All Stardust Memories
Hey, consecutive weeks with three-day undefeated stretches! Do you think…never mind.
Ever been to an all-star game? I’ve been to two which ties with holes-in-one on my personal list of something-you-don’t-see-every-day experiences.
I went with some pals to the 1983 game at Comiskey Park where Fred Lynn hit the first [and still the only?] grand slam in AS history off of Atlee Hammaker. What I remember more than that is drinking across the street at a joint called McCuddy’s [I think] that was presided over by an old matriarch proprietress who regaled us with stories about Ruth dashing over for a cold one between innings when the Yankees were in town. Speaking of the Bambino, the other highlight of that trip was another old gal, the Babe’s sister, who was in attendance and whose autograph I got on a game program which I cannot locate now. I don’t remember her name but I remember that she noted herself as “Babe Ruth’s sister” in a parenthetical p.s. to her signature.
I also went to the 2001 affair at Safeco Field in Seattle courtesy of tickets arranged by an MLB ump who used to work part-time at a pub I owned while he was in college at Iowa State. That game fell on the golden birthday of the son who is the eldest of our three kids. You might remember it as one where Cal Ripken was named the MVP for swatting a homer after being waved over from 3rd base to shortstop in the top of the first by A-Rod; a gesture in deference to the last year of Ripken’s illustrious career. Later in the game Tommy Lasorda was knocked on his ass in the 3rd base coaching box by a splintered bat as I recall.
My fondest all-star memories have nothing to do with games actually attended. I remember being at a friend’s house during a tremendous thunderstorm when Cub Jim Hickman lashed the single that lit the fuse on Pete Rose’s game-winning, career-ending charge into and through Ray Fosse in 1971.
I vaguely remember the years during my little league days when two all-star games were played per summer; the golden era of Mays, Aaron, Mantle, Clemente, Koufax and Marichal. That’s why the 1983 game at Comiskey marked the 50th anniversary of the first all-star game but was the 54th one played.
By the way, the reason that 2001 game fell on my son’s golden birthday is because his mother went into labor about the time Andre Dawson went deep on Roger Clemens in Toronto at the 1991 game. That was on July 9. By the time the kid was born it was the wee hours of July 10 which also happens to be Dawson’s birthday.
They’ve awarded the 2012 game to Kansas City, an easy trip from Des Moines. The date has again been set for July 10, the day Dawson will turn 58 and you-know-who turns 21.
So there you have my contribution to the passing of the break…