Hi all. We’re taking a bit of a break from the rankings for this post here. If you want to see the next post featuring Ted Lyons, well just come back tomorrow and it’ll be here. But, I couldn’t let today pass without posting.
Today is my father’s 61st birthday, and like most people my love for the game has come directly from my father. Every baseball memory I have is inextricably linked to him in some way. My first game was with him back in 1995. We went to Fenway Park to see the Bosox take on the Twins. I got to see Mo Vaughn hit a homerun that day. And of course, my dad was the first person to take me to Cooperstown and the Hall of Fame.
I remember being infatuated with the big names. Guys like Ruth, Aaron, Mays, Mantle, Musial all seemed to be alive there, and loomed over us like giants. As a kid, I always made it a point to skip a lot of the names I didn’t know (like most of the people that have been covered so far), but my dad made it a point to talk to me about a lot of them and recognize their importance in the game.
When I got older, dad started teaching me more about the ins and outs of the game and lots of trivia. My greatest memory is probably the one day we did a trivia contest together in the Hall. It was a Jeopardy based game, and I was equal parts excited, nervous and cocky. The first question asked who was the rookie outfielder for the Red Sox that debuted the same year that Gehrig retired, an easy question for the both of us. And with a sneer I said “Theodore Samuel Williams”. We, of course, dominated that game, but dad wouldn’t let me rest on it. He took me to task for being cocky, while admitting that it was probably the largest margin for victory they’ve ever had.
And that’s what makes my dad a great father. He never forgot to let me know he was proud of my accomplishments, but also reminded me to keep working hard at whatever I’m doing. It’s the entire reason that I’ve been able to do something like this task.
The man I am today, the traits I someday wish to pass down to another generation, and the way I live my life all have come because of him.
Happy Birthday Dad. I love you and thank you for all you’ve done.