‘Grumpy Gramps’ comes from having been around the walks of life now for a good long time and those who know me, know that I have my thoughts and opinions which seem to spew out once in a while much to the chagrin of my wife and a few of my grandkids in particular. When it does happen the grandkids sometimes say oh Gramps is getting grumpy – so the name ‘Grumpy Gramps’.
So now that you understand why these writes are called ‘Grumpy Gramps’ even though they will not all be grumpy, and this is one of those ‘not so grumpy talks’.
Today the ‘old guy’ is thinking about baseball, so don’t be expecting to see a whole lot of grumpiness but rather a few words about an inner love for ‘the boys of summer’ or ‘America’s Pastime’.
Why am I talking baseball, you can probably guess it has something to do with the arrival of the Chicago Cubs in the World Series for the first time since 1945, as they hold the hope of all Chicagoans that they may even win the World Series for the first time since 1908.
Wow, 1945 is when my own father was just 15 and in 1908 his father, or my grandfather, was just getting ready to turn 19.
I remember as a kid in the 1960’s having a love of baseball cards and am pretty sure that somewhere along the way I had a few thousand of them, just not sure what ever happened to them.
Looking back I remember the Cubbies always seemed to be one of my favorite teams to follow and baseball card collect. So let’s look back at both the Cubbies and the Indians in, say, 1967.
What I do remember is cherishing the big guns of the Chicago Cubs of like 1967, you know guys like Ernie Banks, Glenn Beckert, Don Kessinger and Ron Santo guarding the infield with Billy Williams and Adolfo Phillips covering the outfield, while Randy Hundley took care of home plate. And the pitching staff, holy cow they had Ferguson Jenkins, Joe Niekro, Curt Simmons, Bill Hands, Ken Holtzman and Ray Culp. That’s a lineup that churned out three future Hall-of-Famers!!
When I look into the mirror, reflecting back to a season with that kind of lineup and I have to wonder how the heck did they not win bigger games, and shouldn’t have had anything to do with their manager because the man in charge was the legendary Leo Durocher. Sometimes we forget that these 1967 Cubbies finished third in the National League behind the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants.
Now the 1967 Cleveland Indians were a whole different animal as they finished in eighth place in the American League, just barely ahead of the New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals (remember the Royals were still consider an expansion team at the time).
The roster of the Indians in ’67 did not have the name power, but did have some names with character like Vic Davalillo, Leon Wagner, Max Alvis, Duke Sims, Tony Horton, Rocky Colavito, Chico Salmon (one of my favorite names in those days), Ray Fosse and a young man named Richie Scheinblum whose main baseball recognition is sharing a rookie card with a fellow named Lou Piniella.
On the mound 49 years ago, Cleveland had Sam McDowell, Steve Hargen, Luis Tiant, Sonny Siebert, John O’Donoghue, Orlando Pena and George Culver, with Joe Adcock trying his best to pull the strings as manager.
Not sure why I picked out the year 1967, but maybe it had something to do with I was still playing little league baseball or as they called it in Lincoln, Nebraska – ‘Little Chiefs’!! Yep I do remember loving the chance to play baseball despite being the smallest, scrawniest player on the field. My coaches loved me because I almost always would get walked, unless of course I was trying so darn hard to get a hit and swung at pitches that turned out to be nothing but air.
Yep, I loved the game of baseball as a kid, despite not being any good at it as a player, and that love has carried forward all these seasons.
So why is ‘Grumpy Gramps’ talking baseball – because I have always been enamored by the Chicago Cubs and how they have had such terrible luck, even in the good years.
So why is ‘Grumpy Gramps’ talking baseball – because the World Series matchup of the Cubbies and the Indians is sparking an interest in the game that just feels like it has been lacking for several years, and that spark isn’t just from the ‘old guy’ here – but folks across the country.
My son grew up loving the movie ‘Major League’, so much so that when I watch it I can hear his voice calling out the lines before the scene in the movie called the lines out themselves. But trust me, it will not push me that direction as far as who is my favorite, even though if the Indians were to win the World Series – I think I could live with it.
But nope – this season I want an early Christmas present for my baseball love, and that is to see the Chicago Cubs win a World Series. So go, go Cubbies!!
There you have it, another ‘Grumpy Gramps’ and while many may be spewing about things they don’t like or see has being wrong – many times it will be just ‘getting it off my chest’ type of sharing. So enjoy, think about it and if you feel the need or want – send me a comment or two and ‘Grumpy Gramps’ promises to get back to you.
(Copyright@2016, CrossDove Writer – no part of this may be printed, copied or used without written permission.)