Saturday, March 26, 2011

Those magic moments

No, I’m not channeling old music. I’m talking about those experiences you’ve had that somehow get engraved on your memory. Baseball, because it’s a much more leisurely game (as opposed to, say, tennis or hockey), lends itself to allowing one to savor moments, allowing them get stored forever in the depths of your cranium.

I’d like to share a few of mine with you. In the comments section at the bottom of this posting, please feel free to add some of your own. I’m sure they’ll be enlightening.

Here are five of mine in no particular order:

Reggie Jackson’s three home runs against The Dodgers in the 1977 World Series. We didn’t own a TV, so I was at someone’s house to watch this, but I still remember the camera angle on that amazing third home run. It was from low and behind the plate and I just sat there watching the ball disappear into the night. Magical. (Sidebar: Who was the person who dubbed Reggie Jackson “Mr. October”? Do you know the answer?)

The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! No, I don’t remember being there for “The Shot Heard 'Round the World”, since I was all of 4 months old, but I did read a book on it (sorry, I can’t remember the name of it. Anyone?), and I’ve listened to the call by Russ Hodges’ numerous times, but that had to be one of the most exciting ends to a season in any sport in the past century.

Joe Carter’s home run that ended the 1993 World Series. We had dinner guests over that evening, but I had our usually unconnected TV on upstairs so our boys could watch the game. I snuck up there whenever I could and happened to see this towering home run. Tom Cheek’s call of it still sends shivers down my back.

George Brett and the pine tar bat incident. This memory also includes John because I’d gone over to his place with my wife (who also was a damn fine ball player) to kick the old pill around a little and walked into his place. The Yankees vs. The Royals was on the box and we sat there in total amazement as George Brett went completely berserk when his home run was nullified and he was called out. I believe to this day that if he’d had a gun he would have shot Tim McClelland. Actually, it’s amazing he didn’t try to strangle him, he was that angry.

The Hogtown Bombers win the championship! Okay, it’s not major leagues but I still clearly remember the first of our team's two league championships in 1994. The game was at Lion’s Park down near the Humber River in west end Toronto, a fairly warm September Sunday. I was catching and the final out was a called strike. I remember it was a bit high and yanked my glove as far down as I could so we’d be sure to get the call. I needn’t have bothered. I was so excited I didn’t even notice that the batter had swung right through it.

The Professor


John the Tomahawk Trembath said...

WOW! Rick I sure do remember the pine tar. Just watched it again. Glad we saw this together. To bad the Yanks lost in the replay 25 days later.
Of course I remember the shout heard around Toronto. I had just finished playing a concert and we had a TV set up. Rushed in just in time to see Carter hit the ball off the "Wild Thing" and jump around the bases. I jumped too!
With Larry T, I watched the Rocket fan 18 your seats in 500s. Sorry you weren't there, Rick.
One more. Larry and I ( with my Dad) saw the last game the Jay's were to play at the storied Tiger's Stadium. We met the players under the stands and I walked the field for the first time. I actually bumped into a tree called Kirk Gibson. Still solid. A truly wonderful time.
We could fill all the blogs with great moments in ball. That's where the passion comes from. Thanks for this Rick.

Rick Blechta said...

I saw the remainder of that game on TV, too while I was visiting with the in-laws in NY. The game really ended with a whimper.

Let's get some more great memories, folks. You're turn!

Rick Blechta said...

And who knows the answer to my Mr. October question?

John the Tomahawk Trembath said...

I think it was Thurman Munson. Not sure but that sounds right. Cannot remember the year.

Rick Blechta said...

Yes! And the crowd roars its approval. It was indeed Munson. I wonder if it was meant kindly, though...

Will Braund said...

My most vivid memory is seeing my hero Mickey Mantle hit a home run at Yankee Stadium in 1968. It was a regular season game - the Yanks were awful in '68 so they had no post-season games in those days. I grew up in London, Ontario which is two hours from Detroit, and listening to Ernie Harwell do the Tiger broadcasts was pretty special. Going to Tiger home games was great too, they had the most amazing hot dogs. The Mick hit one for me there too.
My worst TV moment was watching Bill Mazeroski beat the Yankees in 1960. My best TV moments have to be Willie McCovey lining out to Bobby Richardson to end the '62 Series, the pennant-winning Chris Chambliss homer (described by Howard Cosell) in the 1976 ALCS against the Royals, Bucky Dent's single game playoff homer against the hated Red Sox in '78, and the 1996 Game Four Jim Leyritz homer against the Braves. All were dramatic moments. As for melodrama ... I happened to be watching the Saturday afternoon game in which Billy Martin pulled Reggie Jackson off the field for dogging it and the two nearly came to blows in the dugout. That was entertainment.

Rick Blechta said...

Um, that should have been "Your turn!" a few comments above...