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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

PICKED A GOOD ONE…ballgame that is

PICKED A GOOD ONE…ballgame that is
Baseball is a great game, and there is nothing like watching a game at the ballpark.  Before my time, kids went to major league games all the time.  Bleacher seats were affordable and a hot dog and a soda could be purchased with blue collar wages.  Sadly that is no longer true.

I only went to Yankee Stadium once when I was a kid.  It was a double header against the Orioles and the Yankees won both games.  My hero, Mickey Mantle, hit a home run in the second game, and I went home six inches off the ground.

I took my two boys ( before Spencer) to the ballpark only one time.  We went to a game on July 15, 1990.  I think I got free tickets through work so I only had to pay for parking, hot dogs and sodas.  It was still probably more than I could comfortably afford.  So Mike, Matt, myself and I believe their two friends, probably Kyle and Ray drove to the big park.  It was the Yankees against the Kansas City Royals.

I don’t remember who won the game, what I do remember and I am sure the boys all remember, was watching two of the greatest athletes of our time play against each other.  Two of the only athletes to be legitimate stars in two different great American sports played against each other.

Bo Jackson, the Heisman award winner as the best college football player of 1985, was in centerfield for the Royals.  Bo was freakishly good at all sports.  He was one of the fastest runners in the world and his strength was legendary.  He played professional football for the Oakland Raiders and Baseball for the Royals.

Dion "Neon Dion" Sanders played centerfield for the Yankees.  Dion was to become an all pro defensive back for several professional football teams, become a Hall-of-famer and he may well have been the best defensive back in football of all time.

It was exciting to see these great two-sport athletes, probably the last players who will ever start for professional teams in two different sports, play in the same game at the same position. 

They put on a show!

Bo Jackson started the show.  In his first at bat he hit a tremendous homerun into the bleachers deep in left field.  The second time at bat, Bo launched a huge shot into the right field upper deck for his second homerun.  In his third at bat, Bo hit a ball into centerfield which it seemed would never come down; three at bats, three homeruns.  Even the hometown fans were waiting for his fourth at bat, to see if the great Bo Jackson could hit four homeruns in one game.

Bo never came to bat a fourth time in that game.  In the eighth inning, Neon Dion Sanders lined a shot to center field.  Bo ran in and dove for the ball, but it was hit too hard and too low.  The drive got by Bo and went to the wall.  Dion rounded the bases with speed that perhaps only Bo Jackson could match and scored on a rare inside-the-park homerun.

Bo was hurt trying to make the catch.  He was out of baseball for six weeks.  When he returned, in his first at bat since the injury, Bo hit a homerun.  He hit four homeruns in four at bats with the fourth coming six weeks after the third.

I wish I could have taken my boys to more big league games, but at least I knew how to pick them.  One of the greatest athletes the world has ever seen hit three consecutive homeruns, one to each field, and a football Hall-of-famer hit a rare inside-the-park homerun in the same game.

Many years before this game, my father went to Yankee Stadium for the only time in his life.  It was a World Series game.  The Yankees won.  Mickey Mantle hit a homerun.  Don Larson pitched the only no-hitter in World Series history.

Two years ago, Spencer was invited by a friend for his first game at the new Yankee Stadium.  Derrick Jeter hit a homerun, the three thousandth hit in his career.

We don’t go to very many games, but we sure know how to pick them.



  1. Wow! You make baseball actually sound exciting. Maybe I've only seen the dull games? Maybe I should let you pick the games for me to watch. ;)


  2. I haven't been to a lot of games, but when I did go was when it was an affordable option -- you could decide at the last minute to go to the game -- I went to a few on warm summer evenings and though I don't remember the ins and outs of the games I saw, I do remember how easy going and pleasant an evening -- and I also saw some of the great legends of the time. It's a shame that something so 'all-American' and 'ordinary' should now be out of reach except for extra special and expensive occasions.

  3. I actually haven't got a clue what you are talking about. I don't know anything about the game, haven't heard of any of the players and have never even seen a game on TV BUT - your enthusiasm for it all still kept me reading to the end of the post despite all of that and that's a pretty rare talent too!

  4. i remember both of those players in their heyday. sadly, today dion makes more news with his messy divorce than anything else.

  5. I saw Juan Marichal try to brain Johnny Roseboro with a bat at Candlestick Park

  6. I love baseball but one game that I wish I had missed was the opening World Series game in San Francisco when the Loma Prieta earthquake hit. Not so much fun!!

  7. Wow. Just wow.

    You certainly do know how to pick them. And Sarah is right, your passion showed. Well done Joe!

  8. When I was growing up baseball was still the great American pastime. Perhaps there was never anything innocent about the game but it sure did seem more wholesome and all-American back then. I think the huge salaries are getting in the way.

  9. Seeing a game in person is such an event! I don't really watch it on tv, but the times I've had a chance to go to see the Indians play when I lived in Cleveland was pretty exciting! I've seen a couple of minor league games too and it's just as much fun.

  10. It is sad that it is no longer affordable, and mostly about money today. Going to the park often left terrific memories in my life. I have seen some of the greatest play the game. Maybe I'll send you an e-mail. I have some wonderful stories to tell. Thanks for the post!