Anyone who knows me knows that I’m no fan of baseball. If not for the food, beer and friends, going to games would be out of the question. Half the time I’m clueless as to who the opposition is, and most of the time I’m clueless as to who the players are. This time of the year, though, I’m a fan. A fan of history. Playoff games and the World Series are history in the making, especially this year. Maybe always hearing my grandmother rant or rave about the Yankees is what made baseball tortuous for me.
What was not to love about the Yankees in 1962? Nothing, according to my Grandmother. They were the BEST! Their players included Mickey Mantle, Roger Marris and Yogi Berra. The team had gone to the World Series numerous times. Our home team, The Cleveland Indians, had players that included Bubba Phillips and Mudcat Grant—a pitcher my grandmother consistently threw insults at when he pitched. The Indians had been to the World Series twice—1920 and 1948, so most Clevelanders held no hopes of another title and it was hard to be a fan. (The Browns football fans have the same issues this year as the home team is 0-6). We only turned the Indians games on to watch my Grandmother’s antics.
She was passionate about and faithful to the Yankees all her life. She kept a scrapbook, patiently using her Lepage glue bottle with the rubber tip to cover the back of the article until it was good and sticky … never to be removed from the scrapbook EVER. She watched every game she could find on the TV and listened on the radio if it was the only way she could follow her beloved team.
Sometimes during a game my father would make a comment about the way one of the players looked or threw the ball or how he thought Yogi was a bit plump, just to tease her. Not a real smart idea since she usually responded loudly and sometimes physically. One time she showed us her own fast pitch when she threw a full cup of coffee at Dad’s head, which thankfully missed him. He kind of cooled down on the comments after that incident.
During the games, she would stomp her feet, sometimes pull her hair, pound her fists and use swear words that we kids would rush to our rooms to write down to use later. Even though he teased her, my father was very fond of his mother-in-law and to celebrate her team going to the World Series, he bought a 25” color console TV right before the Series started. On game days, we shoved the kitchen table into the living room, choked down our beef stew or chili and had a fresh pot of coffee ready for the start of the game. Never a dull moment and when the Yankees took the pennant, there was Grandma Pandemonium at our house.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em it was inspiring to watch the Cubs win this year, and the joyful celebration of their fans has been a welcome break from all the negative political stuff we are enduring at the moment. Grandma would proud of our Indians today, and like the rest of us, surprised that she had a home team to cheer. Although the Cubs are favored by over 60% to win the series, I have to hope my home town Indians seize the day and the week. 1948 was a long time ago.
Yankee Photo credit: abbasj812 via VisualHunt.com / CC BY