Kelloggs Cards

Kelloggs Cards

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My First Memory of Wrigley Field - Someone Please Protect Me!

It took a few years to do so in Little League, but I finally managed to hit a home run.  I don't know about your little league, but in ours it was scored a home run when you hit a ball to the pitcher and the defense committed four errors allowing you to run around the bases.  Mine didn't go like that at all.  I clearly remember hitting it to the guy at second base who was distracted from fielding since he was still scared from going to the movies to see Jaws.  Or maybe he had the same problem that Steve Sax had with making the throw to first base.  Either way - HOME RUN from whoever was the volunteer official scorer dad for the pee-wee Tigers.

So when I finally collected on the trip to Wrigley Field that was a prize from my brothers for my monumental hit I was in for quite a memorable day.  We started by waiting for a bus on the corner closest to Midway airport.  I still remember the experience of a landing plane flying directly over us about 50 feet from the runway.  If you haven't been to Midway you'd be amazed at how small it is and how close White Castle is to the runway.  FYI - the previous White Castle building was even closer to Cicero Avenue.

Next was an "L" ride from downtown to Wrigley.  The "L" started underground and it was painfully loud.  My brothers also added to the experience by having us walk between cars while the train was in motion.  Only a useless chain-link railing protected me from the emergency room.  I clearly remember the sign stated that we shouldn't walk between cars when the train was moving.  My brothers were rebels I guess, but it was totally scary and worth it.

A few miles before the ballpark the train rose to the elevated tracks that fans see when watching Cubs games.  The stop at Addison Street was amazing.  The train pulled up directly to Wrigley Field.  Well, really about 1/2 of a block, but from above ground it sure was close.  

Although as an adult I preferred left field for the hundreds of games I attended, we sat in right field that day.  We were early and I was ready for batting practice.  Or so I thought.

Willie McCovey was taking batting practice and there weren't many people in the bleachers yet.  I thought my chances were good to get a baseball.  He hit one about 20 feet from me and an adult scurried away instead of trying to catch it.  It made quite a loud thump on the bleachers and bounced back onto the field.

I quickly realized that the next one could easily hit me with the same force.  I don't remember much about the rest of batting practice so I probably stayed out of harm's way and begged my brothers to get me a Ron Santo pizza or a Frosty Malt.  A future post will compare the ice cream specialties at Wrigley Field and Old Comiskey Park.  Stay tuned.  

That was as close as I got to a BP home run until about ten years later.  That's another story that also doesn't say anything good about me.  More on that later too.

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