Only sports

I’m not 69 years old this morning. I’m 17.
It’s 1967, and my baseball team, the St. Louis Cardinals, are wrapping up the pennant in the National League. They are 10 games ahead of the second place San Francisco Giants. There are no divisions yet, just the American League and the National League.
Orlando Cepeda, a former Giant now playing first base for the Redbirds, is having an MVP season. I love “The Baby Bull,” but he’s not my favorite player. That honor goes to two other Cards, pitcher Bob Gibson and outfielder Lou Brock. But they have little to do with my journey of more than 50 years into the past this morning. Driving this time machine today is another player, one who played against the Cardinals in the ’67 World Series and did his best to deny them the championship. His name is Carl Yastrzemski.
“Yaz” played for the Boston Red Sox, and in 1967 accomplished one of the rare feats in baseball. He won the Triple Crown, leading the league in batting (.326), home runs (44) and runs batted in (121). While he’s playing for the other guys in the Series, he’s still a player I root for and admire. I want my Cardinals to win but I also want Yaz to do well. And he does. For the World Series, he hits .400 with 3 homers.
Baseball fans know why Carl Yastrzemski is on my mind today. Last night in Boston’s legendary Fenway Park, the place where Carl Yastrzemski roamed leftfield for 23 years, 18 of them as an All Star, his grandson, Mike Yastrzemski, hit a home run. Mike plays leftfield for the San Francisco Giants.
It was the 238th homer by a Yastrzemski at Fenway, the first 237 by Mike’s grandfather.
The fans in Boston gave him a standing ovation. I know because I’ve watched it on Sports Center three times this morning. I’m waiting to see it once more before I jump in the shower and get my day going.
Few things other than sports can make a kid out of me again the way something like this can. I’m trying to make it last.

Ed Ackerman