Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Can I Go Too?

One summer when I was young, probably 1967 or 1968, I and a bunch of my friends and acquaintances from Butler High School went camping.

I’m thinking that this was in 1968.  This was just after we had graduated from high school and shortly before many of us would be leaving for jobs, various colleges or military service (this was during the Vietnam era), so it was a sort of last fling.  Most of the campers on this particular trip were from my “Class of 1968” but there were a number of "69ers” – the class behind us – there too.

Our camping spot was in a little depression, a glen or hollow, north of Kershner Road, between Dogleg and Fredrick Pikes.  You took about a quarter mile or so drive up a dirt road.  When you got to the spot, you’d have thought that you were a lot further from “civilization” than you actually were as you could see no signs of any homes or buildings. I’m not sure how we happened to get this spot, I think the land belonged to someone’s family or relative.

I'd guess we were camped just about where the yellow circle is.
The group was all guys and we were a pretty tame bunch.  Someone might have brought some beer, but I’m not sure of this (and if there had been any, it would have been 3.2 – the low alcohol content type).  There were definitely no drugs.

So we were talking and joking with one another around the campfire.  I remember that we walked over to an abandoned farm house which we’d been told to avoid.

I’m trying to remember who was there.  George Moore, Steve Schieltz, Larry Schieltz, Ron Stapleton, Jack Hopkins, Dale Dalrymple, Monte Henderson, Tom Hertlein.  There were quite few others.  I guess about 10 or 12 guys altogether.

I also remember that the Father of Nancy Knuge, a girl in the Class ahead of us, ’67, visited us.  They lived on Frederick and I guess he heard us or maybe saw the campfire.  He was very pleasant, stayed and talked for a while.  I’m sure he was just checking us out.

Anyhow, getting to the point of this story, during the evening we had used up most of the firewood.  A couple of the guys dragged a log into camp.  One of them decided to cut it into smaller pieces and began chopping it with an ax.

Well it only took him four or five swings before the ax ricocheted off the log and into Larry Schieltz’s leg.  A good sized flap of skin and muscle was seen looking through the large slit in his pants’ leg.  He wasn’t in a huge amount of pain, but it was obvious that he would need medical treatment.  There was a car parked quite close, I think it was George Moore’s.  A bunch of guys quickly piled into the vehicle.  The driver started the motor and the car began to move out.

Then a voice was heard.  Somewhat meekly, as though the speaker didn’t really want to bother anyone, but still feeling the need to have his say, he said, “Can I go too?”

All eyes turned toward the speaker.  Why did this person want to go?  Didn’t he know this was an emergency?  That there was no time for fooling around?

Many of us were stunned when we saw who the speaker was.  Yes, it was Larry!  Apparently the injury to his leg had slowed him down to the point where he was unable to move fast enough to get a seat before the car left.

The driver stopped the car and the other passengers sheepishly got out.  Yes, they had filled every available seat.  Larry got in and they went off to, I think, Good Samaritan Hospital.

They were back a few hours later.  The injury wasn’t serious.  They’d taken a few stitches and Larry was fine.

Probably the most serious and lingering injury was to the axe man – he was teased much after that and even got the frequently used nickname of “Hack.”   I remember hearing him addressed by that name by people who I’m sure had no idea why he was called that.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Best Baseball Players by Number?

I put this together in 2008, so there could be additions or other changes.

  Here is a link to a fan site discussion of this list.

0    Al Oliver,
1    Pee Wee Reese, Ozzie Smith, Billy Meyer, Bobby Doerr, Richie Ashburn, Billy Martin
2    Derek Jeter, Tommy Lasorda, Red Schoendienst, Nellie Fox, Charlie Gehringer,
3    Babe Ruth, Earl Averill, Bill Terry, Harmon Killebrew, Dale Murphy, Harold Baines,
4    Lou Gehrig, Mel Ott, Duke Snider, Luke Appling, Earl Weaver, Ralph Kiner, Paul Molitor, Mel Ott, Joe Cronin
5    Joe DiMaggio, Johnny Bench, George Brett, Hank Greenberg, Albert Pujols, Brooks Robinson, Lou Boudreau, Jeff Bagwell
6    Stan Musial, Al Kaline, Joe Torre, Johnny Pesky, Steve Garvey, Tony Oliva
7    Mickey Mantle, Craig Biggio
8    Cal Ripken, Yogi Berra, Joe Morgan, Carl Yastrzemski, Willie Stargell, Gary Carter, Bill Dickey
9    Ted Williams, Enos Slaughter, Bill Mazeroski, Roger Maris
10    Phil Rizzuto, Andre Dawson, Rusty Staub, Ron Santo
11    George Bell, Barry Larkin, Carl Hubbell, Jim Fregosi, Luis Aparicio, Paul Waner
12    Roberto Alomar
13    Alex Rodriquez
14    Pete Rose, Ernie Banks, Jim Rice, Kent Hrbek, Larry Doby, Ken Boyer, Gil Hodges, Jim Bunning
15    Thurman Munson
16    Whitey Ford, Hal Newhouser, Ted Lyons
17    Dizzy Dean
18    Ted Kluszewski, Mel Harder
19    Bob Feller, Billy Pierce, Jim Gilliam, Tony Gwynn, Robin Yount
20    Mike Schmidt, Lou Brock, Frank Robinson, Pie Traynor, Don Sutton, Frank White
21    Roberto Clemente, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Warren Spahn, Bob Lemon
22    Jim Palmer
23    Kirk Gibson, Ryne Sandberg, Don Mattingly, Willie Horton
24    Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr, Tony Perez, Jimmy Wynn
25    Bobby Bonds, Mark McGwire, José Cruz
26    Wade Boggs, Billy Williams
27    Juan Marichal, Carlton Fisk, Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Hunter
28    Bert Blyleven, Vada Pinson
29    Satchel Paige, Rod Carew, John Smoltz
30    Nolan Ryan, Orlando Cepeda, Tim Raines,
31    Greg Maddux, Fergie Jenkins, Mike Piazza, Dave Winfield
32    Steve Carlton, Sandy Koufax, Elston Howard
33    Mike Scott, Eddie Murray, Honus Wagner
34    Fernando Valenzuela, Rollie Fingers, Kirby Puckett
35    Randy Jones, Phil Niekro
36    Robin Roberts, Gaylord Perry
39    Roy Campanella
40    Don Wilson
41    Eddie Mathews, Tom Seaver, Joe Nuxhall
42    Jackie Robinson, Bruce Sutter
43    Dennis Eckersley
44    Henry Aaron, Reggie Jackson, Willie McCovey
45    Pedro Martinez, Bob Gibson
46    Jim Maloney
49    Larry Dierker, Ron Guidry
53    Don Drysdale
55    Orel Hershiser

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

He Walks Just Like His Father.

My Dad was a great storyteller.  He could make the most insignificant sorts of incidents memorable to all.

I can easily visualize Dad telling one of these stories.  He would get this great smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye.  He would start off very seriously, but he could never maintain that long.  Pretty soon he'd start to giggle.  He got so much joy out of sharing these with those he loved.

Towards the end of his life Dad would tell his favorite stories pretty often.  Some of us thought this was an indication of minor dementia, that he'd forgotten he'd just told this.  Now that I've thought more about this though, I don't think that was the case.  I think he knew that he'd told the story recently, but that he got so much happiness telling his stories, and he knew that we got just as much joy hearing him tell them, that he could not resist.

In our family laughter can easily be triggered by just saying any number of short phrases -- "Turn Around?"  "Ma-TRO-Buis?" "Pull Over If You See a Good Spot" "He Knows the Near Way!" "Flat Tire"

One of the most famous though, is the story of the man who walks just like his Father.

Here is the story as Dad would tell it:

One summer we were driving up to Boston.  This was probably in the late 70s and only Kim & Bill were with us since they were the only kids still living at home.  On this trip we had decided to visit Marge's cousin, Jack Meade, who lived on Staten Island in New York.

Marge had met Jack, but Jack was about 10 years younger than Marge and the last time they'd seen each other was when Jack was just a kid, so Marge wasn't sure she'd be able to recognize him.  We'd never been to his house, so when we got to Staten Island we stopped at a McDonald's near the area where we thought he lived and called, telling him where we were.

Jack said he knew exactly where the restaurant was and that he'd be over to meet us in a few minutes.

So we sat there snacking, looking out the windows waiting for our guide to show.

After a few minutes a guy walked through the parking lot. He didn't appear to be coming into the McDonald's, just passing through, but Marge looked closely at him and said, "Bill, I think that's him.  He walks just like his Father."

So I quickly went out the door and whistled.  That got the guy's attention and he turned towards me.  "Hey," I said, "We're over here!"

He turned and gave me a quizzically look, but didn't say anything.  He looked about the right age, so when he turned and started to walk away, I started following him.  "Hey, Jack?" I yelled, "Where are you going?"

He turned and looked at me, so I started walking a little faster, then, so did he.  Next thing I knew we were running down the street.  When he jumped over a hedge and tripped, I was able to catch up to him.  He jumped up and took a swing at me, so I knocked him down again.

"Jack," I said, "What the hell's the matter with you?  I'm Bill Locker, your cousin Dolly's husband."

"What the hell's a matter with me?" he replied, "What the hell's the matter with you?  My name's not Jack and I don't have any cousins named Dolly."

Well, this embarrassed me a little, so I apologized to the poor guy and went back the the restaurant.  While I was gone, the real Jack had shown up, so we left and went to their home.


Now here's the way Mom and Uncle Bill say it happened:

The stories are the same until about the time your Nana said, "Bill, I think that's him.  He walks just like his Father."

The guy she said this about actually did come into MacDonald's.  Dad went over to him and said, "Are you Jack Meade?"

The guy said, "No," so Dad sat back down and waited until he did show up.