Growing up in small town America in the 1960s, a young boy had few entertainment options. Television programming still arrived through the air, picked up by a bunch of metal sticks protruding from a metal pole that gave most of us a choice of only three television networks.
There was no Netflix or other streaming network. You couldn’t order a baseball glove from Amazon. There was no reasonable expectation of Mom taking us down to Vincennes when she got home to see if the latest Mickey Mantle model bat had come in at Kresge.
After all, Mom was already home. She was in the kitchen with Grandpa getting supper ready. Dad used the old car everyday to drive back and forth to work and after he pulled it under the big oak tree in the driveway, it was not moving again until he left for work the next morning.
And football. What was that? The first time that word was heard by my ears was at a relative’s house where they were watching the Detroit Lions and some team whose name I do not remember. Maybe it was the Packers and maybe not. They threw this funny looking brown ball back and forth, trying to knock down the guy who had it. Sometimes, EVERYBODY piled on.
No. We had playing in the yard, jumping into leaves when they fell from the trees and chasing seedlings as they fell from trees, twisting in the air like a helicopter.
Ultimately, I went into business. Sis had delivered the Vincennes Sun-Commercial, passing on to my brother, Steve, who passed it on to me. Rain, snow, sleet and whatever, just like the U.S. Postal Service the paper had to get through.
And usually it did. A friend kind of become a problem. He thought I should play some baseball rather than deliver the last six or seven papers. The only problem was I knew little about baseball.
Oh, I had picked up on Mickey’s home run trot and that was pretty cool. In 18 years, Mickey Mantle made 536 home run trots, the last couple gifts from pitchers who felt sorry for the aging champion they had admired as young boys. The game involved much more than that.
So, I tried my hand at baseball and quickly learned a pitcher did not just lob the ball up to see how far it could be hit. Their job was to not let you hit it. I was surprised to see it coming right straight at my head before it curved away. On the television, this high fly ball seemed so easy – until you lost it in the sun and it smashed into your hand– the one without a glove.
Well, by now you’ve figured it out. The only baseball stats you’ll find for a guy named Jim Morrison is for some guy in Florida.