Baseball has always been and will always be my favorite sport. It was the first sport I fell in love with when I was six years old. My uncle was/is a big baseball fan and he had an influence on me. I remember one evening sitting out on my grandparents porch and he was going with a friend to the Pirates game at Forbes Field. They were excited because some guy named Koufax was pitching that night for the Dodgers. Just the name “Koufax” sounded like he had to be something special. I don’t know if I would have remembered it all these years had his name been an ordinary one like Smith or Jones. My uncle had a few baseball magazines at my grandparents house and I was always looking through them. My grandma once told me I could have them but they were my uncle’s how could I take them? On the next visit I looked for the magazines and I asked her where they were and she said she had thrown them away that I had said that I didn’t want them. Ouch!
The 1967 season when I was six is the first season I can remember. I was collecting cards and I know some of the older kids in the neighborhood had to have made some lopsided trades with me [as I would do in a few years to the unknowing.} I watched some of the 1967 World Series and was rooting for some reason for the Cardinals against the Red Sox.
The 1968 season is the first where I can say I followed it from start to finish. I was a Pirate fan and listened to the games on the radio- Bob Prince and Jim Woods, two great announcers who had a lot of chemistry in the booth. One of my best memories of my childhood is lying in bed at night listening to Pirate games. When the Pirate game was over I found that my transistor radio would pick up the late innings of the St.Louis Cardinal game. I was seven but I knew that this Harry Caray fellow was at least as colorful and entertaining as The Gunner Bob Prince. In May of 1968 my father and a friend of his started taking me to games at Forbes Field. The Pirates were playing the Cardinals and the first glimpse of the ball field is still clear in my mind. I don’t need a photograph. We sat along the first base side. I was in love with baseball. Got to go to probably 20 games at Forbes Field before the Pirates moved to Three Rivers Stadium in mid- 1970.
Something I didn’t fully appreciate at the time that in later years I would- is my father taking me to all those ballgames. He was only a very casual fan. He wasn’t going to go to the game on his own. He took the time to take me because I loved baseball and wanted to go to games. At the time I had a brother and sister who were infants and money was tight. I was seven what did I know about that? I have a lot of great memories of my father but those ballgames when I was a little kid- are my favorite ones.
I don’t follow baseball as fanatically anymore- I had all the time in the world when I was young. I knew every ballplayer and all their stats, heck I can still tell you the Pirates wives names from that time. Dock Ellis’s wife was Paula, Pops Stargell- Dolores, Bob Moose- Roberta, Steve Blass- Karen, The Great One’s- Vera…