Left Hangin’: An Ode (and a Wave Goodbye) to the Sports Handshake


An opening sentence is a handshake, to paraphrase the novelist Jhumpa Lahiri, and it’s true that a good one draws you in, delivers you into capable hands and introduces you to a subject of interest—in this case, George (Shotgun) Shuba, for whom a handshake was an opening sentence.

In seven seasons with the Brooklyn Dodgers, during the High Renaissance of major league baseball, Shuba played in three World Series, including in 1955, when Brooklyn won its only world championship, after which he married, went to work for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and set about raising three children in his native Youngstown, Ohio. For the rest of the century, in two Maytag boxes in the basement, Shuba stashed every bit of his baseball memorabilia, with a single exception: a reminder of a minor league game in Jersey City on a cool spring Thursday when he was 21.

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