Also Read: MEMORIES Part 2
So many memories after following the game for over 60 years now. Here are some of them:
Its 1949 and Im sitting in rightfield in the Stadium and as usual before the game Im talking to Cliff Mapes. Whenever I would get to the games Id spend time with Cliff and we would talk baseball in between batting practice. He even knew my name and was always cordial, friendly and informative.
In those days the bullpen was next to rightfield and you could talk to the pitchers down there. Fred Sanford was especially nice and I even got to talk to Ford and Johnny Lindel who back then was alternating between pitching and playing outfield. Mapes arranged to meet me after the game and introduced me to Tommy Byrne, Bob Porterfield, Duane Pillette, and Wally Hood and I got their autographs. A great day for me!
Fast forward to 1990 and I started One More Inning then. The first interview I had in the magazine was with Cliff Mapes. After all these years he still remembered me. We kept on corresponding and became friends until he passed away from Cancer. Still cherish the bat he gave me from the last year he played in the Majors.
Im about 13 years old, sitting in the bleachers and Ive just caught my THIRD BALL IN THIS GAME Unbeliveable except this old guy next to me claims I took it out of his hands which was bullshit!!. My father turns to me and says give it to him ..I say NO WAY and the people around me say the man never touched it .and once again my father says give it to him and when I refuse he grabs it from me and gives it to the bastard ..
I didnt talk to my father for the next two weeks.
There are so many players Ive become friendly and spent time with over the years because of One More Inning. Unfortunately most of them have passed away.
Here are some of them:
MARSHALL, DICK BARTELL, TOMMY BYRNE, BILL
HARRY DANNING, HAL RENIFF, JIMMY REESE, DUANE PILLETTE, BILLY JOHNSON, DOM DIMAGGIO, SIBBY SISTI, LOU LIMMER, HANK BAUER, RAY NOBLE, BOB CAIN, HOMER PEEL, TOMMY HENRICH, Mel ALLEN and of course CLIFF MAPES.
Miss them all!
My son and I were at the Stadium when Tom Seaver won his 300th game. Great stuff except something else happened then that overshadowed it.
That same day was Phil Rizzuto day and there was a parade of presents for him at home plate. One of the gifts was a real live cow who was presented to him as HOLY COW a phrase Rizzuto used quite often. It got a big laugh from the crowd which stopped suddenly when the cow bumped him and sort of stepped on his foot. Rizutto went down, the Cow was trotted off, the Yankee trainer came out, anxious moments followed, and Rizzuto surfaced waving his hands to the crowd.
Seavers 300th win was terrific, Rizzutos HOLY COW was better.
Being invited to cover Hall of Fame induction ceremonies was always a thrill. Three times in particular stand out. One involved meeting a very sick Ed Stack the former president of the hall. It was Ed who invited me to send all the issues from ONE MORE INNING to the Hall to be part of their Library collection. So from issue 10 until this very day every issue is in their collection. It wasnt until 15 years afterwards that I finally got to meet him in person and wonder of wonders he remembered the magazine and had very nice things to say about it.
The second event there involved my interviewing Hall of Famer Joe Morgan during the pre induction Golf Tournament ceremonies. After a moment he said he had to go on the course and asked me to come along with him. For two hours I followed him around and got to spend time and to talk to over 50 hall of famers ..a memorable moment!
Another time involved my meeting famed sports writer Maury Allen. We became friends and over the years kept arguing whether Willie Mays was the greatest ball player of all time. He said yes and I said he was out of his mind!
TO BE CONTINUED IN NOVEMBER