I have to say, I led a semi-charmed youth. Growing up, I got to go see the Cardinals play in old Busch Stadium several times a year. When it really got cool; however, was when my parents divorced (I know, odd to say it that way) and my mom moved to New York. She and my brother were at a game at Yankee Stadium and were picked out of the crowd by the stadium manager to move to better seats right behind the Yankee dugout. My mother and the stadium manager became friends, leading to many games behind the dugout, parking in the players' parking lot, trips to Ft. Lauderdale for Spring Training, and many opportunities to meet the players. However, the game that stands out most in my mind was the one where I was in line, waiting to buy a hot dog, and I met Dave Winfield's wife. She and I hung out for some time thereafter. Without Number 42, Dave Winfield might not have been able to wear the Yankee uniform, which would have been one of many tragedies associated with bigotry, racism, and xenophobia. Here's to equal rights for all!
Satchel Paige, who played for many teams in the so-called "Negro League" was one of my personal heroes in Baseball. He lived 75 years, long enough to actually get a chance to pitch in Major League Baseball for the Cleveland Indians, but on a three month contract. His dedication to baseball, though it was segregated for most of his career, is worthy of mention and praise. Like Jackie Robinson, he was a man who rose above the pettiness and bias and did great things.
Growing up in Pittsburgh we had a team called the Homestead Grays, a team that played for nearly a decade at Pittsburgh's legendary Forbes Field. Art Rooney, the owner of the Steelers actually donated to the Grays to keep them afloat financially.
The Grays and Satchel Paige mirrored the society in which they lived, but they moved beyond the color line into baseball immortality.
So true! Another anecdote regarding 'blacks' in baseball, The late sixties were wrought with racial upheaval. Many of the midwest and rust belt cities were experiencing rioting in the streets. For a teenager in in St Louis, these were troubling times. They say that the only thing that kept the riots away from the St Louis streets was the fantastic 2 year run of the Cardinals. After having beaten the mighty Yankees in the '64 world series,, The Redbirds beat the Boston Red Socks in '67 and made it to game 7 against Mickey Lolich and the Detroit Tigers in '68. The entire town of St Louis rallied around their Redbirds and because of that, most of the rioting in the cities was sidestepped in St Louis. I can honestly say that I never saw Lou Brock, or Bob Gibson as anything other than Great Ballplayers.
Baseball is truly a metaphor for our lives, even if we're not fans. It involves our struggles, our successes and there's no time limit, just bats and balls and players whose lives we've come to know. Up on the Cape, we have gotten to know the kids who might make it to the Majors, most are college kids with good futures off the diamond, but all are great athletes and even better human beings.
It is a pleasure to sit and watch the Cape Cod Baseball League games--they still use wooden bats, they still tap the plate and tale practice swings like in the big leagues, and they still thrill all of us with their hitting and their defense,
That '68 series nearly "Took the guts out me"!
The Cards should have won, but couldn't beat The Tigers in that final game.
Jose Felleciano "Butchering" the National Anthem in Detroit, the Cards get a big lead, and then loose the game!
Denny McLain, the 30 game winner, getting involved in drugs!
Curt Flood, coming in on the ball and the ball goes over his head in game 7. I turned the b/w set off after that>
Oh what memories!
I think they are doing a movie about Curt Flood. He is credited with creating "Free Agency" in Major League Baseball. (I think?)
That was a sad day in St. Louis, but the 2011 "Comeback" against the Texas Rangers in The World Series, was a great day!
Had my had on the remote, two times, to turn the 6th game off. The Rangers just needed one strike or an out and it would have been all-over!
What a Season for The Red Birds!
yup. I was watching that game with my brother, both of us lived in Dallas at the time. He was pulling for the Rangers, me for the Cardinals. It was a great, exciting series.
I vividly remember the whole curt flood story. can't say I knew what it was all about back then, but I recall a lot of people were not happy. as I recall, the Cardinals traded him and he refused to go. It was an important, necessary step, but caused quite a stir and forced him out of the game.