First Baseball Memory

Inspired by the comments on the previous entry, what was your first baseball memory?

Mine is 1966, the Orioles in four, over the Dodgers. I was standing in our very narrow kitchen when I heard the news, but I was too young to understand how truly extraordinary it was.

Then came 1969 . . .


10 thoughts on “First Baseball Memory

  1. I don’t have a first baseball memory. My early sports memories aren’t of the sports events themselves, but of spending time with my dad at Lakers games.

    I learned the names of Wilt Chamberlain, Gail Goodrich, and Jerry Brown. The rest of the game… well, I was out with my dad. The rest of the blur didn’t much matter.

  2. >>>>Mine is 1966, the Orioles in four, over the Dodgers.<<<<


    While I have earlier baseball memories, my first World Series memory is also the ’66 Series. The unlikely hero of that Series was a pitcher named Moe Drabowsky, who came in in relief and set all sorts of strikeout records. I wrote about Moe in my most recent baseball book, and got a lovely series of emails from his daughter about what it was like to grow up with a professional baseball player as a dad.

    Now I have related baseball memories that span nearly forty years!


  3. My first baseball memory…’89. Great O’s year, robbed of the pennant at the last minute by Toronto. Anyway, I was 9 years old and in great seats, just over the third-base-side dugout, and I got beaned by a foul ball. Total trauma, were it not for the fact that it was pitched by Pete Harnisch and hit by Ken Griffey, Jr. in his rookie year. Very exciting. Oh, and I kept the ball.

  4. My first is going to an Orioles game with some tickets my mother won in a raffle. Turns out we were sitting ten rows behind the plate, and that John Lithgow was sitting next to me.

    My second is going to see a Red Sox game where the Red Sox won on a walk off grand slam to win the game. We stopped in a drug store 20 minutes after the game, and the next day’s newspaper was alread there, with the headline of the Red Sox game results

  5. My first real memory of baseball was 1985, the year the Blue Jays first made it to the playoffs. When I think of baseball, it is that team–George Bell, Jesse Barfield, Dave Steib, and on and on–that comes to mind. The palpable excitement that this was going to be their year. Then came the playoffs, and my first taste of bitter disappointment, which to a six-year-old, is a very big deal indeed.

    Although I don’t remember this particular story, my father often talks about the first game I ever attended, a spring-training game in Florida. The Expos were playing, and my family decamped to the stadium to watch. I was perhaps three or four, and at that point in my life, I was what some folks call a <I>vilde chaya</I>, constantly told to pipe down or keep quiet.

    But watching the game, I realized something. People were cheering, and loudly at that. So I turned to my father and asked quietly, “daddy, is it OK to yell here?”

    He said yes. And oh, I was the happiest little girl that day.

  6. Patrick — I remember that weekend well. It had been such a wonderful season, after the debacle of ’88 when the O’s set the consecutive losing streak for a season’s start, and the team was so full of unlikely heroes. It was like a good baseball movie. Except for the losing part.

  7. Mickey Tettleton! The name alone brings back a burst of wonderful memories. What was the cereal he ate? Fruit Loops? I also liked Joe Orsulak and homegrown pitcher Davey Johnson.

    And I’m always shocked when the Glenn Davis trade doesn’t make the top 10 of worst-ever deals.

  8. Laura–Among my other memories of that season (speaking of Pete Harnisch) is that other B’more rookies that year included Curt Schilling and Steve Finley. What followed with them set the stage for my favorite example of one of our local baseball curses: we’re where lots of good old ballplayers go to hurt themselves and end their careers. Harnisch, Schilling, and Finley went to Houston for Glenn Davis, our pre-Palmeiro first-baseman.

    But yes, the unlikely heroes of that year mostly never earned hero status before or since. Mickey Tettleton with 12 home runs in April; Gregg Olson with a zillion saves, the best curve in baseball, and the worst temper outside the NHL. For a nine-year-old, it was a year of total baseball bliss.

  9. Is it possible to have more than one “first” baseball memory–like “unlimited seconds” advertised at cafeterias?

    My absolutely first baseball memories revolve around radio broadcasts of Tigers games by Harry Heilmann on WJR, which was the link most of us had in the hinterlands to Detroit. My Dad was an incurably optimisting and loyal Tigers fan (it seems to be in the genes). His favorite player, and therefore my first hero was Hank Greenberg (I was a very small child). I have been fascinated by the anti-Semitism that Hank had heaped on him, especially because Dad’s versions of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” included the line “So let’s root,root, root for Hank Greenberg.”

    I went to my first game in 1950 or 51 at Briggs (Later Tiger) Stadium. It was an odd and memorable game between the Tigers and the White Sox. “Dizzy” Trout threw one of the pitches in an intentional pass with nobody on base into the stands. Another unlikely hero, “Hoot” Evers, hit an inside the park HR. But what I remember most is walking out into the stands and seeing the beautiful grass and the players as human beings rather than imaginary radio characters.

    I have lots more memories and heroes (Al Kaline is my all-time hero). I have fond memories of cheap seats with my kids at Memorial Stadium and my son getting baseball cards autographed by Belanger, Baylor and others–including his “unlikely” hero, Kiko Garcia.

    Funny, I don’t have many fond memories of Camden Yards, except the relief of finishing a couple of 5ks there. I’ve not been to the new Tiger Stadium (I can’t get Comerica Park past my lips.)

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