Although it is an older movie from 1993, I finally watched “The Sandlot” which tells the story of 9 boys between the ages of 12 and 13 playing baseball during the summer of 1962. Scotty Smalls is the new boy in the neighborhood. He has no friends until he is friended by a boy in the neighborhood named Benny Rodriguez whose first love is baseball. The problem for Scotty is he never learned to play baseball. Benny teaches him how to play baseball which leads to his acceptance by the other boys in the neighborhood. The movie opens with the legend of “the called-shot” of Babe Ruth in the 1932 World Series and promises a new legend will be made by one of the boys. The movie focuses on the coming of age of young adolescent boys and their hijinks. As the movie proceeds many of the incidents experienced by these boys reminded me of my experiences at the ages of 12 to 13 with my two best friends Burt and Gene. The stories I will tell have their counterpart in the movie.
I turned 13 in 1957. My story is a little different than that of Scotty. I was not new to the neighborhood and lived my entire youth on the same street in Hackensack, NJ. The fields we played on were basically unkempt and the term “sandlot” can be used to describe them. Also, the word sandlot is used in the title of my book, Sandlot Stats. As in the movie, my friends and I practiced baseball almost daily and formed a neighborhood team and played other teams in other neighborhoods without any adult involvement. I was one of the younger kids and the older kids made the arrangements and kept the scorebook.
Now for some of my personal stories that connect directly to scenes in the movie. There was a scene in the movie where the boys were at the town pool and one of the boys could not take his eyes off this beautiful lifeguard sitting in a chair applying lotion to her body. Finally, to get her attention he dove into the pool, even though he could not swim, to be rescued by her. My friend Gene and I used to sit in front of his apartment house which faced the apartment house across the street and stare up at this beautiful girl’s bedroom window waiting for her to walk by. Another scene in the movie was when they lost their last ball and Scotty ran back to his house and retrieved his stepfather’s ball. Unfortunately, that ball was a ball autographed by Babe Ruth. Scotty was batting when he hit that special ball over a fence into a junkyard guarded by a killer dog called The Beast. When Scotty told his friends that he had taken the ball without asking his stepfather and the ball had the woman’s name Ruth on it, they stared at him in disbelief. Scotty had never heard of Babe Ruth before. The rest of the movie focused on the boys working together to fix the problem by retrieving the ball that was being protected by The Beast. After several failed attempts, Benny took it upon himself to climb over the fence and get the ball away from the beast. He retrieves the ball from the beast and the legend of Benny Rodriguez was born. Now for my transgression with my friend Burt. Burt’s mother left us alone in her house. She had these valuable figurines. We were told not to use our peashooters in the house. But we were bored and sure enough decided to play with the shooters. Unfortunately, I hit one of the figurines with a pea and knocked the hand off. Like in the movie we had to fix the problem before she returned. We got some glue and put the hand back on. I guess the glue failed and my friend Burt was told not to associate with me anymore. Another scene showed the boys experimenting with chewing tobacco and getting sick. Well Burt and I experimented with his mother’s liquor and as a result I got deathly sick. I vowed from that day forward to stay away from alcohol which I have done.
Yes, the movie brought back precious baseball and other memories.
stanley rothamn said…
Yes, I remember the white rug. Isn’t it amazing how we never forget certain things. As I said in my blog the movie Sandlot brought back so many memories of my youth and the fun I had with you and Burt. Find a copy of the movie (I got mine from the library) and watch it to relive our time in 1962. It was wonderful hearing from you.
July 18, 2015 07:33:59
OMG!!! Did you bring back some memories!!! I don’t think I want Helen to know I was a peeping tom at such an impressionable age! Remember the white rug in Burt’s house that we always had to walk around and never on? Best regards to you and Tara
July 17, 2015 02:06:51