From time to time, I pull out old photos, smile at newspaper clippings, pick up a ball, grab a glove, enjoy days long ago as a member of a Calvert City baseball team. From age 10 to 16, the highlight of my summer days was spent playing baseball.
I loved playing in different places. Like Fredonia, the field had covered wooden bleachers down both baselines. It was a cool field. Even the sharecropper cabins down the left-field line added character and gave us Fredonia supporters for our “gas house gang” style baseball. I remember pitching once in Fredonia. A left-handed pitcher was somewhat of a novelty in the Three Rivers Little League circuit, so Buck Dowell thought it gave us some advantage. Mr. Dowell had worked with me for several weeks, beginning in April, teaching me to pitch like Warren Spahn, high kick and all. I was ready. On this warm June night, I would handle the Fredonia team.
The umpire yells, “play ball”, and the batter steps into the box. I make my best Spann presentation, and the batter falls to the ground. On the first pitch, I hit him in the head with a fastball, knocked him out, and brought a hush to the crowd. I thought he was dead! But, in a few minutes, he stood to his feet and took first base, the only Fredonia runner for the night.
The rest of the game, Fredonia batters stood so far from the plate that I had only to slice the outside corner of the plate for easy picking. I don’t think that’s the Warren Spahn technique that Mr. Dowell had in mind, later in our lives we laughed at my first pitch, my effective strategy, and how the “best-laid plans of mice and men often go astray”. I think I’m still up to pitching, that is if you are up to batting!
Enjoy your day.
– Mayor Jones