Saturday, April 23, 2016

Baseball, Spanning Three Generations

Baseball has been the sport followed most closely by my family. Football and Basketball faded over time, but not baseball.

My grandfather, Charles McHugh was a Chicago White Sox fan. He moved to Chicago in 1904 with his mother and siblings. He was there when the Sox beat the Cubs in the 1906 Series. Comiskey Park open the year he got married 1910. When the 1919 Black Sox scandal broke, he was in Indianapolis. Grandpa would have seen such greats as Luke Appling, Al Simmons, Monty Stratton, Nellie Fox and Minnie Minoso. He died in 1954, just a few weeks before my 3rd birthday.

My father, Hugh Prall, grew up a NY Yankees fan. He witnessed Joe DiMaggio belt a home run off of Dizzy Dean as the Yanks defeated the Cubs in the 1938 World Series. That was also Lou Gehrig's final full season! Grandma used to take Pop to see Indy Indians games at Washington Park [about where the zoo is today.]

I started playing Little League in 1961, the year Roger Maris set the single season home run record of 61. [He still holds it for me. People who set records while on steroids don't count.] My first quality baseball glove was a Whitey Ford model. I got to see Mickey Mantle hit a HR in Comiskey Park in 1964. We remained Yankee fans until the Mantle-Maris-Ford era ended.

About 1962, one of my classmates got me hooked on the Cincinnati Reds. Frank Robinson, Jim Maloney, Jim O'Toole and company saw me through the 60s as the Big Red Machine was being put together. At Crosley Field I saw many NL greats play against the Reds. Likewise at Riverfront. My parents and I attended Indians games at Victory Field/Bush Stadium on 16th Street.

I coached Little League and Dixie Youth Baseball for 20 years in Florida.

Today? Reds games at Great American Ballpark and Indians games at new Victory Field.

Oh, I also made it to a Reds-Cubs game at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

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