Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A guest post from Dad


Nick has been kind enough to let me, dear ol' Dad, do a guest column on his great blog!

I've been a huge baseball fan for as long as I can remember, and was wild about card collecting from roughly '74-'80, after which I focused on record collecting...but since he's taken up the hobby, I am glad to be right back in the thick of it through him, and we've had so many good times digging for, talking about, and just looking through baseball cards...I'm thrilled he's so into it!

Aaanyway, I'd like to present "How Baseball (and Baseball Cards) Shaped My Life".

1. History Is Important

These Sporting News cards were great when I was a kid...I would always try to force my doubles into trades with friends, like "you NEED to have these in your collection!"...I was always a big fan of Baseball history, and I still feel ya gotta know where ya been to know where yer going, right?...With all the baseball history covered in cards these days, the 10-year-old me would've been in hog heaven!




2. "Fan-Friendly" Goes A LONG Way...

Nick has mentioned a few times my encounter with Pirates player Mike Easler as a kid of 12 (1978) at a Cubs game at Wrigley.

I remember it so well, leaning over the third base line during batting practice and trying to get a player, ANY player, to come over and sign an autograph or even a few words....the only one who trotted over to us was Easler....gave us all five, signed some scorecards (I didn't have one, so I didn't get an auto!) and chatted for a minute....we went nuts!

In those days, Wrigley was pretty empty during weekday games so you could basically sit wherever you wanted to, so we sat towards home plate and every time he came up to bat that day, we just screamed "EASLER!!!...YEAH YEAH!!!!" much to the bemusment of Mr. Easler, who even waved to us during one at-bat!

It hurts when I hear about what jerks some ballplayers (or any celebrity) can be about meeting their fans...I've met some of my heroes (Alex Chilton, Chuck Barris, Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Davies, etc.) and I'm happy to report they were all really cool...but meeting a real-live BASEBALL PLAYER as a boy will always stick with me...athletes should remember that...




3. Racism Is Stupid

Don't get me wrong...Nick's grandpa (my dad) was not really a racist...but I grew up in a lilly-white neighborhood, working-class, and....well, you know how old-school guys were, little comments slipped, jokes cracked....and it's funny, now that I'm older, a lot of my peers who never left the neighborhood (I did, the FIRST chance I got!) are still like that, just like their small-minded dads....




I remember when it hit me....I was a big White Sox fan as a kid, watched every game I could...Dick Allen was my favorite player and that whole early-mid 70s team were SO cool!...the sideburns, the soul-handshakes in the dugout...I always made sure I completed my Sox team checklist with every year's new set of Topps.

Sooo, I'm watching the game, watching these incredible super-cool dudes (many of whom were African-American) then I turn around and look at my dad and his idiot friends...these were certainly NOT super-cool dudes!...and it hit me...THEY are wrong, and THAT attitude is not acceptable.

And I've never felt differently, and it makes me VERY proud that Nick is the same way.




4. "The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live..."

That's a quote from Jack Kerouac's "On The Road", and its certainly true of me, and it started with baseball....Like a lot of guys my age who were 10-11 in 1976, Mark Fidrych loomed large in my childhood...it's hard to imagine nowadays, but the best thing was he was loose, unrehearsed, not too far off from the way me and my goofy 10-year-old friends acted!

I was sold!...It was an absolute thrill to meet the man, WITH my son, who was also pretty jazzed, in 2002...just one of the baseball-related moments I was so fortunate to share with Nick.

Dizzy Dean, Bill Lee (who Nick and I also met...great guy...and he gave us a hilarious take on his brawl with Graig Nettles), Dock Ellis, Luis Tiant, Jose Cardenal...to fun-loving guys like Nick Swisher these days, I'm always drawn to the eccentrics, the left-of-center, and the ones with genuine passion and love for it, whatever "it" is...




5. You Can Come Back, Baby...Baseball Never Forgets...

For a while in the late 80s-early 90s....well, let's just say I strayed from some of my younger passions...I would mostly catch games in bars and felt far away from the game I once loved and followed....in 1992 a baby named Nick came along and it's true what they say...kids change ya!

I actually bought a pack of baseball cards that year to commemorate the birth of my son, and he was a big part of straightening out my life...

Guys like Ichiro and Derek Jeter renewed my love of the game, and as Nick got more into the collecting side, I was reminded how great baseball cards could be...and how great baseball could be...especially for a father and son!...Thanks, Nick!!

So there's a few from Dad...I'd like to thank all you readers for being such a positive thing in Nick's life, he really digs this whole blogging community thing and I'm glad y'all are such a good bunch...

I'll be reading right along with you....

16 comments:

shlabotnikreport said...

Great post, "Dad"!

...and it feels odd to call you that, because you're a year younger than I am...

...Feel free to guest post anytime (assuming Nick lets you).

Alex Markle said...

My dad is the reason I got into collecting. Though he is not too big on cards these days, he does like to reminisce about some of the vintage stuff I show him. Nick is lucky to have a dad with such a great appreciation for the game and the cardboard behind it.

Tony L. said...

Great post, "dad" -- since you're about 5 or 6 years older than me, I guess I can call you that, right pops?

shoeboxlegends said...

Awesome post, it's great that you guys can share this hobby.

Stealing Home said...

It's easy to see where Nick gets his creativity, passion and big heart from.

Right on, dad. We enjoy Nick's posts, but it was a pleasure to read one from you.

Mark Hoyle said...

Great Post. I can see where Nick gets his positive outlook on life and collecting. I kind of combine both your passions. My music collection is as big as my card collection.

night owl said...

Dad, you and I have got to be the same age, we collected the same cards.

I can picture my dad writing a guest post on my blog. Here it is:

"People still collect these, huh?

The players make too much money!"

The end.

BASEBALL DAD said...

Great guest post! From one "Baseball Dad" to another, although I'm a little older than you and Night Owl,I started in the 50's/60's. My two grown sons and I still collect. A lot of good times. I pretty much agree with your whole story.

Dhoff said...

Easy to say why Nick's such a smart kid and a great writer. Great post, Dad. You nail what I want to instill in my own children.

Fuji said...

Great post. Love seeing The Bird and Spaceman in the same post.

The Junior Junkie said...

Well done!

CaptKirk42 said...

Excellent Dad Guest Post. Would have made an excellent Father's day post.

Ana Lu said...

Nice to meet you Sir.
Baseball (and other sports) is really a great thing to overcome many barriers and join people.
Collecting cards is an add on to that that bring people even more close around this great hobby.
Great post. Hope to read more from you.

John Miller said...

Excellent Dude. haha. I think we're the same age. I was born Sept 1966, and my first born was born in Feb 1992. Love my kids, love the game, love the hobby (most of the time)lol, and love reading Nick's blog (as well as others). Here's another quote from our day.. "That's the ticket!"

petethan said...

Nick has told you that I'm planning to dad-nap you, right? Great taste in music, and a baseball lover? Sign me up. Congrats on the quality son-production skills, too.

TTG said...

This is just about the greatest thing ever.