Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Giants win the Pennant

R.I.P. Bobby Thomson. Let me share a quick story about him.

My father grew up in the the '50s as a New York Giants fan in Passaic, New Jersey. Mostly a Willie Mays fan, he was a fan of the entire team and took joy in their victories, especially 1951 when he was 9 years old (not dissimilar to myself with the 1986 Mets).

Sometime in the late 1980s, after he had gotten me into baseball and collecting baseball cards (which was a fun hobby that I can tell you about another time), we went to a baseball card show, which we did lots of over the few years that I was collecting. And Bobby Thomson was signing. I don't know if we (and I mean my dad) knew this going in, or if it was a nice surprise for him. And we stood in his line, my dad paid whatever the fee was for his autograph (I'm assuming there was a fee - I was oblivious to some of these things), and the time came for "our" autograph.

My dad will probably deny what I'm about to say, saying that he was teaching me a little bit about baseball history by having me be the one to receive the autograph of someone who brought him great joy, but I'll say it - my dad used me to get an autograph of someone who hit an important home run from when he was my age (which seemed like it was 100 years earlier). I certainly did learn a bit of baseball history that day. I don't remember if I had heard about it prior (not everything sticks with you when you're 8 or 9 years old), but I certainly learned about Bobby Thomson, the New York Giants (a team before the Mets), and The Shot Heard 'Round the World that day.

I sort of remember Bobby himself, just being the nice humble man that he's always been made out to be. The autograph itself was on a gigantic posterized black and white photograph of the home run with the ball circled and an arrow pointing to it (it wasn't too easy to see without it as they didn't have 10 megapixles or color back in 1951). My autographed copy of it still exists somewhere. I don't remember throwing it out after moving out of my parents' house, but I have no idea where it is.

R.I.P. Bobby Thomson, one of the great former players around.

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