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My Blog

Summer Baseball

As I begin today, I encourage you as a reader to contribute ideas, comments, thoughts and especially topics you might want to hear about. 
Today I thought that I would use baseball as my topic. 
Did you know that softball was created right here in Chicago?  In the Farragut  boat house no less.  It was on Thanksgiving Day in 1887  and it was between the Harvard boys and the Yale boys.  They were all standing around waiting  to hear the results of the Harvard-Yale football game. It was a  Yale victory. One young man from Harvard,  picked up a  boxing glove and threw it at someone, who  in turn, grabbed a broken broom handle and hit it. One man shouted, "Let's play ball!"  And the game was invented.
Growing up in Chicago, and growing up with my Grandfather in the house meant there was baseball.   When   television came...and a baseball game was on, Silence was golden in the house.  No one dared to utter a peep until the game was over.  We have 2 Baseball teams: the Cubs and The Sox.  The closest to my home on the north side of Chicago is Wrigley Field on Addison Ave.  I remember going there for a game and meeting Ernie Banks.  He was unbelievable and I remember rooting for him and also Don Drysdale.   I remember the seats and the peanut man that walked up and down the aisle yelling "Peanuts, get you peanuts here!"  And the hot dogs. 
I actually have an autographed picture of Ernie Banks.  There was another Baseball field called  Cominsky Park...now known as Cellular Field and that is where the Sox play.  I never went there due to it's location.  It is quite I distance in Chicago on the South side. 
But baseball wasn't just for the professionals.
Us kids played it often in the street at the corner.  The streeto f course had four corners and that was all that was needed...we had 1st, 2nd, 3rd and home plate.  We would all gather on the corner with all of our softballs and bats and play.   I remember that I was usually the pitcher for the game.  Once I got hit with a ball right on my shoulder with a line drive straight down the middle.  Wow...did that ever hurt.  I couldn't' get out of the way fast enough.   We would play sometimes starting first thing in the morning until it was time to go in for lunch.  I don't ever remember a window getting broken on any of the corner houses as you often see depicted on TV.  Just a day of fun and laughter and determination. 
As years went on, and I became a teenager....playing ball on the corner wasn't exciting any more so I progressed into boy watching and of course, the boys still loved playing baseball.  Only now, the games were moved to the park and played  by real teams.  I was the so called mascot of the team, back then girls didn't play on a team....but they would always have me pitch for them during warm up.  I remember those days well.  We played over at Blackhawk Park.   
Many years went by and much later in life I had 2 daughters.  We would often go to the lakes in the summer and at one of the lakes, they had this really nice baseball diamond.  We were there with another family and decided we would all play a game of baseball.  My one daughter , who has always loved the game, laughed when I got up to bat...she didn't think her mother had any idea about how to hit a ball.  Well, if you could have only seen her mouth drop when the pitcher pitched one over the plate and I hit it out of the park.   She never said another thing abut my incapability's again.
That was probably the end of my baseball career.  I hadn't thought much about it until the movie came out called A League of Their Own.  I loved watching that show.  Brought back so many memories for the love of the game.  Recently, I went to the Midway Museum with my Red Hat group in Rockford, Illinois and sure enough....there was a section dedicated to the Rockford Peaches.  What it took for those women to have done what they did.  It opened up baseball  for girls today.
My daughter eventually joined a team when she was in High School.  I'll never forget the games, but mostly, I will never forget the day I got a call...she was hit in the head with the ball....In the emergency room at the hospital.  I was so worried that something horrible had happened...you know how us mothers are.  Turns out she had a really bad bump on the head, but luckily all else was fine.  Slight concussion, so I watched her through the night.  I have a picture of her hanging up in her baseball suit till this day and still smile when I pass it by. 
I still get a special feeling when I hear the song..."Take me out to the Ballgame".  Baseball....what a game...what memories.  

2 Comments to Summer Baseball:

Comments RSS
Phyllis Kohnke on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 5:10 PM
This story brought back good memories for me too. I played softball on the corner of Pittsburgh Ave & School St. on the NW side of Chicago. We played after dinner until the steetlights came on. We also played Kick the Can on the same corner and that was only when no one showed up with a bat or ball. I was happy to hear, on Sunday, that my granddaughter was going to softball camp so she could join the school team. It's a great pastime!
Reply to comment
 
Debi on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 6:55 AM
Thanks Phyllis for the comment. Yes the good old street lights...that was when we all knew it was time to go home. Funny how times have changed. Glad to hear your granddaughter is starting to play. Mine played this past season as well. Kick, the can...I hadn't thought about that one. Food for thought!

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