Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Baseball Begins!

Nothing signals Spring more than the blossoms of Daffodils and Hyacinths, reappearrance of the birds and BASEBALL!  I always loved baseball, ever since a little girl of about 6 or 7.  In those days, I was more than the only child, I was the only girl on either side of my family.  My father lived and breathed baseball from April through (back then) September.  He had a collection of baseball cards that he culled through every weekend if not more often.  At that time, he was really playing a not-yet-discovered game, Fantasy Baseball.  Daddy created his own teams and lineups and had a season games played.  Don't know if he kept stats on that but I would not be surprised as numbers were another love of his life being an accountant by trade.

Speaking of baseball cards, how many of you out there who are my generation or older, have heard the stories of the card collections tossed out in the garbage containing a Ty Cobb or rookie card of then unknown Richie "Whitey" Ashburn?  My dad had one of those!  He gave up collecting until my mom was teaching elementary school and she confiscated some baseball cards from a student and brought them home to Daddy.  That started his collecting Phase II!  Much to her chagrin, a consuming passion was reignited and happily kept Daddy occupied for hours a week, all year 'round!

So, who is this beauty in the photo below?  It is my hsuband Larry's great-niece.  Her mom, Jeanine, is Larry's goddaughter so Hailey is very special to them and to us.  She is sporting her Phils jacket and though she lives in a rival team's backyard, they are all loyal Philadelphia fans on football and especially baseball.  Larry's father, Jeanine's grandfather, was a baseball fanatic too.  He was once considered for a minor league position at one time.  Due to a physical disability with his hands, he could not play professional ball.  Though disappointing, his love for the sport never flagged.  He passed on the love of the game to Jeanine the same as my dad did for me. 

We compared notes one time.  As young girls, we learned how to keep a box score.  We learned the meaning of "Tinkers to Evers to Chance", a classic double-play.  The lineup every year got committed to memory along with the numbers on their jerseys.

My Dad, Larry and his father all remember the old stadium, Sheib Park and later, Connie Mac Stadium and the Philadelphia Athletics when the city sported two professional baseball teams.  As a matter of fact, Larry grew up in North Philadelphia, literally a couple blocks away from the old park.  I remember going up to Cooperstown, NY to the Baseball Hall of Fame.  One of the exhibits was a group of seats from the older and now defunct balparks.  I took a photo for posterity.  Several years before, my father and brother had stopped there to see the Museum.  I can almost imagine him sitting in one of the seats, he and his brother waiting for their chance to sneak down to be nearer the playing field.

I grew up viewing baseball at Veterans Stadium, home of the Phillies and the Eagles.  Now we have Citizens Bank Park.  It is supposed to be more like the way the original parks used to be:  natural grass field, closer to the fans and exclusively for BASEBALL!  Yes, it is a wonderful park.  I cannot help but wonder how my dad would feel about today's players, teams and the ever-lengthening season.  He would still be listening on the radio and watching on TV, keeping box scores, collecting cards and thoroughly enjoying Spring!

This is one ritual we always kept an eye out for on TV.  Now on DVD and in our collection at home, we pop it in right before the first Phillies televised home game!


  1. Your mom should have given those card's back :(

  2. well, that was 1950's not now. Teachers were different. And I can't speak for her actions.