"Baseball Essays"

Submit your essays, stories, memories or reflections about the game, its history, players or teams. The best submissions will be posted here and a monthly winner will be chosen by the page author. Next winner will be announced on 2/1/00. Winner will receive "The Glory of Their Times-Lawrence Ritter", which is a chronicle of the early 20th century days of the game. Click on email link below to submit stories. Please attempt to keep them under 500 words in length.


November Winner!

A crisp October night.....1996...or was it '97?.....playoffs.....ALDS......the Tribe and the Orioles battling it out for a spot in the ALCS....This alone is more than enough to guarantee a memorable evening...But what made this evening even more special to me was the fact that the "powers that be", who cautiously guard tickets to Indian games in this town, had smiled on me and i had two tickets to this game...never mind they were in the nosebleeds.....I had the privelege of taking my sister, who had never been to Jacobs field before, to her "First" game....magical things were about to unfold...bottom of the 9th, the Tribe is down...Sandy Alomar comes to bat...Sandy had been having a career year that year.....we all expected something big to happen.....Sandy comes to the plate.....smashes a three run homer...fireworks explode..... the crowd erupts.....it was one of those rare moments when the world seems right.....the details surrounding it will surely become fuzzy as the years unfold...I dont even recall which game it was in the series.....I know we didn't clinch the series that night.....but that didnt matter to me at that particular moment.....that glorious feeling will be remembered always! Being able to share this moment with my sister is what made it truly memorable~!!!
(Submitted by rn1ohio@aol.com)

December Winner!

Starting from the age of about zero, something entered my life which I will never forget; the game of baseball. This sport brought me my first good day, my first favorite thing, my first hotdog, and most important, my first hero. I can still see my dad taking me down to his office (at Candlestick Park) for the first time ever to meet someone, my potential hero. Walking down the hallway holding my dad's hand and my older brother hopping along on the other side, I was nagging daddy to tell me who it was we were meeting. Of course he wouldn't. After walking past a few offices we came to the one were I was introduced to an old friend of my dad's and a new friend of mine. Although I didn't know he was my hero at that specific moment, I still knew there was something special about him. That something special has stayed with him from the time I met him to now and on, most likely, for the rest of his life. I can remember this day so vividly because I liked it, I had a lot of fun with him, my dad, and my brother. I was sort of in awe, though, since he played professional baseball. Now, after I heard that I really, really liked this guy, and I guess I had more fun then. At that point I probably considered him a hero to me because I knew him, that's all it took, I knew a pro ball player; and of course what more could any kid want in a hero. I grew up though. To me, a hero is a person that you can look up to and admire, someone who gives you a "good vibe" so to speak. My hero, the person I look up to and admire, is Al Rosen. Al Rosen is a man who is great for many reasons and to many people. He's a man who carries a "great vibe". He's a real hero. He played Major League Baseball for the Cleveland Indians and later worked for the San Francisco Giants. In the beginning, when I first met him, I mostly only liked him because he played baseball(anything related to baseball attracted me), then I actually got to know him and spend time with him. I realized that there was more to him than just being a super star hero, like Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, or any of those guys, the guys who I only see from a distance. When I was first introduced to Al I was amazed and impressed. How could I not be, he played my favorite sport. When I got to get to know him better, I started liking him less for baseball and more for himself. (I still feel proud that I know a ballplayer in person; one that knows who I really am.) I know Al as a nice, generous, and astoundingly interesting person. That is why he is my hero. He's wonderful. He has shared many interesting stories with me and my favorite is the one about the all-star game he played in. In at least one of the years when Al played baseball he made it to the all-star game. Sometime before this game he broke his thumb and most likely wasn't going to play. He did end up playing because the game was in his home town, Cleveland, and being a legend there there was no way he could let down his fans, or on the other hand his teammates and himself. His first time up he struckout; he wouldn't be taken out though because he told the manager he couldn't be taken out after a strikeout. He could do better than that. He got another chance and at the second atbat he hit a homerun; he wouldn't be taken out then either because he told the manager that he couldn't be taken out after a shot like that. (After every atbat the manager wanted to take Al out but Al kept finding intelligent reasons why he had to stay in.) Now on his third atbat he hit another dinger and stayed in for the rest of the game. Usually in an all-star game nobody stays in the entire game but he did, even injured. I think it's cool that in the toughest game of the year, aside from the World Series, with a broken thumb he hit two homeruns and would never let the manager take him out. He wouldn't give up! This was not his only great achievement or his only story. The last time I saw him he told me another story and this one was about when he was the general manager of the New York Yankees and someone played a horrible trick on him. He was told that his all-star pitcher broke his arm. Al flipped out and he went to see for himself what had happened to his player. When he got down there and saw the so-called pitcher, he had a cast on his arm. Al didn't know this, but it was the pitcher's identical twin brother. The team kept Al going for awhile and then finally they told him. He was stunned, but relieved it wasn't true. I went to his house on April 10th, 1998 and heard that story. When I was there, I got to see his MVP (Most Valuable Player) award, which is totally amazing. It is not a trophy (which I thought) but actually a wooden plaque that says 'Al Rosen MVP' and the year and his team. I also got to see pictures of him playing ball, on magazines, and with other players or people I know, and even with my dad. We, my dad and brother and I, couldn't stay long because Al had something to do the next day, which was sort of upsetting, but at least I got to see him again, even if it was for a short time. My dad and Al are good friends and my dad introduced us. They both worked for the San Francisco Giants and that's where they met. Bob Lurie was the owner of the Giants, Al was the president, and my dad was the executive vice president. I always thought of Al as at the top of the heap though, instead of Bob Lurie because I am so much closer to Al. During the "Stick"(Candlestick) days he created a "father figure" impression on me. He didn't take my dad's place, but he sure did add to it. Al would watch my brother and me play at "The Stick" as we would start in my dad's office and work our way down the hall to pass Bob's office and then to Al's and back and forth like that all day or night during a game. (If the adults could talk us into watching the game then we would have fun doing that, but my dad had a supersized bat and ball so Chris(my brother) and I had a blast playin` with that). Sometimes in Al's office we would stop and look at all the trophies and pictures he had. It was pretty cool and I sure loved when we were young and little enough to just screw around in the offices with various props people gave us to keep us busy. Since I was small enough Al picked me up and showed me the stuff he had way up high on the top few shelves. After the Giants were sold mostly everybody went different ways, but they mostly kept in touch. Especially my dad and Al, since they're good friends. Whenever my dad talks on the phone to Al at the end of the conversation Al always says, "Don't let those kids forget me," referring to my brother and me. It is pretty unlikely that someone like Al, who made such an impact on our lives, would be forgotten by his littlest, biggest fans. He would hate for me to forget him and vice versa, I would hate for him to forget me. Whenever I do baseball related things, playing it, or talking about it, or even thinking about it, his name always comes up. And I was thinking of a dream team to make and what do you know, I thought of him first. I made a dream baseball team with all my favorite players. (Mostly retired). Al was basically the reason I made the team at all, I thought of him and knew that at least 8 more players would make a dream team. Al is my number one player; he should be, he's been retired since 1956 and still gets fan mail and gets asked to sign things, baseballs, pictures, cards, etc. The name Al Rosen is used for or in baseball movies and shows. He's real popular. (Once on the "I Love Lucy" show Bob Hope was distracted by Lucy at a ball game and when the crowd went wild he asked what had happened. Lucy said that little men were running around the bases. Bob looked up and said, "Oh great, the one time I'm at a game I have to miss Al Rosen hit a home run!") I also got Matt Williams, he plays third too; but since he came up as a shortstop, I put him there. Al is my all time favorite player, Matt is another favorite player of mine, and I know him(he's really nice) but he just doesn't compare. My whole team consists of Greg Maddux as starting pitcher (Tom Glavine, relief); Johnny Bench, catching; Will "The Thrill" Clark, first; Joe Morgan, second; Matt Williams, shortstop; Al Rosen, third; Hank Aaron, left field; Willie Mays, center field; and Frankie Robinson, right field. If there is inter-league play then Ted Williams would be the designated hitter. Dusty Baker is the Manager, my dad is the assistant general manager and a coach, and I own the team and make all the important decisions. Al is really important and special to me and I'm a big fan of his, but I have to say this along with many other people I'm certain; his family, and friends, and relatives but also people who don't really know him personally, like baseball spectators and all his other fans. I love his baseball talent but I'm more a fan of him than what he did. "Don't let those kids forget me." I can't ever forget him, and never will. Al is the best; the best hero, the best ballplayer, and definitely the best guy I know. I really like hangin` with him when I get the opportunity. I hardly ever get to see him so I hope I can soon. "Al, I won't forget you; Al, I love you."
(Submitted by Loopy711@aol.com)

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