Over 80 years ago, the most famous baseball team ever assembled was slugging their way into the history books, and roughshod through the American League, en route to the 1927 World Series title.
The 1927 Yankees had players like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Tony Lazzeri, Joe Dugan, and Earle Combs.
Eighty-two years later on the softball fields of Tobey Park in Midtown Memphis, the lineup my softball team faced yesterday in our first game of the intramural season, Murderers’ Row made a return.
No, Ruth did not come from the grave to kill us in slow-pitch softball.
But the team we were facing had a name that would have been close to Murderers’ Row.
Team Murk, which was composed of CBU basketball players Scott Dennis, Jimmy Palmer, Connor Wetzel, Daniel Wulker, and Syd Warner.
“They killed us last year,” one of my teammates said to me prior to the game while we sat and watched the team warm up along the third base side, “Look at them warming up while we’re sitting in the stands trying to figure out who’s playing where.”
Well, from what I learned in Little League baseball, and later on junior high ball, was that you needed gloves to warm up prior to the game, something yours truly didn’t have as well as his teammates.
While Wulker was trying to get warmed up for pitching, I asked him to pitch me a couple.
First pitch dropped into center field, while the second one was a hard smash to left field.
“Alright,” second base umpire Dylan Heim said, “Hancock and Mike will see who will go first.”
“Let them go first,” Mike said to Dylan, “We’re already out here on the field.”
“You’re leading off,” one of my teammates said to me, realizing that I never was a leadoff man, just a guy who batted always in the middle of the order.
And so I went, facing Wulker, which wasn’t like facing Jerrenda Wheeler in the courtyard at Madison East, when Wheeler threw his curveballs, and I tried desperately to hit with a whiffle ball bat.
While that at-bat was not much to write about, as well as the rest of our half of the inning, I myself had to deal with something greater than that, using a left-handed glove for the first time in a game.
As the game went on, I tried desperately to get some hits, figuring the best way to do it is by hitting a line drive up the middle.
In my second at-bat against Wulker, I hit a line drive up the middle that nearly clipped Heim into centerfield, realizing that I achieved something that I could never do against Wheeler last year.
That is, until I found out that I couldn’t hit one through the circle where the pitcher was.
“It’s for safety purposes,” intramurals commissioner Brittney Plowman told me, which saved Wulker from joining Brandon Solomon, and my mother, as people who were nearly injured by line drives off my bat.
“I make plays,” Wulker shouted from the circle.
My last time up against Team Murk, was against a new pitcher in Connor Wetzel, which I thought was going to be easy because he walked the bases loaded, and we got our only run from an unlikely source.
And again it went through the circle.
“It’s hard to get the timing,” my friend Bradley Greer said to me.
Whatever it was, it didn’t help as Team Murk beat us 9-1, including a play that probably sidelined me for the rest of the week, when my pitcher and I collided when I was trying to make a catch at shortstop, messing my knee up which still hurts as I type this column.
But it was better than having a girl clip you with a stray pitch, which happened when I was doing the announcing at Crichton for their softball team a couple of years ago.