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Sandlot Baseball – All the Way, 1963

August 9, 2010

(click on photo to enlarge and read names)

If there’s anyone out there who was part of this East Braintree Little League All Star team, I’d love to hear from you. In 1963, we went all the way to the Massachusetts District 8 Finals before bowing out to Weymouth North.

What I remember most about those games:

After-game banana splits at Howard Johnson’s

Pre-game jitters, the knots in my stomach

Pre-game jitters disappearing after catching my first fly ball during batting practice

The secrecy of the coaches in the dugout huddle showing us the bunt, take and swing signs

Both teams lining up on either side of home plate for a prayer

Facing the flag in the outfield while saying the Pledge of Allegiance

Watching nervously from the dugout as the opposing pitchers fired warm-up bullets

How large the umpires seemed

The anxiety of trying to remember the coaches’ signals

Stepping up to the plate for the first time and striking out

How loud the umpires sounded when calling strikes

All the people in the grandstands

Knowing that each game was do-or-die

The clutch pitching of Wally Sanders

After-game banana splits at Howard Johnson’s

Stepping up to the plate  and, again, striking out

The disappointment of walking back to the dugout after whiffing

Dugout chatter, the excitement of our many comeback rallies

Billy Hickey’s constant heroics

Wishing I could contribute

Shielding my eyes from the sun but still catching every fly ball hit my way

My brother, proud to be our team’s bat boy

Making the game-winning shoe-string catch in left field to get us to the Finals

Pats on the back

The good words of the coaches after getting knocked off in the championship game

After-game banana splits at Howard Johnson’s

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  1. Darcy permalink

    On this day when most kids here in the valley return to school, it’s good to hear about summer pasttimes.

    • Darcy,
      Can’t believe kids are already going back to school. The day after Labor Day used to be the first day of school way back when. Hope all is well at FBC.

  2. Diane permalink

    I only played official (soft) ball in college on a recreational summer league team (left field, with a lotta help knowing where to stand). It’s TERRIFIC, though to see pictures of you and Steve from the bygone years.!

    • Diane,
      Good to hear from you. I’ll bet you could catch them behind your back…
      The old pictures are great to see, aren’t they?

  3. Ken Cook permalink

    Rich, I totally enjoy all of your writings and info. You have a great memory for your baseball beginnings That was great you reached the finals against North Weymouth. I think that little league was Bill Hickey’s high point in his young life, and for years to come. I played basketball in high school with Wally Sanders. I guess he was a much better basketball player then a baseball player. Some guys that played at Braintree High might have been on that team. Could Bill Rogers, Bill O’Neil, been on that team? They were good ball players from little league on. Do you remember the coaches names? Always good to hear from you. Look forward to it. Ken Cook.

    • Ken,
      Bill Rogers wasn’t on that team. Neither was Billy O’Neil but he did play for Penguin AC with me. He was a scrappy player and very quick. Thanks for the good words. Glad we can’t stay in touch through our baseball memories…

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