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  #1  
Old 05-01-2020, 07:38 PM
cardsagain74 cardsagain74 is offline
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Default Baseball stories of your childhood

The Little League World Series was cancelled. Sigh. Brings back memories even more.

Once I wrote a couple stories about my childhood playing days. This is the first one; was fortunate to have something like to a "sandlot" experience one year:


When I was 9 years old, my dad coached my minor league team. You didn’t pick players for the league at that age; they were just randomly assigned. When he brought home our roster, it looked like there were more future doctors on there than ball players. And what was this….not one, but TWO girls? And Billy Hood…..who is that? (sounded like what they’d name the goofy kid from the Sandlot). So, needless to say, there were no initial signs of what was to come.

We won our first game. In the second game, we were down by four runs heading to the bottom of the 6th (the final inning in minor league and little league games) and our worst hitters due up. This was no shock as we assumed there would be plenty of ups and downs for the year. As luck would have it……the opposing pitcher could not throw a strike. Walk after walk after walk; I can still see the anguish on that poor kid’s face, especially since his coach just left him out there to burn. Before you knew it, our dugout was pounding its feet with the winning runs on base and still no one out. By then the heart of our order was up, and when someone hit a gapper to finish off the comeback, the celebration was on.

Little did we know (at the time) that the tone that had been set for the year.

As it turned out, Billy Hood was like this 6′ tall 200 pound nine-year old new kid in town (with the power to match). One of those icky girls ended up being one of the best hitters on our team. And my dad found ways to disguise our main weakness (i.e. those future doctors who couldn’t hit much). A kid named Matt and I anchored the middle of the lineup, the pitching, and the defense up the middle. And it all clicked; we probably weren’t the most talented team in the league, but we did everything well enough and played at a consistently high level.

So as it got late in the season, we still hadn’t lost a game. At that point we weren’t sure if we would, and had our eyes set on something very tough to do: an undefeated baseball season. Naturally, that was the time when it almost ended.

As any former baseball player knows, you will always have that game where nothing goes your way. And for 5 1/2 innings of our next outing, that finally happened. We were playing one of the worst teams in the league, and we never got anything going. I left a truckload of runners on base myself, and when I stranded the bases loaded in the top of the 5th or 6th with two out and just a one run lead, I was so frustrated that I could’ve cracked the aluminum bat. Because I knew we needed those extra runs (minor league games are very high scoring, so a small lead means virtually nothing).

We went to the bottom of the 6th with just that one-run lead. And even better, Matt and I couldn’t pitch anymore that day (we’d both used up our allowed innings). This left our fate in the hands of an 8 year old who’d barely pitched in his life. Needless to say, we were in trouble. Asking him to save that game for us (in this spot) was way too much….wasn’t it?

Turns out that this chubby next door neighbor had some ice water in his veins. The first hitter popped out. The next one hit a ground ball to me, and as I was throwing him out, I remember thinking “ok now it’s looking like we’ll actually escape”. Next guy: strike one, two, and three, and our newly found Mariano Rivera had just retired the side in order and bailed us out.

That was the point when you knew that it could be a special season.

The year finished up with just a single title game to decide the champion (between the teams with the two best records). So even though we’d gone undefeated, we still had to win that extra game to win the title and finish off the perfect season. Before that final game, I wrote in something like “14-0 champs” (predicting a win ahead of time) in my dad’s scorebook. And, of course, was promptly reminded not to count my chickens before they hatched and all those good cliches, blah blah blah.

He probably felt I was too overconfident. But the thing is, that wasn’t true. I knew we were beatable, especially when it came to these two other teams in the league that I considered dangerous. And had we been playing against one of those, I would’ve never assumed victory ahead of time. However…..we were up against someone else. Somehow this other team snuck into the title game against us, and it was one I didn’t have much respect for. THAT was why I fully expected us to get that one last win that we needed.

You might be assuming…..hmm ok, I wonder if this is when he learned a harsh lesson about humility at such a young age (and watched this overlooked team celebrate what should’ve been their title). Well, that didn’t happen. We grinded out the same type of wire-to-wire fairly easy win that we had for most of the year, and the perfect season was complete.

This, everyone, is an example of why sports can do so much for a young kid. That season may not have been anything outside of my small hometown that year, but to those of us who were there, it was much more than that. It taught us how to work together and how to overcome adversity, and, more importantly, how doing so can lead to accomplishments that you never thought possible. Lessons that are vital for young kids to experience.

And just as important….the memory of it all. Experiencing that one magic season where you somehow persevered in every single game, and ended the unbeaten journey with gloves thrown in the air and lifting the trophy.

It still makes me smile to this day.
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  #2  
Old 05-02-2020, 05:29 AM
ClementeFanOh ClementeFanOh is online now
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Default Childhood baseball stories

John- that is a wonderful story, we need more of that in these sections. Here's mine...
This story is about my son Gabe. I helped coach his rec team when Gabe was 6-8 years old. Gabe was a reluctant player, didn't much care for "all the standing around" on defense. He also wasn't physically powerful, but he practiced and didn't give up.
Late in the season when he was 7, he was batting and hit a solid grounder past the pitcher and over second base. He could run, so he ran down the line and rounded first as the ball went between the center fielder's legs. The 3rd base coach waved him around 2nd frantically as the center fielder ran for the ball, and Gabe reached home on the youth league version of a home run. I had given up the coaching hat by that time and was wildly cheering as he crossed the plate.
As we were driving home later, Gabe innocently asked the coolest question, as he had seen me watch MLB on television. He asked, "Will my home run be on TV, daddy"? I smiled at him and said, "If it was up to me, it would be". That was a GREAT moment.

Trent King
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  #3  
Old 05-03-2020, 08:18 AM
cardsagain74 cardsagain74 is offline
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Thanks Trent. My favorite part of yours is your son innocently asking if his homer will make the TV news

You sound like the type of dad who stays totally supportive without putting pressure on a child. Mine was the same way. BUT, I did enough of that to myself for everyone. Case in point...

Epilogue to that story: when it came to remembering that season, the one thorn in my side used to be feeling like I let the team down at the plate in the championship game. Even though I had a solid start on the mound that day, my mind would zero in more on those at bats.

Then about 5 years ago, I found that season's old scorebook and looked again at what happened that day. In my four plate appearances, I walked the first three times up. Then I popped out in the bottom of the 5th, but the game was already well decided by then (so it didn't matter).

So the reality was that all of my relevant plate appearances in that game actually helped our case slightly. But my mind had always framed it the opposite way.

That was how competitive I was and how badly I wanted to excel back then (and how rough that could make me on myself!)
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Old 05-04-2020, 10:43 PM
whitehse whitehse is offline
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What a great idea for a thread.

I played several years of minor league (the year before Little League), Little League, Pony, Colt and Babe Ruth league and had some incredible times as I grew and learned to embrace the nuances of the game I had already grown to love. My dad coached many of the teams I was on but for the four years of Little League I had a coach that was good at judging talent in terms of where players should be playing and getting the most out of their ability. Being the big kid my dad stuck me behind the plate and that is where I started my early career but since I was also the tallest kid on the team my new coach decided I needed to be at first base. I loved the new position and found it was great to leave the field after a hard fought game without the myriad of bruises and occasional broken fingers one gets why wearing the tools of ignorance. I had broken three fingers behind the plate in separate games and to this day the digits on my right hand can to the Spock from Star Trek hand signal better than Leonard Nimoy could have done.

It was this same coach who put all the other pieces in the correct place and our team just seemed to run like a well-oiled machine. Our middle infield had two awesome glove men who barely missed a grounder hit anywhere near them. In addition to being an awesome fielder, I admired our shortstop for his ability to form and wear his hat just like a major leaguer would wear it. No bends on the brim and dirty, sweat stained hat bands for him as his hat was always perfect.

Our star pitcher was a kid who had those boyishly good looks that all the girls fell for and he had the attitude that one would expect from someone who had a posse of girls following him everywhere. His attitude was child like when he didn’t get the calls he felt he should and would even cost us a game a few years later in a tournament we were on track to win. But it was really fun to be playing in front of a bunch of girls who were there to not only see Alan pitch but flirt with the rest of us as well.

Our left and center fielders would run like deer and they had to as our week spot was right field and was usually manned by the one kid on the team that was more interested in looking at the butterflies that hung around the flowers beyond the outfield fence than chasing baseballs.

This team was at the top of the standings all season but we were running neck and neck with one other team in the league that seemed to be also in the midst of their season of destiny and the championship was all going to come down to one last and final game. While I can no longer remember details of that game and if I went 0 for 4 or had four hits that day but what I do remember is the final out. I remember seeing the batter tap a grounder to our short stop with the awesome hat, who fielded the ball cleanly and threw it my way in an effort to get the batter for the final out. That final play has run through my brain in slow motion for better than forty years now and I can still see the ball leaving the hand of the shortstop followed by a puff of dirt he had scooped up right behind the now dingy baseball. I can still see and sometimes I swear I can feel the ball smack right into the pocket of my red, off brand baseball glove which my dad had purchased a year earlier and was being held together with shoe laces and a piece of clothesline. I can hear the smack of leather on leather and remember the realization that I had just caught the ball, the game was over and we were now the champions. Just like so many big leaguers who I had watched with the World Series, I am my teammates all jumped straight up with our fists in the air and made our way to the growing dog pile on the mound, alternately laughing and crying as we basked in the moment.

We didn’t get a huge flashy ring for our efforts but we did get an ice cream social held in our honor and each of us was awarded an incredibly large trophy to remember the season by. I cannot speak for any of my teammates from that team but that single season and that last game were some of the greatest moments in sports I have ever experienced and the memory of that day and most notably, the final out, sits queued up on the video player of my mind, ready to be played at a moments notice.
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  #5  
Old 05-05-2020, 11:44 AM
cardsagain74 cardsagain74 is offline
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Whitehse, I love it. Plenty of parallels there, but funny you mention the ice cream thing. I left out this part of the season in my story: early on, one of the parents started taking the whole team to Dairy Queen after each game. Then that grew into a promise to take us after every win (which, let's face it, was probably even more motivation to 8-9 year olds than winning the game). So that guy ended up spending a lot of money on ice cream that year

The other thing that stands out is you celebrating your Little League title on the field. Sadly, no one really won the league on the field during my LL years. There was a regular season champion, and then a post season tournament. But no one considered the tournament winner to be the league champ. So it was just sorta vague, and nothing was celebrated on the field or officially crowned as simply winning the title that year.

That was the only hole in my LL experience, though. And that time is where my other story comes from. Maybe I'll post it too if this gets much more traction here

Last edited by cardsagain74; 05-05-2020 at 11:46 AM.
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  #6  
Old 05-06-2020, 11:13 AM
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I have a summer birthday so for whatever reason it worked out in my town's little league that I would get lumped in with kids older than me all the time. Anyway, there was this kid named Ryan who was HUGE for a 13 year old and threw what seemed like 100 at the time.

Nobody liked facing Ryan. One of my clearest memories from little league is when my team played Ryan's and they had Ryan on the mound. I was in the on deck circle and this kid named Guy was at the plate. Ryan threw his heater and nailed Guy right in the middle of his back. SPLAT! Guy went down, got up to head to first, and collapsed again. An ambulance came and took Guy away.

The game continued. Now I had to hit! After a kid just got taken away in an ambulance!

Well, I think Ryan scared himself because he let up on his pitch to me and I smacked a single. Might have been the only hit he gave up that day.
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  #7  
Old 05-10-2020, 10:47 AM
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In Little League, I split my pants stealing base. I also caught a fly ball but the glove fell off my hand (Does it still count?)
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  #8  
Old 05-10-2020, 10:56 AM
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When I was like 12 my friend and I went to a game at Shea Stadium and decided to loiter at the players exit for a few hours after the game ended. Missed the last train home and had to panhandle -- as 12 year old suburban kids -- to get money for the subway to get to the Jamaica train station. That was interesting. I remember the first player to come out was Davey Lopes of the Dodgers and HE WAS SMOKING A CIGARETTE!!!! What? What? My 12 year old brain couldn't comprehend it. He was nice to us ("Hey kids, sorry can't stop . . .need to meet someone for dinner . . ." BUT HE WAS SMOKING A BUTT. Never dawned on me that a professional athlete could smoke.

Last edited by Snapolit1; 05-11-2020 at 06:08 AM.
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  #9  
Old 05-13-2020, 08:04 PM
cesarcap cesarcap is offline
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Great thread. I didn't realize that LL was cancelled. Man, I feel so bad for these 11-13 yr olds.

In 2017, I fell snowboarding and had to get rotary cuff surgery. I was a rec coach of my 11 yr old's team and ran the town's summer sandlot program. But because I couldn't drive (my Jeep is a manual) my father in law had to drive us and my 13 yr old to all the practices and games. And oh, both did travel baseball...

We had the best spring and summer together. My father in law was a Navy doctor and we heard some awesome stories in the car rides. Practices were actually became fun when the kids had to help out more : )

Both sons made their respective Little League teams and played well. My younger son's team became rec champs that season (in spite of my coaching). My older son's 13/14 Junior League team had a great run, became NY state champions, but lost in the East Regional Finals--they were one game away from making the Junior League Little League World Series.
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Old 05-13-2020, 10:37 PM
NiceDocter NiceDocter is offline
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Watched a game on TV as a kid with the Yankees against the Washington Senators...... cant remember exactly what year but mid to late 1960s...... anyhow, I saw Mantle go 5 for 5 with I think 2 homers and a double! Never saw anything like that since......
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Old 05-15-2020, 01:19 AM
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I played baseball for years. My mom would come to most games, but my dad was always working. When I was 15, my dad finally showed up one night. I was excited. But, that night our catcher Eddie didn't show up for the game and we didn't have a backup. I was the second baseman, and we had another kid that could play there, so I volunteered to be the catcher.

The first kid that got on base tried to steal second. My throw was a perfect strike to the centerfielder, and he easily took third base. Then, he danced off of third daring me to throw, figuring I would overthrow again. But I didn't. I picked him off of third base with a good throw and a great tag by our third baseman Ricky.

I got four hits that night and we won 9 to 4. My dad was so proud that his son had played so well. Unfortunately, he never saw another game that season, and I stopped playing after 16 to get a job. But for one night...
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Old 05-15-2020, 01:31 AM
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The 1978 Clinton, Indiana Pony League champions!

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Old 05-15-2020, 01:44 AM
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And the 2018 North Natomas Little League champions. Coaching my son's team to the title was far better than when my teams won as a kid!

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Old 05-15-2020, 02:12 AM
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When I was 15, playing Babe Ruth baseball, my Clinton State Bank team faced off in a one-game playoff against the Moose Lodge for the 1st-half championship. The winner was guaranteed a berth in the year-end championship game. I played pretty much everywhere but pitcher and catcher that season, and for the title game I was stationed in left field.

I think we played 7 inning games, so in the top of the 7th we were trailing by a run and were in trouble. Moose had the bases loaded with two out and their heavy hitter, a kid named Boomer, was coming up. Things looked bleak when Boomer launched a blast to the gap in left-center field. It was a sure triple if it landed, and likely an inside the park homerun if it got by me.

It didn't.

On a dead run, just shy of the warning track, I made a leaping backhanded catch of the drive. I stumbled, did a shoulder roll, and jumped up holding my glove high in the air with a death grip on the ball. I ran back towards the infield where Boomer was standing on second base with an incredulous look on his face. He gave me a high five and congratulated me on the catch. I got a huge ovation from the stands as I got back to the dugout.

But we were still losing by a run.

Somehow, we got guys on 2nd and 3rd with one out. I came up dreaming of a game-winning hit, but instead flew out to left deep enough for a run to score to tie the game. The next hitter, Jim, lined a single to right, and we had won.

The next day at church, the dads were discussing the game among themselves. I eavesdropped, and learned that while Jim's hit was the game winner, everyone in attendance allowed that my catch was really what won the game. I will never forget hearing that if I live to be a hundred. 35 years later that memory remains vivid.
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1934 Goudey 95/96 - Gehrig 1/2.
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Old 05-15-2020, 02:12 AM
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When I was 15, playing Babe Ruth baseball, my Clinton State Bank team faced off in a one-game playoff against the Moose Lodge for the 1st-half championship. The winner was guaranteed a berth in the year-end championship game. I played pretty much everywhere but pitcher and catcher that season, and for the title game I was stationed in left field.

I think we played 7 inning games, so in the top of the 7th we were trailing by a run and were in trouble. Moose had the bases loaded with two out and their heavy hitter, a kid named Boomer, was coming up. Things looked bleak when Boomer launched a blast to the gap in left-center field. It was a sure triple if it landed, and likely an inside the park homerun if it got by me.

It didn't.

On a dead run, just shy of the warning track, I made a leaping backhanded catch of the drive. I stumbled, did a shoulder roll, and jumped up holding my glove high in the air with a death grip on the ball. I ran back towards the infield where Boomer was standing on second base with an incredulous look on his face. He gave me a high five and congratulated me on the catch. I got a huge ovation from the stands as I got back to the dugout.

But we were still losing by a run.

Somehow, we got guys on 2nd and 3rd with one out. I came up dreaming of a game-winning hit, but instead flew out to left deep enough for a run to score to tie the game. The next hitter, Jim, lined a single to right, and we had won.

The next day at church, the dads were discussing the game among themselves. I eavesdropped, and learned that while Jim's hit was the game winner, everyone in attendance allowed that my catch was really what won the game. I will never forget hearing that if I live to be a hundred. 35 years later that memory remains vivid.
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T201 Collection 50/50.
1934 Goudey 95/96 - Gehrig 1/2.
1908 Cubs Collection - All but Andy Coakley
T206 Collection: 52 cards
1953 Bowman: 160/160
E90-1. 1/121

Nationals attended: 3 (2 with Otis)
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Old 05-15-2020, 02:12 AM
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Double post
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T201 Collection 50/50.
1934 Goudey 95/96 - Gehrig 1/2.
1908 Cubs Collection - All but Andy Coakley
T206 Collection: 52 cards
1953 Bowman: 160/160
E90-1. 1/121

Nationals attended: 3 (2 with Otis)

Last edited by mattsey9; 05-15-2020 at 02:16 AM.
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Old 06-19-2020, 03:30 PM
cardsagain74 cardsagain74 is offline
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Someone found this yesterday (our team from my original post).

So, so 80s....

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Old 06-19-2020, 04:34 PM
1952boyntoncollector 1952boyntoncollector is offline
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I was a poor fielder with a bad arm and couldnt hit but i was fast so I was able to make a few teams based on one lone ability.

However i was able to win 2 games back to back with bases loaded and 0-2 count and 2 outs with the game tied. How does someone who cant hit do that?

Easy. i got HBP and led team in that category even though i barely started. Don Baylor was my hero and there is an art to getting hit in the right place. I doubt I hit .100 that year but my OBP had to be .200 with some walks and HBP....i had several games with three HBPs.....those were my hat tricks... I also could steal bases but dont remember any stealing feats....i think was hBP 6 times in 3 games.. .

. i also dont think I ever had a real double and in the OF i never had an assist.
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Old 06-19-2020, 07:12 PM
cardsagain74 cardsagain74 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1952boyntoncollector View Post
I was a poor fielder with a bad arm and couldnt hit but i was fast so I was able to make a few teams based on one lone ability.

However i was able to win 2 games back to back with bases loaded and 0-2 count and 2 outs with the game tied. How does someone who cant hit do that?

Easy. i got HBP and led team in that category even though i barely started. Don Baylor was my hero and there is an art to getting hit in the right place. I doubt I hit .100 that year but my OBP had to be .200 with some walks and HBP....i had several games with three HBPs.....those were my hat tricks... I also could steal bases but dont remember any stealing feats....i think was hBP 6 times in 3 games.. .

. i also dont think I ever had a real double and in the OF i never had an assist.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tm7LpRyKa1A
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Old 06-19-2020, 09:18 PM
Jamie_h Jamie_h is offline
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Great stories so far guys!

When I was 11, I made the 11-12 year old all star team. We ended up winning state and going to the Dixie Youth World Series in Florida. We got our brains beat in there, but what an adventure it was!
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Old 06-20-2020, 04:23 AM
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I don't know that this is what everyone is looking for but its something that resonates with a bunch of us.............

Sometime back in the 80s, as a young shy guy, I played baseball, it turned into an outlet.
Thats just "what we did", and I was a very enthusiastic golfer, and ultimately I chose golf (and clubhouse baseball kid) btw.
I always had people I talked to in the clubhouse, the Richmond Braves had a ton of people come through, not just for the Braves,(I was a bat boy for the Braves at the time) but the other teams.

I spoke to an absolute bunch of players, Mookie Wilson, Dwight Gooden, Dale Murphy, ( a TON of Braves players) but the one that stands out was Kirby Puckett.
Most have no idea, but he was "that guy" trust me.
One night we were settling things in the visiting clubhouse, it was just a "we are playing moment".
I walked up towards the front, and KIRBY PUCKETT himself asked me something, I will never forget it.
He said "How are YOU chief?" He said it loud and clear...... I had no idea he was talking to me, momentarily.
I looked over both shoulders, I couldn't believe he was talking to some poor clumsy white kid.
He said "Yeah, how are YOU chief?"
I couldn't believe it, he was such a "bigger than life" guy.

I just shrugged it off, but he was very accommodating.
Such a nice guy....................



-Scott
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Old 06-21-2020, 07:19 AM
1952boyntoncollector 1952boyntoncollector is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: https://www.psacard.com/psasetregistry/mysetregistry/set/348387
Posts: 5,077
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Originally Posted by DJCollector1 View Post
I don't know that this is what everyone is looking for but its something that resonates with a bunch of us.............

Sometime back in the 80s, as a young shy guy, I played baseball, it turned into an outlet.
Thats just "what we did", and I was a very enthusiastic golfer, and ultimately I chose golf (and clubhouse baseball kid) btw.
I always had people I talked to in the clubhouse, the Richmond Braves had a ton of people come through, not just for the Braves,(I was a bat boy for the Braves at the time) but the other teams.

I spoke to an absolute bunch of players, Mookie Wilson, Dwight Gooden, Dale Murphy, ( a TON of Braves players) but the one that stands out was Kirby Puckett.
Most have no idea, but he was "that guy" trust me.
One night we were settling things in the visiting clubhouse, it was just a "we are playing moment".
I walked up towards the front, and KIRBY PUCKETT himself asked me something, I will never forget it.
He said "How are YOU chief?" He said it loud and clear...... I had no idea he was talking to me, momentarily.
I looked over both shoulders, I couldn't believe he was talking to some poor clumsy white kid.
He said "Yeah, how are YOU chief?"
I couldn't believe it, he was such a "bigger than life" guy.

I just shrugged it off, but he was very accommodating.
Such a nice guy....................



-Scott
cool i went to a few richmond braves games in the 80s..i worked in a D.C. area hotel and met a bunch of people from detroit including an alleged player in in the family and they were all from michigan..i wrote the last name down just to see if that player ever panned out, like 10 years later i came across my writing and it said 'Smoltz'
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  #23  
Old 06-21-2020, 07:21 AM
1952boyntoncollector 1952boyntoncollector is offline
ja.ke liebe.rman
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: https://www.psacard.com/psasetregistry/mysetregistry/set/348387
Posts: 5,077
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Originally Posted by cardsagain74 View Post
he didnt take hit hit in the right place and homer is clearly off the plate.....trick is to get hit much closer to the plate and on an easy part of the body and/or body armor....checks swings give you a good excuse to be on top of the plate and still get HBP and hard to get out the way, at least in Umpire eyes...

Last edited by 1952boyntoncollector; 06-21-2020 at 07:22 AM.
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