This is a hard question insofar as it forces you to make a choice. I mean, there are probably dozens, scores — hundreds! — of games I’d love to be able to hop into a time machine and see live, and I have to pick just one? Jeez.
Of course there’s a problem here: I’ve spent much of the past couple of weeks talking about how I’d rather see a game that is new to me rather than one I already know the outcome to. Doesn’t this exercise negate that? Under that set of assumptions, am I not going to be happier seeing some random 1965 tilt between the Senators and the White Sox than I am to see one of baseball’s most memorable games? Probably!
Well, since we’re assuming the existence of time machines let’s set an additional fantastical ground rule: once you step into the time machine, any specific personal knowledge you have of the game is erased. Or at least as much as you specify. All you know is that you are about to be sent back in time to see something cool and historic, maybe with a little context if you feel you need it. After the game is over your previous memory is restored but, of course, it is now augmented by the experience of having witnessed the amazing game or event or whatever you choose.
Does that make sense? I’m really not sure. My brain is starting to get broken by the lack of structure in society so I’m not sure if that holds together.
Anyway, my game might allow me to bring back most of the actual knowledge, because it’s not like there’s any video of it or anything. It’s the October 2, 1908 game between the Cleveland Naps and the Chicago White Sox. It’s took place in Cleveland during the last week of an insane three-way pennant race between the Naps, the Sox and the Detroit Tigers. This game featured the league’s two best pitchers: Addie Joss of the Naps and Ed Walsh of the White Sox. Walsh, who would win 40 games that year, struck out 15 and allowed only an unearned run. Hard to top, but Joss did it by tossing a perfect game. And he needed only 74 pitches to do it.
The Naps’ glory only lasted a few more days, however: they’d lose two of their next three games, tie the third due to a darkness suspension, and Detroit won three of their last five to win the pennant by a half game over Cleveland and one and a half over Chicago.
If you put me in the Delorean back to this one I’d want to retain what I know about the 1908 season now — mostly learned from the fantastic book Crazy ‘08 by Cait Murphy — but have the game and the season’s outcome temporarily erased. I’d also not want to know about Joss’ fate — which we’ll be talking about in the history segment in a couple of weeks — as the game unfolded because, man.
How about you?