History Book

NICK EICHER, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything in It:  the WORLD Radio History Book. Today, the former Soviet Union frees a Jesuit missionary after more than 20 years in prison. Plus, 50 years ago, Game 7 of the World Series brings a dramatic end to the “year of the pitcher.”

MARY REICHARD, HOST: But first, the founding of one of the oldest women’s patriotic organizations. Here’s Paul Butler.

AUDIO: [America I Love You March, New York Military Band (1916)]

PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: Today we begin with October 11th, 1890. Eugenia Washington, descendant of President George Washington, helps found the Daughters of the American Revolution. She does so along with Mary Smith Lockwood, Ellen Hardin Walworth, and Mary Desha, at a meeting in Washington, D.C.

AUDIO: We initiate the important part of our work: to perpetuate memories of the heroic deeds of the men and women who aided the revolution and created constitutional government in America.

The society’s mission is three-fold: historical preservation, education, and patriotism.

The DAR maintains hundreds of monuments and historic markers across the country, and extensive genealogical records. It also raised funds for the World War 2 monument in Washington, D.C., and helped restore Philadelphia Hall and the Statue of Liberty.

The DAR remains open to “any woman descendant of a revolutionary who gave material or patriotic support to freedom’s cause.”

AUDIO: [America I Love You March, New York Military Band (1916)]

Next, October 12th, 1963. American Jesuit Missionary Walter Ciszek is released from Soviet custody after more than 20 years of captivity for his faith.

CISZEK: My ability to survive in the prisons of Moscow I credit to my faith and a constant effort to keep psychologically balanced.

In the years leading up to World War 2, Ciszek answered a call to become a Catholic missionary in the USSR. During his religious training in Poland, Russia invaded and occupied the country.

Ciszek changed his name and joined refugees fleeing the front. He traveled 1,500 miles east to the Ural Mountains in central Russia. After his arrest in 1941, Ciszek spent five years in prison—much of it in solitary confinement.

CISZEK: In the Moscow prison they used physical force and even doped me and others in order to make you admit the charge that had put against me.

Ciszek was sentenced to 15 additional years in the Gulag. His faith never wavered and he continued his missionary work—now to inmates. He finished his hard labor sentence in 1955 but remained a prisoner. Forced to work as a mechanic, he secretly started mission parishes, but each time his work was discovered, he was transferred to another city.  

In 1963, the Soviet Union decided to return Ciszek to the United States in a prisoner exchange. He died in 1984 and is under consideration for beatification.

And finally, October 10, 1968—Major League Baseball’s historic “year of the pitcher” comes to a climactic close.

NBC announcer Curt Gowdy:

GOWDY: An almost perfect day here in St. Louis, 65 degrees, no humidity…a brilliant, bright afternoon for Game 7…

The 1968 World Series features the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers. Dominant pitchers lead both teams. The Cardinals’ Bob Gibson set a regular season ERA record of just 1.12. And Tigers’ hurler Denny McLain won 31 games—a feat that has not been accomplished in the 50 years since.

The two are MVPs of their respective leagues—the only pitchers’ sweep since 1924.

But in Game 7 of the 1968 World Series, another pitcher steals the show:

CARAY: Lolich now has pitched 16 straight scoreless innings against the Cardinals…bottom of the ninth…

Mickey Lolich pitched a complete game on October 3rd, allowing only one run. Four days later, he victoriously pitched another complete game. Now, on just two days rest, Lolich returns to the mound and beats Gibson in a third complete game.

CARAY: McCarver pops up, here’s Freehan…Detroit is the new world champion, and look at Freehan picking up Lolich!

Lolich is the last player to pitch three complete-game victories in a single World Series.

In 1969, Major League Baseball officials shrink the strike zone and lower the height of the pitching mound to 10 inches—ending a five-year streak of overly dominant pitching.

That’s this week’s WORLD Radio History Book, I’m Paul Butler.

(Photo/Daughters of the American Revolution) The Daughters of the American Revolution at the First Continental Congress in 1892.
Audio Sources:
New York Military Band. “America, I Love You March.” Edison Blue Amberol #2843. USB Cylinder Library. Accessed: October 5, 2018. http://cylinders.library.ucsb.edu/detail.php?query_type=mms_id&query=990025239440203776&r=2&of=52
DAR 125th Anniversary Celebration. “In Their Words – The Story of the Founding.” Daughters of the American Revolution National Headquarters. YouTube. Accessed: October 3, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-Gb6gyvqYw&t=944s
Father Ciszek. “With God in Russia.” Posted by Joseph Bonchonsky. YouTube. Accessed: October 3, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9b6whuSofTQ&t=2s
“1968 World Series, GAME 7, Detroit Tigers at St. Louis Cardinals, COMPLETE GAME.” Posted by Donald McMillan. YouTube. Accessed: October 3, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5lNdEZHZvw&t=215s

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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