Her interest in baseball, tainted by a short-lived romance, might have faded like so many other passing fancies. But an unforgettable afternoon at a Mud Hens game made Rachel Van Sickle a fan for good.
Witness the crush of people in front of the 10-foot-wide window into Wrigley Field. Where they congregated before 2006, when the knothole in the outfield wall was carved, I do not know. But they are together now.
On spectating and a visit to Citi Field with a trio of 12-year-old boys.
Like so many 14-year-old boys, Couch was contrarian, cocksure and often at odds with his dad. But they could always talk about baseball. A story of City Slickers, Bobby Bragan and fatherhood.
Everyone wants to win, but you can't taste victory without first stepping onto the field. The players aren't alone in donning uniforms, though, and one man finds redemption—and triumph—in the coach's box.
"The coach poured the / extra balls out of a / red drawstring bucket / bag, then the kids took / the mini-field forever / shagging long, left, right."
In their 39th season, the Texas Rangers have reached the World Series at last. Mark Holtz never got the chance to narrate his Rangers through a winning playoff round, but somewhere, wherever he is, the man with a rumble of a voice is beaming.
Bump hadn't seen him in decades. No one had. He disappeared, as if he'd never existed, just months into a brilliant major league career. But there he was, Ron Flury, sitting three stools away in a Jacksonville bar.
To him the field is empty. To him it is the field behind his community grade school. There are no stands. There is nothing; just him, the mound, the ball, his glove and his calloused fingers, and the brim of his cap to keep out the sun.
The fly ball looks like a speck in the sky of blue. I drift under it, feet gliding across the grass. The afternoon sun beats on my head. It's the 11th inning, and I hold my glove high.
Victor Wang hasn't played baseball competitively since he was a kid. He knew, back in elementary school in the '90s, that he'd never reach the pros. That he'd struggle even in Little League. That he simply wasn't very good. So he quit.
It's late 1927. The Babe just hit 60, Gehrig won the MVP, and the Yankees are on top of the world. The "Mighty Swatsmen" celebrate with a barnstorming tour and a battle for the Copper Cup. An excerpt from a novel.
"The security worker hadn't even moved. I had frozen him in disbelief." Of summer in the Pacific Northwest, sacrilege and a memento of both.
On the night of April 8, 1974, Hank Aaron needed a single home run more to stand alone as baseball's home run king. For Roulston's father, it was to be nirvana. Hank did his part, but bliss still slipped away.
He was sifting through thin slices of Americana at a Baltimore stamp and coin shop when something unexpected appeared. The store owner saw it only for the stamp, but Ottens knew the autographed 1939 envelope had a story to tell.
Only when it's gone do we truly see the greatness of a thing. A story of a father, a childhood and Albert Pujols.
The premise behind it was simple enough, though it was one Cooperstown never accepted: The numbers are the numbers. And so, in 2020 the REALHOF, as it came to be known, opened its doors—and opened them to all.
Last July, Bill James published an essay of his thoughts on steroid use and baseball's Hall of Fame. Ultimately, James concluded, steroid users of recent decades will not only be enshrined, but also hailed as "pioneers." But James' arguments are less than convincing.
Fifty years ago today, Ottens was a 12-year-old Yankees fan taking in his first game at Wrigley. But four hours and 29 runs later, a Yankee rooter he was no more. In the conclusion to a three-part story, Ottens remembers the game that forever changed his allegiance.
Fifty years ago, Ottens was a 12-year-old Yankees fan living in Chicago. His first trip to Wrigley was an unsettling blur of motion, smell and sound—until, as he walked up the concrete ramp to the field, the dazzling view made it all worthwhile.
Fifty years ago, Ottens was a 12-year-old Yankees fan living in Chicago. And he still might be rooting for the Yanks today, had his grandfather on that fateful morning not asked, "Do you want to see the Cubs play?"
Greatness is all in the definition, and hitting greatness is no different. By average, it's Ty Cobb. By streak, it's Joe DiMaggio. But defined another way the greatest hitter ever is: Joe Sewell?
The Clemens-Piazza feud is legendary for its fervor and sublime twists of fate. But is there more to the story? In a playful reimagining, Bartleby says there is.
It may sound like a joke, but sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction: The Pirates really did sign two Indian kids who'd never played baseball. Could the Lucknow Fireballer be coming to a ballpark near you?
Every card collector has a white whale—a card that proves elusive, a set that defies completion. Stewart is no exception. It took seven years, but he finally found every black-bordered, 1971 Topps card.
Cheating is an inseparable part of baseball. It has always existed, and it always will. That doesn't make cheating right, but it does make it easier to understand.
"I am a fan. I have not always been. / But I could not point to the moment when / I became more than just a rider on / A bandwagon whose station is long gone."
Who's the best you've ever seen? For some, there is no more subjective question. For others, it's pure mathematics. Feller answers with a player sure to please both camps.
It was overwhelming, numbing and evocative of something sacred. A story of an unforgettable birthday and a sight never to be seen again.
Sometimes the sweetest things in life are also the forbidden. And, sometimes, that's what makes them so sweet. Benardello remembers a mother's love and a game he shouldn't have been able to see.
Who's the best you've ever seen? Webb crosses enemy lines to answer with a batter, but stays closer to home with his pitcher of choice.
"We cheer for hits that make their hitters dash / Around the diamond, or that with a splash / Allow the batters access to each base. / Hits are surprises; outs are commonplace."
For many in San Francisco, 1989 is still synonymous with fulfillment. After a drought of nearly 30 years, the Giants had won the pennant.
There were no crowds, uniforms or even gloves. And a real baseball? Not a chance. No, in his backyard ballpark, Biggins played ball with only plastic and his pals.
As a girl, Tyler brought a glove to all of her brother's baseball games with hopes of snagging a foul ball or playing catch. But she never imagined she'd use it to collect an autograph from Casey Stengel.
During a six-week summer road trip, one traveler found that not even ticket scalpers could ruin a visit to Wrigley Field.
Baseball has often been called the most literary of sports, a claim the writer can only support. In a long and winding essay, Nusbaum reflects on his personal reading history—and finds his loves of baseball and literature deeply entwined.
One has gained mainstream acceptance; the other still lingers in the shadows. Millions of people play fantasy baseball, but its tabletop cousin has an allure of its own.