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Joe Bauman and Josh Gibson: Real-life inspirations for Josh Exley

Upon viewing and reviewing the X-Files season six episode, “The Unnatural,” BuckBokai thought it only right to give a couple of baseball history’s more unfortunately obscure names their due: Namely, Joe Bauman and Josh Gibson.

The protagonist of the X-Files episode is one Josh Exley, a player for the Negro League’s “Roswell Grays” in 1947. The “Roswell” bit recalls Bauman, a longtime minor-league player in the lower minor-league levels for teams in Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico. In a career interrupted by World War II, Bauman became a local attraction known for jacking long home runs wherever he played.

But 1954 was something special for baseball fans, if only the truly arcane-loving. Playing for the Roswell Rockets, Bauman torched extant home run records when he hit 72 dingers to go with a .400 batting average, 150 walks and an unbelievable 228 RBIs – in 138 games. Bauman’s homer mark stood for 47 years, until Barry Bonds topped it in 2001. Bauman, still living in Roswell, was quoted as saying that he never “thought it’d last this long, to be honest. I was watching on TV when [Bonds] hit that last one. It didn’t bother me or anything.

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Rangers vs. Giants World Series: The future is here

Well, welcome to the future: the San Francisco Giants (!) and Texas Rangers (!!!!) will meet in the 2010 World Series, thereby giving the first World Series title ever to one of these entities, snapping a half-century long deprivation of such, and eliminating the possibility of using either squad to represent far-flung o-so-strange science-fiction futures.

Like the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates to which BuckBokai devoted an earlier entry, the Giants and Rangers are seeking to break historically notable runs of futility. In fact, the vanquished team in 2010 goes home with the second-longest active run of World Series futility. Reads the all-time list:

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Pittsburgh Pirates’ 1960 win: A science-fictional notion

From the Synchronicity Department comes a neat little tidbit from Robert Sheckley’s Immortality Inc. (You know, the book they totally warped to make the awesomely weird Freejack.)

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Bobby Thomson, of the Shot Heard Round the World, dies at 86

Bobby Thomson, that unwitting creator of a million zillion what-if stories both published and unpublished, that subject of prose and poetry, that metaphorical slayer of poor Ralph Branca, died today at his home in Savannah, Georgia. He was 86.

Thomson played Major League Baseball for 15 years mostly with the New York Giants, going for a .270 lifetime batting average, three All-Star bids and 263 home runs plus one Shot Heard Round The World.

In its mundane three-dimensional existence on the baseball field, Thomson’s famous shot was “merely” the culmination of 154 games of war in a baseball for National League supremacy among New York City boroughs: Brooklyn vs. Manhattan. In an extra playoff game – actually, the third extra game in a best-of-three series, actually, and don’t remind Bud Selig or we’ll have another round of MLB playoffs – Thomson’s walk-off homer against the Dodgers’ Ralph Branca gave the Giants the pennant. Or, as the man said:

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