Monday, April 6, 2015 – Opening Day MLB


Monday, April 6, 2015 – Opening Day MLB

Take me out to the ballgame; take me out with crowd; buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks; I don’t care if we never get back; we will root, root for the home team; if they don’t win it’s a shame; cause it’s one, two, three strikes you’re out at the old ballgame.

Opening day of Major League Baseball.  My father, dear Honeyboy (HB), thought it should be a national holiday.  That day ranked right up there with the opening of deer season. I am pretty sure the reason MISD got that day off was during the years he was president of the school board.  Talk about your local control.

Granted, I am aware that last evening the St. Louis and Chicago Cubs played. But my father was a purist and did not believe opening day, or even baseball should be played under the lights.  However, he had no difficulty with the game being played indoors, when his beloved Houston Astros were less than an hour from his home and tickets were cheap.

But it is a special day and my memories of him and his love for baseball surface on opening day. As he aged and other memories faded into a distant past, there was always one story that never wavered and we, at least me, never tired of hearing.  It began with “Honeyboy, tell me the story about when you went to the World Series.” He would get that look on his face and you knew he was there and reliving it.  It went something like this:

We had just moved to Texas the year before. I was working at the sawmill. It was October 1946. The auditors from Houston had been at the sawmill all week looking at the books.  I had been real nervous because I was the bookkeeper.  But it all turned out good, and as they were leaving, one of them said, “Son, here are two tickets to the first two games to the World Series in St. Louis.  If you can get somebody to go with you, they are yours.”

I said, “Oh I can find somebody.” I ran to the commissary to show Cecil (Groves) and ask him to go with me. Cecil looked at the tickets and said, “Duff, these are for Sunday and Monday. Today is Friday. How will we get there in time?”

When I said we will fly, he turned me down because he was scared to fly. So I went home and told your mother, “I am going to the World Series.”

Course she had all kinds of objections. Things like – you are going to be gone almost a week. Or like I did not have a place to stay. I told her Mr. Henry OKed it and I would sleep outside the ballpark if necessary, but I was going to the World Series.

But she took me to the airport. (Hobby in Houston) I remember I almost missed my flight and there was only one seat left.

It turned out that he sat next to a man from St. Louis who had been in Houston all week on business.

We got to talking and he said “If you will share your extra tickets, you can stay at my house and we will go together.” So I stayed at his house. His wife drove us to the ballpark and picked us up. She even did my laundry so it would be clean when I got home.”

So who did you see play?

I saw the St. Louis Cardinals play the Boston Red Sox in the first two games of the 1946 World Series in Sportsman’s Park. The Boston Red Sox won game one 3 -2 in ten innings. But St. Louis won game two 3 to zero.

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And wait until you hear about those games and the 1946 World Series itself. But that is for today.

Meanwhile take a look at the roster for the Boston Red Sox. That outfielder Ted Williams was pretty good, I understand.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/BOS/1946-roster.shtml#appearances::none

The St. Louis Rosters looks pretty good too.  Number six is named Stan Musial and there was a catcher named Joe Garagiola.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/STL/1946-roster.shtml

Right now I must choose some teams to follow this baseball season. Now I have not followed MLB in years, but I choose the four teams listed below to follow this year:

  • The San Diego Padres – Andrew Cashner (P) is from Conroe and a family friend. He is not pitching today while the Padres are playing the LA Dodgers. My father hated the Dodgers. I do not think he ever forgave them for the move to the West Coast.
  • The St. Louis Cardinals – Aside from the Houston Astros, my father’s favorite team. Probably had something to do with 1946 WS.
  • The Boston Red Sox – In spite of being in the American League, one of HB’s favorite teams. Again, probably had something to do with 1946 WS.
  • The Oakland Athletics, who play the Texas Rangers tonight. Sorry, RL, but I have been a closet A’s fan since the days of Rolle Fingers.

But I remember the rules for selecting teams to follow and to pull for.  As my father taught me  –  “Pull for any team that plays the New York Yankees.”

Batter Up! Play Ball!

2 responses to “Monday, April 6, 2015 – Opening Day MLB

  1. I used to LOVE watching Saturday baseball on tv with Dizzy Dean and PeeWee Reese as commentators. Loved the Brooklyn Dodgers but NEVER the Yankees!

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  2. Astros Win!!! Astros Win!!!! Opening Day Win! HB had never been on an airplane until that day in 1946. He never again saw the man from St. Louis with whom he shared the ticket and stayed at their home. (Can you imagine staying in a strangers’ home in this day and time.) But he and the gentleman kept up with each other the rest of their lives through phone calls and postal mail. Pat and I were in San Francisco during the 90’s and arranged, with the help of kids at home, to fly HB out there for a couple of weeks. We took him to a ball game….LA Dodgers vs the SF Giants. He put on his Astro cap and strutted around Giant stadium like he was one of the players.
    When I took him to make his funeral arrangements, you would have thought he was buying a new car. He knocked on all the caskets and when he finally decided on the one, asked the funeral director if he thought the t.v. reception would be good whereas he could watch his Astros. When I assured him that where he was going he could watch the Astros from above. He grinned from ear to ear and said “That’s right!!!” Play Ball, HB!!!!!

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