Posts Tagged ‘Baseball’

Passing the Buck—A Son Honors His Father

October 27, 2011


Jack and Joe Buck video courtesy of Mark Klimowitz’s YouTube channel

Kirby Puckett rounds the bases after his game-winning home run in the 1991 World Series

October 26, 1991. Game Six of the World Series. Minnesota Twins vs. Atlanta Braves. Kirby Puckett of the Twins led off the bottom of the eleventh inning with a walk-off homer. TV announcer Jack Buck made the famous six-word call: “And we’ll see you tomorrow night!”

David Freese and his teammates celebrate his game-winning home run in the 2011 World Series

October 27, 2011. Game Six of the World Series. St. Louis Cardinals vs. Texas Rangers. David Freese of (more…)

The Chicken Runs at Midnight

May 16, 2010

My daughter and I share countless inside jokes and greatly enjoy teasing each other. That was my first thought when I read about Amy Donnelly’s question to her dad in this article for by Tim Kurkjian. Amy Donnelly’s story does not have a happy ending . . . and yet there is hope in this story, and peace, and joy, and much, much love.

Amy Donnelly

When then-Pirates third base coach Rich Donnelly would crouch down, cup his hands and shout to the runner on second base, his daughter, Amy, once asked him, “Dad, what are you yelling to the runner, ‘The chicken runs at midnight’?” The statement had no origin, no specific meaning, yet became a buzz phrase in the Donnelly home, and among the Pirates. When Pittsburgh second baseman Jose Lind ran on the field before a game in 1992, a microphone caught him yelling to teammates, “Let’s go, the chicken runs at midnight!”

Amy Donnelly was diagnosed with (more…)

Ernie and Herb

May 5, 2010

Statue of Ernie Harwell in front of Detroit's Comerica Park

I heard the news this morning that legendary Detroit Tigers baseball broadcaster Ernie Harwell died yesterday at the age of ninety-two. He called games for the Tigers from 1960 through 2002. It is not a stretch to say that Ernie was beloved throughout the game and uniformly hailed as one of the nicest men you could ever hope to meet.

Click here to read some heartwarming stories about Ernie, including the tale of how he unintentionally played matchmaker for singer Jose Feliciano and his wife.

I was only dimly aware of Ernie while growing up in the Twin Cities and only began learning about him a few years ago through sports-talk radio. A while back, I bought a wonderful four-hour CD called Ernie Harwell’s Audio Scrapbook, a collection of Ernie’s broadcasting highlights and interviews. Listen to five minutes of samples from it by watching the video below.

Twins broadcaster Herb Carneal

While listening to and reading all the tributes for Ernie pouring in from media members and fans, my thoughts naturally drifted back to my own childhood memories of listening to iconic Minnesota Twins broadcaster Herb Carneal, the voice of the Twins from 1962 (their second season) all the way through the 2006 season. Herb, who (more…)

My Heroes!

January 22, 2009

In the summer when I turned seven, I came out of Capitol Drug in White Bear Lake with some packs of baseball cards. Standing on the sidewalk, I opened my treasures and . . . YES! . . . there was a card of Minnesota Twins first baseman Don Mincher! I couldn’t wait to show my dad!

When I was around four, my mom had prepped me for my dad’s arrival home from work on a day when the Twins played an afternoon game. My dad was a huge baseball fan, so when he came through the door at dinner time, I proudly announced “Don Minser hit a home wun and da Twins win!” My dad couldn’t have been prouder!

My dad and I shared a love of baseball. I used to sit on his lap with my baseball cards, cover up the names and have him guess who they were. We also used to trade initials. “Give me one!” I’d say, and he’d think for a moment, then say, “J.G.” “Jim Grant!” I guessed. If that wasn’t it, I’d go to Junior Gilliam, Jim Gentile, Julio Gotay or Jerry Grote. It was a great game for car rides. I remember getting him twice in a row with “J.C.”—Jim Campbell. I don’t know if he was humoring me or if he was paying more attention to his driving, but it’s a great memory that has stayed with me all these years.

My mom was also very loving and supportive of my baseball mania. I remember her surprising me with a box of baseball cards on a family trip when I was seven (I still remember getting Steve Barber, a pitcher for the Orioles). And it was her idea to take me out of school whenever a Twins player was featured at an autograph session at a local bank (see photos below). I couldn’t have asked for two better parents.

When I was in grade school, Dad went out in the back yard with a shovel, (more…)

John Challis Lived For One More Pitch

August 21, 2008

FIve days ago, I wrote a post called One More Pitch. Here is a story about an 18-year-old baseball player who, against insurmountable odds, stepped in for one more pitch himself. You want to know what the embodiment of bravery looks like? (more…)

One More Pitch

August 15, 2008

Eight-year-old Erin and me playing baseball in our front yard

I’ve heard so many men, including some good friends of mine, say that they didn’t spend enough time with their kids while they were growing up because they were so focused on their career. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a tragedy of epic proportions.

One of the things I am proudest of in my life is that I have no regrets about how much time I spent with my daughter, Erin. The many happy times we shared, and the knowledge that she felt—and still feels at 29—unconditionally loved and cherished, is far more valuable than the big bank account I might have had if I had been more focused on making money instead of memories.