This posting consists of several e-mails that recently passed between me and my son-in-law (the team’s coach) concerning his son’s Little League baseball team performance this year:
Brantley’s e-mail to me on 8 June, 2009:
The little Cubs finished 3rd in the post season tournament, only losing their final two games to the top two teams by one run each game. They had an exciting season. Their coach enjoyed it, but is glad it’s over also. Here are the scores for the four games:
South Garland 3
The Colony 0
Championship Game Four:
North Garland 4
Yesterday Brennan was voted by the other coaches in the league to be one of the 13 Wylie Little League “All Stars” for the All Star team, so he apparently will be playing a couple tournaments later this month and next. The Garland Tournament is June 20—these are “kid pitch” games and should be interesting, since these kids have only played “coach pitch” so far.
This is my response to Brantley on 9 June:
Kudos to Brennan (and to the coach) for a successful season — All Stars! — WOW! Tell Brennan to be especially careful when sliding into home plate. My very brief baseball career (on a Little League team sponsored by the American Legion Post in Suitland, Maryland) ended abruptly when I rounded third-base (the only triple I ever hit) and the coach waved me in. I slid in and wrapped my right leg around the catcher’s shin guard—broke the tibia cleanly in one spot (my tibia, not his) and cracked it in two places below and two places above the clean break. When the dust cleared, my right foot was lying at a 90-degree angle from the knee.
P.S. If you’ve heard this story already, just skip it—I won’t mind—much.
This is Brantley’s response on 9 June:
That is an interesting story, one that I had not heard. Were you safe?
And finally (maybe), this is my response to Brantley on 9 June:
Nope—I was out by a mile—as I remember it the catcher met me approximately halfway between third and home. Well, maybe I was a bit closer than that to home plate, but not much.
Boy, you’re really opened up an old wound. In all the years since the incident I’ve never once thought about whether I was safe—it didn’t really matter to me at the time, nor does it now—I never really liked baseball anyway.
But listen up:
Wouldn’t it have been great if I had been called safe? And wouldn’t it have been fabulous if we had been in the bottom of the ninth with the score tied—and mine would have been the winning run, and my team would have also won the district championship and went on to win the state championship, and would have gone on to win the national title, and then on to Japan to win the world title—I can see the headlines now in newspapers everywhere:
“Maryland Little League Team Declared WORLD CHAMPIONS—the winning run was scored when Mikey, the team’s award-winning left-fielder (and sometimes shortstop), crawled the last few feet to home plate on one knee, dragging his shattered right leg in the dust.”
Hey, it doesn’t get any better than that.
That’s exactly how it happened. I was safe, and it was the bottom of the ninth, and the score was tied so I brought in the winning run, and we were declared district champions, and we went on to win the regional championship and then the state championship, and then on to win the national championship, and then on to Japan to compete for the world championship, and we won there and became the world champions, and at each game I was the honored guest, seated on a special platform directly behind home plate (with my cast and crutches).
Yes, I remember it clearly now—that’s exactly how it happened and that’s how I’ll tell the story in the future. Thanks for nudging my memory. Actually, now that I’ve thought about it in greater depth, we may have still been at war with Japan.
No, I was right the first time—the year was 1947 and the war was over, although American troops were occupying Japan at the time. So I’ll stick with my memory that our World Championship was won in Japan.
Yep, that’s how it was. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Incidentally, three years later in April, 1950 I became part of the Army of Occupation in Japan. For more details click the link below: