Father’s Day

I’d like to take a quick second to wish my dad a Happy Father’s Day. He is easily the best father ever with some of the finest offspring around. Without my dad’s love of baseball, I doubt that I would have developed my passion for the game. I remember going through his older baseball cards on more than one occasion as I strived to build a collection rivaling his. I remember one summer in particular that we collected the 1987 Topps set together. It’s the set with the wood bordering, the prize of the set being on the far right:

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My dad showed me his 20+ Darryl Strawberry rookies that contain more worth being sold as bicycle spokes noise makers than they do at a trade show these days, he showed me his 1961 Roger Maris, his Cal Ripken Jr. rookie, and this Eddie Matthews card from 1959 among many others.

My dad also taught me how to own my future opponents at Around the World after beating me hundreds of times in our backyard back in Michigan. It was during those games that I learned that you better call board if you’re going to use the backboard, otherwise you will be denied credit! He, of course, also took me to my first ballgame at Tiger Stadium. Thanks to the wonders of retrosheet.org, I was able to find the boxscore and play-by-play of the first game that I remember attending. At age 5, this wasn’t the first game that I ever went to, just the first one I remember.

For my dad and I, sports are a great landscape upon which our relationship flourishes. Consider that we both more or less hate talking on the phone with people, yet we’ll have regular hourlong conversations about our teams and the goings-on in sports. Living almost 400 miles away means I don’t go home much (or as often as I should my mom would say), and my dad isn’t exactly an email kind of guy so we have to use the phone.

That isn’t to say he’s computer illiterate, not by a longshot, or else he wouldn’t be able to (fiercely) compete in our fantasy baseball league. I remember when I first started getting involved in the league, usually just watching the live draft in our living room until I finally joined as a teenager. Each summer I followed the players of both my mom’s and dad’s teams eagerly awaiting the weekly update my dad would bring home from work after he and his co-workers pulled the numbers from USA Today and plugged them into Lotus 1-2-3. Could you imagine having to wait a week at a time for standings updates?

My first solo draft is still referenced at least five times a year by my parents. Finally free to choose who I wanted, when I wanted I selected Mike MacFarlane in the fifth round. I won’t bore you with full details of the league setup and keepers, let’s just say it was a bit of a reach. I believe the error in judgement occured in 1994 and MacFarlane was on the heels of a 20-HR season at catcher, so I snapped him up. In the strike-shortened season, he hit 14 home runs with 47 runs batted in and a .255 average, in other words not a fifth round pick.

Ok, enough of the nostalgia, I could tell a hundred more stories about memories I have related to my father and sports, but the point is, I love him and he’s a great, great man.

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