Podcast Episode 296: The Little Giants

Image: Flickr

In 1957, 14 boys from Monterrey, Mexico, walked into Texas to take part in a game of Little League baseball. What followed surprised and inspired two nations. In this week’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast we’ll tell the story of the Monterrey Industrials and their unlikely path into baseball history.

We’ll also have dinner for one in Germany and puzzle over a deadly stick.


In a poetry contest, Mark Twain offered an entry of undeniable value.

Lewis Carroll composed a bewildering puzzle about a pig.

Sources for our feature on the Monterrey Industrials:

W. William Winokur, The Perfect Game, 2008.

Robin Van Auken, The Little League Baseball World Series, 2002.

Lance Van Auken, Play Ball!: The Story of Little League Baseball, 2001.

Jorge Iber, “Mexico: Baseball’s Humble Beginnings to Budding Competitor,” in George Gmelch and Daniel A. Nathan, eds., Baseball Beyond Our Borders: An International Pastime, 2017, 75–84.

Jim Morrison, “The Little League World Series’ Only Perfect Game,” Smithsonian.com, April 5, 2010.

Ramona Shelburne, “Giant Steps: A 12-Mile Walk to a Small Texas Town Started a Little League Championship Run for a Team From Monterrey, Mexico. Fifty Years Later, Its Story Is Retold,” Los Angeles Daily News, Aug. 26, 2007, S.1.

Pablo Jaime Sáinz, “1957 Little League Champions Treated Like Heroes in San Diego,” La Prensa San Diego, Nov. 24, 2010, 3.

Ben Brigandi, “Macias Returns to LLWS for Ceremony,” Williamsport [Pa.] Sun-Gazette, Aug. 24, 2017.

“Reynosa Little Leaguers Inspired by 1957 Mexico Champions,” Associated Press, Aug. 26, 2017.

Steve Wulf, “As Williamsport Opened Its Arms to Mexico’s Team, Its Players Embraced the Legacy of Their Predecessors From Monterrey,” ESPN, Aug 18, 2016.

“Cinderella Club Wins LL Crown,” United Press, Aug. 24, 1957.

Michael Strauss, “88-Pounder Hope of Monterrey in Little League Series Today; Angel Macias, Ambidextrous, Is Team’s No. 1 Pitcher, Batter and Fielder,” New York Times, Aug. 22, 1957.

“Little League World Series Opens With Big-Time Pomp,” [Kittanning, Pa.] Simpson’s Leader-Times, Aug. 21, 1957, 13.

Michael Strauss, “Macias Hurls Perfect No-Hitter As Monterrey Captures Series,” New York Times, Aug. 24, 1957.

Elaine Ayala, “Movie, Book Look Back at ‘Perfect’ Little League Game,” My San Antonio, Sept. 2, 2009.

Reed Johnson, “‘The Perfect Game’ Dodged Many Curveballs En Route to Big Screen,” Los Angeles Times, April 20, 2010.

“Pitcher Has Perfect Game As Taiwan Advances, 18-0,” New York Times, Aug. 24, 1979.

Edward Wong, “Baseball: Bronx Team Wins Opener On Almonte’s Perfect Game,” New York Times, Aug. 19, 2001.

David Falkner, “Boys’ Baseball and Men’s Memories,” New York Times, Aug. 20, 1986.

Marshall G. Most and Robert Rudd, “A Less Than Perfect Game, in a Less Than Perfect Place: The Critical Turn in Baseball Film,” Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture, 2011-2012, 180-195.

“Inspired by Film, Mexico Wins Little Series,” Salt Lake Tribune, Aug. 24, 1997, B.7.

“First Perfect Game in 44 Years in Little League World Series: Bronx Pitcher Strikes Out 16 of 18 Batters,” Ottawa Citizen, Aug. 19, 2001, B2.

“Gómez Inspired by Story Behind ‘The Perfect Game’: Cuban Actor Saw Similarities Between Role and His Upbringing,” [Chicago] Extra, April 28, 2010.

Jeffrey Bair, “Little League World Series History Repeats Itself for Mexico With Dramatic, Last-Inning Victory,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Aug. 24, 1997, 18.

Nancy Cleeland, “Two Cities That Are … Going to Town; Monterrey: Exploits of Guadalupe Stir 40-Year-Old Memories of First Team to Wrest Little League World Series Title From U.S.,” Los Angeles Times, Aug. 23, 1997, C, 1:5.

“1957 Little League Baseball World Series Champion, Angel Macias, to Be Enshrined Into the Little League Hall of Excellence,” Little League, Aug. 4, 2017.

1957 Little League World Series line scores (accessed May 3, 2020).

Baseball Reference, “Angel Macias” (accessed May 3, 2020).

Listener mail:

Jack Ritchie, “A Square Foot of Texas,” Good Housekeeping 148:3 (March 1959), 90-91, 109-114. (Protected under copyright; used by permission of the Jack Ritchie Estate and the Sternig & Byrne Literary Agency.)

Wikipedia, “Dinner for One” (accessed May 7, 2020).

Stefanie Bolzen, “Dinner for One: The British Comedy Germans Have Been Laughing at for Years,” Guardian, Dec. 30, 2018.

Joanna Robertson, “Dinner for One: English Comedy Spices Up German New Year,” BBC News, Dec. 30, 2018.

Travis M. Andrews, “This British Comedy Sketch Is a Record-Breaking New Year’s Eve Tradition in Germany. No One Knows Why,” Washington Post, Jan. 4, 2017.

The “Dinner for One” sketch.

The “Dinner for One” sketch with the German introduction.

“Hermitage Remains Uninhabited This Year,” Radio Salzburg, March 31, 2020 (translated from the original).

“An AI’s Prank Suggestions,” Pluralistic, April 2, 2020.

“An AI’s Idea of a Prank,” AI Weirdness, April 1, 2020.

This week’s lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Miles, who sent this corroborating link (warning — this spoils the puzzle).

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Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode.

If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!