Friday, November 4, 2016

October Memories and the Apocalypse

I remember it like it was yesterday. 6th period at Landon High School in Jacksonville, Florida. October 1960. I was 14 years old and in sixth period study hall, I was usually allowed to miss the study hall so that I could go from 5th period to basketball practice. On this day the coach, Jim Kitchens,  had cancelled practice. Probably so he could go home and watch the 7th and deciding game of the World Series. I remember the thrill of that game and the exuberance that followed a walk off home run hit by Bill Mazeroski. That won the World Series for the Pirates 10-9 and remains as the only walk off in the 7th game in the history of the World Series. It was an historic occurrence and I was able to see it via a little black and white TV sitting up on the stage.

I also remember another walk off home run. This was hit in an NCAA regional baseball game which I attended in May 1997 held here in Tallahassee. The game was between Auburn University and Florida State. It was the championship bracket of that 8 team tournament. There was huge significance to the game because with a win the Seminoles went to Omaha and the College World Series. There was a member of the Auburn team who had played at Florida High school about a 7 iron from Howser stadium. I remembered him because my son had played HS baseball for Lincoln HS. They played against one another in a summer league program. I remember that this young fellow wanted to be a Seminole.  The Seminoles had not made an offer to him so he opted to attend Auburn. He was not a prominent member of the team as a back up catcher. Auburn's All American catcher, Dunn, had been hurt in the SEC tournament and that had activated this young man as starting catcher.

In the bottom of the 9th inning this young man came to bat with 2 runners on base. Seminoles were up by 2 runs. This young fellow worked the count to 2-2. The pitcher threw him a fastball middle in and he turned on it and sent the ball over the left field wall in the direction of the stadium where he had played HS baseball. Walk off win for Auburn and the irony of an " in your face" to the Seminoles who had not wanted him post high school. In the next game Tim Hudson beat the Seminoles 8-7 to send Auburn to the CWS. The person who had turned a blind eye to this young man was Mike Martin who is well known in college baseball circles. The young man's name who hit this home run? David Ross, 2016 World Series icon whose final year in MLB has dominated the canvas of fall baseball. Funny how things work out isn't it? 100 years from now David Ross will still be the icon of the win that ended the 108 year drought of the Chicago Cubs winning the world series. Mike Martin will be a hiss and byword in the history of the game.

I am telling you this has been a world series to end them all. Their win is almost apocalyptic. Here in this fairly new millennium we have all sorts of signs that point to apocalypse. Global warming, the economy, the wierdest of all elections ever held and now this. The Chicago Cubs are the world champions of baseball. Surely the apocalypse approaches steadfastly.

2 comments:

Gary Kennedy said...

Love the part about David Ross. I was able to watch him all season. He was the life blood of the Cubs this year. He would make sure they never gave up no matter what the score. He will be surely missed by the fans and his team mates. I hope the Cubs can find a position doing something for the team. Let's hope we don't have to wait another 108 years. Go Cubs Go!!!!!

Lee Vass said...

Hi Gary. I recently ran into David a few weeks ago at a softball game my little grand daughter Georgia played in. He spoke to me for 15 minutes. Nicest guy you have ever met. As of now after his amazing run on Dancing With the Stars, and a schtick on ESPN he has a front office job with the Cubs. Saw him on TV last night at the FSU Auburn game. His mother-in-law attends third ward. Have it good brother.