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It’s a beautiful day, so let’s talk baseball

Tuesday, Apr 8, 2014

* Wordslinger demonstrated once again today why we named our best commenter of the year award after him with this perfect gem

As an aside, my greatest baseball memory:

When I was about 12, my buddy Wags and I were hanging one hot summer Sunday afternoon at the Dairy Queen by the Kish on Lincoln Highway in DeKalb.

We’d been fishing at the lagoon on campus and had stopped off to freeze our brains with a Mister Mistee.

While we loitered in a booth there, a couple of old gents walked in for an ice cream cone, clearly coming straight from the golf course.

One of them was a giant — tall, thin, regal, decked out in the most elegant golf duds …

…it was Joe Dimaggio.

Wags and I about plotzed.

Turned out Joe was in town to visit a friend, Sam Brody, who owned Brody Coats in Sycamore. As my very jealous brothers told me later, they’d played together in the Pacific Coast League before Joe went east to take possession of New York, baseball, and Marilyn Monroe.

Joe and Sam stood and enjoyed their cones, then Wags and I finally mustered the courage to approach them.

“Excuse me, mister, are you Joe Dimaggio?”

The giant looked down, smiled and said “yes.”

“Can we have your autograph?”

“Sure. I see your fishing poles. You boys catch anything?”

“No sir.”

“You like baseball? I used to play baseball, you know….”

Joe Dimaggio on a Sunday afternoon at the Dairy Queen in DeKalb. When you’re 12.

Can. You. Dig. It.

Your favorite baseball memory?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Coyote Chris - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 10:53 am:

    Meeting Stan Musial at his restaurant when I was 10 years old. I asked him for his autograph and instead of just signing the piece of paper I had he took me to the back and signed a picture for me. The entire time he treated me like I was the star and it’s one of the greatest memories of my life. Indeed, he was a perfect knight.

  2. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 10:53 am:

    The look on my son’s face the first time he came out of the tunnel at Wrigley field to actually see the beauty and enormity of a professional baseball stadium. That look replaced a disgusted look of “what’s that smell” coming from the initial walk into the bowels of the ancient ballpark.

  3. - OneMan - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 10:55 am:

    Playing: For some reason I still don’t understand we had to replay part of a game we thought we had won. So they put runners on 1st and 3rd and had a kid up with 2 outs. He popped it up to short center and I ran up and made an ice cream cone catch. The team surrounded me and when I went to hand the ball to the coach he told me to keep it..

    Generally sucked at baseball, but that was an awesome moment.

    Pro: In general.. Worked down the block from where the Kane County cougars played, was engaged but the now wife was still in Springfield. It was there first season so I would spend the $5 for a box seat, sit and have a couple of beers $5 in total I think and just watch baseball and stay out of trouble. Lots of fun nights doing that. Watching baseball all by myself.

  4. - OneMan - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 10:56 am:

    Their first season… Ugh…

  5. - Responsa - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 11:03 am:

    Not sure it’s “the best” but it was quite memorable. Being at the final Sox game at old Comiskey park. As the last inning came to an end I was kinda sniffling which surprised me a little because I was young and had really not spent decades of seasons attending games there. Nobody was moving an inch, just standing there to preserve the moment. And I saw tears steaming down the faces of all these big burly men all around the stadium.

  6. - Smoggie - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 11:04 am:

    Five years ago, my answer would have been:

    When I was about 10, I got into a discussion with Ernie Banks about the virtues of playing shortstop as opposed to first base. Ernie was the real deal. Couldn’t not have been nicer to me.

    Now my favorite baseball memory is anytime I get to go outside and toss a ball around with my son and daughter.

    I admit that baseball is not our favorite sport, and that my son and I are probably happier when we bring a soccer ball out and he tries to kick it past me but still, playing baseball with my kids is 100 times more rewarding than anything else I’ve done related to baseball.

  7. - Stones - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 11:05 am:

    My greatest baseball memory by far was the last game of the 2005 World Series. For years my Grandfather (who passed in ‘75) and Dad suffered with years of poor White Sox baseball never getting to see our team win the big one. A bunch of my Sox buddies were heading out to various taverns and sports bars in anticipation of the Sox finally winning it all but instead I decided to stay with my Dad and watch the final game in his basement so we could view the big event together. He passed away 2 years later but we were able to enjoy one of the biggest sports moments in Chicago history together. So glad I did that.

  8. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 11:07 am:

    In terms of my own baseball career (if I can even use that term), it was my senior year of high school. I was probably the only 2nd baseman in the history of high school baseball for which a designated hitter was in the lineup. Could play defense like crazy. Hitting . . . not so much. My coach apparently felt a little sorry for me my senior year. Let me bat in our first game of the season. First at bat, count of 0-2 and I smashed one over the left field fence. It was the only home run I ever hit. It may not seem like much but it is one of the happiest memories of baseball I have.

  9. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 11:09 am:

    My favorite memory is not an individual memory, it’s going to the Cell in 2005, to watch the White Sox during their championship season. We went to a sky box a few times, thanks to my gal’s boss. The Pale Hose won every game we attended. It was electric.

    Another great memory was when I was up late at night, alone and slapping my hand on the bed in jubilation when Geoff Blum hit the game-winning homer in the World Series, in extra innings.

    In the same vein, I remember hearing the cheers and screaming in my basement when Konerko hit the grand slam in Game 2 of the World Series. Due to the TV cable delay, the people downstairs saw the homer a few seconds before I did, upstairs. Then of course Podsednik’s walk-off homer in the same game…

  10. - A guy... - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 11:09 am:

    Sitting in a Hyatt ballroom in between sessions with an Uncle who loved being there but couldn’t get around the huge hotel so easily. Who sits next to us but Roland Hemond. Wonderful guy chatted with my elderly uncle for a half hour and caring what he said. Roland recognized my uncle couldn’t move so easily, so he asked Kenny Reynolds to bring over “the boys” to sign some autographs for him. Next thing I know, I’m staring at Bill Melton, Eric Soderholm, Jimmy Pierce (my uncle’s favorite), Ed Farmer, and John Rooney all standing in line to sign a great older baseball fan’s program. Pretty damn amazing. He got around a little more easy after that. Roland also recognized him from the stage as a “Baseball Man”. Heaven on Earth.

  11. - NIref - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 11:09 am:

    Heading to the ball yard with my scorebook, purchase a beer, a dog, and a box seat for the Miners. The perfect afternoon.

  12. - NW Illinois Dem - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 11:10 am:

    Maybe the day I took my then-12-year-old son Jack to see the Cardinals. During batting practice, we were behind home plate when Albert Pujols flashed a big grin at my awestruck son. Or maybe it was when my dad took us to see the Cubs play the Cardinals at Wrigley Field, around 1969, when I got to see my favorite Cub (Billy Williams) slug a double and we all walked about of Wrigley with little wooden bats. Amazing memories. Baseball - one of my favorite past times.

  13. - Pius - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 11:14 am:

    Playing pick-up baseball as a kid. Not sure how we always had two teams to fill the field. I think we must have eliminated right field.

  14. - LA05 - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 11:18 am:

    Playing: Stroking an opposite field single in my first and last collegiate baseball at-bat.

    Spectator: Sitting with my Dad and brother when the Cubs clinched the NL Central with a double header sweep of the Pirates on the second to last day of the season in 2003. Most fun I have ever had a ballpark.

  15. - Nearly Normal - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 11:18 am:

    Wrigley Field, during Leo Durocher’s tenure as manager probaby 1966 or 67. My mom was not a big baseball fan but she got a kick out of watching Leo get into an argument with an umpire in regards to a play to third.

    When Leo got ejected from the game, she turned to my Dad and said, “I see why they call him ‘Leo the Lip!’ I never saw a man talk so fast!”

  16. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 11:23 am:

    I, too, have many cherished baseball memories. One that springs to mind is the look of pure joy on my brother Denny’s face when I took him to a Sox game and he saw our Scout seats. Right behind home plate, baby.

    The Sox blew out the visiting team that day, belting homer after homer. Denny was on his feet half the time, screaming his lungs out for the good guys and high-fiving total strangers. He wasn’t a Sox fan before that game, but he sure changed his mind after that perfect day.

  17. - Joan P. - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 11:28 am:

    “I used to play baseball, you know….”

    A master of meiosis!

  18. - Product of the 60's - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 11:29 am:

    September 1967, parents said ok, you can camp outside Busch to get in line when they sold all the bleacher tickets to the upcoming World Series with Boston. The old Busch Stadium was round and concrete, and there was a slight echo with everyone camping and milling about. Around 1 AM there’s a little buzz, it grows louder, then clearer, “Hey Harry!”
    Harry Caray was walking around talking with everyone.
    Going back just a little more, at the old Sportsman’s (though it was called Busch ) walking to our left field seats in bottom of first and watching Julio Javier bang one that sailed by us and out of the park. Remember the wooden seats there, and either at bottom of 7th or at various times the organist would play the Mexican Hat Dance. Everyone would lift up and bang their seat or the empty one next to you on the double beat part of the song.

  19. - North Shore Joe - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 11:31 am:

    Has to be at Wrigley, division clinching double header in 2003, with my mom and dad.

    An old man had sat next to us for years, never really said much. Sat with his head phones in.. radio turned to WGN while he diligently kept a score card. After we clinched, he broke down in tears, gave us congratulatory hugs, and in so many words, explained how special of a moment that was for him. He ended up on the cover of the Sun Times the next day.

    It’s hard to put a finger on why it does, but it was then I realized that baseball invokes emotion that other sports do not. It connects us with our childhood, our fathers, our friends. It truly is America’s pastime, and hopefully will be for generations to come.

  20. - Give Me A Break - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 11:31 am:

    Having our adult daughters with us last summer at a Cardinal game in STL. It was like they were little girls again. They said “Daddy we want burgers, nachos, and new Yadi jerseys”. And being the wimp I am I got it all for them and loved every second of doing it and spending time at the ballpark with them. Nothing better than a day at the ballpark with your kids even when they are in their 20s.

  21. - jake - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 11:32 am:

    July 4, 1948. My dad took me to see the Giants play the Dodgers in Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. I had some very vivid memories. Had the great experience of finding a complete description of the game on the internet, so I could confirm which of my memories were accurate and which were not. I accurately remembered that Leo Durocher, the Dodgers manager, had put three catchers in the lineup. The Dodgers had just gotten Roy Campanella from the Negro League and had moved Gil Hodges to first base to make room for him. They had put Bruce Edwards to third base to make room for Hodges. I was shocked to read that I had seen Jackie Robinson steal home, but had not remembered it. I did correctly remember Roy Campanella hitting a home run deep in the upper deck in left field. I went to see the digitally recreated Ebbets Field in the movie “42″ and just about cried.

  22. - A guy... - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 11:32 am:

    Whacking a ball into the corn in left field (125 feet away! lol)at Field of Dreams in Dyersville, IA. The 12 year old kid who pitched the ball told me I had to buy a new ball. Hell, I felt so good Cadillacing around the bases I bought the kid 6 balls.

  23. - Glass half full - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 11:34 am:

    6th grade, August 69, south side, Billy Williams & Fergie Jenkins come to my house to buy the top two picks of the litter (my dad raised champion blood line German shorthair pointers). Pure gentlemen, stood in hot sun and signed everything for 3 hrs , I got the worst whipping of my life when they left because I wouldn’t talk to them because they were CUBS! The next day my grandfather slipped me a fiver (a lot of $ in 69 for keeping the faith!)… I forgave my father for the whipping but still haven’t forgiven him for turning my 1st grade brother into a Cub fan with the visit. Go Sox

  24. - Keyser Soze - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 11:42 am:

    Was at a Cardinals game at old Busch Stadium with a number of pals. We had good seats, about twenty rows above the home team dugout. Sitting near the dugout were the then Commisioner Fay Vincent and Hall of Famer Lou Brock. Guarding them from the unwashed masses were steely eyed ushers. We wanted their autographs and hatched a plan in which we solicited a vendor to deliver some ice cold Busch beers to the celebs. The vendor agreed, but only if we bought all of the remaining brewskies in his case. The total came to around $110 but sure enough the vendor was able to break through the ushers to deliver the beer. Faye and Lou turned around and waved a thank you, and yes, signed several all-star ballot punch cards for us. Faye lost his job a year or two later but now occasionally writes articles for the wall Street Journal. Lou is still a Hall of Famer. And, I possess one of but a very few paper ballots that contains the autographs of both. Oh, and when I was seven years old I saw Stan Musial hit a home run at old Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis. It was my first big league game.

  25. - s - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 11:46 am:

    I once hit a double off of this guy… what level it was at is not important. It happened

  26. - Ghost of John Brown - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 11:47 am:

    Kirk Gibson, walk off homer, game 1, 1988 World Series when he could barely walk.

  27. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 11:48 am:

    I was in a little league team in Glen Ellyn in the mid 60s. Played for the “Chicks”. True story. We got razzed at each game we played. The other teams had bird names, too - eg Falcons. We won every single game that season. In the interests of fair reporting, my play had NO impact on the season - thank goodness. My position was right field - darn near dropped every ball hit my way. Mostly got on base on walks. Terrible player.

    At the end of the season (1965) we got trophies and got to shake the hand of Ernie “Let’s Play 2″ Banks. Got his autograph, as well. I have no idea where it is.

  28. - Good Question - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 11:49 am:

    I’ve got two:
    1. Playing catch with my son just outside the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. A moment when you know the both of you will remember that forever.

    2. On a lighter note, sneaking down during college finals week to catch the Mariners play the Cards after the strike. There was a rain delay and my buddies were captured dancing on KPLR. Timed perfectly, my friend’s dad called him when we got back to school that night to ask how the studying was going. After my friend lied and said “Great”, his Dad informed him he was an idiot and had been broadcast dancing throughout the St. Louis media market. Hysterical.

  29. - jake - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 11:51 am:

    Best catch and worst injury of my life. Playing in a small-town game in High Bridge, New Jersey, August 1963. Playing shortstop. Pop-up into short left field. Drifted back, called for the ball, caught it with my weight on my right leg just as the left fielder ran into me full tilt, the front of his knee hitting the side of my right knee. Torn ligaments bit time. I am lying there with two thoughts: 1) this is the worst pain I have ever felt, did not realize it was possible to hurt this much. 2) The ball was still in my glove. Primitive 1963 surgery left me with big scar and degenerative osteoarthritis in that knee to this day. Worth it? Who knows?

  30. - Big Debbie - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 11:52 am:

    In 1993, as a youngster, I was at the White Sox opener with my dad. Bo Jackson stepped to the plate for his first at-bat after hip surgery. I turned to my dad and said, “Wouldn’t it be awesome if he hit a homerun?” My dad said, “He just returned from major surgery so it will take a while for him to get back his swing.” As any Sox fan knowns, Bo Jackson hit it out of the park to my forever amazement. I have many other great memories of White Sox games, but doubt anything will ever top that one.

  31. - Tom B. - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 11:54 am:

    Running the bases at the Cell when it was still under construction when I was 12 or 13. A kid’s dad whom I played Babe Ruth ball with was a construction guy there and he let us in. I remember how the whole place just looked like concrete, but the field was beautiful.

  32. - D.P.Gumby - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 11:54 am:

    First pro game ever, had to be 9 or 10 years old, Dad took me to original Busch Stadium (wasn’t it Sportsman’s Park) in St.L. Didn’t have a color TV, so had only seen games in B&W. Walking thru the tunnel into the field on a sunny day. Saw the vivid green field, red Cards, blue Dodgers. Overwhelming. Cards beat the Dodgers. Can never forget that vision.

  33. - Tsavo - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 11:58 am:

    April 8, 1969, I was in Catholic Grammar School on the Southwest side of Chicago. The Nuns would bring a television into the classroom for opening day and World Series games.

    The Cubs were playing the Phillies and as soon as school let out my friends and I ran all the way home to see the rest of the game. Willie Smith hits a two run homer in the bottom of the 11th inning and the Cubs win 7-6.

    That whole summer Chicago was Cubs crazy, but unfortunately we know how it turned out.

  34. - corvax - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 11:59 am:

    Jim Leland throwing my sons their (now) autographed balls over the visitors’ dugout at the Joan

  35. - Person 8 - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 12:04 pm:

    So many to choose from….

    July 23, 2009. It was a Thursday. Me and a buddy got tickets for the Gold Cup qualifier matches(soccer) being held at Solder Field that evening(6PMish). Since it was a Thursday he had to work(downtown), and since I was going to be traveling in, I took the day off to beat traffic going into the city.

    What was I going to do all day downtown? How about an afternoon baseball game against the Rays?

    Few hours after first pitch and I just got to witness a perfect game!

  36. - PoolGuy - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 12:05 pm:

    at a downtown St. Louis hotel in ‘81 or ‘82 having breakfast and seeing Ozzie Smith come in and sit in a nearby booth. was my favorite player at the time. my dad was a Cubs fan so wasn’t as big a deal to him. didn’t have the nerve to go talk to him, wish I had. was the first pro sports player I had ever seen in person outside of a game. was awestruck.

  37. - Nieva - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 12:06 pm:

    May 12, Cardinal game with Bob Gibson pitching a complete game. They won and Gibby got three hits that day.

  38. - Mr. Big Trouble - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 12:09 pm:

    We took my then 2 year old son to a kane county cougars game. Naturally, he was dressed in his little Cubs uniform. At the end of the game, kids were allowed to run the bases,which he joyfully did, sliding , and grinning, into each base. A precious memory, which I wish we had on videotape.

  39. - x ace - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 12:09 pm:

    October 1968 - young , hurt , hospital, far from home , scared , middle of night , and all of a sudden from across the ward comes a live radio broadcast of the “World Series”.

    Strong Medicine ( had a Cub fan pulling for the Cardinals)

  40. - PoolGuy - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 12:10 pm:

    another one when I lived in Atlanta. was at Braves game and went out to an upper landing for a smoke break. just happened to watch an almost unnoticeable car pull into a parking spot right next to stadium. so was curious to who this person was. when guy got out of car I could clearly see it was Ted Turner.

    thought it was so cool he drove himself to a game in a plain car, not a porche or mercedes. granted he had sweet parking.

  41. - second street - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 12:11 pm:

    Long time family tradition of playing catch after supper. My dad with his dad, my dad and me, and my son and me. Get the gloves; out to the alley.

  42. - Northsider - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 12:12 pm:

    Two, of more recent vintage:

    The first comes thanks to — and now, despite — Sammy Sosa. During a friend’s bachelor party at Wrigley in the then-magic Summer of 1998, the Brewers put up an early 10, but the Cubs clawed their way back. In the bottom of the 8th, it’s something like 12-10 Milwaukee when Sammy comes up with a runner on first.

    The entire sellout, SRO crowd stands and starts roaring. It was a singular moment where you knew what was coming. Sure enough, Sammy put it on Waveland to tie the game. We yelled ourselves hoarse as the crowd stood and went berserk for at least 5 minutes.

    The second came in the Summer of 2003, when the Yankees made their first trip to Wrigley since the 1938 World Series. Somehow, I was able to get tickets for myself, my father the Cubs fan and my father-in-law the Yankees fan (who was there when Larsen pitched his perfect game), about six rows behind home plate, for the Sunday night rubber game.

    A row behind us and a few seats down was an obnoxious New Yorker making fun of Moises Alou’s batting stance (not without reason; it was weird). “Hey Alou, ya bat like a girl!” he shouted over and over. Until Alou took an Andy Petit pitch into the left field bleachers.

    After the standing ovation, I leaned back and shouted down to him, “Thanks, Sparky! Keep up the good work!” He didn’t say a word for the rest of the game, which the Cubs won.

  43. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 12:15 pm:

    My Little League coach was a former minor league pitcher. One day during batting practice, I told him to bring the heat. I was amazed at how the ball sounded when it zipped by me. I will never forget that. Hit the next one though.

  44. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 12:20 pm:

    Other than 1982, 2006 and 2011 (and to a lesser extent 1985, 1987, 2004 and 2013), I’d have to say attending a baseball clinic at about age 6 or 7 in Montgomery, Alabama with some members of the then-local AA Tigers affiliate. Played catch with and then got my glove signed by the players, including two who went on to be the longest serving double play combo in major league history, Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell.

  45. - Mr. Big Trouble - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 12:24 pm:

    Not necessarily the best memory, but funny just the same.. I was in 5th, maybe 6th grade, and the world series was being palyed during the day ( 1969 or 1970). I attended a Catholic grade school, and our class was taught by a nun w/ a nasty dsposition. The class clown, ( think Eddie Haskell) had brought a little radio in to listen to the game, and ran an ear piece up his sleeve, and then conveneiently leaned on his hand so that his sleeve would hide the ear piece. It was all going well until Sister Rosetta Stone discovered the ruse, and dragged him out of the classroom by his ear..

  46. - Kissfreak - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 12:24 pm:

    Jim Edmonds catching that line drive to centerfield in the 04 NLCS. The place went crazy.

  47. - Norseman - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 12:25 pm:

    Standing along the 3rd base line at Wrigley Field with my 2 year-old son on my fathers shoulder and my 6 year-old son next to him trying to get autographs.

  48. - LincolnLounger - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 12:26 pm:

    Small hometown little league. I wasn’t a great athlete (to say the least), but I was always very good at anything that required good eye-hand coordination. So, I was a very good hitter, but not exactly for power.

    The opposing team’s catcher was in my class, and we loathed each other. He was a small, mean guy, and I was not. I hit the heck out of the ball and chugged most inartfully around the bases. I rounded third without any direction from the third base coach and headed home as the throw came in. I thought to myself, “I don’t care what happens, but he is blocking the plate and I will get my revenge.” So I lowered my shoulder and plowed into him as he stood directly on the base. His little body went flying all the way to the backstop.

    Game-winning score and the jerk never bothered me again.

  49. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 12:29 pm:

    –July 4, 1948. My dad took me to see the Giants play the Dodgers in Ebbets Field in Brooklyn.–

    Jake, wow. Fourth of July at Ebbets Field. You are blessed, cousin.

    My old man came to this country in 1952 and worked the docks in Brooklyn. He didn’t know from baseball, but Ebbets Field was the social thing to do, and he talked often about whiling away many a Sunday afternoon there on his day off.

    Campy was the goods.

    Many years ago, back when Don Drysdale was a broadcaster for the Sox, I was at some function and was lucky enough to hang back and listen to him tell stories.

    Drysdale was in the sauce a little bit and having a great time, when someone asked him about Campy.

    The big man got so emotional, tears in his eyes, telling about how Campy was his goombah coming up to The Show, how Campy took care of him, took him out to eat, bought him clothes, watched out for him on the road, and how lucky he was to have him for a couple of seasons before the accident.

    It was incredibly moving. It was like a son talking openly and honestly about his love for his father.

    The story that sticks out: Dodgers v Giants, Willie Mays at the plate. Willie already had one tater against Drysdale.

    Campy runs out to the mound and says to Drysdale “kid, if you want to get Willie, you have to push him off the plate. Stick it in his ear.”

    Drysdale delivered the chin music, Willie went down (didn’t hit him) then Drysdale proceeded to strike him out.

  50. - Anon - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 12:35 pm:

    Meeting my future husband at the old Comisky back in 1983. We were both on a bus trip from a near noth side bar. We were transplanted south siders at the time and die hard White Sox fans. I don’t remember if the Sox beat the Red Sox that night but 30 years later and five great kids, I feel like I won the lotto that night.

  51. - Glass half full - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 12:44 pm:

    October 2005, game 4, I had about 25 invites to watch but (correctly) assumed it was going to tooooo emotional. Watched game with wife and son I’m my living room & got to dance with my grandfather (who, god bless him, had already been gone over a decade). THATS why baseball is America’s game….always has been the bridge that generations walk across together

  52. - titan - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 12:50 pm:

    My fav memory from playing was getting an unassisted triple play while playing 1st base.

    With runners on first and second, both took off with the pitch and the batter lined the ball to my right. I caught it, and the 1st base runner was not far ahead of me so I kept running to tag him. As I looked up to toss to 2nd, that runner was almost at 3rd, so I trotted down and forced him out at 2nd.

  53. - aunt_petunia - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 12:52 pm:

    Although I was a small, half-blind, and uncoordinated child, my parents forced me to play summer baseball. In one game, a pitch hit me squarely on a fingernail. We went to my father’s workplace, a sign shop, where he drilled a hole in my fingernail to relieve the pressure.

    I really hate baseball.

  54. - Upon Further Review - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 12:54 pm:

    Catching a foul ball off of the bat of Moises Alou and finding Alou at a department store on the next day and having the ball autographed.

    As a child, my grandfather introduced me to another old man outside of church. He said that it was Leo Hartnett. I was too young to know that the old timer was Charles Leo Hartnett and that he was a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame and one of the most famous Cubs of all-time. I later learned that he and my grandfather bowled together when their families attended the same church.

  55. - downstate commissioner - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 12:55 pm:

    Took my younger (10 or 12 years at the time) son to the dr, he wanted to stop by baseball card shop, came out, said that guy had some good tickets, couldn’t go, selling them cheap. This was late in the afternoon, St. Louis 2 1/2 hours away, went home, told my wife what was going on, and took off. 10 rows behind left field dugout; don’t know who played, but the Cardinals won. Got home at midnight… Great time!!!

  56. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 12:55 pm:

    Oak Park Youth Baseball/Softball always has a night out funder at Cominskey. It’s like the world’s biggest block party, with about 6,000 of your neighbors all milling about out in Section 101 and having a good time.

    One year, it was the Yankees.

    The deal is, before the game, all the kids and their parents get to walk the perimeter of the field.

    I’ve got my boys in tow and am pushing my baby girl in the stroller when we go by the Yankee dugout. Zim is there on the bench, sitting by himself, waving to the folks.

    I’d told my boys many stories about the Boys of Zimmer (heartbreak), so when they spot him they start yelling, “look, it’s Popeye! Hi, Mr. Zimmer, hi, Mr. Zimmer!”

    Zim waves them over, sits them down on the bench and I start taking pictures.

    After a few, Zim says to someone out of my sight, “Hey kid, take the camera so we can get a picture with the old man and the baby.”

    “Ok, Mr. Zimmer. Sir, can I have your camera?”

    It’s Jeter.

    So there’s me and my kids putting Jeter to work taking pictures with Zim.

    Next thing you know, all the Oak Parkie parents are lining up with their cameras, making Jeter take pictures of them with Zim.

    No one wants a picture with Jeter.

    Torres and Posada were at the other end of the bench, laughing their tukkuses off at the World’s Most Eligible Bachelor reduced to being Popeye’s publicist.

  57. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 12:58 pm:

    Walking to the red line station at Addison before the 1990 All Star game. As I’m walking past that ballpark that’s right there, a car pulls up, parks illegally, and Joe DiMaggio gets out. He stood there and stared at the lights. He nodded at me, I didn’t say a word.

  58. - MAK - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 1:04 pm:

    Oh, about 1958, outside Wrigley after the game. I was 11, working the visiting Cincy team for autographs as they boarded their bus. When I eagerly held out my scorecard for his signature, instead he just climbed aboard the bus, saying, “F___you,kid,” I beamed, sensing a rite of passage, a grown- up swearing at me. I did have to convince my parents NOT to complain to the baseball commissioner. Thank you, Don Hoak.

  59. - ZC - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 1:07 pm:

    Wrigley Field, August 7, 2001. I was there.

    Wildest finish to a baseball game I’ve ever seen. Plus (though I couldn’t tell from the stands at the time) Steve “Mongo” McMichael got thrown out of the game after he threatened the umpire during the 7th inning stretch.

    Thankfully someone preserved the highlights on Youtube:

  60. - Team Sleep - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 1:09 pm:

    2013 World Series - Game 4 at Busch Stadium

    I’m in the kids play area by the bleachers. I stand out like a sore thumb - my Big Papi jersey didn’t match the other red in the stadium. My little guy is running around and hamming it up with the other kids. Jonny Gomes hits a three run bomb in the top of the 6th and I go nuts. People are staring at me as I scream at the top of my lungs and high-five any BoSox fan in site. My little guy gave me a funny look and then went back to running around. One of the highlights of my life.

  61. - Deep South - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 1:15 pm:

    About a month after Hank Aaron hit #500, the Braves held “Hank Aaron” night at Atlanta Stadium. My Dad and I went to the game….and Hank hit one out. Gawd…it was soooo cooool.

  62. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 1:17 pm:

    Anybody else at Cominskey on Sept. 18, 2001, when Bridgeport stood up and cheered the New York Yankees, screaming “we love you, New York?”

  63. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 1:28 pm:

    –About a month after Hank Aaron hit #500–

    Today is the 40th anniversary of Hank breaking the Babe’s home run record.

    Just like Roger Maris breaking the real single season home run record with 61, it was a heavy load. Some lunatics hated them for daring to break the Babe’s records. Hank got serious death threats.

  64. - 3rd Generation Chicago Native - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 1:29 pm:

    When I was in grade school, either one or both of my Grandfather’s would take my brothers and I to Comiskey Park on a week end afternoon, or week day afternoon game.
    It was great, I miss my Grandfathers, and Comiskey (but it was no where near as dilapidated as Wrigley) Stadium with everyone paying attention to the games, watching Ron Kittle, Ron Karkovice, Carlton Fisk, Harold Baines, Bobby Thigpen, Tom Seaver……..the smell of the hot dogs, the neighborhood ball park.

  65. - Blago's Hare - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 1:41 pm:

    Playing catch in the front yard with my dad. Just playing catch was not the easiest thing for him since he had lost his left hand in a combine accident years before I came along.
    So many times I would wait for him to get done with the farming chores, holding both of our gloves and a well grass stained ball. He had to be tired, but never refused to take the time to play catch.
    As I grew older and stronger, I would throw the ball with more velocity. Roughly half of the throws from me would knock his glove off of his hand that only had a thumb on it. He would just pick up his glove, chase the ball down, pick it up, and throw it back. Never complained, ever.
    Priceless conversations then and priceless memories now.

  66. - door gunner - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 1:48 pm:

    autographed ball signed by babe ruth,hack wilson and babe ruth bat given to my dad in yankee stadium by babe ruth, it is not in my house.

  67. - Knome Sane - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 1:54 pm:

    I remember going to my first baseball game at Old Comiskey when a friend of mine and I went to use the rest room during a particularly uninspired inning. Walking down the ramp from the upper decks came a guy — moving at a good clip — but hardly slowed by a peg-leg. The man had an actual peg-leg! I thought I was seeing my first real life pirate. Alas, it was only Bill Veeck, owner of the White Sox. I later learned that he had an ashtray in the side of the wooden leg.

  68. - Upon Further Review - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 1:59 pm:

    “[I]t was no where near as dilapidated as Wrigley…”

    Nostalgia is a wonderful thing, but it does distort reality. Comiskey Park was in bad condition. The toilets were prehistoric. Its playing surface was in poor shape and the stadium needed lots of work. Arguably, the Reinsdorf ownership group let the place deteriorate by deferring maintenance while pushing for a stadium deal. In the game of brinksmanship, the White Sox came within a few hours of relocating to Tampa.

    Comiskey Park was opened in 1910; the stadium which was renamed Wrigley Field opened in 1914.
    Both stadiums were designed by the same architect, but over the decades, the Wrigley family put more improvements into their plant while Comiskey family operated on the cheap.

    Wrigley Field may be in need of numerous repairs now, but it has outlasted the old Comiskey Park by almost twenty-five years.

  69. - BehindTheScenes - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 2:00 pm:

    I didn’t get to very many baseball games as a kid, but I remember a couple of church bus trips to the old Busch (2 stadiums ago) in St. Louis. My best memory was the day Stan Musial got his 3000th hit in a game in Milwaukee. The team traveled by train then and it stopped in Springfield on the way home. Backed in from 19th Street on tracks now replaced by Madison Street and stopped at Union Station (now the ALPLM visitor center). Biggest crowd I had ever seen but somehow my dad managed to get me close to the door where Stan stepped out and signed autographs. I got his autograph that day on my favorite B&W photo of him and he cited the hit on his inscription. Wish I still had that photo.

  70. - FormerParatrooper - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 2:12 pm:

    When I was kid I met Freddie Patek. At about 13 yrs old he was barely taller than me. Being a KC kid it was a great moment. Met George Brett as well, but he was offish and a disappointment to a young fan.

  71. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 2:19 pm:

    –When I was kid I met Freddie Patek.–

    He made the most of what he had, didn’t he? Some great Royals teams in the 70s. Just couldn’t beat the Yanks.

    Years later, I watched most of the ‘85 I-70 series between the Royals and Cards at Kane’s in Springfield.

    I had a nice thing going with a very lovely and friendly bartender there who let the poor boy drink tap beer for free.

    I really liked that girl.

  72. - Country Boy - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 2:20 pm:

    1967 or 68. I was in St Louis and saw Bob Gibson beat Don Drysdale in the first game of double header a real pitchers dual. In the second game they ran out of players and Gibson came in as a pinch hitter in the 9th. He hit one off the left field wall to win the second game. What a player he was.

  73. - Upon Further Review - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 2:27 pm:

    Regarding Freddie Patek, didn’t the White Sox once have a shorter middle infielder by the name of Harry Chapas?

  74. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 2:28 pm:

    –1967 or 68. I was in St Louis and saw Bob Gibson beat Don Drysdale in the first game of double header a real pitchers dual. In the second game they ran out of players and Gibson came in as a pinch hitter in the 9th. He hit one off the left field wall to win the second game. What a player he was.–

    Wow. What a day. Sportsmans or old Busch?

  75. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 2:34 pm:

    –Harry Chapas?–

    LOL, lot of line drives over his head, if I recall.

    The only thing more painful than watching Harry play short was Dave Kingman playing right.

  76. - Stones - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 3:11 pm:

    * Regarding Freddie Patek, didn’t the White Sox once have a shorter middle infielder by the name of Harry Chapas? *

    Harry Chappas if I am not mistaken was on the cover of Sports Illustrated once. I have no idea why. His career was not notable except for his (lack of) height.

  77. - Country Boy - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 3:34 pm:

    Word - In old Busch. I was 10 or 11 maybe.

  78. - Deep South - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 3:40 pm:

    Mr. Big Trouble @ 12:24

    OMG….I’m in tears. I did the same exact thing…thought maybe I was the only one who dreamed up something that clever (stupid?). Except I got caught when the earphone plug came out of the radio and the audio just blasted out of the little speaker. Public school though, but about the same year…wonder if it was the same game? Geez…small, small, small world.

  79. - Upon Further Review - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 3:43 pm:


    You are right about that magazine cover. Chappas got plenty of publicity.

  80. - FormerParatrooper - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 4:18 pm:

    Wordslinger I watched that game from Ft Benning at Jump School. One of our instructors was a Cards fan, i spent a lot of the series in the push up position since I wouldnt change my loyalty. Since the 70’s its been a “rebuilding” year lol. Too bad we never beat the Yanks when it counted. Freddie was an inspiration to all of us who are height challenged.

  81. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 4:21 pm:

    –Since the 70’s its been a “rebuilding” year lol–

    It’s been sad to see KC give up on the Royals. They were the goods when I was a kid.

    Love KC. Fun town.

  82. - A guy... - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 4:34 pm:

    Hey Slinger, lookie. Another thing we agree on. KC is a fun town. Best BBQ in America. It was born there.

  83. - Commonsense in Illinois - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 4:44 pm:

    Meeting Buck O’Neil, the legendary Negro Baseball League Hall of Fame member and spending the afternoon listening to his stories of the now-defunct Negro Leagues, and great stories about Satchel Paige, Ernie Banks, Jackie Robinson, Henry Aaron and many others.

  84. - Commonsense in Illinois - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 4:46 pm:

    Also got to see Kenny Holtzman throw his no-hitter on August 19, 1969 against Atlanta. Very exciting day - although my sister didn’t realize the significance.

  85. - North by Northwest - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 4:52 pm:

    Next door neighbor growing up was Emil “Dutch” Leonard, former Senators pitcher. One day Dutch called to see if “one of the boys” could come over to play catch, which mostly consisted of knocking it down. When I got there, there was another guy that Dutch was teaching to throw the “knuckler”. Dutch told me later it was Jim Boutin.

  86. - Upon Further Review - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 4:52 pm:

    Purely by accident, I attended the game in Milwaukee where Carlos Zambrano had a no-hitter against the Houston Astros. The game had been relocated from Texas on account of a hurricane and the tickets were discounted to encourage people to attend on short notice. In the past, I had attended two games where no-hitters were broken up late.

    Does anyone remember when the White Sox shifter about twenty home games to Milwaukee County Stadium to boost attendance? This was in either ‘69 or ‘70. Don Gutteridge or Al Lopez was the manager. Milwaukee had lost the Braves to Atlanta and the ballpark was empty.

  87. - Cards fan - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 4:54 pm:

    Growing up as a kid in 70’s in central Illinois my dad always listened to the Cardinals on an old transistor radio on the back porch and kept a score book of the games. Hot as hell, radio popping and signal fading in and out and there he would sit and listen to the games. Several years ago, as his memory began to fade, we went to a game at the new Busch it’s first year. Dad could no longer keep score. I knew it would probably be the last game he attended. Enjoyed a great win over the hated Cubs. Baseball heaven it was…and still is today. Dad’s gone now but baseball still keeps us together. No other sport like it! Go Crazy Folks!

  88. - Rudy - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 5:13 pm:

    1957, Comiskey Park, mid-summer. Boston was in town. Ted Williams was nearly 39 years old but was leading the league in hitting, batting nearly .400. When he came to the plate and was announced, the crowd got very quiet. He took two strikes, then homered to right. The Chicago crowd gave him a standing ovation.

  89. - persecuted - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 5:49 pm:

    My husband, sons, and I spent many evenings at Lanphier Park in Springfield off and on for thirty years watching a lot of baseball including college world series, Springfield Caps and Springfield Cardinals triple A teams. Memorable nights were when we’d turn around and about five rows up there would be Satchel Paige watching the game and signing autographs for little kids.

  90. - Oh Come On! - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 7:21 pm:

    @Wordslinger and Country Boy:

    Sportsman’s Park had several iterations (like Madison Square Garden in New York which has been torn down and rebuilt several times). That being said, Sportsman’s Park and the Old Busch Stadium were one and the same. When Bill Veeck sold the stadium to Augie Busch, the park was renamed. Veeck had the Browns and Busch had the Cardinals.

    At the time of his purchase, Veeck dreamed of building up the Browns as the Cardinals were in a period of decline, but the owner of the Redbirds sold out to Busch and Veeck knew that he was finished. The American League owners refused to permit Veeck to move, so he wound up selling the Browns. Afterwards, the team moved to Baltimore.

    It is one of the only franchise shifts where a team moved East.

  91. - FormerParatrooper - Tuesday, Apr 8, 14 @ 9:43 pm:

    Word…. Not totally given up hope for the home team. Baseball hit a sour note with the early 90’s..bad time for for the sport. I still am a diehard KC fan even tho I’m in central Illinois now. Always had part in me to root for the Cubs too. Mostly because of Harry and his commentary.

  92. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 8:04 am:

    Holy smoke, this was a lot of fun. Thanks, folks. I could go on and on — obviously, lol….

    Miss this cat.

    “The Cubs made me a criminal. They stole my youth from me…..”

  93. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 8:42 am:

    What great reads. Baseball is my “love” and passion in sports.

    It’s comments like - wordslinger -’s that stir the drink, and why he is the Gold Standard. I would love to talk baseball for hours, and this was a pretty great proxy.

    Thanks to all for something so enjoyable to read.

    Great stuff All.

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