I love baseball. I always have. I have great memories of us playing baseball with all my cousins on my grandparent’s farm. The uncles would be helping us but really all the cousins were the stars. My grandparent’s would cheer us on and most of the aunts, though usually during our games they would be walking around the farm checking out all the flowers. Sometimes Aunt Ad would also join us.
My cousin Ron was the best player though because I was good hitter too they didn’t put him and I on the same team. I used to play first base and though I am competitive I liked to encourage the younger ones as I was the oldest. One time, one of the uncles was picking on a younger cousin who then started crying. I took up for him and my uncle sent me home. I was seventeen at the time, it was Father’s Day and my dad had died 6 months sooner so people didn’t say much then but later others thanked me.
I relate baseball with my dad. We would listen to the games on the radio on a summer evening, or when we were driving home from my other grandparent’s home on the Chesapeake Bay. It was the Baltimore Orioles and Chuck Thompson’s wonderful play-by-play announcing. We also belonged to the Junior Orioles and went out to several games throughout the summer. That was always special, back at Memorial Stadium and I remember being fascinating about cars just pulling in and then you had to wait for those in front or back of you to get out. Sometimes it was a long wait.
I remember in 1960 when Jim Gentile hit a grand slam and I asked Dad what that was and he explained it and how unusual that was. One time I also got sent to bed early. I had gotten a little mouthy about the Yankees when we were playing against them. One of my uncles was a Yankee fan and I came home talking a little too much and too loudly for them. This was the days of Whitey Ford the pitcher, and hitter Mickey Mantle. I learned my lesson and I haven’t rooted for the Yankees since. I did much later get to see Mickey Mantle at the Fan Fest Celebration when the All Star game was held in Baltimore but that day I also met Frank Robinson. I was taking a picture of him when he asked if I wanted a picture with him. We got someone else to take a picture of us. He was such a gentleman.
Mom loves baseball and we enjoy watching the games on TV or listening in the car or out on the porch. It is a special time for us. We hope to go out to at least one of the games at Camden Yards again this year.
On LibraryThing someone asked me for a list of baseball books to read with his son. I gave him some suggestions (scroll down to my reply and list) as I used to teach elementary school and had a baseball unit. It was a wonderful time to teach about such great players as Jackie Robinson breaking the black barrier, Roberto Clemente showing him to use your fame to help others and Cal Ripken demonstrating diligence. When Cal Ripken was in the midst of catching Lou Gehrig’s record I started collecting his baseball cards. My students loved to look at all of them. We learned about averages and read baseball cards. My sister and I acted out “Who’s on First” one year, I would read Casey at the Bat and the class, parents and some of the faculty would play a ball game.
I have also read a number of adult baseball books and here is a selection:
Men at Work by George Will – Excellent book by columnist and Conservative pundit who loves baseball.
The Catcher was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg by Nicholas Dawidoff – Interesting true story.
Which baseball team are you rooting for this season?