Here's the Scoop: September 10, 2008
Do I know you?
Eagle-eyed readers spotted my photo in this paper a few weeks back as part of the Middletown Post 216 baseball team that captured the Delaware County American Junior Legion Baseball Championship “Back in ’73.”
However, very few of the sharp-eyed people were co-workers. Before the picture was published, I passed it around the office to see if the staff could identify me. Let’s just say if the success rate of News employees had been a batting average, they would be minor leaguers. Only the “Rookie” was able to ID me. And she was very pleased with the bag of Cracker Jacks she received as a reward.
I was actually kind of stunned by the lack of face recognition. Had I changed that much in the couple of years since that Legion club did its imitation of the ’69 Mets? I think my co-workers were like ballplayers with a huge, multi-year contracts — they weren’t really providing a full effort.
We won what?
Then, something weirder happened. One of the important cogs of the club — whose sweet left-handed batting stroke was reminiscent of Rod Carew — stopped by and remarked that he had to turn the page and “cheat” to learn my identity in the photo. Oddly enough, nearly everyone who tried to ID me in the photo, had picked this “batting champ turned insurance agent,” as me.
It’s true, both he and I had similar “puffs” of hair sprouting from under our ball caps, but I don’t think we were twins. Although we did get into similar amounts of trouble.
Even more strangely, this fellow said he didn’t have much recollection of the championship season! Funny, I thought we were the same age, but his memory is failing much more quickly than mine.
It’s probably a case of “Glory Days,” but at a time when daily details readily escape me, I can recall vividly many “game facts” from that year. It’s even been a running joke in our family for me to tell my nephews and niece about “Back in ’73.” Such was the magic of that summer on the dusty diamonds, I frequently have started my tale in January, to set the stage for the drama ahead.
Needless to say, as “kids” my audience cringed at the thought of hearing this tale. Like any good uncle, I used their negative reaction as a good reason to embellish the story. The retelling could take days.
One more time...with a photo
So, it was a stroke of good luck that one of my nephews and my niece were visiting during the same week that the photo appeared. Neither of them had any clue which player in the picture was their uncle with the 92-mph fastball (truth in journalism: this number has increased about seven mph per decade).
Well, they may have forgotten my face, but I wasn’t about to let the memory of “Back in ’73” become too distant. I started the tale, but because we had dinner waiting, I skipped ahead to April’s preparations for the summer season. Hey, I’m a reasonable guy.
Then, something truly strange happened. My mother, who was also in attendance, confessed that she could not pick me out of the picture! Every time I have done something to embarrass the family (quite often, I might add), there has been a running joke about me being switched with another baby in the hospital. Still, this was ridiculous.
Even when I showed my mother which player was me, she still didn’t seem convinced. I guess I’ll have to dig out some old press clippings — after all, we know if something is printed in a newspaper, it must be true. Kind of like Birth Certificates used to be, I guess.