Monday, April 11, 2011

The Boy Who Played Baseball

I don't think I've ever written about my husband's love affair with the game of baseball, but here goes.



This is a photograph of The Man on his mother's lap when he was just a few months old. Ironically (or prophetically, perhaps), he was named Stanley, after baseball great, Stan Musial, who was also known as “Stan the Man.”

The Man (my man) played on organized baseball teams from the time he was a wee thing.


That's him, third from left, on the back row.

Every year, he proved himself as a player.

That's him, second from right, on the back row.

The Man lived up to his namesake. 

He loved the game. 

It was all he ever wanted to do.

That's him, second from left, on the back row.
He's the one with the big smile. That's his little brother next to him, on the end.

The Man's parents loved the game as much as he did. (They didn't name him after Stan Musial for nothing.) Some of my favorite photos of his childhood are the ones below, of him posing on a baseball field.


Showing his brother how a pitcher holds the ball.

His intimidating stance and stare.

And here comes the wind-up.

He's ready to hit it out of the park.


As the years went by, the competition got tougher, but The Man kept proving himself to be a great player, over and over. That's him seated on the front row, second from left.


The Man possessed natural, God-given talent, and his dedication to the game paid off.



In his senior year of high school, The Man helped pitch a no-hitter that led to the Aldine Mustangs winning their first state championship. That's him on the right, along with fellow pitcher, Glenn Bryant, being hoisted up by the team, following the win.

The neat thing is his name is still listed as the winning pitcher on the UIL State Baseball Records web page under "Pitching, 5A No-hitter."





Following graduation, The Man was scouted by the Houston Astros farm club. Not only was The Man a great pitcher, he was an outstanding hitter (a rare combination in baseball).

It’s a long story, and I don’t have time, nor space, nor permission, to share it all here. Ultimately, The Man chose another path for his future, but he continued to play the game well, long into his adult life. Baseball is in his blood, and he’s always been my favorite player.

Truth is, if you want to know anything about baseball, anything at all, just ask The Man. He knows the answer.

So, it comes as no surprise that visiting all of the Major League Baseball parks was first on The Man’s wish list after retirement, and in the three years since we retired, we’ve already made a huge dent in that goal. Lord willing, we’ll get to the rest of them.


***


13 comments:

  1. What a cool tribute to "The Man" and his favorite game! I hope he gets to all those stadiums and we get to see more pics in future posts. Blessings!

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  2. Dayle,
    That was such a beautiful tribute to "YOUR Man" that I got a lump in my throat at the end. I loved the pictures of him as a boy and your captions under each one. Thanks.


    ~Jean

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  3. Hi Dayle...SOunds like a life-long love affair with the sport, on the part of your sweetheart. Bet he loved this post! Thanks for sharing. Susan

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  4. I am a baseball fanatic, too! That's so neat about your man! What stadiums have you visited. I'm down here near Tropicana field in St Petersburg, FL. :) You might see us!

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  5. Such a great shout out to your baseball man, Dayle, and I love how you started it with pictures of the little baseball boy growing up.

    I hope he gets to realize all of his fields of dreams. I remember that you got to do one of them on your trip last year. Detroit, right? I remember the blue hour behind you.

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  6. What a wonderful story. I have so many fond memories of my brothers playing ball and all the afternoons spent at the little league field. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

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  7. "Batter Up!"

    (This is a great love story, in many ways)

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  8. Great story, Dayle - a tribute to "The Man".
    I love baseball - it is my favorite spectator sport. And my Rangers are off to a good start. :)

    Blessings,
    Joan

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  9. aww..that was such a sweet post. I didn't know he had such a love for baseball but can see why. This so reminds me of a story my hubby told me this week. He saw a female patient in her 90's. She was spry as a spring chick. She told him she was dreading baseball season this year b/c she and her hubby were huge fans and never missed a game in 68 years. (He passed away last year.) She relayed how they traveled all over the U.S. to attend games.
    Sometimes in life, you just meet people who have a special zeal for life and a passion for something. It's what keeps them going. Also makes you realize that we all should enjoy life more and stress less.
    Wishing you and Stan many more happy travels, fun games and lots of love!

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  10. correction- they had been married 68 years but not missed a game in over 40!

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  11. @Debbie - Yes, we got to take in a good number of MLB parks on our anniversary trip last August: Great American Ball Park (Cincinnati Reds), Comerica Park (Detroit Tigers ... where the "blue hour" pic was taken), US Cellular Field (Chicago White Sox), Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs), Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers), Target Field (Minnesota Twins), and Kauffman Stadium (Kansas City Royals). Not a bad haul, huh? :)

    And the prior year, we took in some of the East Coast parks. Old Yankee Stadium (NY Yankees; still need to see the new stadium), Shea Stadium (NY Mets; still need to see the new stadium), Fenway Park (Boston Red Sox), PNC Park (Pittsburgh Pirates), Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles).

    We've also seen Busch Stadium (old and new) home of St. Louis Cardinals, Chase Field (AZ Diamondbacks), and of course, the two Texas stadiums (Minute Maid Park home of Houston Astros, and The Ballpark in Arlington home of Texas Rangers).

    I think that covers it, so far. We've still got a few to hit, and hope to make it to the West Coast this season, Lord willing.

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  12. Thanks for sharing those stories.
    My uncle {Spud Krist} pitched in three world series for the Cardinals with Stan the man.

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  13. What a sweet tribute ... from a fellow fan of Stan The Man (Musial). ;-)

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