Rambling On About My Glory Days: The Sociological Effects of Baseball
Don’t worry baseball fans, a college degree is not necessary for this article. The time was early June 1976 and to aspiring young ballplayers like me. it was the biggest week of the year. Forget birthdays, Christmas, graduation and first date with a girl because nothing compares to the week of the major league draft for draft eligible baseball players.
From the outside it may have appeared that I did not put all of my eggs in one basket. I had gotten my college degree in Sociology (for reasons I am still not sure of) but on the inside, my very existence depended on getting an opportunity to play professional baseball.
For those born after the mid 1980′s it may be difficult to understand this, but back in 1976 there was no up-to-the-minute coverage of events like the major league draft. Unless news was earth shaking, information came days, weeks and even months later if at all. ESPN was not around then so the good old telephone was generally the only way of finding out what was going on for things like the major league draft.
I was pretty much holed up in my room for those few days waiting for the call to come. I believe there was more than one day of the draft back in the day like today, but whatever, the baseball draft came, went and I had heard nothing. It was very gloomy around my house to say the least. My thoughts were slowly drifting towards my Sociology degree. After another sleepless night, my mom’s voice was heard at least throughout the neighborhood, “The Dodgers are on the phone.” Oh my God! – It was real. Sociology would have to go on without me, at least for a while.
It was now on to have new prayers answered and here is where my college degree really paid off. Did I want to be sent down the road a couple of hours from my Illinois home to Danville, Illinois or was I going to pray to be sent to Lodi, California, both A-ball level cities in the Dodger minor league system? Let’s see – Danville, Illinois or sunny California. Tough call (just kidding), but I felt my college degree would serve me better in California.
That was the case and I was sent to Lodi to begin “the life” and use my degree to understand the sociology of California. If you believe this latter part, I picked up some land there that …
Former major leaguer Jack Perconte is the author of The Making of a Hitter (http://jackperconte.com) and has a baseball instruction site that can be found at www.baseballcoachingtips.net. He has recently published his second book Raising an Athlete – How to Instill Confidence, Build Skills and Inspire a Love of Sport