Thursday, August 19, 2010

Love of Grandpa & Baseball

I was 11 years old in 1955. Growing up in Houston, Texas meant that I was a fan of the Houston minor league baseball team, the Houston Buffaloes, of "Buffs" as the locals called them. I followed the team religiously, every night hunkering down beneath the covers, with my little radio tuned as low as possible, and listening in rapt attention to the broadcast. My heroes might be playing OK City, or Dallas, or Tulsa---they were part of the old AA Texas League.

But the summer of that year proved to be truly magical. My parents decided to vacation in Chicago for a couple of weeks. We would stay with my grandparents (my mom's parents) on the south side of town. OH boy!---I couldn't wait! I knew grandpa would take me fishing off the banks of Lake Michigan! And I knew I would also get to go swimming in the lake! And how I loved playing outside the apartment complex where they lived!

But the biggest thrill I could imagine was this---grandpa said he would take me to a MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL GAME! I had never been to a big league game before---I had only heard stories about the larger-than-life figures who made headlines across the country. I shook with the thought of being able to see such great White Sox stars of the day as Nellie Fox, Chico Carrasquel, Sherm Lollar, Billy Pierce, and of course, the one and only "Cuban Comet", the great Minnie Minoso.

Sure enough, grandpa was, as always, good to his word....we rode the bus to the great Comiskey Park for a night game. I don't recall who played the Sox that night, but I do remember they won. The Sox were a running team---great pitching, great speed, but not much power at all. They won games the old fashioned way---great defense and pitching.

Minnie Minoso (who, to this day is one of the most exciting players I ever saw in my life) singled. And I began chanting "GO...GO...GO...GO....." until the entire stadium had joined with me. The huge ballpark was rockin', big time. It was electrifying to an 11 year old boy who was at his first ball game. After a few pickoff attempts, The Comet exploded toward second base and slid in under the tag. My heart almost burst with excitement!

Yes, the Sox won that evening in the summer of 1955. But a young boy from Houston, attending his first major league game with his beloved grandpa, was the biggest winner of all.

The above photo was taken of my hero and me that special night at Comiskey Park, in the summer of 1955.

1 comment:

  1. Of all your life stories, I do believe this is one of my favorites because I know how important your grandfather and baseball were to you.

    What a precious photo.