A Home Run: 28 April 1935

I can’t believe the timing. I happened to glance up at this yesterday afternoon and noticed the date the artist wrote on it. It’s hanging over my writing desk:

My grandfather, the baseball player, in a 1935 sports pages cartoon.
My grandfather, the baseball player, in a 1935 sports pages cartoon.

It’s in a good sized picture frame. I photographed it “artistically” to post here – blurring it deliberately and cropping it because his name is on it. Drawn on April 28, 1935 and shortly thereafter published in a now long-defunct New York City local newspaper, it’s a sports page cartoon of my baseball-playing grandfather after he had smashed a “home run.”

80 years ago, yesterday.

He played briefly in the Boston Red Sox farm system (and got to know players you would recognize if I mentioned their names and you know the era). He was a pitcher and a first baseman; but never got to the major leagues. Injuring his pitching elbow put an end to any hopes of reaching the top level. In those days, there was no such thing as the surgery there is today for a sports injury like the one he suffered.

He had been a Brooklyn Dodgers fan (until sorta becoming a Mets fan after the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles). When the Yankees played the Los Angeles Dodgers in both the 1977 and 1978 World Series, I recall he couldn’t quite bring himself really to root for the Yankees. (Although he didn’t try to dissuade me from doing so.) In fact, I suspected he secretly rooted for the long-relocated Dodgers.

After he retired from what had become his career, I remember him having a habit of appearing at our house for a visit without phoning ahead to warn my Mom – and without my grandmother:

Excerpt from "Frontiers," on the iPad app for Kindle. Click to expand.
Excerpt from “Frontiers,” on the iPad app for Kindle. Click to expand.

In the novels I base many of “James’s” (and others’) recollections of his own deceased grandfather on that grandfather of mine. He died when I was in high school. He was a lovely man.

I’m getting all misty-eyed now.

Have a good Wednesday, wherever you are in the world. ๐Ÿ™‚

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