Saturday, June 25, 2011

Phillies/Athletics

Last night's game was one of those great old fashioned pitchers' duals. Reminded Edgar and me of our experiences, as much younger people, when the Athletics were the Philadelphia American League team.


During the middle 1940's, Edgar was a "soda jerk" while trying to earn money during his high school days (Central High School, class of 184). One day, an imposing, barrel chested man entered the shop, sat down at the counter, and ordered a dish of vanilla ice cream. The man was wearing a camels hair, sport jacket, ate his ice cream, paid the 25 cents and left Edgar a nickle tip. The owner rushed over to Edgar and said, "Do you know who that was?" He didn't. "That was double x." What? Who? "That was the great Jimmy Foxx," who was then playing for the Phillies. At the time, Edgar was unimpressed but as time has passed, Edgar remembers the encounter fondly, especially the nickle tip. It was unheard of to leave a tip for the lowly soda jerk.


My mother was a Phillies fan. She especially liked Robin Roberts, but used to cringe at the idea of his giving up "gopher balls." One day, she insisted that my father, who liked everything, buy tickets to a Yankees/Athletics game. "Joe DiMaggio is playing," she said, "and I want Selma to be able to see this greatest ball player of all time." I don't remember when it was, or anything about the game. I remember only my mother's excitement about seeing Joe DiMaggio. And, reflections years later, strengthen my memories of how excited my mother was about the prospect of seeing Joe DiMaggio, and then of seeing him in action, and then her talking about how great a ball player he was.


As near as Edgar can remember, one sunny afternoon, in 1935, his father went to visit his sister and his sister suggested that her son, Herbert, take Edgar to the Athletics' game, played in the afternoon. Herbert and Edgar sat in the almost desserted left field stands, on the first row. Edgar and Herbert could clearly see the tall, spare Connie Mack, in the dugout, moving his players around by waving his straw hat. Indian Bob Johnson hit a home run which cousin Herbert who was about ten years' olders than Edgar, caught on the fly. There was no TV, no commotion , no stopping of the game, just another caught home run. Herbert gave the ball to Edgar who proudly took it home and saved it until his mother said, one day, "what's this dirty thing?" and threw it out - along with his other baseball memorabilia.

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