Dad died four years ago today.
He died peacefully in hospice with a beloved grandson guarding his bedside through the night and a beloved daughter with him as he passed from this world. He died like the good man he was. I miss him.
Dad loved baseball. We loved to talk baseball and to watch baseball, and when we were both younger, we loved to play.
One of our favorite family outings was to go see our Indianapolis Indians play in old Bush Stadium. I knew Dad had pitched in that stadium some in his younger years. During my years of going there, the Indians were the AAA farm team for the Reds and the White Sox, so we got to see some good players regularly.
I remember seeing Herb Score pitch in a rehab assignment. Dad was really excited about that game. But even more exciting to him was the no-hitter spun by Milt Wilcox on July 4, 1970. The stadium was full of people wanting an offensive contest followed by fireworks. Dad was in the zone watching Wilcox avoid the bats. Dad was a pitchers fan. And he always kept a full scorecard.
Mom and Dad ended up living in Bradenton, the spring home of the Pirates, in their retirement years. Being able to go to many spring training games was great for him and I’m sure he hated giving that up as his physical limits caught up with him
Dad had apparently been a pretty good pitcher. I used to catch his stuff when I was a squirt. Too much for me. He had an excellent high school and college career.
His brother recently told me that he had been invited to workout out for the Pirates, but that his folks wouldn’t let him do it because being a pro ballplayer requires working on Sunday. I never heard Dad mention that; he was good at burying unpleasant stuff.
I wonder if Dad had many what-if thoughts at those spring games in LECOM park?
We’re not Irish, but Dad’s death kind of ruined St Patricks day for our family. But I am glad to we have the connection between the start of a new baseball season and the remembrance of his death. Dad and baseball go together for us.