandemonium on the field. No handshakes are exchanged, but everybody heads to the Point after the game to get drunk and make fun of the Holifields and their kin for keeping alive a tradition of excellence and tragedy made famous by Rob.
If I got a few of the wrong players on the teams, chalk it up to old age. They are close enough to participate in this time travellin game. There were some names I left out. Feel free to add them into my story or incorporate them in your own.