Cleveland Indians Forever
My kids know how much I hate the Yankees. Most of them do too, but I am not sure if it is for the same reasons.
I have often said that I grew up loving Yankees players and hating the team. My memories are of players such as Mantle, Howard, Berra, Ford, Richardson, Boyer and Tresh. Coming home after school to watch them year after year in a World Series shown on NBC.
My team, always the Indians, was pretty frustrating during my growing up years in the mid fifties until my high school days were over in 1971.
From the time I started collecting baseball cards, 1959 until I got married in 1975 my team had only three seasons above .500 ('59, '65, and '68) and one other season when they broke even ('66)! They had were so bad as to be below .400 in '69 and '71.
But one of my favorites teams was a team that went 76-86 in 1970. It was also the season I had an operation for scoliosis. Back then that meant six months in a plaster body cast, followed by three more in a smaller one.
The occasion that stands out in my mind wasn't even at a game. The Tribe was holding a clinic in the Canton area, and my mother took me to the field. (I couldn't drive with the cast on.) Mom always looked out for my interests and managed to talk to Alvin Dark, the manager.
Before I new it I was stripping off my shirt and the Indians were signing my cast.
Sam McDowell (he was late getting there), Steve Hargan, Duke Sims, Chuck Hinton (my favorite), Graig Nettles and more (for you collectors out there, I did not keep the cast. Do you have any idea what that smelled like when I took it off after three months trying to play baseball in pick up games during an Ohio summer?).
My love for the game has passed to my children. Before our exile to Pennsylvania we attended at least three games a season. Heck, my oldest daughter learned to drink from a cup at a game.
By the time the wonderful 90s rolled around my children got to experience the frustration of seeing the Indians lose the World Series in '95 and '97. I consoled them with the thought that at least their Indians were winners.
And you know what Tribe fans, I still think they will be winners this year. And I hope we crush the Yankees today.
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