Posts Tagged ‘Ed Sullivan Show’

The Boys of Summer

April 2, 2010

With Opening Day right around the corner, I am thinking of baseball seasons past.  Baseball was so loved by my father’s mother that when she died my grandfather remarked “I hope she’s playing baseball in heaven”.   My grandmother, or “Mom-mom” as I called her, instilled her love of baseball in me.  I spent many summers with Mom-mom listening to the Philadelphia Phillies games on the radio, while drinking Hires root beer and munching on TastyKakes.  Sometimes we’d even watch the games on television!  I can still hear By Saam calling the play-by-play.  He had one of those voices, like Vin Scully or Harry Caray which in my mind will be forever associated with the game.

I don’t remember how old I was, but eventually my father took me to my first real Phillies game at Connie Mack Stadium.  Players I recall seeing on the field include:  Jim Bunning, Johnny Callison, Ritchie Allen aka Dick Allen, Cookie Rojas, Chris Short, Clay Dalrymple, Art Mahaffey and Tony Taylor. 

Another memory was seeing Jim Bunning on the Ed Sullivan Show the same day he pitched his no-hitter against the Mets in 1964.  To me, seeing him on the show was more exciting than seeing The Beatles. 

When my family moved out of Philadelphia, my love of the Phillies stayed with me.  One of the places we lived in was Lawrence, Kansas.  My father took me and my future husband to at least one Royals game at the old Kansas City Municipal Stadium.  After the new Royals Stadium opened in 1973, my husband and I attended many games there, seeing George Brett and others play.  My only negative memory of the stadium was seeing the Royals walk Hank Aaron when he came up to the plate.  This was after he made the record books, and was the only time I got to see the man on the field.  I was very unhappy with the Royals and, as I recall, so were many other fans in the stands.

I don’t remember the year or the opposing team, but my first visit to Veterans’ Stadium in the late 1970’s was a dismal experience.  Notorious Philly Mayor Frank Rizzo threw out the first ball in the pouring rain.  The new stadium’s fancy plastic seats were curved to be comfortable, but they held water, too.  The pouring rain fell off my umbrella and onto the seat, where the curve at the back held it in to make a nice, cold puddle for my backside.  After several innings, it was time to go home.  If I remember correctly, the Phillies lost that game, too.  Subsequent visits to The Vet were much more pleasant.

Sad to say, but the 1980 World Series between the Phillies and Royals is a blur in my mind.  I had just moved out west and, unfortunately, missed almost all of the televised games.

One of my favorite baseball stadiums was the old Yankee Stadium.  There was so much history in the place how could you not like it?  Seeing Meatloaf sing the National Anthem before a Red Sox/Yankees game in 1993 is at the top of my list for best non-baseball ballpark experiences. When he was introduced, many in the crowd snickered.  However, Meatloaf sang a cappella and by the time he was finished, the crowd was on its feet and he was given a well deserved standing ovation.

The Phillies are now in another new stadium.  I have yet to visit it, since I am again living out west, but I will get there. Will the Phillies make it to the top this year?  I will not comment, but as usual will hope for the best and remind myself that it’s not over until the last out at the bottom of the ninth inning.

So I say “Go, Phils! Get out there and do it for all your diehard fans, do it for me and do it for Mom-mom!”

 © bbsoto 2010