Editor's note: Beginning today, the Indians take on the New York Yankees in the best-of-five American League Division Series. The Norwalk Reflector asked readers to share their finest Cleveland Indians memories. What follows is the best of those submissions.
One of my fondest memeries was opening day 1993 (April 4). The last at the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium. It was the first opening day with my 2 young sons, Eric and Ryan. They paid a tribute to Steve Olin and Tim Crews, the two Indian pitchers who were killed in a spring training boating accident in Florida.
With that tribute, being with my sons and the last opening day at the stadium (I had attended each opening day there since 1973), well I got goose bumps and teary eyed.
Yea, we lost to the Yankees (9-1)
This year is magic ... we win the world series this time!
Everyone knows what a huge Indians fan I have been over the years, probably since 1967 or 1968. To me, there's nothing better on a beautiful summers day or evening, than to sit at the ballpark, eating a couple of ballpark franks, with stadium mustard, of course, and a bag of peanuts. So many people say the best seat in the house is in front of the "boob" tube, but I beg to differ. The best seat in the house is any seat at Jacobs Field! Also, I hear the game of baseball is too slow, but it's a beautiful game, meant to be played at a leisurely pace.
Just a recent memory I have is a game I went to with my son and grandson. It went 12 innings, and my grandson seemed to be mesmerized by the whole atmosphere. He didn't pay too much attention to the game, but he seemed to be awed by the size of the crowd and the noise that was created by the throng of people. When the crowd clapped, he clapped. When the crowd yelled, he yelled. He also had a huge obsession with cotton candy, and we couldn't find anyone selling it, so we heard about it for about six innings. Those are the beautiful memories, not just the game itself.
Back in the sixties, I would listen to the game on a transistor radio, and I remember one time hearing the forecast of precipitation, and praying, I mean actually praying to God, that it would hold off until the game was played. I'm not sure what the outcome was, but I sure remember praying.
I'm going to share one last memory, and I can almost bet no one has heard of this player, but you can look it up. We were at a game in the late sixties, losing in the last inning, and the Indians got the game winning hit by a pinch-hitting extraordinaire player named Gomer Hodge! Yes, there was another person named Gomer in the sixties besides Gomer Pyle.
Memories are what life is made of, and some of my fondest are from baseball. Don't get me wrong, I love football and basketball, but my lifelong affair is baseball, and I'll never stray.
My memory is the first game of the 1997 American League Championship Series against the Baltimore Orioles. I had surprised my mom for her birthday with tickets for Game One of the series. Even though we had both been to Indians regular season games, a playoff game was a first for us. To add to the surprise, she had no idea where we were sitting only that she was going to an Indians playoff game. When we got there and she followed the signs to the section and row, she discovered that we were going to be sitting 15 rows behind home plate! Needless to say she was thrilled. The game was an exciting one with the Indians finally winning on a Marquis Grissom steal of home in the bottom of the 12th to win 2-1. The crowd was delirious and at some time during the game I mentioned to a group of gentlemen behind me that this was my mom's birthday. In one of the gentlemen's joy in winning the game, he leans in to our row, hugs my mother then kisses her and screams HAPPY BIRTHDAY! It was a birthday she hasn't forgotten.
I have had lots of good memories of the Indians. As a young boy in 1941, my first Indians game against the Yankees at the Stadium. A World Series game in 1948 against the Boston Braves. My most memorable one was in August of 1946. It was played at League Park in the suburbs of Cleveland. It was Hank Edwards, Norwalk Day at the ballpark. Hank was the right fielder for the Indians and was a hometown Norwalk young man. We had several bus loads of local fans to see him play agailnst Detroit that day.
It was awesome. As soon as the game ended, all of us kids ran onto the playing field. I stood on the pitchers mound and faked throws into home plate. John Borgia was next to me and he took out his handkerchief and filled it with dirt from the mound. I often wonder if John still has that souvenir.