Lazzari’s Vault: Do You Remember?
Some good conversation starters for those, shall we say, “aging” baseball fans out there. Do you remember.…………
–when $9.50 at a major league game bought you two decent tickets rather than ONE BOTTLE of beer?
–the way John Boccabella was introduced over the P.A. system while playing for the Expos?
–how great it felt when you threw your first curveball with a wiffle ball?
–how uncomfortable your first set of baseball spikes felt?
–the feeling of exhilaration when you were FINALLY able to judge a fly ball?
–your first time having a catch with someone who threw VERY hard–and the stinging sensation involved?
–when Steve Blass mysteriously LOST it?
–Albert “Sparky” Lyle and the huge chaw of tobacco inside his cheek?
–TRYING chewing tobacco for the first time–and becoming incredibly ill?
–Morganna–the “Kissing Bandit?”
–when the Sporting News published EVERY box score from the previous week?
–“Wild Bill” Hagy?
–giving “doubles” of your favorite baseball cards to your best friend?
–when $5.00 could buy you five gallons of gas AND a N.Y. Yankees yearbook?
–your first pouch of “Big League Chew?”
–owning a pair of “flip-up” sunglasses–just because your favorite player did?
–how cool it was owning your own resin bag or batting ‘doughnut’?
–when most people stood AND sang the National Anthem at ballparks?
–how much of a “hot dog” Willie Montanez was?
–oiling your first baseball glove–and wondering if it would EVER dry?
–wiping the bubble gum powder off a new pack of baseball cards?
–“Kiner’s Korner” after N.Y. Mets telecasts?
–reading Ball Four for the first of MANY times?
–Karl Ehrhardt–the “Sign Man of Shea?”
–when Al Kaline REFUSED a raise–saying he didn’t perform well-enough the previous year?
–the way Paul Blair glided under a fly ball?
–when you couldn’t get a ticket at Camden Yards?
–umpire Dutch Rennert and his LOUD, drawn-out ‘strike’ call?
–the mustachioed Oakland A’s teams of the 70’s?
–Boog Powell and Numazawa doing the Miller Lite commercial?
–Burt Hooton’s knuckle-curve?
–“Disco Dan” Ford?
–Lindsay Nelson’s sports jackets?
–how much Felix Millan used to choke up on the bat?
–John “Blue Moon” Odom?
–the hilarious antics of umpire Ron Luciano?
–how fun it was to watch Jesus Alou pinch-hit?
–“10-Cent Beer Night” in Cleveland?
–putting baseball cards on the spokes of your bike tires in order to make a “motor” sound?
–your first “raspberry” after sliding into a base? (ouch)
–the day Roberto Clemente died?
–the “Mad Hungarian” psyching himself up behind the mound?
–when Clint Hurdle was a “can’t miss” prospect?
–just HOW good Steve Carlton was in 1972?
–the Yankees Datsun bullpen car–circa 1972?
–people actually KEEPING SCORE at a major league game?
–just how large a high school baseball diamond appeared compared to your old Little League one?
–Ron Bryant and his teddy bear in San Francisco?
–Tito Fuentes flipping the bat after arriving in the batter’s box?
–the smell of jumbo hot pretzels and chestnuts outside the old Yankee Stadium?
–Walt “No Neck” Williams?
–Jane Jarvis playing the “Mexican Hat Dance” during the 7th inning stretch at N.Y. Mets games?
–receiving a bat on “Bat Day” at Yankee Stadium–then cracking it a few days later while trying to use it?
–Mike Marshall’s screwball?
–Tug McGraw BEING a “screwball?”
–Dick “Don’t Call Me Richie” Allen swinging a 42-ounce bat like it was a toothpick?
–buying the Bridgeport Post and New Haven Register solely for the late box scores?
–the youthful exuberance of one Mark Fidrych?
–wearing baseball pants with a stretch waist for the very first time?
–how EASY Johnny Bench made it look behind the plate?
–how DIFFICULT Dave Kingman made it look playing the outfield?
–Joe Pignatano growing tomatoes in the Mets bullpen at Shea Stadium?
–manager Ralph Houk and his nervous habit of scooping pebbles near his team’s dugout?
Finally–how your Mom SOMEHOW managed to get those grass stains out of your dirty baseball uniform?