From Daniel Brown at the San Jose Mercury News on August 29, 2012:
Forgotten among the touching tributes to Neil Armstrong in the wake of his death last week was a side note about the astronaut’s place in Giants lore.
Accounts vary, but the basic story goes like this: While watching the ragged swings of Gaylord Perry during batting practice one day in the 1960s, Giants manager Alvin Dark sniffed: “They’ll put a man on the moon before he hits a home run.”
Perry hit his first career home run on July 20, 1969 — just minutes after Armstrong and Apollo 11 touched down on the lunar surface.
“Neil and I both had good days,” Perry, 73, recalled Wednesday in a phone interview from his North Carolina home. “But he had a better a day than I did. I won a game. What he did was awesome.”
Whether or not the man-on-the-moon tale is true is tougher to verify. Snopes.com, which specializes in separating fact from fiction, ranks the veracity of the Perry-Armstrong story as “undetermined.” It has no trouble documenting Perry’s home run off Claude Osteen at Candlestick Park or the that the longball came just after Apollo 11’s historic touchdown — it all checks out. (http://www.snopes.com/sports/baseball/perry.asp.)
Pinning down the origin of Dark’s purported comment to sportswriter Harry Jupiter, though, remains elusive.
Previous published accounts don’t always add up right in terms of dates or places, prompting Snopes to wonder “if the tale was made up after the fact but it’s such a good story that the participants now remember it as it happened.”
Read the full article here: http://www.mercurynews.com/giants/ci_21427514/neil-armstrong-and-one-giant-swing-by-gaylord
(h/t to J.G. Preston)
Originally published: August 30, 2012. Last Updated: August 30, 2012.