Msgr. Richard Siefer


As a lifelong New York Yankees fan, I have experienced many thrilling moments following this team. There have also been moments of let-down. One of those moments occurred on October 13, 1960, as the Yankees played the Pittsburgh Pirates in the seventh game of the World Series. This seven-game series was played between Oct. 5-13, 1960. I was in eighth grade at St. Joseph Grade School in Oil City, Pa. Most of my classmates and the nuns who taught us were Pirate fans. Our teacher, Sr. Elizabeth, O.S.B., let us listen to the game on the radio in our classroom.

As we listened to Game 7, Bill Mazeroski hit the series-winning ninth-inning home run for the Pirates, the only time a winner-take-all World Series game ended with a home run, and the first World Series to end on a home run. There were other interesting statistics regarding that World Series: despite losing the series, the Yankees scored 55 runs, the most runs scored by any one team in World Series history, and more than twice as many as the Pirates, who scored 27; the Yankees won three blowouts (16–3, 10–0, and 12–0), while the Pirates won four close games (6–4, 3–2, 5–2, and 10–9) to win the series; the Series MVP was Bobby Richardson of the Yankees, the only time in history that the award has been given to a member of the losing team.

When the home run was hit, my head sunk onto my desk and the rest of the class stood cheering. We were then dismissed from school and I began the long walk of seven blocks home. My friends and classmates were taunting me. No one consoled me until I entered the house. As I walked into the house my dad was nowhere to be found and my mom was in the kitchen preparing the evening meal. She hugged me and I inquired as to dad’s whereabouts. She said he left after the home run and he walked to a wooded area about a block away from our house and sat there alone for at least two hours.

That moment in time proved to be an important lesson for me. It was one of the first major disappointments in my young life. Since then, there have been many blessed moments and other times of disappointments. As I matured physically, mentally, emotionally and for sure spiritually, I grew in a deeper dependence on God to carry me through all of life. There have been many blessings in my life over my 73 years and there have been those disappointments also. In my relationship with God, through my entire lifetime, I have weathered the ups and the downs; the good and the bad, the highs and lows of life. As the great pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, Bob Feller, once opined: “Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again. That’s the way life is, with a new game every day, and that’s the way baseball is.” Or as the great Babe Ruth said: “Never allow the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game!” and “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”

Through all of life may we never forget that “with God all things are possible.” When we live our life with God, wonderful things happen. It’s about surrender, trust, faith, and hope. If we remember to always keep our faith and hope in God alive, many blessings come our way.

In 1961, the Yankees beat the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series four games to one. There was great rejoicing in the Siefer home that October.

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Msgr. Richard Siefer is pastor of St. Catherine of Siena and St. Michael the Archangel Churches, Dubois. He is also the Bishop of Erie Vicar for the Eastern region of the Erie Diocese. He was ordained on May 16, 1975, at St. Peter Cathedral, Erie. He has served in a number of parishes and came to Dubois in 1991. His favorite team is the New York Yankees and all-time favorite player is Mickey Mantle. His favorite player today is Aaron Judge.

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