Angels In the Outfield

Angels In the Outfield

I added this as a comment to Walter's previous post, but there's enough here to merit making it a full item.

I thanked Walt for providing the link to the article about Bing Crosby's recording of the 1960 World Series. It's a very important development for Pirates fans like us, especially with the 50th anniversary of the Mazeroski homer coming up in a few weeks.

But I imagined readers could have been puzzled about the connection between Walter Ruby and his Carioca Cooler and a baseball game that would be played more than two decades later. Other than the free associations bouncing around in Walter the younger's mind.

So in the interest of helping an innocent reader understand those associations, here's some background.

Walter Ruby (the elder) was acquainted with (but not related to) his namesake Harry Ruby, the songwriter. At one time, we thought that Harry might have written The Carioca song, which was a hit in the 30s, especially after Fred Astaire danced to it in his first starring movie role. (By the way, the carioca in the song, though not in Walter's rum, is a reference to natives of Brazil.)

Anyway, long story. Harry didn't write that song though he did write numerous other hit songs in the 1920s and '30s. In 1951, he appeared as himself in a cameo role in the Hollywood production of Angels In the Outfield, a movie about a fictional version of, guess who, the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bing Crosby, covered in the article that Walter linked to, also appears as himself in the movie, along with a number of real-life ballplayers including Ty Cobb, Joe DiMaggio, and Ralph Kiner. The latter was a star player on the woeful Pirates teams of the early '50s.

For fun, I have embedded the film's trailer for viewing below.

Walter Ruby was a sports fan, and he relished popular entertainment, so he would no doubt have enjoyed the movie. Had he lived, he also would have followed the 1960 World Series, but on the wrong side. Having been raised in uptown Manhattan and with his family in the Bronx, Walter was a Yankees man through and through.

Segue here, but this might be an appropriate point to mention that Walter and I were both in Pittsburgh recently for a reunion of the kids who grew up on Green Valley Drive, where we lived at the time of that momentous baseball game. I haven't covered that here on the excuse that our childhood is outside the scope of this blog. However, on reflection, how Stan and Helga lived their lives after the birth of we three children seems entirely relevant.

So one more item for the blog to-do list. I'll have a future report on our reunion weekend.