Baseball Memories

Posted: April 17, 2010 in Family and Friends, Stories

One of the coolest websites in the universe is Baseball-Reference.com, and among the billion things you can discover there, you can find play-by-play accounts of games going WAY BACK throughout the wonderful world of baseball history.

I have a favorite.

It was July 19, 1979, and the Big Red Machine in their first year sans Pete Rose came to Busch Stadium to take on the Cardinals. Coincidentally, a snotty-nosed eight-year-old kid from Arkansas rode a bus with his dad for this very same game, his first ever opportunity to take in a big-leagues game in person. And now, thanks to Baseball-Reference.com, this snotty-nosed thirty-nine-year-old kid (now from California) can relive every play of that fantastic memory.

* The game opened with Pete Vuckovich getting Dave Collins to ground out to Keith Hernandez (unassisted).
* For Cardinal fans, it went downhill from there. The Reds scored five runs in the first inning, with a veritable hall-of-fame ballot crossing home: Joe Morgan, Ken Griffey, Dave Concepcion, Ray Knight, and Johnny Bench.
* Lou Brock (in his last MLB season) and Garry Templeton were the lonely bright spots for the Redbirds that night, both going 3-5. Brock had three RBIs, and Templeton had a double and a triple.
* In the ninth inning, with the game comfortably in tow, Ray Knight hit his first ever grand slam (and his first homer of that memorable season when he was asked to replace Pete Rose at third base). That ended the slaughter at 16-4.

I don’t know why, but I am fascinated to learn that it was a Thursday night, that 27,228 were in attendance, that the game took two hours and fifty-two minutes, and that Fred Norman got the win.

But I think I know why I am fascinated. It must be that it is the closest thing I have to a time-traveling machine. Of going back to those loge box seats in left field when I was just a kid, of eating a hot dog with my dad, and of that wide-eyed wonder of a moment of which I have never recovered.

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