I did not cry for my father. He passed, surrounded by family,
in a hospice bed at my brother’s house, July 16. My eulogy, an
altered ‘Like A Rock” by B. Seger, did cause tears to flow in others,
but not me. Beauty…not grief… has always triggered tears.
Sunday, Sept. 15 watching the DVD ” 61* “. Billy Crystal’s story
of the epic battle of R. Maris and M. Mantle to break Babe Ruth’s HR
record of 60 in 154 games’ in the year 1961. To hit 61 in ‘ 61. Get it!
After all these years, I still remember the line up. T. Kubik at short,
B. Richardson at 2nd (Sumter, SC ) Whitey Ford on mound. big Moose
Scouren on 1st; M&M in the outfield. Contrary to the papers of the
the day,they liked, supported and respected each other. So did catcher
Yogi Berra ! Please Goggle his syntax mutilations. Worse than Trumps.
But redeemed by being so funny and joyful.
The top of the 9th in Baltimore in game 154 for the Yanks was one
of those fictional sports movie scripts that became real. Played in a
headwind from a hurricane well offshore , Maris crushes 3 HR balls …
only to see 2 of them blown back for outs. So he has 59, with Mantle in
a hospital( with 54) for the 3 game series The best knuckle ball pitcher in
the majors is brought in( when the Yanks bat around) just for Maris for his
fifth time at bat, twice in the 9th. Maris was a first year player with the
team,and not understood or liked by many fans, for topping their beloved
Mickey. And then…And then…along came Jones…
The credits rolled. Then a dedication by Billy : ” For my Father,who
took my brothers & me to our first game in Yankee Stadium, May 1956. “
Flashback : Key West, FLA 1958 Spring training camp, NY Yankees.
I am in Little League with my Father as one of coaches, as later in Pony and
Colt leagues . DAD takes me, and maybe my brother. Whitey Ford
signs my new glove, and later is distraught when his foul ball down first base
line hits a woman in the face, and she is taken to the hospital. It took
those 61 years of forgotten memories … for the tears to finally flow.