© Chuck Duboff
School wasn’t really that important that day; who cared about fractions when I had a game that night. I couldn’t wait to get home and put on my grey Giants uniform. Baseball…that’s all that really mattered; whether studying the Yankees box scores or playing a game, baseball was my life.
As soon as I got home from school, I’d eat, get my uniform on, check to make sure it looked like the way Mickey Mantle wore it…then I’d get on my bike and get over to Diamond #3 at the Garden City Community Centre. Was I pitching that night or was it shortstop? I had just pitched a no-hitter a few days earlier, shutting down the other team with my nasty side arm delivery. So it didn’t really matter if I pitched that night; as long as I was on a baseball diamond, I was in my heaven.
It’s 50 years later and I’m sitting on the same fan benches that were there when I was playing; I look out and there’s my grandson Ben playing left field on the same diamond. It really was a surreal moment watching Ben playing catch with his teammates, his number 27 Royals jersey tucked in perfectly and looking like a ball player…I expected the ghosts of Shoeless Joe Jackson, Moonlight Graham and Mickey Mantle to make their way onto the field.
The cool winds sent a chill through the fans…it was the Big Chill…it was Time playing games with our reality, reminding us how short this thing called life is and how soon we walk off this field and become ghosts, just like all those others who loved and played baseball.