Your fondest baseball memories
Posted: Thursday July 22, 1999 12:40 PM
CNN/SI asked users to share their fondest baseball memories. The responses ranged from first t-ball swings to famous baseball moments. Read on for some of the most interesting responses:
My fondest memory is when I was awarded a trip to Washington D.C. in 1962 by the Kiwanis Club to go see the Washington Senators and New York Yankees. For me, it was a dream come true to see my heroes, the Yankees, come to life. I met Tony Kubek and Tom Tresh and slept with my autographed hat for at least a year. Being from a poor family, I knew that there was no other way I could have seen these two teams play. I will never forget it!
It was an error by Mickey Mantle. He picked up the ball at the wall in Comiskey Park, 415 feet from home plate and threw the ball over Yogi Berra's head into the screen on a line. The whole crowd just gasped at the 450 foot throwing error.
In 1968, I saw Bob Gibson pitch against the Phillies in old Connie Mack Stadium. That season Gibson had the astounding ERA of 1.12, 268 Ks, and won both the MVP and Cy Young Award. His performance that night was unforgettable. He shutout the Phillies and recorded double digit strikeouts. That's only half the story. He also hit a home run and stole second base. I've never seen a more dominating performance.
My fondest memory was Game 2 of the 1998 World Series at Yankee Stadium. It was my first World Series and I was seven rows from the field on the first base side. There is no better place to see a World Series than the "house that Ruth built." It was electrifying! The game was great, but my fondest memory was at the end of the game they played "New York New York" by Frank Sinatra and everyone stayed and sang along. That was the icing on the cake! What a memorable year for the Yankees. and I was there in the end to celebrate it.
Kurt Gibson's home run during the World Series for the Los Angeles Dodgers, reaching out over the plate to hit it -- and him hobbling around the bases and pumping his fist. What an unbelievable moment.
Mickey Mantle hitting two tape measure home runs over the centerfield at Griffith's stadium (Wash., D.C.) on opening day, 1957.
My favorite baseball memory is when Don Mattingly chased a pop-up in foul territory and when he ran out of room and realized that the ball was out of play, he took some popcorn from a kid that turned his head to follow the foul ball. It was just a nice playful image that the game has lacked for sometime, though is beginning to recapture thanks to Sammy Sosa.
It's as easy as this... Game 5 of the 1985 National League Championship... bottom of the ninth... Ozzie Smith walks to the plate. He has hit zero home runs as a lefthanded hitter in 3,009 career at bats. As said by Cardinals legendary announcer Jack Buck, "Smith corks one into right, it may go... Go Crazy Folks, Go Crazy... its a homerun and the Cardinals have won the game by the score of 3-2 on a home run by The Wizard". That is my fondest baseball memory.
When I used to pitch for American Legion Baseball back Atlanta, Georgia, I was on a very mediocre team. At the end of the year in the playoffs, we were seeded last and were playing the top-seeded team, which included a couple of Major League draft choices. Well, that day it was about 95 degrees with no wind. I pitched the whole game, which went 10 innings, and we won 4 to 3. I lost ten pounds that day. I remember that game more than any of the no-hitters that I threw when I was in Little League or High School.
In 1976, it was the end of baseball season and the Yankees were to play the Kansas City Royals. During the break before the series, I went to JC Penney's to met Yankee first baseman Chris Chamblis. He signed a baseball for me and I asked him to hit me a home run. In Game 5, bottom of the 9th, Chamblis hit one over the right-center field wall and the Yankees were on their way to the World Series! That was my home run! I was an extremely happy 10-year-old.
I grew up in New York City and met Willie Mays as a Little Leaguer at the Polo Grounds. About six years ago, at Spring Training, I asked Willie for an autograph. While signing my program, I told Willie that I had met him years ago. Without missing a beat, Willie said to me "Yeah, you, me and one other guy are the only ones that remember the Polo Grounds".
Even though I am a diehard Yankees fan, and was present at David Cone's perfect, the greatest baseball moment for me was being in attendance at Game 4 and 5 of the "Miracle Met" World Series in 1969. It was truly a surrealistic experience, as it seemed that all of the gods -- baseball and otherwise -- aligned themselves up perfectly in the cosmos for this incredible event to have happened. It is something that I have proudly told my children about and will tell my grandchildren about (when I have them!). It was an experience of a lifetime.
The home run chase between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. Wherever you went, whoever you talked to, everyone was talking about the race. After the strike season put a bad spin on baseball, this brought the fans back to baseball.
It had to be Nolan Ryan's 7th no-hitter in May 1991. Being in the stands at Arlington Stadium was like being at a rock concert, especially in the 9th inning. When he struck out Robby Alomar with a 96 mph fastball, the whole place went crazy. Being there for that beats any television broadcast.
I will never forget the day I became a Cubs fan. It was in the late Eighties. Mark Grace stepped up to the plate against the Mets in the bottom of the ninth with one runner on, Cubs down by one. The Mets manager switched to a lefty to no avail; Grace creamed it over the wall for a game winning home run to seal the sweep of the Mets.
Pete Rose´s hit off the late Eric Show, that broke the all-time hits career record, and Cal Ripken´s consecutive games played that broke Lou Gehrig´s record. These were records that I thought would stand forever -- Rose and Ripken are in a class of their own.
I would have to say that just this year's introductions at the All-Star Game in Fneway Park was my fondest memory. I think to see the greatest players of yesterday standing next to the greatest players of today should make us all a little faint. It was just really cool to see Mark McGwire shaking hands with Ted Williams, and to see Kenny Lofton standing next to Willie Mays. And in addition to all the baseball celebrities, they were standing on one of baseball's oldest and most historical fields.
As a young boy, my father would pick my brother and I up from school some days at lunchtime during April, May and June. He would say, "Now, don't tell your Mom..." and off we would go to a Yankee game. It was always the most special of treats to see my Dad standing on the corner because we had a secret that no one in the whole world could share. At Yankee Stadium, he made certain my brother and I got the best surprise lunch any kid could ever want. Sitting in the right field stands we would watch Mickey Mantle climb towards the infamous 500 home run club. My fondest memory of all was catching a ball hit by The Mick. Sitting there with my Dad all those years ago, is why the game was invented. A rite of passage. Now if I could only sneak my son out of school!
Warren Morris' ninth inning homerun against Miami in the 1996 College World Series Championship game to win the title for LSU. Talk about purity of baseball. This was literally a storybook ending, something every kid, and every adult for that matter, dreams of doing themselves if only in their minds. There is nothing better than watching players who play for the love of the game and become a hero. This was an event that represents the reason baseball is America's pastime and has captured our hearts and souls. To witness this homerun, in person, is the most powerful moment in sport I have seen or heard of.
Watching my grandson (6-years-old) get his first hit, a double, in "T" Ball. With glassed-over eyes realizing how great the sport of baseball is from the pros on down. What it means to all American families, the intangible benefits like character building and patriotism. God Bless America and Baseball.
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