So it is the late 1980’s, July 21st, 1989 to be exact and my father takes me and my little brother to a Red Sox Legends vs local police and fire softball game. I know cause still have the program on my bookcase, but the date is really irrelevant to the story.
Throughout the game the players for the Legends would stop to sign baseballs and take photos with fans. For us it was just a chance to get autographs though most of the players were just a name to us.
We saw the likes of Rico Pettrocelli and Luis Tiant, but frankly at that age the names meant nothing to me because they were so far beyond my time I had yet to even hear of them. Only two players were on my hit-list so to speak.
Bill “the Spaceman” Lee, I had no clue about his accomplishments as a pitcher, but who could resist a guy with the nickname Spaceman when you are 12 years old.
The other was Mark Fidrych and was still a young man at the time and just recently tried 2 separate comeback attempts with Boston never making it past the farm, only to be forced into retirement from chronic knee and shoulder injuries. People still knew his name and spoke of him highly because he was a Worcester native and we lived only a long toss from the city limits.
Today, sadly the Birdman made the long fly back home. Rest in Peace.