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Discussion: Memories From Yesterdays Gone By

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March 5, 2013
southpaw
Men's 60
733 posts
Memories From Yesterdays Gone By
1962--13 & 14 years old baseball league. Our coach was a great guy, but not a very good coach. We were not a very good team either. My uncle, 8 months older, pitched a no-hitter and we lost 4/3. My good friend, Wayne, also pitched a no-hitter and we lost.

After an 0/17 start(!), we came to our last game of the season. All the players were there, but no coach. He had gone on vacation and did not inform us. As we were standing around, wondering aloud about what were we going to do, a man in the stands heard us. He stood up, came toward the fence and said: "I have been watching you guys all year. I think I can help." He made a number of adjustments on our defense, changed the batting order, and we defeated the first place, undefeated team who was our opponent!

To this day, I do not know who the gentleman was and have not seen him since. Do you have any memories of days gone by?
March 5, 2013
Omar Khayyam
999 posts
southpaw, great memory. You could make a movie out of a few memories like that. I started playing league softball when I was 13, fast pitch (of course), no re-entry, 9 man lineup, etc‚—old school ball.

My dad was the manager/coach (despite that, I mostly rode the bench on this adult team unless we were way ahead or way behind). He was completely dedicated, worried at home over the line-up, loved all his players, but had never played ball himself except sand lot as a kid. He knew almost nothing about the game other than enjoying listening to baseball on the radio! Guys put up with him because of his good qualities.

My memory is when I was in my early 20s, and I one day realized that almost everything I would yell out to the team (I was a starting pitcher by then), my father would soon after echo. In effect, I could coach the team, moving a fielder over, telling a hitter to keep his shoulder up, telling a runner on second base to go for home on a sinking short outfield fly, etc. I don't think the team ever caught on, and certainly my dad didn't realize he was copying me. I did this for years.

My dad was gone too soon. I wish I could hear him again call out encouragement, and then watch him run out after an inning to slam a guy on a shoulder for a good play. He coached until a few months before his death from cancer, and his proudest item beside his nursing chair was a softball signed by every member of the team.
March 6, 2013
southpaw
Men's 60
733 posts
Omar, what a wonderful story! Thanks for sharing and I trust that it stirred some emotions in others as it did me.

Would love to hear from others.
March 9, 2013
samg
25 posts
I enjoyed both stories myself guys thanks for sharing. My story is kind of long but one I remember like yesterday. It still brings a tear to my eyes telling it.

I did not start playing ball competitively until I was 9 years old and had just moved to Arkansas. I was raised by a single mother with my youner sister and well my biological father was never around, guess he had his own agenda.

I was in 4th grade class and heard the try out announcement. I went to the office on lunch break and called my mother to see if I could try out. She said sure if you want to. I told her I did not have a glove and needed one. She did not know what I needed but I told her to get me one that is for a right handed thrower and bring it to McCoy park at 330pm. I did not make the Little League team, but was drafted by the Pirates in Minor League. Yeah the glove was stiff as a board and I don't think I caught one ball.

I started as a catcher that year and made the all stars. My mother never got to see me play as she worked two jobs to support us.
I was drafted the following year to the Little League Cubs. Since the coaches son was the catcher I knew I was not going to see much playing time. One day the coach told me I would start since his son was sick on the next game. My mother came to the game and I was all excited.
When we came off the field between the 2nd and 3rd inning I ran to get some water from a spicket we used to drink from, no water fountains or coolers back then. As I was going by some other teams, one of them swumg a bat and hit me right across my nose, I tried as hard as I could to cover it up so my mother would not see as I had to run back past her. But blood was everywhere. I ran into the dug out and sat down, in ran my mother. I told her I was ok and she needed to get out. The coach said, "son I don't think you will be able to go back in the game." Now that brought me to tears more than the hit. I told him I was ok and my mother was here and no way I was sitting out. I was fine.
I finished the game as the catcher with black eyes and a cracked nose! I got two hits and stole a base and threw two guys out trying to steal on us! I was moved to CF that year and my mother never got to see me play Little League or Babe Ruth.
She has been to some of my softball games as an adult and when she gets a chance to visit me in another state. I have even sent her videos of some of my games. Oh yeah, I still have that 5 and dime glove she bought me when I was 9. See she worked as a waitress and did not have the money and a gentleman that was in the resturant gave her a big enough tip to purchase it when she was crying because she did not know what to do. She married that guy later on and he was more of a father to me than my own. I know he is up there watching me and Mike play today, as Pops too played a big role in what I am today.

Mike did you ever know that Pops did this?
March 10, 2013
southpaw
Men's 60
733 posts
Samg, quite a lump in my throat as I type this. Thank you for taking the time to share.

One more from me, if it is o.k. to do so.

1972, 21 years old, just back from Vietnam. I joined my uncle and his friend on a baseball team in the Birmingham Amateur Baseball Federation. Our town team and the adjoining community team battled for first place all year. We wound up tied for first and our playoff game kept getting rained out.

The first place team was to go to a national tournament in our area. Teams from several states, including Ohio were there. The Cincinnati team eventually won it.

Our playoff game wound up being played on Friday night before the tourney began on Saturday. Our opponent was player/coached by a former professional baseball pitcher. The league was so confident that we would lose to them they went ahead and printed the brochure for the national tourney with our opponent's name as the Alabama representative.

I started pitching for our team. Coach saved himself for the next day's competition. Bottom of the ninth and we are tied 3/3. We are the home team. Our number 8 hitter gets a single. I lay down the most beautiful bunt of my life, down the first base line. Their pitcher fields it and overthrows to second. Our runner is one who slides into second and then ends standing up. In one motion, he slides, rounds second, and makes it safely to third.

Time is called, coach comes out of the dugout,does not throw a warmup pitch. Runners on first and third; pitcher fires a 90 mph fastball. Catcher cannot handle and our runner slides home for the winning run!

We played the next 2 days in the national tourney under their name and eventually Cincinnati eliminated us.
March 10, 2013
Omar Khayyam
999 posts
Southpaw, another great story. Don't you love it when organizers assume you will lose and then have to explain the next day, again and again before each game, why the brochure is wrong, and you have that satisfied feeling and a big grin on your face!
March 10, 2013
GSWP001
Men's 60
74 posts
SAMG, thanks. That brought back some deep feelings and memories. I know what you went through. Glad you made it through ok.
March 11, 2013
softball4b
Men's 60
756 posts
Sam is not embellishing the story in the least. He was a tough little shit when he was young and still plays with the Sam attitude.

Brother, I did know Dad did that. What was irritating was that when I was your age, he did not want me to play sports at all. He mellowed a lot by the time you came along and even then you thought he was a hard ass.

He loved your Mom a great deal and he was happy in his later years. Alright, now I am misting up.
March 11, 2013
southpaw
Men's 60
733 posts
Omar, you are so right. Even though it became an bit irritating on hearing the other team's name from the pressbox every time we started a game, it was quite satisfying to know we were the team who won. To be honest, it still feels pretty good all these years later!!
March 11, 2013
Davy
12 posts
Bittersweet memories. Our eighth grade PE teacher enrolled us in a baseball league which played other schools on Sunday afternoons.

As some of you old timers might know, there were some parents back then who were quite religious and did not believe in such frivolities on Sunday. I was OK to practice on Saturday, made the team, but never played or went to a game on Sunday.

I always worked so never went out for sports in high school or college.
Played a little low league softball in my 40s.

Thrilled by Senior softball and won SSUSA national championships as 70 and 75. And yes I can now play on Sunday's as well as Saturday.

Davy

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