My journey in baseball began when I was about five years old. Our family lived in a very rural area in south central Kentucky. We were poor, but we really didn’t know it, because almost everyone in our part of the country was poor. As a five year old, I remember walking down a stretch of gravel road to our neighbor’s house...a boy named Anthony lived there, who was about six years older than me. He was pitching to his older brother and I was amazed at how fast the ball was traveling. He was also throwing a curve and it simply fascinated me. I had never seen anyone throw a baseball that hard. You see, we didn’t have a television at that time, so I had never seen a baseball game. That same year, we purchased our first TV. As my mother and sister marveled over Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show, I was captivated with this incredible game called “baseball” that we could watch each Saturday.
Once my brother and I began to show more interest in playing, my father bought us a couple of gloves and a baseball. A few years later, I played in my first season of Little League baseball and didn’t get one hit; but my coach and brother kept encouraging me. In my second year of playing, the coach allowed me to pitch. And, as many have said, “I learned how to grip a baseball, and the game has had a grip on me ever since.”
Sixty years later, I continue to be fascinated with the game. I simply love hearing the leather pop, the crack of the bat and the chatter of of the participants. Let’s face it, we have our own sub-culture. If you use phrases such as “turn two,” “can of corn,” “second sacker,” “around the horn,” “Punch and Judy,” “dugout,” “bullpen,” “fungo,” “on- deck” and “in the hole,” around people unfamiliar with the game, they may look at you as if you had two heads. There’s nothing like the sounds, smells and the ambience of the game of baseball. Quite frankly, it’s a little hard for me to understand people who don’t enjoy the game. I’m pretty much insulted when people tell me they don’t like baseball. But then I remember that some people don’t like ice cream, apple pie or a good joke.
If the game has a grip on you, you will love this issue of Inside Pitch. And, if you enjoy this issue, you will also enjoy the good news I have about the magazine. We will be printing the best magazine in amateur baseball six times each year instead of four! We are always interested in hearing from you. Let us know what you think about our publication.