Just after the New Year my wife and I had dinner with two couples in Naples, Florida. One couple was Jack and Maryann Dolan. Jack Dolan spent a couple of years as an Associate Producer at ABC-TV sports (1963-65) working under the tutelage of Roone Arledge and with such well-known broadcasters as Jim McKay, Curt Gowdy, Jack Buck, Chris Schinkel, et. al. Naturally, I asked Jack for some baseball stories that would interest my readers. The first story he told me was about going to his first baseball game with his parents. This got me thinking about my first baseball game with my father. I am sure every baseball fan remembers their first baseball game with their parents. Like you, I remember clearly what happened at my first baseball game.
Jack Dolan’s story about his first baseball game in his own words goes as follows: “My First MLB Game: Circa summer of 1944 or ’45, my parents took me (as a 6 or 7-year old) to my first MLB game at the Polo Grounds (Giants vs. Pirates). My favorite # was 4 and as luck would have it that was worn by Giant RF/Player Mgr. and Hall-of-Famer Mel Ott. My Dad took me down to the railing during pre-game batting practice and (in an era when player/fan fraternizing was allowed and common) shouted for Ott to come over and give me an autograph. He kindly obliged and my Dad asked him to hit a HR for me in the game. About mid-game I found it necessary to go to the bathroom where my mother took me. While taking care of duty in the lav, I heard a loud roar of the crowd outside. Upon returning to our seats, my Dad excitedly told me that Mel had indeed hit a HR for me which I unfortunately never saw. It was still a great memory and put me on the path to a life-long love of the game!”
Unfortunately, my story is not as happy as Jack’s story. My father knew very little about baseball and definitely was not a fan. I guess my mother nagged him into taking me to a Yankee game. I was probably close to six years old. It was very hot and humid that day. I asked my father to get me a drink. My father saw a vendor in the next aisle and bought a beverage which was passed across the aisle hand by hand. He then sent his money, hand by hand across the aisle, back to the vendor. It was all the money he had left after buying the tickets. When the drink arrived, to my father’s surprise it turned out to be a glass of beer. My father had thought he was buying a soda. My father’s dilemma was he had no more money and a screaming child demanding a drink. He had no choice but to offer me the beer. I sipped it and it was awful. I probably cried from that point on forcing my father to make an early exit from the game. All I remember about the game was how thirsty I was. Being a parent and grandparent now, I can understand how bad my father must have felt.
Now that you read about both of our first baseball games, it is now your turn to tell me about your first baseball game. Please comment in my blog or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
|Richard Malinsky said…
Great story Stan. I remember my first game as if it were yesterday. My Grandfather took me to see the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field. I was 8 years old and just made the East Hartford Exchange Club Little League team. I wore my uniform and carried my glove. Somehow, he managed to get me into the runway where they ran past me into the locker room. They looked 10 feet tall.
January 13, 2013 08:41:47