Saturday, March 28, 2020


My father would have been 102 years old today.

As a young boy growing up in the 1950's and 60's, my dad was my hero. Actually, that is not the truth. I had two heroes, my dad and The Mick. 

Mickey Mantle was a product of the gods. His strength was herculean. He wore the wings of Hermes on his feet. He could beat you with a bunt or a 500 foot blast. He could track down every ball the batter mistakenly believed was destined for glory and would gun you down if you dared to challenge the lightning in his arm. He was the handsomest of men, with a smile to steal your heart.

Only later in my life would I learn he was also a person of many failings and that I had long been worshipping a false God.

But my dad never faltered. Until his dying day, at 61 years of age, he remained ever the same person I idolized from my first memories. A brilliant man, a success in his chosen field of work, a devoted husband, he was a father who gave all of himself, all of the time to two children who never, ever lacked certainty they were deeply and completely loved every moment of every day.

Sports was a particular bond for me and my dad, both of us natural athletes, both of us drawn to competition and both with a particular passion for baseball.

My most constant companion growing up was my mitt. It followed me everywhere and anywhere I went. And as my dad rushed home from work on countless days just to have a catch with me or to throw me a few pitches to hit, our lives coalesced around this game. Our backyard serving as home plate and pitcher's mound for an unbreakable alliance.

Our travels together to Yankee Stadium were like taking day trips to heaven. And when my dad caught a ball that Berra hit, well almost 50 years later it is still my favorite possession. As long as it remains with me, so does my dad.

Game two of this most welcome season took place in Baltimore today. And my team again prevailed, this time by a count of 9 to 2. Masahiro Tanaka threw an impeccable five innings, striking out 8 O's and not allowing a single runner to arrive safely even one quarter of the way around the 360 foot diamond. Gleybar Torres homered for the second consecutive game. And, at least for one more day, 162 wins seems a distinct possibility.

But today belonged to the memory of my dad and to the game that meant so much to that little boy with two heroes.


Anonymous said...

Knowing the loving, giving, passionate, sensitive, bright, well written and fiercely committed advocate for all things right and just you are is to feel as though I know the Dad you so lovingly describe. Wishing you sweet memories today and always.


Anonymous said...

A very special tribute to your dad. Also brought back memories of Yankee Stadium with my dad who took me to see the likes of Mantle and Berra, who taught me how to keep score, who made father-daughter times special and who was my hero and role model. We were so lucky to have these amazing men in our lives.


Anonymous said...

i like when you write abut your parents. may you live as long as your dad would have been-well, at least 100. lois

Anonymous said...

Loved this piece. It brings me back to Yankee games with my Dad as well.


Anonymous said...

A beautiful tribute to your father, who, very wisely, made you a baseball fan.

My father took me to my Saturday morning ballet lessons with the man who taught Jerome Robbins how to dance. After class we walked to Ebbets Field to cheer on our beloved Brooklyn Dodgers. The worst seat in that glorious stadium was magnificent. You could talk to dem Bums from bleacher seats. Oh, how I miss those days.

Stay safe and healthy.


Anonymous said...

And he would have been proud of you. I was a Maris fan. A yankee fan like you but my dad was an ex Giants fan rooting for the Mets. I still loved him dearly.!


Nancy said...

Love your yearly tributes to your dad. I don't the the apple fell far from the tree.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful expression of love