I have had a mortifying sin ulcerating on my soul since 1969, and I believe the time has come to clean the bases, so to speak, and to deglorify the only athletic trophy in the Press Club in Houston.
I refer to the time that the Press Club Spikes won the Commercial Division of the Fast Pitch League of Greater Houston. It all began innocently enough when the entire Press Club was invited to a picnic at the ranch of Frank Horlock, a local beer distributor. We played your average picnic softball game. Now I'm not trying to puff myself up, but I had played semi-pro ball and I even had a tryout with the St. Louis Cardinals, so I was a slight cut above the other members of the Press Club. I hit a couple of home runs and pitched, striking out the side a few times, and my team won by about 16 runs.
I thought no more about it, other than it having been a good time, until about a week later. I was sitting in the Press Club, quietly sipping a lemonade when Sam Caldwell came in. Sam had been the organizer of the softball game.
Sam is an extremely fine illustrator, but the fire of a competitive athlete burns in his nonathletic body. He walked over and sat down in a chair at my table and said, "Well, I've entered us in the league."
I said, mildly, "What league?", thinking he meant the Art League or something like that.
But Sam said, "Commercial Division, fast pitch."
I just looked at him, not quite certain what I was hearing. I said, "You've entered who?"
He said, "The Press Club Spikes. Like the name?"
Lemonade wasn't strong enough for what I was hearing. So I turned around to the bartender and signaled him to bring me a cola.
Sam said, "I know you're a good hitter and a pretty good chunker so I figure we have a chance. I talked to the board and they agreed to put up the entry fee, so I went ahead and entered us."