When I was a kid growing…
When I was a kid growing up in Flatbush back in the 50s, my Dad would often bring my brother and me to Ebbets field to see the Dodgers. We’d take the bus down to the ballpark a few hours early so we could play a choose up stickball game with some of the other regulars.
One day we’re just starting to play when out comes Willie Mays and a pitcher from the Giants asking if we mind if they join the game. We say sure and get it so Willie is on our team (hey even though we were big Dodger fans – this was Willie Mays!). We were playing slow pitch – one strike you’re out. Willie got up, watched a couple of pitches and then hit the longest stickball shot I’ve ever seen. I’m not kiddng you when I say the ball went a couple of blocks, 3 sewers – gone.
Willie played for about three innings, batted twice (homeruns each time) thanked us and went back into the park.
Back in the 40s and 50s, baseball wasn’t the big business it is now. Most of the players lived in the neighborhoods, and even had local winter jobs. I was a big Dodger fan, and had lots of occasions when I’d see these guys, but the stickball game with Mays was probably the greatest thrill of all.