Saturday, December 27, 2008

October 23, 1991

One of the best gifts my father ever gave me. Written by him back when I was in 5th grade. I remember every bit of it. Especially how ticked he was when he took my mom back the next night!

By Fred Gleaton:

"Last night I had one of those sorts of experiences that every person imagines having when they are trying convince themselves to step into the realm of parenthood. After two-thirds of my life, about ten last place finishes, two playoff flameouts, and eleven years of diaper changing, back patting, butt spanking, and school tuition, I took Sarah Gleaton to the first world series game ever played in Atlanta. Maybe the Braves were just waiting all these years for me to have such a special World Series date.

Twenty-five years ago my father brought me up from south Georgia for the first major league baseball game I ever saw. I was 14 and my father was 49. It was the first major league game he ever saw, too. I remember just about everything about it. We came up on a Friday night so that my sister and mother could shop for my sister's wedding dress. The women headed for Rich's at the earliest hour of merchandising. My father and I say in in our room at the Holiday Inn on Monroe Drive all Saturday morning watching it rain and thinking that we would never get to see our game. The rain stopped about lunchtime, and the rest is history of sort.

It was the Chicago Cubs: Ernie Banks, Glenn Beckert, Don Kessinger, and Ron Santo in the infield, with Randy Hundley behind the plate. Billy Williams and George Altman played in the outfield. I don't remember who started the game or who played third outfield spot for the Cubs, but I remember every Brave: Rico Carty, Mack Jones, and Henry Aaron in the outfield, Lee Thomas, Woody Woodward, Dennis Menke, and Eddie Matthews in the infield, and Joe Torre catching. Wade Blasingame started, but neither he nor the unknown Cub lasted for long.

Billy Williams hit the first home run I eve saw and it is still one of the most impressive ones I remember: a line drive the first baseman actually leapt for but which cleared the fence in right field never having gone more than about 20 feet the ground. George Altman hit one about four rows short of the club level in right. Henry Aaron homered to tie the game at nine in the ninth, and Hundley won it for the Cubs with one in the tenth. Along the way, Ted Abernathy, the only submarineballer of the time, relieved for the Cubs and Clay Carroll took a turn for our side. Chi Chi Olivo, the fat Brave reliever, hit one to the centerfield fence in the bottom of the ninth before coming out in the tenth and giving up Hundley's game winner.

I have been to a lot of other game since then. Certainly some were more exciting, a very few were more significant, but apparently none were as memorable, at least until last night.

I will probably always remember a few things about the game, but a slate with 38 years of writing on it loses a bit of its legibility: Tomahawks and homer hankies, Avery's pitching (God, he is only 21), Belliard's RBI (it's gotta be da hat), Justice's and Smith's homers (justice atoning for several bonehead plays and Lonnie in the Series with his fourth different team), a won game seemingly snatched away by Chili Davis, four winning runs left in scoring position in the last five innings by the Minnesota Twins, the longer World Series game in 75 years, Lemke's twelfth-inning hit, and Justice touching all the bases. All were special, but none were as memorable to me than spending four hours and four minutes watching a beautiful 11 year old girl on the edge of being a lot older, know knows all the players' names, who knows your're supposed to hit the cut-off man and understands the double switch, have the time of her life. She wasn't tired, she only to school all day, won a tennis match in a tie breaker against a kid who hadn't lost all season, and spend six hours at the ballpark. She wore her tomahawk earrings, she chopped and chanted, chided Hrbek and derided the organist, cheered for Justice, and groaned for Clancey.

What a game. What a kid. All that and tonight I get to take her mother right back to the same place. Two great dates in a row. Life is good..............."

Who wouldn't have read this a million times?


Susan Dickinson said...

love your blog gleats!!!! stop talking about moving 2 germany- i get sad and depressed!!!! i am very happy for you though. :) it will be exciting- i want 2 visit this summer

MMM said...

This is so sweet! Who knew Daddy Fred was such a softie! =)

Dennie said...

The cookies are so cute! Did you do them yourself or get them through or something like that? I love the little people, that is adorable. Yummy too.