Guest blogger you say? Me you say? I don’t know a thing about blogging! I do however, know a thing or even two, about baseball. That’s all. Two things. You know, like Thing One and Thing Two of Dr. Seuss fame; but I digress. This…is about the baseball. One very special baseball.
Not much to look at, it still holds a revered place in my collection…and my safe. Not because its monetary value is high…not because it’s a much sought after acquisition…in fact, no one else would even put in a bid on eBay. But the memories invoked in its signing to me alone, are priceless.
|My Mom cut this from a Little Caesar's promotional ad for Lolich's appearance|
Back in 1968, the Tigers - MY Tigers - won the World Series. A mere 8 yrs. old, I didn’t know much about baseball but I knew they were “my hometown team” and that was good enough for me. My mother, who wasn’t a huge fan, heard about a Mickey Lolich signing at the local Little Caesar’s Pizza joint. She did what any good mother would do, she took me…and a baseball.
We joined the throng of others outside the door and began what was to be a 3 hour wait. We sang a rousing chorus or two of “Take me out to the ballgame”… (she loved the peanuts and Cracker Jack part) and we visited with the fans who had come to see this legendary man. While most of us were content to wait our turn, two teenage girls were “moving their way” up the line by visiting folks and then gradually slipping in front of them. As we made our way closer and closer to the door, they made their way closer and closer to us. Mom and I were just a few steps away when they took cuts in front of us.
She was not a woman of many words, let alone those which were deemed confrontational. While I was busy eyeing Mickey through the big store front window, they were getting the ol’ stink eye from my mom. She chose to let it - and them - go though, and then the unthinkable happened, it was our turn. The gentleman letting folks in a few at a time, opened the door and let the girls in and as he did, he spoke the words that I can still hear, “I’m sorry, but that’s the last group we can take because Mr. Loclich has another engagement. Thank you all for waiting.”
I went home that day a very disappointed little kid…and so did my mother. She offered to sign the baseball for me, which to me at the time, wasn’t quite as good as a real Tiger. Still, using a blue ink pen, she penned the words “Sock It To ‘Em Tigers 1968”…and bless her heart, I’m sure she had no clue, but it’s not even in the sweet spot!