Former Negro League baseball standout Buck O’Neil was once asked (after a long autograph session during a Kansas City Royals game in August, 1994, which was well after his playing days of the 1930′s & 40′s) if a little time spent in a baseball uniform can take years off one’s age. O’Neil’s response: “You got that right.”
I think I can speak for some of the other alums present this past Sunday: Buck O’Neil definitely knows what he’s talking about. Despite a few extra aches that I hadn’t felt prior to the alumni game, it was, once again, a worthwhile way to spend a fall afternoon.
Back Row (L to R): JR Bauman ’89, Bryan Nelson ’02, Tim Godfrey ’83, Jacob Anderson ’11, Grant Bowen ’11, Dan Matthews ’10, Jake Riss ’09, Paul Riss ’77
Front Row (L to R): Dan Lojovich ’10, Jeff May ’88, Doug Sylvester ’08, Russ Fujisawa ’10, Bob Bradovich ’82, Dan Rohr ’72.
(Also present, but not playing was Jon “Whitey” Nicholson ’58, as well as former baseball & football coach Bob Sullivan)
Thanks to an influx of young alums (and an innovative, albeit, unorthodox 6-outfielder defense), the game was more competitive than the 2010 version. Final score: Varsity 14, Alumni 7. The young kids did a nice job of hitting the ball, and managed to find gaps in the crowded outfield…although, in many cases, the outfielders were clustered together, since it’s much easier to carry on conversations that way.
It’s hard to top actually playing baseball, but the day is always enhanced with the banter before, during, and after the game. I especially enjoyed the being one-half of the Serbo-Croatian right side of the alumni infield (with Dan Lojovich at 1st), as well as catching up with former teammate Tim Godfrey and former head coach Bob Sullivan.
There are always new teammates to meet, and interestingly enough, you find that you’re connected to these people in some way. JR Bauman and I crossed paths with many of the same characters in our respective times at Carleton, while both Grant Bowen & Jake Anderson graduated last June with Kilian Murphy (Eau Claire’s own, who made the blog last year). On top of that, Anderson’s kindergarten teacher in Anoka, Minnesota, was none other than the mom of News 18 5:00 P.M. anchor Krista Hostetler.
Once again, thanks go out to current head coach Aaron Rushing, for organizing what’s become an incredibly enjoyable annual event–capped off by a bratwurst cookout. Kudos also to Grant Bowen’s parents, (who were on hand Sunday), for their generous contribution to the program, which allowed the construction of the new grandstand at Mel Taube Field.
Tim Godrey ’83 & Bob Bradovich ’82
I only have one request of the varsity: throw me a strike! Apparently, all the crowing in last year’s blog about my having the lone alumni RBI in 2010 got the young pitchers quite worried, and undoubtedly led to my being walked three times in four plate appearances. Either that, or they were trying to remind me of my own brief time on the mound when I was a junior searching in vain for that rectangle known as the strike zone.
Until next year…
Posted under Hometown Sports
This post was written by bbradovich on September 29, 2011