The first pitch

When I was learning to talk, my parents asked, “Who’s the best baseball player in the world?” I would reply, “Pee Wee Reese.” Later, from 1960-1965, I was a devoted Saturday viewer of the CBS Game of the Week, called by Reese (1918-1999) and Dizzy Dean (1910-1974).

I became a Braves fan when they were in Milwaukee. I still remember their 1957 and 1958 World Series against the Yankees. In recent years, the only games I’ve watched on TV have been the World Series. So, baseball isn’t a pastime for me, but rather something that’s in my past time.

The short 2020 season has begun. Dr. Anthony Fauci, 79, threw out the “first pitch” at the Nationals/Yankees game on Thursday, proving that basketball is his first sport. It was widely noted that Dr. Fauci, a good sport, doesn’t want anybody to catch anything, and that he managed to “flatten the curve.”

Until fans can safely return to the stands, here’s a video to remember what a full stadium of cheering fans feels like: Vin Scully’s call of Kirk Gibson’s pinch hit appearance against Dennis Eckersley in the 1988 World Series, as well as their conversation about it 30 years later.

“Pee Wee Reese” was easier for a toddler, but a more accurate answer to my parents’ (circa 1952) question was “Jackie Robinson” (1919-1972). Photo from the Library of Congress, “By Popular Demand: Jackie Robinson and Other Baseball Highlights: 1860s-1960s.”

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