Friday, December 03, 2010

RIP

Ron Santo, standout former third baseman for the Chicago Cubs, 70.


The first baseball glove I had when I was a kid was a Ron Santo signature model. Even then the glove was old, and I didn't know who Santo was. The glove had a metal button at the bottom left of the outer shell that secured a strap across the back of my wrist. Every time I caught a ball, the button would sound a metallic rattle that I can still hear. Nobody else in my little league had a glove that made that sound.

I caught my first fly ball in a game with that glove, a fly ball that I can still see. I was in right field at Tarken playground in Philly and I saw the ball come off the bat and through the twilight. To me. I was terrified, and what made matters worse was that I had no read on the ball, no angle. I couldn't react to the ball, couldn't move. I stood frozen and watched the ball for a clue as to where it might be headed, eager to break in any direction, as soon as I could figure out which.

I kept standing there and kept looking up. The ball got closer and closer. As it approached, I bent my elbow to raise my glove and watched the ball land inside. I heard the pop of the pocket, the rattle of the button and the cheers from my bench along the third-base line, behind which my father stood watching (at that level, a fly ball was a serious threat, no sure bet to be caught). I smiled as I threw the ball in, resumed my defensive stance and shook with nerves for the rest of the inning. I caught my first fly ball, and I didn't have to move.

Had him played perfectly.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Mrs. S. said...

Love this story, and I love you :)

12/03/2010 02:38:00 PM  

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