If I’ve learned one thing from my exhaustive study of the Shirelles and Killing Joke, it’s that it’s always darkest before the dawn. All but resigned to consigning the yo la tengo anecdote to the annals of legend, Ralph Kiner comes to our rescue. In what we in the scientific community refer to as peer review, Scott from Brooklyn has endorsed our postulation of July 22, 1962 as the Day Most Likely. And now thanks to independent research conducted by Christopher from Hoboken, it appears that noted yo la tengo skeptic Frank Thomas may have changed his tune. Responding to a question posed about Elio Chacon on the Crane Pool forum, Thomas replies (in part):
In my book I mentioned the story and stated that I thought Richie made the whole thing up for its comic appeal, but I recently found photographic evidence that may now support Ashburn’s story. While going through some old boxes of photos I found one of me helping Richie off the field after a collision. Richie is holding his head and I have my arm around his shoulders, and a very sympathetic look on my face. There’s no date or caption on the photo, so I can’t completely say that it confirms Richie’s story, but it definitely adds credibility to his tale.
In late July 1962, the Mets played a three-game series with the Milwaukee Braves, with Ashburn, Thomas and Chacon in place for all three. Playing left field and first base for the Braves is Arthur Lee Maye, the foremost baseball-playing R&B singer of all time. Ashburn, Thomas and Chacon’s final appearance together until September happens in the first game of the team’s next series, on July 27 in St. Louis. Anyone got a copy of that Frank Thomas/Richie Ashburn photo?